It’s difficult to figure out what exactly is going on in Venezuela right now, partly because there really are no good guys in this scenario. Nicolas Maduro is a tyrant who has impoverished Venezuela, but Juan Guaido has demonstrated some fascist tendencies and has the support of perpetual meddlers like the United States. If there is one thing we should have learned from our debacles in Vietnam and Iraq, it’s that meddling in other countries’ domestic affairs has limited upside (for those outside the centers of power like oil and government) and can catastrophically backfire. Yet here we are in Venezuela, on the precipice of disaster, led by smoothbrained simpletons like Marco Rubio who believe that German Dam is an actual dam and not the name of the reporter breaking news about a dam.
Late last night, the United States escalated tensions again, as recalling diplomats just before midnight is its own kind of message.
Pulling diplomats out of the country means one thing: the country is/will soon become too dangerous for diplomats to do their work. For example, the U.S. effectively closed its Iraqi consulate in Basra last year due to increasing threats from Iranian-backed militias. The question now is: why is Venezuela too dangerous for diplomats to do their work in?
Sure, conditions are deteriorating right now, but things have been bad for quite some time in Venezuela. Ignoring the firestorm of U.S. noise around this situation would be a folly given U.S. history in oil-rich countries like Venezuela. The most likely reason why the U.S. pulled diplomats out of Venezuela is because of the expectation that tensions will continue to rise. This comes at the same time that the United States is voicing full-throated support for the opposition leader while delivering “aid” that’s led by a man who was caught using humanitarian aid as a Trojan Horse to funnel weapons to the opposition in 1980s Nicaragua—not to mention the conspicuously timed blackout just after U.S. “aid” arrived at the border.
This is not some tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory. International aid organizations, including the United Nations, are not joining with the U.S.’s “aid” package in Venezuela, given our very open support for regime change. No one should believe the Trump Administration’s word when they say that our ultimate goal is solely humanitarian in nature. History demonstrates that our “aid” is most likely covering for weapons and supplies being sent to Juan Guaido (who recently said that he would open up Venezuela’s state-owned oil reserves to foreign investment—and yet we still have a gullible and credulous press who treats this blatantly obvious connection as some crackpot theory).
This is what empires do. We are an empire. And we are poised to prolong the suffering in a country desperate for some semblance of normalcy after decades of mismanagement. It is extremely rare when the United States militarily steps in to a domestic struggle and makes things better. As Iran, Libya, Iraq and countless other cursed oil-rich countries can attest, no state whose affairs the United States interferes in can ever truly be normal. Our colonialist profit motive won’t allow it.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.