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Drug-War Regime Change in Venezuela?

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obama-chavezby Jacob G. Hornberger

Uh, oh! While the focus is on U.S. foreign interventionism in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere in the Middle East, could it be that the U.S. Empire is ginning up for a regime-change operation over in this part of the world, specifically Venezuela, where the Hugo Chavez administration has long been the bane of U.S. officials?

What would be the excuse for interventionism in Venezuela? WMDs? Communism? Terrorism? National security?

No, it seems that if interventionism comes to Venezuela, U.S. officials might decide to trot out an old and reliable standby rationale for regime change: the drug war.

It might just be a coincidence, but today’s New York Times has a front-page story entitled, “Cocaine’s Flow Is Unchecked in Venezuela.”

Yikes! Is that scary or what?

The article points out that “For years, the United States has been working with friendly governments in Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and other countries in Latin America, spending billions of dollars to disrupt the flow of drugs northward.”

Apparently the Times fails to see the irony in that statement. “For years.” Actually, “for decades” would be the more appropriate term. And how has all that time and all those billions of dollars worked out? Well, they’ve helped fund corrupt officials in those “friendly” countries but most everyone would agree that they haven’t done squat to “disrupt the flow of drugs northward.”

But hey, at least the drug war has enabled the U.S. Empire to expand its reach. According to this article on a website named “The Fix,” WikiLeaks disclosed records that “revealed the astonishing degree to which the United States exercised its power and influence at the highest levels of the Mexican government.” (No wonder they don’t like WIkiLeaks!) There’s no reason to doubt that the same holds true in the other countries that are on the U.S. drug-war dole.

Mexico, of course, is where some 60,000 people have died in the past six years alone as a result of the drug war. Never mind that they died for nothing and that the drug war just keeps going on and on and on. What matters is that their government was a “friendly” one that cooperated with the U.S. government in its decades-long war on drugs.

Venezuela, however, stands in a different position. According to the NYT article, “Because of antagonistic relations with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, the reach of American drug agents, and the aid that comes with them, does not extend here.”

As most people know, unlike his Latin American counterparts who are on the U.S. drug-war dole, Chavez has not been shy about criticizing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

But of course, U.S. officials would never invade a country in order to oust an independent ruler who was critical of U.S. foreign policy, right?

But they certainly would invade a country to enforce U.S. drug laws, which, according to U.S. officials, extend all across the globe, just like the war on terrorism.

Just ask Manuel Noriega. He’s the CIA operative who was president of Panama. He angered U.S. officials by going independent and actually criticizing the U.S. government. The result? The Empire invaded his country to enforce the drug war. Killing a bunch of innocent Panamanians in the process, invading U.S. military forces arrested Noriega and brought him back to stand trial for violating U.S. drug laws. He was convicted and made to

serve some 25 years in a U.S. federal penitentiary. Coincidentally, as a result of the regime-change operation, a pro-U.S. ruler was installed into power in Panama.

The best thing that Venezuela could ever do is end all cooperation in the drug war by legalizing drugs entirely. But we all know what that would likely bring: a U.S. military invasion or even a U.S. assassination of Hugh Chavez for conspiracy to fail to cooperate with U.S. officials in their decades-long, failed war on drugs.

Just another beautiful aspect of the drug war.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.


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