By Jomo Sanga Thomas
(“Plain Talk”, April 9, 2020)
For the entire life of the Bolivarian revolution, beginning with the triumph of President Hugo Chavez in 1998, the US governments, as well as the rich and powerful nations of this world, have been violently opposed to the transformative process ongoing in Venezuela.
It mattered not that the revolutionary process, initiated by Commander Chavez, and admirably continued by president Nicholas Maduro, brought free health and dental care, free education, a literacy program that taught millions of ordinary people to read and write, built more than 3 million homes for citizens, and for the first time, in a century, since the discovery and exploitation of the nation’s enormous oil and gas reserves, used the income to satisfy the needs of the people of Venezuela.
We know that revolutions, premised on the radical transformation of the society, away from the rich and powerful ruling classes and towards the poor and marginalized, the weak and disadvantageous workers and peasants, will always be opposed by leaders, institutions and nations that are satisfied with the status quo, where as small, parasitic elite reign like mighty lords.
What has taken this US opposition to a new low is the vehement hatred that comes from these powerful forces. Who could believe that in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic, the US regime, led by Donald Trump, would ramp up an embargo against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Cuba and Iran, veto a US$5 billion loan to Venezuela which was requested to buy crucial medical supplies to aid in the fight against the pandemic, and compounded that refusal by taking their perfidy to an all time low by declaring Venezuela a narco-terrorist state, placed a US$15 million bounty on President Maduro and millions more on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Head of the Armed forces and the Leader of the National Assembly?
Venezuela is a country with bountiful resources. Within its soil lies the largest deposit of oil in the world, a vast land and sea scape, abundant water, the rare mineral, Coltan which is essential in the manufacture of portable telephones, personal computers, automobile electronics and cameras, gold, diamonds and bauxite, among other precious metals. Left to function normally, it can easily pay its debt. Yet a supposedly neutral, independent body such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) refused to lend this long-suffering people the funds necessary to fight this dreaded disease.
Imagine further that the entire leadership of this fighting people is tarred with the nasty smear of narco-terrorism. The simple reason for this unjustified and evil action on the part of the Trump regime is that it has been unable to break the will of the Venezuelan leadership. It has tried hoisting the non-entity Juan Guaido on the people. Bribe, blackmail, assassination of the country’s leaders and all these attempts have failed.
Considering these failures, the US government is dusting off the Noriega option which was implemented in 1999 to justify the invasion of Panama. Having failed to bring down the revolution, which is geared towards uplifting and benefitting the majority of Venezuelan citizens, the US government has taken its big lie to another level, falsely accusing the entire leadership of this proud and defiant nation, of drug trafficking so as to justify an invasion.
To be sure, this declaration by the Trump regime that the Bolivarian leadership of Venezuela is narco-terrorists, is primarily intended to divert attention from the incompetence and ineptitude of the US government in the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump knows well that U.S. citizens defend their soldier sons and daughters, no matter how lousily the country’s leaders. In addition, 2020 is an election year and Trump is seeking re-election. He is looking for anything that will give him a lift in the polls and on which he can glide home to victory in November presidential elections.
But the narco-terrorist charge against President Maduro and the entire top leadership of Venezuela is refuted by persons who know well the situation in Venezuela.
Pino Arlacchi, Former Vice Secretary of the United Nations and Former Executive Director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said a day after the charges were laid, ‘I have been dealing with the issue of drugs for forty years, and I have never encountered Venezuela. Before, during and after as Executive Director of UNODC (1997-2002), Venezuela has always been outside the main cocaine trafficking circuits.’
Trump’s Justice Department leveled the charges without a shred of proof or evidence against President Nicolas Maduro and other top government officials. Attorney General Barr argued that the President Maduro administration allowed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to use the national airspace to transport drugs and ‘flood the U.S with cocaine.’
However, Pino Arlacchi, the long serving United Nations official said, “There is no illegal drug trade between Venezuela and the United States, except in the ill fantasy of Trump and his associates”. Mr. Arlacchi cited two critical sources to augment his assertions. The first one is the most recent UNODC report on drugs, and the second the latest U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA document) dated December 2019, which neither one of them mentions Venezuela.
According to the DEA report, 90 percent of the cocaine introduced in the U.S. comes from Colombia, six percent from Peru and the rest from unknown origins. ‘You can be sure that if in that remaining four percent any hint of Venezuela’s involvement existed, it would not have gone unnoticed,’ Arlacchi noted.
The Trump regime’s policies towards Venezuela and by extension Cuba, Nicaragua and Iran, are not only repugnant and repulsive; they are immoral, unethical and illegal. They are essentially crimes against humanity.
No one who believes in the right to life and the international law principles of Independence, sovereignty, non-inference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of independent states, should remain quiet when countries are strangled and people are made to suffer and die because they choose a path to national development that does not fit into the whim and fancy of powerful states.
We must raise our voices in principled opposition to the smearing of leaders and the destruction of countries that are fighting to ensure a better life for their peoples.
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