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U.S. violates law in Venezuela

Secretary of State Pompeo recently urged the U.N. Security Council to “stand with the forces of freedom” against Venezuelan president Maduro. Pompeo is former Director of the CIA — which, since its founding in 1947, has orchestrated coups, engaged in direct torture and trained military forces to use torture, and subverted free elections in Latin America. The coups have been supported by the corporate media led by the New York Times, even though they violated the United Nations and Organization of American States charters, and U.S. law, since both treaties were ratified by the Senate.

The U.S. touts this blatant imperialist intervention as promoting “democracy.” But journalist Jim Kavanagh argues that the U.S. is engaged in “imperialism” — not “humanitarian intervention,” “democracy promotion” or “responsibility to protect.” These terms are masks for imperialism, which is “as American as Jimmy Dean’s sausage.” The U.S. desecrates the word “democracy” since it “always intervenes to prevent or destroy the empowerment of the mass of people — and to enforce the rule of a wealthy elite.” The U.S. “has attempted to replace international law with what it calls the ‘rules-based order’ — [it] makes the rules and everybody else follows its orders” (Polemicist, Feb 12) — laid down by Republicans and Democrats.

Adam Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting challenged the Times’ editorial support of the attempted coup in Venezuela, “the 10th such coup the paper has backed” since the CIA was founded. The Times fails to mention U.S. covert involvement in any of its editorials, and the current attempted coup follows a familiar script: Washington brings ruin to countries and then justifies intervention because they are in ruins — created by U.S. economic sanctions and political subversion.

The Times also fails to mention that U.S. agencies “historically target governments in Latin America because [they] are hostile to U.S. capital and strategic interests, not because they are undemocratic.” If democracy were the basic aim, the U.S. would have overthrown the military officials it helped put in power in Guatemala (1954), Brazil (1964), and Chile (1973). The Times does not ask whether the U.S. “[has] a moral or ethical right to determine the political future of Venezuela”; it only questions how the U.S. will exercise this self-evident authority.

Recent U.S. intervention against Venezuela fully emerged in 2002 when the G.W. Bush administration supported a coup against the democratically elected Hugo Chavez; this was reversed when millions of Venezuelans demanded his return to office. He was elected five times, and overall electoral results there were called “a model for the world” by Forbes, the conservative business magazine, and “the best in the world” by former President Jimmy Carter’s Center that monitors elections. These facts, however, did not stop the alleged progressive Bernie Sanders from revealing his profound ignorance when he called Chavez “a dead communist dictator.” Kavanagh points out that in the most recent Maduro presidential victory in Venezuela, over 300 European Union observers who actually witnessed it found that it was “fraud-proof [and] conducted fairly.”

Pompeo’s choice to lead the “forces of freedom” in Venezuela is former Reagan official Elliot Abrams, who pleaded guilty to lying in the Iran-Contra scandal but was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush, who also perjured himself during that crisis.

Since the administration’s attempted coup violates U.S. law, one might think Democrats who claim to oppose its vile and illegal policies would call for impeachment. But they have been virtually silent — once again proving that when it comes to international criminality, they remain one wing of the imperialist bird of prey. An exception is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who stated: “The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela ... We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders — so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.” No leading Democrat has supported her unequivocal position.

Given its long and documented history of aggression against Latin American nations, believing that Washington stands for freedom in Venezuela is like believing the Nazis stood with Jews who resisted the Holocaust.

John Marciano lives in Talent.