Before US diplomats offer any criticism or advice to Venezuela or any other state on issues of democracy and human rights, they should first examine the behavior of their own government in relation to their undemocratic practices and policies, both internally and around the world, and their endless list of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, recently tweeted that the “US State Department deployed its ambassadors in the region to attack Venezuela. We come with renewed vigor to defeat them at the OAS.”
So said, so done. The US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, spewed the US false narrative regarding Venezuela in our local newspapers. US ambassadors in a number of other Caribbean countries did the same. It was a coordinated attempt to mislead the people of Guyana and the region about what is really happening in Venezuela, and to apply pressure on members of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and the OAS (Organization of American States) to succumb to US calls for intervention, with the aim of overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.
US diplomats in Guyana, and for that matter throughout the Global South, are not diplomats in the strict sense of the word, and can be better described as political activists. They are constantly meddling in the internal affairs of the country they are stationed in, giving directives to the compliant neo-colonial regimes and actively undermining and destabilizing independent and anti-imperialist governments, such as the government in Venezuela.
This latest US psych-ops came just after the May 31st meeting of the OAS in Washington DC and just prior to the June 19th OAS meeting in Cancun, Mexico, where CARICOM member states took a firm and united anti-interventionist position in relation to the current situation in Venezuela, delivering a resounding defeat to the interventionist approach advocated by the US, Mexico, Peru and Panama,
Following the June 19th OAS meeting, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, said: “Today we come with the strength of our people who took to the streets to denounce the interventionism of the Organization of American States, we come with the force of the rain of our commander Hugo Chavez. Independence and sovereignty triumphed today over the United States of America, with its brutal pressure, with its gross extortion, with its maneuvers…”
She added that the call for intervention encourages the “most violent, anti-democratic factions in our country,” and she thanked the Caribbean nations for their “deeply principled stand.”
In his letter and articles, US ambassador, Perry Holloway, had the temerity to lecture Guyana and other member-states of the OAS about their obligation to democracy and human rights. He stated that: “The diverse family of nations in the Americas recognizes democracy is a part of our collective DNA. Sixteen years ago in Peru, we underscored this principle with the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, affirming the right of the peoples of the Americas to democracy and obligating our governments to defend that right.”
I suggest that before US diplomats in the Caribbean and the Americas offer any criticism or advice to Venezuela or any member-state of the OAS on issues of democracy and human rights, they should first examine the behavior of their own government in relation to their undemocratic practices and policies, both internally and around the world, and their endless list of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Trump lays bare sham democracy
The only positive aspect of Trump’s presidency is that it is exposing, once and for all, the sham that parades as US democracy and concern for human rights. The entirely undemocratic nature of US internal and foreign policy is clear to all in 2017. Even that minority of citizens on this planet who still held out some hope that the US resembled anything close to a democracy, have now seen through the façade. American political philosopher, Sheldon S. Wolin, in his brilliant work, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, renders a devastating critique of US democracy and is a vital read for anyone who wishes to understand the latent fascism that underpins the politics of this Empire.
Former US Attorney-General, Ramsay Clark, had this to say: “We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy, a government by the wealthy.” He compared President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler, and is on record as saying at the outset of the US invasion of Iraq, that it “will be genocide again,” adding that “the greatest crime since World War Two has been US foreign policy.”
As I watch the hue and cry over Trump’s actions, it reminds me of Adolph Hitler’s response to Europe’s criticism of his policies. He told them: “I am only doing out in the open what you have been doing behind closed doors for centuries.”
A meme that was circulated at the end of Obama’s presidency said it best: “Only in shallow, self-absorbed, privileged America could a leader drop 26,000 bombs on seven countries in a single year, and have citizens mourn the end of his term because he looked and sounded classy while doing it.”
The illusion highlighted in this meme picks up on the public relations stunt that has become a hallmark of the US establishment, and which Sheldon Wolin identifies as a major feature of the “inverted totalitarianism” that exists in the US today. He describes “inverted totalitarianism” as a state of affairs where a small ruling elite (the 1%) have established an authoritarian society which benefits them exclusively. In this society, corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy, and natural resources and labor are seen as mere commodities to be exploited for huge profits.
This status quo is maintained by a sophisticated propaganda machine that lulls the majority of people into apathy. Central to reinforcing this hegemon is a tightly controlled corporatized media, a mouthpiece for the establishment, that is constantly spinning fake news and false narratives, and emphasizing rabid consumerism, individualism and the politics of personality and sensationalism. Wolin, like Clark, compares modern day USA to Nazi Germany, pointing out that the form is different but the essence, that is, fascism, is the same.
Tirty-seven years ago, political scientist, Bertram Gross, coined the term “friendly fascism” and predicted the Orwellian reality we are witnessing today in the US. His thesis converges with the conclusions reached by Wolin, Clark and others.
In his farewell address at the end of his presidency in 1961, Republican Dwight Eisenhower, warned the American people about the dangers of the “Military Industrial Complex”, the control it exerted and its ability to, in his words, “weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect.” This has surely come to pass.
So, before US diplomats such as Perry Holloway attempt to discredit the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, initiated by one of the most revered freedom fighters in the Americas, the late Hugo Chavez, and led today by President Nicolas Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela with the support of the majority of the people of Venezuela, they would do well to take a long and hard look at the crisis of democracy in their own country.
Let Mr. Holloway explain to Guyanese and the citizenry of all member-states of the OAS why, in 2017, Africans in the US continue to be gunned down in the streets on a regular basis.
Let him explain to us why the US has the largest number of persons imprisoned per capita in the world, and why the prisoners are disproportionately made up of Africans, Indigenous and other people of color, before he points the finger at a revolution that has lifted African and Indigenous Venezuelans out of debilitating discrimination and poverty.
Let Mr. Holloway address the situation of US political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jamil Al-Amin (formerly Rap Brown), Leonard Peltier and so many others who are languishing in US prisons before he speaks of Venezuela’s human rights record.
Let the US Ambassador focus on the shocking poverty and illiteracy statistics emerging from his own country, before he points the finger at the Bolivarian revolution which has made unprecedented gains in eradicating poverty and illiteracy amongst the masses of Venezuela’s poor. Anyone who visited oil rich Venezuela prior to the Bolivarian revolution can testify to the abhorrent conditions and the repressive measures used to subjugate the majority of Venezuelans, and in particular, African and Indigenous Venezuelans.
Does the Ambassador truly believe that his letters and articles, full of the usual delusional and empty rhetoric, would convince any of us that his government is concerned about democracy and human rights in Venezuela, or anywhere in the world for that matter, after we have witnessed the apocalyptic events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the list goes on?
Does Mr. Holloway think we have forgotten our own history in the Americas and the Caribbean, including the US orchestrated coups that overthrew the democratically elected governments of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, President Salvador Allende in Chile, Prime Minister Maurice Bishop in Grenada, President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras and the constitutional coup against President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil? What about the removal at gunpoint of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by US military personnel in Haiti?
There is not the space in a single article to even list the US crimes in our region. Just to chronicle them warrants a book. If we were to list US crimes against the whole of humanity, we are looking at a library of books. The US Empire and the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch Empires that preceded it, have been without doubt the worst examples of terrorism in all of human history.
In his letter and article, Mr. Holloway advises that “when a government breaks with democracy, we must act in solidarity with its people, not through intervention or interference, but with diplomacy and mediation among all parties to help find a peaceful, democratic, and comprehensive solution.” Tell us Mr. Holloway: Are the examples listed above your idea of diplomacy and mediation?
These governments were not removed because of their lack of democracy or abuse of human rights. They were removed, like countless others throughout the Global South, because they were attempting to free their country from the clutches of the Empire, and liberate their wealth and resources so that they might benefit the masses of their people. Our own founding fathers in Guyana, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, were subjected to the same destabilization tactics at the hands of the US government and its CIA.
Empire loses its grip
The US and its diplomats need to understand that with the advent of the internet and the availability of information in this day and age, the Empire has lost all credibility. There is no one left on earth who can be misled by their hollow and hypocritical rhetoric. Do not be fooled by those who dare not speak openly -- they are afraid of losing their visas and even worse reprisals. Regardless of their cowardice and silence, everyone knows that the Emperor is naked. Behind closed doors, even those satraps who publicly profess their allegiance, such as the Saudis, snigger and jeer at the hideous state of affairs in the United States of America.
As the US Empire crumbles, its vampires, who have sucked the blood of the sufferers for so long, are in panic mode because, despite their descent into blatant authoritarianism and fascism, they continue to lose their grip on the terrifying world they have created, as it spins more and more out of control. The ugly death squads such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, the very Frankensteins of their own making, are turning right back on them. As Malcom X observed so long ago, the chickens must come home to roost. One cannot keep up with the number of attacks in the US and Europe.
One of the vampires, largely credited with creating Al Qaeda, a former US National Security Advisor, and founder of the Rockefeller-controlled Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a speech to British elites at Chatham House in 2008, spoke volumes when he said:
“…new and old major powers face still yet another novel reality, in some respects unprecedented, and it is that while the lethality of their power is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at an historical low…I once put it rather pungently, and I was flattered that the British Foreign Secretary repeated this… namely, in earlier times, it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today, it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.”
“The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela.”
The current US administration, like its predecessors, whether Democrat or Republican, is involved in just that, killing millions of people all over the world in its bid to control, and trying desperately to convince us of the absurd notion that that they are doing this in the name of democracy and human rights. Trouble is, no one is buying it? The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela. The playbook is old and tired. Donald Trump just tied up an arms deal worth 350 billion US dollars with the corrupt and entirely undemocratic regime of Saudi Arabia, a regime that is without doubt the main proliferator of the ideology of Wahhabism and the movements intent on imposing this ideology worldwide, such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Nusra Front and ISIS. All these weapons to a government that is funding terrorism worldwide and committing genocide in Yemen.
And, when the power struggle between the Saudis and the Qataris surfaced, Trump paid lip service to the manufactured war on terror by publicly condemning Qatar’s support for terrorism, and days later sold the Qataris US military hardware worth 12 billion dollars. In light of this hypocrisy and blatant disregard for the victims of these rogue states and their global terrorist network, can you really expect us to believe that your concern with Venezuela is about lack of democracy and human rights?
Finally, to Mr. Holloway and his cohorts throughout the region, your expressed shock and horror about the so-called spillover from Venezuela’s current predicament was perhaps the most shameful part of your missive: “The spillover effects from Venezuela’s crisis are serious and growing, whether it is irregular migrant flows to countries in our region or the increasing flow of arms and criminal activity that affect the Caribbean in particular.”
This is rich coming from the people who illegally invaded Libya, murdered the Libyan leader and freedom fighter, Muammar Qaddafi in the street, and in so doing, destroyed the most prosperous and democratic nation on the African continent, causing a migration crisis of a magnitude never seen before. Your government handed over the nation of Libya to a conglomerate of thugs, criminals, terrorists and reactionary warlords, and this spillover continues to wreak havoc throughout Africa and the Arab Region six years on. Before you concern yourself with any spillover in the Caribbean, please deal with the spillover from your criminal invasion of Libya, a spillover that only this month reached Manchester, England.
In Guyana, the Americas and throughout the Global South, the masses of people are sick and tired of the same old playbook -- the one that is in fact the cause of the current situation in Venezuela. But then, that is part of the devil’s own script, cause the problem and then come to us as savior, with a solution. It plays like this: the US, through its infamous web of security agencies, NGOs, Aid Agencies, think-tanks and other Trojan horses, destabilize, sow confusion and do everything in their power to overthrow any government and subjugate any people that refuse to obey Empire. Recently, more than 300,000 Venezuelans took to the streets in support of President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution.
The opposition held a demonstration that attracted 50,000. Of course, in your United States, the corporate media is reporting just the opposite. By the admission of your own president they are the purveyors of fake news and this is just another example of your country’s lack of democracy. The bottom line is this Mr. Holloway: your country and its government is no way fit to point the finger at anyone when it comes to infringement of democracy, democratic values and human rights.
In your letters and articles you ask: “If these things were happening in our own countries, would we not want the rest of our American family of nations to speak out, and reach out, to help restore fundamental democratic freedoms and respect for constitutional institutions?”
In your own words you proclaim that: “The Organization of American States has for decades provided a forum to discuss our greatest challenges and take action together to address them. The challenge before us today is the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela.”
What you say in the two quotes above is correct except for one thing, the challenge before us today is not the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela, it is the death spiral of democracy in the United States and an evil Empire spinning out of control.
You are right -- the OAS should take immediate action to prevent further terrorism and turmoil because the spillover worldwide from the crisis in the United States is serious and growing.
* GERALD A. PERREIRA is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) and an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah Revolution, and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Libya. This article previously appeared in Black Agenda Report.
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