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America’s Venezuela Strategy: Coup By Sheer Narrative Control

Public Policy

The Trump administration is working to overthrow the government of Venezuela. They are not at this time doing this by military invasion, nor by funneling thousands of armed militants into the country, nor even solely with starvation sanctions and CIA ops. The first and foremost means of overthrowing Venezuela’s government currently being utilized by the United States government is the low-risk, low-cost plan to simply control the stories that everyone tells themselves about who is in charge in Venezuela.

Adept manipulators understand that humans are storytelling animals. The only thing keeping the powerful powerful, keeping money operating the way it operates, and keeping government running the way it runs is the stories we all agree to tell each other about those things. If everyone collectively decided today that poker chips are the new currency and Kim Kardashian is the Supreme Ruler of the Entire World, those stories would be the new reality, and tomorrow we’d all be doing whatever Empress Kim commands and Las Vegas would be the new Wall Street.

The Trump administration is exploiting this exact principle in Venezuela by singling out some guy named Juan and calling him Mister President, despite the fact that he’s never received a single vote for that office and holds no actual power. If they can persuade enough Venezuelans (particularly the ones with the big guns) and the rest of the world’s governments to do the same, then Guaido will indeed become the functional president of the country.

Everything the Trump administration does to Venezuela is done with the goal of controlling the stories people tell about it. They smash the country with starvation sanctions, then tell everyone to believe that Maduro is starving his people. They stage a “humanitarian aid” stunt on Venezuela’s border, then they lie and tell everyone that Maduro is blocking all aid to Venezuela and setting aid trucks on fire, because he wants to starve the hungry and kill the sick. It’s all about controlling the narrative with the goal of changing who is recognized as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

We saw this illustrated especially clearly in a recent press briefing with the State Department’s “Special Representative for Venezuela”, war criminal Elliott Abrams. Abrams was asked by a reporter to “explain to us the article under which Mr. Guaido declared himself president” because “It is said that it has expired last month.”

Indeed, when Guaido declared himself interim president back in January we were told that it would be a month-long position in the interim while a new election is prepared. As Reuters reported at the time, “Venezuela’s constitution says if the presidency is determined to be vacant, new elections should be called in 30 days and that the head of the congress should assume the presidency in the meantime.”

But, since the Trump administration’s coup-by-narrative has not gone as planned, Abrams stumbled all over himself informing the press that the goalposts of the story have been moved:

ABRAMS: As to the Venezuelan constitution, the National Assembly has passed a resolution that states that that 30-day period of interim presidency will not start ending or counting until the day Nicolas Maduro leaves power. So the 30 days doesn’t start now, it starts after Maduro. And they – that’s a resolution of the National Assembly.

QUESTION: When did they – they did that after he —

ABRAMS: They did that – this is roughly a month ago. We could try to find the date for you.

QUESTION: When he was – when he was – took the mantle of interim president, that wasn’t there.

ABRAMS: Yes, when – that’s correct. And so people —

QUESTION: Can you do that ex post facto like that?

ABRAMS: When people ask a question how do —

QUESTION: That seems to be like saying I was elected for four years to be president, and then two years in you change the rules so that your term didn’t start – hasn’t even started yet. How does that happen?

ABRAMS: Well, you don’t get a vote because you’re not in the National Assembly.

QUESTION: Well, you don’t. You’re not in the National Assembly either.

QUESTION: If it matters, does the U.S. view that as constitutional under their system?

MR ABRAMS: Yes. I mean, we’re taking the – the National Assembly is the only legitimate democratic institution left in Venezuela, and their interpretation of the constitution, as you know, is that as of the date of this alleged term for Maduro, the presidency is vacant. But they have also said that that 30-day period starts when Maduro goes.

QUESTION: So Juan Guaido is the interim president of an interim that doesn’t exist yet?

MR ABRAMS: The 30-day end to his interim presidency starts counting. Because he’s not in power, that’s the problem. Maduro is still there. So they have decided that they will count that from when he actually is in power and Maduro’s gone. I think it’s logical.

QUESTION: So then he really isn’t interim president, then?

MR ABRAMS: He is interim president, but he’s not —

QUESTION: With no power.

MR ABRAMS: — able to exercise the powers of the office because Maduro still is there.

QUESTION: So their interpretation is that until and unless he actually has the power to run the country, he’s not actually the interim president?

MR ABRAMS: No. Their interpretation is that the constitution requires a 30-day interim period, but it – those 30 days should not be counted while Maduro is still there exercising the powers of his former office.

So to recap, Guaido is still the president of Venezuela after his 30-day window closed because his interim presidency doesn’t currently exist, and because he has no power. By those standards, I’m just as much president of Venezuela as Guaido is. Where’s my meeting with Mike Pence?

But of course facts don’t figure into this equation at all, because this is a coup by narrative. As we discussed yesterday, narrative always takes precedence over fact in these games. They will keep referring to Juan the guy as “President Guaido”, despite the admitted fact that he does not actually have any of the powers or recognition that an actual president has, and despite the fact that there is currently a guy in Caracas who does have all those things. They will keep advancing this narrative control war until it either succeeds or fails, and in the case of the latter they’ll change tactics and try something else.

The battle for power is the battle to control as many humans as possible, and the battle to control as many humans as possible is the battle to control the stories those humans are telling each other. Humans are storytelling animals, so if you can control the stories you can control the humans. Understand this and you’ll understand the behaviors of governments and media around the world.

caitlinjohnstone.com



22 Comments on "America’s Venezuela Strategy: Coup By Sheer Narrative Control"

  1. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 5:57 am 

    Of course the average American (especially the typical Red Stater) is outraged about, and exceedingly engrossed in, the constitutional problems in Venezuela, eh?

  2. Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 6:07 am 

    “Of course the average American (especially the typical Red Stater)”

    as opposed to a (snowflake blind liberal)? I will take a red stater over a snowflake any day. Wow, the news is amazing today as the fake liberal news media is all over themselves about the bogus Mueller witch hunt report. Where is the justice for what the FBI, DOJ, Obama adm, and Hillary Inc did? OR was that bogus too?? LOL.

  3. Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 6:12 am 

    “The America’s Venezuela Coup”

    If you care about the Venezuelan people than you realize the US will have to be part of the solution economically. Obviously China and Russia failed to save them. I have no qualms with those upset about current US actions. I can’t stand Pompano or Bolton. It is disgusting but at this point there must be a change for this failed petrostate.

  4. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 6:16 am 

    Davy, please take your ADD meds. You missed my main point. (I make points, and thus my name 🙂 ). Perhaps I should not have inserted the parenthetical…

    And then you wander off to another topic. No interest in yet another impending blunder by the US imperialism?

    Look, a chicken!

  5. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 6:19 am 

    Perhaps the US should get its house at least slightly in order before sticking its nose in other countries’ businesses…

  6. Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 6:32 am 

    “And then you wander off to another topic. No interest in yet another impending blunder by the US imperialism? Look, a chicken! Perhaps the US should get its house at least slightly in order before sticking its nose in other countries’ businesses…”

    AH, when has that ever happened? My point pointer, you clever pointer maker, is at this point the situation is so bad for these people and the region that whatever can be done to arrest this slide into total collapse is needed. The US will have to be part of this process economically. It is not going to work otherwise. Taking into account how criminal US foreign policy is anymore the situation for the people will still be better with a Maduro replacement. Surely there is some kind of compromise that can be made and part of that is the end of Maduro and the failed brand of Venezuelan socialism.

  7. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 6:47 am 

    Meanwhile people I grew up with live in shacks in upstate NY and treat their skin cancer with antibiotic ointment. They’re really concerned about “…whatever can be done to arrest [Venezuela’s] slide into total collapse”. Meanwhile some states are considering unpaving roads because maintaining paved roads is too costly. And so forth. And thus, no one in the US (aside from some salivating oilmen and the politicians they fund) gives a cr@p about Venezuela’s constitutional problems.

    I realize there is a lot to unpack there, Davy, so read and think carefully about all these points before immersing yourself in a lengthy reply that, frankly, no one reads. It also might be wise to wait until the ADD drugs kick in so you can focus.

  8. Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 7:08 am 

    “Meanwhile people I grew up with live in shacks in upstate NY and treat their skin cancer with antibiotic ointment. They’re really concerned about “…whatever can be done to arrest [Venezuela’s] slide into total collapse”
    LOL, but you and I care that is why we are talking right now. I think it is more important than you let on. Venezuelan oil is vital to the world but I realize you want a quick end:
    “I’d say set off as much combustible material as you can find in the house and end it all quickly.”
    BTW, my people here in the Ozarks are poorer than your people in upstate NY. Double LOL!

    “Meanwhile some states are considering unpaving roads because maintaining paved roads is too costly. And so forth.”
    I live on a gravel road and I do just fine. We don’t need so many paved roads And so forth.

    “And thus, no one in the US (aside from some salivating oilmen and the politicians they fund) gives a cr@p about Venezuela’s constitutional problems.”
    Yea they do but they don’t get the part of connecting the dots from the oil fields of Venezuela and the gas pumps.

    “I realize there is a lot to unpack there, Davy, so read and think carefully about all these points before immersing yourself in a lengthy reply that, frankly, no one reads. It also might be wise to wait until the ADD drugs kick in so you can focus.”
    Wow, aren’t you mean pointer. Obviously you have read what I said. That is what matters to me. I am not here to worry about who reads or does not read what I say. This is my intellectual and character workout place much to the chagrin of extremist, fraudsters, and Lying JuanO. Maybe you need to get into shape. You are not here much anyway so who cares what you think.

  9. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 8:00 am 

    No meanness intended, Davy. But I can see how my comment could be interpreted that way.

    Often silence is the best way to respond, rather than jumping to conclusions. Do try not to do that, as it turns out that I am not religious (I agree that atheism is a religion, also, and I am not an atheist), and I really don’t care that much about oil. I do care about being better.

    My original point is that the typical American does not care a hoot about the constitutional problems in Venezuela, my point being made to illustrate the silliness of the whole attempt to stoke up war fever. Of course, since socialist Maduro seems to be failing this purpose, the oilmen and their bought-and-paid-for politicians (and media consultants) will eventually conjure up some other bogeyman like… I don’t know what sort of story will work these days, since we seem to have gone to absurd extremes with tall tales in recent decades in order to get the American public on the edge of their seat, eager for war entertainment (remember shock and awe(tm)? ). Maybe some story about how Marvel superheroes will invade and save the Venezuelan people will get the attention of Americans, at least for one news cycle.

    BTW, in all seriousness, I appreciate that you tolerated my earlier somewhat abusive comments and did not turn immediately to hurling abuse back. I’ll try to be best. 🙂

    Also, BTW, why do you assume I haven’t been here much? Be careful who is watching in silence. 🙂 And if extremist, frausters and Lying JuanO had answers to my questions, they would forget about cleverly* insulting anyone. (*in their minds)

  10. The Truth Shall Set You Free on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 8:10 am 

    “as opposed to a (snowflake blind liberal)? I will take a red stater over a snowflake any day. Wow, the news is amazing today as the fake liberal news media is all over themselves about the bogus Mueller witch hunt report. Where is the justice for what the FBI, DOJ, Obama adm, and Hillary Inc did? OR was that bogus too?? LOL.”

    See how quickly DavySkum falls back into his old habits, despite his fake protestations to the contrary.

    Davy is the biggest liar, hypocrite, and liar I have ever encountered. The guy is total scumbag.

  11. Truth Buster on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 8:13 am 

    ” Where is the justice for what the FBI, DOJ, Obama adm, and Hillary Inc did? OR was that bogus too?? LOL.”

    What did they do, DavySkum? Not interested in your stupid opinion but facts from reputable sources.

  12. Truth Buster on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 8:16 am 

    Pointer,

    Friend, you are wasting your time on a classic sociopath. DavySkum always reverts to hyperbole, insults, poo slinging, conspiracy theories, and just plain crap when anybody disagrees with the dirtbag.

    Why do you think his family had him exiled to the armpit of Missouri?

  13. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 8:25 am 

    Truth:

    Do *you* not fall back into old habits, despite fake protestations to the contrary? I’m sure there are occasions that quickly come to mind.

    And have *you* not told big lies and acted hypocritically at any time? Have you not done things deserving of the epithets scum and scumbag? Once again, I’m sure there are occasions that quickly come to mind. Perhaps there is even evidence of such behavior right here.

    Also keep in mind that impermanence rules. You can make your insults today, but tomorrow circumstances may be different, and one day, circumstances will certainly be different. Davy may even have the last insult, urinating on your grave.

  14. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 8:27 am 

    “exiled to the armpit of Missouri”

    That is just a temporary circumstance.

  15. JuanO on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 10:25 am 

    “Do *you* not fall back into old habits, despite fake protestations to the contrary?”

    Advice:

    “It also might be wise to wait until the ADD drugs kick in so you can focus.”

    “I do care about being better.”

    “And if extremist, frausters and Lying JuanO had answers to my questions, they would forget about cleverly* insulting anyone. (*in their minds).”

  16. Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 10:44 am 

    exiled to the armpit of Missouri…… That is just a temporary circumstance.

    Thanks for letting me know you have a crystal ball that predicts the future. I was really starting to worry.

  17. Not Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 11:09 am 

    Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 10:44 am

  18. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 11:15 am 

    “exiled to the armpit of Missouri…… That is just a temporary circumstance.

    Thanks for letting me know you have a crystal ball that predicts the future. I was really starting to worry.”

    Is it necessary to be able to predict the future to know that a sojourn anywhere is a temporary circumstance?

  19. Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 11:30 am 

    Pointer, I did not say that. That was JuanP stealing my identity.

  20. pointer on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 11:36 am 

    Thanks, Davy. The posts did reek of impostors. It won’t be as much fun for them when their true identities are exposed in the light of day with no means to prevent it.

  21. Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 12:09 pm 

    I actually did say that pointer, the comment at 11:30 was JuanP stealing my identity. So I stand behind the comment the fake Davy is saying I did not make.

  22. Not Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 12:14 pm 

    Davy on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 12:09 pm

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