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News > Latin America

5 People Who Called for Military Intervention/Coup in Venezuela

  • Demonstrators build a fire barricade on a street in Caracas, Venezuela April 10, 2017.

    Demonstrators build a fire barricade on a street in Caracas, Venezuela April 10, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 May 2018

The U.S. and its right-wing allies want to keep up with the tradition of military intervention in Latin America.

People tend to give their opinion on almost everything, and that's fine, since freedom of speech encourages democracy and political thinking, but when you're a head of state or the leader of a political movement, then things you say, especially when they are against the sovereignty of a certain country, surely take on a different course.


US Stresses Interventionist Plan in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela

Even though they claim to respect democracy and sovereignty, some politicians and aspiring world leaders -especially in the U.S.- have expressed their concerns about the situation in Venezuela by calling for a coup or military intervention to oust President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with a more "obedient" leader.

That's nothing to joke about. The U.S. has done it in different paces and times, aiding military coups or directly intervening in other sovereign nations' internal affairs, always in the name of freedom and democracy, but with their eyes set on oil contracts and profit.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump's impulsive and reckless way of speaking has earned him many enemies around the globe and has triggered more than one diplomatic crisis. It's clear that many don't take him seriously -not even in his cabinet-, but his proposals always find echo within economic and political elites circles who hear what they want to hear.

Few months ago right after speaking with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at his New Jersey golf club, Trump told reporters, "We have many options for Venezuela and by the way I'm not going to rule out military options."

One could argue that the remarks could have slipped from his mind. Maybe it wasn't intentional. It's the kind of comments a rational world leader would regret of right away. But that's not Trump.

He actually pressed on and said, "We have many options... this is our neighbor. We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering. They're dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option, if necessary." A reporter then asked if Trump was proposing a U.S. military-led operation.

And he replied, "We don't talk about it but a military operation, a military option is certainly something that we could pursue."  They did it in Vietnam, they did it in Iraq (twice), they did it in Afghanistan and it seems they're are considering to do it wherever their businesses are at risk.

Ex-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Just before starting his tour around Latin America, in which he visited countries with right-wing governments in search for allies, the former Secretary of State and ExxonMobile director Rex Tillerson said that “in the history of Venezuela and in fact the history in other Latin American and South American countries, often times it’s the military that handles that, that when things are so bad that the military leadership realizes they just – they can’t serve the citizens anymore, they will manage a peaceful transition.”

He was probably speaking about the Latin America countries where the U.S. has supported military coups and brutal dictatorships that brought “economic stability” -or privatization of national companies and resources- and order to the region.

These dictatorships, which usurped power in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, led to some 60,000 deaths, thousands of disappearances and exiles, as well as the use of torture tactics. Victims included dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, priests and nuns, students and teachers, intellectuals and suspected guerrillas.

But given the instability of Trump's government, Tillerson didn't last long in his position. However, that doesn't mean his team is not considering the option any more.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

In a series of rant tweets last February, the infamous Republican lawmaker Marco Rubio suggested his support for a military coup in Venezuela, and even dared to use the words of Simon Bolivar in his favor.

Rubio tweeted that “the world would support the Armed Forces in Venezuela if they decide to protect the people and restore democracy by removing a dictator.”

He also reiterated the need to "protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator," posting a series of quotes by Latin American liberator Bolivar in Spanish. Among them, one claimed "it is always noble to conspire against tyranny," and another reads "when tyranny is the law, rebellion is a right."

He expressed similar remarks in an opinion piece published by the Miami-based El Nuevo Herald, in which he said the U.S. army would support the Venezuelan military in case they decided to go against the government.

But even if he stated his support for a coup, he also said he doesn't think a direct military intervention is the solution.

When asked about a possible intervention in Venezuela, Rubio answered that that option wasn't “really being considered by anyone,” but that he supported the sanctions the U.S. has imposed over the Bolivarian government.

Right-wing Venezuelan Groups in the U.S.

There's a faction of the Venezuelan opposition that has called for different types of involvement from different countries, sometimes demanding humanitarian aid and sometimes just asking for direct military intervention.

It's not just high level politicians, but also exiled Venezuelans living in the U.S.

U.S.-based Venezuelan organizations handed about 300 letters to U.S. lawmakers in Washington asking for an international coalition to intervene militarily in February.


US Begins Military Exercises Off Venezuela's Coast

“Venezuelans by themselves can't oust these people that have the country kidnapped,” said Ernest Ackerman, president of the Miami-based Independent Venezuelan American Citizens (IVAC).

The letters asked Washington to lead international efforts to free the Venezuelan population from a criminal regime, even claiming the Venezuelan government has links with terrorist organizations in the Middle East as an argument to pave the way for a “justified” military intervention on Bolivarian country's soil.

Venezuela Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez

Tillerson's declarations echoed in the voice of Leopoldo Lopez, a Venezuelan opposition leader who is currently under house for his involvement in the 2014 protests and his continuous incitement for violence in the streets.

“In 1958 there was a military coup that triggered the transition to democracy,” Lopez told the New York Times earlier this year. “In other Latin American countries there were coups that called for elections. Therefore, I don't want to rule out anything, because the electoral window has been closed,” he said.

Lopez's strategy is to use “every form of pressure” necessary to topple the Bolivarian government, including street protests and cooperation with the international community. “Anything, anything that must happen in order to have free and fair elections,” Lopez said.

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