46 years ago, the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende was deposed and butchered in a bloody coup with the assistance of the United States intelligence services. The coup led to a vengeful reprisal by reactionary forces in Chile against working class citizens who had participated in Allende’s attempts to build a socialist society. In the most notorious example, a death squad nicknamed the “Caravan of Death” flew via helicopters from town to town to torture and execute imprisoned leftists. It is reported the squad “…cut eyes out with daggers. They broke their jaws and legs.” The way the coup was conducted from the heavy sanctions to the use of counter-revolutionary protest to the eventual targeted assassination of working-class activists all show similarities to the current situation in Venezuela.
Much has been written in the western political scene about the Maduro government and the previous Hugo Chavez led administration’s Bolivarian Revolution. It goes from complete condemnation by neo-conservatives to lukewarm support by certain social democrats. However, with the current threat of an imperialist coup in Venezuela directed by Elliott Abrams (a man who “lavished praise” on the military battalion in El Salvador that committed the El Mozote massacre which featured the rape, throat slitting and hanging of children as young as two) it should be obvious to anyone with even the slightest belief in anti-imperialism that Venezuela must be defended. With military intervention looming, now is not the time to critique the Maduro government but to give it full-fledged support to its defence.
Already the ground has been set for what would be inevitably, a gruesome and violent coup. The recent electoral victory of Maduro’s United Socialist Party has been declared a sham despite the fact that it was the opposition that opposed UN observers coming in to monitor the election. With regards to the supposed “fraudulent election” Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard stated that “I was in #Venezuela as an international observer for the election and met with oppositional figures who were freely campaigning against #Maduro Its also not possible to “stuff ballot boxes” as ballots are electronically twinned with voter ID & fingerprints”. From this, the talking point of an alleged sham election is merely just an excuse to justify intervention.
Similarly, the crisis of food and medical shortages has been blamed entirely on Maduro despite the fact that the US has placed crippling sanctions on the country that are said to amount to “crimes against humanity”. This is once again history repeating itself with the US directly destabilising a Latin American socialist government via economic means. In Chile, Nixon had ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream” in order to overthrow Allende. This same tactic is clearly being demonstrated right now in Venezuela.
For whatever faults the Maduro government is said to have, there is a reason for its past and present electoral success. Its reforms have enormously benefited the poor in Venezuela including a housing programme that has delivered 2.3 million houses to working-class Venezuelans.
Meanwhile, the opposition is made up of the most reactionary segments of Venezuelan society. Chiefly white and middle class, the Venezuelan opposition forces on the streets showed their true face when they stabbed, burned alive and lynched a black man they suspected of being a government supporter and a “thief”. Any successful coup against Maduro will lead to a campaign of rampant, discriminatory mass-murder in a similar vein to the genocide of peasants in Guatemala and working class people in Chile after US-sponsored coups occurred in those states.
The American Empire is naked in its push for regime change in Venezuela, just as grossly as it has done in Libya, Honduras and countless other nations across the world that do not subscribe to Yankee Capitalism. With the potential for deadly intervention still on the cards, Venezuela’s anti-imperialist government must be defended at all costs. Otherwise, the blood of working class people will flow in the streets of Caracas.