empire watch, latest, Venezuela

Washington’s Intent is Economic Destabilization and “Regime Change” In Venezuela

by Stephen Lendman at Global Research

Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy suffers greatly from low crude oil prices and US economic warfare – waged to destabilize the country, create enormous hardships, mobilize majority opposition to President Nicolas Maduro’s leadership, and end nearly 18 years of economic and social progress. The collapse in the price of crude oil was the result of a carefully designed speculative operation.
Neocons in Washington want control over Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, among the world’s largest. With full US support and encouragement, the right wing opposition which controls the National Assembly want Maduros ousted – its latest tactic by recall referendum as constitutionally permitted.

On October 18, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled valid signatures of 20% of voters in each of the nation’s 24 states must be collected to proceed with a process against Maduro.

“(F)ailure…will render the call for the presidential recall referendum as nullified,” the High Court said in its ruling.

On October 21, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) suspended the referendum until further notice, following Supreme Court allegations of fraud. Over 30% of signatures collected had irregularities – including listing over 10,000 deceased persons.

A previous article explained how Venezuela’s recall referendum works. Article 72 of Venezuela’s Constitution states “(a)ll magistrates and other offices (including the president) filled by popular vote are subject to revocation.”

Once half (their) term of office…has elapsed, 20% of (registered) voters (by petition may call for) a referendum to revoke such official’s mandate.

When a number of voters equal to or greater than the number of those who elected the official vote in favor of revocation (provided the total is 20% or more of registered voters), the official’s mandate shall be deemed revoked…”

Signatures collected must be verified for authenticity before proceeding further with the recall process. If achieved, it’ll be organized within 90 days. Removing Maduro requires support from more than the 50.6% of voters supporting his 2013 election.

Timing is important. If held by January 10, 2017, a new election will be called if Maduro loses. If things go against him after this date, Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz will serve as president until January 2019, when his term expires.

In response to CNE’s suspending the recall process, the factions controlling the National Assembly barely stopped short of urging coup d’etat action to remove Maduro forcefully.

Last Sunday, they said they’ll impeach him for “violating democracy.” The body has no legal standing after ignoring the Supreme Court’s October 18 ruling.

United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Hector Rodriguez mocked them, saying parties violating the “rules of the game come and talk about democracy…There will be no recall referendum in 2016 because of fraudulent signatures collected.”

Violent demonstrations may follow, similar to what occurred in 2014 – perhaps another US coup attempt.

On October 24, WaPo editors disgracefully headlined “How to derail Venezuela’s new dictatorship.” What followed was a disgraceful litany of misinformation, exaggeration and Big Lies.

WaPo: Maduro “made clear (he and his government are) prepared to shred what remained of the country’s constitutional order…(They) stripped the opposition-controlled national assembly of its powers, imprisoned several top leaders and tried to slow” the recall process.

Fact: Maduro and Venezuela’s CNE observe the letter of constitutional law. No opposition powers were “stripped.” Their imprisoned officials plotted to remove Maduro by coup d’etat.

Collecting fraudulent signatures “slow(ed)” the recall process, not administration officials.

WaPo: Opposition National Assembly members “issued a declaration saying Mr. Maduro had staged a coup. That is accurate – and it ought to provoke a consequential reaction from the United States and Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors.”

Fact: No Maduro “coup” occurred, nor is one in prospect. WaPo calling for “consequential” action sounds ominously like urging Washington to oust him forcefully.

WaPo: “The recall referendum the opposition was pursuing offered a democratic way out of what has become one of the worst political and humanitarian crises in Latin America’s modern history.”

Fact: US dirty tricks and economic manipulation leading to disruptions in the distribution of food, bear much responsibility for hard times in Venezuela. Real problems exist. Hunger isn’t one of them. WaPo lied claiming “(t)he vast majority of low-income families say they are having trouble obtaining food.”

Venezuelans changed their dietary practices because of the scarcity of commonly eaten foods, at times consuming less than earlier. Profiteers hoarding and diverting foodstuffs for resale are responsible, along with high inflation resulting economic manipulation.

WaPo: “(T)he United States should be coordinating tough international action.”

Fact: Neocon WaPo editors want Maduro toppled and replaced. Do they mean by coup d’etat by calling for “tough international action?”

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.


  1. A note to OG management. I think you can tell that the ‘like’ feature gets abused. Please think seriously about ditching it.

  2. The resource-rich Right goes from strength to strength, even when light happens (and much exposure of the Right’s perversity and criminality exists, even to the extent that everyone, good and bad, acknowledges the criminal coup by criminals against the people’s representative in Brazil). The documentary, “Weapons Of Mass Deception,” by the late Danny Schechter says it all, which is why I linked to it on my blog years ago. Weapons Of Mass Deception are not small potatoes. They are not ineffective, which is why wherever you see the US-led gangster corporatocracy urging and aiding coups against governments that haven’t sufficiently abused their people you also see those weapons deployed with gusto.

    As I’ve said before, Corporate-owned media is a threat to national security – everywhere. Most of the time, it’s just evil. But during regime changes, it’s like someone found a jar of anthrax and smashed it with a rock and then blew it with a leaf blower.

  3. Disgruntled Venezuelan says

    Just how disconnected from reality are you? Do you seriously believe that the current situation you describe in this article that Venezuela is going through has anything to do with US meddling? “Real problems exist. Hunger isn’t one of them.” This is an outright shocking statement for anyone living here when many families struggle to even get bread and cheese for the next day, hell, the running joke this year is about the “Madulight diet” coming from the sometimes dramatic weight loss for people of the middle and lower classes.
    Believing my government’s angle of a “US-led economic war” is depressing, specially considering most of the scarcity is a direct product of the populist policies pushed by Chavez during his time and now Maduro, relying solely on the price of oil with no incentives for agricultural or other production.
    The escalation of the protests is the result of years of living in an empoverished and incredibly unsafe society, a situation the government outright mocks, leaving us in a state where only the very protesters and the security forces lose. While I personally can’t, and won’t, condone the violence happening during some of these protests, marching down the streets is the only tool the people have that can’t be outright tossed aside, like the recall vote.
    About the recall vote, yes, the CNE has been laying out unnecessary hurdles to activate the recall process, it’s interesting how your article completely ignores the 1% signature barrier arbitrarily put up by the electoral council, or the signature verification process being held out for as long as possible, giving public employees only two work days a week for little more than a month, or the sudden requirement that both 1% and 20% be counted off of each state instead of a countrywide standard, or, the most worrying circumstance surrounding the invalidation of signatures, that the tribunals that ruled out the sentence to render the signatures null in each state did not have the constitutional power to do so.
    The Venezuelan government is not some leftist champion, not an underdog fighting the imperial grasp of the US on the world, it IS a corrupt and failed project ruled by people drunk with power, something which not even the recent election of a national assembly majorly made from opposition parliamentarians can stop, despite what your leftist, white guilt filled rhetoric makes you believe. So please, learn the difference between a good leftist government and a failed state. I even urge you, the author, to travel all the way from your comfortable and, as much as I hate saying it, privileged Chicago home to my country with your family and live a few months in Venezuela trying to live off of the ridiculously high minimum wage (that won’t get any family through the end of the month), you’ll find it’s not the socialist paradise it’s not chalked up to be.

  4. Jose Lloveras says

    Inl what planet are you living?

  5. Depressing and SO predictable. Having easily knocked over Brazil and Argentina, Venezuela ought to be easy meat for the Murkan battle machine. Curious, though, how, despite all the odds, actual people keep insisting on voting for governments that serve their interests. Even when they know they’re not going to get it.

  6. Quiet Si says

    Surprising article. Even Maduro’s friends have accused him of gross economic and political ineptitude. Chavism (a chaotic amalgamation of of corruption and cronyism) promised much to the people but without strong legal foundations it is tottering and crumbling. To suggest the us neoconservatives caused the collapse in the oil price is nonsense. They probably lost more in US oil and gas sector bankruptcies than anyone. Maduro will struggle because the people are disappointed with the effects of his policies. The us is largely a sad spectator.

    • Chris says

      The US a sad spectator? The Vietnamese, Chileans, Libyans….. might beg to disagree.

      • Quiet Si says

        I think the article was about Venezuela not Libya etc. My comment was based on that premise. the economy in Vietnam is doing quite well. The ruling communist party has not made any statements re unwelcome US involvement but is on record as welcoming new and continue using US investment. The other countries you mention do not seem to have any bearing on the original articles subject.

        • Chris says

          Well, one can attempt to analyse each interference/invasion separately so that no pattern appears. Re Venezuela, the frequent participation by the US ambassador there in anti government demonstrations is a clear breach of diplomatic protocol. Same happened in Syria in 2011, in the Ukraine.. let’s not talk about long established patterns though.

      • Made in Québec says

        Please, don’t feed the troll.

        “Quiet Si/Citizen Si” is just a right wing crackpot who come here with a provocative and propaganda purpose, nothing else.

        • Quiet Si says

          Aaah. Insult those you disagree with instead of furnishing evidence, crackpot maybe, right wing never. Let’s see some evidence of these assertions instead of abuse. Just spouting dogma and sloganeering is not enough.
          Re Venezuela, a regime that despite a highly educated workforce, enormous natural resources, and finance from oil sales and Chinese institutions, cannot feed or provide toilet paper for its people, is never going to persuade the world of the virtues of state socialism.

      • Boo Radley says

        If spectator now means regime-change obsessed psychopath, then yeah.

      • Simon Price says

        I think Petra’s ideas have been shown to be sentimentally attractive to bourgeois obsevers and romantics but like most left wing academics, not anchored in working class reality.

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