When, Juan Guaidó, until recently virtually unknown even in Venezula, announced himself as the acting president last week, the endorsement from the United States came within minutes. So swift, in fact, it must have been composed before the attempted coup was mounted.
There can be little doubt about who is behind this flagrant interference in the affairs of a sovereign nation. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile and Columbia slavishly followed suit, and, not wanting to miss the party, British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt announced government support for this illegal and profoundly dangerous turn of events.
This sabre-rattling international cabal, intent on isolating Venezuela, rushed through a debate at the United Nations, calling for fresh elections within eight days or else Guaidó would be recognised as the de factopresident.
The most recent election, earlier this month, saw the return of President Nicolás Maduro, but this was not the result the Americans wanted, hence this bellicose development.
This ultimatum was instantly rejected at the UN by the Venezuelan foreign minister, who declared “…nobody is going to give us deadlines or tell us if there are elections or not”. In solidarity, Russia declared that foreign support for Guaidó violates international law and is “a direct path to bloodshed”.
But on the international stage the United States led juggernaut is not getting everything its own way. Cuba, China, Mexico, Iran, Turkey and Uruguay have all expressed support for Maduro. And the list is growing.
There can be no escaping the fact that the Venezuelan economy is in disarray. Basics are in short supply, infrastructure is crumbling, inflation is at record levels. US sanctions continue to exacerbate the problem. A significant proportion of the population, and the armed forces, remain, as yet, loyal to Maduro. They wish to put their own house in order, much as we do here with our desire to escape the clutches of the EU.
That the United States, whose own government employees have been unable to work and unpaid for weeks, could have the effrontery to label the Maduro government as “mayhem”, is something we have come to expect.
That our own representatives have jumped on this piratical bandwagon is unforgiveable. Hunt has no right to add our name to the roster of nations who seek to destabilise that part of the Americas, ushering in further misery for the people of Venezuela, and paving the way for the plundering of the world’s largest oil reserves.
Venezuela represents no threat to our national security. All who call for interference should be denounced.