Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
Back when slimy Richard Nixon was Eisenhower's vice president, he got together with the CIA and planned what became the Bay of Pigs invasion. This isn't conspiracy theory stuff, this is conspiracy fact. Nixon says so in his own memoirs. It was this weird crappy holdover plan from the past administration that was forced on JFK by the accumulated buildup of intelligence, foreign affairs and defense experts, anti-communist parties obsessively bent on making sure nothing like a remotely successful anti-capitalist revolution lingered in the historical imagination, let alone actually existed somewhere in our hemisphere. Such parties were built-up residue in the so-called national security apparatus, like plaque, impossible to dislodge by mere electoral means. And so they persisted.
They said, "Kennedy, man, we really don't like you, you're the new guy, you're Catholic, your dad was a rum-runner, you're slick, we're WASPs, we're the militaryindustrial complex, you really need to please us. So here's your chance to get on our good side, it's this plan we're kind of already committed to so you really have to do this. Trust us, once this little canoe full of Cubans starts the counter-revolution, all the Cubans will rise up to overthrow Castro because they're all itching to go back to quasi-slavery under a US puppet regime." And JFK was like, "Is this one of Nixon's leftover schemes? Cuz you know Nixon lost the election, right?" And they were like, "No matter who wins a US election, we're always in charge." And JFK said, "Look, you kind of sprung this on me in the middle of the night, but it's already in progress, so okay, fine."
So this handful of 1400 or so Cuban exile fascist doofuses sets out from Guatemala, which the very same US military-industrial complex had overthrown six or seven years earlier, and they get to the Bay of Pigs – JFK was like, "Really, 'Bay of Pigs,' you couldn't pick a bay with a better name, like the Bay of Condors or Tigers or something? If this fails it's gonna sound really slimy' – And these doofuses fight with the revolutionary army and they're losing and the Cuban people are like, "Um, hey, look over here, the USA is trying to overthrow Castro, everybody." And the world was like, "Yeah, what did you expect? Castro nationalized all the assets the US was stealing from you."
And then the CIA said to JFK, "Hey, buddy, our guys are getting their asses kicked in Cuba, so you need to send the air force and navy in and basically officially start a war with Cuba, okay?" JFK goes, "Dudes, first of all, I need Congressional approval for that, and second of all, blow me. I'm not starting a war just because Nixon, who lost the election, by the way, left this garbage on my plate." And the CIA was like, "Come on, Jack, be white," and JFK was like, "Whoa! Did you really just say that to me? Wow."
So, that didn't work. Instead, the CIA took to sabotaging the Cuban sugar crop and poisoning their livestock so they could say, "Look, Castro's ruining the economy because socialism cannot work!" And 70 years later Cuba has a higher literacy and life expectancy and lower infant mortality rate than the United States, let alone the rest of Latin America where the CIA did get its way.
Now, look, Castro was a dictator. That's a big flaw. He lied, he imprisoned people based on his whims instead of on institutional racism like our nice democracy does. He had a lot of dicky qualities. See, he and Che Guevara, they saw what happened in Guatemala when the US overthrew the elected government there in 1954 so a US fruit company could keep its land holdings, and Che and Fidel were like, "I guess we can't have a revolution and democracy at the same time, because an open society leaves the US too many opportunities to subvert a government," and that started that part of the pattern, the Cuban model of revolution relying on a strong, paranoid leader to enforce its national sovereignty against the demonstrable evil of the US and its banana corporations.
So, flash forward to the end of the 1990s in Venezuela, the people are sick of being kept in poverty by the ancient families who own everything, so they vote in serial coup attempter Hugo Chavez. Chavez for about a dozen years does a decent job redistributing resources and education to the poor people, with the help of doctors from good old Cuba. But he's very focused on the perceptions of the people as much as their actual well-being, and meanwhile he's constantly battling economic and political sabotage by the Venezuelan owning class who are convinced they're the rightful owners of the country. Chavez copies the Fidel-Che method of paranoid undemocracy, but he's also trying to appear democratic, because it turns out people like democracy almost as much as they like food and health care. Chavez wants his people to like him for being democratic, but his heart's not in it. He's basically trying to show Venezuela's owning class to be anti-democratic hypocrites while also maintaining a dictator's hold on the direction his country's taking. And he loves having his own TV show.
When Chavez dies in 2013, he leaves a system that's relied too much on high oil prices and not enough on real, sustainable agricultural reform and economic restructuring. Meanwhile, supplies of staple goods are being choked by the opposition owning class with the aid of our old friends, the USA.
Yes, surprise, Chavismo didn't lead to Nicolas Maduro's presiding over a ruined economy all by itself. The US had its hand in there the minute Chavez took office. If Clinton hadn't been preoccupied with fighting the Islamic fanatics the CIA had helped create under Reagan and Bush the first, the US might have invaded Venezuela. The US military and intelligence were very busy in neighboring Colombia, on the Venezuelan border, legitimizing Chavez's anti-counterrevolutionary suspicions as the 90s drew to a close.
Next millennium, Colin Powell's saber rattling voiced the W Bush administration's desire to subvert and destroy the Chavez government, with constant threats, keeping the Colombian border active with troops, and it really seemed until 9-11 happened that the US would invade. As it turned out, the opposition overplayed its hand with an attempted coup in 2002, with help from guess which superpower, taking Chavez out of the country, and then having to reinstall him immediately in the face of the demands of the people themselves.
So the pattern continues, and now Maduro digs his dictatorial heels in deeper as the US and the opposition it supports continue their economic and political war at the expense of the people. Chavez wasted a lot of popular support and money making Venezuela look like a socialist success story without building a real economy that could withstand the manipulations and incursive assaults from the US and the disgruntled oligarchs. It was a wasted opportunity.
Everyone thinks they can figure out a secret formula for stopping the cycle of US control. Evo Morales in Bolivia seems to have done what Chavez failed to do: diversify his economy and wean it from reflexively acceding to the demands of the US dominated capitalist global marketplace. But until the global economy switches from oil to sustainable energy, Venezuela will be the poster child of the moment for the recurring Latin American tragedy of paying with blood and treasure for defying US capitalist manifest destiny in the Americas.
And now, enter another leftover: Elliott Abrams, back from the dead. When it comes to returning disobedient Latin American countries to their rightful rightwing overlords, Abrams is a closer. Who better to press the pillow over the gasping face of Chavismo in Venezuela? Elliot Abrams, whose machinations in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have led citizens of those countries to migrate north to seek asylum in the USA for decades. Elliot Abrams, who escaped felony charges for aiding the illegal arming of the Nicaraguan Contras by pleading to misdemeanor charges instead. Elliott Abrams who, like the Bay of Pigs invasion, is a leftover from an earlier administration. Since his pardon by Bush he'd been wearing a mustache and working at a Cinnabon store, just waiting for his next opportunity to cover up a massacre and lie to Congress.
But no, don't call this another replay of the US's archaic anti-communist policy. Don't call this the zombie of US imperialism walking the Earth, still. Don't call this another attempt at re-colonization.
Do I sound a like broken record? Very well, then, I sound like a broken record. Do people remember what that means? Vinyl is back again, right? With a vengeance? Everything old is new again with a vengeance.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!