The Trump Regime is Undertaking a Coup in Venezuela

The U.S. Left Needs to Take a Bold Line Against U.S. Imperialism

Last week Venezuela’s Congress declared the country’s President, Nicolas Maduro, a “usurper.” The same day, the opposition-heavy National Assembly passed a resolution asking governments to freeze bank accounts linked to the Maduro Administration.

Then two days ago, in an address by Vice President Mike Pence, the Trump Regime denounced Maduro as a dictator and declared that the National Assembly is the country’s legitimate government.

It was no surprise then that early yesterday—less than two weeks after Maduro started his new term as president, and hardly a day after the Trump Regime’s declaration of support — Juan Guaidó, who appeared from out of obscurity earlier this month when he became the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, stood in the streets of Caracas and swore himself in as the country’s interim president. He called on President Nicolas Maduro to step down, and for an interim government to be run by him and his National Assembly until new elections can take place.

Within hours the Trump Regime announced that is formally recognizes Juan Guaidó as the legitimate, albeit “interim,” president of Venezuela.

This is not the first time Trump has meddled in the political upheaval and electoral politics of Venezuela. He has even gone so far as to suggest that the U.S. might use military force to oust Maduro, and US officials also refused to rule out military action yesterday when answering questions from reporters about it’s recognition of Guaidó as president of Venezuela.

President Maduro quickly responded by ordering all US diplomats to leave Venezuela within 72 hours, an order that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. will ignore at the behest of Guaidó.

There is absolutely no doubt that this is a coup attempt.

There is no doubt that the Trump Regime is actively enabling that coup.

And make no mistake… it is very likely that the U.S. is not just enabling, but is also helping to plan and orchestrate this coup in conjunction with the Venezuelan opposition.

U.S. collusion seems clear enough, especially given the known CIA involvement in other recent (and failed) attempts to oust Venezuela’s socialist leadership, and given Trump’s previously stated U.S. military coup fantasies that can all too easily become international war criminal reality.

The timing of Guaidó’s declaration in the streets of Caracas is another clue to U.S. interventionism. It was a clearly well crafted and orchestrated piece of political theater, taking place against the backdrop of thousands of people surrounding him in the streets hardly a day after the Trump Regime signaled its readiness.

It’s almost as if the Trump Regime and Venezuela’s National Assembly have been colluding to overthrow President Maduro. It’s almost as if Guaidó was waiting for assurance and permission from the U.S. to make his move.

It’s almost as if Trump and American fossil fuel oligarchs are salivating to get a piece of Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, which just so happens by some really big coincidence of fate to be the largest proven oil reserves in the world. Imagine that…

It’s almost as if Trump was caught up in his own fascist fantasy slogan, “Make America Great Again,” seeking a return to a mythologized and glorious past when the U.S. was #AlphaMaleStrong, a past where the U.S. in fact regularly globe trotted in a violent and imperialist effort to make the world safe from “the evils of socialism” and the Domino Effect, i.e. making the world safe for oil, capitalist markets, and American corporations.

It’s almost as if the U.S. oligarchy is toying with its own Trump Corollary, or some kind of New Reagan Doctrine.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Left is so far virtually silent in this pivotal moment, as it has been either silent or complicit through feigned attempts at analytical objectivity all along on U.S. and capitalist attempts to destabilize and retake Venezuela. There is plenty of valid criticism of both Chávez and the Maduro Administration. But there is no doubt that Venezuela’s socialist government has brought about fundamental systemic reforms that have greatly benefited the poor and the working class people of that country. And there is no doubt that the Venezuelan opposition is composed of the wealthy and upper middle class capitalists who have long been materially supported by the United States.

The liberal left in the United States, especially given its current obsession with Russian meddling in our own electoral politics, needs to recognize this U.S. backed coup for what it is, and we need to take a bold and loud position against this blatant display of U.S. collusion, meddling, and imperialism.

Justin Norton-Kertson is a labor-community organizer and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

(they/he/she) is a genderfluid anarchist author, editor, publisher, musician & organizer living in rural Oregon with their partner, cats, puppy, goats, & bees.