In USA, Venezuela
Yet Again Washington Meddles in Another Nation’s Election

Photo Credit: Government of Venezuela, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

By María Páez Victor. Originally published by Orinoco Tribune, March 29, 2024.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

The USA is stuck in the recurring folly of trying to dictate the political life of Venezuela, including by trying to discredit their elections. They cannot grasp the fact that Venezuela is a sovereign nation, that it has frequent, free, and fair elections, and that it will not bow to political blackmail, even in the face of crippling illegal sanctions.

For 22 years the foreign policy of the USA has aimed to destabilize and openly overthrow (under the euphemism of “regime change”) the legitimate government of Venezuela. It has not been enough for the USA that Venezuela has always been willing to sell them oil and to give USA oil companies a participating share in its production. No, Washington wants to utterly control and own the vast Venezuelan oil reserve. They have backed, financially and otherwise, coups d’etat, mercenary invasions, horrific street violence, assassination attempts, drone attacks, cyber-attacks, bribery, sabotage, and lethal economic sanctions – all have failed to bring down the ever-popular governments led by Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás Maduro. What a slow learning curve for Washington!

To undermine Maduro’s presidency, in 2019, Washington conjured up a scheme of promoting an obscure politician as an alternative president for Venezuela, Juan Guaido. It failed miserably. Now they have come up with a plot to create an alternative leader of the opposition for Venezuela. This time they chose a very well-known woman politician, Maria Corina Machado: infamous for her involvement in attempted coups d’etat, and acts of public violence, for asking for more illegal sanctions for Venezuela and even – gasp!- for advocating USA military intervention in Venezuela.

The most outrageous folly was the posturing of an insignificant stooge, Guaido, as the supposed “real” president of the country, without a presidential election or popular backing. He was the emperor without any clothes, a president without power, following our nation, yet was kowtowed to by those who wanted to deny the legitimacy of the government of Venezuela and its real president, Nicolás Maduro. The imaginary presidency would have been funny if it had not been tragic, because millions of dollars – Venezuelan assets- were given by the USA and its allies to this individual and his gang who advocated economic sanctions against their own country. They turned out to be no more than criminals as the funds ended up in their pockets, wasted on ill-conceived, even wacky “invasions”, and on drugs, orgies, and protection money to narcotraffic gangs. They can be accurately described as international thieves who pulled the wool over Uncle Sam’s eyes. But the Emperor cannot admit he has no clothes on.

The” new” but old US strategy is to cause as much conflict as possible in the well-run, excellent Venezuelan electoral process, which former US president Jimmy Carter considered thus: “I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” [1] Washington seeks to discredit these coming elections of July 28 by promoting a completely fraudulent leader of the opposition. They have trotted out the old reliable lackey, Machado, who enthusiastically backed the ridiculous Guaido. She has been around the block for 22 years spewing hate and coming up with no other policy but a mantra of: “Get rid of Chávez,” and today “Get rid of Maduro.”

However, in 2015, Machado was disqualified from running for public office for 15 years, for corruption and for representing a foreign country (Panama) while being a Parliamentary deputy, which the Constitution forbids. This disqualification has been ratified by the highest court, TSJ, Venezuela’s Supreme Court.

Given the impossibility of Machado winning any election, her role specified by Washington is to create chaos. This she has done by organizing bogus “primaries” where she banned other credible opposition leaders from participation, had no observers, some voting stations were situated in private homes, and in the end, all ballots were burned, not certified by any independent entity. Machado claimed that 2 million people voted, utterly unverifiable, and quite frankly, unbelievable. This charade was enough for her to tell the world media that she was now the “leader” of the Venezuelan opposition, and actually threatened the Venezuelan government with further sanctions if it did not suspend her disqualification. This has caused no small amount of disdain and resentment among the dozen or so bonafide opposition parties in the country. Machado is the leader in her own mind only.

This woman from a racist, fascist, and corrupt elite of the country, has failed for 22 years to obtain any substantial popular following in any election she has entered. In other nations Machado would be behind bars for publicly siding with US-led coups d’etat and for openly asking for the US to invade Venezuela. Machado signed the 2002 decree that violently kidnapped President Chavez for 48 hours and annulled the Constitution. Machado supported the vicious street violence of 2014 that left 43 people dead and called for people to boycott elections instead of exercising their democratic rights. Astonishingly she asked for more sanctions on Venezuela! Socially, she is quite disliked for her outrageous narcissism even among people who are no friends of the government.

Machado’s popularity has taken another hit with the arrest of her party’s inner circle who were involved in a very recent plot to violently overturn the government, called by them Operation White Bracelet, (note: the adjective “white”). It included plans to assassinate the president. This casts a shadow on Machado’s political future if enough direct evidence emerges about her leadership of this plot. No doubt she is already preparing the “victim statement” she will issue to the world media where she will allege “despotism” of the government.

This so-called leader of the opposition has no popular following; people will not vote for one who supported the vile sanctions that have so diminished their quality of life. The US has issued 929 illegal sanctions against Venezuela which were a devastating blow to its economy. The US stole Venezuela’s oil company CITGO and the Venezuelan funds in the US and other foreign banks worth US$24 billion have been seized. The sanctions caused losses of $232 billion in the oil industry. Venezuela was prevented from selling its oil, carrying out international financial transactions, and could not buy food or medicines. The State lost 90% of its revenue. The illegal sanctions have been responsible for the death of at least 100,000 people in Venezuela mainly because it became impossible to buy medicines and medical supplies.[2] And yet Machado wished for more sanctions for the people of Venezuela.

When constitutional reality finally hit her over the head and she realized that truly she could not run for office, Machado touted a substitute: a complete political unknown, an 80-year-old retired academic whose sole advantage was that her first name is Corina. They however failed to meet the registration date but anyway, it was doubtful that this person would be eligible because of her dual citizenship with Uruguay. The Venezuelan Constitution categorically prohibits anyone with dual citizenship to run for the presidency.[3] Because of Machado’s arrogance, she would not “play ball” with the leaders of the other opposition parties. She refused to accept another leader as the single candidate to unify the opposition against President Maduro’s candidacy. So the opposition will go to the polls fragmented because of her.

Washington is caught in a loop, failing yet unable to admit its failure because at the root of its failure is the centuries-old Monroe Doctrine that continues to poison the relationship between Washington and Latin America. It is a declaration of war, a testament to the racist regard that the northern nation has towards its southern neighbors. In the long run, however, any standing of respect the USA may have aspired to lies in the gutter of Latin American disdain. Today, when nations like Venezuela stand up to Washington and refuse to accept its tutelage and the looting of its resources, Washington becomes an even more dangerous enemy as it may rely more on military power. It is now evident that the main instrument of US diplomacy in the region is not the State Department but the US Southern Command.

The USA covets Venezuela’s prodigious oil, gas, and gold, and despises its independence but it can no longer send in its gunboats at will to browbeat the country. Venezuela is not alone and is not helpless. It has the power of its own determined, united, people, and the international solidarity of countries – also sanctioned- such as Russia, China, and Iran and the many unaligned countries of the region and the world who are not blind to Washington’s despotism.

Recent polls indicate Nicolás Maduro has a clear lead and will very likely win the presidential elections. [4]Even a recent CIA report says the same.[5] It is hard to beat a leader who has successfully steered his nation through a fearful world pandemic, found ways around the economic sanctions, lifted the economy out of hyperinflation, and raised economic growth to an estimated 8%.[6] Maduro has succeeded in making Venezuela self-sufficient in food as 98% of food is produced domestically. But most especially, Maduro has faced down vile US attacks and defended his people with courage and hope. Maduro has no equal in this contest.

Meanwhile, US politicians have been accusing Russia and China – with little if any evidence – of meddling in their own “sacred” elections. Hypocritically, Washington wants to be the judge of Venezuelan elections, while being itself entangled in the most appalling electoral disorder, political dirt, and manipulation. The US elections are an embarrassment to any modern country that considers itself a democracy. Yet they believe they can with impunity dictate the elections and political life of Venezuelans.

In the end, it does not matter that Washington keeps on maligning Venezuela’s coming presidential elections. Only the votes and voices of Venezuelans are relevant here. Twelve opposition leaders have duly registered to run for election. These are the genuine politicians who accept the rules of democracy, have sound hopes of obtaining votes, and believe that the electoral process will be free and fair. Venezuela will have free and fair elections no matter who rants to the contrary. But Nicolás Maduro is a sure winner.

Years ago, the renowned US historian, Barbara Tuchman, explained how powerful nations, acting contrary to common sense, often make fateful decisions that do not correspond to their true interests. Drunk with power, heeding no other voices but their own, they stubbornly refuse to amend their errors believing in the invincibility of their power and status. History proves this hubris leads to disaster. [7] Washington is courting its own disaster: it talks to itself and its lackeys within imaginary scenarios. Its efforts to overturn the Venezuelan government will continue to erode its international standing as well as international law. Going by the unsavory saber-rattling of the US Southern Command, the thought that it may be foolish enough to try a military invasion comes to mind. If so, it would be pyrrhic indeed similar to Vietnam. Venezuela has in the past heroically defeated a powerful empire. It could do so again.

Notes:

[1] Former USA President Jimmy Carter, The Real News, 9 October 2012; also quoted by M. Weisbrot on 30 October 2012 in The Guardian, UK

[2] Resumen Latinoamericano, “Venezuela. La estela de la Muerte y destruccion que dejan las sanciones”, 18 June 2023, quotes UN human rights raconteurs Alfred de Zayas and Alena Douhan, both who denounced the Venezuelan sanctions as crimes against humanity

[3] Article 227 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republico of Venezuela clearly states that “para ser elegido o para ser elegida Presidente o Presidenta de la República, se requiere ser venezolano o venezolana por nacimiento, no poseer otra nacionalidad..” to be elected presidente of the Republic it is necessary to be a native born Venezuelan and have no other nationality…”

[4] Hinterlaces poll report of 8 March 2024, reported by Orinoco Tribune, 9 March 2024, “Venezuelans Overwhelmingly Support Chavismo in Upcoming Presidential Elections: Hinterlaces Poll.”

[5] CIA Annual Threat Assessment Report, 12 March 2024: https://www.telesurtv.net/news/informe-agencia-eeuu-afirma-presidente-nicolas-maduro-volvera-ganar-elecciones-20240312-0031.html

[6] Nicolás Maduro, in his Annual Report to the National Assembly, reported in Barrons: https://www.barrons.com/news/spanish/maduro-asegura-que-venezuela-crecio-5-en-2023-por-encima-de-estimaciones-privadas-695bae20

[7] Barbara Tuchman, “The March of Folly”, Random House, 1984

*****

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