[Marxism] Attempted Coup in Venezuela

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sun Jan 27 18:54:44 MST 2019


2d segment

A way forward now ... Maduro needs to propose an economic model that has 
a way out of the crisis in terms of the hyperinflation, the exchange 
rate issues. There has to be some economic vision or I don’t think this 
government is going to last. There’s tremendous disdain, anger for the 
role the United States played in Latin America in Venezuela. I used to 
be quite critical of Chavez and Maduro, like “solve some of your 
problems and yell at the Americans a little less.” But it would work in 
Venezuela because people are so opposed to U.S. interference in 
Venezuela ... in the long run, if there isn’t a vision on how this 
economy is going to recover, I don’t know how that Maduro lasts ... 
Venezuelans {will} get the oligarchy that was in power before Chavez.  
... that system was the problem

[Comment: [point is, that system has not been countered, either with a 
vision of change or actuality of change on the ground, in practice. 
Managing capitalism is not a vision, not a way forward. That was 
emphasized and perhaps tacitly foreclosed when Maduro in the 2013 
presidential elections squeaked in with a little over one percent of the 
vote, effectively shutting off the Bolivarian mandate and compelling a 
slide into compromise and increasing ineffectuality and corruption.]

... need for an open, honest debate in Venezuela. Maduro needs to open 
this up. There has to be a place for the progressive forces who don’t 
want the Americans to interfere and decide who rules, but there has to 
be a space for an honest conversation about the way out of the mess. And 
so far, we’re not seeing that ... not just more propaganda blaming 
everything on the U.S ...

That’s what the Constituent Assembly was about, it was trying to open 
dialogue, trying to open the democratic process ... the opposition 
protesters were responsible for well more than half of the deaths in the 
streets ... parroted by corporate media, acting as if Maduro’s forces 
are gunning down peaceful protesters ... to get this international 
solidarity from people who don’t know what the hell is actually going on ...

It’s very important to stand unified, ... shoulder to shoulder in 
solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution ... trust them to figure out 
their own problems ... unified opposition to my own government 
implementing debilitating sanctions that have already cost Venezuela six 
billion dollars .... preventing Venezuela from recovering their economy 
... the sanctions are preventing an economic recovery ... can’t take out 
international loans, ... no allies in the international field ... 
opposition is sabotaging that with their power in the National Assembly 
... they need to work within the democratic bounds of the Constitution 
... Tens of millions of lives are at stake

[Comment: Recall what happened in 1973 - Allende, the military, 
Pinochet. Then in Nicaragua. Importance that, for now, the military 
still backs Maduro's "more and more authoritarian," manifestly corrupt 
regime.

So now, eyes are on the Security Council and its hunger games. And the 
role of the UN, which among other things repeatedly refers in somewhat 
euphemistically terms to "Occupied Palestinian Territory," rather than 
what it is, a flagrant violation by Israel against Palestinians of all 
norms of internationally-recognized human rights. The decision by the 
Trump regime, the United States, to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s 
capital. UN waffling on every issue - Saudi Arabia and the journalist, 
Yemen. Over and over everywhere, the UN as blatant, ineffectual tool of 
capital.]

Even during the time of Chavez, although my understanding is worse now, 
but there were times where critique of the policy was considered 
disloyalty and that people that had honest proposals and honest 
suggestions and wanted honest debate, especially on economic policy, 
were closed down. You could be called a CIA agent for just raising a 
question to such and such policies wrong

Right now, the government feels itself being under siege, basically. And 
so, that makes it very difficult to have that openness ... every 
criticism is perceived as a possible next step towards a real coup ... 
Venezuela has had negotiations with the more moderate opposition for a 
long time, and there’s been progress and they’re trying to make an 
advance ... it doesn’t look like that opening is going to be possible 
under these conditions. And those conditions, in other words, need to be 
changed, which of course involves the United States ...  is making a bad 
situation much worse ... to completely wipe Chavismo and the Bolivarian 
Revolution from the face of the earth.

There needs to be a vision that feels like there’s going to be some new 
way out of this economic morass ... millions of people that maybe not 
had voted for Maduro and also didn’t vote for the opposition, who just 
didn’t vote at all, ... didn’t vote for the opposition because they know 
the opposition is B.S., but they’ve lost their faith in Maduro, ... need 
to be excited, rallied ... Maduro opening up to other progressive 
voices, other anti-imperialist voices, widening the conversation about 
how to deal with the economic problems and political issues ...

[Comment: what do we have in mind here?Alternatives. Failed revolutions 
and difficulty of alternative vision - revolutions in 1848, Paris 
Commune in 1871, Germany in 1923, Soviet Union after 70 years, China, 
Vietnam, Venezuela, Bonapartism, in the context of 
resurgent/insurgent/all-dominating global capital and its astounding 
productivity. Important to review what Mike Davis has to offer about 
that: 
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/10/mike-davis-late-victorian-holocausts-famine-mao-stalin 
- not just the repeated failure of socialist attempts but the barriers 
of class struggle and massive repression and massacres that have always 
accompanied the imposition and maintenance of capital everywhere, 
despite its unparalleled capacity to obscure its real nature.]

That’s up to the Venezuelans ... Living in this country, there’s in the 
end really one important thing ... The United States should stay the 
hell out of Venezuela and they’re the ones that backed the Venezuelan 
oligarchy in first place ... undermine the Bolivarian Revolution from 
day one ... everyone knows the intent of the United States ... more 
nakedly aggressive with the Trump administration ... reap a profit from 
the Venezuelan oil fields for American interests ... Venezuela is 
endowed with a lot more than oil. It has gold, it has nickel, it’s a 
very resource rich country, which is why the United States has a 
particular eye on it ... Venezuela has the largest, the largest oil 
reserves in the world, larger than Saudi Arabia, larger than Iran, Iraq, 
than Canada, Russia, whatever, the United States ... that’s still the 
key ... Hopefully they can stay in the ground, actually, because it 
would be very environmentally damaging to take them all out of the 
ground ... it cannot just putter on doing its own thing, because it’s 
going to attract attention because of those resources. As far as the way 
out, now I don’t have the solution ... the first step is to fix the 
economy ...

[Comment: one essential prerequisite: seize, nationalize, control media, 
disseminating counter-revolution, must be put under an elected 
commission with public acceptance as to criteria of fairness, with 
explanation of importance of doing so, emergency declaration, how it is 
an objective, as an absolutely imperative move in support of Bolivarian 
principles, substantive equality for all. Is present regime too far gone 
to even do that?]

... it’s going to be almost impossible to fix with these sanctions or 
with worsening sanctions in place ...

[Comment: Mark Weisbrot outlines a possible strategy 
https://therealnews.com/stories/defusing-the-crisis-a-way-forward-for-venezuela 
... "the death of Chavez presented those who have money to destabilize 
the economy, opening up the economy to the black market, open a huge gap 
and create lots of opportunities for corruption and also a lot of price 
distortion, of imports, most of the things that it consumes, and to have 
an effect on the black market exchange rate, so inflation starts going 
up, and that's really the heart of it, essential medicines and foods, 
prices keep going up, eventually hyperinflation, no one wants to hold on 
to the local currency because it's losing value so quickly, Trump's 
sanctions in 1917 made a bad situation far worse" etc., neither the 
regime nor the opposition have more than 20-25% support, extremely 
unpopular, so the opposition is not looking for stable rule through an 
election but for the military to step in eventually - "restore the 
legitimacy of the Electoral Commission, people have to trust that their 
vote will count or they don't vote, possibly a referendum for new 
elections, the presidents of Mexico and Uruguay have proposed that they 
become mediators for some sort of negotiations and Maduro says they 
accept that,have to overcome the political and economic crisis to move 
forward, otherwise, likelihood of civil war, military coup, US 
intervention, tragic results."]

And as I said before, it would go through some form of – Maduro has said 
that he is open to negotiations even with Guaido. And that’s what needs 
to be amplified throughout the world, that Maduro is open to 
negotiations and has been willing to make concessions. Matter of fact, 
the early elections that they had last year was actually a demand of the 
opposition. It was only in the last minute that the opposition decided 
to boycott these elections, the presidential election. If they had 
participated [as individual candidates], there’s a very good chance, 
actually I think, that the opposition might have won. But for strategic 
reasons, they decided not to, partly also because they couldn’t agree on 
a unitary candidate, in which case they would have lost probably. But a 
political agreement is the other thing that has to precede a solution to 
this crisis, and certainly not what the United States is doing.

["Maduro is open to negotiations and has been willing to make 
concessions," unspecified, but in my opinion moving in absolutely wrong 
direction, because it opens options for further destabilization, not 
amelioration, of the underlying economic essence of the crisis.]

Mexico did not recognize this illegal president. Other than Brazil, 
Mexico is the next big giant in North America/Latin America, it’s got a 
foot in both, really. AMLO and this new progressive government in 
Mexico, we need to keep an eye on how much might they be able to help 
Venezuela. And I don’t know what their capability is, but it’s a very 
big economy and politically very important in the region. And the fact 
that Mexico is in a position now to stand up to U.S. policy in Latin 
America, this is a very important and perhaps very positive feature of 
this whole issue.

[Comment: Now, the big right wing geopolitical move, while military 
action by the US in the middle-east is muted for the moment, will no 
doubt be to deploy all capital's available resources in isolating and 
neutralizing/defeating any move by Mexico's AMLO to effect opposing 
policy changes, in Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America, if that's not 
already foreclosed in the back-channels.]

   The Security Council of the United Nations is expected to meet 
tomorrow, Saturday, to deliberate over what is going on. There’s a lot 
the Security Council can do. Lifting up the sanctions might be a 
possibility, among other things, in terms of helping Venezuela. In fact, 
Venezuelan government itself had sent its foreign minister last week to 
the United Nations, asking for assistance in resolving the crises, 
because obviously they saw this coming.

[Comment: Why expect much of anything positive? Who is on the Security 
Council? Five capitalist regimes sitting in session in New York, in the 
belly of the beast, championing their own geopolitical agendas, 
opportunities for profit on investment, global market share, increased 
influence and power, and their complicit counterparts sitting in from 
time to time. In what ways are the real interests of Venezuelans a pawn 
in the geopolitical negotiations taking place in the context of a fully 
capitalist Security Council?]

[UN News - https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/01/1031382 - "UN political 
chief calls for dialogue to ease tensions in Venezuela; Security Council 
divided over path to end crisis"]

[Russia’s UN Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, rejected that view saying the 
US was imposing its own “approaches and recipes” to resolve the problems 
on the ground in Venezuela. “This meeting is yet another attempt by the 
United States to affect regime change and [the Russian Federation] 
regrets that the UN Security Council has been drawn into such an 
unethical ploy.”]


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