Every time the U.S. government attempts a regime change operation, the officials and pundits who support it try not to emphasize the corporate backing, dirty political tricks, and violent and/or fascistic opposition groups that these coups rely on. When the methods behind a regime change effort are revealed, the cause they advance is also shown to be illegitimate and dangerous. It becomes clear that our government isn’t doing this for democracy or humanitarianism, but for corporate plunder.
A look at the origins of the attempt to replace Maduro is a good demonstration of the true motives behind America’s foreign interventions. Firstly, let’s look at the very disturbing background of Juan Guaido, the man who’s been declared Venezuela’s new president by the Venezuelan capitalist oligarchs and by the leaders of the U.S./NATO empire.
Guaido is a right-wing ideologue who’s been groomed for the position he’s attempting to take, and who’s ultimately a disposable figurehead for America. He’s mainly respected in Ivy League and Washington circles, and his political career has consisted of aiding destructive and unpopular extremist anti-government strains. Guaido’s political party Popular Will has been behind a series of destabilization efforts that can be described as acts of terrorism, with the party having orchestrated the 2014 guarimbas protests that killed 43 people. The network of right-wing Venezuelan groups that Guaido has been involved with have also instigated violence in many other instances, made up lies about government supporters committing violent acts that were done by anti-government demonstrators, and plotted coups and assassinations against Chavez and Maduro.
These groups and their criminal actions have been supported by the U.S. government. The anti-Chavista Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (or CANVAS) has been funded through the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA front group. As groups like CANVAS have organized insurrectionist efforts, the oligarchs at the top of the worldwide neoliberal economic order have been clearly trying to install a Pinochet-eque regime in Venezuela. In 2015, Guaido’s ally Yon Goicoechea was rewarded $500,000 by the neoliberal Cato Institute for Goicoechea’s role in defeating a pro-socialist constitutional referendum in Venezuela. Goicoechea, who was appropriately also given an award called the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, has used the Cato Institute’s money to build his political network Liberty First.
Additionally, since 2001 the U.S. has been carrying out an intricate financing scheme to put well over twenty million dollars into Venezuelan opposition groups. The horrifying prospect of a military invasion against Venezuela that Trump’s White House has been threatening is a less discreet alternative to what America has been doing for the last two decades: supporting the efforts of opportunists like Juan Guaido, and ignoring all the death and destruction that they cause in their attempts to overthrow the democratically elected Chavista government.
What’s embarrassing about these kinds of American subversion efforts is that the U.S. usually tries to paint them as the result of legitimate revolutionary movements. In 2014, the U.S. installed an aggressively anti-Russian, neo-fascist regime in Ukraine. A January 2014 phone call between the American officials Jeffrey Pyatt and Victoria Nuland show that Nuland had instructed Pyatt to install the far-right Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Ukraine’s new prime minister, in alternative to the democratic leadership that the E.U. was hoping to install. There’s also ample evidence that the U.S. had engineered the overthrow of Ukraine’s old government beforehand; Google executive and Hillary Clinton aide Jared Cohen has been revealed to have worked towards fomenting an overthrow in Ukraine in the years leading up to Yatsenyuk’s February 2014 installment. Yet the official story is that the 2014 coup was a “democratic revolution,” and that Ukraine’s new era as a neo-Nazi state is the product of popular will within the country.
The same has applied to Syria, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Iran. Since the U.S. began financing and training extremist anti-government forces in Syria during the 2000’s, and since the U.S. activated those forces in 2011, the efforts of legitimate reformers within Syria have been crushed amid the resulting catastrophe war. The current Honduran refugee crisis originates from America’s instigation of the 2009 coup in Honduras, wherein the U.S. declined to prevent efforts towards the coup and directly aided the Honduran military leaders who’d carried it out. The U.S. has used the National Endowment for Democracy to fund 54 projects for insurrection within Nicaragua between 2014 and 2017, instigated anti-government violence in Nicaragua while blaming it on the opposing side, and waged economic warfare against Nicaragua’s population through sanctions. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Israel have recently been partnering to hijack the protests in Iran, with an American/Israeli agreement having been reached in 2017 to assassinate the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
These are just the American regime change efforts that have happened in the last twenty years; the United States has interfered in the governments of at least 85 countries since World War II. In many cases, like with Iraq, Libya, and next potentially Iran, the U.S. has used military invasions to overthrow disfavored governments.
And when the U.S. does try the approach of covert subversion, it has systems in place to manipulate supposedly impartial global institutions towards its goals; according to a document published by WikiLeaks, titled “Field Manual (FM) 3–05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare,” the U.S. government uses the IMF and the World Bank to “use financial power as a weapon in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war.” This explains why Guaido has felt confident in requesting funds from the IMF to finance his makeshift government.
Additionally, the U.S. Treasury has the power to sanction countries by cutting their populations off from Western economic contact, a weapon which the Treasury is now using against over a dozen nations. As the Syrian war winds down in favor of Assad, the U.S. is now planning to use this policy of economic strangulation to weaken the Syrian state in the years to come. These are the facts that Elliot Abrams, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and the others behind the current coup attempt don’t want us to think about.
They’re trying to sell Guaido to the public while not mentioning all the unsavory facts that surround his rise, much like how a corporation markets a product. Indeed, the Venezuela coup attempt is a scheme for corporate profit.
Bolton himself has said about the Venezuela situation: “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…. 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.” The companies that benefit also include Halliburton, the Cheney-tied entity that massively profited from the war in Iraq. And predictably, Guaido has tried to privatize Venezuela’s oil, which would help the American oil industry.
This is at least part of why the U.S. wants to overthrow Maduro. It’s also an issue of great power competition with Russia, which Venezuela currently aligns with. As the 21st century cold war between Russia and the U.S. continues, and as the American empire loses its influence amid an emerging multipolar world, capturing Venezuela is a way for America to delay its own coming collapse into a diminished post-imperialist state.
This motivation for targeting Venezuela ultimately also stems from the whims of corporate power, since U.S. corporations are largely dependent on the existence of the American empire; imperialism fulfills the capitalist drive towards endless expansion, and modern capitalism is built on the slave labor and resource theft that imperialist white colonialism created.
In many cases, American regime change operations are made to directly create business opportunities for corporations, as has happened not just with Venezuela but with Iraq, Syria, and many of the other targeted countries. And when the regime change projects aren’t initiated with this goal in mind, their purpose is to prop up corporate power by advancing imperialism. Every time Washington goes after a foreign government, its goal is to enforce corporate tyranny. And this paradigm of constant and ruthless conquest stems from the inherent mentality of corporations. Click To Tweet
The modern corporation is structured in a similar way to the mind of a sociopath. Since their purpose is to increase their own profits, they tend to act without regard for the truth, for human life, or for the natural world. “Corporations were given the rights of immortal persons,” says Noam Chomsky in the 2003 film The Corporation. “But then special kinds of persons, persons who had no moral conscience. These are a special kind of persons, which are designed by law, to be concerned only for their stockholders. And not, say, what are sometimes called their stakeholders, like the community or the work force or whatever.”
Until Americans recognize that their government is controlled by and acts in the manner of corporations, they’ll keep falling for the deceptions that this corporate state uses to advance its interests. America’s regime change complex is sociopathic, so we can only defeat it by declining to give it our trust.
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