United States and Venezuela: A Historical Background

Share

Hits: 837

“Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and they own it and we want it” — (Anonymous Trump official)

Introduction

US hostility and efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government forms parts of a long and inglorious history of US intervention in Latin America going back to the second decade of the 19th century.

In 1823 US President Monroe declared, in his name, the ‘Monroe Doctrine” – the US right to keep Europeans out of the region, but the right of the US to intervene in pursuit of its economic, political and military interests.

We will proceed to outline the historical phases of US political and military intervention on behalf of US corporate and banking interests in the region and the Latin American political and social movements which opposed it.

The first period runs from the late 19th century to the 1930’s, and includes Marine invasions , the installation of US client dictatorships and the resistance of popular revolutions led by several revolutionary leaders in El Salvador, (Farabundo Marti), Nicaragua, (Augusto Sandino), Cuba (Jose Marti) and Mexico [Lazaro Cárdenas].

We will then discuss the Post-WWII US interventions, the overthrow of popular governments and the repression of social movements, including Guatemala (1954), Chile coup (1973), US invasion of the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1982),and Panama (1989).

We will then exam US efforts to overthrow the Venezuela government (1998 to the present).

US Policy to Latin America: Democracy, Dictatorship and Social Movements

US General Smedley Butler summarized his 33 years in the military as a ‘muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers . . . I helped Mexico safe for American oil interest in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for National City Bank to collect revenue . . . I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the . . . House of Brown Brothers in 1902 – 1912. I brought a light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interest in 2016. I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903 . . . looking back on it, I could have given Al Capone a few hints’!

During the first 40 years of the 20th century the US invaded Cuba , converted it into a quasi-colony and repudiated its hero of independence Jose Marti; it provided advisers and military support to El Salvador’s dictator, assassinated its revolutionary leader Farabundo Marti and murdered 30,000 landless peasants seeking land reform. The US intervened in Nicaragua, fought against its patriotic leader Augusto Sandino and installed a dictatorial dynasty led by the Somoza regime until it was overthrown in 1979. The US intervened in Cuba to install a military dictatorship in 1933 to suppress an uprising of sugar workers. Between 1952 – 1958 Washington armed the Batista dictatorship to destroy the revolutionary July 26 Movement led by Fidel Castro. In the late 1930s the US threatened to invade Mexico when President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the US oil companies and redistributed land to millions of landless peasants.

With the defeat of fascism (1941-45), there was an upsurge of social democratic governments in Latin America. But the US objected. In 1954 the US overthrew the elected Guatemala president Jacobo Arbenz for expropriating the banana plantations of United Fruit Company. It backed a military coup in Brazil in 1964; the military remained in power for 20 years. In 1963 the US overthrew the Dominican Republic’s democratically elected government of Juan Bosch and invaded in 1965 to prevent a popular uprising. In 1973 the US supported a military coup overthrowing democratic socialist president Salvador Allende and backed the military regime of General Augusto Pinochet for nearly 20 years.

Subsequently, the US intervened and occupied Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989.

US propped up rightwing regimes throughout the region which backed US banking and corporate oligarchs which exploited resources, workers and peasants.

But by the early 1990’s powerful social movements led by workers, peasants, middle class public employees/doctors and teachers challenged the alliance of domestic and US elite rulers. In Brazil the 300,000 strong rural workers movement (MST) succeeded in expropriating large fallow estates; in Bolivia indigenous miners and peasants including coca farmers overthrew the oligarchy. In Argentina general strikes and mass movements of unemployed workers overthrew corrupt rulers allied with City Bank. The success of the popular nationalist and populist movements led to democratic elections won by progressive and leftist Presidents throughout Latin America, especially Venezuela.

Venezuela: Democratic Election, Social Reforms and the Election of President Chavez

In 1989 the US backed President of Venezuela imposed austerity programs that provoked popular demonstrations which led to the government ordering the police and military to repress the demonstrators: several thousand were killed and wounded. Hugo Chavez, a military official, rebelled and supported the popular uprising. He was captured, arrested, later freed and ran for presidential office.. He was elected by a wide margin in 1999 on a program of social reforms, economic nationalism, an end of corruption and political independence.

Washington began a hostile campaign to pressure President Chavez to accept Washington’s (President Bush) global war agenda in Afghanistan and around the world. Chavez refused to submit. He declared, “You don’t fight terror with terror”. By late 2001 the US Ambassador met with the business elite and a sector of the military to oust President elect Chavez via a coup in April 2002. The coup lasted 24 hours ..Over a million people, mostly slum dwellers, marched to the Presidential palace, backed by military loyalists .They defeated the coup and restored President Chavez to power. He proceeded to win a dozen democratic elections and referendums over the following decade.

President Chavez succeeded in large part because of his comprehensive program of socio-economic reforms favoring the workers, unemployed and middle class.

Over 2 million houses and apartments were built and distributed free to the popular classes; hundreds of clinics and hospitals provided free health care in the populer neighborhoods; universities, training schools and medical centers for low income students were built with free tuition.

Thousands in neighborhood community centers and ‘local collectives’ discussed and voted on social and political issues – including criticism and recall of local politicians, even elected Chavez’ officials.

Between 1998 and 2012, President Chavez won four straight Presidential elections, several congressional majorities and two national referendums, garnering between 56% and over 60% of the popular vote. After Chavez died President Maduro won elections in 2013 and 2018 but by a narrower margin. Democracy flourished, elections were free and open to all parties.

As a result of the inability of US backed candidates to win elections, Washington resorted to violent street riots, and appealed to the military to revolt and reverse the electoral results. The US applied sanctions beginning with President Obama and deepen with President Trump. The US seized billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets, and oil refineries in the US. The US selected a (non-elected) new President (Guaido) who was directed to subvert the military to revolt and seize power.

They failed: about one hundred soldiers out of 267,000 and a few thousand rightwing supporters heeded the call. The “opposition” revolt was a failure.

US failures were predictable as the mass of voter defended their socio-economic gains; their control of local power; their dignity and respect. Over 80% of the population including the majority of the opposition – rejected a US invasion.

US sanctions contributed to hyper-inflation and the death of 40,000 Venezuelan citizens due to the scarcity of medical products.

Conclusion

The US and the CIA followed in the footsteps of the past century seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government and seize control of its oil and mineral resources. As in the past the US sought to impose a submissive dictatorship which would repress the popular movements and subvert the democratic electoral processes. Washington sought to impose a electoral apparatus which would ensure the election of submissive rulers as it did in the past and as it has done in recent times in Paraguay, Brazil and Honduras.

So far Washington has failed, in great part because of the peoples’ defense of their historical gains. Most poor and working people are aware that a US invasion and occupation will lead to mass killing and the destruction of sovereignty and dignity.

The people are aware of US aggression as well as the mistakes of the government. They are demanding corrections and rectifications .The government of President Maduro favors a dialogue with the non-violent opposition; Venezuelans are developing economic ties with Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Bolivia, Mexico and other independent countries.

Latin America has experienced decades of US exploitation and domination; but it has also created a history of successful popular resistance including revolutions in Mexico, Bolivia and Cuba; successful social movements and voting outcomes in recent years in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela.

President Trump and his murderous cohort of Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams have declared war against the Venezuelan people but they have thus far been defeated.

The struggle continues.


Originally published on 2019-05-18

About the author: Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Source: Global Research

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

 
READ MORE!
Phantom Tanks and the Desperation of Kiev
How many times have we seen this before?The President of the United States is on TV telling us horror stories. Some innocent people in some corner of the world are being crushed, he tells us. They face some monstrously evil oppressor, he says. While the United States doesn’t like war, what choice is there? Sacrifices must be made, cruise missiles must be unleashed, to protect the poor and innocent. The world is the set of an action movie, and the US is the tragic hero, forced to rescue the innocent.This is the script we heard in former Yugoslavia. Bill Clinton ...
READ MORE
Mark Twain on the Americans
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]Save
READ MORE
How Dumb is the CIA?
How Dumb is the CIA? With the hydrogen bomb test by North Korea, it should be recalled the CIA was dumb enough to be responsible for North Korea acquiring nukes.Reorganized Murder IncorporatedAccording to a Washington Post article, John Brennan has set out to restructure the CIA's longstanding model:"At issue is a basic structure that has been in place since the agency’s inception, with employees divided by function among four major directorates. The best known are the National Clandestine Service, which sends case officers overseas on spying missions and carries out covert operations, and the Directorate of Intelligence, which employs thousands ...
READ MORE
De-Recognition of Kosovo: US Tries to Stem the Tide
The international community is accustomed to the so-called “checkbook diplomacy” that has been used by China and Taiwan to pilfer each other’s diplomatic allies by exchanging diplomatic recognition for generous financial assistance packages. However, this same battle for diplomatic recognition and de-recognition is being played out between Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo. The United States and much of NATO has not only granted Kosovo diplomatic recognition over the objection of Serbia but has also pressured other countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence. This process has hit a major stumbling block amid charges from various parties that fake diplomatic letters ...
READ MORE
President Trump Welcomes Egyptian Dictator – The “Butcher of Cairo”
President Donald Trump Monday, April 3, 2017, welcomed the Egyptian military dictator, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who assumed the title of  Field Marshal after arresting and deposing the democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. After the meeting Trump told the press: “We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.” By “a fantastic job” Trump was apparently referring to the massacre of hundreds of innocent Egyptians in the aftermath of US-endorsed coup ...
READ MORE
Will Lithuanian Emigrants Return Back to Lithuania?
I am a Lithuanian, but I leave abroad and I am not going back. At least now, at least until the Government does not pay attention to its people. According to some authoritative research institutes, during 2017 Lithuania population is again projected to decrease (by 45 677 people!) and reach 2 758 290 in the beginning of 2018. (http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/lithuania-population/). As of 1 January 2017, the population of Lithuania was estimated to be 2 803 967 people. This is a decrease of 1.63 % (46 433 people) compared to population of 2 850 400 the year before. In other words, our ...
READ MORE
Thank You, Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) – Tireless Champion of Peace
Edward S. Herman died on November 11, 2017, at the age of 92. Fortunately, it was a peaceful death for a supremely peaceful man. In all he did, Ed Herman was a tireless champion of peace.Ed Herman could be considered the godfather of antiwar media critique, both because of his own contributions and because of the many writers he encouraged to pursue that work. Thanks to his logical mind and sense of justice, he sharply grasped the crucial role and diverse techniques of media propaganda in promoting war. He immediately saw through lies, including those so insidious that few dare ...
READ MORE
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
On October 20, 2011, Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi was brutally murdered by a mob of NATO-backed ‘rebels’, after first being beaten and violated in the most barbaric fashion. History leaves no doubt that not only was the Libyan leader murdered on this day but Libya itself.The regime-change crew who dominate Western governments have a long indictment sheet against their names. Since 9/11 they have wrought havoc and human misery on a grand scale in their determination to reshape and own a world that has never been theirs to own. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya – Syria currently embroiled in a pitiless conflict for ...
READ MORE
How the US Empire Was Made in North Korea
Over the past 15 years, fighting-talk has periodically flared over ‘what to do about that alleged “crazy Asian dictator”   in North Korea. Today’s round of brinkmanship by the US/Western ‘deep state’ against North Korea will – in all probability – unfold the same way as in previous episodes; it will fizzle out. China is a guarantor of North Korean security, so the US will not go to war with North Korea. Period. The battle between Trump and the Washington Crazies for control of the reins of empire continues, however, and the ‘Krazy Korean’ is relevant to that. I hope ...
READ MORE
United States War Crimes
Human Rights Day, December 10, 2016, we bring to the attention of our readers an important article published in 2002 on the record of US war crimes. The issue of War Crimes emerged after World War I at the Versailles Conference, but it was not until the end of World War II that a more comprehensive definition of what constitutes war crimes was developed. First among new international conventions addressing war crimes was the 1950 Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal. Its fundamental premise was that the conduct of war in violation of international treaties was a crime against peace. Ill treatment ...
READ MORE
Faith Attaguile, from Encinitas, yells chants with others on the corner of Broadway and Front Street , Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in downtown San Diego, during a protest in opposition of Donald Trump's presidential election victory. (Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)
On April 7, two U.S. Navy battle ships USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at al-Shayrat military airfield in Syria’s Homs province from the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. strikes particularly targeted the main landing strip, aircraft, radio locators, air defense system and fuel stations. The strike was approved by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said that the Syrian Air Force used affiliated al-Shayrat air base to prepare chemical attack on the city of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib.  “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and ...
READ MORE
The Nazi Glorification of Ataturk
Historical research into the Nazi era rarely throws up many surprises any more. German historian Stefan Ihrig, however, is an exception to this rule. By studying long-published sources, he has uncovered the fascination that Ataturk's modern Turkey held for the German far right, which has been seriously underestimated until now and which set an example for Hitler and the National Socialists.From a right-wing viewpoint, what Ataturk had achieved was an unattainable goal for Weimar-era Germany. Using force of arms, he had managed to reverse the Treaty of Sevres, which had been forced on his country by the Entente in 1920, ...
READ MORE
Neocon Insanity and “Political Madness”: Hillary Clinton and the Dangers of Nuclear War
As we move into the final month prior to this year’s presidential election, the tempo of dramatic world events and developments that are breaking daily is mind-boggling.Every single day we are seeing more outrageously desperate actions on the part of the globalists and their US government minions. Among the latest unfolding developments this week all fast tracking towards world war against Russia is NATO’s violation of international law deploying AWACS (Airborne Radar Warning and Control system) in Syria despite only Syria and Russia possessing the legal right to control the embattled country’s airspace.With both US and Turkish boots on the ...
READ MORE
Cheap Dignity of the Ukrainian Revolution
The interviews with three snipers of Georgian nationality, conducted by the Italian journalist Gian Micalessin and aired last week as a breathtaking documentary on Milan-based Canale 5 (Matrix program), still have not paved its way to the international mainstream media. That is hardly surprising taking into account the bombshell evidence against the real perpetrators and organizers of the 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev, generally known as the “revolution of dignity“.The documentary features Alexander Revazishvili, Koba Nergadze and Zalogi Kvaratskhelia, Georgian military officers  who were recruited to carry out a “special mission” in Kiev by Mamuka Mamulashvili, a close aid of ...
READ MORE
When Canada Invaded Russia
The corporate media presents Russia as militaristic but ignores Canada’s invasion of that country.100 years ago today a popular revolt ousted the Russian monarchy. Enraged at Nicholas II’s brutality and the horror of World War I, protests and strikes swept the capital of Petrograd (Saint Petersburg). Within a week the czar abdicated. Later in the year the Bolsheviks rose to power in large part by committing to withdraw from the war.The English, French and US responded to the Bolshevik’s rise by supporting the Russian monarchists (the whites) in their fight to maintain power. Six thousand Canadian troops also invaded. According ...
READ MORE
‘Collateral Murder’ and the My Lai Massacre
To gauge the transformation in the response by the U.S. military, the mainstream media and the public to a U.S. war crime, one need only compare the reactions to two of the most heinous American crimes:  the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the gunning down of innocent Iraqis on a Baghdad street in 2007.The latter was captured on a cockpit video from attacking Apache helicopters and revealed in a video released by WikiLeaks ten years ago today. Wikileaks obtained the video from a conscientious U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning. The My Lai incident was revealed to the public ...
READ MORE
Sweden was a Military Giant – Until it Invaded Russia
When most people think of Sweden, they think of IKEA furniture, depressing murder mysteries and a foreign policy of strict neutrality.Yet 400 years ago, Sweden was a major military power. Indeed, it was even an empire, a fact that must make today's Swedish leftists cringe.Under young King Gustavus Adolphus, a brilliant and innovative military commander, Sweden in the early 1600s became a sort of Nordic Israel (which must also make Swedish leftists cringe). Sweden was a poor, thinly populated nation that couldn't match the resources of larger rivals such as France and Russia.So, Gustavus Adolphus had to devise a more flexible, mobile ...
READ MORE
Are We Headed for a Turkish-American Breakup?
Turkish-US relations have faced many serious stress tests over the past 50 years. The catalyst in overcoming those crises was making strategic considerations, which always underlined the dependence of the two NATO allies on each other, regardless of their differences.These strategic considerations appear to be weakening now, as the regional priorities of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey and the United States no longer overlap, and in many cases conflict with each other.That is certainly the case in Syria, where the two countries are at odds over Washington’s alliance with Syrian Kurdish groups against the Islamic State (IS). Ankara insists these groups are ...
READ MORE
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
The refusal of the United Nations to qualify the recent US airstrike against Syria as an act of aggression makes the Organization irrelevant – something Russia has been trying to prevent. It has become vulnerable to scathing criticism after demonstrating its impotence and inability to act. The continued paralysis is an eloquent example of the UN’s disengagement and lack of political will to fulfill its duty. The Organization’s image has suffered great damage. It still has a chance to rectify it by launching an investigation into what really happened in Syria. Article One of the UN Charter states that one of the purposes is ...
READ MORE
Kiev Euromaidan: Participants in 2014 Ukrainian Coup Confess
The overthrow of the democratically elected President of Ukraine in February 2014 was one of the most important geostrategic occurrences during the past century, because it led to the breakaway from Ukraine of the two regions — Crimea and Donbass — that had been the most opposed to the overthrow, and that had voted over 75% for the President who had been overthrown. And those two breakaways from Ukraine were then presented in the U.S.-allied “The West” as having resulted from ‘Russian aggression’, which then became punished, first by economic sanctions against Russia, and then by massive NATO military buildups ...
READ MORE
Phantom Tanks and the Desperation of Kiev
Mark Twain on the Americans
How Dumb is the CIA?
De-Recognition of Kosovo: US Tries to Stem the Tide
President Trump Welcomes Egyptian Dictator – The “Butcher of Cairo”
Will Lithuanian Emigrants Return Back to Lithuania?
Thank You, Edward S. Herman (1925-2017) – Tireless Champion of Peace
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
How the US Empire Was Made in North Korea
United States War Crimes
Chemical Attack in Idlib – Duplication of Scenario in Eastern Ghouta
The Nazi Glorification of Ataturk
Neocon Insanity and “Political Madness”: Hillary Clinton and the Dangers of Nuclear War
Cheap Dignity of the Ukrainian Revolution
When Canada Invaded Russia
‘Collateral Murder’ and the My Lai Massacre
Sweden was a Military Giant – Until it Invaded Russia
Are We Headed for a Turkish-American Breakup?
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
Kiev Euromaidan: Participants in 2014 Ukrainian Coup Confess
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share