By Juan Blanco Prada

The United States should stop meddling in Venezuela.

Since the death of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has gone through two elections. The ruling coalition led by Chavez's successor, President Nicolas Maduro, won both of them.

In April of 2013, Maduro won the presidency against the leader of the united opposition front, Henrique Capriles. The narrow margin of this victory, 1.6 percent of the vote, prompted a challenge by Capriles, but international observers certified the results as fair and clean.

In December, Venezuela held municipal elections. The opposition, boosted by a deteriorating economic situation, decided to turn the election into a plebiscite on Chavez's Bolivarian revolution.

To the consternation of the opposition leadership and supporters, the pro-government parties won a decisive victory, by a margin of 11 percent.

Reckoning that the electoral route was a dead end to achieve so-called regime change, the opposition abandoned constitutional means to achieve its goals.

Opposition parties and other groups funded by the United States have engaged in a campaign of violent protests, riots, street blockades and attacks on public facilities, with the stated purpose of forcing Maduro to resign.

The opposition leadership, led by people who were involved in the unsuccessful military coup against Chavez in 2002, are seeking to cause chaos to incite the government to increase repression, searching for a bloodbath that would justify an international intervention against the Venezuelan government.

Considering the fact that the Venezuelan administration still has the support of a majority of the population, and that even those who oppose it are not fully behind the violent strategy adopted by the openly anti-constitutional opposition, it is unlikely this could actually bring Maduro down.

President Obama should direct the State Department to end its support of organizations that aim at the unconstitutional and violent removal of a democratically elected government. Otherwise, he will have the dubious distinction of restoring Washington's reputation as a hemispheric bully.

Juan Blanco Prada writes on Latin American issues since 2002. He was an activist on homelessness, immigration and environmental issues in California, and currently lives in Ubatuba, Brazil.

Copyright Juan Blanco Prada


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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