As Venezuela’s second president, Simon Bolivar, noted in the 19th century, the US government continues to “plague Latin America with misery in the name of liberty.”
From engineering coups in Chile and Guatemala, to choreographing a troop landing at the Bay of Pigs intended to establish an exile government in Cuba, to training Latin American strongmen at the School of the Americas in torture techniques to control their people, the United States has meddled, interfered, intervened and undermined the democracies it claims to protect.
Now, Vice President Mike Pence, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and the infamous Elliott Abrams are working with opposition groups in Venezuela to carry out a coup d’état.
In 2002, the George W. Bush administration, through the CIA, aided and abetted an attempted coup, according to attorney Eva Golinger, an award-winning author and journalist. Golinger, a close confidante of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, obtained evidence of US intervention from multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, which she discusses in her new book, Confidante of ‘Tyrants’: The Inside Story of the American Woman Trusted By the US’s Biggest Enemies.
There is a major difference, however, between the 2002 coup attempt and the Trump administration’s current effort to change the regime in Venezuela, Golinger says. She told Truthout that unlike the situation in 2002, “when the Bush administration worked behind the scenes to back a coup d’état against Chávez with multimillion-dollar funding and political support to the opposition, the Trump administration is now pursuing regime change in Venezuela in plain sight.”
US Aided and Abetted 2002 Coup Attempt
Golinger came to Chávez’s attention after her investigation revealed proof of US involvement in the 2002 attempted coup. Since Chávez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, the United States tried overtly and covertly to overthrow his “Bolivarian Revolution” by furnishing opposition groups working for regime change with millions of dollars, Golinger writes. Chávez used Venezuela’s vast oil wealth to eradicate illiteracy and poverty, and to provide education and universal health care.
After Chávez’s death in 2013, Nicolás Maduro was elected president after promising to carry on the Bolivarian Revolution. But the punishing sanctions President Obama imposed in 2015, combined with corruption, mismanagement and autocratic leadership, caused economic hardship. Falling oil prices in 2016 led to hyperinflation two years later, and Venezuela’s economy collapsed.
Nevertheless, Maduro was re-elected in 2018. The opposition’s boycott of the election and the US government’s support of that boycott resulted in Maduro’s victory over Henri Falcón.
Team Trump Is Engineering Regime Change in Venezuela
Elliott Abrams is a disturbing, but not surprising, choice to serve as US special envoy to Venezuela. Abrams was convicted of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra scandal and later pardoned by George H.W. Bush. The new envoy supported General Efraín Ríos Montt, the Guatemalan dictator who directed the torture and mass murder of Indigenous people in the 1980s, and was later convicted of genocide. Moreover, Abrams was linked to the 2002 attempted US coup in Venezuela.