Monday, May 08, 2017

Perceptions of U.S. Policy in Venezuela

Uruguay's Frente Amplio passed a motion in its party congress condemning U.S. policy toward Venezuela:

Con una moción aprobada tras una jornada de debates y reflexiones, el movimiento político destacó que como parte de las intenciones del imperialismo estadounidense buscan "satanizar" a Venezuela y aislarlo en la región, como lo hicieron con Cuba. 

The motion goes on to cite U.S. Cold War policy, which in many ways is both common and unfortunate. Unlike Cuba back then, the U.S. is a minor player in the Venezuela crisis. Unlike Cuba, the U.S. president has no interest in Venezuela. Unlike Cuba, Venezuela is not a pawn in a global ideological battle. Unlike Cuba, Venezuela chose to leave the OAS. Unlike Cuba, the Venezuelan president is deeply unpopular. Unlike Cuba, Venezuela's democracy has gradually been eroded. And so on.

It's tempting to slap Cold War comparisons together in large part because it's so easy. You have to then assume that Dwight W. Eisenhower and Barack Obama are essentially interchangeable and their historical contexts irrelevant, but that's a small price to pay for a neat and tidy comparison. The U.S. wanted to destroy the Cuban revolution; the U.S. wants to destroy the Venezuelan revolution. Once you take that leap, then you can also enjoy a swim in conspiratorial waters, like giving cancer to Hugo Chávez.

But if you want to understand the crisis and the U.S. response to it, Cold War comparisons lead you astray pretty much immediately. And the U.S. isn't isolating Venezuela. It's isolating itself.


Anonymous,  12:59 AM  

I'm not sure it's that much of a leap to conclude that the U.S. wished for the demise of Chavismo from pretty early on.

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