American socialists, long supporters of the ruthless dictatorship in Venezuela, appear to be helping it add feminism and LGTBQ+ issues to their long list of Marxist tropes, probably in the hope that it will curry favor with the very woke Biden-Harris administration.
Whether it is helping Caracas is another matter. While it is true that the administration has recently reached out to the regime of Nicolás Maduro and made concessions, the official line is that the current talks between Washington and Caracas are meant to peel Maduro away from Vladimir Putin and increase Venezuela’s oil production, to help the snake-bitten administration deflect high oil prices here. A fool’s errand.
The Biden-Harris administration has taken such pains to appease the far Left of the Democratic Party that it surely can’t remain impervious to efforts by the Democratic Socialists of America to cast the Maduro dictatorship as the champion of causes often used by the U.S. Left to front for a deeper revolutionary struggle.
Consider how the DSA and the leftist Code Pink are hosting a tour across eight major American cities, including New York and Washington, D.C., with Venezuelan feminists sent by the Maduro regime to allege that U.S. sanctions hurt Venezuelan women. Venezuelans who have escaped have been holding protests against these women, who should of course be detained by the United States for ties to indicted narco-terrorists, though it is doubtful they will.
And over the past year, as we can see in this Facebook ad featuring feminists and transvestites calling Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chávez “our feminist presidents,” the Maduro regime has begun spouting off about LGTBQ+ and feminist matters that earlier it had ignored or shown distaste for. The regime last week started painting bicycle paths the color of the LGTBQ+ rainbow flag.
After years of unconcealed homophobic attitudes, the new turn toward issues favored by U.S. Marxists appears to coincide with a visit by a DSA delegation to Caracas last July. The new emphasis has surprised some observers, such as the editors of Politico, who ran a long, widely quoted article on the development.
The writer of the Politico piece appeared to experience some cognitive dissonance about the DSA visit. It described what Maduro’s regime is doing as “woke-washing.” But the cozy relations between our Marxists and their Marxists hardly comes as a shock to Venezuelan observers.
Despite running their economy into the ground and subjecting their people to political repression, with over 300 publicly known political prisoners (including at least eight Americans), Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chávez have always been the darlings of America’s Left.
For actors such as Danny Glover and Sean Penn, and directors Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, Caracas became the mecca that the Côte d’Azur was to the Hollywood actors of the 1950s and ’60s. Pilgrimages to Venezuela showed the world that you cared about “social justice,” as fans ignored the country’s awful human-rights record.
And the connections with our Marxists are deeper than just virtue-signaling actors. President Obama’s pal Bill Ayers, the former member of the defunct terrorist group the Weather Underground, also visited Venezuela in 2005 and effusively praised how Chávez used the educational system to indoctrinate young children. (Ayers has never expressed regret for his actions and yet somehow is seen as an “education reformer” now.)
For good measure, the former terrorist left behind in Caracas, as a translator for Chávez, the adopted son he raised, Chesa Boudin. Boudin, a rogue prosecutor elected as San Francisco’s district attorney with support from George Soros, went in and out of Caracas throughout the 2000s. Because of the rise in crime in San Francisco since he took office in 2020, he lost a recent recall election.
Ditto for Black Lives Matter, whose founders have long been allies of Chávez and, since his death in 2013, of his successor, Maduro. Top among the list has been BLM co-founder Opal Tometi, the most internationally minded of the BLM architects. She was a self-styled “election observer” in that country’s 2015 elections.
BLM leadership, with Tometi at the forefront, invited Maduro to Harlem to speak to over 200 leftist activists in 2015. Soon after, she penned a manifesto that was chilling for its casting of the Venezuelan situation in racial terms, for its excoriation of the opposition as white settlers, and for its praise of “participatory democracy,” a tool of the Left for replacing representative democracy’s checks and balances and introducing central political control. The manifesto reads in part:
In these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world—a democratic process that has advocated the rights of Afrodescendants and other oppressed people within Venezuela and across the globe. . . . We reject the hypocrisy of the Venezuelan elite—who like settlers everywhere—cling to their white privilege to the point of even lynching Afrodescendants. [Italics in the original.]
Maduro returned the favor by inviting BLM to be a part of the Foro de Saõ Paulo, the regional Latin American grouping of Marxist countries and nonstate actors, when it met at the leftist St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church in D.C. on June 17, 2017. There BLM took part alongside such other Marxist groups as the Democratic Socialists of America, the Communist Party USA, CISPES, etc.
So absolutely nobody paying attention to the budding nexus between American and Venezuelan Marxists should be surprised that the DSA is now helping Maduro. Our Marxists and their Marxists are allies not despite Venezuela’s repressive system but because they both agree on central planning, come what may.
This piece originally appeared in The National Review