By David Sole
With their strategy to foment internal opposition to achieve regime change in Venezuela faltering badly, it appears that U.S. imperialism is shifting to overt external force to overthrow the socialist path followed in that South American nation.
On Sunday, May 3, two boatloads, carrying 60 mercenaries [NYTimes.com May 7, 2020], landed on the coast of Venezuela. Their goal was to either kill or capture the country’s President Nicholas Maduro, other leading government officials and seize control of key facilities. The operation was smashed by the Venezuelan military and community organizations.
According to an aired interview with former U.S. Special Forces veteran Airan Berry they would capture an airport runway and “the plane in which they would take … Maduro, would come from the United States and had the U.S. as its final destination.” [OrinocoTribune.com May 7, 2020]. Berry had served 17 years in the U.S. military and was currently a member of Silvercorp USA, the organizer of the coup plot.
Venezuelan officials announced that eight of the invasion force were killed and two captured. According to OrinocoTribune.com the Venezuelan authorities had captured 23 of the invaders as of May 7 while others were still being hunted down. Telesur English broadcast on May 5, the day following the invasion, Venezuelan officials stating that the mercenaries were “fighting for Donald Trump” with “support of the Colombian intelligence agencies.” In a video clip with former Venezuelan Major General Cliver Alcala at a base camp in Colombia the ex-general admitted “for months we have been working on a [military] ‘Freedom Unit’ for Venezuela.”
The Washington Post, in a major investigation of the plot, revealed some details although they, along with most of the U.S. mainstream media, have tried to downplay the entire situation as a comedy of errors not to be taken seriously
At the center of the conspiracy was J.J. Rendon and a secret committee of Venezuelan oppositionists appointed by Juan Guaido. Guaido is the minor political figure inside Venezuela who appointed himself president of Venezuela on January 10, 2019 and was promptly recognized by the United States and its compliant allies around the world although he had won no election.
This “Strategic Committee” was tasked with clandestine activities to take down the duly elected government of President Nicholas Maduro and install Juan Guaido. As far back as September 2019 this committee began meeting with Jordan Goudreau, head of Silvercorp USA and former U.S. Special Forces sergeant with 15 years in the U.S. armed forces.
In October 2019 an agreement was signed with Goudreau for him to organize an armed invasion of Venezuela and the capture of President Maduro. On October 16 Goudreau even taped a video call with Guaido where he agreed to the plan. At least $50,000 was provided to Goudreau, according to Rendon, but discussions of hundreds of millions of dollars for the operation were ongoing.
The Washington Post also revealed that Goudreau had been working with former Venezuelan Major General Cliver Alcala who had left Venezuela and established a pro-opposition military camp in neighboring Colombia. Scores of Venezuelan soldiers who deserted from the military posts at the urging of the opposition and the United States were being trained and armed at Alcala’s camp for just such an invasion.
This most recent military attack on Venezuela cannot be dismissed in light of the huge investment the United States has made toward regime change. Widespread economic warfare in the form of sanctions are continually causing widespread suffering among the population. The Trump administration also posted multi-million dollar bounties on the heads of President Maduro ($15 million) and other leading government officials ($10 million). And in the middle of the COVI19 pandemic, as an attempt to uplift his base, Trump announced on April 1, 2020 that additional U.S. Navy warships would be patrolling off the coast of Venezuela.
The United States is intent on breaking the back of the socialist direction of the Venezuelan people and government by any means at its disposal with an eye to regaining imperialist control over the vast oil resources of that country. If more subtle and covert methods aren’t succeeding then the U.S. is no stranger to mobilizing its Central Intelligence Agency and Pentagon forces to do their dirty work.
So far the vigilance of the Venezuelan military and mass organizations has been effective in confronting the threats. Solidarity from around the world will also be critical, especially the continuing support of China and Russia.
Strong opposition should also be coming from progressive forces inside the United States. Three Democratic Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee demanded, on May 7, that the Trump administration make public information on the failed coup. However almost all politicians in the U.S., even those voicing opposition to military actions, have denounced President Maduro and the socialist process the Venezuelan people are following.
What is needed is a strong revival of anti-imperialism in the mass movements, such as developed in the 1960s, that solidarized with the socialist efforts of oppressed nations and openly advocated and struggled for the defeat of our own government, its military and corporate power structure.