Too often, our mainstream media react after the fact. Case in point: Venezuela. What’s happening in that country is not new news, but it is now convenient both politically and economically for Donald Trump and those who are intent on stealing the natural resources of developing countries.
The Venezuela story serves two purposes that feed off of each other. With millennials and other Americans realizing that the current economy is extractive on most, it is imperative that those in power jolt you back to the Powell Manifesto's indoctrination, which programs us to believe that the type of economy we have is best for everyone. Forget what your eyes and your finances are telling you.
Let's be clear: Venezuela is a mess because of President Nicolas Maduro, but also because of the Venezuelan plutocracy and the United States. The North American Congress on Latin America featured an article on its website titled, “The United States’ Hand in Undermining Democracy in Venezuela”:
None of these critics are calling for broad economic sanctions against Latin American countries with far more violent and repressive records. Against Honduras, for instance, where the military was recently deployed to violently repress peaceful demonstrations following fraudulent elections, which the U.S. government recognized. Or against Colombia and Mexico, where, over the last few months, dozens of political candidates and social leaders have been killed with impunity.
Venezuela is treated differently by the U.S., for obvious reasons: it has a government that seeks to be independent from Washington and it sits atop hundreds of billions of barrels of oil reserves, which—when the Venezuelan economy finally recovers— will enable the government to have far-reaching regional influence.
In fact, that is exactly what happened during the Chávez administration. Venezuela grew in popularity in Central America and the Caribbean thanks in great part to the government’s generous Petrocaribe initiative, which brought tangible economic benefits to many countries in the region. It was also influential in building regional institutions such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which were much more independent of the U.S. than the Organization of American States, located in Washington, DC.
Regardless of how one feels about Venezuela’s current government, it is time to acknowledge that U.S. policy towards that country is making things worse. It is generating greater economic pain, instability and political polarization in Venezuela and undermining the odds of reaching a peaceful solution to the country’s political crisis.
Here is the reality: The United States could not allow the continued existence of a non-European, democratic socialist state that is sitting on a fortune of natural resources. It’s a country that can afford to educate the masses who were left behind by the wealthy few and their wards. It hits too close to home.