The president of the United States, Donald Trump, soon announced that Maduro was no longer the president of Venezuela. Juan Guaido now held that position. A few days later, our foreign secretary, James Hunt, declared that Britain does not regard Maduro as Venezuela's "legitimate leader". Instead, opposition head Juan Guiado is "the right person to take the country forward". That's a special relationship in action - Trump leads; the Tory government follows.
|self-declared president - Juan Guaido|
Listen to our media and the Trump/Tory line rules the airwaves and fills cyberspace. But there is another side to the story.
There is an evident link between Guaido and his actions on the one hand and Trump's support. According to Associated Press, Guaido had secretly visited Washington, Colombia and Brazil in the
period just before his attempted coup. Guiado is a 35-year-old politician from the prosperous upper-middle classes of Venezuela who feared they would lose out from the largely successful move to socialism under Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president from 1999 until his death from cancer in 2013. Guaido has a degree from Caracas University and another from George Washington University in the States. He was one of a group of young leaders who founded the Popular Will Party in 2009. Popular Will has been associated with street violence. In 2011, he became an opposition member of the National Assembly and in 2016 was elected as the representative of the state of Vargas.
Does the United States benefit from Guaido's political ambitions being fulfilled? In Trump's mind, every which way - absolutely. It provides a way to get back a measure of control over the oil of Venezuela that was lost during the Chavez years and crush the menace of socialism. US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced that "the Maduro regime is illegitimate and the United States will work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country". Beware those who declare themselves to be the true democrats. The US foreign policy scorecard on this issue reads: Korea, Vietnam, the ousting of Allende in Chile, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria … surely, we can read the runes by now?
|We all need a sense of geography - did we get taught about South America at school?|
There is a social and economic and political crisis in Venezuela that had led to millions leaving the country. This is a fact and Venezuela need the support of the international community. But the fundamental reason for the distress is the collapse of the price of oil in the international markets and the over-dependence of the country on that single commodity. Yet despite everything, last year Maduro won the presidential election with 68 per cent of the vote against two right-wing candidates, with some opposition parties taking part and others choosing to boycott of their own accord, including Popular Will. What price a commitment to democracy when you decline to take part in free elections? Two hundred independent international observers confirmed the reliability of Venezuela's electoral system. Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has congratulated Venezuela on having one of the fairest and most transparent electoral systems in the world. International law means respect for national sovereignty - go tell that to the marines.
|Not up-to-date but it shows the projected trend that has become a reality|
The United States administration under Trump is intensifying its economic boycott which targets the oil revenues on which Venezuela is dependent for food import and other necessities. Ordinary people will suffer more. There is now an open threat of military intervention by the United States to support regime change. The US has bases all along the Columbian border, an extreme right-wing president - Jair Bolsonaro - now holds power in Brazil, and there are strong suggestions that Gavin Williamson, the new ambitious defence secretary in the UK, has plans to establish a military base across the eastern border in Guyana. There is more than a hint of a coordinated international effort to rid the world of the spectre of socialism, in this case in Venezuela. Jeremy Corbyn and his allies in the leadership of the Labour Party here in the UK know what to expect.
|Venezuela - the still wealthy side|
Yesterday, Saturday 2 February, Caracas - the capital of Venezuela - was filled by those rallying in support of President Maduro. Such rallies receive little attention; those in support of Guaido get the focus of the cameras and reporters. Here is today's news:
|Venezuela - the shanty town side|
I thought some objective news would be welcome. Manipulated news is coming thick and fast these days.