The Trump administration is orchestrating regime change in Venezuela, which goes contrary to the persona of being against regime change policy that Trump was projecting during his campaign. An interesting report from Common Dreams discusses this:
As U.S. lawmakers, civil society leaders, and Latin America experts continue to warn against American intervention in Venezuela’s internal political affairs, the Wall Street Journal on Friday confirmed suspicions that opposition leader Juan Guaido’s move to declare himself “interim president” of Venezuela this week was highly coordinated with the Trump White House and Republican lawmakers.
According to the Journal, Vice President Mike Pence called Guaido the night before his announcement and “pledged” that the Trump administration would support him “if he seized the reins of government from [elected President] Nicolas Maduro by invoking a clause in the South American country’s constitution.”
“That late-night call set in motion a plan that had been developed in secret over the preceding several weeks, accompanied by talks between U.S. officials, allies, lawmakers, and key Venezuelan opposition figures, including Mr. Guaido himself,” the Journal reported, citing an anonymous administration official. “Almost instantly, just as Mr. Pence had promised, President Trump issued a statement recognizing Mr. Guaido as the country’s rightful leader.”
Guaido’s move and U.S. President Donald Trump’s rapid endorsement were quickly decried as a dangerous intervention—or the beginnings of a coup d’etat—which progressives argued would dramatically worsen the country’s economic and political crisis. As Common Dreams reported, over 70 academics and experts signed an open letter demanding that the U.S. “cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change.”
At the center of the push to oust Maduro and replace him with Guaido, the Journal reports, were some of the most hawkish congressional Republicans and members of Trump’s cabinet, including national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), as well as officials from the right-wing governments of Brazil and Colombia.
According to the Journal, a “decisive moment” in the behind-the-scenes planning came on Tuesday, Jan. 22, when Trump met with top White House officials and Republican lawmakers the day before scheduled street protests by the opposition.
“Other officials who met that day at the White House included… Pompeo and Bolton, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who presented Mr. Trump with options for recognizing Mr. Guaido,” the Journal reported. “Mr. Trump decided to do it. Mr. Pence, who wasn’t at that meeting, placed his phone call to Mr. Guaido to tell him, ‘If the National Assembly invoked Article 233 the following day, the president would back him.'”
Responding to the Journal‘s reporting on Friday, Ben Norton—reporter for The Real News—noted in a series of tweets that it is now clear the “U.S. is not just ‘behind’ this coup; the U.S. is openly leading the coup.”
Whats interesting is that the same types of people involved in this are the same types involved in regime policy in other countries, like Iraq and Iran. We know that Elliot Abrams is heavily involved in the Venezuela situation, and he was also a major lobbyist for the Iraq invasion of (going all the way back to the 1980s). Bolton was also a lobbyist for the Iraq invasion, and now he has been pushing for regime change in Iran — alongside Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich — and lobbying for the Iranian terrorist cult to replace the current Iranian government. While Maduro is a communist — and communism is evil — it is a legitimate question to ask, what is the motivation? Is it really to combat totalitarianism, or is it part of the typical geopolitical rivalry that the US and Russia have been doing for decades? Pompeo is supporting for regime change in Venezuela, and this is the same Pompeo who has been backing Turkey’s expansionism into Syria, which is only going to help revive Turkish despotism in the Middle East. We have to ask ourselves, what are the motivations behind the Venezuela meddling?
Juan Guaido, the guy who the Americans are backing to replace Maduro, is now calling on the Venezuelan military to defect to his side, as we read in a report from the Telegraph:
Mr Guaido called on members of the military – who on Thursday pledged their loyalty to Mr Maduro – saying “it is the moment” for them to come out in defence of the constitution. He told Cuban advisers, embedded with the Venezuelan forces, that they should leave the military, although they were welcome to remain in the country.
Fugitive Venezuelan soldiers have declared a rebellion against “the murderous tyranny” of the president. Dissident officers have fled the country, seeking asylum. Grenades have been fired at the Supreme Court and, this weekend, assailants under the command of a mutinous captain attacked an army base, making off with weapons.
As Venezuela reels from a crippling economic crisis and deadly street protests, the military has often served as the guarantor of President Nicolás Maduro’s continued power over the country.
But daring challenges to his rule in recent weeks have laid bare a split within the military that could ultimately determine the nation’s fate: a growing number of officers are openly breaking ranks with the president and taking up weapons.
The situation in Venezuela is looking more and more like a Gladio operation, with very recent arrests of rebelling soldiers taking place. A story from ABC News reports:
On Monday, authorities reported detaining a small group of National Guard soldiers who stormed a police station in the capital of Caracas before dawn. The soldiers captured a captain and used two vehicles to steal a cache of weapons from another outpost, officials said.
The heavily armed national guardsmen posted videos on social media saying they no longer recognized Maduro’s legitimacy as president.
Officials said they quickly made 27 arrests and recovered the weapons. They blamed “dark interests of the extreme right” in buying the soldiers’ loyalty.’
Venezuela’s top military leader envoy to the United States just defected on Saturday to the United States, as we read in a story from VOA:
Venezuela’s top military envoy to the United States defected from the government of President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday, as the South American nation said the two countries had scaled back their diplomatic missions to skeleton staff.
The diplomatic friction and defection was triggered by U.S. recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. Washington, Canada and most Latin American nations said Maduro’s second-term election win was fraudulent.
This is similar to what happened before the US toppled the Arbenz regime in Guatemala, in which a retired air force chief defected and joined the US backed rebellion against Arbenz. What is happening in Venezuela is reminiscent to what the CIA did in Guatemala. Could this policy lead to violent destabilization? We don’t know for certain, but it is legitimate to ask and be weary of what US policy could help bring about.