Joe Biden is wasting no time distinguishing himself from Donald Trump.
While he has the potential to become “the most progressive president since FDR,” as Bernie Sanders insisted, and while we have a duty to push him further left lest we risk another fascist Republican marching into the White House in four years, we must also keep in the back of our minds Biden’s neo-liberal, often center-right legislative past.
Despite spending his first three days in office signing a raft of executive orders that sets him apart from his predecessor, there is one area in which some are concerned Biden bears little difference from Trump.
Secretary of State nominee Anthony Blinken told senators Tuesday the Biden administration plans to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela instead of the democratically elected president Nicolás Maduro.
Regime change with the most “diverse cabinet in history”:
“Biden would seek to “more effectively target” sanctions on [Venezuela], which aim to oust President Nicolas Maduro…” https://t.co/3RZnwKhuDP
— Nick Estes (@nickwestes) January 20, 2021
After a botched U.S.-backed coup attempt in 2019 intending to supplant the re-elected Maduro with Guaidó, Donald Trump, during last year’s State of the Union address, hailed Guaido as the “true and legitimate president of Venezuela.”
Blinken stated the Biden administration would seek to “more effectively target” Venezuela with economic sanctions some are characterizing as crippling “economic terrorism” against the oil-rich South American country’s poor and working-class, of which the Center for Economic and Policy Research reports is responsible for 40,000 deaths.
Blinken did, however, offer up “more humanitarian assistance to the country.”
New Report: US #sanctions on #Venezuela are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. “The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports,” said @MarkWeisbrot.https://t.co/uLpe6CJzqj pic.twitter.com/aIFN7RYQ6M
— CEPR (@ceprdc) April 25, 2019
Biden Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken making it difficult to differentiate himself from a Republican. He went on to praise Mitt Romney's hawkishness against Russia and suggested he agreed with neocon psycho Marco Rubio's "approach" to Cuba https://t.co/Zs8JiavN7k
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) January 19, 2021
Creepy senator @MarcoRubio forced Anthony Blinken at his confirmation hearing to say that Biden admin would continue Trump’s failed Venezuela policy of recognizing fake “president” Guaido and not negotiating with Maduro. How about a new Good Neighbor Policy on non-interference?
— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) January 19, 2021
“We need an effective policy that can restore Venezuela to democracy, starting with free and fair elections.”
This is ironic since Guaidó, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition-held National Assembly, was not elected, as Maduro was.
Guaidó’s claim to the presidency is like Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell one day just standing up and declaring himself President of the United States.
We don’t have to support either Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaido.
Both can be equally odious.
Our decision to insinuate ourselves on Guaido’s side, however, has nothing to do with “overthrowing Socialism” or “bringing democracy.”
As is does with Middle Eastern countries, it has a lot to do with oil.
We manufactured this crisis to provide an excuse to paint the Socialist Maduro as an abject monster so we, the capitalist heroes, can once again ride in and install someone more amenable to our corporate interests.
David Smilde writes in The Washington Post:
“The goal should not be for outside powers to determine the fate of Venezuela, but for them to facilitate a solution instead of impeding it. The Venezuelan opposition will be much more likely to negotiate if they are obliged to forget the chimera of U.S. intervention. By the same token, Maduro will be more interested in seeking a deal if he is firmly encouraged to do so by the international allies he depends on.”
“Of course the immediate reaction of some Democratic strategists will be to suggest changing course with respect to Venezuela would be political suicide in Florida ahead of the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race. However, both Republicans and Democrats would be well advised to treat U.S. Latinos as the socially, culturally and politically diverse population that they are—which can be engaged by a positive and thoughtful foreign policy. In the end, Latino immigrants want to see well-being in their countries of origin, and they will reward a clear strategy and signs of progress.”
It’s up to us to pressure our elected representatives to take a new, more humanitarian approach to foreign intervention.
While we can’t and mustn’t ignore our neighbors, recycling our prior imperialist policies is not going to elicit a better outcome.
We can praise Joe Biden for his recent actions pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the minimum wage, and immigration.
We must not allow the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel to blind us to other “business as usual” going on behind the scenes.
The United States is still an imperial power guilty of fomenting in other countries much of the undemocratic behavior we saw unfold at our nation’s Capitol on January 6.
The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela has condemned the acts of violence that took place today in Washington D.C. and reminds that U.S. foreign policy consistently promotes these policies of aggression against legitimate democratic process worldwide. pic.twitter.com/OeTrn46xBt
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) January 7, 2021
We may not be able to reverse course instantaneously, but we are able to reverse course.
Image credit: Wikipedia