Opinion

US Talk of Democracy Is ‘Laughable’: Tariq Ali on Venezuela

From left to right: Tariq Ali, director Oliver Stone and President Hugo Chavez at the Venice Film Festival in 2009/Photo: AFP
US Talk of Democracy Is ‘Laughable’: Tariq Ali on Venezuela

The attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution date back to the 2002 coup against President Hugo Chavez, says political analyst and leftist Tariq Ali.

An event titled, “Tariq on Trump: Keep Trump’s Hands off Latin America,” packed its London location, as an array of scholars and representatives spoke on the political climate in Venezuela.

Among Tuesday’s speakers was Dr. Francisco Dominguez, who left Chile as a political refugee under Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1979. Dominguez, now a senior lecturer at Middlesex University, specializes in Latin America’s political economy and he says the protesters seeking “violent regime change … are failing.”

“The opposition cannot mobilize enough people,” said the scholar, “The Venezuelan opposition has set public buses on fire with people inside and (have) set fire to at least 3 people on the streets.” Despite this, as Dominguez points out, “they (western media) will not report the opposition attacks.” Instead, they want “to give the impression that Venezuela is on the brink of collapse.”

Dominguez points to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent actions as indicative of the lack of success the opposition has had, referring to Tillerson’s efforts “to lobby the EU to join sanctions against Venezuela.”

Venezuela isn’t the only Latin American country subject to the Trump administration’s aggression, as Adrian Weir, another of the speakers, highlighted, “The U.S. is pushing for sanctions in Nicaragua despite the Sandinistas winning over 70 percent of the vote.”

The disregard for Nicaragua’s sovereignty isn’t exclusive to the current powers in the U.S., however. When President Daniel Ortega secured his reelection, the U.S. Department of State announced they were “deeply concerned” by what they unfairly described as “the flawed presidential and legislative electoral process in Nicaragua, which precluded the possibility of a free and fair election in November.”

Weir, a prominent leader in Unite — the U.K.’s biggest trade union — was succinct in his criticism of U.S. interventions, “When the U.S. lectures others about human rights, remember they haven’t signed any human rights treaty since Eisenhower.”

Talking in depth on the situation, teleSUR host Tariq Ali evoked the memory of Latin America’s great liberator, “Simon Bolivar knew he needed to defeat Spain; now there is another empire looming.”

Again, Ali pointed out that there isn’t anything unique to Trump’s intervention. “He is part of the system, but every U.S. President has treated Latin Americans like they are of no consequence.” Ali went on to explain the new U.S. stance toward the region it once referred to as its backyard that is no longer a collection of “Banana Republics.”

“The U.S. says Venezuela is not a democracy because it elects people who do not do the bidding of the U.S.”

The activist, who has long-supported the causes of the Latin American people, was indignant at the claim that Venezuela is not democratic, “Chavismo won 17 elections and lost 1, yet Venezuela is still called a dictatorship by Western media. What more do they want? The U.S. talks about wanting democracy — we should laugh.”

The event was hosted by Ali on behalf of the Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign. The VSC seeks to defend Venezuela’s sovereignty; support the right of the Venezuelan people to determine their own future without external intervention; provide accurate and current information in support of democracy and social progress; and defend the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution.

By Jordan Florit/teleSUR

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