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Issue #1910      April 6, 2020


In late March the US Department of Justice (DOJ) laid charges against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and several other top Venezuelan government officials, accusing them of engaging in a “narco-terrorism conspiracy.”

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro holds a copy of the National Constitution while he speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela on January 9, 2019.

The US State Department has also offered US$15 million for information leading to President Maduro’s arrest. This is an act of open aggression towards the sovereign Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The indictment document alleges an intricate conspiracy between the Venezuelan government and Colombian Communist guerilla group FARC, “to ‘flood’ the United States with cocaine and inflict the drug’s harmful and addictive effects on users in this country [the United States].”

The document also contrasts these alleged actions of the Venezuelan government with the equally extraordinary claim that “most drug-trafficking organisations in South and Central America have sought to recede from their roles in importing narcotics into the United States in an effort to avoid US prosecution.”

So while the US DOJ claims that most of the many powerful drug cartels around Latin America have decided it is in their best interest to avoid US soil, the Venezuelan government – with a lot more at stake – has supposedly come to the opposite conclusion.

A small amount of logical consideration casts significant doubt on these theories of conspiracy. The comment on drug-trafficking organisations seems to serve no purpose but to complicate the story. But the seemingly superfluous claim that other cartels are receding, just as the Venezuelan cocaine is supposed to arrive, is a necessary part of the narrative for a simple reason – the objective data does not suggest any “flood” of cocaine attributable in any way to the Venezuelan government.

There certainly are several drug crises in the US. But by far the greatest is the opioid crisis, created by the willingly reckless actions of US pharmaceutical companies. Several of these companies have already been convicted of criminal actions but none have been accused of terrorism!

The term narco-terrorism has been in the vocabulary of Latin American politics since the ’80s. Up until now, it has been used to describe drug cartels which use terrorist acts to intimidate the people and government. But this is an entirely original usage of the term, which instead redefines the concept of terrorist act to include supplying drugs. This new usage has seen no application except to attack President Maduro, without any basis in fact.

The concept could be more useful than just a propaganda term; after all, there are plenty of drug cartels worthy of classification as terrorists. However, since its invention, the term has been used almost entirely to attack left-wing groups, and in fact, right-wing governments around Latin America have usually treated right-wing drug gangs as allies against left-wing guerrilla groups, with US backing. The terrorist crimes, committed by these gangs with the support of their right-wing governments, have caused indescribable suffering to millions of people, particularly peasants, trade unionists, and socialists.

We can perhaps forgive the Americans for mistaking themselves for experts on the topic of governments using drug gangs to interfere in the affairs of other countries – they were certainly the pioneers in that field. Their support to the “Contras” in Nicaragua is the most memorable example, but there are too many others to mention.

Any thinking person must see right through these fake claims being pushed by the US DOJ.

I spoke to Mr Daniel Gasparri, Chargé d’Affaires of Venezuela in Australia. He pointed out to me that over a decade ago, the late President Hugo Chávez predicted this exact scenario: that the US government would use fake allegations of state involvement in drug trafficking to justify intervention in Venezuela. This is despite the Venezuelan government’s impressive record of struggle to eradicate the drug trade in Venezuela, which the US Drug Enforcement Administration has itself recognised in the past.

Mr Gasparri also highlighted the Venezuelan government’s key role in negotiating ceasefires between FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – former guerilla group) and the Colombian government, and FARC’s eventual disarmament. He stressed that the Venezuelan government had no interest in the matter beyond peace and the wellbeing of the people in the region, and never has any interest in interfering in the internal affairs of any other country.

These aggressive allegations by the US DOJ come at a time when Venezuela, like the rest of the world, is engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. The US has made its callous disregard for the Venezuelan people clear as day by its persistence in imposing unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, restricting access to vital resources, including medical supplies. The US persists in these criminal sanctions despite condemnation by the UN, and even the EU.

The saving graces for the Venezuelan people in this epidemic have been twofold: the swift and effective response by the Venezuelan government – including imposing immediate quarantine measures, mobilising the people to distribute essential supplies, guaranteeing incomes for employees of small and medium businesses, and suspending rent payments; the international solidarity and assistance provided by many countries including Cuba, Russia, and China, which likewise are demonised by the US and made targets of aggression.

In a press statement last Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States has long been committed to finding a solution to the man-made crisis in Venezuela. The urgency for this has become all the more serious in light of the Maduro regime’s failure to adequately prepare for and address the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

The “failure” of which he speaks does not exist in reality, but exists vividly in the wishful thinking of the US regime, which has gone to great lengths attempting to ensure such a failure.

If failing to adequately prepare for and address the pandemic means the government responsible should stand down (which is the only “solution” the US has ever had in mind for Venezuela), then the Trump regime should be the first to go. The Venezuelan government with President Maduro at the head would be one of the few in the world left standing.

Pompeo is quite right that the crisis in Venezuela is man-made. But Pompeo, and his co-conspirators past and present, are the men who made it.

The COVID-19 epidemic is shining a spotlight on the inescapable failures of capitalism and advantages of socialism. It is in this context that the headquarters of the empire of capital lashes out in extreme desperation, making baseless allegations against other sovereign countries that they have no right to jurisdiction over in the first place.

This new round of allegations against the Venezuelan government bear no relation to fact, and are nothing but a last-ditch effort to interfere in Venezuela’s affairs after the embarrassing failure of the Guaidó coup attempt.

The Australian government must cease its flunkeyism towards the US and reject these policies which are alien to the Australian people. The Australian government must recognise President Maduro as the legitimate President of Venezuela, in accordance with fact, and reject the criminal US-imposed blockade which is of no benefit to anything but US geopolitical interests.

The CPA stands in solidarity with President Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan people.


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