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Editorial The counter-revolution acquires a new flavour

WE have become accustomed to the institutional hypocrisy of the European Union, which routinely commands that ballots be rerun when the insubordinate citizens of member states fail to vote as prescribed. 

The statement by foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini threatening further sanctions if Venezuela fails to announce new elections, seeks to extend this unwritten provision of the EU’s founding principles to Latin America. 

It is not that Venezuela has not already voted. In last year's presidential election — under a system which former US president Jimmy Carter described as “the best in the world” — Nicolas Maduro won 67.8 per cent of the vote. 

Runner-up Henri Falcon won a respectable 20.9 per cent, with nearly two million votes, while a third candidate gained a decent enough 10.8 per cent.

Turnout was down because — anticipating their defeat — the more fractious extreme right wing in Venezuela’s extravagantly pluralist political system boycotted the election.

Thus Donald Trump was undoubtedly acting on judgement better informed than his own when selecting the hitherto obscure figure of Juan Guaido as the US-anointed president of the republic.  

Guaido’s vehicle, Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) gained a less than stellar 14 out of the 167 seats in the National Assembly elections. 

That this centrist formation is affiliated to the Socialist International suggests that the regime change operation is to be given a spurious social democratic flavour.

Trump’s initiative was executed in lockstep with the EU, Britain, Spain, Germany and France. 

Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary in a government madly manoeuvring to avoid an election, said: “Juan Guaido is the right person to take Venezuela forward. If there are not fresh and fair elections announced within eight days the UK will recognise him as interim president.” 

Top prize for hypocrisy goes to President Emmanuel Macron who — while unleashing a militarised gendarmerie against his insurgent “gilets jaunes” — welcomed “the courage of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who march for their freedom.” 

Trump has appointed top US spook Elliott Abrams as special envoy overseeing the regime change project. 

His backstory includes legwork for George W Bush in the Iraq war. George HW Bush earlier pardoned him for offences committed when he withheld information from Congress about covert support given to right-wing rebels against the Nicaraguan government.

His complicity in earlier US attempts at regime change in Venezuela include his role in the 2002 attempted coup against Hugo Chavez, the defeat of which was famously depicted in the documentary film The Revolution Will Not be Televised.

The US has as its strategic objective the permanent capture of global oil reserves, and to this end the US, and in collusion with European states, has fought and funded resource wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria. 

Trump’s personal contribution to this strategy of tension is to tear up the nuclear power agreement with oil-rich Iran.

Venezuela is the principal supplier of oil to the US and the North American grip on global hydrocarbon sources is the basis of imperialism’s domination of the world economy.

The emergence of powerful blocs that contest US hegemony is the reason for this renewed offensive against popular power. 

The US foreign policy and intelligence nexus sponsors a full spectrum of subversive measures against states in every continent. 

History suggests that right-wing regimes in Latin America can rarely depend for long on popular support. 

Taking Brazil was an imperial gain but Mexico may have embarked on a road to confrontation with its northern neighbour. 

The US, and its European chorus, worries that Venezuela’s anti-imperialist role in stimulating a spirit of resistance, self-determination and popular participation has added a new dimension to the struggle against the power of capital.

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