Photo: HotAir retrieved
Throughout its history, the United States has periodically made missteps in Latin America that entail intrusion and the imposition of unpopular, violent authoritarian figures. Jacobo Arbenz and Salvador Allende are two well-known victims, both democratically elected presidents that were succeeded by repression and misery, thanks to U.S. interventions. While the U.S. government has refrained from taking such destructive actions in the region’s recent history, the same cannot be said about Code Pink.
The American NGO’s recent imposition of its own will on the Venezuelan Embassy in Georgetown has ensured that the precedents of Pinochet and Armas remain alive and well today. Much like the United States of the past chose a misguided approach that aligned the country with violence and authoritarianism, so does Code Pink today, with its perpetuation of an undemocratic and violent regime.
Although the examples provided for the United States and Code Pink suggest an affinity for opposite ends of the political spectrum, both are motivated by the same flawed idealism: A foreign group decides that they have the moral authority to impose their will on an unsuspecting sovereign people. For the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, it was an imposition of its Cold War lens. Wander too far off the straight and narrow path (of a pro-U.S. capitalist model) and face consequences. Despite being the supposed authority on freedom and democracy, the United States effectively drove countries like Chile and Guatemala away from their established democracies, and into decades of terror and electoral dysfunction.
Much like the United States of the past chose a misguided approach that aligned the country with violence and authoritarianism, so does Code Pink today, with its perpetuation of an undemocratic and violent regime.
Today, another foreign group has decided that it, too, has moral authority over its Southern neighbors. Code Pink, not the vast majority of Venezuelans, knows what’s best and that means supporting Latin America’s 21st century Augusto Pinochet. Blinded by its political appropriation of Venezuelan politics, Code Pink’s resemblance of a previous generation of right-wing hawks is exemplary of Horseshoe theory, which suggests that, the farther along the political spectrum one goes, the more one extreme resembles the other.
For Code Pink, there’s room for change and redemption now that they’ve been ousted from the embassy. The United States has proven that taking an authoritarian leader’s side is not irreversible. Take the example of Panama under Manuel Noriega: despite covert help that allowed Noriega to ascend to his role as leader of Panama, the United States was ultimately responsible for deposing him and helping to usher democracy into the country. A 180-degree turn where Code Pink begins to support Guaidó is an unreasonable expectation, but that doesn’t mean that its energies aren’t better served outside of the embassy.
By abandoning their attempts at illegally occupying another sovereign country’s land, Code Pink members could campaign for a presidential candidate that reflects their opposition to foreign intervention. Tulsi Gabbard, for example, lends legitimacy to an isolationist American foreign policy through her background as a veteran, as well as her role as a policymaker in Washington. Although she draws controversy in the Venezuelan sphere due to her parroting of Maduro’s “Hands Off Venezuela,” volunteering or working for her presidential campaign is a much more sensible, democratic and legal alternative to denying Ambassador Vecchio his rightful place within the embassy.
The United States has a strong record of democracy at home, and those with a pacifist ideology have a year and a half to promote and elect one of 24 Democrats that could reverse the current policies they disagree with. If Code Pink were truly serious about its mandate of ending Trump’s interventionism, they would do so on the campaign trail and at the ballot box. Fighting Venezuelan nationals outside of their own embassy will do nothing to flip votes in Florida or Michigan. Instead, it will alienate voters away from their so-called “pacifism” and facilitate eight years of John Bolton and Elliott Abrams.
To choose such a brute method of protest is being ignorant and ungrateful of the peaceful and democratic solutions that the United States offers to policy dissidents.
To choose such a brute method of protest is being ignorant and ungrateful of the peaceful and democratic solutions that the United States offers to policy dissidents. The group supports Maduro, a man that has attempted to dissolve his country’s legislature after an unfavorable election and whose presidency is a fraud. The group has accused president Trump of hate speech, yet they speak down to Venezuelans with the same racial vitriol they claim to oppose. Code Pink believes that Venezuelans based in D.C. are somehow less worthy of accessing and controlling their sovereign territory than a group of white Americans. 21st century socialism and colonialism seem to go hand-in-hand.
Americans seeking to intrude into the affairs of Venezuela would be best served by remembering the scorn that Chávez held for their kind. Without discriminating between Left and Right, Hugo’s message was eloquent:
“Váyanse al carajo, yanquis de mierda, que aquí hay un pueblo digno.”