On Sunday Venezuela will hold an general election of participants of a constitutional assembly. Half of the representatives will be elected from regular electoral districts. The other half will be elected from and by eight special constituencies like "workers", "farmers", "employers", etc. The second part may be unusual but is no less democratic than the US system which gives voters in rural states more weight than city dwellers.
The new assembly will formulate changes to the current constitution. Those changes will be decided on in another general vote. It is likely that the outcome will reinforce the favorite policies of a great majority of the people and of the social-democratic government under President Manduro.
The more wealthy part of the population as well as the foreign lobbies and governments have tried to prevent or sabotage the upcoming election. The US has used various economic pressure points against the Venezuelan government including economic warfare with ever increasing sanctions. The opposition has held violent street rallies, attacked government institutions and supporters and called for general strikes.
But the NYT propaganda pictures of opposition rallies in the capitol Caracas show only small crowds of dozens to a few hundred of often violent youth. The opposition calls for general strikes have had little resonance as even the feverish anti-Maduro Washington Post has to concede:
In the wealthier eastern half of the city, most businesses closed to support the strike called by the opposition, which is boycotting the vote and calling for its cancellation.(Translation of the WaPo propagandese: "Not even the rich opposition neighborhoods of the city closed down completely. Attempts by the opposition to block central roads were prevented by the police. In the poorer parts of the city the opposition call for a strike was simply ignored.") The opposition is only active within the richer strata of the population and only in a few big cities. The poor rural areas have gained under the social-democratic governments and continue to favor it.
The main highways of the capital city were largely closed down in the early morning, and reports surfaced of national police lobbing tear gas at strikers in the center. In the poorer neighborhoods in the west, the strike appeared less pronounced, with more businesses open and more people on the streets.
In an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times the "regime change" lobby of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) laid out the steps towards an upcoming war in Venezuela:
Since the plebiscite, Venezuela’s opposition has taken steps toward establishing a parallel government. This might remain a symbolic initiative. But if the opposition continues down this road, it will soon be looking for international recognition and funding, and will at least implicitly be asserting the parallel government’s claim to the legitimate monopoly on the use of force. After that it will seek what every government wants: weapons to defend itself. If it succeeds, Venezuela could plunge into a civil war that will make the current conflict seem like high school fisticuffs.(The WOLA was also involved in Hillary Clinton's coup in Honduras.)
The CIA is quite open about the plans:
In one of the clearest clues yet about Washington’s latest meddling in the politics of Latin America, CIA director Mike Pompeo said he was “hopeful that there can be a transition in Venezuela and we the CIA is doing its best to understand the dynamic there.”The piece notes:
He added: “I was just down in Mexico City and in Bogota a week before last talking about this very issue, trying to help them understand the things they might do so that they can get a better outcome for their part of the world and our part of the world.”
In Venezuela, [the US government] has sought to weaken the elected governments of both Mr Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, who was briefly ousted in a 2002 coup. Some of the effort has been in distributing funds to opposition groups through organisations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, while some has been in the form of simple propaganda.We can conclude that the upcoming violence in Venezuela is not a spontaneous action of the opposition but the implementation of a plan that has been around since at least May 2016. It is likely to follow the color revolution by force script the US developed and implemented in several countries over the last decade. Weapon supply and mercenary support for the opposition will come in from and through the neighboring countries the CIA head visited.
In May 2016 unidentified US officials told reporters in a background briefing that Venezuela was descending into a deepening “crisis” that could end in violence.
The vote to the constitutional assembly will proceed as planned. The opposition will attempt to sabotage it or, if that fails, proceed with violence. Weapons and tactical advice and support have likely already been provided through CIA channels.
The Venezuelan government is supported by a far larger constituency than the US aligned right-wing opposition. The military has shown no sign of disloyalty to the government. Unless there is some unforeseeable event any attempt to overthrow the government will fail.
The US can further hurt Venezuela by closing down oil imports from the country. But this will likely increase US gas prices. It would create a some short term inconvenience for Venezuela, but oil is fungible and other customers will be available.
To overthrow the Venezuelan government has been tried since the first election of a somewhat socialist government in 1999. The US-instigated coup in 2002 failed when the people and the military stood up against the blatant interference. The "regime change" methods have since changed with the added support of a militant "democratic opposition" fed from the outside. The use of that tool had negative outcomes in Libya and Ukraine and it failed in Syria. I am confident that the government of Venezuela has analyzed those cases and prepared its own plans to counter a similar attempt.
The US just ordered the relatives of its embassy employees out of the country. Such is only done when imminent action is expected.
Reprinted with permission from MoonofAlabama.org.