the revolution will be livestreamed
April 30, 2019 10:05 AM   Subscribe

 
The Venezuelan embassy in DC is currently being occupied by anti-coup activists.

Who Is Juan Guaidó?

A transparent oil industry puppet.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:24 AM on April 30 [15 favorites]


So is Guaidó any better than Maduro?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:25 AM on April 30


So is Guaidó any better than Maduro?

Even if he theoretically could be as a blank slate politician, he's using a very obvious imperialist coup to take power. Even if he had the best of intentions (which I more than doubt), he would be indebted to that coup. What does the current United States want from Guaidó? 1) government that is friendly with the US oil industry, and 2) show socialism is a failure and leads to death and the collapse of government.

So, despite Maduro's short-comings, Guaidó's coup is catastrophe for both short- and long-term Venezuela.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:29 AM on April 30 [22 favorites]


Erik Prince, brother of US Education secretary Betsy DeVoss has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, four sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters..
Brazil´s Bolsonazi son Eduardo is at the border .
Andrew Rosati tweets that newly released opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez says he and his allies have spoken to high-ranking members of government here and across the region. He says he wants US to apart of be government that will form once Maduro falls.
posted by adamvasco at 10:33 AM on April 30 [8 favorites]


Maduro is no picnic, but Guaido would be much worse.
posted by Steakfrites at 10:37 AM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Guaidó's claim to legitimacy is that the Venezuelan constitution holds that in the event of a disputed election, until the election can be verified or run again, the head of the parliament/congress is interim president.

The equivalent would be if in 2020, Trump had a disputed victory, so Pelosi claimed she were the legitimate interim leader until we had fair elections.

To say it's a wholly a coup is to claim that Maduro's election last year was legitimate, which many nations dispute. Pro-Maduro folks make it sound like Guaidó came out of nowhere (given that he wasn't on the Presidential ballot) and is trying to seize power. Maduro could have ended this months ago by calling for another election with non-partisan observers.

That said, it's awfully convenient that Guaidó holds positions that are far more convenient to America's current administration than Maduro. There's good reasons to be suspicious of US support of Guaidó.
posted by explosion at 10:38 AM on April 30 [28 favorites]


There was that transparent nonsense about "delivering aid" at the border with Columbia while Guaidó was out of the country. When John Bolton wants to deliver aid, something stinks.
posted by stonepharisee at 10:42 AM on April 30 [6 favorites]


If I were in Guaido's shoes, I wouldn't be saying things that would get Trump mad. Seems like a losing proposition. He's been in a very tenuous position and I can't see that antagonizing the US would be a good move for him.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:44 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Maduro vs. Guaido is pretty much lose/lose, though at least you might get to eat food under Guaido, instead of chavismo's empty promises.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:46 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Jesus fuck. My country is back to openly supporting Latin American coups. And even the rationale for doing so hasn't changed: gotta keep the Commies out.
posted by sotonohito at 10:52 AM on April 30 [17 favorites]


It's pretty wild that as much as we hear in the US about how Venezuela is a brutal dictatorship, this guy has been allowed to travel freely planning and executing the slowest coup in modern history. It's hard to square the picture of Maduro we get with letting Guaido wander the world publicly conspiring with foreign governments to stage an invasion.
posted by Copronymus at 10:54 AM on April 30 [14 favorites]


The Hill. Trump administration throws support behind apparent coup in Venezuela.
Bolton, Abrams, Pompeo none of whom have any interest in the well being of the Venezuelan people at all.
US interest in Venezuela has nothing to do with humanitarianism and everything to do with defeating an ideological foe and stealing its resources.
posted by adamvasco at 10:55 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


Pinning any hopes on Guaidó would be supremely foolish. He knows who is backing him, and those people do not care if Venezuelans eat or not.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:56 AM on April 30 [12 favorites]


Oh the irony
Today marks the liberation of the Vietnamese people from U.S imperialism and South Vietnamese government.
posted by adamvasco at 11:20 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


BBC broadcast from the last couple of months: Revolution in Ruins: The Hugo Chavez Story
posted by XMLicious at 11:24 AM on April 30


Report: The crisis in Venezuela could have displaced more than five million people by the end of this year if there is no letup in the country's crisis, a report said Friday, comparing the flow with that of Afghanistan and Syria. The number cited in the report for the Organization of American States would be roughly double the 2.7 million the United Nations says have left Venezuela since 2015, a mass migration burdening Colombia and other neighboring countries.
posted by Omon Ra at 11:25 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


> Jesus fuck. My country is back to openly supporting Latin American coups.

is this the right place for a treatise that contextualizes the international fuckery carried out by oligarchs from moscow to washington to caracas in terms of the final decline of the westphalian nation-state and argues that we must ourselves not behave as citizens of any particular country but instead as part of an worldwide countermovement against international capital? because if so boy howdy do i have a treatise for you.

p.s. maduro sucks.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:26 AM on April 30 [26 favorites]


US interest in Venezuela has nothing to do with humanitarianism and everything to do with defeating an ideological foe and stealing its resources.

I have no doubt that's true, but that article quotes Jimmy Carter as saying the election process in Venezuela, “is the best in the world.” without noting that he said it in 2012, was referencing the electronic voting system, and the Carter Center put out a press release in February and explicitly refusing to endorse the recent elections, which they did not observe, as Venezuela has not permitted them to do formally.
“In 2012, I applauded Venezuela’s use of electronic voting machines as exemplary in the world,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “That characterization since has been misused by Nicolas Maduro to suggest a broad validation of Venezuela’s election system as a whole and of subsequent elections that The Carter Center did not observe. In fact, The Carter Center and others routinely have expressed concern about government interference in recent electoral processes. The Carter Center has not observed elections formally in Venezuela since 2004.”
posted by BungaDunga at 11:30 AM on April 30 [20 favorites]


So is Guaidó any better than Maduro?

A fat pig and a hungry one. They're both pigs.
posted by corb at 11:33 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


Erik Prince, brother of US Education secretary Betsy DeVoss has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro

Does Erik still have the world's largest private army or does Putin.
D'oh no. If Erik is pushing for a coup,, does that not violate the Logan Act?
posted by clavdivs at 11:38 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon: "is this the right place for a treatise that contextualizes the international fuckery carried out by oligarchs from moscow to washington to caracas in terms of the final decline of the westphalian nation-state and argues that we must ourselves not behave as citizens of any particular country but instead as part of an worldwide countermovement against international capital? because if so boy howdy do i have a treatise for you."

Not actually, no.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:44 AM on April 30 [5 favorites]


> Not actually, no.

dang.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:50 AM on April 30 [13 favorites]


You can't just act like history and imperialism didn't happen. The US has a history of imperialism in Latin America. Even if it was a Bernie Sanders presidency shoring up a socialist government in Venezuela, it would still be seen here, there, and everywhere as once again the US putting its finger on the scale (although for leftism would be a welcome change).

We want any healthy, good government to be seen as authentic and local, not a foreign plot. If we want to live in a world where labor crosses all borders and aids other laborers in their struggles then 1) put our own house in order first and 2) act as laborers, not as an army of the American government.

The leftists that suited up and went over to Rojava to fight have my respect, and it's hard to see them as an arm of US foreign policy. The US government sending "aid" shipments contingent upon a certain person being installed as president? That's a no.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:57 AM on April 30 [14 favorites]


Jesus fuck. My country is back to openly supporting Latin American coups. And even the rationale for doing so hasn't changed: gotta keep the Commies out.

A CHinese IT firm has already started working to install a full on Orwellian ID system to enable the regime to condition food rations on proper behavior in Venezuela. US-backed coup or a beta test of our cyberpunk dystopian future. Pick your poison.
posted by ocschwar at 12:02 PM on April 30 [13 favorites]


Since Venezuela has become such a gotcha for right-wingers to "prove" socialism doesn't work, as this coup unfolds I urge lefties to avoid falling into the "well, Venezuela isn't real socialism" trap, or otherwise throwing the Bolivarian Revolution under the bus and blaming an area that had been colonized and brutalized by the West in one way or another for 500 years for their economic situation.

For well on 20 years the US has used all the soft power they can muster to punish Venezuela for the crime of being brown and asserting economic independence. It's straight out of the Nixonian "make the economy scream" playbook that gave the world Pinochet. And while no government is perfect I am immediately skeptical of any socialist whose list of acceptable left-wing governments is exclusively majority-white social democratic countries who built their vast wealth on the back of the Global South, ones the CIA doesn't try to overthrow constantly for rebuking Western capital.

The US has less than no business interfering in Venezuela's affairs. Save your theoretical criticisms of Venezuela for a time when Trump and Bolton aren't actively organizing a military coup to install an oil puppet. Now is the time for support for the millions of Chavistas still committed to independence and self-determination, and bitter opposition to the abject cruelty of US imperialism.
posted by joechip at 12:14 PM on April 30 [19 favorites]


Not actually, no.

[Citation Needed]
posted by Ryvar at 12:15 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


A transparent oil industry puppet.

So, despite Maduro's short-comings, Guaidó's coup is catastrophe for both short- and long-term Venezuela.


These (and the many similar sentiments echoed in this thread) are absolutely bizarre.

Yes, it’s sensible to be suspicious of American intervention, even if just rhetorical, and doubly so in Latin America. Frankly, this situation would have been a lot better if Trump and his gang of ghouls could have kept their noses out. But there’s some really provincial attempts here to view all events through the prism of US foreign policy, combined with some incredibly simplistic “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” thinking. Ignore the US: all LatAm countries bar Bolivia and Mexico have come out in favour of Guaidó (including Uruguay, which is the region’s “Switzerland” and almost never gets involved in foreign policy) and so has the EU.

As the “transparent oil industry shill” article states, Guaidó’s proposed reforms are modelled on Mexico’s which have left the majority of the industry under state control. It hasn’t lead to the disappearance of PEMEX, hasn’t lead to increased fuel or electricity prices for consumers, and has been used to boost Mexico to a world leader in renewables, which needs to be the path taken in Venezuela, too, if we’re going to have any chance against climate change. But even, for the sake of argument, let’s say that Guaidó was proposing to privatise the whole sector. How would that be any worse than now? Currently, the country had the largest confirmed reserves in the world and yet it can’t keep its own lights on and is a net importer of oil. And, as that second link points out, that’s due to the fact that Chavez and Maduro have already destroyed the state oil company, through catastrophic mismanagement. And this is all with billions of dollars of loans and support in kind from China, the world’s other superpower. Venezuela is a failed state run by an incompetent and increasingly authoritarian leader propped up by the military.

And it’s never been a socialist country - Chavez didn’t fund his popular social programmes by redistributing wealth, he did it by taking on debt and paying everybody, upper classes (and especially the military) included. It’s just that now the music has stopped, for most of the population. In a previous job, I was friendly with a Venezuelan diplomat, and I had some very enjoyable nights out along with them in expensive hotel bars. But even that contact was unable to help when my middle class Venezuelan colleague had to quit their job and seek asylum in Spain because they couldn’t renew their passport as the Venezuelan passport authority had run out of paper to print new passports.

I get the instinct, and I get that this comment is unlikely to be popular in this thread, but anybody who is pro-Maduro simply because the Trump administration is anti- is badly embarrassing themselves.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:17 PM on April 30 [71 favorites]



Since Venezuela has become such a gotcha for right-wingers to "prove" socialism doesn't work, as this coup unfolds I urge lefties to avoid falling into the "well, Venezuela isn't real socialism" trap, or otherwise throwing the Bolivarian Revolution under the bus


Fuck the Bolivarian revolution.

Throw the fucking thing under an armored personnel carrier and keep running it over until only a greasy spot is left. Fuck the catch phrases. Fuck the brutality. Fuck the intellectual bankruptcy of anyone still defending the obscenity, Mefites included.
posted by ocschwar at 12:20 PM on April 30 [11 favorites]


but anybody who is pro-Maduro simply because the Trump administration is anti- is badly embarrassing themselves.

You've completely managed to collapse the huge gap between thinking that the US causing a coup in an area where it has historically been one of the worst malefactors and caused unspeakable devastation and hardship is bad and gleefully waving a flag for Maduro. It is 100% possible to say "Guaidó's coup is catastrophe for both short- and long-term Venezuela." and not be pro-Maduro. It is entirely possible to identify Guaidó as "a transparent oil industry puppet" and not be pro-Maduro.
posted by Copronymus at 12:23 PM on April 30 [22 favorites]


Nobody is pro-Maduro. We are anti-coup.

And yes, although Chrysostom probably does speak for the MF mods in the sense that history and context are generally considered digressions or "already done" on MF, the context matters. I don't know how much better Guiadó would have to be than Maduro to justify supporting another US-backed coup in South America, but whatever that quantity is, the current amount is way, way less than the necessary threshold.
posted by chortly at 12:24 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


the important thing to do, when a coup is unfolding in another country, is make sure we're all on the same page about whether this is +/- for our domestic political interests
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:26 PM on April 30 [10 favorites]


At least with their support of the Iraq war the establishment could fall back on the grotesque lies they were fed about trying to keep the USA from being nuked. The absolute (and willful, at least among the less-dunderpated) blindness to the entire 20th century of the americas being a history of US-orchestrated-and-backed brutality is as infuriating as it is enervating. Time is a flat circle and liberals will get on board with every imperial bloodbath until the seas finally rise to devour us.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:41 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Nobody is pro-Maduro. We are anti-coup.

As I said above, the phrase "anti-coup" is explicitly pro-Maduro. In order to view Guiadó's claim as a coup, one has to support Maduro's claims that the election was legitimate. The word "coup" is pretty loaded. You can't wage a coup against an illegitimate government.
posted by explosion at 12:54 PM on April 30 [11 favorites]


is this the right place for a treatise.... [on how] we must ourselves not behave as citizens of any particular country but instead as part of an worldwide countermovement against international capital
(raises hand in interest)
posted by doctornemo at 12:59 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


In order to view Guiadó's claim as a coup, one has to support Maduro's claims that the election was legitimate. The word "coup" is pretty loaded. You can't wage a coup against an illegitimate government.

Once you call on a small faction of the military to remove the person functionally occupying the office of the President, people are going to describe what you're doing as a coup.
posted by Copronymus at 1:02 PM on April 30 [18 favorites]


Leaving all else aside, it would be perfectly possible for the United States simply...not to get involved. We could always make visas available to economic refugees, for instance, and provide funds to legit international humanitarian organizations to provide aid, and stop using various financial and political mechanisms to make things worse, and then just see what happened. At the very least, let people have their own coups on their own time; we don't need to step in to amplify the violence.

We don't have to take a neoliberal-activist role in South American politics. You can think what you like about Maduro or Guaido and still think that the US shouldn't jump into other countries' internal conflicts.
posted by Frowner at 1:08 PM on April 30 [41 favorites]


Indeed, Frowner. It's long past time that the US started taking more humanitarian, harm-reduction stances like that instead of trying to impose our own policies on the rest of the world.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:15 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


> And yes, although Chrysostom probably does speak for the MF mods in the sense that history and context are generally considered digressions or "already done" on MF, the context matters.

Way I see it, Chrysostom was less speaking for the mods and more setting me up to deliver an excellent punchline.

(though if anyone has a good treatise of the decline of the Westphalian state in the face of increasingly well-organized oligarchs operating across national borders, send it to me via memail and later I'll pass it off as my own. thx!)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:31 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


Note: I am not a mod, nor do I speak for them in any capacity, nor was I trying to police the thread. I was mostly just being a wise-ass.

My opinions are always correct, but that's unrelated.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:40 PM on April 30 [13 favorites]


Maybe all of you pick another thread to workshop your stand-up routines?
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 1:56 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


Well, this is not the news I wanted to wake up to on May Day.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 2:03 PM on April 30


[One deleted. I get that people are trying to be sympathetic. But please don't make this be all about US politics, or about yourself; and please don't make dark comedy out of a shitty situation happening to not-you.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:03 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


What’s the strategy when Guaido claims to have military support that he does not appear to have?
posted by Selena777 at 3:06 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I would hope on metadfilter of all places to see a bare minimum of skepticism and knowledge of histoey. The man in charge of US policy to Venezuela, for example, is a convicted criminal who ran fascist death squads in Latin America. If the US really cared about people starving under maduro they should give back the billion dollars of gold they stole.
posted by mikek at 4:31 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


Name a Latin American country that is with Maduro.

Ecuador is not. Mexico is not. Panama is not. Costa Rica is not. None of these nations are fans of Trump.

So perhaps a discussion about Venezuela should center more about Venezuela, and not have too much hand wringing and yammering about US actions.

Live updates are still here : https://www.reddit.com/live/12vdsthc0q3rm/

The streets are still full of people who are decidedly not with Maduro.
posted by ocschwar at 4:35 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


Live streaming of this event has mostly ceased on account of VZ firewalls.
posted by ocschwar at 4:38 PM on April 30


It would be a lot easier for this discussion to not involve hand wringing and yammering about US actions if Guiadó hadn't spent the last 3-4 months begging the US (and, to a lesser extent, Brazil and Columbia) to invade. It is his own actions that have made this inseparable from a discussion on US imperialism in Latin America, because that is explicitly what is being asked for by him and his supporters.
posted by Copronymus at 5:10 PM on April 30 [16 favorites]



It would be a lot easier for this discussion to not involve hand wringing and yammering about US actions if Guiadó hadn't spent the last 3-4 months begging the US (and, to a lesser extent, Brazil and Columbia) to invade.


Somehow I have a feeling your characterization of his communication with foreign governments is just a tad inaccurate.
posted by ocschwar at 5:21 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


What’s the strategy when Guaido claims to have military support that he does not appear to have?

It turns out that "fake it til you make it" isn't a strong strategy for overthrowing governments.

I dunno, I really cannot understand how anybody can look at any part of US involvement in South America and support any continuation of that involvement. We have never, ever had good intentions, and we never will, because South Americans who act for their own interests will not submit to us. Whatever we support will always be illegitimate, because we will never, ever support anything that is to the benefit of the global south. If Guaido had the support of the Venezuelan masses and military, I'd say hey, he's clearly the man Venezuelans want to govern them. But he transparently doesn't, and isn't, and he's trying to make do with tricks and scams and US support, so fuck him.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:34 PM on April 30 [12 favorites]


I thought there's effectively no constitutional mechanism to remove Maduro other than a referendum? Even if there were, what legitimacy if any would Guiadó have as a head of state given that at best article 233 means the VP is supposed to take over? I guess I could support a coalition of international actors forcing a UN observed election, but anything else is effectively a coup or at least undemocratic (not that Maduro's election is legitimate or democratic either).

My prediction is that Guiadó will be installed and we won't see an election within 30 days as is required.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:38 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


The streets are still full of people who are decidedly not with Maduro

They can not be fans of Maduro and still not be served by US intrusion.
I mean, really?
posted by AnhydrousLove at 5:50 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


As somebody who grew up in a country liberated by US intervention, fuck that noise.
posted by signal at 6:27 PM on April 30 [8 favorites]


Unemployment is at 44%, there's a shortage of everything and Venezuelans are literally starving. Coup or not, it's hard to imagine Venezuela being worse off with a Guaidó administration. The coup/rebellion is antidemocratic but in a country where all the democratic fail-safes and institutions have been dismantled or subverted, it's one of the last - maybe only? - remaining options to avoid further horrific suffering by the Venezuelan people. Worrying that Guaidó might be an oil industry puppet is irrelevant at this point. Even cynical US intervention - something that usually fails catastrophically due to greed, incompetence and indifference to human suffering - should be evaluated for what it can offer Venezuela: a way out of a nightmare that has been haunting the nation since Hugo Chavez administration in the late 1990s.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:39 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Foci for Analysis: "Worrying that Guaidó might be an oil industry puppet is irrelevant at this point."

Nope.
posted by signal at 6:46 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


A civil war would be worse than the status quo. Not that I have any idea whether it would come to that.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:48 PM on April 30


Even cynical US intervention - something that usually fails catastrophically due to greed, incompetence and indifference to human suffering - should be evaluated for what it can offer Venezuela: a way out of a nightmare that has been haunting the nation since Hugo Chavez administration in the late 1990s.

You must have missed the nightmare haunting the nation in the decade before Chavez that brought increased impoverishment of the citizens implemented by the severe austerity policies of the neoliberals and the IMF. It was citizens disgust with the U.S. led policies that resulted in the election of Chavez.
posted by JackFlash at 6:56 PM on April 30 [11 favorites]


Coup or not, it's hard to imagine Venezuela being worse off with a Guaidó administration. The coup/rebellion is antidemocratic but in a country where all the democratic fail-safes and institutions have been dismantled or subverted, it's one of the last - maybe only? - remaining options to avoid further horrific suffering by the Venezuelan people. Worrying that Guaidó might be an oil industry puppet is irrelevant at this point. Even cynical US intervention - something that usually fails catastrophically due to greed, incompetence and indifference to human suffering - should be evaluated for what it can offer Venezuela: a way out of a nightmare that has been haunting the nation since Hugo Chavez administration in the late 1990s.

Libya went from one of the worst places in the world to live under Qaddafi to a place with open slave markets after he was deposed. It can absolutely get worse in Venezuela than it is now.
posted by Copronymus at 7:03 PM on April 30 [22 favorites]


Coup or not, it's hard to imagine Venezuela being worse off with a Guaidó administration

Maybe right-wing death squads will help
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:08 PM on April 30 [11 favorites]


A charter plane from Moscow landed in Caracas a few hours ago. SO the right wing death squads are certainly a possibility.
posted by ocschwar at 7:33 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Putin’s pro-Maduro.
posted by Selena777 at 7:36 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


If suffering of a people is grounds for suspension of democratic process or international intervention, don't you eventually just guarantee said suffering will be imposed by external economic forces every time monied interests want a regime change? Am I being too cynical with that assumption?
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:39 PM on April 30 [5 favorites]


Putin’s pro-Maduro.


A death squad is a death squad.
posted by ocschwar at 7:41 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


If the US feels compelled to help the Venezuelan people it could consider lifting the sanctions that have resulted in 40,000 deaths first. Or they could keep playing "stop hitting yourself", either way.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:41 PM on April 30 [19 favorites]


What's weird is that this is like the tenth "this time it's really going to happen!" episode in as many years. I understand why the Venezuelan opposition and their supporters keep getting their hopes up, but it's odd to see the pundits constantly believing that this time a revolution with almost no major troop support is going to finally succeed in its coup military uprising 'transition process'. I guess it may eventually happen once sanctions finally destroy the country's economy, but that could be years more. I guess they're just really eager for a proper spectacle now that dramatic revolutions seem increasingly far between?
posted by chortly at 8:22 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


What’s the strategy when Guaido claims to have military support that he does not appear to have?

Air support, naturally.

And guess what?

I’m fine with stuffing a hellfire up the ass of any APC that wants to run over Venezuelan citizens who are in the streets against the dictator who is literally starving them to death.

WTF, Metafilter
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:02 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


That said it would be nice if the UN was still a going concern.

We learn nothing.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:04 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I’m fine with stuffing a hellfire up the ass of any APC that wants to run over Venezuelan citizens who are in the streets against the dictator who is literally starving them to death.

WTF, Metafilter

American missile attacks have an excellent track record of bullseye-strikes on APCs that would have otherwise been predestined to run people over. Hellfires, precognitive and otherwise, are also well known for only hurting the bad guys and generally helping situations.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:18 PM on April 30 [9 favorites]


Do I trust the current chain of command? Of course not.

I read Kill Chain (Or whatever it was called.)

I’m still in favor of defending the populace against Maduro.

Does anyone here think the Maduro government is anything more than a kleptocracy cynically exploiting what’s left of genuine Chavismo?

Like, I don’t even know what to say here. Did you watch the footage? Would you have not preferred to see that APC nuked from space before it ran over the crowd?

I get that Bolton is unlikely to institute a policy that reserves lethal force to protecting demonstrators. But that is what I’m suggesting and I think it is valid and not one more instance of the Monroe Doctrine.

I don’t give a shit about Guaido. And I’d prefer this be done through the U.N., but we’ve starved it of resources and China would never allow it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:30 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Like, I don’t even know what to say here. Did you watch the footage? Would you have not preferred to see that APC nuked from space before it ran over the crowd?

Yes, certainly the appropriate solution to a car driving into a crowd in a city in another country is to use nuclear weapons to destroy the car, the crowd and the city. This is definitely a reasonable, nuanced opinion and not at all bullshit macho keyboard-warrior posturing.

Just because someone is wearing a black hat doesn't mean the other guys must be wearing a white hat. Honestly, at this point, I'd be thrilled to have someone, anyone, show up in even a medium grey hat.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:19 PM on April 30 [14 favorites]


Ecuador is not. Mexico is not. Panama is not. Costa Rica is not. None of these nations are fans of Trump.

Unfortunately this is inaccurate. Mexico has gone as far as expressing concern, and has offered the embassy in CDMX as a neutral meeting point for the two sides to have a dialogue. But AMLO hasn’t, and won’t, come out for Guaidó. He invited Maduro to his inauguration five months ago, and - while AMLO’s economic policies are generally rightwing, favouring a smaller state and fewer public goods - his rhetoric remains leftwing populist, and Maduro remains an important regional ally.

If Guaido had the support of the Venezuelan masses and military, I'd say hey, he's clearly the man Venezuelans want to govern them.

Guaidó has the support of the Venezuelan constitution (following a dodgy presidential election that he wasn’t involved in, that international observers subsequently refused to sign off on).

As for the masses, I don’t see any functioning polling companies in Venezuela, and in their absence you can read either side’s propaganda according to taste. I reckon the anti-Maduro side tilts their cameras up more when taking pictures of the crowd, and I reckon that’s because their crowds are bigger. But really I have no idea, and neither do you, given the general lack of communications from inside the country.

The military you’re right about, though. They appear to be still with Maduro, for the time being. I don’t know how that feeds into the goodies and baddies discussion that we’re trying to get to the bottom of in this thread? But certainly if goodies are defined by control of the military, then the goodies appeared to win today. Then again, here’s someone in country implying that the rank-and-file is waiting to see which way the chips fall.

News:

Here’s a Venezuelan journalist claiming that Guaidó thought he had the strong support of the military for a later coup, but pulled it forwards based on rumours of his imminent arrest, and his supposed backers got cold feet. So perhaps he was more desperate than stupid today.

Here’s Chile confirming that Leopoldo López and his family are sheltering in their embassy, after he won over his guards and took part in the failed coup, but then again maybe he didn’t claim asylum and he isn’t there any more.

Here are the Guardian correspondent’s short threads on Guaidó’s and Maduro’s statements following today’s events.

Personally, I think James Palmer called it this morning:
nothing worse than a failed coup in an already flailing quasi-autocratic regime, means a spiral of further repression, violence, idiocy, justifies most paranoid elements inside regime which then turn on innocent and guilty alike.
And also this is a fair point:
saying something is a coup doesn't speak to it being right or wrong. We're used to coups being the thing that kills off struggling democracies, but, as in Portugal in 74, they've also been the deathblow to struggling autocracies.
And, frankly, this:
the failure of way too much of the left to imagine any imperialism other than US imperialism is really going to fuck their thinking as relative US power declines
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:55 PM on April 30 [7 favorites]


I’m fine with stuffing a hellfire up the ass of any APC that wants to run over Venezuelan citizens who are in the streets against the dictator who is literally starving them to death.

WTF, Metafilter


How'd that toppling Saddam thing work out for the Iraqis again? The entire region?
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:09 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]




I support regime change in Venezuala as long as it leads to a democratic government that respects the civil and human rights of the Venezualan people. However, I feel obliged to mention that I supported regime change in Iraq on the same basis, and that didn't work out very well.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:09 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Like, I don’t even know what to say here. Did you watch the footage? Would you have not preferred to see that APC nuked from space before it ran over the crowd?

And this is how they get us, every time. Decent, morally healthy civilians feel like this, because we see something horrible and intolerable going on and we immediately want to use any mechanism we can imagine using to stop it. We in our heart of hearts imagine that the US military is really like some kind of Space United Nations, and that what would happen this time is that people would go in and stop the violence and injustice. So we back military intervention out of normal, healthy, decent feelings, but it never, never works out, both because violent conflict is in itself extremely complex and destabilizing and because this is the US, a corrupt military empire even in its very best moments.

And the US government cynically uses these normal, morally healthy feelings as a cover for the most grotesque and violent actions.

I mean, seriously, I absolutely get this feeling. My biggest "I am feeling bad today" self-soothing fantasy is to have powers and/or an army at my disposal and go right some fucking wrongs. I hate, hate, hate the idea that you see some horrible violence and sit on your hands. But it doesn't work. There have been many, many American interventions over my lifetime, and they are always self-serving shitshows that make things worse.

Something is absolutely wrong in Venezuela. The media is so full of lies that I honestly do not know how much of it because Chavez and Maduro could have acted differently, how much of it was just baked in to an existing bad economic and political situation and how much of it wouldn't have happened if the US hadn't decided that we needed to smash anything even vaguely socialist. I have heard many conflicting accounts from people I broadly trust.

The only thing I'm confident of is that the US should not be making things worse. No sanctions, no behind the scenes meddling, no phony photo-op "aid", no promising the right wing whatever has undoubtedly been promised to them. The one thing that I understand is American meddling, and it starts or amplifies violence.

If there's going to be a civil conflict in Venezuela, that's going to be a hideous nightmare that will echo for generations, but if it's truly a civil conflict among Venezuelans without American money, advisors, bribes and arms, it will be a smaller conflict with less violence, and if the right does win, the right will not have American power behind it when it inevitably crushes the opposition, which means, eg, fewer union activists executed, fewer universities shut down, etc.

We simply do not have the option of "American good guys fix things", just like we don't have the option of "man-eating tiger lives in your house and eats kibble".
posted by Frowner at 4:45 AM on May 1 [34 favorites]


Those are excellent points, Frowner.

For the record “nuked from space” is a colloquialism and was meant to nod to the reality of drone strikes and etc being done from a safe remove and without much risk to the intervening power. It is not a call for an ICBM strike on Caracas, which is an absurd interpretation in the context of the comment. Nor did I suggest an invasion or any kind of theater war.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:13 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Would you have not preferred to see that APC nuked from space before it ran over the crowd?
… “nuked from space” is a colloquialism and was meant to nod to the reality of drone strikes and etc being done from a safe remove and without much risk to the intervening power.


It might be my 3rd-worlder biases at work, but I have never, even once, wished to see the US intervene in a Latin American country "from a safe remove and without much risk ".
This macho armchair warrior "take 'em out" mentality, the idea that the US or other imperial powers will, this one time and against all existing precedents, somehow and for some reason effect positive change in a region with small, controlled and virtuous acts of violence, the kind you see work in movies, and that from this a liberal democracy interested in its citizens well being will somehow spring fully formed is dangerously naive at best and disingenuous in practice.
That's not how the real world works, it's not how Latin America works, and it's certainly not how the US works.
posted by signal at 6:05 AM on May 1 [18 favorites]


There's plenty the US can do to help in Venezuela. Beginning with lifting every sanction we put on the country to punish it for daring to try socialism and defying the the IMF and the World Bank's plans to grind the poor of Venezuela into the dust.

The US could be helping deliver food, medicine, spending a few billion on Doctors Without Borders, the US could use its economic and political influence to try to cut off the flow of arms into Venezuela.

If America wanted to help make the situation in Venezuela less awful there's a multitude of things America can do.

But the US military is not going to help anything but the 1% grind the poor into even worse poverty. The US military is the single most efficient tool for ruining a country and killing lots of people in that country that exists. The US military has a long, **LONG**, history of helping dictators commit genocide, and Trump specifically called in Elliot Abrams, a man who has no skillset outside helping dictators commit genocide.

The urge to do something is good.

Sending any US military personnel or equipment is, unavoidably, inevitably, and without fail, going to make the situation worse.

I'll go so far as to say that there is literally not one single place on Earth that can be improved by sending the US military in to blow shit up and kill people. Not one.

We've been fed a steady diet of WWII which makes us have this collective delusion that the US military does good things, when, in fact, WWII stands out as pretty much the single time the US military has actually done good in the world. Every other time the US has sent out its military, and certainly every time after WWII, we made things worse.

This is not WWII. The US military will not help the people of Venezuela.

They need food, medicine, an end to the evil sanctions our nation imposed on their nation, but they damn sure don't need our soldiers murdering their people and bombing the shit out of semi-random places.
posted by sotonohito at 6:24 AM on May 1 [17 favorites]


macho armchair warrior

I was trying to specifically acknowledge that the moral hazard (if that's the right word) of being able to intervene so casually needs to be considered alongside the question of what kind of responsibility comes with being one of the powers with these kinds of weapons.

I don't think that's the usual Internet Tough Guy routine, but if it makes you feel good to call me names for wondering what we even have this shit for if it isn't to save people from dictators who want to run them over with tanks, then fine.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:27 AM on May 1


what we even have this shit for if it isn't to save people from dictators who want to run them over with tanks

I think this is the assumption that hasn't been true since WW2.
posted by kokaku at 6:34 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


snuffleupagus: "wondering what we even have this shit for if it isn't to save people from dictators who want to run them over with tanks,"

The idea that the US spent trillions of dollars, more than the next 7 military budgets in the world combined, to build the largest military force in the history of the planet by a large margin, because they want to 'save people from dictators', is like, wow.
posted by signal at 6:49 AM on May 1 [14 favorites]


what we even have this shit for if it isn't to save people from dictators who want to run them over with tanks

This is the sixty four thousand dollar question, isn't it? What do we have this shit for?

I mean, if the US stopped interfering in South and Central America, ninety percent of these military conflicts wouldn't even exist, because it is US money that backs the right and the big corporations (remember that a huge part of the situation in Venezuela is about oil reserves, and half the other violence elsewhere is about dispossessing indigenous people to take their land for mines, or killing union organizers on plantations, or privatizing water, or or or...).

Just like in the US, American-style/conservative/rule-by-the-rich policies are hugely unpopular. If the US and US money didn't back all these far right organizations, South America would probably be mostly semi-socialist because that's what most people want.

We keep the peace (for some values of "peace") here in the US by externalizing violence - union organizers get fired and blacklisted here (in good times, anyway) because they can be beaten and killed elsewhere. That's how we keep food, oil and goods cheap-ish in the US and fill the coffers of our wealthy.

There are exceptions - there are countries where the government is terrible off its own bat, where the US has relatively little power over internal policy. But these countries that were colonized, that are virtual US client states, etc - if we weren't leaning on them, democracy would work adequately enough for daily life. Just like if we had what most Americans want, we'd have Medicare for All, some kind of jobs scheme, a better version of Social Security and so on - the debate would be between what we think of as the left and left-liberals, because that's where most people are at.

So basically, yeah, I don't think we need to have this shit, bar some bare minimum for defensive purposes, because if the United States stopped leaning on other countries there would be a lot fewer people getting run over by tanks. (And it's not like we're ever stepping in to save, eg Rohingya people or something where there would actually be some non-self-interested angle that could conceivably require military stuff.)

(I add that it's not like any other individual country has a history of military intervention in internal crises that makes things better, either - there's the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia to drive out Pol Pot, but that went wrong pretty quickly too and that's about all you can point at.)
posted by Frowner at 6:57 AM on May 1 [13 favorites]


This is the sixty four thousand dollar question, isn't it? What do we have this shit for?

Yes. This is what I'm trying to say. Or, did say.

I really am trying not to overreact to the bad-faith interpretation of my comments as I understand it's an extremely sensitive kind of difference of opinion. But, I am not a dimwit or some imperialist dupe.

I understand what US military force has been used for during the Cold War and since.

l understand US policy has had a major role in creating the crisis in Venezuela, including the famine. And l will almost certainly not be in favor of whatever our current trash fire of an administration winds up doing. They couldn't find right with with a map.

But as the thread title says, this is being livestreamed. Those were the people in the streets yesterday.

As badly as US led interventions have worked out, recent history also documents plenty of humanitarian disasters that major powers have failed to prevent, and could have. And we are now at a point in technology where we could feasibly have a policy of protecting mass demonstrations, and food aid. That's not what the evil motherfuckers in charge are going to do. I'm personally worried about Bolton working through Brazil's right-wing strongman.

I'm hoping the Maduro government will realize it can't commit those kinds of acts if it wants to remain in power and reigns in the military reaction to demonstrators.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:04 AM on May 1


I add that it's not like any other individual country has a history of military intervention in internal crises that makes things better, either

Typing this in English makes this particularly hilarious.
posted by Etrigan at 7:29 AM on May 1 [2 favorites]


About those tanks...
Ajit Singh:
There has been widespread sharing of video of a Venezuelan military vehicle charging at civilians to claim the govt is killing people. The video below suggests this may have been staged by the opposition: appears to show military defectors to Guaido stealing vehicles at gunpoint.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:31 AM on May 1 [5 favorites]


I find Richard Seymour's The Liberal Defense of Murder to be a pretty good history of the use of "humanitarian" or "civilizing" arguments as a scrim for imperialism. Seymour isn't the liveliest prose stylist but it's a persuasive book.

I find it far easier to deal with the urgency/"something must be done" feelings when I can situate them as part of an extremely dubious political cycle that gets repeated and repeated.

As to me, I tend to think that the processes that constitute modern states render them generally unable to conduct "humanitarian" intervention (with some possible exceptions for UN/nominally peaceable stuff), because the state is brought into being through these corrupt, violent measures and sustained through injustice. It's like, what did the fellow say about the scorpion? The state stings you, that's what it does. There may be some exceptions around the edges, but in general states act badly because they are emergent phenomena of bad processes.
posted by Frowner at 7:53 AM on May 1 [13 favorites]


There has been widespread sharing of video of a Venezuelan military vehicle charging at civilians to claim the govt is killing people. The video below suggests this may have been staged by the opposition: appears to show military defectors to Guaido stealing vehicles at gunpoint.

For fuck's sake, I have tried to stay out of this because American discussions about Latin America never go well, but look, I know this may be hard to understand but sometimes everyone is terrible. Just because the US intervening in things hasn't made things better, does not mean Maduro is somehow not murdering protesters. Maduro has been murdering protesters for quite some time. Here is a news report which references an Amnesty International report about it. Here's an excerpt from that report:
The evidence gathered in these different locations shows typical patterns. These indicate that the state authorities carried out selective extrajudicial executions as a method of social control using the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), mainly through its Special Actions Force (FAES), against people who participated in some way in the protests. The more impoverished areas of Caracas and other parts of the country were particularly affected and stigmatized, registering the highest numbers of victims, who were later presented as “criminals” killed in clashes with the authorities.

Amnesty International documented six extrajudicial executions at the hands of the FAES in several locations across the country, all with a similar modus operandi. In each case, the victims were in some way linked to the protests that had been held in previous days and the criticism that several of them had made against Nicolás Maduro had gone viral on social networks...

Luis Enrique Ramos Suárez was 29 years old when FAES officers executed him on 24 January in the city of Carora. The day before, a voice note announcing protests against Nicolás Maduro and Carora's mayor’s office had gone viral. In this voice note, Luis Enrique was mentioned by his nickname as one of the organizers.

On 24 January, more than 20 heavily armed and mostly masked members of the FAES illegally raided the Ramos Suárez household and mistreated the 10 family members who were present, including six children. After identifying Luis Enrique by his nickname, they made him kneel in the middle of the room while one officer took photos and others beat him.

They locked the other family members in different rooms of the house, threatened them and beat them in different parts of the body. They then forcibly removed them from their home and transferred them in a PNB convoy to a location two kilometers from the house. Minutes later, they shot Luis Enrique twice in the chest. He died immediately.
It is reasonable not to want the US to intervene, but for the love of God, let's not start pretending that Maduro is somehow above this. There are human rights abuses going on in Venezuela. We may not be able to fix that by our intervention - but don't erase them.
posted by corb at 8:09 AM on May 1 [24 favorites]


This shouldn't be difficult to figure out. It is an effort being led by dementia impaired Donald Trump, ruthless authoritarian warmonger John Bolton, and convicted criminal and brutal human atrocity facilitator Elliott Abrams. That's all you need to know about U.S. intervention in Venezuela and its consequences.
posted by JackFlash at 9:32 AM on May 1 [6 favorites]






The Independent published an article on the US imposed sanctions in January.

From the linked article: "The US sanctions are illegal under international law because they were not endorsed by the UN Security Council, Mr de Zayas, an expert on international law and a former senior lawyer with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

“Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns.

“Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees,” Mr de Zayas said in his report."

As has been said above, the US Govt. doesn't give a shit about the people of Venezuela.
posted by nikoniko at 1:20 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


So, the Graun is calling it a "damp squib" because the military isn't falling in with Guaido.

Guaido, meanwhile, called for a general strike while addressing the massive crowds in Caracas.

Fuck this timeline. The stupid is just everywhere.
posted by ocschwar at 2:41 PM on May 1


Unconventional coup: Venezuelan institutional accounts are being suspended arbitrarily.
Twitter joins in.
posted by adamvasco at 3:16 PM on May 1


How an Elaborate Plan to Topple Venezuela’s President Went Wrong, Uri Friedman, The Atlantic
After months of hinting coyly that Maduro’s support within the military was more wobbly than it seemed, Bolton named three top Venezuelan officials—Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino; Supreme Court Chief Justice Maikel Moreno; and the commander of the presidential guard, Iván Rafael Hernández Dala—who he claimed had been engaged in lengthy talks with the Venezuelan opposition and had “all agreed that Maduro had to go,” only to renege this week (at least so far) on their commitments to facilitate a democratic political transition.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:03 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Hahhaha so now we see the consequences of gutting the State Dept to the point that no one remaining is in possession of enough theory of mind to be able to anticipate that the guy on the other end of the phone saying "sure I'll join your coup" might be fibbing. This is amazing stuff.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:30 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


On Wednesday, in an interview with the radio host Hugh Hewitt, Bolton outlined how the plan was supposed to work. The senior officials and Guaidó would sign documents memorializing their agreement. The Venezuelan Supreme Court would declare Maduro’s Constituent Assembly illegitimate and thereby legitimize the Guaidó-led National Assembly. Military leaders like Padrino would then have the political and legal cover to take action against Maduro.

Yet “for reasons that are still not clear, that didn’t go forward yesterday,” Bolton admitted.


It's airtight as a plan, that much is clear.
posted by petebest at 6:49 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


I feel awful for the Venezuelans - they’ll suffer no matter who ends up in charge, and it’s... so frustrating.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 10:10 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


It's so convenient that the desires of Venezuelan military leaders and the judgment of the Venezuelan supreme court just so happens to be exactly what John Bolton wants

I mean, what are the odds
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:08 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Human Rights Watch, 5/3/19:
Venezuela: Violent Response to Demonstrators
Reports of Killings, Detentions, Media Shutdowns


A short article with some updated info , and additional links. It includes this troubling item:

On April 30, Maduro reappointed Gustavo González López to replace the Bolivarian National Intelligence Services (SEBIN) director, General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, who broke ranks with Maduro. During González López’s time as SEBIN director, from 2014 to 2018, SEBIN agents participated in arbitrary arrests and abuses against detainees including torture.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:16 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]




Corporate journalists ‘see themselves as ideological shock troops in the war against Venezuela’, says media expert Alan MacLeod.
posted by adamvasco at 5:32 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Who’s behind the pro-Guaido mob that besieged Venezuela’s embassy in Washington?
I know this isnt a neutral source but no one seems to be looking at this.
posted by adamvasco at 8:42 AM on May 19


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