A small update to my piece yesterday about foreign leaders declaring who they recognise as the head of state in another country. Australia, tragically but predictably, has followed in step with the US in backing the long anticipated coup in Venezuela.
The list of countries that have signalled support for Guaido has grown considerably. Along with the US and a number of European countries, Canada, Australia, and Israel have all made their stance known. It is not surprising that Australia has bowed to US pressure. We have consistently done so for quite some time, from Howard’s joyful contribution to the illegal war in Iraq in 2003 to the current Morrison government considering moving the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, also defying international law. Copying the US’ move against Venezuela has, like all other examples that can be named, absolutely no benefit to Australia or its interests. But it does have a lot to do with our questionable alliance with the US and everything to do with US imperialist interests and vast oil resources in Latin America.
One comparison I saw made was of the French Yellow Vest protests, which are still running (and even picked up some obscure counter-protest calling themselves the Red Scarves) with high turnouts. Despite the mass dissidence and anti-government sentiments expressed in France, no call has been made by any country for the recognition of a new leader. In fact, most media in Australia and the US generally ignore the protests, and what little coverage is given is usually quite misleading or missing relevant information. On Venezuela, similarly little or ambiguous reports have been given and yet we are told that we know for a fact that Maduro must be deposed and Guaido is the new leader. Not that we should start calling for the replacement on Macron in France outside of free elections, but by the current logic we should be.
It is also notable in two different ways, that Israel and Australia have recognised Guaido. As recalled in the aforementioned piece, free elections were held in Gaza in 2006, leading to the rise of Hamas as the majority leadership. The US and Israel would have nothing of it, and so even 13 years later Gaza suffers immeasurably under Israeli oppression. Taking a similar position regarding Venezuela should not come as a shock. For Australia, thankfully a little less damning, Morrison himself was not voted as our Prime Minister in an election, but instead tore down Turnbull in the fifth change of leadership in the LNP in 12 years. Declaring new leaders is basically a past time for us.
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