In today’s corporatist world, black is the new yellow, oil is the new gold. For many countries with this asset, it can prove to be both a gift and a curse. Countries like Saudi Arabia have enjoyed the fruits of their labour and a cosy relationship with the United States while countries like Iraq paid the damaging cost of it when the US-led coalition invaded the land and left it unstable and poverty-stricken. However, it seems as if the United States’ corporatist eye for oil isn’t always towards the oil-rich Middle Eastern lands but the country downstairs. This country is Venezuela and it has the largest oil reserves in the world. Yes, the world. Yes, even larger than Saudi Arabia.
Before Hugo Chavez took leadership of the South American country, it had enjoyed an intimate bond with the US who enjoyed bathing in its oil however relations turn from sweet to sour when Chavez began rebelling against the US by forming relations with leaders such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Al Gathafi. What acted as the last straw for America was when the Venezuelan leader has appointed a prominent position in Venezuela’s national oil company (PDVSA) which threatened oil corporate interests. This was followed by a coup attempt against the Chavez government which the Bush administration denied of being behind, which is rather believable because corporatist America is the most truthful when it comes to foreign affairs, right?
Even though Venezuela prospered under most of Hugo Chavez’s leadership and was no longer an epitome of “A Tale of Two Cities”, the country’s economy went into crisis mode in 2010 in which the leader declared “economic war” due to severe shortages of resources such as food. Nicolas Maduro inherited this economic illness when he took power in 2013 after Chavez lost his battle to cancer. The crisis only intensified under Maduro’s leadership and continues to do so every day with mass food shortages, starvation and an exodus of Venezuelan people from the poverty-stricken country. Even though there were some flaws in both Hugo Chavez’ and Nicolas Maduro’s leadership and approach to the economic crisis, the 2015 US sanctions have played a huge role in Venezuela we see today on the news. In other words, the US corporatist boot stomped on and continues to stomp on a country already suffering tremendously.
As the world has watched on the news, Juan Guaido, leader of the “Voluntad Popular” has risen to popularity in the mainstream media and has gained the support of many right-wing Hispanic governments, the United States (unsurprisingly) and the E.U after declaring himself president. However, something seems a little bit fishy about this all. Guaido has only been the leader of the opposition for about a month; the Venezuelan elections occurred in May 2018 in which Guiado did not even run as a presidential candidate. The Trump administration was quick to support him and recognise him as the President of Venezuela as well as pushing for a regime change. Many people pushing for a regime change are doing so with the guise of bringing democracy to Venezuela which is rather laughable because Juan Guaido was never elected by the Venezuelan people in an election, he was crowd surfed onto the stage by foreign governments. How is this just as democratic as Maduro winning an election through corruption? It is not, placing Guaido in power in this manner is simply sugar coating dictatorship.
This is not bringing democracy and human rights to Venezuela, this is the United States meddling in South America (again).