Written by Jeremy Scahill
There is a brazen, bipartisan push by the U.S. government for regime change in Venezuela with the Trump administration officially declaring opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the “legitimate” president. The economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the U.S. are aimed at starving the population into submission with notorious neoconservatives John Bolton and Elliott Abrams coordinating the campaign to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro. What we are witnessing right now in Latin America is a modern iteration of the same dirty tactics that the U.S. has historically used against the nations south of the U.S. border. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. The U.S. has tried since the early 2000s to overthrow its socialist government beginning with Hugo Chávez. At the same time, it poured money into right-wing movements and backed open fascists like Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. All of this is a modern version of the era of overthrowing leftists who won at the ballot box or by ousting U.S.-friendly dictators. And all of the mass murder, the sanctions, the regime changes, the election interference, the covert support for anti-democratic forces determined to be good for so-called free markets is, today, as it was in the 1950s, sold in the name of bringing freedom and democracy.
Powerful Democrats and Republicans alike have sold the notion that economic sanctions are somehow a cleaner way of forcing change than military action. They portray sanctions as targeting the dictators, the oligarchs, the criminally corrupt. But the filthy truth is that not all sanctions are created equal. Yes, there are sanctions that go after individual criminals. But the sanctions we’re talking about on Venezuela right now are not going harm Maduro and his inner circle personally. No, these sanctions are aimed at punishing the Venezuelan people by depriving them of food, medicine, wages, and their very humanity. The strategy is to use these sanctions as a cudgel against an already suffering people in a campaign to torture them into submission.
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