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Olduvai II: Exodus
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The Troika of Tyranny: The Imperialist Project in Latin America and Its Epigones

The Troika of Tyranny: The Imperialist Project in Latin America and Its Epigones

Photo Source vaticanus | CC BY 2.0

Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are today threatened by US imperialism. The first salvo of the modern Age of Imperialism started back in 1898 when the US seized Cuba along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the Spanish-American War.

The Age of Imperialism, as Lenin observed, is characterized by the competition of the various imperial powers for dominance. That inter-imperialist rivalry led to World War I. Lenin called those putative socialists who supported their own national imperialist projects “social imperialists.” Social imperialism is a tendency that is socialist in name and imperialist in deed. Imperialism and its social imperialist minions are still with us today.

US Emerges as the World’s Hegemon

The United States emerged after World War II as the leading imperialist power. With the implosion of the Socialist Bloc around 1991, US hegemony became even more consolidated. Today the US is the undisputed world’s hegemon.

Hegemony means to rule but even more so to dominate. As the world’s hegemon, the US will not tolerate neutral parties, let alone hostile ones. As articulated in the Bush Doctrine, the US will try to asphyxiate any nascent counter-hegemonic project, no matter how insignificant.

In the Caribbean, for instance, the US snuffed out the leftist government of Grenada in 1983 in what was code named Operation Urgent Fury. Grenada has a population smaller than Vacaville, California.

The only powers that the world’s hegemon will tolerate are junior partners such as Colombia in Latin America. The junior partner must accept a neoliberal economic regime designed to serve the interests of capital. Structural adjustment of the economy is demanded such that the neoliberal “reforms” become irreversible; so that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

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Venezuela Defies the US Empire Reelecting Maduro

Venezuela Defies the US Empire Reelecting Maduro

Photo by Joka Madruga | CC BY 2.0

The Venezuelan people reelected Nicolás Maduro for a second presidential term on May 20. A US-backed political tide of reaction had been bucked, which had swept away previously left-leaning Latin American governments – often by extra-parliamentary means – in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Honduras, and even Ecuador.

The US and the rightwing opposition in Venezuela had demanded an election boycott and Maduro’s resignation. Defying them, the popular classes voted as a form of resistance in what they proudly told us was a “celebration of democracy.” Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution was again affirmed as was Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro.

Maduro’s Inheritance

Hugo Chávez was first elected in 1998 and died in office in 2013. Many Venezuelans grieved deeply and personally; some rejoiced; no one was untouched. Chávez had spearheaded a movement that turned Venezuela from an epigone of Washington to an independent force opposing US global hegemony. The Bolivarian Revolution reclaimed Venezuela’s history and forged a new national identity that no longer looked to Miami for affirmation.

Venezuelan society became more inclusive for poor women, people of color, and youth. As Greg Grandin observed, this inclusiveness has awakened “a deep fear of the primal hatred, racism, and fury of the opposition, which for now is directed at the agents of Maduro’s state but really springs from Chávez’s expansion of the public sphere to include Venezuela’s poor.”

On a geopolitical level, the Bolivarian Revolution placed a renewed focus on the socialist project. While some in the international left have become confused on anti-imperialism, Uncle Sam has been clear and has made regime change in Venezuela a priority.

Maduro inherited all this and more: a dysfunctional currency system, deeply engrained corruption, an entrenched criminal element, a petro-economy dependent on the international market, and the eternal enmity of Washington.

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Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly 

Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly 

Photo by Joka Madruga | CC BY 2.0

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

— US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, 1970

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is the frontrunner in the presidential elections scheduled for May 20. If past pronouncements and practice by the US empire are any indication, every effort will be made to oust an avowed socialist from what is considered the US’ “backyard.”

With a week to go to the election, the leftist president of Bolivia Evo Morales tweeted: “Before the elections they (US and allies) will carry out violent actions supported by the media and after the elections they will try a military invasion with Armed Forces from neighboring countries.” All signals from the Trump White House and the Pentagon are that Evo is on target.

US antipathy towards the Venezuelan government started with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, followed by a brief and unsuccessful US-backed coup in 2002. Chávez made the magnanimous, but politically imprudent, gesture of pardoning the golpistas (coup perpetrators), who are still trying to achieve by extra-parliamentary means what they have been unable to realize democratically. After Chávez died in 2013, the Venezuelans elected Maduro to carry on what has become known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

The Phantom Menace

In 2015 then US President Obama declared “a national emergency” posed to the security of the US by Venezuela. Understand that the US has military bases to the west of Venezuela in Colombia and to the east in the Dutch colonial islands. The US Fourth Fleet patrols Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Yet somehow in the twisted logic of imperialism, the phantom of Venezuela posed a menacing “extraordinary threat” to the US.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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