“The so-called Democratic Party “resistance” to Trump has largely been silent on the issue of Venezuela. Self-proclaimed Democratic Socialists such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have declined to comment on whether the Trump Administration is in fact waging a coup against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.”
By Danny Haiphong
Published on Black Agenda Report, Feb 6, 2019
Black, working and poor people can expect no relief from Democrats, who will continue to divert the nation’s resources to foreign wars and coups.
“Only Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, and Ilhan Omar have voiced any kind of opposition to the Trump Administration’s coup against Venezuela from the Democratic wing of the ruling class.”
The Trump Administration has pursued an open-air coup against the socialist government of Venezuela , with Pence and company nominating the unelected oligarch Juan Guaido as “interim” president of the oil-rich nation. Guaido resides in a National Assembly stock full of white racist oligarchs seeking to overthrow the rule of Bolivarian socialism. The Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled the decisions of the National Assembly illegitimate earlier in 2019 and the people of Venezuela elected President Maduro with sixty-eight percent of the vote in an election that was boycotted by the rightwing opposition in 2017. None of these facts are of any concern to the U.S. empire, which is primarily interested in reproducing itself and the profits that legitimize its racist system. And Bolivarian socialism has been an enemy of the elites since 1998 when the people of Venezuela rejected the U.S. empire by electing the socialist and anti-imperialist military leader Hugo Chavez.
The so-called Democratic Party “resistance” to Trump has largely been silent on the issue of Venezuela. Self-proclaimed Democratic Socialists such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have declined to comment on whether the Trump Administration is in fact waging a coup against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. Bernie Sanders stuck to his “dead communist dictator” (in reference to Hugo Chavez) line that he presented in the 2016 election by accusing Nicolas Maduro ’s government of waging a “violent crackdown” while espousing opposition to regime change in Venezuela. The strongest statement against the U.S. coup against Venezuela from the newly elected “progressive” Democrats in Congress came from Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar. Omar tweeted opposition to the U.S.-backed coup and support for a peaceful dialogue led by Latin American nations such as Mexico and Uruguay, both of which have voiced support for Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
“Bernie Sanders stuck to his ‘dead communist dictator’ line.”
Just days before Washington set the attempted coup into motion, the Democratic-controlled House voted for the NATO Support Act. The Act declares that the U.S. President cannot use federal funds to withdraw from NATO. It also ensures that the U.S. will remain a “member in good standing” until further notice. Only twenty-two members of the House voted “no” and all of them were Republicans . Presidential hopeful and anti-regime change representative Tulsi Gabbard abstained from the vote while Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and the rest of the “progressive” Democrats voted “yes” to NATO.
As of this writing, only Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, and Ilhan Omar have voiced any kind of opposition to the Trump Administration’s coup against Venezuela from the Democratic wing of the ruling class. None of them have mounted a challenge to the power of NATO over U.S. imperial policy. Once again, the hegemony of U.S. imperialism in the form of endless wars abroad has unified the ruling class toward the goal of toppling one of the most progressive movements on the planet today. Corporate media such as the New York Times and the Washington Post have commended the Trump Administration for standing up for “democracy” and against a “strongman” such as Nicolas Maduro. The New York Times even gave Guiado space in their op-ed section to personally convince readers to support the coup.
“Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and the rest of the ‘progressive’ Democrats voted ‘yes’ to NATO.”
The Democratic Party and the corporate media have historically bestowed praise onto Trump whenever he has done the bidding of imperialism around the world. When Trump gave the order to lob bombs on Syria in 2017, CNN’s Fareed Zakariya stated that Trump “became president of the United States.” It is no wonder, then, that Trump would pursue regime change in Venezuela given that his continuous capitulation to the War Party on the matter of relations with Russia has not been enough to appease his ruling class opponents. According to an analysis by Moon of Alabama , the Trump Administration remains accused of being an agent of Putin despite the fact that his Administration has time and time again escalated the U.S.-led war against Russia. Venezuela is thus but another chip in the chessboard of U.S. imperialism’s endless war on the planet, one that the ruling class has pressured the Trump Administration to comply with, in totality.
The Democratic Party doesn’t need to be pressured to comply with U.S. imperialism’s regime of endless war. Not even its leftish and socialist-identified leaders such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been willing to mount an actual resistance to NATO or the coup plot against Venezuela. The lack of a response from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is especially troubling since the Bolivarian revolution possesses a long history of solidarity with working-class Black and Latino Bronx residents in the form of free heating oil assistance. President Nicolas Maduro was forced to end the program in 2015 after the U.S. intensified sanctions against Venezuela, sabotaged the oil market, and increased support for violent right-wing opposition groups in the country. These are the same groups that are committing the acts of violence in the current coup attempt led by the United States. The Trump Administration declared a new round of sanctions on January 28th. Once again, the Democratic Party’s “resistance” was nowhere to be found.
“Trump has time and time again escalated the U.S.-led war against Russia.”
Support for NATO and the coup against Venezuela is a good measure of what to expect from the Democrats in the period leading to the 2020 election. The Democratic Party is the War Party and helps Trump whenever he is willing to do the bidding of NATO, U.S. intelligence, the Pentagon, and the profiteering interests of the military contractors that drive U.S. foreign policy. There is no Democratic Party resistance to the coup against Venezuela because the War Party opposes socialism at all costs. The War Party cannot stand that Venezuelan oil has been used to build two million homes in two years and provide healthcare for all instead of lining the pockets of U.S. bankers, oil executives, and weapons manufacturers. Since the Bolivarian movement took leadership in the direction of Venezuelan society in 1998, it devised an election system that has been called the most democratic in the world by none other than Jimmy Carter and immediately organized workers, poor communities, and Indigenous and Afro-Venezuelans to assert their self-determination and alleviate poverty.
Prior to the massive hoarding of goods, economic sabotage, and campaigns of violence led by the oligarchy, extreme poverty had been reduced to single digits from 1998-2015 . Of course, this has deeply angered the War Party in Washington and partly explains why NATO has recruited Venezuela’s right-wing-controlled neighbor, Colombia, for membership . NATO is the ace in the hole of U.S. military intervention. In the last thirty years alone, NATO has murdered millions in its wars on Yugoslavia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The fact that NATO is promoted by Democrats as a beacon of “democracy” not only obscures NATO’s original purpose in countering the no longer existent Soviet Union but also demonstrates the use of the ideology of American exceptionalism as a weapon of the U.S. empire.
“The Democratic Party is the War Party and helps Trump whenever he is willing to do the bidding of the military contractors that drive U.S. foreign policy.”
American exceptionalism is defined in this context as the antithesis of the “undemocratic” rule of socialism in Venezuela or Trump’s rhetorical gestures to pull out of NATO. However, the lies of American exceptionalism have become increasingly vulnerable given the crisis of legitimacy afflicting the empire that wields it. Most of the planet sees NATO as an arm of militarism and a drain on the social welfare of Europe and the United States. The Bolivarian government of Venezuela is viewed favorably by much of Latin America and even nations in the Caribbean which have historically benefitted from arrangements such as ALBA and PetroCaribe . While War Party Democrats give assistance to NATO and illegitimate coup attempts in Venezuela, conditions for Black America and working people in the U.S. show no signs of improvement under Trump.
Democrats have moved so far to the right that its so-called “resistance” to Trump has done little except provide vital assistance to the empire. Even the most progressive-sounding of the Democratic Party brass has sworn its allegiance to NATO and the endless aggression that the U.S. imperial state wages around the world. Workers in the U.S., especially poor Black Americans, should expect no raise in wages, no reduction in debt, and no relief from the domestic incarceration state if the U.S. political class is able to freely wage costly neo-colonial wars abroad. Solidarity for Venezuela’s popular Bolivarian movement and all peoples under the gun of imperialism should thus be of utmost concern for any progressive insurgency that should arise in the lead up to the 2020 elections. The two-party duopoly will no doubt attack the likes of Sanders, but this shouldn’t mean that Sanders or anyone else should be given a pass on the question of war and peace. There can be no real “resistance” without peace, and no socialism amid capitalist wars that destroy the lives of the oppressed all over the world.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the forthcoming book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at [email protected].