Wittingly or unwittingly, Adam Barrington, whoever he is, appears to be Vladimir Putin’s man in Reno. Barrington last Tuesday wrote an op-ed piece titled “What the Media Won’t Tell You About Venezuela Coup” for the Reno Gazette-Journal that could have been written in Caracas or Moscow. In fact, it could have been written by Putin himself.
Unsurprisngly, Barrington, identified only as “a Reno resident,” blamed the United States, its allies and shadowy “corporate interests” — private companies, that is — for the complete collapse of ex-Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s failed “Bolivarian (Socialist) Revolution.” “Homicide, unemployment, corruption and violence paved the way for Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution to take power with wide democratic support,” Barrington wrote. Actually, Venezuelans learned a lot about homicide, unemployment, corruption, violence and drug trafficking after Socialist/Communist autocrat Chavez took power in Venezuela in 1999 and turned a South American garden spot into a Third World hellhole.
“The problem with Chavez was that he committed the crime of demanding autonomy for the Venezuelan republic and promoted nationalizing industries which the U.S. and its allies had been in the habit of exploiting,” Barrington continued. “The western corporate elite couldn’t stand for such crimes.” Back when I worked for the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency (USIA) during the Cold War, we called that kind of political language “agit-prop.”
Barrington didn’t stop there, however, as he went on to claim ex-President Jimmy Carter had certified Venezuelan elections as “legitimate, clear and open.” Please! I reject that claim because the United Nations and Organization of American States (OAS) have described Venezuelan elections as a corrupt, fraudulent “farce.” They know who counts the votes in Venezuela: first it was Chavez and now it’s “President” Maduro, a former bus driver who was Chavez’s faithful sidekick until the Socialist dictator died in 2013.
So now, when the citizens of a country without basic necessities like bread and toilet paper, and where young mothers sell their babies to buy food when and if it’s available, Maduro and his corrupt co-conspirators blame outsiders for the economic disaster they’ve created. The U.S. didn’t send millions of Venezuelans into the streets to demand a new government. Maduro and his henchmen brought them out of their homes and into the streets to protest. Keep this in mind as so-called Democrat-Socialists try to sell these failed policies to American voters.
But don’t take my word for it. Before Maduro’s most recent auto-inauguration (he inaugurated himself) on Jan. 10, Venezuela’s Roman Catholic bishops called him “morally unacceptable because his government has caused a moral deterioration in people and in the wealth of the nation.” So much for the claim most Venezuelans love Chavez, Maduro and their disastrous revolution.
The United States, the OAS and 50 western democracies have recognized National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the interim president in accordance with Venezuela’s Constitution. Only Cuba, Russia and a handful of Communist/Socialist states are supporting Maduro, who’s thoroughly discredited by now.
You can take Barrington’s word for how well Maduro is doing, or you can believe the U.S. and the rest of the world. Because I lived and worked in Venezuela for seven years during my diplomatic career, I may know a bit more about that unfortunate country than “Reno resident” Barrington. Just a guess. Frankly, I think the Reno paper should have identified him in more detail before it published his incendiary op-ed. Just one question: I’d like to know whether Barrington really wrote that column, or did someone write it for him?
Guy W. Farmer is a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer who lived and worked in Venezuela for seven years, 1968-70 and 1986-90.