The Guardian’s Latest Venezuela Hatchet Job

David William Pear

An intended anti-Venezuela propaganda photo, which makes much more sense when you see the little girl as Venezuela, and the police as the United States. The source is here, calling for a military coup.

The Guardian used to be a superb member of the Fourth Estate. It was the “guardian” for the people from the excesses and abuses of power by the government and the ruling class. The free press is vital to democracy because the governing establishments, corporations and oligarchs cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of the public.

Unfettered power in the dark becomes corrupted. It acts in its own best interests even when those interests are harmful to the public’s well-being. The free press is the guardian for the public by keeping it out of the dark of the goings on and shenanigans of the rich, famous and powerful. Transparency has become an overused word in the past few years by the powerful, for the very reason to fool the public of how opaque the actions of the powerful have become.

When the free press fails in its responsibility, then the powers that be have a free hand in the dark. When the 4th estate becomes conjoined with the powerful, then democracy suffocates in the darkness of what has come to be known as the “deep state”. A better description of the deep state would be the “dark state”. The Guardian is now a full-fledged member of the dark state in the service of power instead of the public.

The Guardian’s December 6th “in depth” article on Venezuela is one more of many examples of how the Guardian has become a propaganda organ for the US Empire and its client states. The UK is at the top of the list of the poodles of empire. Having lost their own empire at the end of World War 2, the defunct British Empire made the conscious choice that it would rather be a lapdog for empire rather than just another archaic has-been degenerate monarchy.

The Guardian has now become a degenerate rag instead of an icon of journalism that it used to be prior to about 2014. Why and to who it sold out to is easy to guess, but we really don’t know because the Guardian’s finances are hidden in the dark of a private foundation. Instead of the icon of journalism it used to be, the Guardian is just a tabloid that has to beg its readers for money, because any serious readers know that its “journalism” is not worth the price of a subscription.

The latest of many insults to the intelligence of the public is “Slow-motion catastrophe / on the road in Venezuela, 20 years after Chavez’s rise”. The Guardian’s story starts by saying that it is going to take its readers on an adventure “across the nation the late Hugo Chávez dreamed of transforming, to understand its collapse”.

Our adventure begins at Simón Bolívar international airport in Caracas, where the toilets are “overflowing with urine”. From there the reader’s adventure is all down-hill. Why bother on this adventure.

Now that the scene has been set with overflowing urine, anyone used to the Guardian in the past few years knows where this story is going. The conclusion is going to be like every other independent-minded country that is out of step with George H.W. Bush’s vision of a post-socialism New World Order of US-led neoliberalism. Under the New World Order there can only be one independent sovereign country and that is the USA. For every other independent country in the world, the US alone has assumed that regardless of international law, it has the right to destabilize it, economically, politically and by military force.

Before our Guardian guide Tom Philips (with additional reporting by Patricia Torres and Clavel Rangel) even leaves the airport, it is obvious to him that the “Bolivarian revolution, like the airport’s immobile escalators, has ground to a halt”. Since Tom already has his story why didn’t he and his “additional reporter” just turn around and go home? We got the picture!

The end of the story is that there needs to be a regime change, privatize all state enterprises, deregulation, IMF loans for development, end the welfare state, austerity and a military dictatorship or fascism. Nicolás Maduro has to go, which means to “terminate with extreme prejudice”, in CIA lingo.

Missing from the article is how the US got caught red handed in a coup d’état against Hugo Chavez in 2002. On April 13, 2002 the New York Times could not wait to report that “a leading businessman replaced President Hugo Chávez today, hours after military officers forced him to resign”. Elections will be held within a year, the New York Times promised. Opps, the New York Times had to correct the story the next day as the Venezuelan people turned out and demanded the return of their president Chavez.

Those were the days when the Guardian was an honest newspaper. On April 21, 2002 the Guardian headline was: “Venezuela coup linked to Bush team, Specialists in the ‘dirty wars’ of the Eighties encouraged the plotters who tried to topple President Chavez”. The story continued:

The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government, The Observer has established. They have long histories in the ‘dirty wars’ of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time.

Washington’s involvement in the turbulent events that briefly removed left-wing leader Hugo Chavez from power last weekend resurrects fears about US ambitions in the hemisphere.”

Let’s jump forward to 2009 and see how the Guardian reported the coup d’état in Honduras: “Does the US back the Honduran coup?” The Guardian still believed in ethical journalism:

The military coup that overthrew Honduras’s elected president, Manuel Zelaya, brought unanimous international condemnation…. Lula da Silva of Brazil and Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, who denounced the coup and called for the re-instatement of Zelaya. The EU issued a similar, less ambiguous and more immediate response.”

The Organization of American States, the Rio Group (most of Latin America) and the UN general assembly have all called for the “immediate and unconditional return” of Zelaya.”

…Clinton was asked whether “restoring the constitutional order” in Honduras meant returning Zelaya himself. She would not say yes.”

Why such reluctance to call openly for the immediate and unconditional return of an elected president, as the rest of the hemisphere and the UN has done? One obvious possibility is that Washington does not share these goals.”

Yes, why was Hillary Clinton so reluctant to call a coup a coup? In her book Hard Choices and leaks from Wikileaks we found out. Hillary wrote in her book Hard Choices:

I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere. We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”

Wikileaks leaked cable from the U.S. Embassy in Honduras to Hillary. The cable makes it clear that Hillary knew that there had been a military coup. Yet Hillary continued the charade that Zelaya had “fled in the middle of the night to avoid justice for his crimes”. Hillary and Obama illegally continued to provide military and economic foreign aid to the coup-government in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act.

Now that the Guardian has given us a road trip of Venezuela, how about they give us a road trip of Honduras? Actually, that might not be a good idea. In 2017 Human Rights Watch reported that Honduras is the “Murder Capital of the World”, especially for journalists.

Venezuela has been under attack by the US for two decades. There have been coup attempts, crushing economic sanctions, and the US financial backing of opposition and terrorist groups. The US which is the most powerful financial and military power the world has ever seen has been trying to destroy Venezuela because they nationalized their oil and they are a socialist country.

Of course, their economy is a mess. It doesn’t take a dog and pony show by the Guardian to know that, but to blame the victim is sadistic. The last thing Venezuela needs is for the US to bring them “democracy and human rights”.