[News] Gaza Rallies for Caracas: On the West’s Dangerous Game in Venezuela

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 5 10:25:52 EST 2019


  Gaza Rallies for Caracas: On the West’s Dangerous Game in Venezuela

by Ramzy Baroud <https://www.counterpunch.org/author/ramzy-baroud/> - 
February 5, 2019

Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of besieged Gaza to show 
their support of the democratically-elected government of Venezuela and 
it’s legitimate leader, President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela is struggling to defeat a coup attempt that is supported by 
the United States, Israel and many Western governments.

The relationship between Venezuela and Palestine has been particularly 
strong under the presidencies of late Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez and 
current president Maduro. Neither leader has missed an opportunity to 
show their solidarity towards the Palestinian people, a fact that has 
always irked Tel Aviv and its western benefactors.

The Gaza rallies, however, were more than a display of gratitude towards 
a country that had enough courage to break off ties with Israel 
following the latter’s 2008-9 war on Gaza – a bloody campaign known as 
“Operation Cast Lead”. Thousands of Palestinians were killed in that 
one-sided war. No Arab government that has diplomatic ties with Israel 
severed its relations with Tel Aviv. While Caracas – over 10 thousand 
kilometers away – did. Then, former President Chavez, accused Israel of 
“state terrorism”.

But there is more to Palestinian solidarity with Venezuela than this 
recent history. Palestinians have experienced decades-long collective 
trauma from US-funded Israeli colonialism and military occupation. The 
US has imposed itself as an ‘honest peace broker’ as a way to mask its 
political interference and meddling in the Middle East, while fully and 
blindly supporting Israeli aggressions.

While the Venezuelan people have every right to protest their 
government, demanding greater accountability and economic solutions to 
the crushing poverty facing the country, no one has the right to meddle 
in the affairs of Venezuela or any other sovereign country anywhere.

We must remember that the US government has hardly ever been a source of 
stability in South America, certainly not since the Monroe Doctrine of 
1823. Since then, the US has done more than mere meddling, but outright 
political and military interventions, supporting various coups that 
toppled or attempted to overthrow democratically-elected governments.

What is underway in Caracas is a repeat of that sad and tragic history.

The unhealthy relationship between the US and its southern neighbors 
took an even darker turn when, in 1904, then US President Theodore 
Roosevelt declared the “right” of his country to hold “international 
police power” in Latin America. Since then, the entire region has been 
Washington’s business.

Always looking for opportunities to exploit, Washington now sees a 
chance to undermine Venezuela and its elected government.

The Venezuelan people are dealing with overwhelming poverty and a very 
unstable social situation. Hyperinflation and the crumbling of the 
country’s oil industries led to a dramatic economic downturn, with about 
10% of the population fleeing the country. Poor policy choices led to an 
escalation of the already endemic corruption, to a significant weakening 
of local production and increasing devaluation of the country’s currency.

However, consensus around president Maduro’s socialist government is 
still broad, as witnessed by their victory in the 2018 presidential 

Despite the presence of about 150 international observers from 30 
countries and international organizations, which declared that the last 
Venezuelan election was transparent, domestic opponents, supported by 
the US and its western and regional allies denounced it as “fraud 
foretold”, even before Maduro delivered his victory speech.

The US and its Western allies are frustrated by the fact that despite 
its economic problems, most Venezuelans remained united around Chavez, 
and now Maduro, who are perceived, especially by the poorer classes, as 
independent national leaders fighting against constant US 
destabilization and neocolonialism.

The world order is vastly changing, but US ruling elites refuse to 
change. While speaking about Washington’s need to “protect democracy” in 
Venezuela, US National Security Advisor, the infamous Israel supporter, 
John Bolton admitted that the coup in Venezuela is an opportunity to 
exploit the country’s oil and natural resources.

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically”, 
Bolton told Fox News in an interview this week, “if we could have 
American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in 

Tragically, the US boycott against Venezuela forced the country to sell 
its gold in return for valuable currency, as well as consumer goods, 
food and medicinal products. The coup is meant to completely push 
Caracas to its knees.

Western predators are all moving in, each party playing the role 
entrusted of them, as if history is repeating itself. Bank of England 
(BoE) has blocked Maduro’s officials from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth 
of Venezuela’s gold. Worse, brazen interference from foreign countries 
is becoming so pronounced that UK foreign office minister, Sir Alan 
Duncan has suggested that the BoE grant access to the gold reserves to 
the self-proclaimed opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Germany, and France and Spain gave Venezuela’s Maduro an ultimatum: the 
President has eight days to call elections, otherwise they’ll recognize 
Guaido as president. On January 31, the European Parliament recognized 
Guaido as a de facto leader of Venezuela in complete disregard of the 
democratic rights of the Venezuelan people.

Yet, as odd as this may seem to some, Maduro still enjoys greater 
legitimacy in his country than Donald Trump or Emmanuel Macron do in the 
US and France respectively. Yet, no entity is threatening to intervene 
in France, for example on behalf of the ‘Yellow Vests’, who have 
protested in their hundreds of thousands for weeks, demanding an end to 
Macon’s rule.

It is doubly important that Venezuela doesn’t collapse before this 
US-led sinister campaign because of the rising far-right powers in South 
and Latin America, namely the upsurge of reactionary forces in Brazil.

If Venezuela’s political order disintegrates, others, too will become 
target: Bolivia, Cuba, and even Mexico.

Since the US partial withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, and the 
Obama Administration’s ‘pivot to Asia’, to challenge the inevitable 
dominance of China, US policy makers have been keen on staging a 
comeback in South America as well. More recently, the just-departed US 
ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley was instrumental in shaping the 
aggressive US policy towards Venezuela.

Now that the country is struggling with extreme poverty – itself 
resulting from the manipulation of oil prices – the US sees an 
opportunity to make its move, and reclaim its destructive, domineering 
role in that part of the world. The election in Brazil of far-right 
leader, Jair Bolsonaro, who wants to “make Brazil great again’ is 
tipping the balance in favor of reactionary forces in the whole region.

But the plot against Venezuela is also an opportunity for those who want 
to challenge the old order, to tell the US government ‘enough is 
enough’; that the age of coups and blood-soaked interventions should be 
behind us, and that South America must not be subjugated again.

As Palestinians have fought Israeli tyranny for years, Venezuelans will 
continue to fight foreign tyranny and unlawful political and military 
interventions as well. And with true and tangible global solidarity, 
both nations will prevail – sooner or later.

/*Ramzy Baroud* is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine 
Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto 
Press, London, 2018). He earned a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the 
University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for 
Global and International Studies, UCSB./

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