14 April 2019 — Internationalist 360°
In Venezuelan domestic politics, the paradox of the debate on Venezuelan sovereignty between Chavismo and the opposition has been present for years.
This debate is paradoxical because there is not really a discussion about two country models, but in fact a discussion about a national model and a colonial model. The positions are clearly differentiated. Chavismo represents a vision of the nation and since 1999 this has unleashed a series of acts of siege from Washington to Caracas after Venezuela’s exit from the U.S. orbit.
On the other hand, Venezuelan anti-Chavism, which functions as a franchise of the U.S. government, prefers to ignore the historical relations of subordination that Venezuela had with the United States.
They also dismiss their own position as the gendarmerie of U.S. interests in Venezuela. Instead, they have proposed a very flimsy argument that refers to the “loss of sovereignty” of the nation against countries like Cuba, Iran, China and Russia.
This debate and its false dilemmas transcended Venezuelan domestic politics and are now part of a discursive discourse. Washington targets the Venezuelan leadership with grave threats of military intervention to displace the government and, among the reasons that “justify” it, is the alleged extension of Russia’s borders through Venezuela.
Beyond Russia are the dangers of China’s “expansion,” the “hegemony” of the Cuban political model, and Iranian “terrorism” that “uses” Venezuela as a beachhead. All represent narrative strategies that are now components of the siege supported by the “loss” of Venezuelan sovereignty.
Colonialism Doesn’t Exist From Multinational Divergence
There is no thesis from political science, nor are there historical records since the advent of nation-states that indicate that it is possible for a single country to be a colony of several countries simultaneously. That anti-Chávez argument, now made by the White House, is absurd and very tenuous from that perspective.
There could be countries colonized and subjected to a structured block of countries, as any African country would be today under the shadow of the European Union. But there is not a single case of a country being recolonized by several countries, which are also dissimilar in their political model, geographical distances and geopolitical orientations. Such a thing is unnatural, absurd and incongruous.
The core common denominator between Venezuela and these four countries is their counter-hegemonic position vis-à-vis the United States and Old Europe, but this is not indicative of Venezuela’s subordinate relations with these countries. To begin with, because tutelage is open, it functions under discretionary rulings and they concur in function of a single political directive. There is not a single reference between Venezuela and those countries.
The absurdity of “Cuban domination”
There are no recorded cases in modern political history that tell of a country that is subjugated, dominated and recolonized by a smaller, less populous, less resourced, less armed and less influential country in foreign relations.
The dignity of the Cuban people and the political cohesion of its leadership have been and are exceptional. But Cuba is surpassed by Venezuela in all those elements of weight, strength and proportionality in international relations.
There is also an enormous weak point in pointing out “Cuban domination”: in theory, China, the second largest economy in the world, and Russia, the second largest armed power on the planet, have common interests with Cuba when it comes to Venezuela. Why would two great emerging powers agree with Cuba, if that were the case? There are no references that can explain it.
The relationship of Cuban “domination” over Venezuela becomes more confusing when we look inside the relations between the two countries. In Venezuela there are approximately 20,000 members of the Cuban health services, providing care in different facilities where many Venezuelan doctors and personnel do not reach, for example, neighborhoods and hamlets. They serve the Venezuelan population in the most difficult conditions.
These Cuban personnel live next to the ordinary Venezuelan people in identical conditions, without privileges and with all the adversities imposed by the financial and commercial blockade of Washington in Cuba and Venezuela. That said, the manner in which the members of the “occupying power” live in the country is very peculiar.
“Here come the Russians”
The collaboration between Venezuela and the Russian Federation in diverse matters, especially the military, is the focus of signals from Washington and a basic ingredient of the mantra of the “loss of Venezuelan sovereignty” with respect to Russia.
At the beginning of Commander Chávez’s first administration, Washington decided to apply an undeclared arms embargo against Venezuela by vetoing the acquisition of essential spare parts for U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets. In reality, the responsibility for relations between Venezuela and Russia originated in the Pentagon.
Recently the U.S. Veterans Professional Intelligence Group for Cordura (VIPS), all retired, in a memorandum to the government of U.S. President Donald Trump, warned of several security concerns. However, the memorandum obscures Russia’s defense of Venezuela.
“As former intelligence officials and national security professionals with many decades of experience, we urge you not to go so far as to adopt catastrophic military action in response to civil unrest in Venezuela or Russian activities in the Western Hemisphere. Despite the recent arrival [in Venezuela] of two transport planes and persistent political support for the Venezuelan government, the Russians are far from crossing any red line arising from the Monroe Doctrine of 1823,” the document said.
For American intelligence experts and architects of the U.S. expansion strategy, Venezuela remains within the historic area of influence of the United States. The Russians do not have a vassal country in the Caribbean and what there is between Venezuela and Russia is a military collaboration and not the consolidation of a tropical Eurasian franchise.
The wear and tear of the Cold War discourse reaches new heights in Venezuela when it comes to equating the military relationship between Caracas and Moscow with a new “Cuban missile crisis” in order to set off anti Russian alarms throughout U.S. foreign policy and other areas of influence. Everything under a semiotic that Venezuela must be invaded because it is a “Soviet colony”. An approach as corrosive as it is false, like that of the “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.
Iranian terrorism” and its tropicalized version
Regarding Venezuela, they do not argue that it lost its sovereignty over Iran because it is an emerging power, economically thriving and with more than 100 million inhabitants. No. Iran is a Muslim country and that is enough for it to be immediately declared a “terrorist country” and Venezuela is therefore also a terrorist country. Reductionism and forced and unfounded simplification.
The incongruity of Venezuela’s “loss of sovereignty” to Iran is as absurd as the version of a tropical Shiite terrorist Islamism that is theoretically sponsored by the Persian nation. At least this is what the White House has been saying in order to generate a single discourse that simultaneously tyrannizes the two oil-producing countries.
Recently Washington declared the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran a “terrorist organization” and the reopening of direct flights between Caracas and Tehran triggered intemperate reactions, among them that of the Republican Senator and siege operator against Venezuela, Marco Rubio, who inferred that these commercial flights from the Caribbean to Central Asia are a logistical platform for “terrorism” and represent a “threat to U.S. security”.
But the truth is there is no serious indication that has been disclosed with evidence that compromises the sincerity of the cooperation between Caracas and Tehran.
Proving the “terrorist” relationship between Iran and Venezuela has been impossible, as is demonstrating that there is a tutelage relationship from Tehran to Caracas. Firstly, because of the enormous ideological distance between the two projects: the Islamic revolution, openly clerical, only shares an anti-imperialist position with Venezuela, but that element is not substantive for a tutelage relationship.
Nor have there been any financial flows from Asia to the Caribbean, nor is there an Iranian administration of Venezuelan assets. The only Iranian oil investments in the country are modest and in fact they are in minority conditions vis-à-vis the Venezuelan state. It would be rather strange if Venezuela were a Persian colony.
The “colonization” by China in the “old backyard” of the United States
The White House has called China’s presence in this part of the world a “threat” to American and continental security. The neoconservatives of the Trump Administration have openly described the Latin American and Caribbean region as an old-fashioned Reagan or Nixon “backyard” and this has resulted in China itself having to respond that “Latin America is not owned by the United States”.
China has joined the region as a modulator of investments, financing, co-production of raw materials and as a focus of its commercial expansion. Undeniably, China’s agenda in the region has shifted the situation of hegemony and dominance that Washington has had in the continent. And the Chinese are achieving it without a single invasion, without a single coup d’état and without a single shot fired, which makes it harder for Washington to sustain its position as a “friendly power” against the “evil Chinese”.
Energy and financial collaboration between Venezuela and China is the epicenter of the discourse that points to Venezuela as a “tropical Cantonese colony”.
But Venezuela is far from being a Chinese colony, as are Peru, Brazil and Chile. Countries that receive more net investment from China than Venezuela and whose foreign policy has been clearly confiscated by the U.S. government. Chile, in fact, has China as its first trading partner according to the World Trade Organization, ahead of the United States. An obvious reading: Venezuela’s economic collaboration with China does not make it a Chinese colony, just as other countries are not.
Obviously, explaining this is difficult in the political framework of this American slum. In Latin America, the policy imposed by the neighborhood bully prevails. The American hegemonic system has become accustomed to subjugating, invading and stealing; obtaining everything without paying for it. This expansionist logic has difficulty dealing with the fact that another hegemon arrives and is more effective without using the same tactics as the traditional thug.
Translation by Internationalist 360°