Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has recently announced a one-month plan to ration the use of electricity, following nationwide power cuts that have affected millions of people in the South American country.
It was reported that power outages happened in at least 20 of the country’s 23 states, including its capital Caracas. Many Venezuelan people complained that the country was the victim of “programmed and synchronized attacks” against its national electricity network. Some even blamed the blackouts on sabotage by U.S.-backed far-right extremists trying to undermine the government. “We are confronting monsters who want to destroy Venezuela,” President Maduro warned.
The United States and some other Western countries support Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido’s claim that Maduro’s re-election last year was illegitimate. The U.S. has also been working hard overtime to get international recognition for Guaido, who is now the Venezuelan National Assembly leader, as the country’s legal president.
In a draft to the U.N., the U.S. has demanded international supervision of Venezuela’s political affairs and imposed oil sanctions and other economic measures on Venezuela. U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said that Western sanctions have further worsened Venezuela’s fragile economic and political situations. To fan the flame, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton even suggested tightening restrictions on Cuba for supporting Maduro. More importantly, the United States has not ruled out military intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
The U.S. motive is clear: oust Maduro from presidency and prop up its own agent to power in Venezuela, and control the country’s economy and politics instead of trying to solve Venezuela’s political crisis and other existing problems. As opposition leader Guaido last month defied a ban on leaving Venezuela to embark on a 10-day visit of South American nations and continued to target President Maduro, it was ridiculous that Washington had demanded that the Venezuelan Government take no action against Guaido. If the U.S. further intervenes to oust Maduro, it will not only violate international laws and the U.N. Charter, but also invite more international condemnations.
In a counter resolution to the U.N., Russia warned the U.S. against further interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs. “We recommend that the U.S. stop threatening Venezuela, strangling its economy and pushing it toward civil war,” said Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman. To show its support, two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela on March 23, carrying nearly 100 troops and 35 tons of materials. Moscow has several times emphasized that the existence of Russian troops in Venezuela is in line with bilateral military cooperation agreements between the two countries.
China also thinks that Venezuela’s territorial integrity and political independence should be safeguarded. The Chinese Government has decided to help restore the South American nation’s destroyed power grid and offer humanitarian assistance to its people.
Everybody knows that the U.S. Government doesn’t like President Maduro and wants to install an obedient and pro-U.S. agent administration in Venezuela. However, the United States should bear in mind that Venezuela is neither the U.S.’s backyard nor a pawn on the superpower’s geopolitical chessboard. As a sovereign state, Venezuela’s future should be fully decided by its own people, not any other outside powers.
(The author is the editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)