Daniel Halliday
Jan 30 · Last update 6 mo. ago.

Does US action in Venezuela constitute a coup?

Following Juan Guaidó declaring himself interim President of Venezuela US senator Mike Pompeo was quick to announce support for civil unrest in Venezuela and most countries and mainstream media outlets seem to support Guaidó’s challenge to Nicolas Maduro. Despite this Mexico, China, Russia, Turkey, Cuba, and Bolivia amongst others, with the Guardian and other alternative media voices have claimed this to be a coup orchestrated or at least supported by the US. Can a difference of opinion account for such a difference in view here or are the US attempting a coup in Venezuela? theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/28/venezuela-coup-trump-juan-guaido edition.cnn.com/2019/01/29/americas/venezuela-geopolitical-battle-intl/index.html
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Yes, but the situation goes even further than just coup attempt
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No, the US are supporting the end of a socialist dictatorship
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Yes, widely recognised as a coup
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Yes, but the situation goes even further than just coup attempt

This coup attempt pales in comparison to the larger neo-colonial strategy employed by the United States to destabilise Venezuela. Juan Guaido’s swearing himself in as interim president is just the latest event in a long economic warfare waged by the US on Venezuela, which some have described as an example of “siege warfare”, a crime against humanity under the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Following the first UN visit to Venezuela for 21 years, United Nation's lawyer and human rights expert Alfred de Zayas has criticised the whole situation in Venezuela, blaming US sanctions and calling for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity perpetrated by the United States.

The failed diplomatic relations between the US and Venezuela have a long history, but this latest episode took a turn for the worst under the presidencies of George W. Bush and Hugo Chávez. Chávez began to nationalise Venezuelan oil reserves after taking power, using oil revenues to fund, healthcare, education, employment, housing, pensions and safe drinking water schemes, while severing military ties with the United States and establishing closer trade relations with Cuba. However this deterioration in relations had little impact on the two countries’ economies with trade amounting to $50 billion in 2007.

However, in 2004 CIA evidence that the US Government had prior knowledge of the 2002 failed coup carried out against Chávez, and that members of the Bush administration had direct ties with many prominent figures in the coup attempt, led to an increasingly outspoken Chávez and a decade of decline in the two countries relations. Growing opposition to US foreign policy, accusations of US assassination plots, expelling foreign diplomats, and Venezuela’s strengthened relations to Cuba and Iran continued into the presidency of Barack Obama. Obama began imposing sanctions on Venezuela with the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, and continued to further sanctions into 2015. Such sanctions and a change in the global oil markets are widely considered to be larger contributing factor to the hyperinflation and economic crises Venezuela faces, and many have put the responsibility for this firmly at the feet of the United States, criticising their foreign policy as an example of economic siege warfare.

irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/world/former-un-rapporteur-us-sanctions-against-venezuela-causing-economic-and-humanitarian-crisis-900603.html kurtnimmo.blog/2018/11/09/mike-pompeo-psychopath counterpunch.org/2019/02/01/sanctions-of-mass-destruction-americas-war-on-venezuela mintpressnews.com/the-truth-about-us-sanctions-on-venezuela-and-whys-the-media-gets-it-wrong/254625 nytimes.com/2008/09/12/world/americas/12bolivia.html nytimes.com/2004/12/03/washington/world/documents-show-cia-knew-of-a-coup-plot-in-venezuela.html

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 23
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DH edited this paragraph
However, in 2004 CIA evidence that the US Government had prior knowledge of the 2002 failed coup carried out against Chávez, and that members of the Bush administration had direct ties with many prominent figures in the coup attempt, led to an increasingly outspoken Chávez and a decade of decline in the two countries relations. Growing opposition to US foreign policy, accusations of US assassination plots, expelling foreign diplomats, and Venezuela’s strengthened relations to Cuba and Iran continued into the presidency of Barack Obama. Obama began imposing sanctions on Venezuela with the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, and continued to further sanctions into 2015. Such sanctions and a change in the global oil markets are widely considered to be larger contributing factor to the hyperinflation and economic crises Venezuela faces, and many have put the responsibility for this firmly at the feet of the United States, criticising their foreign policy as an example of economic siege warfare.

No, the US are supporting the end of a socialist dictatorship

The actions of the United States in regards to Venezuela are to support a civil uprising in Venezuela against a regime that has degraded democracy to such an extent is has become a dictatorship. Following the widely disputed 2018 election, the National Assembly of Venezuela declared Maduro’s government unconstitutional, however in the true style of autocracy Maduro refused to step down and accused the US and opposition leader Juan Guaidó of orchestrating a coup d’état. Alternative news narratives have picked up on this, and the opinion that this is in fact a coup remains a view of some fringe media sources. The mainstream media have widely recognised the validity of the National Assembly’s decision in Venezuela, as have the majority of American and European countries.

This presidential crisis began to take form after the 2015 Venezuelan Parliamentary Election when Maduro proceeded to fill Venezuela’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the country’s highest court, with his allies, who proceeded to strip Maduro’s opposition from the National Assembly. The tribunal permitted Maduro additional powers in 2017, despite his mishandling of a humanitarian crisis in the country, and he attempted to draft a new constitution to replace Chávez’s Constitution of 1999. This move was heavily criticised by the National Assembly, who Maduro rejected and replaced with the 2017 Constituent National Assembly, action that received further criticism internationally from the Lima Group, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the United States.

This political divide and usurp of legislative power by the Maduro Government is the source of this presidential crisis, and following the presidential election of May 2018 that was riddled with irregularities, the National Assembly began to seek international support in the call for Maduro to hand over power to a transitional government. The newly appointed President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, announced he would take the position of acting president citing Article 233, 333 and 350 of the Venezuelan constitution as his justification to lead a transitional government and seek new elections in the country. Maduro criticised Guaidó's actions, refused to step down and invoked theories of the US Government being the instigators of his actions, the accusation of a coup is being used by Maduro to cling to power, a strategy that is seemingly working.

euronews.com/2019/02/18/i-m-ready-to-die-for-my-country-s-future-juan-guaido-tells-euronews nytimes.com/2017/03/30/world/americas/venezuelas-supreme-court-takes-power-from-legislature.html euronews.com/2019/01/27/is-it-legal-for-juan-guaido-to-be-proclaimed-venezuela-s-interim-president

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 23
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DH edited this paragraph
The actions of the United States in regards to Venezuela are to support a civil uprising in Venezuela against a regime that has degraded democracy to such an extent is has become a dictatorship. Following the widely disputed 2018 election, the National Assembly of Venezuela declared Maduro’s government unconstitutional, however in the true style of autocracy Maduro refused to step down and accused the US and opposition leader Juan Guaidó of orchestrating a coup d’état. Alternative news narratives have picked up on this, and the opinion that this is in fact a coup remains a view of some fringe media sources. The mainstream media have widely recognised the validity of the National Assembly’s decision in Venezuela, as have the majority of American and European countries.

Yes, widely recognised as a coup

Accusations of a coup were quick to be put against Juan Guaidó following the seemingly coordinated announcements by the leader of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Guaidó, and the US Government in January 2019. Guido repeatedly called on soldiers and citizens to enforce the constitution and has expressed his opposition to opening dialogue or seeking diplomatic solutions with Maduro, instead supporting protests at all costs until the government falls. It became increasingly clear from Guaidó’s attempted “Project Freedom”, where Guaidó, surrounded by military defectors, openly encouraged an overthrow of the government and asked the people of Venezuela to “take to the streets”, as he attempted to take control of a military airbase in April 2019. Many have speculated from this failed attempt it is clear the intention was to have Guaidó lead a coup or have him arrested as a pretence for an American intervention, making this a fully fledged failed coup.

There are certainly many inherent problems in the Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro, but the surprise and seemingly coordinated announcements by Guaidó of the National Assembly and the US Government seem even more suspicious considering Guaidó’s US connections. The relatively little known Guaidó was a member of the Popular Will party with Leopoldo Lopez, a centre right party that advocated for privatising the country's oil industry. Guaidó was US educated, is known to have visited the US in December 2018 a month prior to his announcement that started the presidential crisis, and has a long history of involvement in anti-government protest movements that increasingly led to violence. According to the recent Monitor País study carried out by Venezuelan polling company Hinterlaces, 81% of Venezuelan’s did not know who Juan Guaidó was, so to argue that his announcement is any more democratic than the current government is particularly absurd. Similar polls have shown that 86% of Venezuelans are opposed to foreign military intervention. Venezuelan journalist Diego Sequera commented that "Guaidó is more popular outside Venezuela than inside, especially in the elite Ivy League and Washington circles” [1].

Furthermore the US’ appointment of Elliot Abrams as special envoy for Venezuela, a supporter of various dictators and massacres across Latin America and convicted of withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra Scandal, is further evidence of the US' true intentions here. As Nicolas Maduro still has support of the military in the country, both Guaidó and the US should be treading very carefully, seeking diplomacy over violence or aggressive foreign policy. Instead the backing of the defacto leader of the National Assembly as a rouge body that have actively called for the overthrow of the government and spoken out against diplomacy, is arguably an attempted coup plot between Guaidó and the US government, one that is increasingly looking like a failure.

investigaction.net/en/juan-guaido-the-man-who-would-be-president-of-venezuela-doesnt-have-a-constitutional-leg-to-stand-on thegrayzone.com/2019/01/29/venezuelans-oppose-intervention-us-sanctions-poll aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/juan-guaido-control-venezuelan-assets-190129160213052.html youtube.com/watch?v=LeewosLheII [1] mintpressnews.com/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuela-coup-leader/254387

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Daniel Halliday
Aug 23
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.investigaction.net/en/juan-guaido-the-man-who-would-be-president-of-venezuela-doesnt-have-a-constitutional-leg-to-stand-on/ https://thegrayzone.com/2019/01/29/venezuelans-oppose-intervention-us-sanctions-poll/ https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/juan-guaido-control-venezuelan-assets-190129160213052.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeewosLheII [1] https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuela-coup-leader/254387/
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