Having failed to excite or influence Latin American and Caribbean neighbors to gang-up collectively against Caracas, Washington is now placing its bets on mobilizing international action through the United Nations ahead of very possibly marching U.S. troops in urgent fury into Venezuela.
Following the success of previous military invasions with ‘Urgent Fury’ in Grenada in 1983 and “Desert Storm” in Iraq, persistent efforts in recent years to get the Organization of American States, OAS, to join in a U.S.-led invasion march against founder-member Venezuela have failed.
Since the advent of former President Hugo Chavez and his “Bolivarian Socialism” declarations and policy initiatives in 1998, successive administrations led by his United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, have come under continuing pressure from Washington.
Successive U.S. ambassadors in Caracas have openly supported anti-Chavez and now anti-President Nicolas Maduro policies while embracing the opposition and supporting their actions with both material assistance and political and economic sanctions against the PSUV governments.
Badly burnt over Grenada and Iraq, Latin American and Caribbean nations, as well as other similar groupings of developing states worldwide, have been very cautious about quickly, overly and overtly supporting direct U.S. intervention in countries.
The mainly English-speaking Caribbean Community, Caricom, has repeatedly expressed its opposition to foreign intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs and support for a peaceful, political solution to the country’s problems.
The smaller Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, OECS, has also supported a peaceful, negotiated solution.
At the wider regional level, while the Mercosur group has shut its doors on Caracas, the majority of Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, ALBA, and PetroCaribe member-states support Venezuela’s right to determine its internal affairs without outside intrusion.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, and the Association of Caribbean States, ACS, have not yet become major players in the current dispute, but when they eventually do, there is no doubt they will also oppose external intervention.
Having failed to stop the peaceful and credible election of the National Constituent Assembly, NCA, on July 30, Washington has now declared it an exercise to lead Venezuela on “a path of dictatorship,” according to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in neighboring Colombia last weekend.
Rejecting the transparent vote for the ANC by over 40 percent of the electorate — a greater comparative amount of voters than in any recent U.S. presidential or legislative elections — Washington opted to criminalize the ANC and punish people and entities doing business with it.
Now, having recently persuaded Peru to lead Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and others to take separate unilateral punitive action against Venezuela over the ANC, Washington’s next stop is the U.N., where the annual General Assembly starts in September.
Along with North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK, Venezuela is most likely headed for the U.N. Security Council’s agenda as the U.S. State Department and the White House seek to ratchet-up global action in reaction to recent developments in Venezuela along lines dictated in and by Washington.
Already, a very questionable “Human Rights” report associated with a U.N. department (and done from abroad by “remote” means) has surfaced, which piles fault for the unfortunate deaths in Venezuela on the nation’s security forces, while patently ignoring opposition excesses.
Washington has turned down all of Maduro’s direct appeals for talks, instead all but confirming that plans are underway to land U.S. troops in Venezuela in pursuit of U.S. foreign policy.
Former Republican presidents — from Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the two Bushes — have repeatedly demonstrated the party’s willingness and ability, in office, to wring the arms and spin the heads of allies to support U.S. plans and actions, to engage in military incursions against other countries. U.S. President Donald Trump is showing no difference.
When Reagan dispatched U.S. troops to Grenada in 1983, he informed neither Queen Elizabeth of England nor Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Nor was the U.S. Congress informed until after the war ships and planes were already under way.
The later success by former President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to mislead the world, at the U.N., to go on a costly wild-goose chase for weapons of mass destruction they knew former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did not have, was no less of a hijacking of the international body to pursue the political objectives of one nation, backed by powerful others.
Under current circumstances, the international situation is too fragile for the world to allow Trump to deflect and divert attention from his numerous internal crises at home. His threats against Pyongyang can more harm than help the situation of millions of citizens and U.S. troops in the Korean Peninsula and nearby.
Trump’s threats against Venezuela, however, have to be seen in his emphasis on how small and close Venezuela is, within the context of rapid deployment of U.S. troops.
The U.S. Commander in Chief might very well believe that threats of punitive military action against Venezuela, backed by political and economic sanctions, is the best way to pressure U.N. member-nations into supporting U.S. plans for regime change in a country where both the targeted President and the ANC were legitimately, legally and constitutionally elected.
Taking the Venezuela issue to the U.N. is yet another effort by Washington to quickly gather unavailable numbers to support its intervention plans against Caracas.
Historically, except in earlier circumstances, the OAS has tended not to too openly or quickly support U.S. military intervention in Latin American and Caribbean nations south of the U.S. border.
This time around, under Trump — and in relation to both Venezuela and the DPRK — Washington has signaling that it is prepared to go it alone, at least against Venezuela, if it fails to get regional fig leaf cover like it did against Grenada.
The recent meeting of 17 OAS member-states in Peru, which was attended by only two Caricom member-states (Guyana and Jamaica) was a bonsai model of the ongoing and wider anti-Venezuela plot that has been failing at the OAS since April 1.
Pence’s Latin American regional tour was undoubtedly aimed at drumming-up regional support for opposition to Maduro, the PSUV and the ANC.
The ACS, Celac, Caricom, OECS, PetroCaribe and ALBA nations will, between now and the start of the U.N. General Assembly sessions in New York, be heavily lobbied to support the U.S. positions against both Venezuela and the DPRK.
They will not be able to dissuade Washington from pursuing the dictates of the U.S. president, but they certainly can once again reiterate their earlier-expressed principled opposition to external intervention in internal affairs of states.
The U.N. and OAS charters specifically outlaw uninvited or unapproved military intervention in member-states.
Washington has historically been able to twist the language of related resolutions at regional and international bodies to allow it the leeway to intervene militarily, if only in the usual pursuit of “U.S. economic interests” or “security of US citizens.”
It is now time for all Latin American and Caribbean nations — and their respective regional bodies — to network with like-minded entities around the globe, to sound U.N. nations’ delegations ahead of time about the perilous implications for democracy, peace and regional stability at stake in any new military invasion in the region, under whatever guise and by whatever name.
Earl Bousquet is a Saint Lucia-based veteran Caribbean journalist.