Venezuela has recently come under fire for “refusing humanitarian aid” from the United States and Brazil. American pundits have said that President Nicolas Maduro’s refusal to allow this aid through is proof that he supports poverty and should be overthrown. After all, who would refuse aid, right? Well, it’s not that simple.
First of all, saying that Venezuela is refusing aid is simply incorrect. Venezuela has accepted aid; that is, aid from its allies like Russia, Iran, China, and Cuba. Russia recently delivered 300 tons of aid to Caracas, aid that Maduro accepted with open arms. What the Maduro government is refusing is U.S. and Brazilian aid.
But isn’t aid neutral? Does it matter that it’s American aid and not Russian or Chinese aid? Yes, it does.
The mother of all ulterior motives
The most obvious question we need to ask ourselves is why Washington wants to send humanitarian aid to Venezuela?
After all, if the US wanted to help Venezuela, why wouldn’t they just end their own debilitating sanctions regime against Venezuela, as the Maduro government has repeatedly demanded.
Well, the answer is actually pretty simple, because Washington talks about its goals fairly openly. The aid has nothing to do with humanitarianism and everything to do with regime change.
Humanitarianism is simply the cover story they chose to disguise their true motives.
The U.S. used security concerns to justify invading Iraq in 2003; it used humanitarian concerns to justify bombing Libya in 2011; and it used humanitarian concerns on several occasions to justify its ongoing bombing and occupation of Syria.
Washington wants to replace the socialist Maduro government with the rule of right-winger, Juan Guaido, who plans to privatize Venezuela’s resource wealth and will use Humanitarianism the exact same way they did before to make this change.
In fact, Elliott Abrams, the current U.S. Envoy to Venezuela, sent weapons to the anti-government Contra rebels in Nicaragua in aid shipments where weapons were hidden among food and medical supplies. The unfolding scandal became known as the Iran-Contra scandal.
This is probably why Trump appointed Abrams to oversee the coup in Venezuela — because of his experience using aid as a trojan horse for regime change.
As far as this latest aid package goes, it’s quite obvious that it’s not aid.
This is aid so good, it actually has to be forced on people.
Doing the aid/sanctions math
We have to ask ourselves why the U.S. is so desperate to get this relatively small, $20 million aid package into Venezuela when it is upholding a sanctions regime that has cost Venezuela $38 billion.
$38 billion minus $20 million is 37 billion, 980 million dollars — in other words, this aid, if it even is aid, is insignificant compared to the damage caused by the sanctions. The sanctions regime have prevented countries and companies from doing business with and lending money to Venezuela, which catalyzed the massive devaluing of the Venezuelan currency, the Bolivar. The economic crisis in Venezuela is a direct consequence of the sanctions. Venezuela wouldn’t need aid if the sanctions regime were lifted.
The media claims the aid package is composed solely of food, sanitary products, and medicine, but earlier this month Venezuelan authorities found a shipment of American made, M-16 pattern rifles and ammunition sent from Miami in the storage yard of Arturo Michelena International Airport in Venezuela. So, the same country claiming to send aid to Venezuela is also sending assault rifles?
But if we remember Elliott Abrams history of hiding weapons in aid shipments, this contradiction makes sense and there is no reason to think he won’t do this again.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the one seen in the previous clip, tweeted a not-so-subtle death threat to Maduro, posting a picture of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi before and after NATO-backed rebels captured and killed him, implying the same would happen to Maduro.
These are the faces of the Venezuela aid package. These faux-humanitarians have stated their desire to KILL this man, and Maduro has every right and reason to be skeptical of that.
But Kei, what about all of these headlines saying the Venezuelan National Guard set aid trucks on fire? Being skeptical of aid is one thing but burning aid trucks?
Well, recently surfaced video clearly shows it was opposition protesters throwing molotov cocktails at the trucks that started the fire, making this yet another clever media distortion to demonize Venezuela.
Trump and Bolsonaro, world-renowned humanitarians
Finally, we have to ask ourselves if the people backing this aid ever cared about humanitarianism.
On one hand, we’ve got Donald Trump. You know? Notorious humanitarian, Donald Trump? The guy that beat drone king Barack Obama’s eight-year drone strike record his first year in office. The same guy who called the still colonized island of Haiti a shit-hole country.
And on the other, we’ve got Jair Bolsonaro who said the 1964 Brazilian dictatorship should have executed quote, “at least 30,000 people,” and described himself as a “proud homophobe.”
If you’ve ever thought Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding immigration and Latino people was racist, why should his attitude towards Venezuela be any different?
Because if Donald Trump actually cared about poverty, he would start by sending aid packages to Flint, Michigan; Oakland; Detroit; or the Bronx.
As you watch this video, nearly 40 million Americans are experiencing poverty. Every single penny spent on meddling in Latin American affairs instead of American healthcare, education, jobs, and infrastructure is an attack on the poor and working class of this country.
Top Photo | Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, talk to a Venezuelan migrant, in Bogota, Colombia, Feb. 25, 2019. Martin Mejia | AP
Kei Pritsker is a journalist and activist located in Washington DC. Kei focuses on international politics and economics. He previously worked as a producer at RT America.
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