Ron Radosh

Will Venezuela Follow Ukraine?

Cuban troops

As the world focuses on the demonstrations and “Day of Liberation” in Kiev, as the oppressive regime in Ukraine has fled to areas in which they have support, events closer to the United States are also flaring up.

While the demonstrations against the leftist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro continue in Venezuela, news has arrived that a new group of Cuban troops has arrived in Caracas to help the regime defeat the protestors.  As PJ Media contributor Alberto de la Cruz reports at Babalu, the anti-Castro website, these troops are in fact “simply joining the thousands of other Cuban soldiers already stationed in the Cuban pseudo-colony.”  Recently, Raul Castro threatened to unleash these troops to help the Maduro regime stay in power.

The situation in Venezuela is producing a serious opposition, which now includes both students and regular middle-class Venezuelans, as this report from Al Jazeera reveals. In the city of San Cristobal, where the protests began, Caracas Chronicles reports that many sections have fallen out of control of the regime.

The response of Maduro and his cronies, Reuters reports, is of the usual leftist variety: “Small fascist groups” are working in league with the United States to overthrow the government. Maduro is the same leader who recently told Venezuelans, Michael P. Moynihan writes, that he has seen Hugo Chavez appear to him in the form of a bird, as well as having spotted his ghost lingering in the Caracas subway. We know, of course, that this could not be true, since Maduro would no longer be caught dead in the subway — preferring to ride through his occupied capital in a bullet-proof car protected by his troops.

Last week, Maduro had the popular opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez arrested and thrown in jail, where he is awaiting trial on the charge that he has incited the crowds to riot, is guilty of homicide, and, finally, that he is a terrorist. We all know what the outcome of that trial will be. “The fascist right-wing,” Maduro told a crowd of organized supporters, is finally “in the hands of justice.” Maduro continued to tell his small rally that “we have been informed that the ultra-right wing of Venezuela, in tandem with the ultra-right wing of Miami, apropos the bench warrant, activated foreign groups to find and kill [Lopez] so as to fuel a political crisis and lead us to civil war.”

To translate: Maduro, whose regime has done everything to stifle a democratic opposition from being heard, including the recent murders of demonstrators by the regime’s police, is now claiming that they are in fact, by arresting Lopez, protecting him from the wrath of other of his fascist followers! Just like when Stalin had one of his agents assassinate Leon Trotsky, in exile in Mexico, by wielding an ice-ax to his skull, he was protecting the people from Trotsky’s supposed coming alliance with Hitler to overthrow Stalin’s workers’ paradise.

So far, the ranks of the American leftwing have been relatively silent, except for one voice, as you’ll see on the next page.

I found nothing on the website of The Nation, whose writers are seemingly too busy trying to find rationales for Putin’s attack on Ukraine. But fortunately, one voice was brave enough to defend Nicolas Maduro — the former member of Congress, Joseph Kennedy II.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal,  Sohrab  Ahmari notes that Kennedy is busy airing TV ads heralding Maduro for providing cheap subsidized fuel to the poor in the Bay Area, provided to Kennedy’s  corporation, Citizens Energy. “The cold can overwhelm even the toughest among us,” the ad states, “and the heating bills keep piling on.” Then Mr. Kennedy himself appears on screen, and says: “The people of Venzuela and President Maduro are once again…the only country to answer our call to provide heating assistance to the poor.” Given that Kennedy makes this statement precisely at the moment when demonstrators are being shot and the opposition leader jailed, Mr. Ahmari writes that Kennedy now has the distinction of being the most prominent “useful idiot” singing the praises of Maduro’s crumbling regime. I would modify that statement. The regime’s failings are so transparent that to praise it, as does Joseph Kennedy II, proves that he is actually simply an idiot, and hardly useful to anyone.

I await with bated breath the Obama administration’s unqualified vocal support to the brave Venezuelans who are calling for an end to the regime of  the would-be Castro of Venezuela.