(reprinted from Feb.-March 2018 issue of The Organizer newspaper)
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s tour of major cities across Latin America the first week of February had one major objective: to tighten the military siege of Venezuela and prepare a coup and/or U.S. military invasion through Latin American proxy forces. “Our overriding concern is to help restore the democratic order in Venezuela,” Tillerson told the press.
Admiral Kurt Tidd, chief of the Southern Command of the United States, announced at a summit meeting in Tumaco, Colombia, two days after Tillerson’s tour that military action against Venezuela might be needed to fend off “threats to U.S. security,” though he did not explain what these were.
Colombian Vice President Oscar Naranjo, who met with Tidd, said that military action might be needed to stop drugs from entering Colombia from Venezuela. Another possible pretext for military intervention, according to the corporate intelligence firm Statfor, which works closely with the U.S. State Department, is the claim that Venezuela may be readying to invade Guyana.
According to the February 12 Maritime Herald, more than 3,000 military and police forces from various countries are assembling in the Colombian towns of Vichada and Leticia along the Venezuelan border in a “joint naval force between the United States, Colombia and Mexico.” The articles goes on to report that 415 members of the U.S. Air Force have been dispatched to Panama to create support and logistic points for the operation against Venezuela.
The Venezuelan government, for its part, is warning of a possible U.S.-led military invasion of their country. “In Colombia, they are planning to revive eras that had ended in human history, like military bombing, a military invasion or the occupation, through blood and gunfire, of a peaceful country like Venezuela,” said Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, Tarek William Saab, according to the state-run AVN news agency. “We will not allow it.”
“What did the people of Venezuela do to deserve to be bombed, like the president of the United States has threatened?” Saab asked. Saab was referring to Trump’s declaration that he would not rule out a “military option” in relation to Venezuela.
Another sign that something ominous is in the works was the decision by the Venezuelan opposition coalition, the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (or Democratic Unity Table), to withdraw from the peace negotiations with the Bolivarian government. A “peace agreement” concerning the upcoming April 22 presidential election was scheduled to be signed on February 7 in the Dominican Republic between the government of Nicolás Maduro and the MUD, “but as the parties were about to sit down and sign the document,” the Venezuelan foreign ministry reported, “the MUD delegation received a call from Colombia, and it walked out of the negotiations.”
It was clear to one and all that the call to withdraw from the peace negotiations emanated from Washington.
The situation in Venezuela is more dangerous than ever. Labor and antiwar activists in the United States who are organizing antiwar actions on April 14-15 across the country need to ensure that the demand of “U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!” is front and center. The Venezuelan people must be allowed to decide their own fate — free from U.S. intervention, be it direct or through Colombian and other proxy forces! — Ed. Bd.