Venezuela is a step closer to civil war after July 20th's "fake referendum " held by the government opposition. Corporate Fake News (i.e. mainstream corporate media) haled the fake referendum as a vote of "no confidence" for President Nicolas Maduro.
The vote count of the "fake referendum" has not been released and likely never will be. Only the number of the turnout is reported as being over 7 million, but who needs to count votes when the referendum was only a symbolic protest?
The U.S. Empire propaganda mill is already churning out that President Nicolas Maduro is no longer the legitimate president of Venezuela. As in Syria, when the Empire labels a president illegitimate it uses it as a fig leaf for illegal aggression against a sovereign country. The fake referendum now opens the door for more U.S. meddling. The Empire has had its foot firmly inside the door for 17 years.
The U.S. started gunning for Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution from the moment that he was democratically elected in 1998. Chavez's election and his Bolivarian Revolutionary challenged the ideology of neoliberalism, pushed by the Empire to exploit developing countries and their resources.
Zealots of neoliberalism, led by the high priests of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preach that privatization of state owned enterprises, devaluation of the currency, cutting social services for the poor, exploitation of natural resources by international corporations, consolidation of agricultural land into large private holdings, importing cheap subsidized U.S. agriculture, forcing small farmers into city sweatshops, and opening markets to foreign imports will create economic prosperity. It does not. It is Voodoo Economics and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund know it. What neoliberalism does is guarantee that international bankers will be repaid their crippling loans.
The Bolivarian Revolution rejected neoliberalism and enacted a new socialist constitution in 1999, which lead the way for President Hugo Chavez to nationalize Venezuela's oil wealth, so its revenues could be used to provide essential services and anti-poverty programs. Chavez used Venezuela's natural resources for Venezuelans, which is heresy to neoliberals. Chavez's charismatic personality, commitment to the poor and concern for social justice made him a hero loved by the people.
Socialism that denies international corporations profits are fighting words to the U.S. Empire. In 2002 President George W. Bush was caught red handed as the instigator of a plot that kidnapped Chavez and tried to overthrow him in a coup d'etat. The coup failed because the people turned out in the streets demanding Chavez's return and reinstatement. Bush was left with egg on his face, the blood of dozens murdered in the coup attempt and a smoking gun in his hand (The Guardian).