Mar 18, 2019
On February 23, the U.S. government sent trucks filled with food and medicine to the border of Venezuela. U.S. officials pretended that it was doing this for humanitarian purposes, to help relieve the increasingly worsening conditions inside Venezuela.
In reality, it has been the U.S. government itself that has been most responsible for depriving the people in the country of food and medicine by imposing financial and trade sanctions against Venezuela. The trucks were nothing but a Trojan Horse, whose purpose was to provoke a revolt in the Venezuelan military against the Maduro government.
When the revolt failed to take place, the U.S. news media claimed that the Maduro government had burned three of the trucks. “Each of the trucks burned by Maduro carried 20 tons of food & medicine. This is a crime & if international law means anything he must pay a high price for this,” tweeted Senator Marco Rubio, a leading hawk pushing “regime change.” Top Trump administration officials, including John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence chimed in.
This was a lie. These fires were set by an ally of the U.S. government, who was throwing Molotov cocktails at Venezuelan soldiers. Television stations in other countries showed the video footage proving this, the very same day.
In the U.S., it took two weeks for the truth to surface. By that time, much of Venezuela had been hit by a massive electricity blackout. Almost all of Venezuela’s electricity is produced by the Guri Dam hydro electric station. On Thursday, March 7 in the middle of the afternoon, that system failed, affecting 25 million people. In Caracas, the Metro stopped working and tens of thousands had to walk home in the dark.
The near-total blackout continued for several days, paralyzing most of the country. People couldn’t work. Food in refrigerators and freezers had to be cooked immediately, or else it rotted. There were problems with the water supply, tele- communications, public transport, etc. Only gradually over the next week was power restored.
Once again, the U.S. media used the electricity blackout as an excuse to attack the Maduro government. Elliot Abrams, Trump’s special representative for Venezuela, wrote: “The situation there, due to mismanagement, the economic policies and the sheer corruption of this regime, are the cause of those problems.”
No, the primary responsibility rests on the U.S. government. At the very least, U.S. economic and political pressure has caused a dire shortage of equipment and materials that has contributed to the degradation of much of vital Venezuelan infrastructure. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the U.S. used cyberwarfare to sabotage the electric power system, as Maduro has charged.
The U.S. CIA is well known for carrying out cyberattacks, as well as attacks on electricity networks. In 2012 it knocked Syria off the internet when it “bricked” the central router in Syria while installing malware. In 2015, U.S. jets systematically bombed Syrian power plants. These attacks on infrastructure are part of a longstanding policy. Back in 1973, in preparation for the military coup against the Allende government in Chile, the U.S. CIA sabotaged electric power systems, causing widespread blackouts.
The Venezuelan population is paying for this U.S. offensive, with increasingly worse conditions. Since 2013, three million have fled the country. Many are now refugees in Brazil and Colombia.
The U.S. is not trying to overthrow the Maduro government because it is supposedly socialist. On the contrary, more than 70 per cent of the economy is privately owned, with major U.S. companies, including Chevron, Halliburton and Coca-Cola, profiting from production there. This U.S. offensive against Venezuela is part of a larger power shift in Latin America, where right wing governments, such as those in Argentina and Brazil, have been installed. These regimes are more satisfactory to Washington.
For the U.S. government, it is a simple matter of helping U.S. oil companies to gain greater control and profits from Venezuela’s immense oil reserves – the world’s largest.