Venezuela: Escalated War Threats and U.S. “Aid” as Weapon

U.S. Media and Democrats Obediently Line Up with Fascist Trump/Pence Regime on Regime Change in Venezuela

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This weekend there’s been a drumbeat of coverage of the clashes on Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil. According to the U.S. media’s storyline and talking points from the fascist Trump/Pence regime, all trumpeted by major Democrat leaders: Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has been starving his people, and now, outrageously, he’s refusing to allow humanitarian aid—generously provided by the U.S. and its allies—into Venezuela. So everyone should get behind the righteous U.S.-backed effort to remove Maduro and install U.S.-backed Juan Guaidó,1 who represents “democracy” and the interests of the Venezuelan people.

The REALITY: The U.S. imperialists have been starving the Venezuelan people for the last two years with crippling economic sanctions. They’ve seized billions of Venezuela’s own funds, preventing its government from buying needed food and medicine. Outside the public view, the U.S. rulers talk to each other bluntly of accelerating Venezuela’s “collapse” even if innocent people die of hunger and disease. Trump is threatening Venezuelan military leaders with death if they don’t bow down to his demands.

“We Had to Starve the Venezuelan People to Save Them”

During the Vietnam War, a U.S. military commander infamously uttered some truth about America’s mass slaughters there when he remarked after the battle of Bến Tre, “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

Now, as the rulers discuss strategy among themselves, one top official admits the U.S. is applying this same criminal logic to Venezuela.

Former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield is pushing for even harsher U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, saying “perhaps the best solution would be to accelerate the collapse” of Venezuela. He acknowledges that this will kill innocent people, increase malnutrition, and bring “fairly severe punishment” for “millions and millions” of Venezuelans “who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go to off to school.” But according to Brownfield, “the desired outcome [of installing a pro-U.S. regime] justifies this fairly severe punishment.”

Bloomberg News sums up the cynical U.S. strategy: “U.S. sanctions on the oil industry, Venezuela’s only real source of hard currency, threaten further suffering in a nation wracked by hyperinflation and hunger. The sanctions are part of a two-pronged approach by Guaidó and his U.S. supporters—strip Maduro of cash to buy even the scraps of food he’s been distributing to citizens, then ride to the rescue with critical supplies of their own.”

This amounts to holding a whole nation hostage and driving millions into hunger, starvation, misery or death caused by the lack of life-saving medication to further U.S. imperialist objectives. This is nothing less than mass murder and a crime against humanity!

None of this is about humanitarian aid or bringing “democracy” or liberation to the Venezuelan people! It’s about the U.S. provoking and acting on a crisis to seize greater control over the people and wealth of Venezuela, an oppressed country of 30 million people, while blocking rival powers Russia and China from doing so. This is brutal U.S. imperialism, and if successful it will greatly intensify the oppression and suffering of the Venezuelan people!

What Lies at the Root of Venezuela’s Crisis and Suffering? U.S. Imperialism

Who and what are really responsible for this crisis and the terrible suffering of the Venezuelan people? It starts with the hemisphere’s dominant power, the United States.

As Bob Avakian incisively points out in BAsics 1:3:

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.

This has meant that for over 200 years, the U.S. capitalists, now capitalist-imperialists, have considered Latin America their “backyard” to dominate and exploit. They have intervened literally scores of times over these centuries, carried out dozens of coups, and plundered Mexico and Central and South America for its oil, its gold, its rich agriculture and its human labor (see the American Crime series). This has been driven by capitalism-imperialism’s expand or die compulsion to extract profit and dominate whole swaths of the globe in ruthless competition with other powers.

The U.S. does not consider the Maduro regime and its predecessor, the regime of Hugo Chávez, as sufficiently compliant with U.S. interests as expected of “backyard” neighbors.2

Despite the denunciations of Trump and the claims of Maduro, Venezuela is not and has never been a genuine socialist state. In fact, in a number of Latin American countries, sections of the national ruling classes have adopted the label of “socialist” to pursue programs of resistance to some elements of U.S. imperialism, in order to cut a better deal within the imperialist system as a whole. They combine this with social welfare programs popular among the masses and call it “socialism,” but it has nothing in common with genuine revolutionary socialism which aims to break out of imperialist relations as part of fighting for a communist world WITHOUT such oppression.

In Venezuela, former President Hugo Chávez and now Maduro have funded their social welfare programs through profits from selling the country’s oil through the world capitalist market. Together with this, Chávez initiated, and Maduro continued, a process of fostering the allegiance of the military to their regime. While not under direct U.S. domination, this arrangement has left Venezuela firmly locked within the framework of the global capitalist system—and subject to its anarchic workings and economic blackmail and warfare by imperialist powers like the U.S.3

Since Venezuela is dependent on oil sales to buy food, medicines, and other needed goods, when global oil prices dropped in 2014, Venezuela and its people were hit hard, with prices rising and shortages of basic items, like medicine and food, growing more common. The U.S. seized on this crisis to move against the Maduro regime with punishing sanctions which greatly increased the suffering of the Venezuelan people while aiming to cleave significant sections of the military away from the regime. Trump’s threats to the Venezuelan military should be seen in this light.4

As part of this, the U.S. is refusing to give Venezuela access to over $2 billion in assets it holds in the U.S. and Britain, and the U.S. has deprived it of tens of billions in oil sales. In contrast, the much-vaunted “aid” at the center of this controversy is in the scale of $20 million, over 500 times less than what the U.S. is withholding in sanctions.

Pelosi and Democrats Join Coup Chorus

As the Trump/Pence regime starves and openly threatens Venezuela, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats joined right along in the imperialist coup chorus.

On January 24, Pelosi tweeted: “America stands by the people of Venezuela as they rise up against authoritarian rule and demand respect for human rights and democracy.” Pelosi echoed Trump, denouncing “Nicolás Maduro’s regime of repression and impoverishment” while demanding his “decision to block bridges and cut off channels of food and supplies ... must be immediately reversed.”

This is another illustration of the fact that the Democrats and the Republicans both represent U.S. capitalism-imperialism, and both have been responsible for and carried out mass murder, coups, military interventions, and plunder in Latin America and the rest of the world as this chart makes clear. Their differences aren’t over whether or not to exploit and dominate—they’re over the most effective ways to exploit and control!

As we go to press, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris join this chorus.

STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

After the pro-U.S. opposition failed to break the Venezuelan government’s border blockade on Saturday, February 23, Guaidó called for the U.S. and its allies to keep “all options open” in their campaign to remove Maduro. On Monday, Vice President Pence will fly to Bogota, Colombia, for an emergency meeting with Guaidó and some Latin American officials. All this raises the specter of further escalation of U.S. aggression against Venezuela, perhaps direct military intervention.

Everyone with an ounce of principled concern for humanity and the truth should be screaming with outrage!

Wars of empire are inherent and built into the functioning of this system of capitalism-imperialism as long as it exists, and what is needed is an ACTUAL revolution. (See video clip from Bob Avakian, “The Five Stops—Why this System Can’t Be Reformed.”) The interests of the people lie in vigorously opposing the imperialist wars of empire and standing with the great mass of humanity, as part of bringing forward a movement FOR revolution, to overthrow this system and embark on the road of overcoming all relations of exploitation and oppression, and all the destructive antagonisms among people, all over the world.5


1. Juan Guaidó was elected to Venezuela’s National Assembly, which has been its main legislative body, in 2015, and then chosen to lead the National Assembly in December 2018. On January 23, 2019, after directly consulting with the Trump/Pence regime, Guaidó declared that President Nicolás Maduro—who had been re-elected in May 2018—was illegitimate and that he (Guaidó) was Venezuela’s legitimate interim president. (Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2019) Guaidó’s declaration was immediately recognized by the U.S. and a number of its global and Latin American allies.  [back]

2. Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said in a late January interview on Fox Business: “It’ll make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela”  [back]

3. See “Hugo Chávez Has an Oil Strategy... But Can This Lead to Liberation?” by Raymond Lotta,, July 1, 2007  [back]

4. For instance, the U.S. blocked Venezuela from financing its debt (as most countries do) or selling its oil in the U.S.  [back]

5. See the strategy for this revolution in HOW WE CAN WIN—HOW We Can Really Make Revolution.  [back]


Venezuela has long been dominated as a gas station for U.S. imperialism. This led to a lopsided society with a highly technical oil sector and a backwards economy with huge numbers of people unemployed and living in slums. Here starving people scavenge for food. (Photo: AP)

See Also:

The “Free Press” on Venezuela: “the propaganda machinery of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class”

Over these past weeks, the mainstream media has kept up the ceaseless, uniform drumbeat that Maduro is a ruthless dictator who’s starving his own people, while the U.S. is doing all it can to help the Venezuelan people and restore democracy—all in the service of creating public opinion for U.S.-sponsored "regime change," up to and including a U.S. invasion.

Read more

Clip Free yourself from the GTF!

Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris Join the Chorus

As the U.S. Carries Out Starvation as a Weapon in Venezuela, Leading Democratic Presidential Candidates Stick Their Heads Right Up Trump’s Ass

Two of the top Democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, “weighed in” on Venezuela by lending their voices to the chorus supporting U.S. aggression.

Sanders tweeted, “The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.”

Harris tweeted, “The U.S. must immediately condemn Maduro’s violence against his own people. There is no excuse for this,” and “The Venezuelan military and security forces must demonstrate restraint. Venezuelans deserve a free and fair election and a peaceful transition of power.”

Let this sink in!

These “warnings” to Maduro come at a time when the U.S. is literally starving the masses of people through sanctions as part of carrying out “regime change” in Venezuela. These “warnings” are completely aligned with and strengthen the aggression the U.S. imperialists are carrying out, and the possible escalation of that aggression by the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

The Democrats are playing their role—reining in and rallying people to what serves U.S. ruling class interests around the world!

Bernie Sanders says he’s a “democratic socialist.” Reality: what he calls “socialism” is what Lenin termed “imperialist economism,” that is, more equitably distributing the spoils of empire, while maintaining and strengthening U.S. global domination. The fact that he is already going back on his promises and his poses of a “different foreign policy” when the stakes are up, as in the situation around Venezuela, shows just how true that is.

The reality is that the “American way of life” and relative economic security in this country that the Democrats say they are fighting for are based on the enormous profits wrung out of the sweat and blood of billions of people around the world by the operations of U.S. capital-imperialism. And this setup is enforced with U.S. military power—through outright wars and invasions as well as drone attacks, starvation-causing sanctions, nuclear blackmail, backing of reactionary puppets, “humanitarian” intervention, and other means.

The Republican Party Is Fascist

The Democratic Party Is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

This System CANNOT Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown!

We Need an Actual Revolution

by Raymond Lotta

Read more


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