What are we doing in Venezuela?

By Staff Writer James Mellen III.

When I was in the 9th grade my history teacher taught us about 1917, and the domino theory, and Animal Farm. And quickly after, I wrote my first and only joke “There’s a communist country that has a lot of oil….. And America doesn’t invade.

Little did I know that before I even knew who Hugo Chavez was, I had written a joke about Venezuela. A country that has been put in the news again for the recent protests in their country after the second United States sponsored coup d’etat in Venezuela in the lifetime the students on campus (the other being in 2002).

As a brief piece of background in Venezuela, the Bolivarian revolution started in 1998 when former Colonial Hugo Chavez was elected president, The focus of Bolivariana was social program based populist domestic policies (funded by the rising cost of oil) and anti-American interventionist foreign policy, which is a good time to mention that the Venezuelans do not want American “help”.

Chavez implemented numerous policies to distribute land and monetary wealth from the rich to the poor throughout his 14 years as president. This drastically improved the country, eliminating illiteracy and dropping poverty by over 15%. However, some economists think that Chavez’s focus on social programs based on oil production may have led to the economic collapse of Venezuela in 2013.

Chavez’s vice president Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2013 and was much less popular. Then, in 2018, Maduro rigged an election in order get re-elected; in the event of a false election the party majority leader of the national assembly Juan Guida should become president. However, the election that made him party majority happened after Maduro rigged an election, which gives Venezuelans reason to believe his election was also illegitimate.
Now I don’t support America’s empire building in any part of the world for any reason, and I generally would prefer to not frame another country’s problems in regards to how it affects America. However, since everyone and their mothers became experts on Venezuela this week without ever learning the word Bolivarian it’s important to at least point out that the United States has a violent history of intervention in oil rich and South American countries.
We were all alive for the United States’ intervention in Iraq, and we are all therefore at the very least familiar with the idea that the Iraq war was primarily for oil. And he proof is in the pudding, the United States invaded because of Saddam Hussein’s “chemical weapons” which we didn’t find. What we did find however was a way to get the Iraqi government to privatize the oil fields in Iraq so that Exxon Mobil could harvest the land of its natural resources.
The lesson here isn’t just that the United States invaded countries for reasons that aren’t necessarily good but also the way the government can justify invading a country for bad reasons. They took an invitation that was really for oil and crafted a narrative that was adopted by many mainstream news sources that Saddam had chemical weapons.
An important note also is that the Iraq war which we all understand was done under false pretenses happened a year after the first Venezuelan coup. On Sunday the 27th Marco Rubio literally tweeted that a change of Venezuelan regime would be good for American oil companies, so don’t let anyone fool you that American intervention would be for democracy or the “starving children” or whatever.
Now if you went to high school it should be expected that you should learn about the 56 acts of military intervention (at least) that the US has imposed on Latin and South America, but you probably didn’t. You probably learned about John F Kennedy stopping a nuclear crisis in Cuba and maybe learned about the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. This is the foreign policy equivalent of Manifest Destiny that stated that another European country having influence in South America would be seen as an act of aggression.
You probably did not learn about the Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon backed coup d’etat in Chile that result in the installation of Pinochet’s regime, which resulted in one of the most violent genocides of the past hundred years (literal rape camps) on feminists, socialists, and homosexuals  You were probably not told about Ronald Reagan’s intervention in Guatemala that supported the “silent genocide” which “exterminated leftist” (literally the order they were given).
Look, even if Maduro is bad, the United States intervention is also bad, so don’t get tricked into thinking Venezuela is a humanitarian effort.
Stay woke, always Antifascist.

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