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Editorial Guaido's coup attempt in Venezuela raises the stakes

THE wave of misinformation that will hit TV screens, papers, computer monitors and smartphones on the attempted coup in Venezuela make the exclusive video footage from Caracas obtained by the Morning Star vitally important.

Self-declared “president” Juan Guaido’s bid to oust the country’s elected leader Nicolas Maduro has not so far gone well.

 

 

Announcing himself leader without standing in, let alone winning, an election of any kind was enough to win immediate recognition from the United States — which probably planned the whole affair in the first place — as well as the European Union and the right-wing governments of a number of Latin American countries, including some whose governments’ own claim to legitimacy is pretty feeble, such as Brazil.

But if Guaido or his puppet masters in the White House thought that the Venezuelan people would lie down and let the usurper walk all over them they were mistaken.

While the Venezuelan right has been able to mobilise some large rallies in favour of Guaido — hardly surprising given the polarised nature of politics in the country and the right’s track record of organising street protests and violence — these have been confined to the wealthier districts of Caracas, while larger demonstrations have repeatedly occurred in the capital and many other cities asserting support for the elected government and determination to prevent a US-orchestrated coup.

US President Donald Trump’s outrageous threats of military intervention only served to anger Venezuelans and steel their resolve not to let foreign countries decide who rules them.

 

 

And the US’s call for the Venezuelan military to mutiny and crush the Bolivarian Revolution proved equally futile.

So Guaido has upped the stakes with his latest stunt, springing jailed Popular Will counter-revolutionary Leopoldo Lopez — who was involved in kidnapping Venezuela’s Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin during the 2002 attempted coup against Hugo Chavez and who helped organise the murderous street uprisings known as “guarimbas” in 2014 that claimed 43 lives — from prison and releasing a video announcing an armed revolt, flanked by individuals in Venezuelan military uniform.

If the people in the video are Venezuelan soldiers they are not representative of the vast majority of the country’s armed forces, which remain loyal.

It is not clear that they actually are Venezuelan soldiers; Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez, who sent the Caracas footage to the Morning Star today, believes they could be US special forces.

That is likely and ominous. This coup stands no chance of removing the Venezuelan government on its own; the country remained calm today and there was no sign of any substantial support for Guaido and Lopez’s “uprising,” if a propaganda video and a few people throwing rocks counts as one.

Indeed, the footage sent to the Morning Star shows the immediate popular response was crowds demonstrating in support of President Maduro outside the Miraflores palace. 

A more plausible explanation is that the revolt is a bid to provoke an incident which could serve as a pretext for US military intervention.

The immediate support for the attempted coup from leading US and EU politicians, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and European Parliament president Antonio Tajani, is an anti-democratic disgrace but hardly a surprise. 

Spain’s quick indication that it would oppose any coup shows that European governments will be divided on whether to back Trump’s regime change agenda.

This underlines the importance of broadcasting the truth about events in Venezuela as widely as possible and mobilising public opinion to make it politically impossible for Britain’s Tory government to support the bloody counter-revolution and civil war the US seems ready to start to impose its will on Venezuela.

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