As you know, on March 9th, 2014 President Barack Obama issued an executive order which establish a state of “national emergency,” indicating that Venezuela’s current situation “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” (1). Well, we want to tell you why we believe Venezuela may be a “threat” in the eyes of the US government. We want to talk from people to people.
In the executive order, President Obama says that the “Venezuelan situation” is a threat because, supposedly, there are “curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of significant public corruption.” Come on, do you really think that if this were true it would be enough reason to be considered a “threat” to the US national security? Do you? We do not. You know that during the eighties and the nineties, Venezuelan governmental repression left thousands of antigovernment protesters dead and also there was documented and exacerbated governmental corruption. Neither of those reasons was enough to constitute an emergency from a US government standpoint. On the contrary, many of the people who stole public money during that time migrated safely to the US and still live in those luxury neighborhoods that you see in Doral, Miami and other cities.
Perhaps, comrades, the answer to why Venezuelans is considered a “threat” are to be found in a document from 2007, leaked by Mr. Edward Snowden. The serial code of the document is “SECRET // // REL TO USA COMINT, AUS, CAN, GBR // 20291123” and is titled “United States SIGINT System. January 2007 Strategic Mission List”(2). It explains the NSA priorities for that moment. There are four points in which Venezuela appears as a focus of interest to boost maneuvers in the fields: political, energy, information operations and intelligence and counterintelligence. This document concludes with the proposal of “enabling policymakers in preventing Venezuela from achieving its regional leadership objectives and pursuing policies that negatively impact U.S. global interests” (p.9). Things make more sense now, don’t they? And Venezuela appears next to China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Russia… Please, give me a break!
The document leaked by Mr. Snowden reveals two issues that shed light on the negative impact of Venezuela on the global interests of the US government. The first, perhaps the obvious one, is that Venezuela appears in the list of strategic missions because the US government must ensure “a steady and reliable energy supply for the US” (p. 5). Hence, it is necessary for the US government to seek ways to secure energy supplies from Venezuela. However, the truth is that the revolutionary process which we live in Venezuela has never undermined the reliability of Venezuela as an US energy supplier. Actually, after 15 years of revolution the US continues being our principal customer. The only time that our reliability was affected was when in 2003 there was a sabotage against our oil company and the US government was one of its main promoters. So, let’s look at the next issue mentioned in the NSA document, which we believe is key to understanding why Venezuela is a threat in the eyes of the US government.
In one of the strategic missions, the NSA proposes “providing warning of impending state instability” in countries such as North Korea, Cuba, Nigeria, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Bolivia, Sudan, Kosovo, Venezuela, the “Palestinian Authority “and -attention!- something they call “Latin American Bolivarian developments”. The document does not provide more detail over the issue, but The New York Times provided a revealing side comment [in its coverage of the leaked document.] The NYT notes that “the influence of leftist leaders in Venezuela and its allies in Latin America are a surprising priority, here described as ‘Bolivarian developments'” (p. 4). The matter is now clarified. Venezuela appears as an unusual and extraordinary threat because it presents an ideology -the Boliviarian one- which rivals and contrasts with the totalitarian influence exerted by the US status quo over the Latin American region in the recent decades.
How will the US government confront this threat? There are several ways, for example, the “H” item of the document deals with “information operations” and states that the government should “support U.S. military deception (MILDEC) and psychological operations (PSYOP)… to influence target behavior and activities” (p. 5). And among the countries which intends to apply these military operations appears, as expected, Venezuela.
If Venezuela appears as a “threat” is because it is an ideological rival which affects the interests of the US government. Obama’s executive order is one of the military and psychological operations applied against us. Bolivarian Venezuela has succeeded in founding a leadership model that threatens US hegemony in Latin America and the world. From Quito to Greece, the liberating and anti-capitalist example of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez is reflected, especially in social movements and insurgent parties. What US government fears is the strengthening of the Venezuelan example being projected over a world of capitalism in crisis. That’s it!
The intention of Obama’s executive order is to influence public opinion. Its primary aim is to create a media campaign which calls into doubt the radical democratic vocation of the Bolivarian Revolution. It intends to tear down the solidarity of friends and allies and tries to open a road either for an internal crisis or foreign intervention. We call to the American progressive and democratic social movements (such as the “99%”, the “Occupy” and the “Anti-Globalization”), as well as, the Labor Unions and the American people in general to not let themselves be manipulated by these military and psychological operations.
North American and South American peoples have fought together in the past and can fight together now again. Our precursor, Francisco de Miranda, fought with you in Pensacola in 1781. Years later he requested support for President John Adams, through his friend Alexander Hamilton, to liberate the Spanish Empire colonies. Miranda failed to secure government support. However, in 1806, US sailors escorted Miranda on his expedition to liberate our continent, attempting a landing on the Venezuelan coast of Ocumare. The landing was not successful and the Spanish armada managed to seize 57 sailors. Ten of them were hanged, decapitated and mutilated in Puerto Cabello. Their names were preserved by our history. They were commander Thomas Donahue; Captains James Gardner, Gustavus Bergud and Thomas Billopp; and Lieutenants Charles Johnson, Daniel Kemper, John Ferris, Francis Farquarsons, Paulo George and Miles L. Hall. The latter, Hall, was a printer who came to Venezuela with the intention of founding a free press.
The rest of the sailors suffered imprisonment. Twenty-eight were sentenced to ten years and the remaining nineteen to eight years in prison. Some of the survivor American sailors proudly wrote down their libertarian memories. Their names are: William Armstrong, James Biggs, John H. Sherman, Moses Smith, John Edsall and Henry Ingersoll (3).
A decade later, in 1817, the free army of Simon Bolivar’s Colombia went to support the popular uprising of Floridian people on Amelia Island. On June 29th of that year, the Scottish General Gregor MacGregor, the commander Luis Aury accompanied by Doctor Pedro Gual, Brigadier General Lino de Clemente, Germán Roscio and Agustín Codazzi landed in Fernandina with 150 patriots, most of them Venezuelans. With the Floridian people they declared the independence and founded the “Republic of Florida.” Sixty-six days after the founding, the US Navy, supported also by the Spanish armada, suppressed the popular movement and invaded the Free Republic of Florida. The territory of Florida followed belonging to Spain until 1822 formally, but the truth is that, in fact, with the US invasion of 1817, Florida had been annexed.
The official history of the US government says that Florida was purchased from Spain. The truth is that Florida was a free and independent republic declared by a popular insurgency movement which was repressed, invaded and annexed by the Union (4). The Colombian army would go to give armed support when needed. President Monroe called them “smugglers, adventurers and looters,” President Obama calls us “corrupt and human rights violators.” Epithets change in time but not the same style of military deception and operation.
Neither Alexander Hamilton nor John Adams helped Miranda on his expedition to free the Spanish America. President James Monroe aborted the development of the Republic of Florida. However, our peoples did fight together. Together we have fought for freedom and together we can rescue it again.
From the Bolivarian Front of Scientific Researches, Innovators and Workers (Frebin), Chapter Mérida, we want to pronounce our rejection of President Obama’s executive order, which presents the developments of the Bolivarian process as a “threat” to the US national security. We want to offer our hand of support to the social movements and the American people in the process of building a better world where everyone fits in freedom.
For the victory of 99%, let’s fight together! as we already did in Pensacola, Ocumare and Amelia Island. Let America be Our America.
Comrades!, Venezuela is not a threat, it is hope!
Bolivarian Front of Science Researches, Innovators and Workers (Frebin),
[email protected] ; @FrebinMerida
(1) “Executive Order – Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela”. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/09/executive-order-declaration-national-emergency-respect-venezuela
(2) Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/11/03/world/documents-show-nsa-efforts-to-spy-on-both-enemies-and-allies.html?_r=2&#doc2 Section “Jan. 2007 Strategic Mission List”.
(3) Some of these memories are available in the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov). The collection can be searched by “Venezuela–History–Miranda’s Expedition, 1806”. Some of the books are digitalized. For instance, the books of John Edsall (“Life of John Edsall”, https://archive.org/details/incidentsinlifeo00edsa) and James Biggs (“The history of don Francisco de Miranda’s attempt to effect a revolution in South America, in a series of letters”, https://archive.org/details/historyofdonfran00bigg).
(4) See Pividal, Francisco (1977). “Bolívar, pensamiento precursor del antiimperialismo”. Ediciones de la Presidencia de la República, Caracas-Venezuela. 2006 Edition.