The Sorrow of Venezuela: Sometimes the Enemy of My Enemy Is an Idiot


I have no love for the current US Regime. Our rulers in the oligarchic corporate system have many enemies, including at least half the American population. Among their foreign enemies is a moderately sized oil power on the north coast of South America. Since the Regime can’t afford to invade them all, it uses the dread weapon of economic sanctions against lesser threats like Venezuela.

I’m not entirely clear on why Venezuela deserves this punishment. Supposedly they’re “violating Democracy” since they rejected the USA’s hand-picked man for their next President. Then there are the usual allegations of drug trafficking, most likely false. Probably the real reason is because Venezuela has appropriated the property of American capitalists. To the US Regime, the right of American financiers to loot and plunder other nations, even to the point of driving their people to despair and early death, is sacrosanct. That’s what happened to Russia in the 1990s and Venezuela knows from its own experience the pitfalls of Yankee investment.

I support Venezuelan sovereignty as much as I oppose the “rules-based international order.” The country’s internal politics is none of America’s concern. And though our corporations don’t appreciate losing money and property, too bad! That’s the risk of operating in a foreign system. We taxpayers don’t owe the fat cats anything. To exact retribution would require sending troops, and protecting corporate profits doesn’t justify the loss of even one American soldier.

Just because I defend Venezuela, however, doesn’t mean I buy their leaders’ excuses. Ever since the Marxist Hugo Chavez came to power, the nation’s economy has been in decline. His successor Nicolas Maduro is doing even worse. Maduro’s rationale is “It’s America’s fault! They seized our assets and restricted our trade.” That second claim is true. But the USA also did this to Russia, another oil power. Though Russia suffered a year or two of hardship, its economy is now more self-reliant and stronger than ever. Its leaders forged closer ties with China and to international pariahs like Iran. By the way, Iran is also getting along fine, though America’s vindictiveness towards them has been much more severe. America’s punishments for Iran’s (imaginary) crimes have only increased the Iranian will to resist.

So what’s Venezuela’s problem? Have its oh-so-wise leaders diversified the nation’s economy to prevent a drop in oil prices from driving it to bankruptcy? No. According to Wikipedia, petroleum provides 80% of the nation’s exports and 50% of its government revenue. Have they reduced government waste and elite corruption? No. Instead, they’ve spent their way to hyperinflation. Has Venezuela benefited from the new Russian-Chinese financial system? No. The Russians don’t need Venezuela’s sole export and the Chinese have good reason to be wary of the integrity of their leadership.

Facing all of these problems, what’s Maduro’s answer? To invade his nation’s tiny neighbor to the east and add that country’s oil to their own enormous reserves, which apparently aren’t QUITE enough to lift them out of poverty. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? A certain Iraqi dictator tried the same thing 30 years ago and it went badly for him. Not that America should come to Guyana’s rescue–we had no obligation to help Kuwait, either–but if Maduro invades, he’ll give the US Regime the excuse it needs to put boots on the ground. And unlike the victims of our previous invasions in the Middle East, Venezuelans don’t have religious fanaticism to stiffen their resistance.

As much as our alleged leaders prattle on about Democracy with a capital D, I have no reason to believe that Venezuela’s elections are any less honest than ours. I would not be surprised if the people once again return him to power, even without vote-rigging. He keeps promising them all sorts of undeliverable benefits and they won’t give up those illusions without a fight. Democracy is no panacea. It produces spineless wimps like Greece’s Tsipras, Italy’s Melloni, and (I regret to say) America’s Trump who promote themselves as fire-eaters and upon getting into office, immediately surrender to the Powers That Be.

In my opinion, Venezuela would benefit from a strong and principled leader, one as ruthless as Chile’s Pinochet and as incorruptible as Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew. He’d have to be intensely nationalistic, like Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi. Most importantly, he’d need the guts to tell American financial predators to go to hell. (See “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins, which is dismissed as “conspiracy theory” by all the usual subjects.) But for every authoritarian who succeeds, there are at least ten who make matters worse, like Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and Argentina’s Peron.

I support Venezuela as the enemy of my enemy, the corrupt corporations currently ruling the USA. Yet neither can I support Venezuela’s even more corrupt, incompetent, and stupid leadership. Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, just an idiot.

Side note: I’ve been experimenting with AI images on Bing AI. I wanted to create a cartoon image of Venezuela as a sharp-toothed monster trying to devour Guyana, to illustrate the stupidity of Maduro’s claims to most of his neighbor’s territory. Bing flagged the suggestion with a content warning, saying I’d violated their terms of service. In other words, criticizing a brown (Mestizo) country for wanting to invade another brown (East Indian) country is racist. Sometimes AI is also an idiot!