A leaked audio containing conversation involving Colombia’s senior diplomats stressed the failure of the US-backed effort to oust Venezuela’s incumbent President Nicolas Maduro, as Colombian new outlet Publimetro revealed as translated by Venezuelaanalysis Wednesday (November 27).
Colombian’s ambassador to the US Francisco Santos and the country’s foreign minister Claudia Blum concluded that the military coup is not a solution given that Venezuela’s military is behind Maduro.
“The solution is not a military coup because the military is not going to remove [Maduro]. Nor is the United States going to remove him at the point of an “I don’t know what,” Blum argued.
Covert action to support the opposition could be the best solution to support Venezuelan’s opposition, the ambassador told the foreign minister, adding that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is not playing a role to topple Maduro.
The leaked audio confirmed Latin America’s ideological polarization and the US foreign policy to support far-right regimes and to get rid of socialist leaders.
Venezuela’s prolonged crises: A Brief Overview
Venezuela, once an oil rich-country, has plunged into the worst economic crisis since the sharp decline in global oil prices in 2014. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that the country’s hyperinflation could reach 10 million per cent in 2019.
Maduro was the vice president of Hugo Chavez, who passed away in 2013 from cancer. The former took office and had to deal with such an unexpected crisis that has forced millions of Venezuelans to seek refuge in neighbouring countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela.
The former bus driver consolidated his power by holding an election for the Constituent Assembly Council in 2017, aimed at limiting the power of the opposition-dominated National Assembly.
Such a move was condemned as authoritarian. Venezuelan’s Attorney General opposed Maduro’s policy and left for Colombia instead.
In May 2018, Maduro won the election by gaining around 67.7 per cent of the vote, while his contender Henri Falcon earned about 21 per cent after more than 90 per cent of the total votes were counted.
The result sparked controversy. Opposition groups, the US and its allies accused Maduro of rigging the vote, while Russia, China, and Iran backed the incumbent.
Juan Guaido, who did not participate in the election, declared himself as the interim president. The West supports him and most of the Western mainstream media outlets follow suit. Even the CNN report mistakenly said that the Head of National Council won the election after winning the January election (which never happened).
The situation in Venezuela has deteriorated following the US-backed embargoes. The United Nations (UN) slammed Washington for freezing assets of Venezuela’s government.
“I am deeply worried about the potentially severe impact on the human rights of the people of Venezuela of the new set of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US this week,” Head of the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet said in a statement, adding that the sanctions have hit the most vulnerable groups of people.
Unlike Evo Morales, Venezuela’s military is behind Maduro
The recent situation in Bolivia is a reminiscence of what is happening in Venezuela. In early November, Bolivian President Evo Morales stepped down following the Organization of American States (OAS) report on vote manipulation in the election on October 20 that has triggered bloodshed.
Morales, the socialist politician and the first Bolivian president from the country’s indigenous group, fled to Mexico after being granted asylum and vowed to return for a fresh election. Far-right politician Jeanine Anez declared herself as the interim president.
Both Morales and Maduro have something in common. Both restrict freedom of expression and pressure opposition groups and dub Chavez as their mentor in the welfare-based economy. Also, both stand up to U.S. imperialism.
However, there is one stark difference: Unlike Morales, who lost support from Bolivian military and police during the month-long rallies, Venezuela’s military still supports Maduro despite the international pressure and worsening crises.
According to the Reuters special report, the strong influence of the military in Venezuela stemmed from the era of Hugo Chavez, who was also a former military officer. He controlled the military by intimidating it and bloating it.
Maduro relies heavily on the military. The Washington Post report revealed that Venezuela’s military officers enjoy perks and privileges such as promotion and also take bribes in money.
Selected military officers were handed over the country’s most lucrative sector: oil. A National Guard general and the army deputies now run the all-important national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., or PDVSA, Reuters report said.
The US role in plotting regime changes in Latin America
The U.S. has a long history in intervening in Latin America’s politics. In 1823, the U.S. issued a Monroe Doctrine, aimed at preventing the establishment of any European colonies in Latin America.
According to Latin American historian at Columbia University John Henry Coatsworth, from 1898 to 1994, the US government had intervened 41 times to change governments in Latin America, 17 of which were direct interventions involving the U.S. military power, intelligence agents, and locals employed by the U.S. institutions.
Therefore, what’s happening Bolivia seems to surprise nobody given the U.S track record in Latin America. However, Maduro is not Morales.