The international mainstream media has largely sided with Venezuela’s self-appointed ‘interim president’ Juan Guaidó in recent days. But it’s leaving out some important facts about the US-backed opposition leader. Why? Because these facts threaten Washington’s pro-coup narrative that is being parroted throughout the Western corporate-owned press.
Will the real Juan Guaidó please stand up?
The Guardian has quoted US national security advisor John Bolton uncritically, while portraying Guaidó as a heroic figure. But it completely glosses over the reality of who Guaidó is, as do other mainstream outlets.
Establishment media voices and others on the right claim the current situation in Venezuelaproves socialism doesn’t work. The problem is, that argument falls flat on its face.
A common smear
Venezuela has been suffering from a severe economic crisis. That has entailed hyper-inflation, shortages of goods and medicines, and an exodus of people out of the country. And international voices seeking to weaponise this crisis smugly claim it’s ‘proof that socialism always ends in failure’.
Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in the US partly by appealing to disenchanted white working-class voters across ‘Middle America’. This has raised the obvious question of who will be best placed to challenge Trump from the left in the next presidential election in 2020. And there now seems to be a contender that some believe fits the bill. But is he really the left’s answer to Trump?
The ‘outsider’ candidate for 2020
On 11 November, Richard Ojeda announced his intention to run in the Democratic Party primary for the 2020 presidential election. As a relatively obscure state senator from the rural state of West Virginia, commentators consider him somewhat of an ‘outsider’ or ‘underdog’ candidate. But in spite of this, he has nonetheless built up a considerable public profile. He’s probably best known for featuring in Michael Moore’s 2018 film Fahrenheit 11/9, which skewered the Trump presidency. Moore’s interview with Ojeda ended up serving as a trailer for the film, which further boosted his profile.
Venezuela is facing a coup attempt which has gained enthusiastic backing from the US and its allies. Fortunately, people are already fighting back against US interventionism. The Canaryspoke to activists who have been organizing to oppose Washington’s hypocritical meddling and support national sovereignty for the Venezuelan people.
“The US has been trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government for years now”
After Donald Trump’s official backing for the coup came on 23 January, demonstrators soon gathered outside the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC to protest against the attempt to delegitimize Nicolás Maduro’s government in Venezuela. Organized by a coalition of progressive groups, protesters held signs and chanted slogans denouncing Trump and his vice-president, Mike Pence.
A coup is underway in oil-rich Venezuela. The US and numerous allies have officially recognizedan opposition figure as the country’s ‘interim’ president. The Trump administration is trying to pass this off as an effort to free Venezuelan people from tyranny. But a simple comparison with close US ally Saudi Arabia exposes Washington’s jaw-dropping double standards.
Venezuela: US-backed coup attempt
The US wants the head of Venezuela’s national assembly, Juan Guaidó, to be president. Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro does too. Other regional allies, including the right-wing governments of Colombia and Argentina, have also backed Guaidó. And while the EU is unquestionably divided on the question, it too appears to be backing Guaidó as ‘interim president’.
On 21 January 2019, the US is celebrating the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. His legacy has propelled him to the status of a visionary, much like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. But as the US establishment has come to terms with this, there has been an effort to sterilize his image. And it has thus sought to airbrush the radical elements of his worldview from history.
We must oppose this whitewash. Because King firmly opposed US military interventions abroad. And now, with an openly nationalist president in the White House who’s ramping up interventions abroad, it’s time that we remember the radical aspects of King’s legacy.
A major online publication covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has uncovered an attempt to use social media to spread and intensify the notion of an antisemitism crisis within the Labour Party.
An Electronic Intifada investigation has revealed that ten fake Twitter accounts were set up to deliberately post antisemitic tweets. The purpose was apparently to discredit Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party in general. The Electronic Intifada says it’s likely that the same person or group of people created the accounts.
A former Mexican president has just been accused of receiving a bribe from a drug cartel leader. But while the US has used the ‘narco-state‘ charge to attack regional enemies like Venezuela, its silence over Mexico highlights its flagrant hypocrisy and self-interest.
On 14 January, Alex Cifuentes testified during the trial of his former partner in crime Joaquín ‘El Chapo‘ Guzmán. And he claimed that former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto accepted a $100m bribe from Guzmán.
The US government and mainstream media have been endlessly obsessing over Venezuela recently. Yet they’ve been largely silent about the devastating human rights crisis in neighboring Colombia – a key US ally.
We must change that, and take heed of Colombia’s human rights abuses. Because the comparison reveals the flagrant double standards and self-interest that lie behind US policy toward Latin America.
On 10 January, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio gave a rousing speech outlining his plans for the year ahead. It included many bread and butter social democratic proposals that most Europeans take for granted, such as statutory paid vacation for private-sector workers and access to medical services for those without private health insurance.
But it was his criticism of the city’s wealth distribution that got the most coverage.