As the corporate media throws itself enthusiastically behind the US-backed attempted coup in Venezuela, here is our selection of several of the best sources to understand what’s really going on.
While Britain reels from the fall out of Brexit, a significantly more severe and far-reaching political and economics crisis is happening in Venezuela. It is in times of crisis that reliable information is most critical yet also most elusive. Media coverage is not separate from modern political crises but very much part of them. That which presents itself as objective, reasoned, analysis is often no more than an ideological salvo discharged from one side of warring factions. Never more so than in the case of Venezuela, where a combination of the class power of Venezuelan elites and realpolitik interests of the US government conspire to ensure that what we read and hear about Venezuela is heavily skewed against the current Venezuelan government and its supporters – many of whom come from the poorer sectors of the population. For those wanting a clearer picture of current events in Venezuela in their historical context, here is our suggested reading list:
1) Greg Grandin wrote an excellent long piece for the London Review of Books providing historical background to Venezuela’s left turn under Hugo Chavez, a balanced appraisal of Venezuela’s 21st Century Socialism, and an analysis of events that have led up to the current impasse.
2) Venezuela’s turn to Socialism did not come without a price. In recent years this price has come in the form of economic sanctions imposed from Washington. In chilling echoes of Iraq before the 2003 invasion, the first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent that these sanctions could amount to ‘crimes against humanity’ under international law.
4) The political crisis has been unfolding for some time. Ask anyone from Venezuela’s opposition and they will tell you the crisis began with Chavez’s election in 1998. Investigative reporter Abby Martin met with opposition activists a couple of years ago for The Real News Network. Here are a couple of less civil examples.
5) In February 2018, the opposition abandoned talks in the Dominican Republic which seemed set to provide a resolution and stave off the threat of civil war.
6) Nicolás Maduro won the 2018 Presidential Elections with 67 per cent of the popular vote. This was met with derision by the international media claiming widespread voter fraud. Jeremy Fox, an international observer during the election, argues that these claims were baseless and that the controversy surrounding the election was media-generated.
7) On 10 January, Maduro took his oath of office. Within minutes the Organization of American States declared Maduro’s presidency illegitimate. The next day Juan Guaidó, the newly appointed President of the National Assembly, declared himself acting president. George Ciccariello-Maher, writing in The Nation bids us to call it what it is: a coup.
8) Alborada’s Pablo Navarrete describes it in similar terms in this BBC interview.
9) More about Juan Guaidó here.
10) This challenge to the Maduro presidency did not come as a surprise to international analysts and members of the solidarity movement who observed a ‘multifaceted war’ being ramped up ahead of President Maduro’s inauguration on 10 January.
11) Aaron Bastani of Novara Media argues that recent events are part of a long-term strategy of the US to use humanitarian crisis as a pretext for regime change.
12) Finally in an interview for Tribune, former Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Guillaume Long gives an overview of Venezuela’s long crisis, the irresponsibility of Western responses and the importance of dialogue moving forward to avert the disaster of a civil war.