Trump’s attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government has been joined by fellow fascists around the world, including most of the Democratic Party.
During the 2016 presidential campaign this columnist wrote, “Who’s the Fascist?” and asked why Obama and his predecessors were rarely labeled with the dreaded F word despite having earned the designation. In the wake of the Donald Trump coup attempt against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, the question is still relevant.
Little known Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president after conducting secret negotiations with the Trump administration. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had publicly threatened Venezuela many times and Guaidó made his move after getting the go ahead from the U.S. The Trump team’s recognition of the coup attempt is fascism by any definition of the word.
But if Trump and Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton can be called fascists, what do we call Democrats who immediately jumped on the coup d’état band wagon? Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois, Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi were among the first to support this blatant violation of international law.
The phony resistance showed their true colors right away. Durbin went from Trump critic to bragging about his conversations with Guaidó. He called Trump’s recognition of the usurpation “appropriate” and hailed Guaidó as a “patriot.” Murphy said, “Getting rid of Maduro is good for the United States.” Pelosi bestowed the all-purpose “authoritarian” label upon Maduro and falsely declared that she stood with the Venezuelan people. These Democrats may have better manners, and facility with the language, and never wear a MAGA hat but they are not much better than the president they otherwise pillory. When push came to shove they backed fascist U.S. imperialism.
Only a few congressional Democrats spoke out against Trump. Tulsi Gabbard and Ilhan Omar were among them. Bernie Sanders tried to have it both ways. He condemned Maduro and then meekly and obliquely stated opposition to the coup. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted Ro Khanna’s mealy mouthed call for dialogue.
The same critique of the aggressors and half-assed appeasers in this country applies to liberal leaders around the world like Justin Trudeau of Canada. Canada is thought of as a more progressive and enlightened nation than the United States. It may have gun control and free health care but Canada is a vassal state, a puppet government that is committed to aiding and abetting United States aggressions.
Canada was quickly followed by European nations Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom. They pompously declared that they, too, would recognize Guaidó’s pretend presidency if Maduro didn’t call for new elections within eight days. One must conclude that the leaders of those governments are every bit as fascist as Donald Trump.
Hypocritical Democrats and craven leaders from abroad should not be given any cover in this disgraceful episode. Ultimately they believe in Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine which posited that the entire hemisphere was U.S. property to be treated anyway that the hegemon chose. They don’t really believe in democracy because they are actively undermining the will of the people who elected Hugo Chavez first and then Maduro. Trudeau, May, Macron, Merkel and Sanchez believe that the global south nations have no rights that Europeans feel the need to respect.
Venezuela is a clear cut litmus test for anyone who claims to support the norms of democratic governance. The people of that nation have chosen a left party to lead them. But the United States opposes their choice and works with its allies to undermine their nation. These interventions must always be opposed. There can be no condemnation of Maduro that justifies U.S. interference. Corporate media talking points about who is or isn’t a dictator must be ignored. The Venezuelan people are suffering but that is because of U.S. sanctions and their destruction of the economy.
It is clear that Democratic Party leaders don’t really believe in fighting for democracy. Their own party suffered twice in the past 20 years as a result of the very undemocratic Electoral College. Al Gore and Hillary Clinton both won the popular vote but were cheated out of the presidency. Neither they nor any of the party leadership protested the result. Hillary Clinton wouldn’t even demand a vote recount. Yet the same Democrats who betrayed their voters and gave up without fighting make the case for a bogus power grab in a far away country. They are a sham of a party and fight only for the world wide oligarchy.
The same elected representatives in that party have used unverified claims of Russian election interference as a substitute for giving the people what they need and want. Yet, without a hint, of irony they very openly approve of meddling with the rights of Venezuelans.
It must also be pointed out that Venezuela is no aberration. Trump and Pompeo are behaving no differently than Obama and Clinton did in Libya. And they spun the same lies as Bush father and son did in order to attack Iraq. Trump is just the latest presidential fascist who carried out crimes with bipartisan support.
Venezuela is the proverbial line in the sand. One either supports the right of self-determination or not. The obvious fascists like Trump and Bolton and their smarter, smoother collaborators like Trudeau are cut from the same cloth. They must all be opposed.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.