SRA Condemns US-Backed Coup in Venezuela

Protest Planned in D.C.

by Central Committee | February 28, 2019 8:03 AM

In its role as the self-appointed "world police", America has engaged in one deadly war of aggression after another; from Korea and Vietnam, to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. When not engaging in direct violence, America often chooses to destabilize states that challenge its hegemony, igniting unrest and civil wars under the pretense of humanitarian intervention. Nowhere is this history more clear than in Latin America, where there is scarcely a single nation that has not felt an American boot upon its peoples' neck — a ceaseless campaign of imperial domination openly pursued under the supposed justification of the racist Monroe Doctrine.

Few figures symbolize America's disingenuous posturing in Central America better than Elliot Abrams. Abrams served as a power broker, weapons dealer, and bag-man for US-allied dictators and terrorists in the region throughout the 1980s. In Guatemala, Abrams supported the rule of dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who committed genocide against the indigenous Mayan people. In El Salvador, Abrams provided weapons and political cover to the right wing government. These weapons were used to enact violence against left-wing activists and indigenous people in the El Mozote massacre (with over 500 casualties) and other atrocities.

In Nicauragua, Abrams played a key role in the Iran-Contra affair, alongside current NRA president Oliver North, using humanitarian aid shipments as cover to smuggle weapons to the Contras, a fascist paramilitary and terrorist group. During the Iran-Contra investigation, Abrams was found guilty of lying to Congress but was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush. Later, serving under President George W. Bush, Abrams played a role in supporting the unsuccessful 2002 coup attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Now, Elliot Abrams has been appointed by President Trump as US "Special Representative" to Venezuela. And the machinery of regime change is turning once again.

In January, following years of slow-burning counter-revolution, opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself "interim president" of Venezuela. This claim came without a vacancy, a nomination, or a vote, making it an illegal violation of Article 233 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Shortly after, the United States recognized Guaidó as the only legitimate president of Venezuela, more or less declaring that an active coup d'etat was underway.

This interventionist assertion is illegal under the United Nations charter and the Charter of the Organization of American States, both of which the US has signed. Donald Trump has said he will use "the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy" in a threat meant to discourage Nicolas Maduro from mobilizing against the coup. The initial soft-power response turned hot when Trump later said "We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary".

Abrams' influence is visible as well — much spectacle has been made of three trucks allegedly carrying humanitarian aid which were blocked from entering Venezuela, and subsequently burned by masked figures on the Colombian side of the border. Imperialist, pro-regime change media has crowed that the refusal of this aid is a sign of Maduro's cruelty towards his people — but considering America's history, and in particular Elliot Abrams' direct role, of using humanitarian aid as a cover for providing weapons and materiel to pro-US rebels, Maduro's decision seems eminently reasonable. Further, Maduro has accepted humanitarian aid from Cuba, Russia, and China — countries not currently engaged in hostile attempts to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

The situation in Venezuela is not the natural outcome of socialist policy in government decision-making. This coup is the product of a decades-long campaign of political meddling, economic sanctions, oil price manipulation, and previous coup attempts with the goal of subverting democracy and violating Venezuela's right to self-rule. America will stop at nothing to place Venezuelan oil reserves in the hands of western oil companies.

Venezuela now faces a threat which demands international solidarity and support from all socialists. Regardless of our various political beliefs regarding the correct path to building socialism, we can all agree on the farcical hypocrisy of "promoting democracy" by attempting to forcefully depose a democratically-elected government.

We oppose this not only as socialists and as anti-imperialists, but as working-class people who refuse to sign off on sending more of our sisters and brothers to die in another war for capitalist hegemony. John Bolton, national security advisor to Donald Trump, openly admits “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” Military action would only benefit the multinational corporate, capitalist interests who will themselves not bleed in it, but instead will send American youth to die for the purpose of extracting more profit.

Therefore, we fully endorse all protests against Guaido and US involvement in Venezuela, including the upcoming “Hands Off Venezuela” protest in Washington D.C., organized by the ANSWER Coalition (an anti-imperialist organization affiliated with PSL).