Venezuela – regime change by coup

March 13, 2019

The United States is once again agitating for regime change, this time in Venezuela. There is an economic crisis in Venezuela, and the government of Nicolas Maduro is under immense pressure. However, a US-backed coup led by neo-Fascist elements will not benefit the Venezuelan people. Our response must be to oppose regime change and support and self-determination.

There is a simple definition of regime change and it stands the test of time: “toppling an existing regime that displeases or worries the United States Government”.

The recent history of regime change in the Middle East reminds us that such military adventures lead to chaos, collapse and a tide of refugees. Three million Venezuelans have already left the country and American economic sanctions are making the situation worse.

Venezuela has been subject to US sanctions since August 2017 which means it cannot sell oil on the global market. The consequences of this are devastating for ordinary Venezuelans and the oil embargo has deepened an economic crisis across the nation. The economic pressure on Venezuela has been increased this year with the freezing of the nation’s bank accounts and seizure of Venezuelan assets held offshore.

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Attacks on Venezuela infrastructure

Over the last few days, there have been several highly-coordinated cyber attacks aimed at disrupting Venezuela’s electricity supplies. While there has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks, the self-declared “interim” leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido used the blackouts to renew his calls for a military coup against the Maduro government.

The Trump regime is also upping the pressure by tightening economic sanctions and leading US officials are not even attempting to hide their regime change agenda.

National Security Advisor, John Bolton has made the American support for a coup in Venezuela absolutely clear:

“We’re looking at new sanctions, new measures to tighten our grip on Maduro’s financial wherewithal, to deny his regime the money that they need to stay in power,” Bolton said.

American imperialism is out to wage war on Venezuela, as it has done in other Central and South American nations for the past 100 years.

My take on why regime change is never a good idea is published at Patreon.


Haiti: history and the shock doctrine

January 31, 2010

I made a welcome appearance on National Radio’s MediaWatch programme this morning to discuss the recent coverage of Haiti with TV3’s Mike McRoberts and MW host, Colin Peacock.

MediaWatch 31 January – on coverage of Haiti – MP3

MediaWatch 31 January – on coverage of Haiti MediaPlayer

The initial prompt for the chat was the rash of stories about TV reporters rescuing survivors and getting them to medical aid – without which they faced an uncertain, if not shortly to be fatal future.

But I also was keen to make the point that, for me a real problem with the coverage was context.

Why is Haiti one of the poorest nation’s on earth? Why did the TV reporters keep referring to Haiti as “doomed” and “blighted”?

My argument is that without this context, it just seems like the reason is the “foreignness” of the Haitians. They’re black and they don’t speak English and when we see them on television they are either “victims”, or they’re criminalised into some large, organic faceless mob that has to be kept in line by the blue-helmeted UN troops wielding riot shields and pepper-spray.

UN blue helmets pepper spray hungry Haitians

This leads to a situation in which the Haitians are seen as “animals”, as this report from the Australian ABC suggests, quoting a UN soldier:

A UN trooper, who declined to be named, struggled to hold back the jostling crowd with a hard plastic shield.

“Whatever we do, it doesn’t matter – they are animals,” he cried in Spanish, when asked why the peacekeepers were not trying to explain anything in French or Creole.

Troops waved pepper spray into the queue’s front line. Others standing atop a grubby white UN armoured vehicle fired off steady rounds of rubber bullets into the air.

Well actually, the hungry people demanding food and shelter are not animals. They are human beings whose dignity has been stripped away from them in the aftermath of an awful tragedy. An earthquake is a natural disaster, but the humanitarian disaster that is now affecting Haiti so badly is of human design.

What we are seeing today in Haiti is the application of what Naomi Klein has christened the “shock doctrine”. This is the policy of taking advantage of natural disasters in order to impose some kind of austerity programme, or other unpopular measure, on a civilian population that is too traumatised to resist. Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine devastatingly demonstrates how this has been done time and time again-particularly by the Americans-in Latin and Central America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Most recently we’ve seen it used internally in Burma and in China.

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Regime Quake – good news, or excuse for incursion?

May 17, 2008

I have just read Naomi Klein’s column in The Nation, it’s online here. She makes an argument that the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China could lead to greater political unrest in those nations. I guess that’s always a possibility in the aftermath of such shocks, but how can people really fight back when they’re starving and their backs are literally to the wall? Read the rest of this entry »