Yves here. This Real News Network segment with Lawrence Wilkerson is a useful antidote to the impression much of the domestic media is trying to convey, that the US has broad-based support for its coup attempt in Venezuela.
PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.
On Saturday morning there was a somewhat extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council. It was an open meeting. Countries were invited to come give their opinion and response to the push by the United States, led by President Donald Trump, to recognize Juan Guaido. This is the man who is the president of the National Assembly in Venezuela who declared himself president. Apparently, as the Wall Street Journal is now reporting, that Vice President Mike Pence phoned Guaido the night before he made such a declaration. And either he suggested he make the declaration–that’s not clear–but at least what is clear, according to the report, Pence says that if he’d made such a declaration he would get U.S. support. And in fact, the United States supported Guaido’s declaration almost immediately after he made it.
Well, there’s been a very interesting split in the world that was–this was reflected at those meetings Saturday morning, where many countries refused to go along with this plan, saying that the UN Charter says there should be non-interference in the internal affairs of UN member countries, and that that should be respected. The United States says they don’t like the way the elections were held, and a bunch of countries have aligned themselves with the United States on this, on their position of recognizing Guaido and calling, essentially, what many people are calling a coup that Guaido should take power. And they are openly trying to foment support within the Venezuelan military, ‘they’ being the United States, to engineer such a coup.
At any rate, here’s a little sample of what took place at the UN on Saturday morning.
SPEAKER: Now we have a new leader, Juan Guaido, in Venezuela, who has promised to bring elections and constitutional order back to Venezuela, and security back to the region.
SPEAKER: This is not about foreign intervention in Venezuela. It is not an attempt to impose a result on the Venezuelan people. Democracy never needs to be imposed. It is tyranny that has to be imposed.
SPEAKER: But what about if we look at the international law, the Charter? Where is this based on? Are we simply setting aside international relations based on international law, and replacing the with international relations based on force?
AMBASSADOR FROM CHINA: China supports the efforts made by the Venezuelan government to uphold national sovereignty, independence, and stability.
SPEAKER: The meeting which we are being forced to be present is another element of the strategy of the United States to effect regime change in Venezuela. We regret that in this unethical ploy, in its unethical ploys, the United States is involving the Security Council.
AMBASSADOR FROM COLOMBIA: Colombia has come here to the Security Council to ask the international community to demand that the life and well being of Juan Guaido is upheld, and not just that he is protected but also the members of the National Assembly and all those who fight for democracy. And indeed, we have come to call for the international community’s support for all those Venezuelans who are sparing no effort to build a better future.
AMBASSADOR FROM BELGIUM: Belgium calls for the restoration of constitutional order in Venezuela. The presidential elections, which took place in May of last year, were in no way free, fair, or credible, thus stripping the government of Nicolas Maduro of any democratic legitimacy. The main threat to peace and security in Latin America and the Caribbean is, in fact, the bullying by the United States and its allies of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which is a flagrant affront to the popular will of the people of Venezuela, and to the institutional framework of this country.
SPEAKER: I ask the question honestly: If we look back through history, which country has been better after an intervention by the United States of America? Have we not discussed in this very Security Council the serious adverse impact and consequences of situations such as the current situation in Iraq, or Syria, or in Libya?
PAUL JAY: So that was a sampling of what took place Saturday morning at the United Nations. Now joining us to discuss this somewhat realignment of forces in the world, I think, as well as what’s really at stake at this issue with Venezuela, is Larry Wilkerson. Larry is the former chief of staff to Secretary of State, former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Thanks for joining us, Larry.
LARRY WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Paul.
PAUL JAY: So it seems you can–the fundamental issue that was seemed to be raised by many countries at the UN was that this is an issue of non-interference, not an issue of how you assess the Venezuelan elections, although some countries went even further and said one should respect the outcome of those elections. But other countries, it seems to me, were saying it’s not up to countries outside Venezuela to decide on the domestic affairs of Venezuela, and that that principle trumps everything else. What do you–what’s your view of this?
LARRY WILKERSON: It’s all a discussion about how power should be managed and arranged in the world. And despite what anyone says, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, or Donald Trump, or Mike Pompeo, these kinds of things are all about the distribution of power in the world and who’s going to have influence over who.
And so when you look at Venezuela, on the rim of the Gulf of Mexico and subject to the Monroe doctrine, and its oil, some say–many with reason–and experts say that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Very difficult to get to, very difficult to get out of the ground, high economic costs for doing so, but nonetheless a lot of oil. And the United States has a long relationship with Caracas. And so you can understand this happening.
At the same time, the principle of non-intervention is just that: non-intervention. And not for a moment do I think that the United States, particularly with this administration, will restrain itself from intervening significantly in Venezuela. After all, I was there in 2002 when we began this more or less slow fuse coup d’etat against Chavez. And of course, I’ve read all about Salvador Allende, and Mohammed Mossadegh, and Jacobo Arbenz; all the other people in the world who we have overthrown from time to time.
So this is no surprise to me. It is somewhat of a surprise that we have this division of view in the world. And the majority of the world, if you want to go by population, seems to be in favor of a more pure definition of non-intervention than the United States likes to entertain.
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