There is little doubt left that the US is sponsoring the Ukraine-style destabilization program of the Venezuelan extreme right wing.

That was made clear by the declarations of Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, who said yesterday that the US expects the government of Nicolas Maduro to provide “democratic space for the opposition,” demanding that it enter a dialogue with the violent opposition. The move is accompanied by a parallel disinformation campaign, as will be seen below. Jacobson added kindly that the US is not considering military action at this point.
The fact is that the Venezuelan government has invited the opposition to talks repeatedly, an offer that the ultra-right forces have declined on the basis of various excuses and in the expectation that they would be able to overthrow the government. Jacobson obviously knows that, but fails to put any pressure on the opposition to cooperate.
It’s also the case that the opposition has as much democratic space as it can muster in elections, although it remains in the minority by the will of the voters; and that the multiple private-sector media publish and broadcast what they want.
This is a between-the-lines translation of Jacobson’s words:
Our agents in Venezuela have lost popular support. The people are tired of the guarimbas [localized anti-Chavista street riots, violent and provocative in nature] , and popular support for the government is growing. The latter continues to hold conferences for peace involving various social sectors, and its intelligence agencies have dealt serious blows to the credibility of our agents by exposing the paramilitary essence of their plans. There is no way forward unless we intervene by threatening Venezuela with unspecified sanctions.
Earlier this month, a preliminary maneuver using Panama, whose president years ago declared himself “the anti-Chavez,” involved getting Panama to propose at the Organization of American States (OAS) outside intervention. That effort failed spectacularly, obtaining only three votes of support: Panama, the US, and sidekick Canada. The majority voted in support on non-intervention, a central principle of the OAS Charter even though historically it has been ignored by the US at will. Perhaps it was that outcome that prodded Jacobson into making clear her plans.
Yesterday, Unasur, an organization in which all South American nations are represented, met in Caracas to discuss the situation in Venezuela. The bloc reaffirmed its support for democracy, and supported “a process of broad and respectful dialogue, taking into consideration the National Conference for Peace.” It found “a firm rejection among all sectors of the regrettable recent acts of violence, condemning any tentative rupture of the democratic order and manifesting its compromise with respect for all human rights. In this sense, it considers that there must be a commitment to put aside all violent actions in Venezuela.” It also “recognized the openness and disposition of the President of the Republic, Nicolas Maduro, to welcome the recommendations made, and especially celebrated the will to agree on a witness of good faith to facilitate the dialogue among all parts. To give continuity to this process initiated by Unasur, the meetings of the Commission will continue during the coming days, through a group of foreign-affairs ministers”
The French AFP (Agence France Presse) , long an opponent of the Venezuelan government, managed to turn the above into the opposite of the facts. Yesterday it reported this total lie, commenting on Jacobson’s statements:

  • Most other member countries of the Organization of American States regional grouping have backed US efforts to help solve the crisis.
  • For its part, the US new agency AP (Associated Press)  reported in explanation of the Unasur meeting, as if Venezuela were being forced to accept a dialogue:
  • The president of Colombia says Venezuela’s socialist administration has accepted the opposition’s conditions for dialogue.
  • The announcement Thursday is the first sign of compromise on the part of President Nicolas Maduro since a protest movement ignited across the country nearly three months ago.

Why, if Maduro has repeatedly offered talks to the opposition, and if Unasur is now pursuing the matter in cooperation with Maduro, is there any need for the US to threaten sanctions?

Jacobson’s declaration brings to mind Victoria Nuland’s notorious dismissal of Europe’s positions on Ukraine: “F**k the EU.” In this case, Jacobson is saying the same thing about the OAS and Unasur. With cynicism, she also said, anticipating the imposition of sanctions:  We believe that it’s very important to work with our allies in the region on the way to implement any type of sanction.
Jacobson is not interested in dialogue; she wants to force Venezuela to accept terms and conditions that the guarimbas have failed to achieve. In order to rescue the goals that the violent approach is not going to reach, she proposes some kind of dialogue that will of course be deemed insufficient, opening the way –in her mind, and for purposes of the compliant media– for the US to impose sanctions.
The US is angling to break the unity of the south by using its closest allies. Panama is now out of the question, but likely candidates include Colombia and Paraguay. It does not take much effort to understand that such a group could not be seen as a “witness in good faith.”
Yesterday also, the Venezuelan government issued a statement, of which we cite only two paragraphs here (our translation):
The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela once again rejects categorically the attempts on the part of spokespersons of the United States to intervene in the internal affairs of our country and to ignore our democratic process.
The most recent declarations of the Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, constitute a questioning of the Commission of Foreign Affairs Ministers of Unasur that in recent days took part at numerous tables of dialogue with broad sectors of Venezuelan society, from all political tendencies, and that has found as a result a resounding rejection of the violence that for weeks has been taking place in the country, precisely at the hands of those sectors that reject dialogue and that count with the support of the US government.
There is no question that the US will push forward towards sanctions as a step towards an overthrow of the government of Venezuela. It remains to be seen what the response of Venezuela and the other nations of Latin America and the Caribbean will be.

March 28, 2014