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Former US official John Bolton admits to having planned coups in foreign countries

July 13, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton on 27 February 2015 [Gage Skidmore/Flickr]

Former US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has admitted that he helped Washington plan coups in foreign countries, seeming to confirm an unspoken practice which many have long accused the US of conducting.

In an interview with the CNN anchor, James Tapper, Bolton addressed accusations that former President Donald Trump orchestrated a planned coup or insurrection on January 6 last year, when hundreds of his supporters overran the Capitol building in protest against the presidential election results.

Bolton denied the accusations that Trump planned the incident, stating that “As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat – not here, but you know [in] other places – it takes a lot of work. And that’s not what he [Trump] did.”

When asked to elaborate, he said, “I’m not going to get into the specifics” before mentioning Venezuela. “It turned out not to be successful. Not that we had all that much to do with it, but I saw what it took for an opposition to try and overturn an illegally elected president and they failed”, referring to Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, and the US’s attempt to oust him by supporting opposition leader, Juan Guaido.

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The US government and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have been accused of planning and conducting numerous coups over the decades, some successful such as that in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, and Brazil and Chile in the 1960s and 1970s. Other coup attempts were unsuccessful, such as that in Cuba in 1961 and Venezuela three years ago.

Other US-led and backed overthrows of governments were carried out in the form of military invasions, such as that of Afghanistan in 2001 and of Iraq in 2003. Then there are other cases which have been suspected to be helped or carried out by the US, such as the ousting of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, earlier this year.

Although the involvement of Washington, the Pentagon and the CIA in coup attempts throughout the world has long been common knowledge, it is neither discussed nor admitted to by former and current American officials or diplomats, making it largely an open secret. Bolton’s admission – albeit unofficial – of his involvement in state-sanctioned coup attempts changes that dynamic.