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Tuesday July 05, 2022

An illegal invasion

February 26, 2019

I’m not a war correspondent, and I don’t have a Ph D in political science. But I have seen these conflicts firsthand, and I have felt the effects. Like many in this country, I have lost family members and friends in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t want anyone else to have to experience that. Unfortunately, the inertia over regime change in Venezuela bears a striking resemblance to what happened in the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

As one of the soldiers who illegally invaded Iraq, this scares me. I know an illegal coup/invasion when I see one. I knew it before being deployed to Iraq, but it became even more clear as we wandered around Baghdad looking for weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.

As was the case in Iraq, there are no legal or moral grounds to intervene in the affairs of Venezuela and no international laws to support such an intervention. There is nothing in the Constitution that sanctions meddling in the elections of a foreign country, and nothing in the Venezuelan constitution that legitimizes self-appointed presidents. Venezuela is not a threat. Venezuela is not firing missiles at the United States, attacking our allies or invading the US with troops.

Sadly, the propaganda spewing from the mouths of American politicians and pundits is as predictable as it is hollow: “Venezuela is socialist”. “Their economy is in shambles”. “Their government is corrupt”. “There is food instability”. “There is a humanitarian crisis”.

What’s missing in the attempt to justify the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro is recognition of the fact that many nations around the world are, to some degree, socialist, have economic challenges and battle corruption. There are humanitarian crises all over the globe. Are all those governments somehow illegitimate and therefore candidates for a US-orchestrated coup?

To be clear, this is not an endorsement of Maduro, any more than I endorsed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (nor am I comparing the two). This is about our leaders thinking they have the right to interfere in the affairs of any country they choose. Not only is regime change illegal and morally wrong, it has proved to be disastrous.

Yes, Venezuela has problems. Many appear to be self-induced; others are circumstantial, like the massive drop in oil prices, which, combined with harsh, US-led economic sanctions, is particularly devastating, considering that more than 90 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings come from oil revenue. Venezuelans also are dealing with a politically divided country, a situation to which I believe everyone in the US can relate. However, it’s the external problems that I find most concerning. It is pretty clear from where I sit that the US is waging illegal economic warfare against the people of Venezuela. From the sanctions to the freezing of assets to the blocking of Venezuela from the international financial system, this is what appears to be driving that country over the edge. So as our leaders publicly lament this ‘humanitarian crisis’, behind the scenes, that is exactly what they want.

Why this coup is taking place is transparent. Some of our government officials are actually telling us. Our leaders, yet again, feel entitled to another country’s resources. As was the case in Iraq, Venezuela’s oil reserves are not controlled by US corporations or a pliant government. They are owned by the people of Venezuela. It is theirs and nobody else’s. This means the oil cannot be looted by Western corporations or controlled for political purposes by outside forces. Unless, of course, a coup takes place and the oil is taken by force. That is what it appears our leaders are going to do.

This article has been excerpted from: ‘A Call to Halt an Illegal Invasion of Venezuela’.

Courtesy: Commondreams.org

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