News Release

Venezuela: Is U.S. Backing Destabilization?

ABC News reports: “Fears of more clashes between pro- and anti-government supporters ratcheted up in Venezuela as both sides prepared to march in the capital Tuesday and opposition leader Leonardo Lopez dared authorities to arrest him when he reappears in public.

“The competing demonstrations loomed one day after President Nicolas Maduro’s government gave three U.S. Embassy officials 48 hours to leave the country, claiming they were supporting what he says are opposition plots to topple his socialist administration. The U.S. denied that.”

MARIA PÁEZ VICTOR, mariavictor at sympatico.ca
A Venezuelan sociologist currently in Toronto, Maria Páez Victor recently wrote the piece “Venezuela Under Attack Again,” which states: “There is a section of the opposition that is democratic and law abiding, unfortunately it is the undemocratic elements of opposition that seems to lead. These last few days, these prominent leaders of the undemocratic opposition, parliamentarians Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, were urging violence.”

STEVE ELLNER, sellner74 at gmail.com, @sellner74
Ellner has taught at the Universidad de Oriente in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, since 1977. He is author or editor of a number of books on Venezuela, including the forthcoming Latin America’s Radical Left. He recently wrote the piece “Venezuela: Right-wing Provokes Violence in Time-worn Practice,” which states: “Opposition demonstrators have created havoc in the center of Caracas and elsewhere, burning public buildings, using firearms after attacking the house of the governor in the state of Tachira. The announced intention of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader who has organised these protests, is to overthrow the government. He says it publicly.”

MARK WEISBROT, via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net, @Dan_Beeton
Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He just wrote the piece “U.S. Support for Regime Change in Venezuela is a Mistake,” published by the Guardian, which states: “When is it considered legitimate to try and overthrow a democratically-elected government? In Washington, the answer has always been simple: when the U.S. government says it is. Not surprisingly, that’s not the way Latin American governments generally see it.

“On Sunday, the Mercosur governments (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela) released a statement on the past week’s demonstrations in Venezuela. They described ‘the recent violent acts’ in Venezuela as ‘attempts to destabilize the democratic order.’ They made it abundantly clear where they stood.

“The governments stated their ‘firm commitment to the full observance of democratic institutions and, in this context, [they] reject the criminal actions of violent groups that want to spread intolerance and hatred in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as a political tool.’…

“Of course we all know who the U.S. government supports in Venezuela. They don’t really try to hide it: there’s $5 million in the 2014 U.S. federal budget for funding opposition activities inside Venezuela, and this is almost certainly the tip of the iceberg — adding to the hundreds of millions of dollars of overt support over the past 15 years.”