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The Greyhound

American interventionism in Venezuela is not about freedom


        For about two years, the media has churned out countless segments about how the American people must hold Russia accountable for foreign election meddling. This is something I support. I believe that any foreign influence on our elections is bad for our democracy. However, it seems that the media and the consensus of Washington, D.C., sing a different tune when it comes to America interfering in other countries’ elections. An example of this is the current situation that is developing in Venezuela.

        On Jan. 22, Juan Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela. This was after Nicolas Maduro was elected president by the Venezuelan people after winning 67.7 percent of the vote. Guaido’s reasoning for this was he believed that the election results were invalid. In response, the Trump administration officially recognized Guaido as the new president and not Maduro. The United States also continued their policy of putting oil sanctions on the country of Venezuela, which has been crippling the Venezuelan economy. The Trump administration also has declared that they are keeping all options on the table, which potentially could include deploying 5,000 troops into Colombia.

        The main reason for this aggressive response is that there is speculation that the Maduro regime could have rigged the election so that Maduro was guaranteed to win. If this is possible, I believe that it is the responsibility of an international investigation in order to determine if there was unfairness in the election. I do not believe that it is the role of the United States to intervene in a sovereign country because they prefer one political party in power over another. Supporting the opposition party in Venezuela could only lead to a potential civil war to break out in the country. This would lead to thousands of deaths along with a huge refugee crisis. The Trump administration constantly argues against large influxes of immigrants that come into the country; if the Trump administration enables a civil war in Venezuela, the number of refugees will only increase.

        It is important to understand that the United States has other interests in Venezuela rather than just liberating the Venezuelan people. The United States currently provides support for 73 percent of dictatorships around the world. If the United States foreign policy was completely about freedom and liberating oppressed citizens, would they allow the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be their No. 1 weapons buyer?

        One of the main reasons that the United States is interested in Venezuela is because the Venezuelan government is a threat to the United States’ hegemonic influence in Latin America. Venezuela has been in opposition to the United States ever since the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998. Chavez and Maduro both belong to the Bolivarian party that has historically not gotten along well with the United States. The United States believes that if Guaido is in power, he will work more in the interest of the United States. Of course, if the people do not elect Guaido as president, the only way that he could come to power is through force from the United States. Venezuela also has the largest oil reserves in the world, so being allied with Venezuela would greatly help the business interests of the United States. This isn’t even a crazy conspiracy theory. John Bolton, the United States national security advisor, admitted on television that regime change in Venezuela is primarily about oil, and regime change would be extremely beneficial to United States oil companies. Statements like this make me miss the days of the Iraq War where the United States government had to lie about weapons of mass destruction to get support for regime change in Iraq.

        The Maduro regime is far from a utopian society, but reform in the country should happen within its own borders. Far too many times the United States has jumped the gun on regime changes in countries, only for the country to dissolve into a far worse situation. In order to save lives in Venezuela and in our own country, the Trump administration needs to stay away from Venezuela.

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American interventionism in Venezuela is not about freedom