Above Photo: The U.S. secretary of state’s Latin America tour got off to a rocky start after he said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could be toppled by a coup. | Photo: Reuters
Note: Secretary of State Tillerson warned of a military coup in Venezuela one week ago and then left the US for a Latin American tour. Regime Change in Venezuela has been an issue he is raising wherever he goes. While Mexicans distanced themselves from Tillerson’s implied call for a military coup, the secretary of state is visiting right wing governments that are allied with the United States.
In Mexico, coup talk received a negative reaction: “Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray has already stated that Mexico wouldn’t back any non-peaceful plans to ‘resolve the case of Venezuela,’ declaring instead that it’s up to Venezuelans themselves to ‘find a peaceful route, a peaceful solution to this crisis.’” In Argentina, where a neoliberal government is in place, Tillerson held a press conference with Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie where they both agreed on promoting regime change in Venezuela and declared that they were studying the possibility of sanctioning Venezuelan oil and prohibiting its sale or refining in the U.S. His next stop is the conservative government in Lima, Peru. Is Tillerson trying to build support for a coup in Venezuela?
The US has been seeking regime change to control Venezuelan oil since Hugo Chavez came to power. Venezuela Analysis briefly reviews the history of US support for coups and how the United States has been fighting an economic war to undermine the Venezuelan economy. The UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, Alfred M. de Zayas, carried out an official mission in Venezuela to examine human rights and whether the economic system was meeting people’s necessities. He described the progress made by the government on issues like poverty but also noted the economic war against Venezuela by the US and its allies, such as Colombia, saying it reminded him of other US coups in Latin America: “The economic, financial and trade war against Venezuela reminds of the US measures against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1970-73 and against the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua in the 1980s.” He reported the targeted economic war is the source for many of Venezuela’s problems and called for its end, saying “The sanctions must be terminated. The economic war has to end, that would be the greatest help for the country.”
While Tillerson is pushing for regime change in Venezuela, Venezuela is preparing for presidential elections where the people will decide whether or not President Maduro continues to lead the government. In addition, Venezuela has successfully negotiated a peace agreement with the opposition and will be going to the Dominican Republic to formalize the agreement next week. The opposition has been losing elections at all levels of government in Venezuela and its tactics of violent protests have resulted in arrests and loss of support among the Venezuelans. Tillerson’s talk of a military coup is a new attempt at regime change now that the US alliance with the oligarchs in Venezuela for protests and in elections have failed to garner support.
Regime change is the mode of operation for the US in Latin America. Currently the United States is linked to regime change operations that have undermined democracy in Brazil and Honduras. The US supported recent questionable elections in Honduras, to keep the coup government Obama supported in power. The elections have been widely protested and protests continue as the people realize their democracy has been stolen.
#Honduras: protesters in Choloma managed to get their hands on a truck and flipped it to block the road into the town, as “insurrection” against the government is ongoing in the country. #FueraJOH #HondurasResiste pic.twitter.com/76Do3woiAN
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) February 5, 2018
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first tour of Latin America got off to a rocky start on Friday with U.S. ally Mexico distancing itself from his suggestion that Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro could be toppled by his own military.
Tillerson ruffled feathers across the region on the eve of his five-nation tour with comments in Texas defending 19th-century U.S. foreign policy in Latin America and suggesting the Venezuelan army could manage “a peaceful transition” from Maduro, Reuters reports.
Both Maduro and his defense minister condemned the comments on Friday, and even Mexico – no friend of the Venezuelan government – was at pains to say it did not support any non-peaceful solution in the South American country that is engulfed in a political and economic crisis.
“Mexico, in no case, would back any option that implies the use of violence, internal or external, to resolve the case of Venezuela,” Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said at a news conference, flanked by Tillerson and Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland.
“It will have to be the Venezuelans themselves who find a peaceful route, a peaceful solution to this crisis.”
Tillerson, in Mexico on the first leg of a trip that will also take in Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Jamaica, did not repeat his comments about military action, but reiterated a call for Maduro to reinstate a legislative assembly and hold free and fair elections.
At a political rally later in the day, Maduro said he would not be bowed by Tillerson’s comments. “We will not give in. They don’t know what we are made of,” Maduro said.
Meanwhile, representatives of more than 50 social and political organizations rejected Tillerson’s visit to Mexico, where he was declared persona non grata.
The representative of the binational coalition against Donald Trump, Maria Garcia, told teleSUR: “Tillerson’s tone before leaving for his tour of Latin America was not only interfering, it was insulting, abusive and humiliating because he is an emissary of Trump.
“He goes on to say that if there is no wall, there is no Free Trade Agreement, there is no immigration reform and if there is no wall there is no DACA; he does not come to discuss any security issue.”
Rosa Maria Cabrera, a member of the Mexican Coordination of Solidarity with Venezuela, said these new forms of interference should be condemned across Latin America and the Caribbean: “Previously there were direct invasions with Marines; today it is through sanctions, media and economic wars.”