By Robert J. Burrowes
To the People of Venezuela
Recently I wrote an article explaining how you could defeat, using nonviolent strategy, the US coup attempt that is taking place in your country. See ‘A Nonviolent Strategy to Defeat the US Coup Attempt in Venezuela’.
I would like to complement that article by now briefly explaining how you can also defeat a military invasion by the United States and any collaborating invaders by using a strategy of nonviolent defense as well.
In making this suggestion, I acknowledge the extraordinary difficulties inflicted on Venezuela by the US sanctions imposed over many years as part of its ‘undeclared war against Venezuela’ (partly designed to destroy its progressive social banking model), explained straightforwardly by Ellen Brown in her article ‘The Venezuela Myth Keeping Us From Transforming Our Economy’ as well as alternative proposals to resolve the crisis, ranging from that by several governments to facilitate dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition – see, for example, ‘Russia Proposes Venezuelan “Peaceful Measures” Initiative to UN’ – to Stephen Lendman’s suggestion that a peacekeeping force be deployed to Venezuela by such countries as Russia, China and non-aligned nations. See ‘Save Venezuelan Sovereignty: Oil Economy Destabilized. Peace-keeping Role by Russia, China, Non-alligned Nations?’
I understand that your first reaction to the idea of a strategy of nonviolent defense might be one of scepticism or even outright disbelief. However, if you are willing to consider what I write below, I will briefly explain why a strategy of nonviolent defense is theoretically and empirically sound, has often been successful in a wide range of contexts in the past, and why I believe it is important and how it can be done.
Of course, I am well aware that this history of successful nonviolent defense is little known because it has been, and still is, suppressed. And yet the history of nonviolent resistance in many diverse contexts clearly demonstrates that a strategy of nonviolent defense has the best chance of defending your country while minimizing the death and destruction in doing so (which does not mean that it would be without cost).
Moreover, if you want to read many carefully documented historical accounts of nonviolent struggles that were successful against military opponents, including those that were ruthlessly violent, you can do so in The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach. The book also carefully explains why these successes occurred without incurring heavy casualties on the defense, particularly in comparison to military campaigns and guerrilla struggles.
In my view then, the idea of implementing a strategy of nonviolent defense is important to consider for two essential reasons.
First, you are dealing with an opponent that is insane – see ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ with a more detailed explanation in ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’ – incredibly ignorant – see this interview of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo ‘Venezuelan military will realize Maduro’s time is up: Mike Pompeo’ which is critiqued in these articles ‘Pompeo: America “obligated” to fight “Hezbollah” in Venezuela to save “duly elected” Guaido’ and ‘Pompeo Attempts to Link Iran, Hezbollah to Crisis in Venezuela’ – and grotesquely violent – see ‘The History – and Hypocrisy – of US Meddling in Venezuela’ and Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II – that, history teaches us, is highly likely to destroy your country to gain the geostrategic advantage and natural resources that control of your country offers, as the people of Iraq and Libya, for example, can testify.
And second: no matter how committed and courageous are the (loyal) members of your military forces and civilian militia (the National Bolivarian Militia of Venezuela), and the military forces of any allies who will stand with you in the defense of Venezuela, even a ‘successful’ outcome, such as that which Syria may be on the verge of ‘celebrating’, will only come at enormous cost in terms of human lives, infrastructure (including national heritage), ecological impact and time, all of which can be far more gainfully employed to continue building Venezuela, including overcoming outstanding problems, as you decide.
As I know that you are well aware, given the declared interest of the US elite in stealing your natural resources, including oil – see, for example, ‘“Good for business”: Trump adviser Bolton admits US interest in Venezuela’s “oil capabilities”’ and ‘Regime Change for Profit: Chevron, Halliburton Cheer On US Venezuela Coup’ – the US elite has long interfered with – see, for example, ‘US Influence in Venezuela Is Part of a Two Centuries-old Imperial Plan’ – and threatened military invasion of Venezuela to seize control of these resources in clear violation of international law. For recent examples only, see ‘Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, US official says’ and ‘Time for talks “long passed”: US weaponizes aid amid push for regime change in Venezuela’.
Consequently, the US administration has finally used the pretext of an unfair election result in 2018 to call for the overthrow of your government despite the widely accepted result, verified by independent sources, and even the testimony of a former US president that your electoral system is without peer. See ‘Former US President Carter: Venezuelan Electoral System “Best in the World”’.
Moreover, the US puppet Juan Guaidó, anointed by the US to replace your elected President, has effectively indicated his support for US intervention, which clearly reveals where his loyalties lie, his willingness to now provide a pretext for a US invasion, and his complete disregard for the well-being of those Venezuelans who will inevitably be killed, injured and/or dispossessed during an invasion to support the ‘neocon regime-changers’ in Washington. See ‘Venezuela’s self-proclaimed “president” Guaido isn’t ruling out “authorizing” US intervention’ and ‘The Cynicism of Empire: Sen. Rubio Tells Venezuelans to Overthrow Their Government… or Starve!’
This threat of military intervention, as the historical record clearly demonstrates, has every prospect of being carried out. See ‘Before Venezuela: The long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America’ and ‘Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List’.
Despite this threat, as you are aware, President Nicolás Maduro has persisted in offering to discuss the issues arising from this conflict while also calling on the international community to ‘“Stop Trump’s insane actions!” Venezuela’s Maduro talks to RT about avoiding war’ and even writing an appeal to the people of the United States which, of course, was ignored by the corporate media so that it does not even reach a wide audience. See ‘An Open Letter to the People of the United States from President Nicolas Maduro’.
While I applaud your President for his persistent calls for dialogue to resolve this issue – for a recent example, see ‘Maduro Asks International Community to End US’s Threats of War’ – there are simply three realities that make it highly unlikely that his call will be heeded, whether by the US administration that has already rejected such a call – see ‘Time for talks “long passed”: US weaponizes aid amid push for regime change in Venezuela’ – or by the international community, a substantial section of which has already declared their support for the US puppet Juan Guaidó, who has been carefully groomed for a decade for the role he is now playing. See ‘The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader’.
These three realities are those I mentioned above: You are dealing with an insane, incredibly ignorant and grotesquely violent opponent: an elite that seeks geopolitical control and endless resources for profit no matter what the cost to fellow human beings and the biosphere, as the record demonstrates.
Moreover, in seeking to secure its objectives, the US elite will endeavour to control the narrative in relation to Venezuela. Hence, as you have noticed, the corporate media is lying prodigiously about Venezuela as it ‘beats the drums of war’. See, for example, ‘Dissecting the jingoistic media coverage of the Venezuela crisis’, ‘Venezuela Blitz – Part 1: Tyrants Don’t Have Free Elections’, ‘Venezuela Blitz – Part 2: Press Freedom, Sanctions And Oil’ and ‘The BBC and Venezuela: bias and lies’.
For you and those of us outside Venezuela who have some knowledge of your country’s history, we are well aware of the enormous gains made by the Bolivarian movement, despite the enormously damaged country that the movement inherited. See, for example, ‘Venezuela: From Oil Proxy to the Bolivarian Movement and Sabotage’.
This progress, of course, does not mean that all problems have been resolved, most of which have been exacerbated by the sanctions imposed in recent years by the United States government. See, for example, the report by Alfred de Zayas on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights Council – ‘Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on his mission to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Ecuador’ – which identified the crisis the US ‘economic warfare’ was precipitating. See ‘Former UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Against Venezuela Causing Economic and Humanitarian Crisis’.
Defending Against a US Military Invasion of Venezuela
So, while your effort to defeat the coup attempt continues, even if the United States military invades Venezuela before or after this issue is resolved, you have the powerful option of resisting any invasion effectively by employing a strategy of nonviolent defense.
I have explained the essential points of this strategy on the website Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy. The pages of this website provide clear guidance on how to easily plan and then implement the twelve components of this strategy.
If you like, you can see a diagrammatic representation of this strategy by looking at the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel.
And on the Strategic Aims page you can see the basic list of 30 strategic goals necessary to defeat a military invasion. These strategic goals can easily be adopted, modified and/or added to if necessary, in accordance with your precise circumstances as you decide.
If you want to read a straightforward account of how to plan and conduct a nonviolent tactic so that it has strategic impact, you can do so here: ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’.
This will require awareness of the difference between ‘The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’.
And, to ensure that the military violence directed against you is made as difficult as possible to perpetrate and, in many cases, does not eventuate, you are welcome to consider the 20 points designed to ensure that you are ‘Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’ whenever you take nonviolent action to defend yourselves when repression is a risk. This information is useful for both neutralizing violent provocateurs but also to ensure that invading military forces are compelled to deal with complex emotional and moral issues that do not arise against a violent opponent who is threatening them, and which will lead some, and perhaps very many, to desist as the historical record clearly documents. Again, for many examples, see The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach.
The US government and its sycophantic allies might not invade Venezuela. It may transpire that the diplomatic and other efforts of your government to defeat the coup and avert a US-led military invasion of Venezuela will be successful. There is also a fracturing of the opposition forces within Venezuela, in several ways, which works against the success of ongoing efforts to remove your government. See ‘Venezuela Regime Change “Made in the USA”’.
However, the extensive historical evidence of US interventions in violation of international law, the geostrategic and natural resource advantages that will accrue to the US elite from an invasion that removes your elected government, the anointment of a puppet president of Venezuela, the recent posturing and declarations by key members of the US administration and many US-allied governments, and the manufacture of public acquiescence by the corporate media all point heavily in the direction of invasion. And, as you are well aware, it is wise to treat this possibility seriously.
The elite conducting these preparatory moves is insane and, if it attacks Venezuela, there is a serious risk it will destroy your country as it has destroyed Iraq and Libya, especially if it meets significant military resistance. Their insanity precludes them caring about you, the people of Venezuela (even as they present any intervention as ‘humanitarian’). See ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’. They care about nothing more than geostrategic advantage, eliminating progressive elements of your society’s development, and seizing your natural resources from which they can profit enormously.
Nevertheless, a strategy of nonviolent defense would enable you to defend yourselves and enable every last member of your population, irrespective of age and ability, to be strategically involved, as well as any solidarity activists overseas. It would also minimize the loss of life and destruction inflicted on your country.
Importantly, even if you suffer setbacks, unless and until you accept outright defeat, your strategy of nonviolent defense, ongoingly refined to maintain effective strategic coordination and to retain the initiative, will ultimately prevail.
As always, however, whether or not you decide to consider/adopt my suggestion, you have my solidarity.
Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is email@example.com and his website is here.