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President Maduro
Picture source: Jamaica Information Service

The first phase of imperialism’s direct intervention in Venezuela has started. Progressive people all over the world should clear denounce this blatant assault on Bolivarian Revolution. 

The United Sates has “officially” recognised a self-proclaimed president of Venezuela as the country’s president while the rightists are trying to create chaos on Caracas streets. Guaidó, the self-proclaimed president, have been recognised by Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru, the countries collaborating with the US imperialism, followed the imperialist power within two hours of the US move. The Organisation of American States (OAS) has also recognised Guaidó as president. Canada and France have extended their support to Guaidó. European Council president Donald Tusk expressed hoped the European Union would “unite in support of democratic forces”. The imperial alliance is active.

Guaidó, an obscure lawmaker a few weeks ago and head of the National Assembly, called on the armed forces to disobey the constitutionally formed government of Venezuela. However, Venezuela’s defence minister has condemned Guaidó, a former student leader participating in protests against socialist leader Chavez.

US President Trump, in a statement, described Nicolas Maduro’s leadership as “illegitimate”. Trump’s statement said: “The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.”

Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn-in as president of Venezuela earlier this month, has declared breaking of diplomatic and political relations with the US. The measure is in response to Trump’s recognition of Guaidó. Venezuela has given the US diplomatic staff 72 hours to leave Venezuela. Maduro has declared all US diplomats persona non grata, after the imperial power recognised Guaidó as Venezuela’s president. 

US secretary of state Pompeo rejected Venezuela’s move to cut ties with the US. Pompeo said the US did not recognise Maduro as leader of Venezuela. He said the US would conduct relations “through the government of interim President Guaidó” although there’s nothing like “government of President Guaidó”. Pompeo also urged Venezuela’s military to support efforts to restore “democracy”, and said the US would back Guaidó in his attempts to establish a government.

These developments are a continuation of a long drawn out imperialist intervention plan. The imperialist power, it seemed, was determining issues like legitimacy and people’s representation in another country while it was passing through a government shutdown.

Maduro has accused Washington of trying to govern Venezuela from afar, and said the opposition was seeking to stage a coup. “We’ve had enough interventionism, here we have dignity, damn it!” President Maduro said in a televised address from the presidential palace while a huge assembly of people joined in solidarity to Maduro in front of Miraflores Palace, the presidential house in Caracas.

Venezuela’s foreign minister lashed out at “subordinate clowns” who he said followed the “owner of the imperialist circus”.

Bolivia declared, as tweeted by president Evo Morales, “solidarity with the people of Venezuela and brother Nicolas Maduro” in resisting the “claws of imperialism” in South America. Bolivia pledged full support to Maduro.

China, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, Turkey also have expressed support to Maduro. Nicaragua’s statement of support said: The land doesn’t surrender.

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson of the Russian foreign ministry, said the US “handpicking” of a government in Caracas perfectly illustrates the true Western sentiments toward international law, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of states.

Therefore, Caracas is hot with imperialist intervention. More moves that are imperialist will follow. The moves will appear originating from within Venezuela although those were seeded externally.

Already there has appeared the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflicts. More such organisations and “opposition voices” will be organised and heard. They will provide figures – number of wounded and death, number of incidents of looting market places, number of incidents of arson, and similar many others.

There will appear voices of “conscience”, a part of which will be comprised of elements claiming to be “left” and “progressive”. These “left-progressive” elements will turn dear friends of and reliable sources of information for the mainstream media. 

Neither the mainstream nor the “progressive-lefty friends” will ever raise the following questions:

Who has appointed the imperial power to determine the question of legitimacy in another land?

Shall the imperial power allow this practice – determining the question of legitimacy related to the imperial power or a state subservient to the imperial power by another state – to others?

Which state shall allow another state to issue a call to the state’s armed forces to rise in rebellion?

Is the self-proclaimed president above the constitution of Venezuela? Shall this incident be cited as a precedent in cases of other countries whenever imperialists will feel that that country is moving away from its orbit? Is it going to be norm/practice in the area of international relations?

It is a dangerous precedent set by imperial powers. It is dangerous not only for the people of Venezuela, but for other countries also; because, imperialists can arrange similar set up of opposition/demonstration/claim to the seat of power in cases of other countries trying to move in a dignified way through a road fitting to the country’s need.

The incident shows:

  • Imperialists don’t consider constitution of other countries’
  • Imperialists consider they are the guardians of political practices and norms of all countries; and they stand above all constitutions of all countries;
  • Imperialists know best – which political system is best suited for the people of any country; leading imperialists claim to know what is right for other people.

Who knows when and which country will next face imperialist wrath? Do the “progressive” and “lefty” “friends” looking at political incidents in countries through a black or white lens know? They examine the Bolivarian revolutionary process through that black or white lens, and they turn frustrated as they fail to find “great” bourgeois “democratic” practices there. They deny looking at the reality and limitations – essentially contradictions – in the society struggling for transformation. Thus they, at times, miss imperialism’s role there as they miss in other countries while they pretend to be great crusaders for “democracy”. But the holy hearts don’t question: Why does imperialism deny targeting them, the “brave fighters”, but target Venezuela, Chavez, Maduro? 

Today’s direct imperialist intervention in Venezuela has not been organised overnight. So-called democratic forces were organised, trained, financed and armed slowly and clandestinely over a long period. Simultaneously, tarnishing image of Venezuela/Chavez/Maduro/the Bolivarian Revolution was carried on unceasingly, and a negative impression was constructed among the wider international audience while an economic war against the Revolution was organised. The Venezuelan people’s sufferings due to imperialist intervention were portrayed as failures of the Revolution. There are cases of cancer patients – young, promising, old, infirm – facing death due to lack of essential drugs/equipment, which was due to imperialist economic war against the Revolution. Nevertheless, those stories go missing in the mainstream media.

So, one of the burning questions today: Shall this imperialist intervention succeed? The broad answer: It depends on the Revolution’s capacity to mobilise the people in the land of Bolivar. To be specific: Venezuela is not Chile of the time preceding murderer Pinochet’s coup backed by the imperial power. Today is not the days of imperialism’s Libya intervention. Today is not the days of betrayer Gorbachev. 

The imperial power has its own deeper and wider problems, however. This condition of imperialism may advise it to resort to provocative acts – hot intervention, which is directly sending armed persons – to divert attention of people in its country. Or, with a cautious attitude, imperialism may try to mobilise proxies to intervene in Venezuela after creating a serious bloody situation – a lot of deaths, a lot of cases of arson, use of petrol bombs and homemade firearms, a serious law and order situation.

So, now is the time to stand in solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, handle non-hostile conditions in non-hostile way, and not to step into traps of provocations. And, it is time to call upon the “brave, lefty, progressive friends” not to forget imperialism. 


*Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.