When the US launched the world’s first Twitter Coup against Venezuela’s UN recognised government, it was immediately clear that Washington had adopted ultra-contemporary methods to do what the US has been doing to Latin American countries for well over a century. But while during the 1973 Chilean coup, Henry Kissinger’s assistants and Augusto Pinochet’s collaborators orchestrated the overthrow of the elected President Slavador Allende through covert communications on secure phone lines, today’s provocations against Venezuela are all happening on social media for the entire world to see.
Shortly after Juan Guaidó swore himself in as “president” on the streets of Caracas, he began Tweeting photos of the otherwise comical self-appointment. Shortly thereafter, the US Vice President, President and Secretary of State Tweeted their recognition of him as the “actual president” of Venezuela. It did not matter that Guaidó did not even run in the 2018 election, nor did it matter that the precedent set by Washington in recognising a self-appointed leader was more brazen and potentially more dangerous in the long term, than the more cloak and dagger coups that the US arranged throughout Latin America in the 20th century – the Twitter coup was successful in so far as it led a majority of South American, Central American and European states, as well as Canada to officially recognise a pretender as a leader.
But if this wholly illegal precedent was not bad enough, now it appears that like all major events, the coup has a proverbial sponsor. Virgin’s Richard Branson has made a selfie video in which he announced that on the 22nd of February, a giant Live Aid style concert will be held in the Colombia border town of Cucuta, in order to ostensibly raise money for “humanitarian aid” for Venezuelans. But far from being apolitical, in Branson’s own words, the concert is taking aim at what he calls the “Maduro regime” and was apparently organised at the suggestion of the self-appointed “president” Juan Guaidó himself (in spite of the fact that Branson mispronounced the name of his supposed new friend during his video announcement about the concert).
Even before one discusses the blatant absurdity of what amounts to a “concert for regime change”, it is self-evident to anyone who knows the logistical nightmares involved in organising a mass multi-act concert, that such a concert simply cannot be organised in a week, even though the gap between Richard Branson’s 14 February announcement and the date of the concert on 22 February, is precisely a week apart.
Typically, it takes a minimum of six months to organise such an event with only minimal exceptions. Indeed, the original 13 July 1985 Live Aid concert was first discussed in December of 1984, before organiser Bob Geldof confirmed plans in January of 1985. Of course, Roger Waters also knows a thing or two about such events as he staged a performance of The Wall in the former no man’s land between Potsdamer Platz and Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in 1990. Waters began planning the concert in November of 1989, shortly after the Berlin Wall came down and even with eight months of planning, the concert had logistical problems even on the day of the performance on July of 1990.
Thus, there are many logistical questions which indicate that Branson’s concert was something far less spontaneous than it appears to be.
It is all but impossible, even for a man as wealthy as Branson, to stage such an event with less than a week of preparation. Things became all the more suspicious when it was announced that Peter Gabriel would be booked for the event. Could Gabriel’s instruments and ostensibly those of his highly professional backing band really be locked and loaded on a plane from England (where Gabriel is based) to Colombia on such short notice? It is highly unlikely. Of course, Gabriel and his band could use local instruments and associated gear, but Gabriel is known to be an artist with extreme attention to detail and it is far from guaranteed that the array of equipment that he normally performs with could be so rapidly sourced from Colombia.
Something clearly doesn’t add up – not least because the person who suggested the concert in the first place, Juan Guaidó, was virtually unheard of in the wider world, prior to 23 January of this year. Clearly, the concert is far from spontaneous, whilst at the same time, someone has invested a lot of money in order to pull it off. Furthermore, it appears highly likely than the concert’s organisation in fact began before Juan Guaidó swore himself in as “president” in late January.
But even assuming that the concert had been planned in secret long before Branson’s 14 February announcement, the vulgarity of the entire event should be highly disturbing to anyone who supports international law. The goal of Guaidó is to overthrow a legally recognised government and as such, staging such a concert is nothing short of a geopolitical provocation disguised as a joyous charity event.
For all the fair and unfair criticisms of the original Live Aid, at least organiser Bob Geldof never claimed that the goal of the concert was to overthrow Ethiopia’s UN recognised government – a government which incidentally was objectively far more corrupt, heinous and wholly undemocratic than Nicolas Maduro’s imperfect but legally elected administration.
Turning back to Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd co-founder has once again injected reason into an otherwise absurd series of events by encouraging ordinary people and Peter Gabriel himself to turn their backs on the garish event.
The Red Cross and the UN, unequivocally agree, don’t politicize aid. Leave the Venezuelan people alone to exercise their legal right to self determination. pic.twitter.com/I0yS3u75b6
— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) February 18, 2019
The politicisation of aid is among the most disingenuous things that one could do. In this sense, the concert to be held in Cucuta is not a new Live Aid or a new The Wall Live in Berlin, it is merely a concert which aims at normalising illegal regime change.