By Owei Lakemfa
We came in from various parts of the country. The venue was the national offices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abuja on April 13, 2019. Chairing was NLC president, Ayuba Wabba. This was the Nigeria Movement of Solidarity With Cuba, announcing Nigeria as the Host of the 6th African Meeting Of Solidarity With Cuba holding from September 23-25.
Then, a burly, friendly gentleman sauntered in. David Nieves Velasquez Caraballo. Ambassador of Venezuela, with concurrent accreditation to Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He spoke boldly and courageously as befits a true descendant of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), the great Venezuelan soldier, whose revolts against Spanish colonialism led to the independence of Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Peru and Bolivia. In fact, the last country was named in honour of the Venezuelan revolutionary.
Ambassador Caraballo acknowledged that his country is facing serious crises. He said in reference to the international sanctions against Venezuela: “We have the money to buy medicine, but we can’t buy medicine. We have the money to buy food, but we can’t buy food.” The American-led sanctions are aimed at squeezing Venezuela to submission. Caraballo also told us the obvious truth: “The interest of the United States in Venezuela is oil, not democracy.”
He pointed out that in the 2018 elections, President Nicholas Maduro scored 6,245,820 votes to give him a second term mandate. On the other hand, the number of votes that gave the pretender to the country’s presidency, Juan Guaido, a senatorial seat, was less than 100,000 votes.
In Libya under Muammar Ghadaffi, where there was law, order and prosperity, the West imposed lawlessness, disorder and grinding poverty. Now, it is claiming to be seeking to reintroduce order. Interestingly, the same West is today striving, through men like Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez, to impose a regime of disorder on Venezuela.
It is incredible that countries which claim to be champions and bastions of democracy encouraged and supported an upstart to carry out the attempted military coup of April 30 against the Maduro administration. Even the clear rejection of that coup by the Venezuelan people has not dissuaded those countries from egging Guaido on…
The American claim that Guaido is the “interim president” of Venezuela is as ridiculous and strange as it would be were Senator Marco Rubio to hold a rally in Washington and claim to dismiss Donald Trump as president, while proclaiming and swearing himself in as ‘interim president’ of the United States. What would be crazy in Washington, American politicians like Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Rubio, want us to accept as normal in non-white countries. They have actually gone to the extent of authorising Venezuelan funds to be stolen and given to Guaido’s supporters. The American and Western conspiracy against Venezuela has brow-beaten about fifty countries into recognising the usurpers and replacing legitimate Venezuelan diplomats with people who falsely claim to represent the Venezuelan people. It got to the ridiculous extent that the leadership of the continental Organisation of American States (OAS) seized the seat of Venezuela and installed a supporter of Guaido on it.
Venezuela’s contemporary challenges started in 1999 when President Hugo Chavez began full reforms, rolling out and implementing unprecedented social protection policies. On April 11, 2002, Chavez was ousted in a military coup but was reinstated within 47 hours by the peoples’ power. After his death in 2013, the opposition assumed that that his successor, Maduro, a former bus driver, was a push over. But they were in for a surprise. So, even after winning democratic elections, the opposition refused to recognise him as the president.
In 2018, Maduro won re–election and was sworn in on January 10, 2019. Thirteen days later, Guaido, proclaimed himself the interim president. No country in the world will accept such a treasonable move.
It is incredible that countries which claim to be champions and bastions of democracy encouraged and supported an upstart to carry out the attempted military coup of April 30 against the Maduro administration. Even the clear rejection of that coup by the Venezuelan people has not dissuaded those countries from egging Guaido on to employ bullets, instead of votes, in the attempt to effect a change of government.
The gods in Washington and the West who want to seize Venezuela are those for whom a government being pro-people and pro-poor is treasonable. They do not want a Third World country that advertises the right to vote, the freedom to vote and the use of such a country’s resources for the good of all citizens, especially the poor.
If the Guaido gambit fails, there are two other openly canvassed plans by the West to recolonise Venezuela. One is to carry out a direct American military intervention, as was done in countries like Vietnam, Grenada and Afghanistan. The second is to give the contract of invading Venezuela to one of the criminal American mercenary companies. In fact, Blackwater, the American mercenary army which, following its September 16, 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians, changed its name to Xe in 2009 and later, Academi, has publicly bided for the contract to invade Venezuela and take over the country on behalf of the United States. The business of mass murder has been so good for Blackwater, that its chief, Erik Prince, brother of Elizabeth “Betsy” Dee DeVos, the current U.S. Education Secretary, is a billionaire.
The gods in Washington and the West who want to seize Venezuela are those for whom a government being pro-people and pro-poor is treasonable. They do not want a Third World country that advertises the right to vote, the freedom to vote and the use of such a country’s resources for the good of all citizens, especially the poor. Democracy, for these gods, is the government of the greedy, by the greedy for the greedy. The gods that want to re-colonise Venezuela are implacable; they cannot be appeased with occasional or token sacrifices; like the throat, they demand daily sacrifices.
To give in to these gods is like committing suicide. So the choice of Venezuela is between civilisation and barbarism; the type of choice Libya had to make between the Ghadaffi administration and terrorists; the type that confronted Chileans between President Salvador Allende and the fascist generals led by Augusto Pinochet. It would be quite challenging, but this ‘international community’ of slave masters can be defeated. They were defeated in Vietnam and the people were able to reclaim and reunite their country. They failed in Nicaragua, with the Contras unable to oust the Sandinistas. A classical case is China, which the colonialists initially transformed into a drug country. Although, in 1949 the Chinese could only secure mainland China, eventually they took over Hong Kong and repossessed a permanent seat in the United Nations. Today, although still a separate country, Taiwan cannot really resist the economic and technological advances of China. It seems a matter of time before China will be fully reunited.
Venezuela is being pushed towards anarchism. Through the use of sanctions, its populace is being forced to surrender. But the powerful will not always be victorious. Africans counsel that those being chased by the gods should not give up, but continue running because just as humans tire, so do the gods.
Owei Lakemfa, a former secretary general of African workers, is a human rights activist, journalist and author.