In regards to Tom Stover’s letter to the editor (See Feb. 20 Times “Catastrophe grows when constitutional controls weaken,”), and his offer to send me to Venezuela for an investigation, I am happy to accept. However, people I trust have gone there and, as you maintain, the news is not good. I would explain why.

Nicaragua - the Sandinista movement established a social revolution in 1979. Shortly afterwards, the US government began a counterrevolution when Ronald Reagan funded the Contras, a devastating and corrupt military force that came close to destroying the nation.

Cuba - after Fidel Castro’s victory in 1958, the US government imposed crippling economic sanctions, tried to kill Castro, and funded attacks by counterrevolutionaries. The Bay of Pigs was a major defeat, but efforts to destroy the Cuban Revolution have not ceased to this day. As a side-note, the Cubans asked the Soviet Union for nuclear weapons because of US preparations for an imminent invasion,

Guatemala - In 1954, the US engineered a coup to depose President Jacobo Árbenz because his land reforms threatened the United Fruit Company. Civil war ensued.

Honduras - President Manuel Zelaya was removed by a CIA coup in 1979 because of modest land and wage reform measures. Honduras is now a narco-state.

The list goes on, including the overthrow and murder of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, creating the Pinochet dictatorship. Truthfully, any government that does not conform to US financial and legal standards suffers. Some survive marginally, some are removed, some are destroyed completely as seen in Iraq and Libya.

Just as with all the above Latin American governments, Venezuela has initiated social reforms, by capturing oil revenues and using them to fund housing, education, and healthcare. And, just as with the above governments, the US government has punished and attacked Venezuela. So, Tom, Venezuela is at war with America and struggling to defend itself from vicious sanctions, coup attempts, and sabotage. So, it is not surprising that there are “stories of starvation, shortages of medical and sanitation supplies, mass migration, and the collapse of industry…” The stories are true, evidenced by my informants.

We Americans are paying for these stories, by the way, as it is not cheap to overthrow a government. It is also not surprising that democracy does not flourish how we would like it to, given the circumstances.

Comrade Ted Tripp