Breaking down U.S. interference in Venezuela
Who is Nicolas Maduro?
After the death of former president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez in 2013, Vice President Nicolas Maduro served the remainder of Chavez’s term. During his first term, he decided to create a new National Constituent Assembly (NCA) to become a communal state. This gave power over policies and state spending to local and regional citizen-run councils. The National Assembly was composed of the oppositional side, which made them not want to participate in the election. This led the NCA to take legislative powers from the National Assembly under Article 349 in Venezuela’s Constitution. They were able to forward the presidential elections earlier than usual. Maduro was re-elected in May 2018, where rumors spurred that opposition candidates were not able to run the race, which made the National Assembly argue it was not fair.
Who is Juan Guaido?
Juan Guaido, president of National Assembly, announced his presidency in spite of Venezuela’s controversial 2018 election, which assumed that the presidency position was “vacant.” Article 233 and 333 of Venezuela’s Constitution gives authority that the head of the National Assembly is rightfully elected to take over the presidency when the position is vacant.
The United States’ Involvement in Venezuela
After Guaido announced his presidency, the United States recognized him as the rightful president of Venezuela. They also insist that the May 2018 election was rigged and believe the National Assembly is the only democratically-elected body in the country. Vice President Mike Pence has labeled Maduro as “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power.” Countries like Canada, UK, Brazil, Spain, Colombia and France have backed this statement, whereas Russia, China, Italy, Iran, Cuba and Turkey support Maduro.
The United States has justified its interference in Venezuela on the basis of preserving democracy for the people, but in reality, it’s in it for the resources. Venezuela has the largest oil reserve in South America and has terminated its relationship with oil corporations in the United States in order to use its natural resources fund for its own people.Venezuela was the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the United States.
Former FBI Director Andrew McCabe recalls that Trump once told an FBI agent that the United States should go to war with Venezuela after President Trump said: “They have all the oil and they’re right on our back door.” John Bolton, National Security Adviser, said in an interview with Fox Business. “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” He goes on to say that “We’re looking at the oil asset . . . That’s the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We’re looking at what to do to that.” The only reason why the United States supports Juan Guaido is that he has agreed to re-establish relationships with the United States. Vice President to Nicolás Maduro, Delcy Rodriguez, accused America of seizing Venezuela’s oil reserve when she said: “Get your Yankee hands off the oil industry.”
“The United States wants to control sealed oil compression and with Maduro in power there is very little that control can be possible because oil is so-called nationalism in Venezuela,” said Patricia Rodriguez, an Associate Professor and Latin American Studies Coordinator at Ithaca College.
Some may argue there are other options the United States could try in order to help Venezuelans, such as granting them asylum in the United States and creating a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela. The United States could also contribute more to the United Nations’ humanitarian funding, which is currently only 7% funded.
Marco Rubio and John Bolton blamed the burning of American aid on Maduro. Claims spurred into the public and have attempted to make Maduro be in a bad image for the public and switching sides to support Guaido. The New York Times reported that “the opposition itself, not Maduro’s men, appears to have set the cargo alight accidentally.” It also questions whether there was any aid, because “The United States Agency for International Development, the principal supplier of the aid at the bridge, did not list medicine among its donations.”
Recently, President Trump has imposed financial penalties on Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), the oil and natural gas company providing both revenue and jobs. This means that all PdVSA cash and property in the United like Citgo are frozen. The revenue earned in the United States will not be allowed to be used by Maduro until Guaido is in the presidential seat. It is a strategy that President Trump is damaging their own revenue, that is used by Venezuela for medicine, food or supplies. This economic crisis would not be as drastic if the United States didn’t impose its sanctions; sanctions that were agreed to have been compared to George W. Bush “coalition of willing” by 48 countries to support his 2003 invasion of Iraq. Maduro has nothing to do with the economy crashing because oil prices have been declining since late 2014, which is where the revenue of Venezuela economy comes from.
“If there needs to be any change in government it needs to go to the process internally and not to be from an external affair,” Rodriguez said.
The United States believes interfering with Venezuela will benefit them — this is false because Venezuela’s political issues should be internally resolved. Latin Americans see the United States as an imperial power because of its history during the Cold War, when the United States intervened in Guatemala in 1954 and has continued to so. Has it worked? Did it with Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Chile, Honduras, Haiti, Libya, Nicaragua, Colombia?
Cornell University Professor of Comparative and Latin American Politics Professor Kenneth Roberts: “The United States has a long involvement in internal affairs of Latin America government and very rarely that has positive long term consequences for Latin America countries.”
President Trump threatened members of Venezuelan military who remain loyal to Maduro that “All options are open,” hence imposing its own opinion. Even though President Trump wants to go to war in Venezuela, according to the United States Constitution, only Congress has the power to decide if the United States will and where.
Once again, the United States does not care for Venezuela’s population. Its primary care is for their oil, which that has been after since Hugo Chavez. They are imposing sanctions and creating lies for the people of Venezuela to go against Maduro only for its benefit. It does not care if they are a democracy or if people are dying. If they did, they have many options that could help. They are only adding more to the problem, which they have nothing to do with.
Alma Guardado a freshman social studies education major wondering why the U.S. can’t mind its own business now and then. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org