By Joe Montero
Yesterday’s [1 May] dramatic scenes in Venezuela ended up in a fizzle for self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido. Suffering from declining support and growing division within opposition forces, it seems like he and his backers in Washington had opted to take a big gamble.
It is becoming clear the hour, that there has been a serious miscalculation. Initial reports were that a group of soldiers had joined the would-be president. It turns out, if the reports ate true, that most of them soon abandoned him, saying they had been misled after receiving false orders to turn up to the location. They wanted no part of it. It remains, that several officers, of the National Guard and not the army, have been supporting Guaido.
Soldiers who were tricked into going to Guaido and left after they found out the truth, speak out against the coup attempt and name those responsible.
Video from Vive Televisión
In a context, where the United States has openly offered soldiers a substantial sum of money to cross over to the other side, that so few have taken it up, speaks volumes.
It also underlines the fact that the United States is only interfering in the internal affairs of another country and putting itself in the position, where it gives itself the right to dictate who will form the government. This is a clear violation of international laws.
The United States in openly defying international law. The current opposition leader is a puppet increasingly considered a traitor in Venezuela
Video from teleSUR English
If Guaido had the support of the Venezuelan armed forces, and more importantly, of the people of Venezuela, he would not need Washington and the people would have turned out to support him.
Venezuelans came out into the streets in big numbers to support their government, and they dwarfed the number coming out for Guaido
Video from teleSUR English
It is possible that the real intention was not to take over, but to set a trap where the army would step in and arrest Guaido at gunpoint, to create a justification for foreign military intervention.
Maduro has not stepped into this trap.
Developments have prompted Germany to pull away from backing the coup attempt and has called for dialogue instead of violence. It looks like the rest of Europe will soon be following. It is also making it much more difficult for Latin American governments stuck to the Washington line.
There is no doubt that the failure of this coup attempt, and the rallying of the majority of Venezuela behind Maduro, has been a serious setback for the US backed opposition.
This has been the third major setback. The the Guaido self-proclamation. It did not result in him actually taking office. This was followed by the border crossing incidents. They were supposed to provide the scene for foreign intervention, and for Guaido, the opportunity to enter Caracas and the presidential palace.
As a member of the recent Australian fact-finding delegation to Venezuela, I can attest that we found widespread support for what is referred there as the Bolivaran revolution, and for Nicolas Maduro, a reality evidenced in the streets , time and time again.
We saw it in what people told us, and the conversations we had with people in the streets, cafes and other places.
Support from ordinary Venezuelans is why Maduro and his government have been able to survive so many attacks.
Washington has used the most virulent part of the opposition to help enforce collective punishment on the population, for daring to oppose what it wants.
In the first place, it was to deny them food. Many died as a result. Venezuela has managed to overcome the worst of this, by substantially overcome with raising food production and providing staple food needs to all households.
Focus is now mainly on denying medicines other non-food necessities. And the targeting of the financial system under US control has continued to deny Venezuela lines of credit, limited what these banks will pass over to their customers, and is still flooding the country with currency via the internet. The result has been hyper-inflation.
Now that the problem of hyper-inflation is slowly been brought under control by Venezuela, increasing attention is being put into more direct forms of attack.
U.S. Sanctions since 2017 have cost Venezuela dearly
Video from Democracy Now
The collective punishment strategy has been intended create enough suffering to turn the population against Maduro. This has failed. What it has done, is added to a sense that this is a war touching every individual, and increased the preparedness of individuals to put up with hardship and fight for what they believe to be the survival of their nation and a better future.
Unfortunately, this latest failure has the potential of making the situation more dangerous. There is no indication that the ambition of “regime change” is going to come to an end. There will be further attempts at “regime change.”
As this is being written, Guido has called on his supporters to turn out for a big May Day march. Maduro’s supporters are also preparing their own May Day march and all Bets are that it will be much bigger.
But there will be an escalation of tensions and this creates the potential for incidents. These can be used to create another opportunity for intervention.
Not surprisingly, much of the big media outside the country has been pushing a pro-Guaido position, concentrating on incidental issues, and most importantly of all, blocking out the extent of the support for Maduro. It continues to stick to the fiction that most of Venezuela is behind Guaido and that this is a battle for democracy.
Those who spread this story cannot explain why so few turned up, when Guaido called on his supporters.
Venezuela will continue to fight for its sovereignty.
The situation also requires a building of greater international support for their right to do this. This is where the rest of us come in.