Venezuela Survives Another Attempt at Regime Change
While most of the news on Venezuela in the week since the April 14 presidential election focused on the efforts of losing candidate Henrique Capriles to challenge the results, there was another campaign based in Washington that was quite revealing. And the two were most definitely related. Without Washington’s strong support – the first time it had refused to recognize a Venezuelan election result – it is unlikely that Capriles would have joined the hard core elements of his camp in pretending that the election was stolen.
Washington’s efforts to de-legitimize the election mark a significant escalation of U.S. efforts at “regime change” in Venezuela. Not since its involvement in the 2002 military coup has the U.S. government done this much to promote open conflict in Venezuela. When the White House first announced on Monday that a 100 percent audit of the votes was “an important, prudent and necessary step,” this was not an effort to promote a “recount.” They had to know that this was a form of hate speech – telling the government of Venezuela what was necessary to make their elections legitimate. They also had to know that it would not make such a recount more likely. And this was also their quick reply to Maduro’s efforts, according to the New York Times of April 15, to reach out to the Obama administration for better relations through former Clinton Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
But the Obama team’s effort failed miserably. On Wednesday the government of Spain, Washington’s only significant ally supporting a “100 percent audit” reversed its position and recognized Maduro’s election. Then the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, backed off his prior alignment with the Obama administration and recognized the election result. Although some of the press had misreported Insulza’s position as that of the OAS, in reality he had been representing nobody but Washington. It was not just the left governments of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and others that had quickly congratulated Maduro on his victory. Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti and other non-left governments had joined them. The Obama administration was completely isolated in the world.