How Trump and John Bolton attempted a coup in Venezuela
Donald Trump’s neoconservative US National Security Advisor John Bolton admitted on CNN he “helped plan coups d’etat”
in Venezuela and “other places.”
Multipolarista editor Benjamin Norton analyzes Bolton’s book “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” which details the US hybrid war on Venezuela.
PodcastThe following is an excerpt from the Multipolarista report “Trump advisor John Bolton admits planning US coups in Venezuela and beyond“:
Trump fired John Bolton in September 2019, partially due to his failure in the Venezuela coup attempts.
In 2020, Bolton published a 500-page tell-all memoir, titled “The Room Where It Happened.” He was offered a $2 million advance for the book, and promised millions more in royalties.
The memoir turned Bolton into a media celebrity. He cashed in on the opportunity to criticize Trump for supposedly not being enough of a warmonger.
“The Room Where It Happened” mentions Venezuela and Venezuelans more than 300 times, and has a 35-page chapter dedicated specifically to detailing his coup attempt, titled “Venezuela Libre” (Free Venezuela).
Bolton did not hide his neocolonialist worldview in the book, once again invoking the nearly 200-year-old Monroe Doctrine.
Fearmongering about Venezuela’s alliance with China, Russia, Iran, and Cuba, he declared, “America had opposed external threats in the Western Hemisphere since the Monroe Doctrine, and it was time to resurrect it.”
Bolton wrote that Trump shared this colonialist mentality. He claimed the president said that Venezuela is “really part of the United States,” and that “it would be ‘cool’ to invade Venezuela,” according to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.
“Trump still wanted a military option,” Bolton emphasized. This is consistent with what former Defense Secretary Mark Esper described in his book
The neoconservative national security advisor also boasted in the book that the Trump administration’s coup attempt against Venezuela had bipartisan backing from both Republicans and Democrats “on the Hill, where support on both sides of the aisle for our hard line in Venezuela was almost uniform.”
“And the press coverage was uniformly favorable,” he added contently.
Bolton pointed out the coincidental timing that, “Shortly after I became National Security Advisor, while Maduro was speaking at a military awards ceremony on August 4, he was attacked by two drones.”
Maduro said his government has intelligence proving that Bolton had planned the assassination attempt.
Showing his sadistic streak, Bolton wrote that the photos of Venezuela soldiers running away from the killer drones was “hilarious.”
In a meeting after the drone assassination attempt, Bolton wrote that “Trump said to me emphatically, ‘Get it done,’ meaning get rid of the Maduro regime. ‘This is the fifth time I’ve asked for it,’ he continued.”
The national security advisor noted that Trump’s secretary of state, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo
, was strongly in agreement, stating “‘we should go to the wall’ to get Maduro out.”
Bolton added, “Trump insisted he wanted military options for Venezuela and then keep it because ‘it’s really part of the United States.’”
Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Advisor John Bolton in April 2019
Trump had made it clear that he was considering invading Venezuela as far back as August 2017, Bolton pointed out. In a press conference that August, Trump had stated, “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option
, if necessary.”
In the memoir, Bolton admitted that that illegal unilateral sanctions the United States imposed on Venezuela were aimed at “driving the state-owned oil monopoly’s production as low as possible,” in an attempt “to crash Maduro’s regime.”
“Trump stressed that he wanted the ‘strongest possible sanctions’ against Venezuela,” Bolton wrote.
Trump also “wanted assurances regarding post-Maduro access to Venezuela’s oil resources, trying to ensure that China and Russia would not continue to benefit from their deals,” he added.
Bolton stressed that Trump had great “interest in Venezuela’s oil fields,” and he recalled that the US president insisted “we should take the oil in Venezuela after ousting Maduro.”
Similarly, Bolton recalled numerous stories that showed how Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and hedge fund manager, was most concerned about the interests of US corporations.
He wrote that Mnuchin frequently “talked to oil-company executives.” Mnuchin was concerned about remaining “US oil-and-gas assets in Venezuela,” and “worried that steps in the banking sector would hurt Visa and Mastercard.”
Bolton also revealed he pressured the UK government to illegally freeze more than $1 billion of gold reserves
that Venezuela held in the Bank of England.
He celebrated sanctions as instruments of US financial warfare, declaring that “they’re about using America’s massive economic power to advance our national interests. They are most effective when applied massively, swiftly, and decisively, and enforced with all the power available.”
Boasting of the sadistic sanctions he imposed on Venezuela, Bolton gleefully wrote, “we had Maduro by the windpipe and needed to constrict it.”
Trump with National Security Advisor John Bolton and CIA Director Gina Haspel in January 2019
In an incredibly hypocritical moment of his book, Bolton accused the Venezuelan government, without any evidence, of supposedly trafficking drugs. But he simultaneously fondly recalled a meeting he had “in my office with Honduran President Juan Hernandez, who was similarly optimistic, in contrast to the situation in Nicaragua, on his border.”
Honduras’ right-wing authoritarian leader Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) came to power after a US-backed military coup in 2009. JOH was a key US ally, and joined Washington in recognizing Guaidó. JOH was also a notorious drug dealer.
In 2022, JOH was extradited
to the United States, and the Justice Department said “Hernandez allegedly partnered with some of the largest cocaine traffickers in the world to transport tons of cocaine.”
Bolton concluded the chapter lamenting that the various US-sponsored coup attempts in Venezuela failed.
He also complained that Trump was not supportive enough. While Trump had pushed for extremely aggressive policies against Venezuela, he apparently did not much have faith in Guaidó, calling him “weak” and allegedly joking that he was the “Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela.”
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