By Bill Fletcher, Jr
Whether under Bush or Obama the U.S. appears determined to destabilize the Bolivarian government of Venezuela. The U.S. political establishment, including these two administrations, regularly provoke the Venezuelan government, make false allegations, and demonstrate their support for the opposition forces in Venezuela irrespective of the strategies and tactics which the opposition pursues. Enough! This must end.
The current clashes in Venezuela between pro-government and anti-government forces should be an internal matter of the Venezuelan people. The U.S. political establishment, including but not limited to the Obama administration, insists on caricaturing the administration of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, portraying it as authoritarian. Yet this was a democratically-elected government in a bitterly divided country. The Obama administration should know a bit about bitterly divided countries and about those who insist on the illegitimacy of a democratically elected president.
The Obama administration continues to fish in troubled waters when it comes to Latin America. In 2009, while at first orally opposing the coup in Honduras, the Obama administration undermined all efforts to return the legitimate president to office. With regard to Venezuela, despite the late President Hugo Chavez’s interests in a better relationship between Venezuela and the U.S.A,, the Obama administration has seemed to be more concerned with projecting its aggressive face. Rhetorical provocations, as well as U.S. hostility toward several of Venezuela’s chief allies in the region, have led to Obama successfully seizing defeat from the jaws of victory in Latin America.
This brings us to today. The opposition, once again, seems intent on provoking the Maduro government into an action that will make the opposition appear to be victims. The mainstream U.S. media and political establishment are cooperating in this effort. Despite the fact that the Maduro government has popular support, U.S. politicians are laying the public relations foundation for regime change. All those concerned about peace and justice should simply not let this happen.
The first step is to refuse to be silent. This means that we need to take concrete steps, including writing to the White House and making it clear that we oppose U.S. interference in Venezuela; sending “letters to the editor” to your local media outlets conveying the same point; and getting organizations to which you belong to pass resolutions that are sent to the White House expressing their displeasure with the manner in which this administration is carrying out its relationship with Venezuela. The bottom line is that silence and passivity in the face of U.S. provocations can simply not be options.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a racial justice, labor and global justice writer and activist. He is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us” – And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. Follow him on Facebook and atwww.billfletcherjr.com.