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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/7/19

Trump Administration Intensifies Aggression Against Venezuela With Impunity

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Rubio and Maduro
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Most U.S. lawmakers and mainstream media outlets have fully embraced the Trump administration's reckless economic war against Venezuela, a poor Latin American country that poses no threat to the United States. Meanwhile, as the White House escalates its campaign to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, the establishment has adeptly convinced most Americans that Venezuela can only be saved by a U.S. puppet leader.

On Friday, April 5, after Vice President Mike Pence announced another round of sanctions targeting Venezuela's oil sector, a senior administration official told reporters that the White House was "seriously" considering the military option.

The United States accusing Maduro of starving his own people while, at the same time, trying to weaken Venezuela's economy with crippling sanctions might seem like cognitive dissonance until one realizes it is obviously all part of the script. U.S. policymakers have, quite accurately, predicted nobody will notice or care.

In late January, shortly after U.S.-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido illegally proclaimed himself interim president, the United States seized billions of dollars' worth of Venezuelan oil assets. Maduro, in response, accused Washington of trying to orchestrate a coup to install Guaido as a puppet - one beholden to the United States - in order to control Venezuela's energy resources. Based on the aforementioned developments, Maduro's characterization seems about right.

Warmongering lawmakers like Senator Marco Rubio are not even trying to hide the fact they are dying to invade Venezuela. In February, Rubio went so far as to tweet photos from 2011 of a bloodied and battered Gaddafi - suggesting that Maduro will face the same fate.

Rubio's stunt is quite instructive because it illustrates the utter inability of U.S. politicians to learn from past failed military excursions. The Obama administration's intervention in Libya transformed the once stable country into a terrorist slave-trading state. Before Gaddafi was ousted Libya ranked 111th on the Fragile States Index. Now, according to the same index, Libya is the 28th most unstable country in the world.

Even the Trump-hating mainstream media has applauded the president's policy on Venezuela. The New York Times editorial board on January 24 hailed Guaido as a "fresh young" savior. Less than a week later, the Times allowed the pretender to pen an op-ed in which he tried to blackmail Venezuela's military leaders to throw Maduro under the bus in exchange for amnesty.

Around the same time, in playing the media's proper role of skeptical watchdog, reporters Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal published a brilliant piece of investigative journalism on Guaido. The report exposed Guaido as an American operative with ties to the National Endowment for Democracy, an "NGO" founded by the CIA.

Guaido also has links to the so-called Chicago Boys, the notorious University of Chicago economic experts who helped Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet eradicate the socialist policies of the CIA-ousted Allende government.

And for all of his condemnations of Maduro's human rights abuses, Guaido too has blood on his hands from his days with the anti-government "guarimbas."

"Guaid├│'s Popular Will party formed the shock troops of the guarimbas that caused the deaths of police officers and common citizens alike. He had even boasted of his own participation in street riots," the report said.

There have been a few lone voices in the wilderness opposing this madness. A group of former U.S. intelligence officials warned the Trump administration that intervening militarily in Venezuela could lead to war with Russia, which has backed Maduro from the beginning. The former U.S. officials argued that Moscow's support for Venezuela has not come close to crossing any Monroe Doctrine "red line," as Trump national security adviser John Bolton insinuated in early March.

"We realize that some in the media are trying to egg you on into taking forceful action, perhaps even of a military nature, to punish Russia," the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) said in a statement to Trump on April 4. "We urge you not to fall into this trap. This is not 19th century Latin America, and it is a far cry from the Cuba missile crisis of 1962."

Other rare voices include a group of progressive House Democrats who last month urged Trump to "change course" entirely on Venezuela. In addition, Senator Bernie Sanders has warned Trump not to effect any more regime change in Latin America where the U.S. has "meddled" in the internal affairs and/or overthrown the governments of more than a dozen countries since the 1930s.

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Michael Hughes is a DC-based journalist and State Department correspondent whose work can be found in The Huffington Post, CNN.com, Asia Times Online, The Globe Post, Afghan Online Press, and Sputnik/RIA Novosti Newswire Service

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