Amid the ongoing bombardment of pro-Venezuela intervention propaganda, the anti-war journalist Caitlin Johnstone recently wrote: “proponents of the US-led Venezuela coup are the single nastiest, most unethical and intellectually dishonest political group I’ve ever encountered. They make Russiagaters look healthy.” There’s a reason for this exceptional obnoxiousness and disingenuousness among the supporters of Venezuela regime change. And it involves the fact that the coup’s primary strain of supporters are seeking to redouble their social privilege.
It’s a myth from the Western media that the anti-Chavista movement is driven by Venezuela’s poor. The country’s lower classes, in fact, are at the core if why the Chavista government continues to stay in power. Polling and electoral results have shown the people who’ve voted for Chavez and Maduro are overwhelmingly poor, and their loyalty is explained by the fact that these two leaders have cut poverty by over a third through social programs. The masses of poor and working Venezuelans remain committed to upholding the accomplishments of the Bolivarian revolution, and polling shows that while Maduro isn’t popular, most Venezuelans oppose America’s illegal attempts to remove Maduro. But among the minority that would welcome the U.S.’ violation of their country’s sovereignty, a main motivating factor is a desire to restore Venezuela’s white upper-class aristocracy.
He can’t threaten or bribe people to come to rallies like the #MaduroRegime does. But today @jguaido had a surprisingly large turnout in #Valencia #Venezuela. The resistance to #Maduro, especially outside of Caracas is growing very strong. pic.twitter.com/i8SgOkrEM2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 16, 2019
Before Chavez’ reforms, Venezuela was a hyper-capitalist dystopia where neoliberalism subjugated the country’s poor and working people. When the Chavista movement emerged in response to this stark inequality, protests against President Chavez emerged whose participants showed that they were motivated both by insecurity about their class privilege and by racial animus.
As Greg Palast has observed about the 2002 protests, “The light-skinned protesters were overwhelmingly wealthy — and they wanted you to know it. Many of the women marched in high heels, the men peacocking in business suits, proudly displayed in the uniforms of their privileged class. The Chavistas wore patriotic yellow, blue and red T-shirts, sneakers, jeans.” Palast also writes he heard opposition demonstrators yell “‘Chavez, Monkey!’ and worse.”
Similar demographics are found among today’s supporters of regime change. Interviews in Venezuela by the journalist Max Blumenthal show largely light-skinned, middle-class individuals whose sentiments in many cases mirror those of Trump’s American supporters, such as with the quote about how Trump is “fighting for the freedom of our country.”
The Venezuelan right’s claims about Maduro being a “dictator” who’s ruined the economy are comparable to the persecution complex of the American right, which claims that white people and cops are persecuted and that the rich are victimized by an imagined socialist tyranny. These views are propagated by similar oligarchic mass media machines. Listen to the yellow journalists at Fox News, in between their propaganda, they actually reveal the real reasons why the US is targeting Venezuela.
Around three-fourths of Venezuela’s media is controlled by the country’s U.S.-backed corporate oligarchy, which seeks to spread anti-Chavista narratives with the hope that a more pro-capitalist leader will be installed. These media outlets don’t inform people about the Chavista government’s vast reductions of poverty, or about the fact that numerous international observers have reported Venezuela’s elections to be consistently fair and transparent, or about how Guaido’s claim to the presidency is blatantly unconstitutional, or about how the U.S. has been leading a campaign of economic warfare against Venezuela through sanctions and market sabotage. These engines of corporate propaganda only demonize Venezuela’s progressive movement while promoting the interests of the U.S./NATO empire, like is the case with the mainstream media in America.
You see how they create a false reality with propaganda. I just returned from Venezuela where the only suffering that is taking place is result of US sanctions & criminal attacks. Again- Venezuela is litmus test for authentic anti-imperialism https://t.co/zISIRyXRQl
— Ajamu Baraka (@ajamubaraka) March 18, 2019
And those who are most inclined to believe the corporate-manufactured lies about Venezuela are the ones who won’t be hurt by the anti-worker policies which Guaido will enact if he becomes president. The Venezuelan right’s enthusiasm for imperialist conquest from a foreign government, and their fury at anyone who opposes their regime change narratives, reflects how privileged populations always react to threats to their position. When the Palestinians protest for their liberation from the Gaza concentration camp, Israeli colonizers claim they’re being victimized by anti-Semitism while cheering on the IDF’s mowing down unarmed demonstrators. When black Americans object to police brutality, white conservatives spread memes which praise cops.
In all these cases, the loss of privilege is mistaken for persecution. And as the Greenville Post has assessed, this attitude of collective entitlement is always weaponized by capitalists and imperialists:
The upper classes in every nation in revolutionary turmoil always side with foreign patrons willing to help them restore their sweet ‘old order.’ So it was with the Russian ‘whites’, who fought for years to defeat the ‘Reds’ in the early years of the 20th century, and the Chilean bourgeoisie in 1973 when it was happy to turn over the nation to the comprador plague, the US, and a butcher in uniform. While the western press applauded. Nothing has changed because the class interests pitting these two worlds remain the same. The upper and upper middle classes, plus the inevitable sectors of the middle and even lower class influenced by their example and opinions constitute in large measure each country’s ‘Fifth Column.’
Thankfully, the U.S. and its puppet Guaido are running out of options in their effort to conquer Venezuela. The military is still backing Maduro, and the Trump/Guaido cabal’s recent claim about government forces burning an aid truck has been embarrassingly revealed to be a hoax. Hopefully the U.S. empire’s charade will drag on until the regime change leaders are eventually forced to retreat, and Venezuela’s lower classes will maintain the gains they’ve won.Make no mistake about it, no matter what the warmongers in the US government say, the Guaido Putsch is not about the Venezuelan people, it is about oil and enriching the neo-aristocracy. #GuaidoPutsch Click To Tweet