Venezuela: It’s Not About The People–It’s About Oil, Trump’s Re-Election

We don’t have to support either Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro or acting president Juan Guaido.

Both can be equally odious.

Our decision to insinuate ourselves on Guaido’s side, however, has nothing to do with “overthrowing Socialism” or “bringing democracy.”

It has to do with Trump’s re-election.

And, naturally, oil.

The humanitarian crisis at the Venezuelan border wouldn’t be occurring right now had the United States not imposed crippling sanctions against Maduro’s government.

We, therefore, manufactured this crisis to provide an excuse to paint the Socialist Maduro as an abject monster so we, the capitalist heroes, can once again ride in and install someone–Guaido–more amenable to our corporate interests.

In so doing, the Trump administration is taking a page out of a hackneyed playbook to ensure the American people are sufficiently distracted from the impending Mueller report and the ways it is chipping away at our institutions–all so the president can boost flagging poll numbers ahead of the 2020 election.

Just look at history for evidence.

James Madison became our country’s first wartime president during the War of 1812, setting a precedent where no incumbent commander-in-chief has ever lost re-election during a time of war.

Ronald Reagan knew that back in 1983 when he authorized the invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Granada.

Having survived an assassination attempt three months into his presidency, Reagan’s approval ratings soared–67 percent.

Yet with an economic recession and a 10-percent unemployment rate, by 1983, that approval dipped to 41 percent.

With the election a year away, Reagan had to do something lest he be a one-term president.

He took a cue from then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose own political future was tenuous until she authorized the British invasion of the Falkland Islands after Argentina’s military junta.

The Granada invasion sealed it.

By the time he began his second term in 1985, Reagan’s approval rating had leaped 21 points–62 percent.

By then, the Iran-Contra scandal–covert U.S. weapons sales to Iran used to arm right-wing Nicaraguan rebels–was in full career.

In 1999, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush reported to journalist Mickey Herskowitz:

“One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief…My father [former president George H.W. Bush] had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it…If I have a chance to invade…if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”

Then came September 11, 2001, after Bush ignored repeated intelligence warnings Osama bin Laden was intent on attacking the United States.

Herskowitz said:

“Suddenly, he’s at 91 percent in the polls, and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.”

Two years later the United States invaded Iraq, a country that had no hand in the fateful attacks and posed no existential threat to our nation’s sovereignty.

After being re-elected in 2004, Bush stood before the American people talking about earning some “political capital” he intended to use. That “political capital” was privatization of Social Security and other Republican agenda items.

Now Donald Trump is up to the same old hijinx.

He’s even brought in Reagan’s old Iran-Contra enabler, Elliott Abrams, whom George H.W. Bush, pardoned on Christmas Eve 1992 upon Attorney General William Barr’s advice, thereby avoiding criminal prosecution.

About the public relations stunt currently playing out on Venezuela’s border, National Public Radio (NPR) seemed to be the only mainstream news outlet presenting jingoism-free truth when it reported:

“The U.S. effort to distribute tons of food and medicine to needy Venezuelans is more than just a humanitarian mission. The operation is also designed to foment regime change in Venezuela—which is why much of the international aid community wants nothing to do with it. Humanitarian operations are supposed to be neutral.

“That’s why the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations agencies and other relief organizations have refused to collaborate with the U.S. and its allies in the Venezuelan opposition who are trying to force President Nicolás Maduro from power.”

U.N. spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said last week in a press briefing:

“Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or any other objectives. The needs of the people should lead in terms of when and how humanitarian assistance is used.”

Even the unashamedly right-wing New York Post reported:

“U.S. delivers aid to town bordering Venezuela to undermine President Nicolas Maduro.”

If human rights were really the Trump administration’s concern, Trump would probably have at least made passing mention of it at a rally in Miami, Fla. last week.

Instead he launched into a rambling screed against Socialism.

About it, Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) said:

“I’m concerned about the Trump administration politicizing this issue, using Venezuelans’ suffering to score political points here in Florida. We shouldn’t be using this as a political weapon.”

Trump has been leaning on the anti-Socialist rhetoric a lot since his State-of-the-Union address, in which he stated:

“We condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.”

This rhetoric sounds eerily similar to that which Reagan used back when he was making a case for invading Granada:

“Nowhere in its whole sordid history have the promises of Communism been redeemed. Everywhere it has exploited and aggravated temporary economic suffering to seize power and then to institutionalize economic deprivation and suppress human rights.”

Although he invokes communism, not socialism, the sentiment is the same.

Trump is nervous about Mueller, his luck beginning to run out, and the fact that the Democratic presidential candidates taking him on for the White House are running on popular economic and social policies Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders helped codify in the Democratic party platform.

Moreover, Trump has admitted he wants Venezuela’s oil.

In former acting FBI director, Andrew McCabe‘s, recently released book The Threat, McCabe reports how Trump expressed in a July 2017 private meeting the desire to go to war with Venezuela because “they have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.”

A month later, Trump hounded his top advisers about a military option for overthrowing Maduro.

Don’t be fooled–the Trump administration is not concerned one iota for the suffering Venezuelan people.

It is using those people as pawns in a political ploy to exact regime change.

And, rest assured, the mainstream media is going to help it accomplish just that.



Image credit: Flickr

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