The New York Times recently published a strange article in which it revealed alleged meetings between American diplomats and Venezuelan military rebels seeking to overthrow the Maduro regime. Like many others, I watched and waited.
The article’s intention did not seem to involve raising any skepticism about this development. It was weird. The information was unusual. It claimed a high official in the Venezuelan Armed Forces, sanctioned by the United States, was meeting with Donald Trump’s government to orchestrate a coup d’etat against Maduro’s criminal regime, and that the American government refused to help him, but that they continued to meet, and there are allegedly hundreds of unhappy soldiers in the ranks. In short, that was it.
Then, the Spanish newspaper ABC cast further doubt on the New York Times article. Suspicions were confirmed. A “mole” – ABC revealed – in the State Department leaked the information to the New York Times with “the objective of torpedoing Trump’s hardline approach toward the regime” that seeks to continue Chavez’s legacy, in order to force the US president to take a step back and continue with Obama’s approach to US-Venezuelan relations.
According to several sources, the Spanish newspaper was told that the “mole” may have been Mike Fitzpatrick, number two in the office for the Western Hemisphere of the Department of State and close to the discredited diplomat Thomas Shannon, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and architect of the noxious dialogue process led by former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in Venezuela.
Now, on September 11, in an attempt to continue with this offensive against the Republicans’ hardline approach, the New York Times has published an editorial titled “Stay Out of Venezuela, Mr. Trump.”
In the article, packed with absurdities and blunders, the American newspaper argues that “the United States should not get involved in coups, period…For much of the past century, the United States compiled a sordid history in Latin America, using force and cunning to install and support military regimes and other brutal thugs with little interest in democracy,” says the editorial, revisiting a worn, oft-used argument, and verging what Professor David Hackett would call “historian’s fallacy”.
They talk about the “big stick” policy, its predecessor the Monroe Doctrine, and all its offshoots – especially the anti-Communist efforts, which were successful in keeping almost the entire hemisphere safe from the red plague.
However, they do not mention that, as the Venezuelan author Carlos Rangel says in his great work The Latin Americans – Their Love Hate Relationship with The United States, it was “a matter of national security.” In defending genuine principles for its own survival, the United States gave great importance to the Caribbean and the region.
But the idea is not to dwell on the historical examples mentioned by the newspaper nor to dismantle the reasonable arguments against the United States’ intervention in the Americas – which on several occasions amounted to enormous blunders.
Rather we should consider what would have happened to Panama -now a prosperous country- if the United States had not overthrown the drug kingpin Manuel Noriega. Or if America had not played a decisive role in the defeat of the Central Powers between 1917 and 1918. Or what would have been of Europe if the United States had not invaded Nazi Germany. Or if they did not collaborate with the Western powers in the Middle East offensives against the terrorist group ISIS, today diminished, but whose barbarism has spread terror across the continent. Or what would have happened to Cuba if, instead of failure, the interventions against Fidel Castro’s criminal regime had triumphed.
Each case is unique. Some were well-justified and others were wrong. But each one has adhered to the mission of the United States to protect national and economic security interests. And today Venezuela is a clear threat to both.
In its editorial, the New York Times recalls some mistakes made by US foreign policy, but then yields to the contradiction of mentioning the reasons why, in fact, the United States should interfere in Venezuela.
“There’s no disputing that Mr. Maduro and his socialist vision have been a disaster for Venezuela and the region. Mr. Maduro needs to step down. The country was once among Latin America’s most prosperous nations, and it has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. But after two decades of socialist rule and vast corruption, the economy has collapsed and annual inflation may run as high as 1 million percent,” the newspaper said.
“As a result, although democracy has spread to most governments in Latin America over the past quarter-century, few people or leaders in the region would protest if Mr. Maduro were forced out,” the New York Times continues.
Despite this sentiment, the newspaper recommends diplomacy, dialogue, negotiation, and tougher sanctions.
Although the New York Times could have laudable intentions – with respect to the Venezuelans, not with Trump’s government, of course-its editorial on September 11 exposes a startling naiveté, inappropriate for such a prestigious and well-informed publication.
After twenty years of hardcore socialism, it is beyond doubt that Nicolas Maduro’s regime will never leave power without the use of major and decisive force -which does not necessarily have to be war or through the machinations of the United States.
Venezuela is ruled by a criminal regime. It is linked to the mafia and international drug trafficking, as well as terrorism. It is backed by the world’s most passionate enemies of democracy and freedom, such as Cuba, Russia, China, and Iran.
The New York Times has a decisive influence on American public opinion. To attack the hard line of the Trump administration instead of the genocide in Venezuela, which has been particularly egregious in nature, suggests that the revival of freedom must be contingent upon other rounds of dialogue, negotiation, or diplomatic bureaucracy – processes that have already failed. Processes that have been tried and rejected by Venezuelan society; or the ridiculous posture in which all interventions are unacceptable. The New York Times approach does not contribute to the cause of freedom of Venezuela. Instead, they become complicit in the devastation of the country.