Regime Change Fails: Is A Military Coup Or Invasion Of Venezuela Next?

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Speaking at his alma mater, the University of Texas, on February 1, Secretary of State Tillerson suggested a potential military coup in Venezuela.  Tillerson then visited allied Latin American countries urging regime change and more economic sanctions on Venezuela. Tillerson is considering banning the processing or sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States and is discouraging other countries from buying Venezuelan oil. Further, the US is laying the groundwork for war against Venezuela.

In a series of tweets, Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican from Florida, where many Venezuelan oligarchs live, called for a military coup in Venezueala.

How absurd — remove an elected president with a military coup to restore democracy? Does that pass the straight face test? This refrain of Rubio and Tillerson seems to be the nonsensical public position of US policy.

The US has been seeking regime change in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998. Trump joined Presidents Obama and Bush before him in continuing efforts to change the government and put in place a US-friendly oligarch government.

They came closest in 2002 when a military coup removed Chavez. The Commander-in-Chief of the Venezuelan military announced Chavez had resigned and Pedro Carmona, of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, became interim president. Carmona dissolved the National Assembly and Supreme Court and declared the Constitution void. The people surrounded the presidential palace and seized television stations, Carmona resigned and fled to Colombia. Within 47 hours, civilians and the military restored Chavez to the presidency. The coup was a turning point that strengthened the Bolivarian Revolution, showed people could defeat a coup and exposed the US and oligarchs.

US Regime Change Tactics Have Failed In Venezuela

The US and oligarchs continue their efforts to reverse the Bolivarian Revolution. The US has a long history of regime change around the world and has tried all of its regime change tools in Venezuela. So far they have failed.

Economic War
Destroying the Venezuelan economy has been an ongoing campaign by the US and oligarchs. It is reminiscent of the US coup in Chile which ended the presidency of Salvador Allende. To create the environment for the Chilean coup, President Nixon ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream.”

Henry Kissinger devised the coup noting a billion dollars of investment were at stake. He also feared the “the insidious model effect” of the example of Chile leading to other countries breaking from the United States and capitalism. Kissinger’s top deputy at the National Security Council, Viron Vaky, opposed the coup saying, “What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets .… If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat . . . our survival.”

These objections hold true regarding recent US coups, including in Venezuela and Honduras, Ukraine and Brazil, among others. Allende died in the coup and wrote his last words to the people of Chile, especially the workers, “Long live the people! Long live the workers!” He was replaced by Augusto Pinochet, a brutal and violent dictator.

For decades the US has been fighting an economic war, “making the economy scream,” in Venezuela. Wealthy Venezuelans have been conducting economic sabotage aided by the US with sanctions and other tactics. This includes hoarding food, supplies and other necessities in warehouses or in Colombia while Venezuelan markets are bare. The scarcity is used to fuel protests, e.g. “The March of the Empty Pots,” a carbon copy of marches in Chile before the September 11, 1973 coup. Economic warfare has escalated through Obama and under Trump, with Tillerson now urging economic sanctions on oil.

President Maduro recognized the economic hardship but also said sanctions open up the opportunity for a new era of independence and “begins the stage of post-domination by the United States, with Venezuela again at the center of this struggle for dignity and liberation.” The second-in-command of the Socialist Party, Diosdado Cabello, said, “[if they] apply sanctions, we will apply elections.”

Opposition Protests
Another common US regime change tool is supporting opposition protests. The Trump administration renewed regime change operations in Venezuela and the anti-Maduro protests, which began under Obama, grew more violent. The opposition protests included barricades, snipers and murders as well as widespread injuries. When police arrested those using violence, the US claimed Venezuela opposed free speech and protests.

The opposition tried to use the crack down against violence to achieve the US tactic of  dividing the military. The US and western media ignored opposition violence and blamed the Venezuelan government instead. Violence became so extreme it looked like the opposition was pushing Venezuela into a Syrian-type civil war. Instead, opposition violence backfired on them.

Violent protests are part of US regime change repertoire. This was demonstrated in the US coup in Ukraine, where the US spent $5 billion to organize government opposition including US and EU funding violent protesters. This tactic was used in early US coups like the 1953 Iran coup of Prime Minister Mossadegh. The US has admitted organizing this coup that ended Iran’s brief experience with democracy. Like Venezuela, a key reason for the Iran coup was control of the nation’s oil.

Funding Opposition
There has been massive US investment in creating opposition to the Venezuelan government. Tens of millions of dollars have been openly spent through USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and other related US regime change agencies. It is unknown how much the CIA has spent from its secret budget, but the CIA has also been involved in Venezuela. Current CIA director, Mike Pompeo, said he is “hopeful there can be a transition in Venezuela.”

The United States has also educated leaders of opposition movements, e.g. Leopoldo López was educated at private schools in the US, including the CIA-associated Kenyon College. He was groomed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and made repeated visits to the regime change agency, the National Republican Institute.

While the US calls Venezuela a dictatorship, it is in fact a strong democracy with an excellent voting system. Election observers monitor every election.

In 2016, the economic crisis led to the opposition winning a majority in the National Assembly. One of their first acts was to pass an amnesty law. The law described 17 years of crimes including violent felonies and terrorism committed by the opposition. It was an admission of crimes back to the 2002 coup and through 2016. The law demonstrated violent treason against Venezuela. One month later, the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled the amnesty law was unconstitutional. US media, regime change advocates and anti-Venezuela human rights groups attacked the Supreme Court decision, showing their alliance with the admitted criminals.

Years of violent protests and regime change attempts, and then admitting their crimes in an amnesty bill, have caused those opposed to the Bolivarian Revolution to lose power and become unpopular.  In three recent elections Maduro’s party won regional,  local and the Constituent Assembly elections.

The electoral commission announced the presidential election will be held on April 22. Maduro will run for re-election with the United Socialist Party. Opposition leaders such as Henry Ramos and Henri Falcon have expressed interest in running, but the opposition has not decided whether to participateHenrique Capriles, who narrowly lost to Maduro in the last election, was banned from running for office because of irregularities in his campaign, including taking foreign donations. Capriles has been a leader of the violent protests. When his ban was announced he called for protests to remove Maduro from office. Also banned was Leopoldo Lopez, another leader of the violent protests who is under house arrest serving a thirteen year sentence for inciting violence.

Now, the United States says it will not recognize the presidential election and urges a military coup. For two years, the opposition demanded presidential elections, but now it is unclear whether they will participate. They know they are unpopular and Maduro is likely to be re-elected.

Is War Against Venezuela Coming?

A military coup faces challenges in Venezuela as the people, including the military, are well educated about US imperialism. Tillerson openly urging a military coup makes it more difficult.

The government and opposition recently negotiated a peace settlement entitled “Democratic Coexistence Agreement for Venezuela.” They agreed on all of the issues including ending economic sanctions, scheduling elections and more. They agreed on the date of the next presidential election. It was originally planned for March, but in a concession to the opposition, it was  rescheduled for the end of April. Maduro signed the agreement even though the opposition did not attend the signing ceremony. They backed out after Colombian President Santos, who was meeting with Secretary Tillerson, called and told them not to sign. Maduro will now make the agreement a public issue by allowing the people of Venezuela to sign it.

Not recognizing elections and urging a military coup are bad enough, but more disconcerting is that Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of Southcom, held a closed door meeting in Colombia after Tillerson’s visit. The topic was “regional destabilization” and Venezuela was a focus.

A military attack on Venezuela from its Colombian and Brazilian borders is not far fetched. In January, the NY Times asked, “Should the US military invade Venezuela?” President Trump said the US is considering US military force against Venezuela. His chief of staff, John Kelly, was formerly the general in charge of Southcom. Tidd has claimed the crisis, created in large part by the economic war against Venezuela, requires military action for humanitarian reasons.

War preparations are already underway in Colombia, which plays the role of Israel for the US in Latin America. The coup government in Brazil, increased its military budget 36 percent, and participated in Operation: America United, the largest joint military exercise in Latin American history. It was one of four military exercises by the US with Brazil, Colombia and Peru in Latin America in 2017. The US Congress ordered the Pentagon to develop military contingencies for Venezuela in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

While there is opposition to US military bases, James Patrick Jordan explains, on our radio show, the US has military bases in Colombia and the Caribbean and military agreements with countries in the region; and therefore, Venezuela is already surrounded.

The United States is targeting Venezuela because the Bolivarian Revolution provides an example against US imperialism. An invasion of Venezuela will become another war-quagmire that kills innocent Venezuelans, US soldiers and others over control of oil. People in the United States who support the self-determination of countries should show solidarity with Venezuelans, expose the US agenda and publicly denounce regime change. We need to educate people about what is really happening in Venezuela to overcome the false media coverage.

Share this article and the interview we did on Clearing The FOG about Venezuela and the US’ role in Latin America.  The fate of Venezuela is critical for millions of Latin Americans struggling under the domination of US Empire.

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    Trump chose well. He chose a man like himself, a mendacious bully without any concern for human life operating in the exceptional American way.


  • TecumsehUnfaced

    Trump chose well. He chose a man like himself, a mendacious bully without any concern for human life operating in the exceptional American way.


  • George L Pauk

    Excellent summary of the terrorist aggression by the oil profiteers of our oligarchy.

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Great report. CNN et al should cover this as “real news,” not the faux Russian and other bulls*it issues. Interference in electoral/democratic processes: we set the standard, and damn us for it.

    Tillerson at the tiller, and a schoolyard bully in charge of the asylum…very rough waters ahead.

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Very apropos, Tecumseh — esp. after today’s yet-another-shootout in Florida. Exceptional America, all right….

  • Southern

    Tillerson doesn’t want Venezuela’s oil? Unless that oil was sold in US dollars.

    Tillerson is considering banning the processing or sale of Venezuelan oil in the United States and is discouraging other countries from buying Venezuelan oil.

    The BDS of the US is long overdue – clearly something dramatic needs to be done about the US illogical foreign policy.

    Venezuela has already made arrangement to sell its oil to China just not in US dollars – Tillerson tantrum is wasted.

    IF Venezuela becomes the victim of a Coup D etat – no doubt her state owned oil will be privatized in about as long it takes for the ink to dry.

    The world would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator — Marco Rubio

    How absurd indeed – Rubio should have been referring to the bought and paid for MSM presstitute newscorpse.

    Makes one wonder which particular laws are being broken by the US since Venezuela hasn’t threatened anyone bar the shallow and fragile ego of Tillerson the oilman.

  • Peter Thomas Mackrael

    Why is it that American oligarchs can’t stand to see a social democratic government succeed. Is it because this success might illustrate a viable alternative to Americans?

  • jemcgloin

    Maduro is protecting his country against outside interference from a hostile intelligence service, as he should.
    Trump has welcomed outside interference by a hostile intelligence service.
    There is a mountain of evidence that Trump is an asset of Russian Intelligence, (wittingly or not), some of it coming from his own mouth.
    There is now quid and quo. If Mueller connects them with a pro, this would be the biggest constitutional crisis since the Civil War.
    We are caught in a war between oligarchs. It is hard to know what is really happening, but what I do know is that Trump is on the oligarch side, and so is Putin.

  • jemcgloin

    Some say that the reall reason for the Iraq War is that Saddam was talking about selling oil in a currency other than the dollar.

  • kevinzeese

    While I agree with you on Maduro, there is just no evidence of Trump being a Russian asset. Evidence of Russiagate is thin to nonexistent. Maybe that will change as Mueller’s investigation continues but so far it looks like a fraud. A fraud to prevent detente between the US and Russia and to give the Democrats and Hillary Clinton an excuse for losing to Trump. It is a dangerous fraud as it leads to conflict with Russia and military conflicts in war zones beteen the US and Russia around the world.

  • Southern

    True – in Nov 2000 Iraq started selling oil for Euro’s – including the Japanese Yen.

    Hardly surprising -Iraq was under economic sanctions, it might be argued that they forced Iraq to respond.

    Libya also switched from using dollars and started using the gold Dinar – heaven forbid a true gold backed currency.

    Whatever happened to that gold is anyone’s guess.

  • Southern
  • Robert H. Stiver

    Some also say (I emphatically included) that the real reason to smash Saddam and Iraq was Saddam’s steadfast support of the Palestinians. It may be a combination of regime-change machinations, but AIPAC didn’t have an anti-Iraq booth/display set aside in the second-level confines of its 2002 Zionist/Israel-first extravaganza in Occupied WashDC for nothing. Next/the ultimate prize: Iran.

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Well stated…complete agreement (to this point in time, as you indicate).

  • Southern

    Because the Neocons are in charge and they’re implementing PNAC renamed the foreign policy initiative.

    The MO of the Neocons is to make every single nation on earth into a US client state -vassal state if you like.

    Nations that are still strong enough to formulate their own economic and foreign policies are automatically regarded as a threat to full spectrum control.

    As you might have noticed, the Neocon moral standard is so low, anything goes.

  • Southern

    They will never let that happen, they’re under orders to promote the Neocon narrative.

    Another interesting aspect of all this is that the MSM viewing public have been conditioned into accepting logical fallacies by the many adverts that interrupt the propaganda.

    To watch the MSM, is to be exposed to one logical fallacy after another.

  • Southern

    There is no mountain of evidence, if there was we would have been presented with it by now.

  • jemcgloin

    Direct evidence of Trump working with Russia is the numerous times that he went on TV and asked Putin to hack U.S. Government emails. (His defense is that he was joking.)
    Circumstantial evidence includes about TWENTY of his appointees to his campaign, transition, and or administration having secret meetings with Russians connected to Putin and then lying about it. Some of them lied about it on FBI forms that warm on every page that it is a federal crime to lie on the forms.
    Kushner had to update his form multiple times because he left out people at the meetings. Some o of the meetings were about “adoptions” which everyone knows is really about sanctions Obama placed on Russians, and “dirt” on Hillary.
    Then there are the two guilty pleas of Trump administration officials, and indictments of two more.
    Papadopoulos was being tracked since 2014, because Russians got caught trying to turn him into an asset. That is why he was being surveilled, even according to the Nunez Memo, which tried to blame it on the “dossier.”
    Trump announced years ago that he doesn’t need American banks (because they would no longer do business with him) so he was getting loans from a Russian bank that has been fined for money laundering (and since Trump sells luxury apartments to billionaires, his properties were probably used to launder money too). This would provide motive, if proven.
    Then you have Trump attacks on the Justice Department and FBI. Trump accuses Republicans, including his own appointees of being out to get him. He said on national TV that he fired Comey over the “Russia thing,” then went and told the Russian ambassador that the pressure was off because he fired Comey.
    When his intelligence chiefs unanimously accused Russia of attacking our elections, he said, no I believe Putin.
    He has relentlessly sought to paint all of these Republicans as Democratic sympathizers loyal to Hillary, and his supporters have called for a purge of the FBI. To most of us this smells like obstruction of justice.
    If Trump was an asset of the Russian government, you would expect him to attack the the basic institutions of our government.
    Trump keeps demanding personal loyalty from government employees who swear not to a person, but to uphold and protect the constitution. He asked Rosenstein if he was a “team player,” Comey swore in an affidavit that he asked for his personal loyalty and to go easy on Flynn. Then Trump had his cabinet sit around a big table and thank him, and did the same with Republican congressional leaders, in a separate branch of government.
    Trump has also refused to enact the sanctions called for in sa bill that he signed in April, decimated the State Department, alienated traditional allies, and made continuing attacks on the Judiciary, a co-equal branch off government, including nominating completely unqualified judges, personal and often racist attacks on judges, calling the entire judiciary “broken,” and pardoning Sheriff Arpaio for his conviction on CONTEMPT OF COURT because he ordered his department to ignore judges’ orders to to stop putting people in what Arpaio described as “concentration camps” and to process rape kits. And he supported Roy Moore, an avowed white supremacist, who was twice removed from the bench by fellow judges for blatant violations of the constitution, a man who believes in a religious test for public office and who is against the last 37 amendments to the constitution.

    That seems like a mountain to me.
    This is what I remember off the to of my head. Many people have been executed on far less evidence than this. But there is a higher standard to protect the president from political attacks, so that is why the investigation must take a long time and connect all of the dots.
    There are things the Russians offered and things the Russians got. There are possible ways that they could be blackmailing Trump. There is apparent obstruction of justice at many levels. Murders job is to comment the quids to the quos.

    There are many possible explanations for all of this. It may be a huge conspiracy by the billionaire class to get rid of a fellow billionaire. It may be the world’s biggest coincidence. Trump may have no idea that the Russians have surrounded him with people connected to him. He may be being blackmailed into helping, or he may be a true fan of Putin. It may be that Mueller is politically biased toward a fellow Republican and all the attacks on him are just to give him credibility.
    Whatever it is, we need the investigation to continue until Mueller presents his full case to the people.

    And all of you leftists out there better understand that if you allow Trump to “purge” the FBI, and/or gut the constitution (by making loyalty to the president the measure of patriotism), he will fill the FBI with evangelical thugs, and we will all be in danger of ending up in Guantanamo, or worse.
    Trump is a walking constitutional crisis, and helping him in his attacks on our government is suicidal for anyone that considers themselves a left activist.

  • jemcgloin

    Please see my reply to Southern, posted above.

  • Very good and accurate article.
    Just one thing: you meant “$5 million” and not “$5 billion”, right?