Trump’s Regime Change Agenda Against Venezuela

How the Organisation of American States and right-wing groupings are conspiring to oust democratically elected president Maduro- Francisco Dominguez

SINCE the right-wing opposition won a majority of National Assembly seats in the 2015 election, President Nicolas Maduro has withstood multiple rightwing attempts to remove him though undemocratic means before his constitutional term ends in 2019.

Faced with their failure to “finish the job” of removing Maduro, the Venezuelan right’s US mentors and financiers have decided to change tack and mobilise resources in the international arena to bring about regime change through external pressure.

In typical fashion, the US has been seeking a financial and economic blockade of Venezuela, aimed at intensifying the negative consequences of the ongoing economic war against its population, especially the poor.

Vital to this agenda have been sanctions against Venezuela, which may well be extended in the months ahead.

Current efforts are focused on reactivating the Organisation of American States (OAS) to attack the country.

OAS secretary-general Luis Almagro is vigorously liaising with the worst elements of the extreme right in the region to create the conditions for the application of the OAS’s Democratic Charter against Venezuela.

This would include suspending Venezuela from the OAS and imposing sanctions, as a precursor to external aggression justified as “humanitarian intervention.”

This is the second time Almagro has gone out of his way to help bring about regime change in Venezuela — he also tried to impose the OAS Charter against Venezuela in June 2016.

He failed and was criticised for overstepping the limits of his office as he’s prohibited from taking a personal stance against any member state without an OAS resolution to this effect.

Despite this, Almagro has continued to seek regime change, violating every political principle of the OAS.

He is supported in his mission by golpista and right-wing governments in the region, but the key role is being played by the US.

At the March 27 OAS emergency meeting, Venezuela’s foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez characterised Almagro, perhaps undiplomatically, as a ‘liar, dishonest, criminal and mercenary, a traitor to the dignity of what being a Latin American diplomat ought to be about.”

Since May 2015, over 20 per cent of Almagro’s tweets have been devoted to demonising and attacking the Venezuelan government.

Worse still, from March 14-24 Almagro used 73 per cent of his tweets to denigrate and attack the Venezuelan government, while Peru was being ravaged by floods, the peace process in Colombia was under threat from paramilitaries, Donald Trump was hounding immigrants and seeking to bully Mexico to pay for a border wall, environmental activists were under threat of assassination in Honduras, and students and journalists were being murdered in Mexico.

To achieve his ends, Almagro has been frequenting right-wing circles. In May 2016 he met with ex-Colombian president Alvaro Uribe at an event held by an extreme right-wing group called Concordia (the Americas), also attended by ex-Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar and other right-wing luminaries.

At this event Uribe called openly for Maduro to be subjected to the same treatment as Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, removed from office in a “parliamentary coup” last year.

Additionally, Almagro has had 26 meetings with Venezuela’s right, holding nearly 60 per cent of them with Voluntad Popular, an extreme right-wing party that openly advocates the use of violence to oust democratically elected President Maduro.

Almagro has even advised Venezuela’s right not to participate in the Vatican-sponsored dialogue taking place in Venezuela — a widely supported diplomatic process regionally and internationally.

In almost all of his foreign trips, Almagro has made statements against Venezuela. This contravenes the OAS’s norms that unless the secretary-general is specifically instructed by the OAS itself, and the government of the country in question consents, he cannot act against or interfere in the internal affairs of any member state.

Almagro’s activities fit perfectly with the US right wing’s regime change agenda against Venezuela. He is currently engaged in a furious campaign to get Venezuela suspended from the OAS on the “merits” of a 75-page report he has submitted, hoping to obtain sufficient votes from among the recently installed right-wing governments in the region (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, etc) to carry it out.

This appears to have been carefully planned in concert with the right wing of both the Republican and Democratic parties in the Senate and Congress, notably Ileana Ros Lethinen, Marco Rubio and other members of the MiamiCuban extreme right wing, whom he has met on repeated occasions.

The Miami Herald even reported that Rubio has threatened the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Haiti with possible cuts in US aid if they fail to “defend democracy” when a possible sanctions vote on Venezuela comes up at the OAS.

In contrast, former presidents Rodriguez Zapatero, Leonel Fernandez, and Martin Torrijos (from Spain, Dominican Republic and Panama respectively) wrote to the OAS, gathered in emergency session, to support and strengthen the process of dialogue in Venezuela.

Clearly the stakes are very high and this jointly led US-Almagro offensive against Venezuela is being perpetrated just when Venezuela’s opposition has never been so disunited and the nation’s economy shows signs of mild improvement — something the US cannot countenance.

However, the March 28 emergency OAS meeting ended up not taking any decision of any kind whatsoever, showing that despite the combined efforts of Almagro, the US and the region’s right-wing administrations, the large majority of governments in the region are not prepared to allow an intervention against Venezuela.

Progressives internationally need to defend Venezuela’s sovereignty from the OAS and US intervention, opposing Trump’s regime change agenda and standing firm against any more coups or Pinochets in Latin America.

 

Francisco Dominguez is secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

This article was originally published by the Morning Star (19/04/17) at: http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-75a2-Trumps-regime-change-agenda-against-Venezuela