A common misconception people have about Venezuela ever since the installation of the US-backed, interim self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido on the first week of January of this year, is that the “humanitarian aid” that the US had sent to Venezuela via USAID was meant to assist the Venezuelan population and that the Maduro government is rejecting all aid to the country.
The reality is that the Maduro administration has accepted aid from numerous countries as well as working with United Nations organizations, and the USAID was indeed a trojan horse to use as a means of US military intervention. Venezuela has received aid from its allies such as Russia, Iran, China and Cuba, as well as from other nations such as Mexico. On February 13th, 2019, Russia had sent 300 tonnes of medicines to Venezuela. In addition to this, Cuba and China were the main countries that had sent over 60 containers with 933 tonnes of medicine to Venezuela within the same week. In the week of February 25th, 2019, Mexico had sent four shipments with a cargo of food and first aid necessity items which had arrived at the La Guaira port in Vargas state, Venezuela, as reported by the Governor of Vargas state, Jorge Luis Garcia Carneiro. Governor Carneiro elaborated that the aid delivered from Mexico would be distributed to different communities among the 11 municipalities of the Vargas state.
What the Maduro government is rejecting is “humanitarian” aid from the Trump administration and its allies, given that these regimes have made it clear that they intend to overthrow the Maduro government and undemocratically install their hand-picked, right-wing candidate Juan Guaido. On January 24th, 2019, John Bolton, the current National Security Advisor of the U.S., had told Fox Business the following: “We’re in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela or, in the case of Citgo, here in the United States. I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here. You know, Venezuela is one of the three countries I call the troika of tyranny. It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of the United States.” Likewise, it was revealed by former FBI Director Andrew McCabe in his new book “The Threat” that Trump had been privately discussing going to war with Venezuela since 2017, given that his book states: “Then the president talked about Venezuela. That’s the country we should be going to war with, he said. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.”
The US has a history of using “humanitarianism” as a guise and for military intervention, particularly through usage of USAID and corporate media manipulation. It is not the first time the US has used “humanitarianism” as a sham to justify imperialism. The US state department used security concerns to justify invading Iraq in 2003, used “humanitarian concerns” to justify bombing Libya in 2011 as well as in several instances to legitimize its ongoing bombing and military occupation of Syria. The US government intends to replace the democratically-elected Maduro government with the right-wing rule of Juan Guaido, who plans to privatize Venezuela’s resource wealth and state-owned oil company PDVSA, which had been nationalized under former President Hugo Chavez.
Guaido is attempting to fire the directors of one of Venezuela’s most paramount foreign assets, Citgo Petroleum which is owned by PDVSA, and appoint his own new board. Guaido also seeks money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to fund his US-installed government. Furthermore, USAID is an arm of the US State Department that has been involved in numerous scandals in the past few years that have resulted in their ejection from Russia for political meddling and from Bolivia for conspiracy. In addition to this, Elliott Abrams, the current US Envoy to Venezuela, has a history of using “humanitarian aid” as a trojan horse for regime change. Abrams was involved in the Iran-Contra Scandal of 1985-1987, when Abrams had smuggled weapons to the right-wing Contra rebels in Nicaragua in aid shipments where it was discovered that weapons were hidden among the food and medicine.
The USAID to Venezuela is trivial in comparison to what the ongoing US sanctions on Venezuela have cost the Venezuelan people. The USAID package was worth $20 million, which is dwarfed by the $38 billion that the sanctions regime spearheaded by the US and its allies has cost Venezuela, as even with the aid, the cost of the sanctions would only be reduced to $37 billion, a price that would only increase as the US continues to place new sanctions that prey on the Venezuelan population and devastate their socioeconomic conditions. This is magnified when adding the sanctions that other nations such as Canada and members of the European Union have also placed on Venezuela.
Trump had also warned the Venezuelan military not to block the USAID from entering the country because as Trump stated at a university in Miami he spoke at recently, “Today I have a message for every official who is keeping Maduro in place. You cannot hide from the choice that now confronts you. You can choose to accept President Guaido’s offer of amnesty, and live your life in peace with your country. But you must not block humanitarian aid. Or you can choose the second path; continuing to support Maduro. You will find no safe harbor, no easy exit, no way out. You will lose everything.” It is immoral to essentially force another country to accept aid and imply there will be grave consequences if denied, that contradicts the ethics of true humanitarianism. Venezuela would not need aid in the first place if it weren’t for the sanctions that have crippled their economy and impoverished their populations for the past six years.