Really? You're not speaking for me: "Dogmatic political allegiances are clouding our judgement on Venezuela—we must resist them"

In Latin American politics, your emotional base camp is pitched at a different altitude. The stakes are higher. Mostly it’s the poverty. But it’s not just that. It’s that every attempt to tackle that poverty is met with tyranny.

In 1954, a moderate Guatemalan president called Jacobo Árbenz was overthrown in a coup carried out by the CIA after he tried to introduce agrarian reform. He was replaced by the military dictatorship of Castillo Armas. He survived, which is unusual in Latin coups, but was humiliated at the airport by being forced to strip naked in front of the TV cameras.

Four decades of civil war followed, as leftist guerillas took on the government. It culminated in the genocide of the Maya. The slaughter was systematic and extraordinarily cruel. They targeted the children and the women, inflicting terrible levels of sexual torture and mutilation. These atrocities, which killed tens of thousands, were carried out by a US-backed Guatemalan army, using US-training. They were diligently documented by Bishop Juan José Gerardi in his crucial report, Nunca Mas. He was beaten to death in his garage on the day of its publication.

The Guatemalan story is particularly awful, but it’s the same basic story across the region, from Nicaragua to Chile. That’s the backdrop. That’s the emotional baggage you carry with you when talking about Latin American politics.
The lessons of the right aren’t much use when looking at Venezuela today. What we’re seeing is about authoritarianism, the cult of personality and rank irresponsibility, not a lesson in how socialists are always tyrants or why nationalisation always ends in disaster. That’s just childish game-playing cynicism.

But there are lessons to learn, about hero worship and political standards. Don’t go in for the former and always maintain the latter, regardless of where you’re from or which country you’re talking about. I wish I’d learned them sooner.


You've still lessons to learn. The most important is that you've completely ignored that Maduro has been pushed into most of the sloppiness because he was completely ill-prepared for the level of CIA undercutting he'd face. You seem to have a firsthand but still naïve understanding of just how sinister the CIA is. Their mission concerning Venezuela has always been to do anything and everything they can get away with to destroy democracy and to twist the narrative. When the CIA-backed operatives in Venezuela shoot and kill police and Maduro and the police react, the CIA only says the police attacked protesters; and, it's much worse than that. That's only the tip of the iceberg. Don't fall for the fascist line and start backing the overthrow. Start pushing back against the CIA and the plutocrats. Help Maduro to be able to do the right things. If the fascists get in, the People will suffer more than they are now; however, it won't make the US MSM.

Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.