Guest post by Atilio Boron.

The emperor fired his starting pistol and anointed Juan Guaidó as president. Guaidó is a nobody in Venezuelan policy, unknown by the great majority of the population but built pret a porter [ready-to-wear] by the media and North American marketers in the past two weeks.

After Trump’s outburst, the governments of the region who are going out of their way to turn their countries into neo-colonial puppet republics – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Honduras, and even the degraded Canada – went out in a throng to see which one of them was the first to lick the boots of New York’s magnate.

This grotesque abuse of law, which would be worth a good laugh if it were not for the fact that it could end in tragedy, has the blessing of [Secretary General of the Organisation of American States] Luis Almagro, whose catchphrase may as well be, “How much do I get for overthrowing Maduro?”

It has been met mainly with the sound of silence from the United Nations (UN) General Secretariat, the Portuguese António Guterres who, as a good social democrat, suffers from the characteristic tic of his party members who look the other way every time things heat up in any corner of the world.

This is why Guterres asked, through his spokesman, for “inclusive and credible political negotiations” to address the challenges of the country; maybe forgetting that such negotiations were successfully conducted by [former Spanish Prime Minister] José Rodríguez Zapatero in meetings that took place in Santo Domingo and that, at the moment of signing the hard-won agreement, the representatives of Venezuela’s ‘democratic option’ got up from the table and left the Spanish negotiator with his pen in his hand. This was because they received a call from [former Colombian President] Álvaro Uribe, the regular messenger of the White House, transmitting Trump’s order to abort the process.

The attempted coup d’etat, promoted and exalted by the media hitmen, will stumble into many difficulties. It is not the first time in the modern history of Venezuela that the White House has ‘recognised’ a false president. They did the same with Pedro Carmona on April 11, 2002, when he led a coup attempt that lasted barely 47 hours and ended up with him in jail.

Will it be different this time? It is hard to predict. Guaidó can take refuge in a friendly embassy in Caracas and from there issue declarations that heighten the tension and force a confrontation with the United States.

For example, after the order of President Maduro requesting the personnel of the Embassy of the United States to leave the country within 72 hours, the imperial good-for-nothing may ask them to remain in Venezuela.

The other alternative is for Guaidó to locate himself in a nearby city across the Colombian border, and from there – with Trump’s blessing, and that of the stinking representatives of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Latin American neo-colonies – proclaim a new republic, protected by Colombian paramilitaries and the narco-government of [Colombian President Iván] Duque, Uribe and co, and request the international recognition of the OAS and the UN.

Any of these scenarios confirms for the umpteenth time that there is something that not even the imperialists nor the Venezuelan right want – dialogue and the subordination to the rules of the democratic game. It is evident that they both seek a confrontation, be it applying either the Libyan or the Ukrainian models, which were different but shared the outcomes of thousands of fatalities and the creation of hundreds of thousands of refugees.

However, beyond the fake news, things will not be that easy for the assailants of the presidential power. The Chavista base is very firm, and the same can be said of the Bolivarian armed forces. Importantly, a military ‘solution’ would require a major deployment of US troops to Venezuela at a moment when the idea of Trump being subjected to impeachment proceedings is gaining support in the US Congress.

The 26,000 men sent to Panama in December 1989 to capture Noriega and take control of that city had to fight with their full strength over two weeks to accomplish their objective, against a helpless population and an armless army. In the case of Venezuela, the military option would imply an enormous risk of repeating the fiasco of Girón Beach [at the failed US invasion of the Bay of Pigs in 1961] or, on a bigger scale, the Vietnam war, in addition to destabilising the military situation in Colombia with the upsurge of the guerrillas.

Washington’s belligerence against Venezuela is a response to the military defeat that the US has suffered in Syria after six years of huge efforts to topple Assad. From their side, it is no minor development to note that countries such as Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, México, Cuba and Bolivia have refused to provide diplomatic acknowledgement to the coup d’etat. This is significant in the global policy setting. Therefore, the possibility of Guaidó running into similar luck to that of Carmona should not be discarded.

Atilio Boron is an Argentine political analyst and sociologist with a PhD from Harvard University. In 2004 he received the Essay Prize Ezequiel Martínez Estrada from the “House of the Americas” (“la Casa de las Américas”) for his book Empire and Imperialism (Imperio & Imperialismo). In 2009, he received the International José Martí Prize from UNESCO for his contribution to integration of Latin American and Caribbean countries. He blogs at http://www.atilioboron.com.ar/

This article was first published in Spanish by pagina12.com.ar on January 23, 2019. It has been reprinted here in English with the permission of the author. Translation by Verónica Grondona.

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