The History - and Hypocrisy - of US Meddling in Venezuela

Author and activist Brett Wilkins looks at the history of US meddling in Venezuela.

By Brett Wilkins

January 28, 2019 "Information Clearing House"    There isn’t a nation in the Western Hemisphere that hasn’t at one time or another found itself caught in the far-reaching tentacles of US imperialism. Venezuela is certainly no exception. Washington has been meddling in its internal affairs since the 19th century and it continues to do so to this very day, when the specter of yet another US-backed coup, or even a direct American military intervention, looms larger by the day. 

A Long History of Meddling 

During most of the 20th century, US interference in Venezuela was mostly about oil, but that wasn’t always the case in earlier times. Washington’s involvement in the 1895 boundary dispute between Venezuela and Britain was a key event in the emergence of the United States as a world power as the Grover Cleveland administration, invoking the Monroe Doctrine prohibition against European colonization of the Americas, successfully sided with Venezuela. The Cleveland administration, which noted that “today the United States is practically sovereign on this continent,” issued thinly veiled threats of war against Britain, which eventually acquiesced to US demands. 

Later, during the Dutch-Venezuelan crisis of 1908, the US Navy helped Venezuelan Vice President Juan Vicente Gómez seize power in a coup. Gómez, known as “The Catfish,” would rule the country either directly or through puppet presidents, until his death in 1935. His regime was one of inconceivably medieval brutality. His enforcers were fond of shackling political prisoners in grillos, leg irons that rendered many victims permanently disabled — and those were the “lucky” ones. The unlucky ones were hanged to death by meathooks through their throats or testicles. 

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