We must arm ourselves with theologies of liberation and a spirituality of resistance if we are to successfully challenge and overcome the forces of the Empire that we are up against.
In these times, many in the Americas and the Caribbean are giving in to geo-political fatalism. Their argument is that because we are located in the so-called “backyard” of the Empire, we must inevitably accept the mark of the beast. We have survived centuries of enslavement and colonialism no thanks to such forces, but because of those revolutionary leaders, governments and movements throughout history that have never, and will never acquiesce.
On 10 August, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, led by President Nicolas Maduro, following in the footsteps of the great freedom fighters of the Americas and the Caribbean, launched a global campaign, #NoMoreTrump. The campaign is a defiant appeal to us, the peoples of the world, to stand with the people of Venezuela, to oppose Trump’s war of attrition against this heroic sovereign nation, whose only sin is daring to claim its right to self-determination and true independence. [[i]]
On 5 August, Trump expanded the sanctions against Venezuela, signing an executive order to freeze all Venezuelan State assets in the US. Economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, estimate that the sanctions against Venezuela caused at least 40,000 deaths between 2017 and 2018, and can be considered as an assault on the civilian population, contravening the Geneva and Hague international conventions, of which the US is a signatory.A report issued bythe Washington-based Centre for Economic and Political Research published earlier this year, found that as a result of the US embargo, Venezuelans were deprived of “lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food and other essential imports”. This is exactly what the Trump Administration has in mind as they intensify the sanctions.
“A silent, deadly enemy…”
One hundred years ago, then US president, Woodrow Wilson, stated: “A nation that is boycotted is a nation that is in sight of surrender. Apply this economic, peaceful, silent, deadly remedy and there will be no need for force. It does not cost a life outside the nation boycotted, but it brings a pressure upon that nation which, in my judgment, no modern nation could resist.”
We, the people, must never sink into despair
Arundhati Roy captured the mood of Venezuela’s steadfast defiance and unwavering belief in the power of us, the people, when she said: “The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability… Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them…. Another world is not only possible; she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
I have written this many times over – we, the peoples of the global South have the natural resources and power to humble the Empire. It is a well-substantiated fact that if Europe and the US were denied access to our resources for two weeks, their economies would grind to a halt. It is time for us to recognise our collective power and introduce sanctions of our own!
An axis of hope, dignity and defiance
US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, recently described Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as an “axis of evil”. Bolton is a liar. According to irrefutable data and actual events, the truth is that these three countries constitute an “axis of hope, dignity and defiance”.
Unlike the US, none of these countries have ever invaded another country, or supported any form of terrorism. On the contrary, all three have been leaders for human advancement, dignity and progress in the region and worldwide, sharing human, cultural, scientific, and any other resource that could propel the rest of us forward. Cuba has been in the vanguard, making extraordinary contributions in the fields of healthcare and medical research. Despite the US’s criminal 60 year old blockade, which has been rightly described as “the longest lasting genocidal attack in history”, Cuba has developed vaccines and drugs that have saved countless lives. In fact, no matter how hard you search, you cannot find any evidence that would support John Bolton’s assertion. It is, in other words, baseless.
However, we the people of the Caribbean, Central and South America can attest and provide mountains of hard evidence to support our claim that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua constitute an “axis of hope, dignity and defiance”. The fascist double-speak of the likes of Donald Trump, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo is wearing thin. There can be no doubt that we have embarked on the future described in Orwell’s cautionary tale, where he warns us of the time when “war will be peace, freedom will be slavery and ignorance will be strength”.
Triumvirate of evil
Triumvirates are nothing new – they have been around since ancient times. European history records the first triumvirate in Rome as early as 60 BC, consisting of Julius Caesar, Marcus Crassus and Gnaeus Pompey. In France, during the “reign of terror”, the triumvirate consisted of Maximilien Robespierre, Georges Couthon and Louis de Saint-Just. This trio unleashed a living hell, not only on the remnants of the old class, but also on the “proles and plebs” that questioned Jacobin authority. In Nazi Germany, there was the infamous triumvirate of Adolph Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels. Then there was the triumvirate of evil in Cambodia/Kampuchea, three demons known to the world as Pol Pot, Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary of the Khmer Rouge, who exterminated hundreds of thousands of their countrymen and women with active support from the US. Today, in the US, we have witnessed the emergence of yet another triumvirate of evil consisting of Donald Trump, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.
There is the crypto-fascists and then there is Trump
It is not that fascism is something new for occupants of the White House. The difference between Trump and past crypto-fascist US presidents, is that Trump is emboldened, and, having hit a raw nerve with his supporters, he is emboldening them to come out in the open. The climate is getting uglier and uglier by the day. Anyone familiar with Nazi and fascist propaganda would be hard pressed to deny that the rhetoric and bellicose language that emanates from Donald Trump, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo is not different to that spewed by Adolph Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels. The content, tone, intent, and language of this US triumvirate of evil is stripped of all pretence of “democracy”, and is exposed for what it is - down-right fascist.
Recently, John Bolton was in Peru for a conference on Venezuela. His language was that of a thug, demonstrating no respect for the fundamental norms of international law. He openly bullied and threatened countries that refused to go along with the unilateral decisions of the Empire. While Bolton was busy attacking President Maduro and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Peru, it was reported by various media outlets, including Telesur ,that between January 2016 and May 2019, 482 community leaders were murdered in Colombia, while many ex-guerrillas of the now reconstituted Common Alternative Revolutionary Force are being killed at an alarming rate, yet the ill-advised and so-called defender of “democracy”, John Bolton, remained silent on these atrocities. Colombia is a member of the Lima Group of countries that play second fiddle to the Empire of evil. Other members of this US instigated neo-colonial formation are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, Guyana and St. Lucia.
The US triumvirate of evil, like their German prototype, are unashamed white supremacists. Hitler and his henchmen believed that all of Europe belonged to them, in the same way that ignoramuses like Trump, Pompeo and Bolton assume that South and Central America and the Caribbean are their “backyard”, and by extension, the world.
We must break the Monroe Doctrine
The Trump Administration’s invocation of the racist and imperial Monroe Doctrine to sanction and blockade the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, tighten the illegal embargo against Cuba, and fund criminal gangs attempting to pass themselves off as “pro-democracy activists” to destabilise the Nicaraguan government, can only be described as state terrorism and naked fascism. Hugo Chavez said, “The United States was born with an imperialist impulse. There has been a long confrontation between Monroe and Bolivar…it is necessary that the Monroe Doctrine be broken.”
Expanding the definition of fascism
In 1933, the Comintern defined fascism as “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist element of finance capital”. Revolutionary and progressive activists can also learn from Trotsky’s observation of fascism at the time, as “a petty-bourgeois phenomenon; an independent mass movement, with a glorification of violence that even scares Big Business”. Mussolini’s definition of fascism as “the marriage of corporation and state” is also applicable. The features of fascism described above, have long been characteristics of the rogue state USA. Although these definitions are still applicable, they are limited, and it is necessary to move beyond a dogmatic and narrow conception to encapsulate what actually constitutes fascism in 2019. Fascism is not static, it is fluid and constantly evolving, for example, there are large sections of the Alternative Right that while espousing fascist ideology, are antagonistic to monopoly capitalism and globalisation, and are therefore at odds with the likes of Trump. We need to expand our definition to fit the facts as they are unfolding.
The devil is a liar all the time
A further common characteristic of all evil triumvirates is their adept use of deceptive intelligence. This is how the devil operates. He is the originator of all wickedness, slander and lies; yet, he attempts to pass himself off as the one that is truthful and righteous. It never ceases to amaze me that after centuries of consistent deception, all of which has been eventually revealed as deception, many continue to be deceived. If someone lies and deceives me my entire life and then comes to me in 2019 with a new deception, how and why would I believe that liar? And yet people do. Such is the incredible complexity and grip of white supremacy on this earth.
For example, recognised war criminals and mass murderers like George Bush, senior and junior, and Tony Blair will be perceived by many as the truth tellers, while people will be quick to dismiss the words of non-white leaders as liars. When I was in primary school we were given a textbook, which contained a story about George Washington and the cherry tree. According to this story, when his father asked who chopped down the cherry tree, the young George boldly proclaimed that he did. The story goes on to assert that this white man, George Washington, who became the first president of the US, never told a lie. What was omitted from this story is that the same George Washington, at the age of eleven, inherited ten captured Africans from his father, one of whom he later exchanged for a quantity of molasses.
So much for George Washington’s moral superiority! Any scholar of human behaviour knows that there is no human being alive who, at least in their childhood, has never told a single lie. All of us, from our earliest recollections, have been sucked into an amazing web of deception, designed in its entirety to reinforce and maintain white supremacy. It is something we must snap ourselves out of if we are to make the quantum leap from intellectual incarceration to self-actualisation and revolutionary consciousness.
We have seen this remarkable phenomenon in action time and time again. Our history is littered with examples of deceptive intelligence. The evil system of apartheid in South Africa was aided and abetted by fascists like Bolton, and crypto-fascists like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, both of whom also openly defended the mass-murderer and Nazi admirer, Augusto Pinochet of Chile. These white supremacists never once condemned the Boers or Pinochet when they were committing atrocities. They were vociferous in their opposition to sanctions being imposed on the terrorist regime in South Africa, and even labelled Nelson Mandela a terrorist. It was Cuba that sent thousands of troops to the frontline states to fight and die alongside the freedom fighters of the African National Congress, Pan-Africanist Congress of South Africa, Azania People’s Organisation, the South West Africa People’s Organisation, the Mozambique Liberation Front and the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola in what history now identifies as the wars of national liberation.
Before the Bolivarian Revolution led by Hugo Chavez, the proceeds of the oil wealth went to a tiny section of the society that were urban, white and conservative, irrespective of whether the government was Christian Democrats or Social Democrats (Democratic Action). Africans and indigenous Venezuelans were marginalised, having endured centuries of oppression. Successive US regimes supported this unjust arrangement, not only because it was in keeping with their own doctrine of white supremacy, but also because it ensured that they had unfettered access to the oil through corporate vultures such as EXXON Mobil. It was not until Hugo Chavez initiated the Bolivarian Revolution that this cruel and oppressive arrangement began to shift in favour of the dispossessed. However, the masters of deception would have us believe that Hugo Chavez was a “dictator and oppressor”.
In Nicaragua, the US supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship that killed thousands of its own citizens, and long after the overthrow of this despicable regime by the Sandinistas, the US continued to provide support to Somoza loyalists known as the “contras” to murder, maim and destabilise the country. Today, they continue to wage this war of deception and aggression against the democratically elected and legitimate government led by President Daniel Ortega.
Examples of the Empire’s deceptive intelligence are endless. As the revolutionary prophet, Jesus pointed out: “know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. Truth, as a principle and foundational element of the universe, is alien to the warped mind-set of the US triumvirate of evil. Truth can be staring these morons in the face and they will never recognise it, precisely because they are liars and deceivers. Deception is a major tool in imperialism’s arsenal.
A characteristic that sets the current US triumvirate of evil aside from other triumvirates is their glaring stupidity. It is perhaps one of their most disturbing features. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. How fitting in relation to these three ignoramuses. In the recent sparring between Washington and Paris over Iran, one French minister described Trump’s tweets as “completely moronic”, while Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said “some US politicians are first-class idiots”. Trump, Bolton and Pompeo have no understanding of the world and the noble perennial values that have sustained human civilisation. Their primary objective is the mindless perpetuation of imperial power, conquest and domination, regardless of the cost to humanity. They are incapable of any purpose beyond this objective.
Transcending a materialist analysis
Finally, it is my firm belief that the battle we wage for truth, justice and human dignity in this world is fought both on the material and spiritual planes. Therefore this struggle clearly transcends the limitations of the progressive and revolutionary forces that adhere strictly to a materialist analysis. The materialist reading of history, rooted in anti-spiritual and anti-religious ideologies of the so-called European Enlightenment, has, in my opinion, substantially hindered the advancement of our cause.
The so-called Christian Right, Alternative Right and Christian Zionists utilise religious language and theological terms, in conjunction with de-contextualised readings of the Bible, to defend the Empire of evil and to effectively buttress Euro-American hegemony. Equally, many reactionary Islamic “scholars” do the same injustice to the Qur’an, attempting to provide theological legitimacy to murderous outfits such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Al Qaeda, and Boko Haram, and their financiers, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both close allies of the Empire.
Those revolutionary and progressive forces that stand outside of this materialist tradition, must take the upper hand and reclaim the revolutionary messages of the Bible and the Qur’an from these usurpers and hijackers. We must recapture the authenticity of what the Iranian revolutionary scholar, Ali Shariati, referred to as “true religion”.
On 10 August, President Maduro told thousands of Venezuelans gathered at a rally in Caracas to launch the #NoMoreTrump campaign, “Today, we Venezuelans have dignity and are spiritually united.” Revolutions cannot be limited to the material/ economic plane. In fact, if a revolution is to be successful, the spiritual and cultural dimensions must be central. The Bolivarian Revolution understands this. Hugo Chavez constantly invoked liberation theology in his speeches, and was clear that his inspiration to liberate his nation came from his religious convictions.
Failing to wage resistance in its totality is a huge obstacle to achieving our ultimate goals. We must arm ourselves with theologies of liberation and a spirituality of resistance if we are to successfully challenge and overcome the forces we are up against. As the Bible informs us clearly: “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. (Ephesians 6:12)
* Gerald A. Perreira is leader of Organisation for the Victory of the People based in Guyana. He is an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network for the Defence of Humanity and the Caribbean Pan-African Network. He can be reached at <[email protected]>.
* To access the petition, contact your local Venezuelan embassy or any organisation campaigning to end the sanctions or download the petition at https://libya360.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/international-nomoretrump-camp...
[i]A petition was circulated globally until the end of August, and would be presented to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres,in early September. It begins with the words: We, the undersigned, the peoples of the world...It was expected that millions would sign it in Venezuela and across the globe.