By James Petras
January 31, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Understanding imperialism as a general phenomenon loses sight of its modus operandi in any specific and meaningful context. While the exercise of imperialist power is a common strategy, its motives, instruments, objectives and engagement vary, depending on the nature of the imperial ruler and targeted country.
Venezuela, the current target ofUS, President Donald Trump, is a case illustrating the ‘peculiarities’ of imperialist politics. We will proceed to outline the background, techniques and impact of the imperial power grab.
The US has a long history of intervention in Venezuela primarily to gain control of its oil wealth. During the 1950’s Washington backed a military dictatorship –led by Perez Jimenez— until it was overthrown by mass alliance of revolutionary socialist, nationalist and Social Democratic parties. Washington could not and did not intervene; instead it sided with the center-left Democratic Action (AD) and center-right COPEI parties which proceeded to declare war against the radical left. Over time US regained hegemony until the economy went into crises in the 1990’s leading to popular uprisings and state massacres.
The US did not intervene initially as it felt that it could co-optHugo Chavez because he was unaffiliated with the left. Moreover, the US was militarily committed to the Balkans (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East and preparing for wars against Iraq and other nationalist countries which opposed Israel and supported Palestine.
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