[News] In Venezuela, White Supremacy Is a Key Driver of the Coup

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Feb 8 16:29:08 EST 2019


https://truthout.org/articles/in-venezuela-white-supremacy-is-a-key-driver-of-the-coup/ 



  In Venezuela, White Supremacy Is a Key Driver of the Coup

Greg Palast - February 8, 2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------

On January 23, right after a phone call 
<https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-30/trump-congratulates-venezuela-s-guaido-in-call-white-house-says> 
from Donald Trump, Juan Guaidó, former speaker of Venezuela’s National 
Assembly 
<https://www.npr.org/2019/01/27/688707295/who-is-venezuelas-juan-guaid>, 
declared himself president. No voting. When you have official 
recognition 
<https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/politics/trump-juan-guaido-venezuela/index.html> 
from The Donald 
<https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=19&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjGzoC-hKPgAhWaJDQIHd2EArMQ1ScwEnoECA0QAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fnews%2Farts-and-entertainment%2Fwp%2F2015%2F09%2F01%2Fwhy-does-everyone-call-donald-trump-the-donald-its-an-interesting-story%2F&usg=AOvVaw38Z6pKH_xLwEK1zWtfUcbC>, 
who needs elections?

/Say what?/

I can explain what’s going on in Venezuela in photos.

First, we have Juan Guaidó, self-proclaimed (and Trump-proclaimed) 
president of the nation, with his wife and child, a photo prominently 
placed in The New York Times. And here, the class photo of Guaidó’s 
party members in the National Assembly 
<https://twitter.com/vijayprashad/status/1088875934680338433>. They 
appear, overwhelmingly light-skinned — especially when compared to their 
political opposites in the third photo 
<https://twitter.com/vijayprashad/status/1088875934680338433>, the 
congress members who support the elected President Nicolás Maduro.

This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not told in 
The New York Times or the rest of our establishment media. This year’s 
so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious backlash of the 
whiter (and wealthier) 
<https://www.voanews.com/a/are-race-and-class-at-the-root-of-venezuelas-political-crisis/1886458.html> 
Venezuelans against their replacement by the larger Mestizo (mixed-race) 
poor. (Forty-four percent of the population that answered the 2014 
census 
<http://www.ine.gob.ve/documentos/Demografia/CensodePoblacionyVivienda/pdf/nacional.pdf> 
listed themselves as “white.”)

Four centuries of white supremacy in Venezuela by those who identify 
their ancestors as European came to an end with the 1998 election of 
Hugo Chavez, who won with the overwhelming support of the Mestizo 
majority. This turn away from white supremacy continues under Maduro, 
Chavez’s chosen successor.

In my interviews with Chavez for BBC beginning in 2002, he talked with 
humor about the fury of a white ruling class finding itself displaced by 
a man who embraced 
<https://books.google.it/books?id=ZGWeBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT367&lpg=PT367&dq=chavez+%22negro+e+indio%22&source=bl&ots=zuVaRN-Oqy&sig=ACfU3U2ssQoWljSXVDrGA7t5DvJskhCLXQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiKhcTr16XgAhVMgxoKHW73DScQ6AEwB3oECAQQAQ#v=onepage&q=chavez%20%22negro%20e%20indio%22&f=false> 
his own Indigenous and African heritage 
<https://www.democracynow.org/2005/9/20/venezuelas_president_chavez_offers_cheap_oil>. 


In Venezuela, as in the USA, poverty and race are locked together 
<https://www.voanews.com/a/are-race-and-class-at-the-root-of-venezuelas-political-crisis/1886458.html>. 
Why did so many Mestizo, poor Venezuelans love Chavez? As even the CIA’s 
surprisingly honest /Fact Book 
<https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ve.html>/ 
states:

    “Social investment in Venezuela during the Chavez administration
    reduced poverty from nearly 50% in 1999 to about 27% in 2011,
    increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and
    child mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation
    through social investment.”

But, just as Maduro took office, the price of oil began its collapse 
<https://www.statista.com/statistics/262858/change-in-opec-crude-oil-prices-since-1960/>, 
and the vast social programs that oil had paid for were now supported by 
borrowing money 
<https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/07/venezuela-china-and-russia-owed-debts-as-presidential-fight-rages.html> 
and printing it, causing wild inflation 
<https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevehanke/2019/01/01/venezuelas-hyperinflation-hits-80000-per-year-in-2018/>. 
The economic slide is now made impossibly worse by what the UN 
rapporteur 
<https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuela-us-sanctions-united-nations-oil-pdvsa-a8748201.html> 
for Venezuela compared to “medieval sieges.” The Trump administration 
cut off Venezuela 
<https://in.reuters.com/article/venezuela-politics-usa-sanctions-factbox/factbox-u-s-sanctions-on-venezuelas-oil-industry-idINKCN1PV274> 
from the oil sale proceeds from its biggest customer, the US.

Everyone has been hurt economically, but the privileged class’s bank 
accounts have become nearly worthless 
<https://money.cnn.com/2018/01/17/news/economy/venezuela-cash-crisis/index.html>. 
So, knowing that the Mestizo majority would not elect their Great White 
Hope Guaidó, they simply took to the streets — often armed. (And yes, 
both sides are armed.)

I’ve seen this movie before. When I look at today’s news reports of 
massive demonstrations 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuela-protests-guaido-vs-maduro/2019/02/02/ef043b00-2660-11e9-b5b4-1d18dfb7b084_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bbf723e08930> 
against the so-called “dictatorship” of Venezuela’s left government, it 
looks awfully like 2002, when I was first in Caracas reporting for BBC 
Television.

Then, The New York Times/, /NPR and other mainstream outlets in the US 
reported on marches against the Chavez government, describing the tens 
of thousands of Venezuelans calling for Chavez’s removal. The 
light-skinned protesters were overwhelmingly wealthy — and they wanted 
you to know it. Many of the women marched in high heels 
<https://newint.org/features/2002/07/05/coups>, the men peacocking in 
business suits, proudly displayed in the uniforms of their privileged 
class. The Chavistas wore patriotic yellow, blue and red T-shirts, 
sneakers, jeans.

To anti-Chavista protesters, race was an issue as much as class 
economics. I heard these opposition demonstrators shout “Chavez, 
Monkey!” 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/08/hugo-chavez-victory-political-venezuela> 
and worse.

Many in the US have never heard this story of race war in Venezuela (and 
war is what it is), as the US press does not recognize its own racial 
bias. In 2002, as today, the massive demonstrations of the whiter 
Venezuelans were reported as evidence that Chavez was wildly unpopular. 
Yet, the day after each anti-Chavez march, I would witness and film 
<https://www.gregpalast.com/chavezdownload/> the pro-Chavez 
demonstrations that flooded Caracas with an ocean of nearly half a 
million marchers, largely the Mestizo poor, that received little or no 
coverage in the US press.

The bias continues. The New York Times did not run a photo of this past 
week’s pro-Maduro demonstrations. But in hard-to-find photos and reports 
<https://twitter.com/AbbyMartin/status/1091840005868158976/photo/1> from 
my colleagues on the ground, the /Chavista/ demonstrations are bigger, 
involving mass turnouts in several cities, not just wealthy 
neighborhoods in Caracas.

Why do the poor march for Maduro? Even though the Mestizo majority 
suffers today, they will not turn back to the pre-Chavez days of /de 
facto /apartheid.

And we must remember this is not the first time the US government has 
tried to overthrow the elected government in Venezuela.

In 2002, George W. Bush’s State Department cheer-led the coup 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/21/usa.venezuela>. The 
plotters kidnapped Chavez and held him hostage. The coup was led by an 
oil industry leader and head of the Chamber of Commerce, Pedro Carmona 
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1927678.stm>, who had seized the 
nation’s White House 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/22/venezuela.duncancampbell>, 
and, like Guaidó today, declared himself president 
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/may/13/oil.venezuela>. Carmona 
told me proudly about the fancy inaugural ball held by the nation’s 
elite and attended by Bush’s ambassador.

But the Bush/Carmona coup collapsed when a million mostly Mestizo, 
Indigenous and Black Venezuelans flooded the capital and forced the 
plotters to return their hero 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2336>, the supposedly unpopular 
Chavez, to Miraflores, the presidential palace. “Presidente” Carmona fled.

Today, Guaidó’s supporters, like Carmona’s, know they can’t win an 
election given the overwhelming fact of the newly empowered Mestizo 
majority. So Guaidó has skipped the idea of an election altogether, 
simply replacing running for office with the “recognition” from Trump 
and allies which Guaidó can’t get from Venezuelans.

When I see the images and hear the chants of the anti-Chavista 
demonstrators 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuela-protests-guaido-vs-maduro/2019/02/02/ef043b00-2660-11e9-b5b4-1d18dfb7b084_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b7eab7e11adb> 
now, I’m also reminded of what I saw at a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia 
<https://www.c-span.org/video/?453849-1/president-trump-campaigns-republicans-georgia>, 
this past November. The president slid out of Air Force One to tell the 
crowd 
<https://www.pantagraph.com/news/national/obama-trump-offer-dueling-final-pitches-to-midterm-voters/article_9def71a9-2188-537f-a4ed-167aef3e198f.html> 
— heavily weighted with white supremacists 
<https://truthout.org/articles/purged-voters-provisional-ballots-could-decide-georgia-governor-race/> 
— that they needed to /take back their country/ from those “invading” 
the border. Trump told them to fear gubernatorial candidate Stacey 
Abrams, who is Black, saying she would “turn Georgia into Venezuela 
<https://truthout.org/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Mail%20Downloads/242876FF-4B3E-48F1-8ED1-D2F1C61E7AD3/video.foxnews.com/v/5857526451001>.”

I don’t think Trump was talking about Abrams’s program to bring 
universal health care to Georgia 
<http://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2018/06/abrams-pushing-health-care-key-issue-campaign/>, 
as Chavez did for Venezuela.

Some of the US press is quick to condemn the racial hatred on display at 
Trump rallies. But I have yet to hear or read in the US press what our 
eyes can see in the three photos from Venezuela: an uprising of white or 
light-skinned people wanting to “take back their country.”

The putsch in Venezuela is run by the wealthy, internationally connected 
minority operating by a regime-change plan designed by neocon retread 
John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser — a plan to control 
Venezuela 
<https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/02/04/john-bolton-living-his-dream-224546> 
/and its oil/, as Bolton openly proclaims 
<https://truthout.org/video/bolton-pushes-privatization-of-venezuelas-oil-as-us-ratchets-up-pressure/>.

Ah, yes, the oil. It’s always the oil. And Venezuela has plenty to 
seize: the world’s 
<https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-s-largest-oil-reserves-by-country.html> 
largest reserves <https://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/171.htm>.

We’ll get to that in /Part II. /

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