[ This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not
told in The New York Times or the rest of our establishment media.
This year’s so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious
backlash of the whiter (and wealthier) Venezuelans]



 Greg Palast 
 February 7, 2019

	* [https://portside.org/node/19354/printable/print]

 _ This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not
told in The New York Times or the rest of our establishment media.
This year’s so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious
backlash of the whiter (and wealthier) Venezuelans _ 

 Juan Guaidó engages supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 2,
2019., credit: NurPhoto / Getty Images // Truthout 


On January 23, right after a phone call
[https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-30/trump-congratulates-venezuela-s-guaido-in-call-white-house-says] from
Donald Trump, Juan Guaidó, former speaker of Venezuela’s National
declared himself president. No voting. When you have official
[https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/politics/trump-juan-guaido-venezuela/index.html] from
The Donald, who needs elections?

_Say what?_

I can explain what’s going on in Venezuela in three photos:

First, we have Juan Guaidó, self-proclaimed (and Trump-proclaimed)
president of the nation, with his wife and child, a photo prominently
placed in _The New York Times_.

Next, the class photo of Guaidó’s party members in the National
Assembly, white as snow…

…especially when compared to their political opposites in the third
photo, the congress members who support the elected President Nicolás
Maduro. The Maduro supporters are nearly all of a darker hue.

This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not told
in _The New York Times_ nor the rest of our establishment media.
This year’s so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious
backlash of the whiter (and wealthier)
[https://www.voanews.com/a/are-race-and-class-at-the-root-of-venezuelas-political-crisis/1886458.html] Venezuelans
against their replacement by the larger Mestizo
[https://study.com/academy/lesson/venezuela-ethnic-groups.html] (mixed-race)

Four centuries of white supremacy in Venezuela by those who identify
their ancestors as European came to an end with the 1998 election of
Hugo Chavez who won with the overwhelming support of the Mestizo
majority. This turn away from white supremacy continues under Maduro,
Chavez’ chosen successor.

In my interviews with Chavez for BBC beginning in 2002, he talked with
humor about the fury of a white ruling class finding itself displaced
by dark-skinned man who was so visibly “Negro e Indio,” a label he
wore loudly and proudly.

Why did the poor love Chavez? (And love is not too strong a word.) As
even the US CIA’s surprisingly honest _Fact Book_
[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ve.html] states:

_“Social investment in Venezuela during the Chavez administration
reduced poverty from nearly 50% in 1999 to about 27% in 2011,
increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and child
mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation through
social investment.”_

What should be added is that, even more than the USA, race and poverty
are linked.

But just as Maduro took office in 2013, the price of oil began
its collapse
and the vast social programs that oil paid for were now paid for
by borrowing money
[https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/07/venezuela-china-and-russia-owed-debts-as-presidential-fight-rages.html] and
printing it, causing wild inflation
The economic slide is now made impossibly worse by what the UN
[https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuela-us-sanctions-united-nations-oil-pdvsa-a8748201.html] for
Venezuela compared to “medieval sieges.” The Trump
administration  cut off Venezuela
[https://in.reuters.com/article/venezuela-politics-usa-sanctions-factbox/factbox-u-s-sanctions-on-venezuelas-oil-industry-idINKCN1PV274] from
the oil sale proceeds from its biggest customer, the USA.


Everyone has been hurt economically, but the privileged class’s bank
accounts have become nearly worthless
So, knowing that the Mestizo majority would not elect their Great
White Hope Guidó, the angry white rich simply took to the streets —
often armed. (And yes, both sides are armed.)

I’ve seen this movie before. When I look at today’s news reports
of massive demonstrations
[https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuela-protests-guaido-vs-maduro/2019/02/02/ef043b00-2660-11e9-b5b4-1d18dfb7b084_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bbf723e08930] against
the so-called “dictatorship” of Venezuela’s left government, it
looks awfully like 2002, when I was first in Caracas reporting for BBC

Then, _The New York Times__, __NPR_ and other mainstream outlets in
the US reported on marches against the Chavez government, showing the
tens of thousands of Venezuelans calling for Chavez’s removal. But
when I took my BBC camera crews to march with these protesters, they
were clearly from the light-skinned minority. They were also the
wealthy — and they wanted you to know it. Many of the
women marched in high heels
[https://newint.org/features/2002/07/05/coups], the men peacocking in
business suits, proudly displayed in the uniforms of their privileged

The Chavistas wore patriotic yellow, blue and red T-shirts, sneaks,

Race was an issue as much as political philosophy. When I marched
alongside the opposition demonstrators, they shouted “Chavez,

Many in the US have never heard this story of race war in Venezuela
(and war is what it is), as the US press does not recognize its own
racial bias. In 2002, as today, the massive demonstrations of the
whiter Venezuelans were reported as evidence that Chavez was wildly
unpopular. Yet, the day after each anti-Chavez march, I would witness
and film [https://www.gregpalast.com/chavezdownload/] the pro-Chavez
demonstrations that flooded Caracas with an ocean of nearly half a
million marchers, overwhelmingly poor Mestizos, that received little
or no coverage in the US press.

The bias continues. _The New York Times_ did not run a photo of this
past week’s pro-Maduro demonstrations. But in hard-to-find photos
and reports
[https://twitter.com/AbbyMartin/status/1091840005868158976/photo/1] from
my colleagues on the ground, the _Chavista_ demonstrations are
bigger, involving mass turnouts in several cities, not just wealthy
neighborhoods in Caracas.

Why do the poor march for Maduro? Even though the Mestizo majority
suffers today, they will not turn back to the pre-Chavez days of _de

And we must remember this is not the first time the US government has
tried to overthrow the elected government in Venezuela.

In 2002, George W. Bush’s State Department cheer-led the coup
[https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/21/usa.venezuela]. The
plotters kidnapped Chavez and held him hostage. The coup was led by an
oil industry leader and head of the Chamber of Commerce, Pedro
Carmona [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1927678.stm], who had
seized the nation’s White House
and, like Guaidó today, declared himself president
[https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/may/13/oil.venezuela]. Carmona
told me proudly about the fancy inaugural ball held by the nation’s
elite and attended by Bush’s ambassador.

But the Bush/Carmona coup collapsed when a
million darker-skinned Venezuelans flooded the capital and forced
the plotters to return their hero
[https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2336], the supposedly unpopular
Chavez, to Miraflores, the Presidential Palace. “Presidente”
Carmona fled.

Today, Guaidó’s supporters, like Carmona’s, know they can’t win
an election given the overwhelming fact of the newly empowered Mestizo
majority. So Guaidó has skipped the idea of an election altogether,
simply replacing running for office with the “recognition” from
Trump and allies which Guaidó can’t get from Venezuelans.

When I see the images and hear the chants of the anti-Chavista
[https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuela-protests-guaido-vs-maduro/2019/02/02/ef043b00-2660-11e9-b5b4-1d18dfb7b084_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b7eab7e11adb] now,
I’m also reminded of what I saw at a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia
this past November. The president slid out of Air Force One to tell
the crowd
[https://www.pantagraph.com/news/national/obama-trump-offer-dueling-final-pitches-to-midterm-voters/article_9def71a9-2188-537f-a4ed-167aef3e198f.html]  —
heavily weighted with white supremacists
[https://truthout.org/articles/purged-voters-provisional-ballots-could-decide-georgia-governor-race/] —
that they needed to _take back their country_ from those
“invading” the border. Trump told them to fear gubernatorial
candidate Stacey Abrams, who is Black, saying she would “turn
Georgia into Venezuela.”

I don’t think Trump was talking about Abrams’ program to bring
universal health care to Georgia
as Chavez did for Venezuela.

The US press is quick to condemn the racial hatred on display at Trump
rallies. But I have yet to hear or read in the US press what our eyes
can see in the three photos from Venezuela: an uprising of white
people wanting to “take back their country.”

And take note: The Venezuela putsch by the wealthy, internationally
connected minority is operating by a regime-change plan designed by
neo-con re-tread John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser. And
take further note: It is a plan to control Venezuela
[https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/02/04/john-bolton-living-his-dream-224546] _and
its oil_, as Bolton proudly proclaims
[https://truthout.org/video/bolton-pushes-privatization-of-venezuelas-oil-as-us-ratchets-up-pressure/] in
the open.

Ah, yes, the oil. It’s always the oil. And Venezuela has plenty to
seize: the world’s
[https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-s-largest-oil-reserves-by-country.html] largest
reserves [https://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/171.htm].

We’ll get to that in _Part II._

_[Investigative reporter Greg Palast covered Venezuela during the
Chavez presidency for BBC Television Newsnight and The Guardian.
Download the film of Palast’s BBC reports, The Assassination of Hugo
Chavez, for FREE or with a donation
[https://www.gregpalast.com/chavezdownload/] to the Palast
Investigative Fund. This article incorporates additional reporting by
William Camacaro in Caracas.]_

_Copyright, [https://www.truth-out.org/]Truthout
[https://www.truth-out.org/]. Reprinted with permission. May not be
reprinted without permission._

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