The Struggle of the Venezuelan People against U.S. Interventionism

Gathering of Canadian Intellectuals in Support of the Bolivarian Revolution

Global Research, January 29, 2017
The Gathering of Canadian Intellectuals
Opposition demonstrators take part in a women's rally against Nicolas Maduro's government in San Cristobal

Following the spirit of solidarity expressed in the message released by the participants of the XII Meeting of the “Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements In Defense of Humanity,” held in Caracas, on April 11, 2016, and as testimony to the support on behalf of all the progressive forces of the world toward the Bolivarian Government and the Venezuelan people, in their struggle against the constant attacks carried out by the local and imperial oligarchy, we, the undersigned Canadian intellectuals, reiterate our support for the sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people.

We emphasize that the oligarchic/imperial aggressions reflected in the “economic war” and the “media war” directed against Venezuela are not isolated cases. Rather, they form part of an overall global strategy to silence the dissonant voice of the Bolivarian government and Venezuelan people for their opposing the structures implanted by global capitalism’s centres of power.

In this sense, we express our concern regarding the current mechanisms of manipulation, propaganda and intervention used to destabilize Venezuela’s democratic political institutions and social structures with the objective of restoring the previous order of oligarchic elitism as well as re-establishing the nefarious neoliberal policies that seek to dismantle the social gains achieved by the Bolivarian popular transformation process launched in 1998.

Likewise, we denounce that these incessant attacks have increased with the disinformation campaign carried out by media outlets, which have focused on the shortage of food and medicine without mentioning the economic war waged by the domestic oligarchy and other sectors of the local and imperial fifth column, to the detriment of the entire population, particularly the poorest sectors of Venezuelan society.

We also raise our voice against allegations of human rights violations in Venezuela, in particular the unfounded claims of a supposed existence of “political prisoners” in Venezuela. In fact, they are politician-prisoners who have violated Venezuelan penal laws by inciting violence that has caused the death of innocent Venezuelans. Nobody has mentioned this fact at the international level, as these opposition politicians echo that irrationality and have caused numerous deaths, hundreds of wounded and considerable material damage.

We express our admiration because, despite these attacks, aggressions and accusations, we note that Venezuela maintains its Bolivarian principles and enjoys a solid international prestige. In this regard, we congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the successful organization of the XVII Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Margarita Island, on September 17 and 18, 2016. This Summit took place under the theme of “Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity Towards Development.” On this occasion member states reaffirmed their commitment to respect the sovereignty, national unity, and territorial integrity of states, their sovereign equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the defense of the right of self-determination of the peoples, to refrain from using threats or force, to reject illegal policies in regards to changes to constitutional governments, and to condemn the promulgation and application of unilateral coercive measures.

Furthermore, we wish the best of success to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in its exercising of the Presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement for the 2016–2019 period, and, given its leadership, strengths and commitment to the less fortunate, we believe its tenure will reinforce and revitalize the aspirations of humankind to build a world of peace, justice, solidarity and shared development.

We recall that, despite the permanent aggression during 17 years of government management centred on the human being, coupled with a holistic view of human rights, the Bolivarian Revolution, inspired by the ideals of the Liberator Simón Bolivar and led by Commander Hugo Chávez Frías, has achieved one of the fairest distributions of wealth in Latin America, obtaining universal recognition of the progress made in education, food and income distribution, and community and popular development.

We emphasize that this policy of social assistance has been invigorated under the mandate of President Nicolás Maduro Moros, overcoming the adverse effects of a global crisis and the induced collapse of oil prices, given that the sharp drop of this commodity has been a consequence of a “financial war” that promotes stock market speculation as well as the overproduction of fossil fuels generated by, among other factors, the use of hydraulic fracking, a process that has aggravated the ecological fragility of the planet.

We express our firmest condemnation of reactionary actions taken to censor and silence the voice and critical opinion of TeleSUR through measures intended to weaken its image as a communication tool available to the entire world. For this reason, we deplore the Republic of Argentina’s untimely withdrawal from this communication platform, a departure that undermines political and media pluralism as well as the tangible progress of Latin American integration.

In order to counter these actions of censorship and misinformation regarding Venezuela, we express our willingness to contribute toward popularizing the broadcast of TeleSUR’s programming in Canada, employing the tools of modern media technologies and social networks, which have a high penetration rate in various sectors of Canadian public opinion.

In light of the long and dark interventionist record of the U.S. in Latin America, we vehemently declare our rejection of interventionist acts by the U.S. government against the democratic and institutional stability of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, imperial actions that are part of a new offensive inserted into a “Continental Condor Plan” in order to regain its lost influence in the region. These actions have sponsored a national and international vilification media campaign and a dehumanizing domestic economic war, without let-up, with the aim of provoking the suppression of the Bolivarian process.

Venezuela is not a security threat to any country but an example of hope, though it does represent a threat to the prevailing imperial order. In this regard, we demand the immediate repeal of the dismal and infamous U.S. government Executive Order, in which Venezuela is considered a threat to its national security and foreign policy; this Executive Order has been rejected by an overwhelming majority of countries around the world.

We reject any attempt to undermine the sovereignty of Venezuela through direct imperial actions, or by using hemispheric  or international organizations to promote a change of government by illegal means that restore the old oligarchic structures and dismantle the social gains achieved through revolutionary governmental social programs.

Therefore, we express our commitment to defend Venezuela’s institutions in the face of the de-legitimization campaign orchestrated in the current process of activating a constitutional option for convening a recall referendum, as definitely these operations of discrediting erode the fundamental precepts contained in the Bolivarian Constitution of 1999.

Given the recent destabilizing experiences against progressive governments in Latin America, evidenced in “soft” or “constitutional” coups, we reaffirm our solidarity with the Bolivarian government and people, and announce that we will remain alert to report any aggression against the Venezuelan constitutional order; therefore, we continue to support the Bolivarian process and the empowerment and deepening of popular grass-roots education and participation as a legacy of Commander Hugo Chávez Frías and as a guarantee of the continuity of the struggle for social justice and equality.

Finally, we reaffirm our full support towards Venezuela, whose government has been legitimately elected by the majority of the Venezuelan people, and, from this perspective, we call on the Canadian government to distance itself from interventionist U.S. policies that seek to dismantle progressive governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, framed in the American global strategy of promoting “wars by region” worldwide.

Ottawa – October 7, 2016

Michel Chossudovsky

James Cockcroft

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Kathy Hogarth

Maricarmen Guevara

Víctor Ramos

Stuart Ryan

Jorge Sorger

Santiago Escobar

Jean-Claude Balu

Luis Gómez

Félix Grande

Claude Morin

Arnold August

Obama’s Legacy In Latin America: Militarization, Right-Wing Coups, & The Rule Of Wall St.

Obama’s Legacy In Latin America: Militarization, Right-Wing Coups, & The Rule Of Wall St.

It seems we have arrived at the witching hour of Obama’s presidency, when corporate media ghouls continue to breathe out the infectious contagion of liberal lies and half-truths about the Great Dissimulator and his accomplishments.

Whether it’s The New York Times’ opinion pages hailing Dr. Changelove as “The Most Successful Democrat Since F.D.R.,” or the noxious nostalgia for the present injected into the public discourse like so many palliatives into the bloodstream of a terminal patient, the true history of Obama’s presidency is being veiled behind a mask of delusion.

Maybe it’s the Orange-Headed Hydra assuming power in Washington that gives the outgoing administration that air of dignity and grace. Maybe it’s the desire to craft a narrative in which “Hope” and “Change” were something other than hollow campaign slogans deftly employed by a charlatan of the first order. Or maybe it’s just business as usual in the heart of the U.S. Empire. No matter the reason, Barack Obama’s media-induced sainthood is now all but complete in liberal America’s collective psyche.

But the United States is not the only “America.”

Indeed, crossing the southern border and entering into that mysterious place called “Latin America,” one encounters a very different Obama legacy, one that is defined by the same policies that Yankee imperialists have employed for more than a century: destabilization, militarization, and exploitation.

Yes We Can!…continue to pursue a neocolonial agenda in Central and South America.

 

Obama’s love affair with the right wing

An artist who prefers to remain anonymous for security reasons pastes up one of his "interventions" that shows President Barack Obama at a podium surrounded by Honduran politician in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

An artist who prefers to remain anonymous for security reasons pastes up one of his “interventions” that shows President Barack Obama at a podium surrounded by Honduran politician in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

A mural in Lithuania depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump embracing in a passionate kiss has gone viral. The meaning of the image is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the skull, but it is no less perspicacious for its lack of subtlety. And while Russia has indeed tacitly, and rather shamefully, supported far-right candidates and causes for its own coldly pragmatic political reasons — Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, etc. — the truth is that Obama’s administration has also backed right-wing reactionaries and extremists where it has suited its interests.

Throughout Latin America, President Obama has been a driving force behind the resurgence of right-wing forces that have rolled back the gains of socialist and social democratic governments, targeted indigenous and African diaspora communities, assassinated activists, and toppled governments where they could.

So, yes, let’s talk about “legacy.”

In Honduras, Obama’s legacy was cemented from the very beginning of his presidency. In the summer of 2009, Manuel Zelaya, the country’s democratically-elected left-wing president, was removed from power in a midnight coup orchestrated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her cronies in Washington and in Tegucigalpa. And while Obama’s tepid condemnation of the coup elicited cheers from many liberals in its contrast to the Bush administration’s loving embrace of the coup against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 2002, the reality is that, as with all things Obama, it was mere words. The support of the president and his henchwoman was the driving force behind the coup.

Clinton is never one to shy away from an opportunity to boast about the amount of blood on her hands. In a passage which removed from later editions of her book “Hard Choices,” she rather brazenly admitted:

“In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico. We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot and give the Honduran people a chance to choose their own future.”

Obama’s top diplomat was instrumental in installing a right-wing government backed by the wealthiest business interests in Honduras and powerful players in Washington. As Clinton bagman Lanny Davis openly stated in an interview just weeks after the coup:

“My clients represent the CEAL, the [Honduras Chapter of] Business Council of Latin America. … I do not represent the government and do not talk to [interim] President [Roberto] Micheletti. My main contacts are [billionaires] Camilo Atala and Jorge Canahuati. I’m proud to represent businessmen who are committed to the rule of law.”

Indeed, Davis quite candidly exposed himself as an agent of powerful oligarch financiers and landowners who, until the election of Zelaya, had always maintained firm control of the reins of government in Honduras. These are precisely the people, backed by the Obama administration, wielding power in Honduras today through a violent right-wing government that assassinates indigenous leaders and human rights defenders such as Berta Cáceres, Margarita Murillo, and many others for the sake of investors who seek to develop indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, and peasant lands for massive profits.

Student protesters clash with police over the president's decision to run for re-election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a year after a controversial Supreme Court ruling voided a longtime constitutional ban on presidential re-election, Thursday Nov. 10, 2016. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

Student protesters clash with police over the president’s decision to run for re-election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a year after a controversial Supreme Court ruling voided a longtime constitutional ban on presidential re-election, Thursday Nov. 10, 2016. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

Beyond the killings of activists and the political backing of a right-wing coup government, Obama’s legacy in Honduras is also one of militarization. In 2014, The North American Congress on Latin America reported:

“The steady increase of U.S. assistance to [Honduran] national armed forces has, if anything, been an indicator of tacit U.S. support. But the U.S. role in militarization of national police forces has been direct as well. In 2011 and 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST)—which had previously carried out military-style missions in Afghanistan—set up camp in Honduras to train a local counternarcotics police unit and help plan and execute drug interdiction operations …

Supported by U.S. helicopters mounted with high caliber machine guns, these operations were nearly indistinguishable from military missions, and locals routinely referred to the DEA and Honduran police agents as “soldados” (soldiers).”

The NACLA report further noted that the Obama administration deployed at least five “commando style squads” of FAST teams across Central America. It added that, in Honduras, U.S. and Colombian special forces units have been training, equipping, and deploying with a new “elite” police unit called the Intelligence Troop and Special Security Group, or TIGRES (Spanish for “tigers”), which human rights groups argue is military in nature.

Ultimately, the man who rode the crest of a wave of “Hope” and “Change” not only brought more of the same to Honduras, and Latin America generally, he actually accelerated the re-conquest of the region by the forces of the military-industrial complex and finance capital.

 

Obama’s rightward push in South America

Demonstrators march with a sign that says in Portuguese "Get out Temer" and a drawing of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro, as they demand the impeachment of Brazil's President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP/Andre Penner)

Demonstrators march with a sign that says in Portuguese “Get out Temer” and a drawing of Cuba’s late President Fidel Castro, as they demand the impeachment of Brazil’s President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP/Andre Penner)

Another example of this confluence between Obama’s right-wing fetish and Wall Street’s boot on the neck of Latin America came last year in Brazil, when Dilma Rousseff’s democratically-elected government was removed from office in what can only be described as a parliamentary coup.

In mid-April of 2016, Reuters published a story exposing Michel Temer, the right-wing vice president at the time and the current president, as preparing the shortlist of his presumptive cabinet months before the Rousseff government had been toppled.

Temer tapped Paulo Leme to serve as either finance minister or head of the Central Bank. Leme is the chairman of Goldman Sachs’s operations in Brazil, making him perhaps the preeminent representative of Wall Street in the country. While his appointment may have been perceived as too brazen, the trend of Wall Street representatives steering the ship of Brazil’s economic and political life is impossible to ignore.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Obama administration, too, has been dominated from the beginning by the same types of financiers — often from the very same companies such as Goldman Sachs — that control the coup government in Brazil. The not-so-invisible hand of finance capital is now tightly coiled around the neck of Brazil. Another feather in Obama’s legacy cap.

Of course, there’s Obama’s graceful tango with the new right-wing government in Argentina led by Wall Street darling Mauricio Macri. While Obama was wining and dining the neoliberal reactionary, Macri was busy loading his new government with Wall Street insiders and representatives of Big Oil and other major industries.

This was the real Obama, the one who will not be paraded before Americans as the revered dear leader already missed before he’s left the stage. Rather, this was the man who, without conscience or compunction, ushered in a wave of right-wing reaction throughout the Western hemisphere.

And he did it with a smile.

 

Obama’s quiet militarization of Latin America

President Barack Obama, left, talks to Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos before the start of their meeting at the Casa De Huespedes during the sixth Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, Sunday April 15, 2012. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama, left, talks to Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos before the start of their meeting at the Casa De Huespedes during the sixth Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, Sunday April 15, 2012. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

One of Obama’s great accomplishments in the service of the military-industrial complex was his below-the-radar militarization of the region. The pervasive myth of Obama as distinctly different from George W. Bush lives on in the diseased minds of liberal sycophants, but the facts tell a different story.

Obama represented continuity with, and an expansion of, the worst policies of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when it came to Latin America. Plan Colombia, the broad heading for the billions of dollars spent on U.S. military engagement and cooperation in Colombia begun by Clinton and expanded by Bush, was further expanded under Obama.

Just totaling the military, police, and economic aid to Colombia for 2010 to 2015, the United States has given nearly $3 billion to Colombia in the form of “aid” to fight the so-called “War on Drugs,” widely seen as merely a cover for U.S. military power projection in South America. Add to that the fact that during Obama’s tenure, and under former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command William McRaven, special forces troop deployments ballooned to more than 65,000, with many spread throughout Latin America.

In an eerily similar fashion, Obama expanded funding and scope for the Mérida Initiative, a project launched by Bush in 2008 which essentially makes Mexico’s military and law enforcement into a de facto arm of the U.S. military and government. As with Plan Colombia (and AFRICOM), even though Obama did not launch this initiative, he expanded it significantly, providing more than $2.5 billion since 2008.

But if liberals want to soothe their broken hearts with the fact that Obama did not actually launch these programs, they might want to consider the Central American Regional Security Initiative, created by Obama in 2011.

According to a March 2014 report from the Igarapé Institute, an independent security and development think tank based in Brazil, CARSI and Mérida alone received nearly $3 billion (2008-2013). It is an open secret that the massive funding has been channeled primarily into military and paramilitary programs. Though the United States touts these programs as success stories, their expansion has coincided with increased militarization in every country where U.S. funds have been provided.

In El Salvador, the government led by President Mauricio Funes consolidated military control of law enforcement in the interests of its U.S. backers. These changes took place simultaneous to the implementation of CARSI, and should be seen as an outgrowth of U.S. militarization. In Guatemala, the government of Otto Pérez Molina, a former military leader with a record of atrocities and genocide, further militarized the country before being imprisoned for corruption in September of 2015.

Similarly, Honduras has been transformed into the U.S. military’s primary foothold in Central America. U.S. Coordinator of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) Lucy Pagoada explained in a 2015 interview that “[Honduras] has turned into a large military base trained and funded by the U.S. They even have School of the Americas forces there.”

“There have been high levels of violence and torture since the [2009] coup,” Pagoada continued.

 

Good cop, bad cop: Obama’s policies on Cuba and Venezuela

An image of President Barack Obama wearing fake ears and the slogan "Obama go home" on a street wall in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regularly sets social media afire with support, with heavily trending anti-U.S. campaigns such #ObamaYankeeGoHome and #ObamaRepealTheExecutiveOrder, which denounced U.S. sanctions on members of Maduro’s administration. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

An image of President Barack Obama wearing fake ears and the slogan “Obama go home” on a street wall in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regularly sets social media afire with support, with heavily trending anti-U.S. campaigns such #ObamaYankeeGoHome and #ObamaRepealTheExecutiveOrder, which denounced U.S. sanctions on members of Maduro’s administration. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Of course, no discussion of Obama’s actions in Latin America would be complete without an examination of Washington’s attempts to reassert its influence in the region with the simultaneous thaw in relations with Cuba and the destabilization of Venezuela.

Obama signed an executive order on Jan. 13 declaring both Venezuela and Cuba “national security threats” despite no evidence of any such threat. Isn’t it interesting that the president being lauded as the man who sought to normalize relations with America’s long-standing foe in Cuba still manages to not only classify the country as a threat, but to expand that same status to another geopolitical and strategic enemy in the region?

The Obama administration has attempted to undermine and destabilize Venezuela using as pretexts everything from a border dispute with neighboring Guyana to artificially created scarcity of staple goods and speculation against the currency by elites who control commodity distribution networks in the country, and whose backers reside in Madrid, Miami, and Washington. Julio Escalona, an economist and former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, told me in Caracas in 2015: “Our currency is not being devalued by speculation, but by hyper-speculation.”

And, in signature Obama style, Washington has backed the right wing, including many far right fanatics, in an attempt to wrest political control of the country away from the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) led by President Nicolás Maduro (and in spirit by Hugo Chávez).

Perhaps the best example is the targeted assassination of numerous prominent members of the PSUV, including the 2014 killing of Robert Serra, an up-and-coming Chavista legislator seen by many on the Venezuelan left as the “next Chávez.” Serra was assassinated by individuals connected to Álvaro Uribe, the former president of Colombia and long-standing U.S. proxy.

Similarly, the well-respected journalist and prominent Chavista Ricardo Duran was murdered outside his home in Caracas in January of 2016. Likewise, Fritz St. Louis, international coordinator of the United Socialist Haitian Movement and secretary general of the Haitian Cultural House Bolivariana de Venezuela, was assassinated in March of 2016. In all these killings, the hidden hand of the right wing and its backers in the United States has been an open secret.

And where is the outcry from the liberals who continue to laud Obama? Perhaps now that a Republican is in office they might soon dust off their political consciences to raise their voices against continued U.S. neocolonialism and imperialism in Latin America? Apparently, their interest in human rights and peace is dependent on the color of the tie worn by the man or woman in the Oval Office.

Obama’s legacy in Latin America is, like that of all other U.S. presidents of the last century, one of profit and exploitation, death and destruction. This is surely no secret in Latin America, where millions have raised, and will continue to raise, their voices in opposition to the Yankee Empire.

Unfortunately, the myth of the Nobel Peace Prize winner has become stronger than the reality of lived experience.

In this witching hour, the twilight of Obama’s presidency, let us not be entranced by spells cast by the coven of corporate media warlocks. Let us instead remember Obama’s legacy in Latin America not as “Hope” and “Change,” but as “More of the Same.”

The Uncertain Future for Latin America’s Giants

Darko Lazar

In 2015, Latin America, and specifically Mexico and Brazil, slipped into a recession. According to The World Bank, economic growth slumped to 0.9% – the lowest in 30 years, with the exception of the 2009 economic crisis. This led numerous analysts to conclude that the region’s 2003-2013 ‘Decada Dorada’, or the Golden Decade, was over.

The Uncertain Future for Latin America's Giants

These ‘golden’ years can be attributed to high commodity prices, cheap credit and investment in developing markets, accompanied by a political agenda that steered the region toward China and away from the US and the EU.

Since then, however, investment across the board has shrunk by 7.7%, unemployment is rising, the budget deficit rose to 6.9% of GDP, while the currencies of both Brazil and Mexico weakened against the US dollar by over 30% and 27% respectively.

The demise of hope

Brazil is the world’s 11th largest economy, while Mexico recently fell to 14th place. But according to economists, Mexico is third from last when it comes to the distribution of wealth, with Brazil bringing up the rear in last place.

Efforts by numerous governments have failed to address this issue. To make matters worse, the recent spike in inflation has further reduced the incomes of members of the working class.

Following a relative period of prosperity in the two countries, workers rights – freedom, justice, and equality – are now in danger of disappearing virtually overnight. And yet the vast majority of political parties, especially those in power, have made no attempt to reform their policies.

The dangerous and often incompetent internal strategies, coupled with foreign meddling, have driven the two Latin American giants – both in terms of size and economy – into uncharted territory.

The consequence is despair among millions of people, which is increasing the prospects of instability and unrest.
The Trump effect

The outcome of the US presidential election, which resulted in a victory for Donald Trump, is likely to have a tremendous impact on both Mexico and Brazil.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric promising to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and swiftly deport undocumented workers and illegal residents has understandably caused a great deal of anxiety across Latin America.

Out of the 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican origin currently residing in the US, 11.4 million are immigrants born in Mexico – of whom the vast majority are undocumented. Meanwhile, there are currently 1.3 million Brazilians living in the US and most of them are also illegal.

Interestingly, it’s not so much the implementation of these policies that threatens to be the biggest burden for Mexico and Brazil, but rather the influence of Trump’s political rivals in those countries, who are now mobilizing their assets to undermine his presidency.

According to leading Mexican newspaper La Jornada, Trump’s victory does not translate into ‘tranquility’, but the continuation of the battle.

Such statements fall directly in line with efforts by allies of the Clinton clan in Canada, who are reportedly laying the groundwork for an influx of Mexican migrants from the US. These developments will then be beamed across the world as an example of how detrimental the Trump presidency can be.

Canada’s CBS News recently reported that in “preparing for a potential surge in Mexican migrants coming to Canada after Donald Trump’s election victory… high-level meetings took place… with officials at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and in other departments”.

The government in Ottawa is simultaneously preparing to lift a visa requirement for Mexicans on December 1, which has been in place since 2009.

These political maneuvers will likely suck in other Latin American states, including Argentina – where an exponent of the Clintons, Mauricio Macri, is already in power – as well as Peru and Colombia.

In 2018, both Mexico and Brazil will be electing new heads of state. The Clintons and their allies are certain to try and manipulate this process in the hope of strengthening their influence and intensifying their efforts against Trump.

The deteriorating economic conditions in the two states are a major asset for the foreign actors. Although those conditions were largely brought about by a fall in global oil prices, political corruption and incompetent governance have played a major role.

But much of the mainstream media is now attributing the years-long economic crisis across Latin America to Trump’s victory in the US presidential race. Such allegations suggest that the battle for the White House is not just ongoing, but is expanding into regional states.

As such, the power struggle in the US is further complicating the situation in Mexico and Brazil, where the Washington elite commands an enormous amount of influence. That same influence was used to distance Brazil from the BRICS grouping, resulting in the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff earlier this year.

Rousseff’s removal, which was described by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua as a coup, marked the last phase of Brazil’s development launched under Lula Da Silva at the start of the Golden Decade.

Today’s low oil prices, budget deficit, and Washington’s grand designs for the region have given way to pessimism in both Brazil and Mexico over what the future holds for Latin America’s giants.

Source: Al-Ahed News

19-11-2016 | 07:28

Evo Morales Denounces Israel’s ‘Barabarism’ in Speech at UN

Wide Condemnation of US-Led Coalition Airstrikes against Syria Army Positions in Deir Ezzor

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 11:44

CAPITALS, (ST)-The US-led Coalition’s cowardly airstrikes which targeted Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzor province continued to receive strong condemnation. The attack claimed the lives of tens of army personnel and injured more than a hundred others.

In Tehran, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani on Tuesday condemned the US aggression on the Syrian Arab, stressing that it came in support for the terrorist organizations.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also strongly condemned the US-led bombardment of Syrian army forces, describing it as a clear sign of American support for the terrorist groups in the Arab country.

In comments on Sunday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said US-led bombing of Syrian forces and a subsequent offensive by the ISIS demonstrates that terrorist groups in Syria benefit from the backing of the US.

He slammed the airstrike as a violation of Syria’s independence and sovereignty, noting that US attacks are even risking the “ceasefire” and propping up the group which has been explicitly branded as a terrorist one in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, as reported by Tasnim.

Attacking Syrian Troops Shows US True Intentions

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the international adviser to Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, also said US airstrikes on Syrian government forces that are fighting terrorists highlight Washington’s true intentions.

“We strongly denounce the US measures, and do not believe that it was a military mistake,” said Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday during a meeting with Syria’s Ambassador to Tehran, Adnan Hassan Mahmoud.

The US will do anything to weaken Syria’s morale and boost terrorist groups, he added.

India mocks U.S. for justifying aggression as a mistake

In New Delhi, Secretary General of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yashori on Tuesday slammed the US aggression as an intervention in Syria’s internal affairs and to empower the terrorist groups against the Syrian army.

Yashori mocked the U.S. for justifying the attack as a mistake, saying the American pretext is unacceptable and urging the United States to stop interfering in the affairs of the region’s countries and let the peoples decide their future themselves.

The Czech websites lashed out at the American flagrant aggression against the Syrian Army in Dei Ezzor, saying the attack affirmed that the Americans were still refusing to coordinate their operations against ISIS terror Organization with Syria and it also indicated that the US-led coalition’s anti-ISIS operation “is not effective.”

US Airstrikes on Syrian Army ‘Horrible Incident’ Jeopardizing Truce – Kremlin

In Moscow, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US-led coalition’s airstrike against the Syrian troops was an awful incident, threatening the “ceasefire” regime, according to Sputnik.

“We know about the horrible incident, I mean the airstrike against the positions of the Syrian army that was mistakenly carried out, according to the Pentagon’s claims. Of course, all that threatens the ceasefire regime.

Bolivia: Aggression Weakens anti-terrorism front

The Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the American aggression, stressing that it “weakens the anti-terrorism Front and affirms that the white House is defending the extremists”.

It added that the attack violates the truce conditions and threatens international efforts to reach political settlement in Syria, urging the United States to explain the incident to the Security Council and the United Nations which should adopt necessary measures as to prevent repetition of such criminal acts.

Hezbollah: US Allegations about Fighting ISIL ‘Propagandist’

Hezbollah denounced the US-led strikes on Syrian army position in Deir Ezzor, describing as propagandist Washington’s allegations that the coalition was fighting the Takfiri ISIL group.

In a statement released by the party’s Media Relations, Hezbollah said that US allegations it had ‘mistakenly’ hit Syrian army positions are delusional.

ISIL attacks on the Syrian army coincided with US raids revealing Washington’s complicity with terrorist groups.

Such coincidence “reveals the collusion between Washington and these groups, if not the submission of terrorist groups to orders issued by some US administration officials,” the statement added.

Many Arab politicians, men of religion, and students in addition to Syrian expatriates also affirmed that the American aggression was a planned and intentional attack targeting the Syrian army which is defending Syria’s unity, sovereignty and independence in the face of the Zionist terrorist takfiri aggression.

Hamda Mustafa

 

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Bolivia, Venezuela & Ecuador Recall Ambassadors over Rousseff Impeachment

Following Brazilian senators’ vote to strip Dilma Rousseff of her presidency, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador announced that they are recalling their ambassadors in protest against what they said was a “coup against democracy.”

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

On Wednesday senators voted to impeach Rousseff, who had been temporarily suspended in May on corruption allegations and illegal manipulations of the national budget.

Following the vote and Conservative Vice-President Michel Temer’s being sworn in as the new Brazilian leader, several countries across Latin America vowed to remove their ambassadors from Brazil.

Venezuela condemned Rousseff’s impeachment saying it will not pursue relations with a government that stemmed from a “parliamentary coup d’etat.”

Venezuela “has decided to definitively withdraw its ambassador in the Federal Republic of Brazil, and to freeze political and diplomatic relations with the government that emerged from this parliamentary coup,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ecuador’s foreign ministry, in its turn, dubbed Rousseff’s ouster “a flagrant subversion of the democratic order in Brazil” saying it is withdrawing its representative to Brazil.

“Given these exceptional facts, the government of Ecuador has decided to call for consultations the charge d’affaires to the Republic of Brazil,” Ecuadorian government said in a statement, according to Telesur.

Ecuador said that Rousseff’s removal from her post was a “spurious” procedure which failed to provide concrete evidence of her actually committing “crimes of responsibility”.

Ecuador “cannot ignore the fact that many of the decision-makers in Rousseff’s impeachment are being investigated for serious acts of corruption,” it said in a statement.

Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa personally took to Twitter to voice his anger over Rousseff’s impeachment: “Never will we condone these practices, which recall the darkest hours of our America.”

Bolivia followed suit saying it is also recalling its ambassador.

“We are recalling our ambassador to Brazil,” Bolivian president Evo Morales wrote on Twitter.

“We condemn the parliamentary coup against brazil’s democracy. We stand with Dilma, Lula and the population in this difficult time,” Morales added referring to former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is facing corruption charges.

Bolivia’s foreign ministry confirmed the recall saying that the government “calls on all the countries of our region to reject these ‘soft’ blows to the state … provoked by an opposition unable to achieve enough votes to form a government,” according to AFP.

The government of Cuba also criticized the impeachment describing it as an “imperialist” offensive against progressive governments in Latin America.

The US State Department, however, said strong bilateral ties with Brazil would continue adding that the country’s Senate acted within the constitutional framework.

“We are confident we will continue our strong bilateral relationship,” said the US State Department spokesman John Kirby. “This was a decision made by the Brazilian people and obviously we respect that … Brazilian democratic institutions have acted within its constitutional framework.”

Meanwhile giving a speech before her supporters in capital Brasilia after the vote, Rousseff denounced the senators’ decision to remove her from her post and vowed to appeal her impeachment.

“They decided to interrupt the mandate of a president who had committed no crime. They have convicted an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup,” she announced. “Right now I will not say goodbye to you. I am certain I can say, ‘See you soon!'”

In response to Caracas recalling its envoy and the freezing of relations with Temer’s government, Brazil withdrew its ambassador to Venezuela. In light of harsh criticism regarding Rousseff’s impeachment Brazil also recalled its ambassadors to Bolivia and Ecuador, Reuters reported.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

01-09-2016 | 09:35

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USA causing problems all over Latin America

Washington’s ‘New Managers’ in Latin America: Oligarchs, Bankers and Swindlers

By James Petras

Amid raging corruption, social pathologies and outright political thuggery, a new gang of vassal regimes has taken-over Latin America. The new rulers are strictly recruited as the protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions. Hence the financial press refers to them as the “new managers” – of Wall Street.

The US financial media has once again provided a political cover for the vilest crimes committed by the ‘new managers’ as they launch their offensive against labor and in favor of the foreign and domestic financiers.

To understand the dynamics of the empire’s new vassal managers we will proceed by identifying (1) the illicit power grab (2) the neo-liberal policies they have pursued (3) the impact of their program on the class structure (4) their economic performance and future socio-political perspectives.

Vassals as Managers of Empire
Latin America’s current vassalage elite is of longer and shorter duration.

The regimes of longer duration with a historical legacy of submission, corruption and criminality include Mexico and Colombia where oligarchs , government officials and death squads cohabitate in close association with the US military, business and banking elites.

Over the past decades 100,000 citizens were murdered in Mexico and over 4 million peasants were dispossessed in Colombia. In both regimes over ten million acres of farmland and mining terrain were transferred to US and EU multinationals.

Hundreds of billions of illicit narco earnings were laundered by the Colombian and Mexican oligarchy to their US accounts via private banks.

The current political managers, Peña in Mexico and Santos in Colombia are rapidly de-nationalizing strategic oil and energy sectors, while savaging dynamic social movements – hundreds of students and teachers in Mexico and thousands of peasants and human rights activists in Colombia have been murdered.

The new wave of imperial vassals has seized power throughout most of Latin America with the direct and indirect intervention of the US. In 2009, Honduras President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a military coup backed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Zelaya’s program of agrarian reform, regional integration (with Venezuela) and constitutional elections was abolished. Zelaya was replaced by a US vassal, Roberto Micheletti who proceeded to murder several hundred landless rural workers and indigenous activists.

Washington moved to organize a constitutional cover by promoting a highly malleable landowner, Porfirio Lobo Sosa to the presidency.

The State Department next ousted Paraguyan President Francisco Lugo who governed between 2008-2012. Lugo promoted a moderate agrarian reform and a centrist regional integration agenda.

With the backing of Secretary of State Clinton, the Paraguayan oligarchy in Congress seized power, fabricated an impeachment decree and ousted President Lugo. He was briefly replaced by Vice President Federico Franco (2012-2013).

In 2013, Washington backed, the capital, Asuncion’s, notorious crime boss for President, one Horacio Castes – convicted for currency fraud in 1989, drug running in 1990, and most recently (2010) money laundering.

The Honduras and Paraguayan coups established (in miniature) the precedent for a new wave of ‘big country’ political vassals. The State Department moved toward the acceleration of banking takeovers in Brazil, Argentina and Peru.

In rapid succession, between December 2015 and April 2016 vassal managers seized power in Argentina and Brazil. In Argentina millionaire Mauricio Macri ruled by decree, by-passing constitutional legality. Macri fired scores of thousands of public service workers, closed social agencies and appointed judges and prosecutors without Congressional vote. He arbitrarily arrested social movement leaders – violating democratic procedures.

Macri’s Economic and Finance Ministers gained millions of dollars by ‘buying into’ multinational oil companies just prior to handing over private options on public enterprises.

The all-encompassing swindles and fraud carried out by the ‘new managers’ were covered up by the US media,who praised Macri’s professional team.

Moreover, Macri’s economic performance was a disaster. Exorbitant user fees on utilities and transport for consumers and business enterprises, increased three to ten-fold, forcing bankruptcy rates to soar and households to suffer light and gas closures.

Wall Street vulture funds received seven billion dollar payment from Macri’s managers ,for defaulted loans purchased for pennies over a dollar, twenty-fold greater then the original lenders.

Data based on standard economic indicators,highlights the worst economic performance in a decade and a half.

Price inflation exceeds 40%; public debt increased by twenty percent in six months. Living standards and employment sharply declined. Growth and investment data was negative. Mismanagement, official corruption and arbitrary governance, did not induce confidence among local small and medium size businesses.

The respectable media, led by the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post falsified every aspect of Macri’s regime. Failed economic policies implemented by bankers turned cabinet ministers were dubbed long-term successes; crude ideologically driven policies promoting foreign investor profiteering were re-invented as business incentives.

Political thugs dismantled and replaced civil service agencies were labelled ‘a new management team’ by the vulgar propaganda scribes of the financial press.

In Brazil, a phony political power grab by Congressional opportunists ousted elected President Dilma Rousseff. She was replaced by a Washington approved serial swindler and notorious bribe taker, Michel Temer.

The new economic managers were predictably controlled by Wall Street, World Bank and IMF bankers. They rushed measures to slash wages, pensions and other social expenditures, to lower business taxes and privatize the most lucrative public enterprises in transport, infrastructure, landholdings, oil and scores of other activities.

Even as the prostitute press lauded Brazil’s new managers’, prosecutors and judges arrested three newly appointed cabinet ministers for fraud and money laundering. ‘President’ Temer is next in line for prosecution for his role in the mega Petrobras oil contracts scandal for bribes and payola.

The economic agenda by the new managers are not designed to attract new productive investments. Most inflows are short-term speculative ventures. Markets, especially, in commodities, show no upward growth, much to the chagrin of the free market technocrats. Industry and commerce are depressed as a result of the decline in consumer credit, employment and public spending induced by ‘the managers’ austerity policies.

Even as the US and Europe embrace free market austerity, it evokes a continent wide revolt. Nevertheless Latin America’s wave of vassal regimes, remain deeply embedded in decimating the welfare state and pillaging public treasuries led by a narrow elite of bankers and serial swindlers.

Conclusion
As Washington and the prostitute press hail their ‘new managers’ in Latin America, the celebration is abruptly given way to mass rage over corruption and demands for a shift to the political left.

In Brazil, “President” Temer rushes to implement big business measures, as his time in office is limited to weeks not months. His time out of jail is nearing a deadline. His cabinet of ‘technocrats’ prepare their luggage to follow.

Maurico Macri may survive a wave of strikes and protests and finish the year in office. But the plunging economy and pillage of the treasury is leading business to bankruptcy, the middle class to empty bank accounts and the dispossessed to spontaneous mass upheavals.

Washington’s new managers in Latin America cannot cope with an unruly citizenry and a failing free market economy.

Coups have been tried and work for grabbing power but do not establish effective rulership. Political shift to the right are gyrating out of Washington’s orbit and find no new counter-balance in the break-up of the European Union.

Vassal capitalist takeovers in Latin America generated publicist anesthesia and Wall Street euphoria; only to be rudely shocked to reality by economic pathologies.

Washington and Wall Street and their Latin America managers sought a false reality of unrestrained profits and pillaged wealth. The reality principle now forces them to recognize that their failures are inducing rage today and uprisings tomorrow.

 

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