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THE aim of John Bolton, national security adviser to Donald Trump, is to bring insecurity to the people of Venezuela.
When he appears with an ostentatiously revealing notepad signifying “5,000 thousand troops to Colombia” this indicates not an immediate invasion of Venezuela but a real threat that if the US strategy is not successful in detaching enough popular support from the government of Nicolas Maduro the military option remains open.
Labour MPs, like the shameful Rachel Reeves on BBC World News, who back the diplomatic pressure on Venezuela by the Tory government and the EU, need to understand that there is no clear distinction between the effects of economic sanctions, manufactured shortages, dirty tricks and terror tactics currently under way and the human cost of a full-blown coup. Or a moral distinction between the golpista and herself.
The wheels of war are oiled by Bolton — who still backs the Iraq war and favours military action to force regime change on the oil states of Iran, Syria and Libya.
But even he knows that the traditional US technique of coup d’etat to install a right-wing dictator is discredited beyond redemption.
This is why the current coup is dressed up in a faux-constitutional guise.
The intensity of the present political crisis would have been impossible to envisage in the past decade when the “Pink Tide” of progressive South American governments came to office on a wave of continental revulsion against the neoliberal economics and bloody repression which accompanied US-ordained austerity.
But with the US refocusing its attention on what it claims as its “backyard” the regional balance has changed.
Even so the US was not able to get its way in last week’s meeting of the Organisation of American States.
Brazil’s new president — the rabidly right-wing Jair Bolsonaro — played host to Bolton late last year and, over past weeks, to a succession of figures from Venezuela’s fragmented opposition.
Bolsonaro anticipated by more than a week, Guaido’s self-appointment as Venezuala’s pretend president while Bolton made explicit the US regional strategy by targeting Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
“This Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere,” he said.
The outcome of this imperial offensive will not be resolved simply by which side is victorious in Venezuela’s struggle. Nor will its outcome be determined by a roll-call of governments.
US military action, whether in the form of a US-led invasion, an interdiction and bombing campaign, a naval blockade or a manufactured border war with Colombia, carries with it the danger that masses of people in the whole of Latin America might be roused to resistance.
This alone should give pause for thought by the leaders of Venezuela’s neighbouring states.
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