Ever since the first shots were fired in Massachusetts Colony in 1775 by American patriots demanding independence from England, there have been two American sides to the universal quest for freedom. This time the focus is on oil-rich Venezuela.
One side of America is passive, its view limited to the border, the other active and global.
Venezuela, the country with the world’s largest oil reserves, first experienced American military intervention in 1892, when Marines landed to protect the U.S. Consulate. Venezuelan requests for American help during that era kept the U.S. directly involved in that country’s affairs for a decade, often helping ward off English expansion on Venezuela’s border.
Marines have landed numerous times in practically every Caribbean country during revolutions that have plagued the hemisphere since the Spanish were expelled after almost 300 years of rule from far-away Madrid. The last three were Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989 and Haiti in 1994. To this day, Grenada celebrates the invasion with its Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Like the pioneering freedom fighters of 1810 Mexico who revolted against Spain, native-born Simon Bolivar led Colombia and Venezuela to independence. What Bolivar could not do is reap the political harvest of local home rule experienced by the American colonies.
In Venezuela, the current crisis is based on the fraudulent re-election of President Francisco Maduro that was not recognized by the democratically elected national legislature. It refuses to recognize his election and per its Constitution named its leader as interim president until a new national election can be held. That move is supported by over 50 countries around the world.
Venezuela has deteriorated to the point that food, water, medicine and basic necessities have disappeared. People are eating garbage, they are drinking polluted stream water, they suffer rolling electric blackouts, and their national currency is approaching 1920s-style German inflation. Russian military mercenaries and Cuban intelligence forces keep Maduro in power. They have the guns and food.
On the passive side of American interest in Venezuela’s turmoil are the usual suspects of octogenarian former hippies and anti-war do-nothings. On the active side are Americans willing to stand up for the 200-year-old Monroe Doctrine that warned Europe — and today warns Russia — to stay on its side of the ocean.
The American isolationist looks like Sen. Rand Paul, columnist Pat Buchanan, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, the ultra-conservative minority of Republican congressmen led by Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, plus a few liberals and Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Sympathetic to their outlook is President Trump, who campaigned against the foreign wars under George W. Bush as wasteful in treasure and blood. The President is not, however, a 100 percent isolationist. American troops are fighting in Syria and remain in Afghanistan.
President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have made it clear that a forceful military option remains available in the case of Venezuela.
Joining the isolationists is America’s newest elected apologist, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, an ultra-leftist Muslim refugee from Somalia. Though Venezuela has been ruled for two decades by American-hating socialists, she blames the current problems on us.
The United States is the only possible policeman of the world. That is true despite some dark moments in our history, moments that are minimal compared the history of most other nations. The overwhelming evidence is that people whom United States support or protect militarily enjoy opportunities to cut poverty, gain economically and ultimately enjoy freedom.
And when they do, the United States benefits immensely. That is incontestable.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.