Venezuela? Really? Know Your Enemy!

Rage Against the Machine!

Why does the American government continue to ignore the popular plight at home, to decimate the country’s marginalized, to etch away at liberties and withhold them, to amplify its fascism abroad, to hemorrhage public funds for the sake of corporate welfare, and to lay waste to one geopolitically “strategic” land after another?

In 1991, a band of musicians by the name of Rage Against the Machine (RATM) put out their self-titled album. Track six of the album, entitled “Know Your Enemy”, featured a strong message for listeners. Almost twenty-five years ago, in fact, this song lyricized the hypocritical nature of the American government, which fancies itself a defender of freedom despite the elitist corporatocracy puppeteers it and the wars it starts abroad.

The song asks, “What? The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy!” A punctuation at song’s end, the last few lyrics delineate the problems that conscientious Americans faced in the early 1990s. “Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission, ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality,” it hums with acerbic irony, “—all of which are the American dream!”

Perhaps the 1991 RATM hit echoed the sentiments of those Americans who questioned the legitimacy of the First Gulf War and the legacy of American foreign interventionism that preceded it. What is certain, however, is that the band’s initial daemonic inspiration for its critical tune truly resounds today. Incredibly, and sadly, the group could not have divined with its lyrics all the havoc that American wars and political predation would wreak today, especially not some twenty-five years and hundreds of thousands of deaths later.

Venezuela: A Security Threat? Really?

Now, despite the mourned absence of comrade Chávez, Americans once again hear that Venezuela is firmly caught in the crosshairs of the imperial US. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced the recent capture of an America pilot and subsequently issued a “terror ban” on American lawmakers due to this most recent instance of Yankee espionage in Venezuela. For some, this breaking news has almost no history or momentum behind it, that is, no history behind it other than Fox News reporting how America is once again the ‘good guy’ and Venezuela the ‘bad’. Yet, for far too many others, the story that unfolds has a reproachable and seriously imperial history that is quite old.

Yesterday, Monday, 9 March 2015, US President Barack Obama issued an executive order. He officially declared Venezuela a “national security threat,” and he sanctioned seven people in particular. Obama cited his concern about Venezuela’s government and its treatment of political opponents. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, stated, “Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of US financial systems.” Earnest further propagandized that “criminalizing dissent” will not fix Venezuela’s problems.

The US has officially targeted Venezuela and its people, starting with sanctions against specific individuals. The US has decried the crimes of those who have committed violent acts or abused human rights, who have prohibited the freedom of expression, and who have taken part in public corruption. President Maduro has responded, armed with the truth. He rebuffed Obama’s tactics and astutely noted that the US president’s ridiculous measures were part of a political ploy, which coincided with America’s recent failure to launch a successful coup in Venezuela.

Maduro said, “After we dismantled the coup attempt…the US and President Barack Obama…decided to personally fulfill the task of ousting my government.” Maduro also revealed his receipt of intelligence divulging that many State Department and the White House meetings took place within recent days to deliberate possible actions against his government. Just as RATM had noted two-and-a-half decades ago, the American government’s relentless hypocrisy is ever glaring. Maduro called Obama’s executive order “a Frankenstein, a monster,” and it is. Maduro was also right to allege that Washington is frustrated and desperate. This recent aggression aimed at Venezuela is certainly proof.

Maduro highlighted the sad and intolerable truth that many Americans too quickly gloss over or forget. “You are the real threat, who trained and created Osama Bin Laden,” said Maduro to the American authorities, “you are the people who created al-Qaida.” Indeed, the Reagan administration pumped billions of dollars into funding Afghanistan’s Islamic resistance, and the CIA trained Bin Laden to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Does America not know its enemy?

Millions of Americans already stand with Maduro, who implores, “Defend the human rights of the black US citizens being killed in US cities every day, Mr. Obama.” Maduro’s calls for Obama not to fall victim to the tempting interventionist cancer—suffered by so many other US presidents—has fallen on deaf ears. Indeed, like Nixon and his destruction of Chile’s democracy in the 1970s, like Clinton’s plan for Colombia, like Bush’s ousting of Chavez, Maduro is right to say that Obama now joins their ranks. Washington no doubt thinks that a regime-toppling in Venezuela might cause the other dominos in the Andean region to fall more easily into alignment with the ends of America’s endless project for a liberalized world order.

Enough is Enough: Know Your Enemy!

Why? Why does the US war with South America once more? Or, for that matter, why is the US at war with the world? Does the Venezuelan political bent and socio-political trajectory pose a threat to America’s outright hegemony in the hemisphere? Can it really be an issue of security? Or, could it be that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, at least twice the amount of oil as Iraq? Is this all just comeuppance for the 2007 nationalization of ExxonMobil oil assets in Venezuela, as well as those of ConocoPhillips? Why all this gringo subterfuge?

Because Washington views Chavez’s legacy as a deep-seated threat that must be put to rout.

Venezuela is, like many other instances in Latin America have proven to be, an alternative to the American project for a capitalist world order. What is more, there exists a powerful amount of Americans that think and feel this way. They are marching on bridges, blocking ships, occupying, and more. There are plenty who want to study Venezuela’s political developments and social ideas in order to enhance democracy at home.

Americans want to right the wrongs, to secure their liberties, to end fascism, to end capitalist greed run amok, and to end war and build with estranged peoples of other nations. But Washington simply will not stand for this. Venezuela will not be allowed to affect the American conscious in such a way. It will not be allowed to map out its own destiny, buoy other South American states in the process, compete with Washington’s interventionist Colombian Frankenstein, or oppose the liberalized world order with socialist policy, revolution, and non-aligned success.