The US foreign policy decisions behind six coup attempts against the Venezuelan government – and Venezuela's heightening precarity
In March 2015, President Obama initiated sanctions against Venezuela, declaring a “national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela.” Each year, the US administration has repeated this claim. But, as Joe Emersberger and Justin Podur argue in their timely book, Extraordinary Threat, the opposite is true: It is the US policy of regime change in Venezuela that constitutes an “extraordinary threat” to Venezuelans. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans continue to die because of these ever-tightening US sanctions, denying people daily food, medicine, and fuel. On top of this, Venezuela has, since 2002, been subjected to repeated coup attempts by US-backed forces. In Extraordinary Threat, Emersberger and Podur tell the story of six coup attempts against Venezuela.
This book deflates the myths propagated about the Venezuelan government’s purported lack of electoral legitimacy, scant human rights, and disastrous economic development record. Contrary to accounts lobbed by the corporate media, the real target of sustained U.S. assault on Venezuela is not the country’s claimed authoritarianism or its supposed corruption. It is Chavismo, the prospect that twenty-first century socialism could be brought about through electoral and constitutional means. This is what the US empire must not allow to succeed.