Hands Off Venezuela

A guide to debunking imperialist propaganda

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This image is based on a photograph I took at an Iraq War protest in Milwaukee, WI (circa 2004)

After winning the Venezuelan presidential election in May of 2018, Nicolás Maduro was sworn in on January 10, 2019 to begin his second term in office. Then, on January 22, Juan Guaidó — a man whom 81% of Venezuelans had never heard of — suddenly declared himself “interim president” of the oil-rich Latin American nation. Although Guaidó did not run in any presidential election, American politicians and pundits quickly praised this brazen coup attempt, recognizing Guaidó’s claim to the Venezuelan presidency as “legitimate.” Since then, the Trump administration has increased economic sanctions and engaged in other regime-change efforts.

In lieu of simply writing an article on this topic, I decided to create a post that provides myriad sources and can be continuously updated as events unfold. The information provided herein is separated by topic, and each category is arranged chronologically based on the publication date of the source material. I plan to eventually write an introduction to each section.

The Bolivarian Revolution and Venezuelan Democracy

Venezuelan Regional Elections: PSUV Candidates Win 20 out of 23 States Venezuela Analysis (December 18, 2012)

On the Legacy of Hugo ChávezThe Nation (March 6, 2013)

“Chávez emerged from the ruin, first with a failed putsch in 1992, which landed him in jail but turned him into a folk hero. Then in 1998, when he won 56 percent of the vote as a presidential candidate. […] The esteem in which Chávez was held by the majority of Venezuelans, many of them dark-skinned, was matched by the rage he provoked among the country’s mostly white political and economic elites.”

Venezuela Leads Region in Poverty Reduction in 2012, ECLAC SaysCEPR (December 6, 2013)

“Colectivos are Synonymous with Organization, Not Violence”Venezuela Analysis (March 18, 2014)

“Clodovaldo Hérnandez, Venezuelan writer and politician, talks about the criminalization of grassroots organizing, the right-wing strategy behind it, and goes on to explain why ‘the fate of the revolution rests in the communal councils’ in an interview with newspaper Ciudad CCS, from March 10th, 2014.”

Q & A: The National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela Venezuela Analysis (July 24, 2017)

Why Socialism Keeps Winning in VenezuelaEmpire Files (October 27, 2017)

Social Programs in Venezuela Under the Chavista GovernmentsVenezuela Analysis (November 7, 2017)

How Voting Works in VenezuelaVenezuela Analysis (May 9, 2018)

The Facts About Venezuela’s May 20th Presidential ElectionMintpress News (May 24, 2018)

International Observers to Venezuela’s Election Pen Letter to the EUVenezuela Analysis (June 26, 2018)

In Images: Venezuelan People Mobilize In Support of MaduroVenezuela Analysis (January 23, 2019)

Venezuela’s Missile Crisis: A Conversation with Juan ContrerasVenezuela Analysis (February 16, 2019)

“Juan Contreras was born and raised in Caracas’s 23 de Enero barrio, famous for its revolutionary political activism and internationalism. A graduate of Venezuela’s Central University, Contreras was active in Bandera Roja, under the direction of Comandante Geronimo (Carlos Betancourt) in the late 1970s. Today he heads up the community organization, Coordinadora Simon Bolivar, in the heart of working class Caracas. In this exclusive interview with Venezuelanalysis, Contreras looks at the historical echoes of the current coup attempt and reminds us of all that is a stake.”

The Trump-Trudeau Venezuelan ‘Lima Group’ Policy and Its Nemesis Venezuela Analysis (February 18, 2019)

“The situation in Caracas is the opposite of what is portrayed in the international corporate media in the U.S., Canada and other countries in the West.”

US Media Erase Years of Chavismo’s GainsFAIR (February 20, 2019)

“Under Chávez, poverty in Venezuela was cut by more than a third, and extreme poverty by 57 percent. […] In June 2013, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) included Venezuela in a group of 18 nations that had cut their number of hungry people by half in the preceding 20 years, 14 of which were governed by Chavismo. […] Three months later, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said that it ‘welcomes the social development measures, programs and plans that include indigenous peoples and people of African descent, which have helped to combat structural racial discrimination’ in the country.”

San Agustín: Popular Power Striking Back Against the Coup and the CrisisVenezuela Analysis (February 21, 2019)

Trade Unions Ratify Anti-Imperialist StanceVenezuela Analysis (February 22, 2019)

“Humanitarian Crisis”

The Politics of Food in VenezuelaMonthly Review (June 1, 2018)

Facts Refuting Claims of ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ in VenezuelaTelesur (February 20, 2019)

“The ‘humanitarian crisis’ is a category of the International Humanitarian Law which refers to crisis born of nature or man-made disasters like war. These crises then get transnational aid from various governments and international organizations. According to the United Nations, to name a crisis ‘humanitarian’, millions of people have to be affected by violence, hunger, and diseases without a state being able to effectively control the crisis. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) considers Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (in all these crises the U.S. played a direct or indirect role) as countries that qualify for the category of ‘humanitarian crisis.’”

Investigating Venezuela’s ‘Humanitarian Crisis’: Max Blumenthal Tours a Supermarket in CaracasGrayzone (February 21, 2019)

The Real Humanitarian Aid: Inside Venezuela’s State-Subsidized Communal MarketsGrayzone (February 24, 2019)

U.S. Sanctions

Trump’s Sanctions Make Economic Recovery in Venezuela Nearly Impossible The Nation (September 7, 2017)

“At the end of August, the Trump administration imposed harsh sanctions on Venezuela that prevent the country from borrowing or selling assets in the US financial system. The new embargo will exacerbate shortages of food, medicine, and other essential goods, while severely limiting the policy options available to pull the country out of a deep depression.”

Exonerating the Empire in VenezuelaFAIR (March 22, 2018)

“The United States has for years undermined the Venezuelan economy with economic sanctions, but US media coverage of Venezuela’s financial crisis has gone out of its way to obscure this. The intent of the sanctions is clear: to inflict maximum pain on Venezuela so as to encourage the people of the country to overthrow the democratically elected government.”

Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America’s War on VenezuelaCounterpunch (February 1, 2019)

What’s the Deal with Sanctions in Venezuela, and Why’s It So Hard for Media to Understand?Venezuela Analysis (February 5, 2019)

“It’s not just the the media’s apparent amnesia with regard to those 2017 sanctions and their impact on the oil industry that is the problem here. In fact, the impact of those sanctions was even larger. As my colleague, Mark Weisbrot has previously explained, and as Rodríguez notes in the same article linked above, the sanctions made it virtually impossible for the Venezuela government to take the measures necessary to eliminate hyperinflation or recover from a deep depression. Such measures would include debt restructuring, and creating a new exchange rate system (Exchange Rate Bases Stabilization), in which the currency would normally be pegged to the dollar.”

US Media Ignore — and Applaud — Economic War on VenezuelaVenezuela Analysis (February 19, 2019)

“A UN rapporteur declares that ‘sanctions kill’ — but few in Western media are listening to his message.”

Trump’s Other ‘National Emergency’: Sanctions That Kill VenezuelansThe Nation (February 28, 2019)

Report: U.S. Sanctions Have Cost 40,000 Venezuelan LivesVenezuela Analysis (April 26, 2019)

The Right-Wing Opposition

Venezuela Protesters Set 40 Tons of Subsidized Food on Fire Telesur (June 30, 2017)

Abby Martin Meets the Venezuelan OppositionEmpire Files (July 3, 2017)

US Backs Coup in Oil-Rich Venezuela, Right-Wing Opposition Plans Mass Privatization and Hyper-CapitalismGrayzone (January 23, 2019)

“Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves and has challenged the hegemony of the US dollar, has long been a target of US aggression. In 2002, the United States supported a military coup that briefly ousted democratically elected President Hugo Chávez and replaced him with the right-wing oligarch Pedro Carmona. US intervention, including crippling economic sanctions, has only continued since then.”

The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup LeaderGrayzone (January 29, 2019)

Venezuela’s opposition pleads for US intervention — Max Blumenthal reports from Caracas marchGrayzone (February 15, 2019)

Media Coverage and Historical Context

In Campaign Against Venezuela, NYT Cites Former Member of Death Squad Alliance FAIR (July 14, 2016)

Why Venezuela Reporting Is So BadFAIR (June 27, 2018)

  • This is a review of Alan MacLeod’s book Bad News From Venezuela.

Your Complete Guide to the N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-Backed Coups in Latin AmericaTruthdig (January 29, 2019)

“The New York Times continued its long, predictable tradition of backing U.S. coups in Latin America by publishing an editorial praising Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This will be the 10th such coup the paper has backed since the creation of the CIA over 70 years ago.”

The BBC and Venezuela: Bias and LiesVenezuela Analysis (February 8, 2019)

Western Media Fall in Lockstep for Cheap Trump/Rubio Venezuela Aid PR StuntFAIR (February 9, 2019)

The Fake News about Humanitarian Aid and VenezuelaAmerican Herald Tribune (February 19, 2019)

Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America FAIR (February 22, 2019)

“I was sitting in my apartment in Caracas, Venezuela, reading the online edition of Time magazine (5/19/16), which carried a report that there was not even something as basic as aspirin to be found anywhere in Venezuela: ‘Basic medicines like aspirin are nowhere to be found.’

I walked out of the apartment to the nearest pharmacy, four blocks away, where I found plenty of aspirin, as well as acetaminophen (generic Tylenol) and ibuprofen (generic Advil), in a well-stocked pharmacy with a knowledgeable professional staff that would be the envy of any US drugstore.”

Alan MacLeod Debunks Media Propaganda on VenezuelaYouTube (May 4, 2019)

Pathological Deceit: The NYT Inverts Reality on Venezuela’s Cuban DoctorsFAIR (March 26, 2019)

Venezuela: It’s Only a Coup if the US Government Says SoFAIR (May 1, 2019)

Coup Attempts and other Regime-Change Efforts

Documents Show C.I.A. Knew Of a Coup Plot in VenezuelaNew York Times (December 3, 2004)

13 years after foiled U.S.-backed coup, right-wing opposition wins Venezuela electionSalon (December 7, 2015)

  • Just to clarify; this headline is referring to the National Assembly, not the presidency.

Still Meddling in VenezuelaCounterpunch (March 5, 2018)

“In recent weeks, the Trump administration has stepped up its efforts at ‘regime change’ in Venezuela. In the past, Trump himself has even mentioned military action as a possible option, but the most recent moves appear more likely to be implemented, and some are already operational. According to sources with knowledge of the matter, the leading opposition contender for Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election, Henri Falcón, was told by US officials that the Trump administration would consider financial sanctions against him if he entered the presidential race.”

The United States’ Hand in Undermining Democracy in VenezuelaNACLA (May 17, 2018)

Trump: “Why Can’t the US Just Simply Invade?”Truthout (July 4, 2018)

‘US Administrations Have Been Intervening in Venezuela Since at Least the Early 2000s’FAIR (January 16, 2019)

America Has Its Gunsights on VenezuelaBlack Agenda Report (January 23, 2019)

‘Resistance’ Media Side With Trump to Promote Coup in VenezuelaFAIR (January 25, 2019)

86% of Venezuelans Oppose Military Intervention, 81% Against US Sanctions, Local Polling ShowsGrayzone (January 29, 2019)

Regime Change for Profit: Chevron, Halliburton Cheer On US Venezuela CoupMintpress News (February 4, 2019)

Regime Change “Made in the U.S.A.” NACLA (February 8, 2019)

Ambassador to UN Slams US ‘Pillage’ of VenezuelaTelesur (February 18, 2019)

Elliott Abrams Is Bringing Violence of 1980s U.S. Latin America Policy to VenezuelaVenezuela Analysis (February 20, 2019)

“President Trump met with Colombian President Iván Duque at the White House Wednesday to discuss ongoing efforts to topple the Venezuelan government, the same day that U.S. special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams faced questioning from Congress about his role in atrocities carried out in Latin America in the 1980s. This includes defending Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt’s campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people.”

A Visit to Mysterious U.S. Air Firm Accused of Arming Right-Wing Insurgency in VenezuelaGrayzone (February 20, 2019)

A Call to Halt an Illegal Invasion of VenezuelaTruthdig (February 22, 2019)

  • This piece is an op-ed by Kevin Tillman, an Iraq War veteran and brother of the late Pat Tillman.

An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose CoupEmpire Files (February 22, 2019)

Venezuela: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust the NeoconsYouTube (March 2, 2019)

Another Failed Coup in Venezuela?Venezuela Analysis (March 7, 2019)

“For two decades, the Venezuelan opposition and its supporters in Washington have smeared Hugo Chávez and now his successor, Nicolás Maduro, as despotic strongmen kept in power solely through military force and paltry payouts to the poor. So it’s no surprise that they are once again underestimating both Chavismo and the resilience of its supporters today.”

US Regime Change Blueprint Proposed Venezuelan Electricity Blackouts as ‘Watershed Event’ for ‘Galvanizing Public Unrest’ Grayzone (March 11, 2019)

Current Events

Maduro Leads Military Exercises as Guaido Appeals to Armed Forces Venezuela Analysis (January 28, 2019)

National March on Washington: Hands off VenezuelaANSWER Coalition (February 1, 2019)

“On Saturday, March 16, thousands of people will march in Washington, D.C. against the Trump administration’s effort to engineer a coup in Venezuela and a new devastating war there. The aggressive policy against Venezuela repeats the ugly pattern of wars for regime change in the oil-rich countries of Iraq and Libya.”

Support for Venezuela Takes Center Stage at UNESCO-Sponsored Cuba ConferenceMintpress News (February 6, 2019)

Venezuela Receives 933 Tons of Medicine and Medical SuppliesUniradio Informa (February 14, 2019)

Meet Juan Guaido’s First Ambassador, Fake Twitter Diplomat Slammed by Costa Rica for ‘Unacceptable Entry’ Grayzone (February 21, 2019)

Violence Erupts at Venezuelan-Brazilian Border Ahead of ‘Aid’ DeadlineVenezuela Analysis (February 22, 2019)

Solidarity with Venezuela from countries around the worldTelesur (February 23, 2019)

“The president of Cuba has tweeted his support for the Venezuelan people and the government of Nicolas Maduro, saying ‘enough of false pretexts to conceal sinister plans.’ Support was also shown in Chile and London with people demonstrating against the U.S. intervention attempts.”

Opposition protesters filmed making Molotov cocktailsTwitter (February 23, 2019)

Venezuela Breaks Relations with Colombia as Guaido Tries to Force Aid InVenezuela Analysis (February 23, 2019)

Burning Aid: An Interventionist Deception on Colombia-Venezuela Bridge?Grayzone (February 24, 2019)

  • “Colombian writer Humberto Ortiz produced footage from a pro-opposition channel showing what appears to be the exact moment when a guarimbero sets the aid on fire with a molotov cocktail.”
  • “Telesur reporter Madelein Garcia published photographs showing a guarimbero with a gas canister next to one of the burning trucks.”
  • “Drone footage also published by Garcia shows how far away the trucks were from Venezuelan national guardsmen when they caught fire, and demonstrates that they were clearly on the Colombian side of the border.”
  • “Even Bloomberg News, which has run a relentless stream of pro-opposition reports, published video showing guarimberos on the bridge making molotov cocktails, which could easily set a truck cabin or its cargo alight.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza: “The Coup Has Failed and Now the U.S. is Looking to Wage War”Democracy Now (February 25, 2019)

Socialist Rifle Association Condemns US-Backed Coup in VenezuelaSRA (February 28, 2019)

International Peoples Assembly: A Manifesto in Solidarity with Venezuela Venezuela Analysis (March 4, 2019)

Guaido Returns to Venezuela amid U.S. Threats Against MaduroVenezuela Analysis (March 4, 2019)

Western Imperialism and Hypocrisy

35 Countries Where the U.S. Has Supported Fascists, Drug Lords and TerroristsAlternet (March 4, 2014)

U.S. Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s DictatorshipsTruthout (September 23, 2017)

Human Rights Watch, While Hawkish on Venezuela, Is Quiet on Violent Repression and Apparent Coup in HondurasAlternet (Decemeber 11, 2017)

The 2001 Terrorist Attack on American Soil Wasn’t the Only “9/11”The Hampton Institute (September 10, 2018)

  • Using the 1973 U.S.-backed coup in Chile as an introduction, this is an article I wrote in which I discuss the consequences of American imperialism.

An overview of the situation in Venezuela presented by Mike Prysner of The Empire Files:

Written by

Socialist. Herbivore. Husband. I usually write about politics, current events, and history. My work has also been published by The Hampton Institute.

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