The news came forward yesterday that the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president with the backing of the white house. Protests have erupted, with six deaths. In response the current president, Nicolas Maduro, has declared that diplomatic ties will be cut with ‘imperialist’ North America, giving diplomats 72 hours to leave the country.
This supposed coup attempt follows the 2018 May election which placed Maduro back in office amidst international claims of vote buying and electoral fraud.
Maduro has denied claims of electoral rigging and has made clear his belief that this is an imperialist intervention by the USA in an attempt to destabilise Venezuelan, declaring “They intend to govern Venezuela from Washington”.
With the possible secondary backing of the Canadian government this latest development in Venezuela appears, to some, to fit into the trend of American interventionism in Latin America. Which includes a chequered history of repression and brutal overthrows by regimes like that of Chilean General Pinochet and the failed Venezuelan coup of 2002.
Some have claimed that despite the questionable circumstances surrounding the 2018 elections, American enabled coups are not the way forward, including the rapper Boots Riley who pointed out
“If you’ve been worried about Russian bots influencing elections here [North America], I’d hope you express outrage about this”.
Others point to the fact that Venezuela currently has the largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, a resource the United States government has expressed keen interest in before, leading to the question of their humanitarian stance.
Whether the sham election of 2018 is leading to a cuba-style dictatorship or not, is the intervention of North America in yet another Latin American coup really the answer to the failures of the Madura government? Needless to say, these are complicated and fraught times for the people of Venezuela.