Independent media outlets tend to pose alternative viewpoints that conflict with the narratives espoused by mainstream media. But when it comes to Venezuela, whose socialist government is in danger of being overthrown, they are parroting the mainstream line or ignoring the issue altogether.
by Whitney Webb
Part 2 - CIA-backed coups and opposition funding
For any student of U.S.-led regime change efforts, Venezuela’s current situation has the hallmarks of previous scenarios: lucrative resources, a history of U.S.-backed coup attempts, U.S.-led economic sabotage and a U.S.-funded political opposition.
Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world, found itself in the crosshairs of the US corporate empire as soon as its people rejected the U.S.-allied oligarchical government by electing socialist President Hugo Chávez in 1999. Chávez then began implementing policies that put the Venezuelan people ahead of American business interests that sought to exploit the nation’s resources.
Just a few years later, a U.S.-backed coup took place, one that involved many of the same figures who now lead the Venezuelan opposition. Chávez then ejected two major U.S. oil corporations, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, in 2007, further fomenting the ire of the United States government and corporate world. In the years that followed, numerous foiled coup attempts were uncovered in Venezuela and though Chávez resisted them all, he eventually succumbed to a sudden and rapidly advancing strain of cancer, with some going so far as claiming that the cancer was induced by his foreign enemies.
Ever since Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s successor, won a tight election in the aftermath of Chávez’s death, he too has faced major problems. Similar to what transpired in other Latin American countries targeted for regime change, a scarcity of goods, food and medicine emerged in parts of the country. However, much of this was caused by major corporations – whose owners side with the opposition – hoarding those goods and refusing to put them on shelves.
The shortage was compounded by a drop in oil prices, which was brought about through artificial manipulation by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Though the price manipulation had the ultimate aim of hurting Russia, other oil-dependent economies, like Ecuador and Venezuela, have also suffered tremendously as a result.
Yet, the clearest sign of U.S. involvement in seeking regime change in Venezuela comes from its funding of the opposition. The U.S. government gave well over $100 million to the Venezuelan political opposition from 2002 to 2010, with the “progressive” Obama administration alone pledging $20 million to that cause.
The Obama administration also notably slapped Venezuela with sanctions, calling the nation a “threat to national security” despite no evidence being provided to support that claim. In addition, a current Senate bill, if passed, would give $10 million more to opposition parties. Many of the top figures in the Venezuelan opposition, including those lionized by Western media, have direct ties to the U.S. government.
For instance, according to a leaked recording from 2013, opposition leader Maria Corina Machado detailed how Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, the chairman of the opposition umbrella group Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, told the State Department that “the only way to resolve this (salir de esto) is by provoking and accentuating a crisis, a coup or a self-coup. Or a process of tightening the screws and domesticating to generate a system of total social control.”
In addition, recent coup attempts in Venezuela were shown to be linked to the CIA and the DEA. More confirmation of current CIA involvement in Venezuela came earlier this week when the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, stated that the U.S. is working towards a “transition” in Venezuelan governance in coordination with the governments of Colombia and Mexico.
Were Venezuela to be replaced in this account with the name of any other country (save Cuba), it is likely that the very same alternative media sites that refuse to recognize that something is amiss in the mainstream narrative on Venezuela would be up in arms at the U.S.’ meddling in yet another attempt to force a democratically-elected government from power.