Submitted by George Callaghan…
The United States is musing about attacking Venezuela. The US has intervened in Latin American and Caribbean countries on numberless occasions. This must stop. Now!
In 1823 President James Monroe promulgated his Monroe Doctrine. The doctrine states that no European country should have any presence on the American Continent from Canada to Argentina. Why not? If a country on that continent wishes to form an alliance with a European country then that is there right. If a country in Latin America wishes to unite with a European land then that is up to them. What right does Washington DC have to determine the foreign policy of other nations? Does another nation have the right to decide American foreign policy? Oh sorry that is silly of me. Of course, Israel has that right. But nobody else does. Don’t you dare comment on American politics of you will be told to butt out in no uncertain terms.
The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine came later. President Theodore Roosevelt came up with this little beauty. (Teddy Roosevelt is not to be confused with his distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt.) This stated that the US was entitled to send its troops into other nations in the Western Hemisphere against the will of these said nations. Why? It was to prevent them falling prey to European vultures. The United States has invaded many such countries. The US has orchestrated many coups.
Honduras was the first country to be dubbed a ‘banana republic’. It was so called because the United Fruit Company ran the show there. The US intervened in such countries to keep big business happy. When a president called Arbenz tried to improve the lot of the poor in the 1950s the United States had him overthrown.
In 1947 Harry S Truman promulgated the Truman Doctrine. It stated that the United States was committed to preventing the spread of communism and would intervene anywhere to achieve this objective. President Truman said that the US would stop armed minorities from overthrowing democracy. To be fair sometimes communists were armed minorities who were doing just that. However, they were sometimes battling corrupt dictatorships. The United States also assisted armed minorities overthrowing democracies. The US Government seldom distinguished between communists and social democrats. Social democrat governments were tolerated in Canada, Israel, Australia and the UK. But in Africa, Asia or Latin America it was a different story. These governments had poverty reduction programs. Many of them were strikingly similar to the New Deal, the GI Bill, farm subsidies, Medicare, Medicaid, social security and a host of other US Government programs. All this was acceptable in the US even to the Republican Party. But if another country tried to feed the starving this presented a mortal peril the United States!
The Truman Doctrine was a gem. It was also a perfectly hypocritical inversion of the Monroe Doctrine. Latin American countries were not allowed to form alliances with European countries. No one else could intervene in Latin America even if they were asked to by the relevant government. On the other hand the United States was entitled to invade any country anywhere that did not do what America wanted. Is there a scintilla of a contradiction here? Since then Uncle Sam has been rampaging around the globe to impose his vision on the rest of the world.
For 50 years the Samoza family ran Nicaragua as their personal fief. The US backed these cruel despots. A left wing insurrection finally sent Tachito Samoza packing. He fled to Paraguay where he was granted asylum by a generalissimo called Alfredo Stroessner. Stroessner also hosted Nazi war criminals and was feted by the US. The US did not recognize the Sandinista government in Nicaragua despite it being one of the most democratic governments in the region. The US assisted the Contras – right wing rebels. Many regarded them as terrorists. The International Court of Justice found against the US for sponsoring the Contras.
There was Trujillo the Dominican tyrant. There was Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti and his voodoo terror. The US gushed praise for them.
It is true that Cuba was a communist one party state. It had no freedom of expression. But it did have public health and public education. It had some redeeming features. The capitalist dictatorships had none.
In the 1980s Central America was reduced to a group of slaughter house states. The US backed the death squads against the poor. Why should we believe it will be any different in Venezuela?
Venezeula is the latest target. 20 years ago Hugo Chavez came to office. As president he did a lot to reduce penury. He did an oil for doctors trade with Cuba. It hugely ameliorated public health. He cosied up to America’s foes. The US tried to oust him in 2002. In 2013 he died of natural causes. He was succeeded by Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro has been unsuccessful in the past year. There are food shortages. There is hyperinflation and economic mismanagement. His re-election last year was disputed. I dislike him and his party. But he is still the president.
The United States complains that Venezuela has restricted the free media. Since when has Trump cared about the freedom of the press? His concern for the press corps is touching. ‘Enemies of the people’, ‘fake news’, ‘traitors’ – Trump’s attitude to the press is laid bare. The US Government is very friendly with a host of countries where there is no press freedom. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Israel, Turkey – the list goes on. These are all countries where the government will stop stories being published that it find inconvenient. How about North Korea the most unfree country in the world where evangelizing for Christianity is punished by death! But Trump ‘fell in love’ with Kim Jong Un. By contrast the churches in Venezuela are packed every night. The situation with the media in Venezuela leaves much to be desired. But it is a damn sight better than in many US allies.
NATO countries recognize Juan Guaido as president. Maduro is called a tyrant. Yet his security forces have been very restrained. It could be that Guaido would be a better president. But that is not for me or any other foreigner to determine. This is an issue to be settled by the Venezuelan populace.
Other lands have offered to send food shipments. Maduro refused saying these will contain arms for a coup d’etat. It is not hard to credit. Russian troops are there so an American intervention could cause a full scale war. No sane person wants that. Is Trump a sane person? We shall see.
I would like to see an end to the crisis. Maduro is not a fantastic president. I would not vote for him. Let’s have negotiations and see if a compromise can be worked out. But a coup d’etat is the last thing the country needs. American backed coups have inevitably favoured the kleptocrats overt the masses.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.