By Zach Foster
“You can vote your way into socialism, but you’ll have to shoot your way out.” So says the old maxim. This is the moral of today’s story, although most of the characters in it are committed to ignoring that simple truth. And then when people finally do shoot their way out of socialism, “It’s a coup!”
That was the talking point most of the world believed last year. The Castro regime’s masterful public relations strategy had most of the world believing that the rise of Juan Guaidó in Venezuela was nothing but a right-wing coup against a democratically elected socialist government. This fairy tale caricature of the Venezuela crisis couldn’t be further from the truth. Even that battle in Caracas one year ago on April 30, 2019, where Juan Guaidó and a team of soldiers urged all of Venezuela to rise up against the usurper regime. This was all part of an elaborate show to benefit chavismo, not the opposition. Since his very first day in office, Juan Guaidó has been controlled opposition to the Maduro regime and here are the reasons why.
For starters, any idea that Venezuela has a right wing is laughable. The political party furthest to the right in the whole country is Vente Venezuela, which resembles a moderately libertarian platform in the style of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. That’s as far right as anyone is in the National Assembly, and that’s only a few members compared to 160 Assemblymen whose parties are members of the Socialist International. Even Juan Guaidó’s party, Popular Will, is a member of the International. Therefore the “conspiracy” against the dictator and his usurper regime is an entirely left-wing conspiracy, not right-wing. It’s literally democratic socialists conspiring against Stalinists who already hijacked the Venezuelan State long ago.
That said, Guaidó was phony opposition from the beginning. He was elected Interim President through a vote by the National Assembly in accordance with Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, but how did he choose to exercise that authority once sworn in? Hardly at all, and certainly not to launch any coups or civil wars. Eduardo Bittar, founder of Rumbo Libertad, the only conservative political organization in the country (not a political party), recounts in a Spanish-language interview a meeting he attended between Venezuelan “dissident” leaders and allied nation diplomats in January 2019, days after Guaidó had been elected Interim President by the parliament but still before he was sworn in.
Participating in this meeting were Assemblyman Eduardo Bolsonaro of Brazil, several Brazilian officials, Eduardo Bittar, and several other Venezuelans including Carlos Vecchio (of the Popular Will party), Henry Ramos Allup (Democratic Action), and Julio Borges (Justice First). (All 3 of these parties are members of the Socialist International along with Maduro’s United Socialist Party, the PSUV). All of these “dissidents” except the members of Rumbo Libertad flatly rejected Brazil’s offer to help the National Assembly form a transitional government-in-exile in Brazil and make a serious effort to dismantle the Maduro regime once and for all. Henry Ramos Allup, who’s whispered in Guaidó’s ear since Day One, was very adamant about wanting to dialogue with the Stalinists and resolve this with an election. The other opposition party leaders agreed.
I say again, they seriously expected to have dialogues and an election with a Stalinist regime that funds itself from organized crime and that deploys death squads against unarmed dissidents. They’re either the stupidest, most naive lifelong politicians on the planet, or they have some personal incentive not to see the regime fall. Eduardo Bolsonaro saw through it all and he plainly told the democratic socialists, “If Venezuela goes to negotiations or elections with the regime, I’m grabbing my surfboard, going to the beach, and forgetting about Venezuela.” All of this was before Guaidó was even sworn in as President, meaning that the opposition’s course was already charted from Day One.
Second, outside of my functions with the Mises-Mambi Institute, I leaned on my personal contacts and I recruited several private military contracting companies who were willing to offer their services to the legitimate Venezuelan government in training and equipping the thousands of Venezuelan army deserters and military-aged males in Colombia who were ready and eager to fight for their country, and in setting up field hospitals and emergency clinics for the civilian population. I sent their initial proposals to several members of the National Assembly (via their staff members) and to one of Guaidó’s ambassadors in Europe (through a relative who’s an acquaintance of mine).
The Guaidó administration was adamantly not interested — only one of the recipients responded to tell me they preferred to go with a peaceful and diplomatic option, and even that was through private back channels, not official channels. This was after the Maduro regime had deployed its National Guard and paramilitaries to the border to block humanitarian aid, and after the regime armed 3,000 prison convicts and deployed them against the Pemón Indians, effectively restarting the Indian Wars in Venezuela. Yet these “dissident” leaders still talked about dialogue with the regime and a peaceful transition to democracy.
Then there was the famous armed uprising on April 30. According to Eduardo Bittar, who received insider updates throughout the day in real time from friends in the armed forces, “We’re dealing with a National Unity Pact between Chavismo and those who control the opposition. This pact includes a 15-point agreement where Mr. Juan Guaidó, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, and the United Socialist Party share power together…” Some of the points to this pact with the devil were:
1. The conspirators aim to exile Nicolas Maduro to whatever country will receive him.
2. Recognize Juan Guaido as Interim President of the transitional government.
3. Allow the Chavista military high command to continue in their posts with the General Vladimir Padrino in charge. In other words, the military officers who became war criminals against their own civilian population would remain in power and unscathed.
4. Recognize the illegitimate Supreme Court under Mikel Moreno as the official Supreme Court whereas the legitimate Supreme Court (meeting in exile in Florida) would be left on the sidelines.
5. Hold a presidential elections within 9 months of Maduro stepping down, in which Leopoldo Lopez is the opposition candidate and the PSUV still gets to run their candidate.
The list of points goes on and the authenticity of this pact with this 15-point plan was confirmed in an RT interview with Elliott Abrams. This agreement is extremely harmful to freedom in Venezuela because it ultimately replaces one executive figurehead with another while leaving all of the old figurehead’s criminal enforcers in power. All of the torturers would remain in the military and police forces. All of the murders of unarmed dissidents would go unpunished. The regime’s paramilitary groups would continue murdering people. The Cuban invaders would remain in the country. In short, this proposal was and is a sick joke.
Then there was the infamous “coup attempt”. On the morning of April 30, Juan Guaidó led a team of 55 soldiers, whom he had fooled into believing the entire armed forces was in rebellion and in on the plan, and the column completed Gauidó’s true objective for that day: to free the political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of Guaidó’s Popular Will party, from house arrest where he had been languishing for 5 years.
Guaidó then started a live stream on Periscope, with Leopoldo Lopez at his side, in which Guaidó lied that his armed column had taken the La Carlota military base. He wasn’t broadcasting from inside the base, but rather from the Francisco Fajardo Highway several kilometres away. The footage of Guaidó and Lopez flanked by rebel soldiers electrified the country. Bittar asks, “They know everywhere he goes. So why did the regime wait until the maximum number of people were in the streets before it acted? Why didn’t they pounce when Guaidó had that small, isolated group on a major highway?”
Then the battle began while the convoy was actually on its way to La Carlota. Vladimir Padrino and the armed forces high command obviously chickened out on their end of the deal, if they ever planned to make good on it anyway. After a few hours in which 55 brave soldiers wearing blue armbands, and hundreds of even braver civilian insurgents, skirmished with the regime’s armed forces, Guaido called a general retreat.
By that afternoon, the 55 troops, abandoned by Guaidó just like the thousands of troops waiting in Colombia, were hiding in an embassy. The millions of civilians protesting in the streets nationwide had gone home. Paramilitary gangs and the regime’s security forces had shot and wounded hundreds of people. Others involved were already arrested by Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) where they are detained and still being tortured to this day. Between the firefight in Caracas and several other incidents around the country, four people died on April 30, 2019. Later that night, two opposition party organizers in the state of Zulia were murdered and decapitated by officers of the Bolivarian National Police who were militantly loyal to the PSUV. This begs the question: were all these deaths, injuries, and ruined lives worth it just to free Leopoldo Lopez from house arrest?
“They had to make a show to win public support because, as late as April 29, people were commenting all over social media that they were done with fruitless street marches, done with all the talk, and done with Guaidó… They needed to stage a confrontation and put a little make up on it, but waiting behind this ‘confrontation’ is the only course of action they ever really intended: negotiate with Chavismo.”
And that’s exactly what the opposition has always done. There have been a dozen official dialogues between the PSUV regime and the opposition between 2002 and 2018. Even after the regime began massacring the indigenous people, even after the regime had openly invited the Colombian FARC Dissidents and ELN into the country, the legitimate government (controlled by members of the Socialist International) still sat at dialogues with the regime in Norway and in Barbados. The opposition-controlled legitimate government even paid millions of dollars to foot the hotel and restaurant bill for the Barbados dialogues.
Guaidó, as Speaker of the National Assembly, even accepted the results of a “dialogue” between the regime and several minor parties in the National Assembly, where it was decided that the PSUV delegates who’d been boycotting the National Assembly would return to the parliament… and obviously vote in the regime’s interests. Guaidó permitted their return even though most of these individuals disqualified themselves from their Assembly seat by taking other positions in the government courtesy of Maduro.
That naive stupidity on Guaidó’s part resulted in the Chavista minority attempting this year’s legislative coup where Assemblyman Luis Parra (recently kicked out of the “dissident” socialist party Justice First) was “elected” Speaker of the Assembly without a quorum. Now the regime is pretending that their mini-National Assembly is the real one, the National Guard won’t let Guaidó into the Federal Legislative Palace, and the real National Assembly is forced to meet in privately owned multipurpose halls. Hence, the diplomatic tour in which Guaidó was recognized by Donald Trump during the State of the Union speech was very much a show, just like April 30, 2019. Just like the fake uprising last year, Guaidó knew in January 2020 that public support for his administration and his strategy of dialogue with the regime had dwindled. He needed to get their support again so he could continue to negotiate with the regime after the legislative coup weakened his position.
“They’re all corrupt,” says the libertarian Alfonso Bolivar of the party Vente Venezuela. “They’re not trying to topple the regime, they’re only trying to get rid of Maduro. They see the big pie that the Chavistas have and they want a piece of that pie for themselves. That’s why they don’t want to overthrow these crooks and murderers, they want to keep negotiating with them for a piece of the pie. They don’t want the pie thrown away.” And all the while Venezuelans starve to death, die of preventable diseases, or are murdered by the Maduro regime or by the drug gangs paying taxes to the regime.
So there we have it. This article, which I began writing with the intention of a few hundred words at moat, still hasn’t even touched on the rampant corruption in the Guaidó regime, or the time he appeared in photographs with Colombian paramilitary drug traffickers, or the Marxists that Guaidó has appointed to posts in his government. If Juan Guaidó is not controlled opposition to benefit the communists, then controlled opposition never existed anywhere in the world and the definition of the term needs to be changed.
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