By Danny Haiphong
“Washington's increasingly isolated position in Latin America brought Obama to the conclusion that he had no other choice but to desperately threaten Venezuela into submission.”President Obama has declared war on the Bolivarian government of Venezuela. The executive order, signed by Obama on March 9th, labeled the socialist country a "threat to national security." This came directly after the Obama Administration announced sanctions on Venezuela in December of late last year. Obama pushed the sanctions forward after engaging in talks with Cuba that freed the remaining members of the Cuban Five. Obama justified the sanctions as a necessary step to prevent "human rights violations" against the fascist right wing, US-backed opposition in Venezuela.
However, Obama's war on Venezuela has zero to do with concern for "human rights." Obama's open declaration of war is yet another attempt on the part of Washington to utilize the human rights industry to stave off imperial decline. US capital, now only 17 percent of the world's GDP, is waging worldwide military warfare to make up for severe losses in economic influence. The rate of profit, and thus US corporate and dollar hegemony, is on the path of collapse. Finance and corporate capital has calculated that escalated military force must be globalized if it is to sustain worldwide capitalist domination.
Venezuela is no stranger to US capitalism's desperate acts of self-preservation through military strangulation. In 2002, the fascist oligarchy and the CIA temporarily ousted former president and revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan people freed Chavez within days and set back Washington's agenda in Latin America. In 2014, Washington-backed fascists went on the offensive once again. The right-wing oligarchy burned government buildings, sabotaged social programs, and attacked pro-Bolivarian Venezuelans (especially Afro-Venezuelans) wherever they could be found. But despite the millions agencies like National Endowment for Democracy poured into the fascist uprising, the Bolivarian government prevented Washington's plot to destabilize Venezuela's sovereignty.
“Finance and corporate capital has calculated that escalated military force must be globalized if it is to sustain worldwide capitalist domination.”Venezuela is no threat to US "national security," but its resistance to Empire is a threat to US hegemony. The Bolivarian revolution is an expression of self-determination. The capitalist dictators that rule Washington are on a war against self-determination all over the world. Neo-colonial robbery and plunder has become completely antagonistic to the interests of the oppressed. Venezuela's example has spread throughout Latin America through alliances such as ALBA and UNASUR, both of which have come steadfastly to the Bolivarian nation’s defense.
The Bolivarian revolution's primary inspiration to the world lies in the concrete ways it has worked to separate the nation from the misery of neo-colonialism. Through the redistribution of its oil wealth, Venezuela has reduced structural poverty more than any other nation in the region from almost 50 percent in 1998 to well below 10 percent in 2014. Housing, education, and healthcare are human rights in Venezuela. Bolivarian missions have vastly expanded working class Venezuela's access to the basic necessities of life. The socialist transition in Venezuela has eradicated illiteracy, dramatically reduced the infant mortality rate, and built mass organizations such as Bolivarian Circles that have placed the destiny of Venezuela in the hands of its working class majority.
In 2015, Venezuela's national assembly announced a "Socialist Offensive" to curb the challenges presented by its enemies. The fascist, US-backed oligarchy's ability to conduct economic terrorism in Venezuela has held back the Bolivarian process. US imperialism hopes that the oligarchy, with Washington's support, can wrestle dominance in Venezuela back from the people. However, the oligarchy has failed to destabilize the Bolivarian revolution. Washington's increasingly isolated position in Latin America brought Obama to the conclusion that he had no other choice but to desperately threaten Venezuela into submission.
“Everywhere China invests, Washington seeks to engulf in flames.”Another factor in Washington's war on Venezuela not mentioned in the corporate media is the growing influence of China in Latin America. In January, China announced that it would invest 250 billion in Latin America over the next decade. Venezuela is set to receive 20 billion over this period for infrastructure development. China, despite having a large stake in the US capitalist economy, is at the top of the list of Washington’s destabilization agenda. The permanent capitalist crisis has stripped Washington of the title of top economic superpower. That title now belongs to China. So, everywhere China invests, Washington seeks to engulf in flames. In response to Chinese investment in Africa, the US has sponsored the destabilization of Sudan, Libya, and has installed over 50 AFRICOM installations spread across all but two African nations. As China seeks to develop relations with Russia, Eurasia, and Latin America, expect Washington to escalate global warfare in these regions regardless of the consequence.
During my participation on a panel entitled "The inescapable reality of Neo-liberalism", I was scoffed at by a professor at Skidmore College who did not believe that "humanitarian intervention" and imperialist warfare constituted examples of neo-liberalism. Yet, every US imperial intervention (all seventy plus of them) since 1945 has been conducted for neo-liberal capitalism’s geopolitical and economic interests. To separate imperialist warfare from the interests of neo-liberal capitalism is inherently misleading and backward. Washington's declared war on Venezuela is case in point. The neo-liberal Empire is dying and losing influence in a region that was once under its brutal neo-colonial control. It has no choice but to point its guns in every direction in hopes of bringing Venezuela back into its orbit. Don't expect the people of Venezuela to take the bait.
Danny Haiphong is an organizer for Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) in Boston. He is also a regular contributor to Black Agenda Report. Danny can be reached at email@example.com and FIST can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.