The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in a number of countries in Latin America – posing a threat to the lives of millions of people across the continent. In this life and death situation the people of Latin America need solidarity and assistance to deal with a crisis that has overwhelmed the healthcare systems of some the world’s richest and most advanced economies in the world. The response of governments in Latin America has so far varied considerably. Countries with a socialist oriented leadership have adopted strict preventative measures. On the other hand the ultra-right wing President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, is pursuing the opposite approach, joining Donald Trump in totally downplaying the crisis and failing to take action, which risks catastrophe and mass deaths in a country of 210 million people.
In 2018 the US coordinated an attempted coup against Nicaragua’s democratically elected President Daniel Ortega and the left wing Sandinista government. The coup plot failed but the impact of months of extreme violence instigated by right wing opposition groups funded by the US has been to transform Nicaragua’s economic success story into a crisis, with the economy contracting in 2018 and 2019. The imposition of US sanctions through the ‘NICA Act’ of December 2018 has put serious pressure on the Nicaraguan government.
New regime change efforts are underway in Bolivia, this time, bizarrely, aimed at blaming Evo Morales’ leftist government for the fires raging across the Amazon. So far it’s a narrative confined to western funded NGO’s and their contacts in foreign media. However, one should expect an intensification of US intervention and regime change propaganda as the country faces general elections this October. To understand how the US operates in Bolivia, and how they have been defeated, it's worth looking back on the last major CIA-backed effort to get rid of Morales. 2008-2009 was the ‘media luna’ coup - a wave of violence by an elite that knew they couldn’t defeat Morales in democratic elections. It was defeated, in no small part, by the role Venezuela played in helping Bolivia overcome the conflict that very nearly spilled into open civil war.
Last week the Venezuelan people resoundingly defeated the latest US-backed coup attempt against their government. Washington’s puppet and fake ‘interim President of Venezuela’, Juan Guaido, led the ineffective and small attempt to overthrow the legitimate and democratic Venezuelan government. In the face of this tactical defeat, the US administration continues to intensify its offensive against the Venezuelan government and people through harsh economic sanctions, military threats and subversive attacks.
There are mounting fears that under the guise of delivering ‘humanitarian aid’ the US is trying to stage-manage a confrontation to provide a pretext for a US military attack on Venezuela.
In an act of brazen cynicism the US is offering the Venezuelan people, who it is currently attempting to starve through economic sanctions, ‘humanitarian aid.’ The Venezuelan government has rejected this ‘aid’ on the grounds that it is not a genuine offer to help but on the contrary a part of the US plan to achieve “regime change” in Venezuela, in contravention of international law.
The Trump administration is attempting to bully the Venezuelan people into submission through a combination of economic sanctions, military threats and intense international political pressure. The goal of the US administration is to force Venezuela’s democratically elected government out and to replace it with a puppet regime loyal to US imperialism, under the Presidency of the unelected Juan Guaido.
Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday 23 January to recognise the unelected right wing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s “interim President” is confirmation that a coordinated operation led by the US to bring about regime change, which is illegal under international law, is underway. Following this outrageous announcement, Trump was asked whether he would consider military action against Venezuela and he replied: “all options are on the table.” The White House is also considering the ‘nuclear option’ of imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s crude oil which would have a devastating effect on the economy.