Venezuela: A Bad Couple Weeks for Coup-Plotters

Donald Trump and Elliott Abrams (L) among those attempting to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. (Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty; Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo; Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider)

The past couple weeks have not gone as planned for the U.S. and Juan Guaido in their attempt to overthrow Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

The manufactured clash on Feb. 23 for ‘humanitarian aid’ on the border of Venezuela and Colombia was designed to be a victory for the coup-leading opposition leader Guaido and his American handlers. But it flopped and did not turn out as promised.

There were not mass desertions by Venezuela’s military that the U.S. and Guaido heavily relied upon. Reports are that only about 350-500 Venezuelan military personnel defected to Colombia (Venezuela’s military has about 300,000 soldiers, meaning that more than 99% of the soldiers remained loyal to Maduro). Of the few defectors, some of them used a tank to bulldoze their way through barricades and civilians to get into Colombia. All in all, the day did not result in a victory for the U.S and Guaido, as evidenced by the cynical response of Mike Pence as he announced more sanctions targeting Venezuelans.

A few days later, the U.S. faced another setback as Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Germany and Spain reportedly said that deployment of troops in Venezuela is a line that should not be crossed.

In another blow, on February 28, a U.S. resolution at the UN regarding Venezuela was rejected after Russia and China vetoed it (South Africa also voted against it). Without any irony, the U.S. resolution called for the ‘restoration of democracy’ in Venezuela (as they are openly attempting to overthrow the democratically-elected president). U.S. Envoy Elliott Abrams did not pull-off a Colin Powell-like performance at the UN, in fact, Abrams gave a sophomoric, cliched speech. Russia’s envoy, on the other hand, gave a much more reasoned, well-spoken, impassioned and convincing case than did Abrams.

A growing number of people around the world are pointing out the hypocrisy of the U.S. claim to be giving humanitarian aid, while at the same time it brazenly takes billions of dollars from Venezuela’s people, via oil proceeds.

Finally, have you noticed that the method of carrying out the coup attempt in Venezuela is somewhat different than the last two coups the U.S. pulled off, in Honduras (2009) and Ukraine (2014)?

The neocons and the Trump administration are not being covert about their regime change aspirations in Venezuela. They’re openly saying that Maduro must go, that the South American country’s economy must be privatized, and that the U.S. is willing to use its military to do so. This is different than the quiet approach taken by the Obama administration’s participation in the (‘successful’) coups in Honduras and Ukraine. For the most part, the government and media only talked about Honduras and Ukraine after the coups had taken place.

The bombastic approach that is typical of the Trump administration and the neocons does not appear to be gaining momentum, and hopefully will ultimately fail, otherwise, as John Pilger points out, Venezuela would be the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States.