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Greenwald: How Can Democrats Support Trump’s Push for Regime Change to Seize Venezuela’s Oil?

StoryFebruary 11, 2019
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The U.S. and Russia have proposed opposing draft resolutions at the U.N. Security Council as the leadership crisis in Venezuela deepens. The U.S. is calling for elections in Venezuela and for international aid deliveries to be allowed to enter the country. The Russians called out international intervention in the affairs of Venezuela and the threat of foreign military action. The Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro is accusing the United States of attempting to stage a coup. We speak to The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald about the actions of Washington and of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Glenn, if you can talk about the latest situation in Venezuela? To say the least, President Maduro under siege. Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader, has named himself president. The U.S. deeply, overtly involved with this, choosing Elliott Abrams as their point person, but Secretary of State Pompeo, Vice President Pence, national security adviser John Bolton. The latest controversy centers around U.S. sending so-called humanitarian aid to Venezuela, trying to get it through the Colombian border, Maduro saying no. Can you comment on what’s happening here?

GLENN GREENWALD: Obviously there’s a lot of criticism of Nicolás Maduro, including by leftists who were loyal to President Chávez. It doesn’t just come from the Venezuelan right or from capitalists in the West. There is a lot of criticism of President Maduro. The question is not, though: Do you like President Maduro? The question is: Do you think the Venezuelan people are going to be helped by having Donald Trump, John Bolton, Mike Pence and Elliott Abrams intervene in their country, engineer regime change and then prop up whatever leader they like best?

And all you have to do is look at not just the history of U.S. interference in Latin America, but the statements that those people are making about what their real motives are. They’re not even pretending that their motive is to bring liberation and democracy and freedom to the Venezuelan people. Of course Donald Trump doesn’t care about the Venezuelan people. How gullible do you have to be to think that? They’re admitting openly that their motive is access to Venezuelan oil markets and to capital markets, because that would benefit United States and its oligarchical class.

And so, to watch the bipartisan media and political class in Washington, like Nancy Pelosi and other leaders of the Democratic Party, stand behind Donald Trump, someone they’re usually calling a racist and a fascist and a xenophobe and a monster, as he tries to engineer regime change in Venezuela, using people like Elliott Abrams, who in the past has used the pretext of humanitarian aid to send weapons to the rebels that he wanted to help overtake the government of a country, is really kind of stunning. But that’s what always happens in American discourse: Imperialism is always cheered. We always believe we have the right to interfere in other countries, and that because we’re so intrinsically good, only benevolent outcomes will be the result. And it’s really disturbing to watch this kind of unanimity—with some rare exceptions. You have Ro Khanna, Tulsi Gabbard, some other people, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, saying we have no role to play in Venezuela. But, by and large, the bipartisan class, as they always do, is united behind Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and John Bolton as they try and engineer regime change in a country that they don’t understand, don’t care about and only want to exploit.

AMY GOODMAN: And the significance of them having as a partner Bolsonaro, the new far-right, former Army captain, the president of Brazil?

GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, I mean, it’s—I mean, you know, usually what happens in these kinds of cases is there’s at least an attempt made to make liberals feel good about what the real motives are: You know, we’re going to change the regime in Libya, not because we care about their oil, but because we just want to help the Libyan people be liberated from this bad dictator; the same with Iraq, you know, pulling babies out of incubators. There’s at least an attempt made. And here, there’s barely an attempt made. It’s all very explicit and blatant.

And the fact that the leading U.S. partner in Latin America to do this is Jair Bolsonaro should tell you everything you need to know about what the real motives are in terms of what the U.S. government is trying to accomplish in Venezuela. It’s nothing good for the Venezuelan people, no matter what your view of Nicolás Maduro is. It’s all about imposing a far-right ideology for the benefit of everybody but the Venezuelan people.

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, we want to thank you for being with us, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, one of the founding editors of The Intercept. Thanks so much. We will link to your pieces in The Intercept.

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