Racism And The Fight Over Venezuela

February 09, 2019

The U.S. coup attempt in Venezuela is not only about oil and general U.S. imperialism. It is attempt to bring a specific type of people back into power. The same type of people that rule in Washington DC.

The Nation describes how the U.S. has long funded and manipulated the opposition in Venezuela. The Random Guy™ Juan Guaidó, who claims the presidency, was created through this process:

How Washington Funded the Counterrevolution in Venezuela
Self-declared president Juan Guaidó comes from the right-wing, US-backed student movement that tried to subvert Hugo Chávez’s government.

The piece includes this revealing sentence:

A former USAID/OTI member who helped devise US efforts in Venezuela said the “objective was that you had thousands of youth, high school, and college kids that were horrified of this Indian-looking guy in power. They were idealistic.

Being “horrified” that the “Indian-looking” Hugo Chávez was in power does not seem “idealistic”. One might call it racist though. A number of those white, well off, U.S. trained college kids joint politics in right wing parties. They wanted to take power. But to sell one of theirs as a leader of a country where the majority is mestizo was a problem.

To solve that problem the Random Guy, despite being known only by 20% of Venezuelans, was selected to lead the U.S. coup attempt:

A figure named Juan Andrés Mejía would have been next in line but for reasons that are only now clear, Juan Guaido was selected.“There is a class reasoning that explains Guaidó’s rise,” Sequera, the Venezuelan analyst, observed. “Mejía is high class, studied at one of the most expensive private universities in Venezuela, and could not be easily marketed to the public the way Guaidó could. For one, Guaidó has common mestizo features like most Venezuelans do, and seems like more like a man of the people.

Guaido is a stand in. He was selected because he somewhat looked like the majority of the people of the country.

The two pictures below further demonstrate the role race plays in the conflict in Venezuela.

Venezuela currently has two assemblies that claim the right to legislate. In 2015 the opposition won a majority in the National Assembly, the original parliament of Venezuela:

However, the Venezuelan Supreme Court barred four lawmakers from taking their seats while it probed allegations of electoral fraud. As a result, only 163 of the 167 lawmakers were sworn in on January 5. The next day, three opposition deputies were sworn in over protests by members from the legislature’s minority who announced their intention to challenge the move.

The Supreme Court of Venezuela then held that the National Assembly was in contempt of the court. The move created a political stalemate. To solve it the president called for the election of a Constitutional Assembly. Its main task is to consider constitutional changes. But it can also overrule legislation that the National Assembly makes. The Supreme Court accepted the solution. The National Assembly, the rotational presidency of which Random Guy took at the beginning of this year, is since only a secondary parliament.

There is a visual difference between the two assemblies:

Opposition legislators of the National Assembly

Via VOA – biggerMembers of the Constitutional Assembly

Via BBC – biggerNational Assembly – Detail

Constitutional Assembly – DetailThe rich in Venezuela are overwhelming white people. They long ruled the country. The mestizo majority are the poor. Hugo Chavez brought them to power. The white people want the power back.

This obvious racist aspect of the conflict is missing from the general reporting of the issue. It only comes to light in the published visuals.

The race conflict is of course not unique to Venezuela. In the U.S., especially under Trump, racism is also prevalent. It is, I believe, the subliminal reason why the U.S. ruling class is joint in the effort to regime change Venezuela.

Posted by b on February 9, 2019 at 02:59 PM | Permalink

Reporter’s Diary from Venezuela

February 08, 2019

Reporter’s Diary from Venezuela

Reporter’s Diary from Venezuela.

Georgy Zotov (author of AIF weekly)

This is the personal view of the correspondent on today’s life of Caracas.

Translated by Scott

 

Day one…

Our Air France flight was grounded in Paris for 5 hours; no one wants to land in Venezuela in the middle of the night, due to the “dangerous criminal situation.” The airliner is half empty, the passengers, judging by nervous conversations, are only Venezuelans. A taxi driver, while leaving the airport, locks the doors, and sweetly warns that after dark, bandits scatter spikes on the roads and rob the stranded cars. “Oh, don’t worry, Amigo, I have an old car. They are not interested in old, cars.” That’s where you understand why Caracas is ranked first in the ranking of the most dangerous cities in the world. It’s too late for supper, but I at least want to exchange my US dollars for Venezuelan bolivars. I ask my cab driver. He violently shakes his head: “No, no, no. I do not mess with such things, it’s illegal!” “Whatever,” I laugh at him. “Tomorrow, someone will take the dollars, maybe even with my hands torn off.” I was wrong…

The following morning, no one at the hotel wants to look at my dollars. The hotel employee tells me to go to one of the official “exchange stores” but honestly adds: “only Americans, or complete jerks go there.”

In Venezuela, the official dollar exchange rate is 200 bolivars, and the “black market” exchange rate is 2,715. And if you exchange your currency in a bank, then according to this calculation, a bottle of ordinary water will cost 330 rubles, and a modest lunch in an inexpensive cafe—7,000 rubles per person. Judging by the stories on the Internet, in Venezuelan people should simply kill each other for dollars, but this is not the case. There is also other things different from perception. On western news, it is shown that demonstrators fight with police daily, tens killed, hundreds wounded, the sea of blood. But in Caracas, all is quiet. In an afternoon, people are sitting in cafes and idly sipping rum with ice, while maintenance crews sweep the streets. It turns out that the world ‘s leading TV new sources (including CNN and the BBC) show some fantasy film about Venezuela. “Demonstrations?” yawns Alejandro, a street vendor selling corn. “Well, Saturday there will be one, sort of. On one end of the city will be a rally of opposition supporters, and on the other, Maduro supporters. The police keep them separate to prevent fights.” Amazing. You browse the Internet, you turn on the TV, and you see the revolution, the people dying on streets to overthrow the “evil dictator Maduro.” And you come here, and nobody cares.

Then it got even better. Never in my life have I had so many adventures while trying to exchange one currency for another. The country has a problem with cash money, long queues waiting for the ATM, and even the street dealers of “currency” have no “efectivo,” as they call cash. I wander inside a jewelry store and ask if they want some “green.” The answer is “No.” Everyone acts like law-abiding citizens. I am told that police recently started arresting people for private exchange, that’s why people don’t want to associate. One owner of the jewelry store almost agrees. “What do you have? Dollars? No, I won’t take that.” “Why now?” “I take only the Euros …dollar, man, is the currency of the aggressor, they try to tell us how to live!”

Damn it! I have money in my pocket, and I can’t even buy lunch! Finally, a certain woman, nursing a baby in a workplace, very reluctantly agrees to exchange 2,200 bolivars for a “buck.” I want to curse her out, but I have to live somehow. Bolivars seem like a beautiful, unattainable currency, which hides all the benefits of the world, that’s why they are so hard to get. I’m nodding in agreement. The woman calls somewhere, and asks to wait. After 15 minutes she tells me that “there is a problem.” Of course, money is not to be found. Her man couldn’t withdraw them from the ATM, everywhere the ATMs are on a strict daily rate. “President Maduro is fighting for the strengthening of the national currency,” explained the nursing mother. “We all use our cards to pay for everything.” I don’t know how it works, but yesterday an exchange rate was 3,200 bolívars for 1 dollar, and today the “bucks” fell to 2,700. I have started to realize that in the very next few days I’ll starve to death with dollars in my pocket. A unique fate, perhaps, that has never happen in history.

In the next kiosk cash for gold place I am offered a plastic debit card loaded with local money, and then I would try my luck withdrawing bills from neighboring ATMs. “Or, maybe not, if you’re not lucky.” Well, of course. By the way, an attempt to buy a SIM card for the phone also fails. They don’t sell them to foreigners, you need a Venezuelan ID card. Yes, and I have nothing to pay for it. The feeling is that the dollar is a gift that no one wants. Sadly, I walk by stores. People come out of there with packages of eggs, bread, packs of butter. The range is not like in Moscow, of course, but again, if you believe the news on TV, Venezuela is suffering from a terrible famine, supermarkets are empty, and people are fighting each other for food. Nothing like that. There are queues, but not kilometers long. In general, television stations in the United States and Europe (and ours too) created their own Venezuela, drawn like a terrible cartoon. I walk into a cafe at random. “Will you accept dollars for lunch?” I ask hopelessly. “Yes, at the rate of “black market” they whispered to me. “But the change will also be in dollars…sorry, no bolivars at all…we’ve been hunting for them ourselves for weeks.”

My first day in Venezuela is over. How unusual. I’ve been here for 24 hours, and I’ve not held a Bolivian bill in my hand. Oh, but there will be more…

 

Day two…

60 liters of gasoline here cost five cents, and a basket of basic food products — 50 rubles (about 90 cents).

“The gas station,” my driver reaches into his purse and takes out a banknote of 2 Bolivar. The exchange rate of the Venezuelan currency changes every day, and today it is 2 580 bolivars per one dollar. In Russian money, that is 10 cents. “We must now fill a full tank,” says the taxi driver. 60 liters of gasoline cost 1 bolívar, but we give the 2 bolivars bill, because there is no 1 bolivar bill.  I can’t believe that is a full tank of fuel costs FIVE CENTS? “And how much can you even fill at this price?” “Once a day for every citizen. And it’s enough for me.” All the way to the center city, the driver scolds President Maduro, and tells me how much he loves America, and how it will be good when the “guy with mustache” is finally overthrow by the Americans. I start to think that I don’t feel sorry for Maduro at all. He really corrupted en entire country with such generous handouts. And they are willingly take, but no one says “thank you,” just that they want more and more.

On the street there is a long line into a “social supermarket,” a place you can buy 400 types of goods at the solid low prices. These shops were established by the late President Hugo Chavez “to fight inflation and protect the poor.” The stores are funded by the Venezuelan government. The buyer comes with a passport, gets a number, and waits in line until they are allowed to enter and buy a certain set of products. The selection isn’t very impressive, only the essentials: chicken, bananas, pineapples, sausages, milk. A box of these food items costs of equivalent of 50 rubles. CNN and the BBC show videos of Venezuelans wrapped in rolls of toilet paper and sadly wandering across the border with Colombia. The toilet paper is found in absolutely every store, and without any problems. I am once again simply amazed: Western TV news is something from Hollywood, they are not reporting but making fantasy blockbusters. On the BBC website I read that hungry Venezuelan children after school go to take a look at the street vendors cooking meat. I’ve been all over the town. Restaurants, cafes, eateries, during the lunch hour are crowded, and people look well-dressed. The mass hunger, the Western media paints for us, doesn’t exist in reality.

I take a few pictures inside the supermarket, and I am immediately approached by the workers or “Maduro followers.” “It’s forbidden to take pictures here.” “Is this a military facility?” “Leave or we’ll call the police.” “Listen, everywhere on TV they tell us that there is hunger in Venezuela. I want to prove that the reality is different.” “We are not interested, we just work here: leave immediately!” I started to understand perfectly well why Nicolas Maduro lost the information war. Hugo Chavez was often praised even in private conversations, but even Chavez supporters find little positive to say about Maduro.  When people protested against Hugo’s endless nominations as the head of state, he used to meet them with the open arms, smiling and saying : “Guys, what’s the problem? I’m your President, I love you, let’s sit down and talk!” Maduro doesn’t have this image of being one of the guys. He is not able to communicate with the public, and his assistants, like the employees of the social store, can only push and ban and threaten with the police.

On the streets, provincial farmers sell fruits and vegetables: mango, tomatoes, cucumbers. All about the same price of 25 rubles per kilogram. Here, a dozen eggs from street vendors is 4,800 bolivars or about 130 rubles, and that is not cheap. During the peak of oil prices, when a barrel of oil was sold for $150, Venezuela lived on the principle of a rich fool. To develop domestic production? No, what is that nonsense?  We can buy every triviality abroad. Even the managers of the oil production weren’t local, they hired specialists from Europe, and paid them a lot of money. Food imports into the country reached 95 percent. And now the situation is not too different. When I order my meal in a cafe (incidentally, still paying in dollars, all attempts to change dollars to bolivars failed), I get excellent pork. “Where is it from?” “From Colombia.” “And chicken?” “From Brazil, that’s why it’s so expensive.” Even flour for bread comes from neighboring Guyana. Chavez and his successor Maduro wanted to be “people’s presidents,” handing out money left and right. But then oil prices collapsed, food shortages began, and people rebelled. People demand as before: cheap food in supermarkets, gasoline for nothing, and they don’t want to hear anything more or less.

“Chavez was a great guy!” says a fan of the former president, 75-year-old Raul Romero, dressed in a red “chavist” shirt. “Maduro is nothing like him! There is speculators on the streets, he does nothing. In his time, Chavez arrested the dealers raising food  prices, closed their shops, confiscated land from landowners, and gave it to the people. We need a firm hand, a real dictatorship!”

In the TV world, Maduro is portrayed as a dictator and executioner, although in Venezuela, he is openly scolded for being meek; they draw cartoon of him, and insult him as much as they can. But who cares about the truth? Much more colorful to show the suffering for the toilet paper.

Day three…

“I got robbed by a COP for my phone. I’m talking on the cell phone outside, he walks over to me, pokes in my side with his gun. “Give me your mobile.”I don’t understand immediately, and automatically continue the conversation. He cocks his gun, and says, “Kill.” I give him my phone. It’s still good, I love being robbed by cops. They are not bandits from the “Barrios,” the poor neighborhoods in the mountains, who can shoot you first and then rummage your corpse’s pockets. I’m lucky, I’ve lived in Venezuela for 27 years and this was the first time I was “hop-stopped.” A lot of people get robbed every year.

I am talking to Mikhail, a citizen of Russia living in Venezuela since the beginning of the nineties. He helps me move around Caracas and instructs me on how to visit the local slums.

“You don’t have protection? Oh, who would doubt that. Then leave your watch, phone, and camera at the hotel. Take some money for a taxi, you also have to have some cash in case you get ambushed, otherwise they might get offended and kill you. Sometimes, people get shot in an arm and a leg, that survivable.”

After such a nice story, I still go to the “Barrios.” It is there that the supporters of President Nicolas Maduro mainly live. According to CNN and BBC, impoverished people in Venezuela are revolting against the government. Nothing can be further from the truth; it’s a wealthy middle class that goes to demonstrate. Maduro is applauded in poor neighborhoods, because the President gives their residents free food sets enough for a month and gives free (!) apartments. Formally, they belong to the state, but people live in them for generations.

“I will cut a throat for the President,” a heavily-tattooed man smiles menacingly, and introduces himself as Emilio. “Who else would give me food and a ‘roof ‘ for free? He is our father and benefactor.” Maduro deliberately does not touch such people, which is why crime in Caracas gushes over the edge. I am advised not to stop on the street to look at anything, but just to keep going, otherwise bandits will have time to look closely at me. That’s why they have constant robberies on the streets, plus the police and the national guard can easily take away your favorite things. No one can be happy about all these. “I love Russians,” told me the businessman Carlos while conversing over coffee near the Plaza de Bolivar. “But you’d better send Maduro economic advisers. Teach him a lesson! He doesn’t know anything about economy. He has one recipe for everything, to give more money to the poor, more free apartments, free food, free gasoline, to build a full communism here. But with this, sorry, any state would collapse.”

The opposition rally in the Western part of Caracas is huge, at least 100 thousand people gathered. The protesters are friendly to me, Russia here is respected. It is not considered an enemy. Zero aggression at all… and then I  wonder about what I see on CNN, videos of the opposition being rolled into a pancake by tanks. The police keep the neutrality, it disappears from the streets, to not give a cause to provocateurs. People are happily waving flying in the sky military helicopter. Many-in t-shirts with the American flag, a man passes by, holding a hand-written poster with the altered slogan of Donald Trump -“Make Venezuela great again.” “Do you love the U.S.?” “Yes, adore it!” “I remember you already had a pro-American President in 1993, Carlos Andrés Pérez. He sharply raised the price of gasoline, 80% of the goods were imported, he drove the republic into billions of IMF debts. People went to demonstrations, and Pérez drowned them in blood, killing 2,000 people…then he fled to America.”

The man freezes, with his mouth open. Finally, he gets the gift of speech back. “I hope this time the pro-American President will be different.” “Are you sure?” “Sorry, I have nothing to say.” Asking the girl from the opposition how she feels about the US: “The US is our neighbor, let them change the power here.” “In countries where the US changed power like Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands people were killed. Are you ready for this?”

Again, she pauses and sighs.

“No, no, no. We are not Africa or Asia. All will go peacefully. Venezuelans will not kill each other.”

Where the opinions splits is the question of whether the free gasoline and free food packages will remain with an American-instilled government. Many are sincerely sure that the “freebies” will remain under a new president. How else? The minority that recognizes that state gifts will be canceled say that they at least “we will be free.” As I said, the protesters are mostly well-dressed, well-off people. By the way, the leader of the opposition, Juan Guido, also has no real economic program promising to “quadruple the oil production.” No one thinks that after that price will fall four times. In short, I get a feeling that neither the President, nor the opposition, know anything about the economy in Venezuela.

The demonstrations in support of Maduro take place at the other end of the city, to prevent the opponents from fighting. “You Americans are insolent!” screamed an old woman in a red t-shirt rushing towards me. “Bastards! You should be handed on a first tree! Cheers to socialism!” “I’m Russian, grandma.” The old lady recoils.  “Sorry, please.” “Don’t get that upset, senora.” Many people gathered here are joyful, dancing and singing.

A soldiers stands in front of me and doesn’t allow me to take any pictures. Not just me, but also other passers-by. “You can’t take pictures here.” “Says who?” “President Maduro.” No, Maduro is definitely doing everything he can to be disliked. Those gathering here are poor, blue-collared workers and farmers from the suburbs. I am interested , honestly, were you brought here on the busses? “Yes, he did!” says one grandfather, proudly displaying a portrait of Che Guevara. “But I would walk here for Maduro! It’s a lie that we were paid to be here.” Other people applaud him happily. I shake hands. “Russians are welcome! Venezuela loves you, you’re home.”

The day of rallies is over. The maintenance crews came to the sidewalk, strewn with plastic bottles, crumpled packs of cigarettes, and other debris left after by a cloud. At the entrance of an old house, old people drink coffee. “They say that today some general has defected to the side of the opposition,” says one of them. “Some significant person.” “What’s this guy’s name?” “Who knows?” Venezuela is split in half. And the situation there may change at any moment.

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

February 07, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

INTRODUCTION

This news-report is being submitted to all U.S. and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hude such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the U.N. General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public:

THE COVERED-UP DOCUMENT

On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N.s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.” He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military. …

29. … Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization. …

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied]. …

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”. …

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means. …

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria:

There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill. …

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”. …

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”. …

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America.

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures. …

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly: (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes? (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law. …

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment. …

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him. …

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup. …

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change. …

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed. …

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country. …

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions.

In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under. …

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”….

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

(NOTE: Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit,” is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the U.S. empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.)

(NOTE: Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter: https://documents-dds-ny.un.. As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the U.N. needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the U.N.’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the U.N. itself.)

(NOTE: On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined

“Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The U.N. International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges”. Flügge especially cited U.S. President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference”. This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton: “The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery”. Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”)

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

The US aggression against Venezuela as a diagnostic tool

The US aggression against Venezuela as a diagnostic tool

The Saker

January 30, 2019

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

The Neocons never cease to amaze me and their latest stunt with Venezuela falls into this bizarre category of events which are both absolutely unthinkable and simultaneously absolutely predictable.  This apparent logical contradiction is the direct result of a worldview and mindset which is, I believe, unique to the Neocons: a mix of imperial hubris and infinite arrogance, a complete lack of decency, a total contempt for the rest of mankind, crass ignorance, a narcissist/sociopath’s inability to have any kind of empathy or imagine another guy’s reaction and, finally, last but most certainly not least, crass stupidity.  There is so much which can be said about the latest US aggression on Venezuela that entire books could be (and will be) written about this, but I want to begin by look at a few specific but nonetheless very symptomatic aspects:

“In your face” stupidity or bootcamp-like deliberate public humiliation?

Remember the almost universal reaction of horror when Bolton was appointed as National Security Advisor?  Well, apparently, either the Neocons completely missed that, which I doubt, or they did what they always do and decided to double-down by retrieving Elliott Abrams from storage and appointing him US Special Envoy to Venezuela.  I mean, yes, of course, the Neocons are stupid and sociopathic enough not to ever care about others, but in this case I think that we are dealing with a “Skripal tactic”: do something so ridiculously stupid and offensive that it places all your vassals before a stark choice: either submit and pretend like you did not notice or, alternatively, dare to say something and face with wrath of Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon’s version of Uncle Sam).  And it worked, in the name of “solidarity” or whatever else, the most faithful lackeys of the Empire immediate fell in line behind the latest US aggression against a sovereign nation in spite of the self-evident fact that this aggression violates every letter of the most sacred principles of international law.  This is exactly the same tactic as when they make you clean toilets with a toothbrush or do push-ups in the mud during basic training: not only to condition you to total obedience, but to make you publicly give up any semblance of dignity.

MAGA? really?

This is not just a case of history repeating itself like a farce, however.  It is hard to overstate how totally offensive a character like Elliott Abrams is for every Latin American who remembers the bloody US debacle in Nicaragua.  US vassals now have to give up any type of pretend-dignity in front of their own people and act as if Abrams was a respectable and sane human being.

I believe that this kind of “obedience conditioning by means of humiliation” is not just a case of the Neocons being idiots, but a deliberate tactic which will, of course, backfire and end up hurting US puppets worldwide (just like the pro-US Russian “liberal” opposition was eviscerated as a result of being associated by the Russian public opinion with the US policies against Russia, especially in the Ukraine).

Finally, these appointments also show that the senior-Neocons are frightened and paranoid as there are still plenty of very sharp junior-Neocon folks to chose from in the USA, yet they felt the need to get Abrams from conservation and place him in a key position in spite of the strong smell of naphthalene emanating from him.  This reminds me of the gerontocrats of the Soviet Politburo in the worst stagnation years who had to appoint the likes of Chernenko to top positions.

The one thing the Mr MAGA’s administration has in common with the late Brezhevian Politburo is its total inability to get anything done. My wife refers to the folks in the White House (since Dubya came to power) as the “gang that couldn’t shoot straight” and she is right (she always is!): they just can’t really get anything done anymore – all their half-assed pseudo-successes are inevitably followed by embarrassing failures.

As I wrote in my article “The good news about the Trump Presidency: stupid can be good!” these folks will only precipitate the collapse of the AngloZionist Empire, which is a very good thing.  The bad thing is, of course, that the Neocons are negating any chance for a gradual, phased, collapse and are, instead, creating a dynamic in which a sudden, catastrophic, collapse becomes much more likely.

Now we have all seen the latest antic from Bolton: showing up with a yellow pad with “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it.  Again, this might be a case of Bolton being senile or not giving a damn, but I doubt it.  I think that this is just another oh-so-subtle way to threaten Venezuela with a US-led invasion.  And, really, why not?

If the Empire thinks it has the authority and power to decide who the President of Venezuela should be, it has to logically back up this stance with a threat, especially since there is no US authority, moral or otherwise, left.

The obvious question here is how this threat will be received in Venezuela and that largely depends on how credible that threat is.  Now, “5,000 troops” could mean anything, ranging from a infantry brigade combat team to the typical US mix of as many putatively “special” forces as possible (to make every service happy and give everybody a piece of the expected (but never achieved) “victory pie” – many careers in the US depend on that kind of stuff).  At this point in time, I rather not speculate and get technical about how such a force could be structured.  Let’s just assume that it will be an overall credible and well-packaged force and try to speculate how the Venezuelans could react to it.

The state of the Venezuelan military

Here I am particularly lucky as I have a close and trusted Latin American friend who is now a retired Lt-Colonel who spent many months in Venezuela working with the Venezuelan military in a capacity which I cannot disclose, but which gave him quasi-total access to every unit and military facility in the country and who, just a couple of years ago, shared with me his impression of the Venezuelan military.  Here is what he told me:

A military, any military, is always the product of the society which produces it and this is also true of Venezuela.  It would be silly to admit that the Venezuelan economy is a total mess while expecting the Venezuelan armed forces to be a shining example of professionalism, honesty and patriotism.  The sad reality is very different.

For one thing, much of the Venezuelan military is hopelessly corrupt, as is the rest of society.  In a country whose economy is imploding, this is hardly surprising.  Furthermore, for years both Chavez and Maduro have fought an uphill battle to remove as many potential traitors and class enemies (in a Marxist sense of the word) from the Venezuelan military and replace them with “socially close” (a Bolshevik concept) elements from the poorer sections of society.  Truth be told, this was a partially successful strategy as seen by the fact that during this latest coup attempt the Venezuelan military overwhelmingly supported the Venezuelan Constitution and the legitimacy of Maduro.  And yet that kind of loyalty often comes at the costs of professionalism and at the risk of corruption as seen by the case of the Venezuelan military attache to the USA who clearly was a US agent.  I am afraid that the current situation in Venezuela might be similar to what it was in Syria in the very early stages of the AngloZionist war against this country when scores of top officials of the Syrian government proved to be traitors and/or US agents.  In Syria the government eventually re-took control of the situation, but only with a great deal of help from Iran and Russia and after almost being toppled by the US-run Takfiri forces.

The good news here, according to my friend, is that the Venezuelan special forces (army special forces, jungle infantry troops, “Caribe” counter insurgency units, airborne units, etc) are in a much better shape and that they could form the core of a resistance force to the invasion, not unlike what the Republican Guard eventually did in Iraq.  But the biggest difference with Iraq is that in Venezuela the majority of the people are still backing Maduro and that any invasion force should expect to meet a lot of resistance of the type which the US encountered in Iraq after the invasion of the country.  Also, there was a fragile truce of sorts between Hugo Chavez and various Left-wing guerillas who agreed to stop their military operations, but who also kept all their weapons “just in case”.  This “case” has now happened and we can expect that any US invasion will trigger an immediate re-emergence of a Left-wing guerilla force which, combined with popular support and the key role of a core of patriotic Venezuelan special forces could form a very dangerous combination, especially in the mid to long term.

Keep in mind that corrupt officers don’t like combat and that while they might aid a US invasion force, they will only do so as long as things seem to go the easy way, but as soon as things go south (which is what always happens to US invasion forces) they will run as fast as they can.  So while the endemic corruption now will be a problem for the Maduro government, it will become a problem for the US as soon the legitimate government is toppled.

Comparisons are necessarily tricky and crude, but with this caveat in mind, don’t think “Syria” but rather think “Iraq” when considering the possible outcomes of a US invasion.

The state of the Venezuelan people

This is really crucial.  Hugo Chavez’ reforms alienated a lot of Venezuelans, especially those who made their fortunes by servicing US interests and who became your typical Latin American version of a comprador class.  Much of the middle-class also got hurt and are angry.  However, these same reforms also empowered huge numbers of destitute and poor Venezuelans who, for the first time, felt that the government stood for their interests and who remember what it was like to live in abject poverty under a US-backed regime.  These folks probably have no illusion about what the toppling of this government would mean for them and they are likely to fight hard, if not necessarily competently, to keep the little rights and means they acquired during the Chavez years.  There is even what is sometimes referred to “Chavistas without Chavez” which some describe as potential back-stabbing traitors while other see them as more pragmatic, less ideological, faction of Chavez supporters who decry Chavez’ mistakes but don’t want their country to turn into a Colombia-style US colony. Whatever may be the case, Hugo Chavez’ pro-popular policies left a very profound mark on the country and you can expect that a lot of Venezuelans will take up arms and resist any US/Colombian invasion.

Would *you* trust that face?

Here I think we can all express our heartfelt gratitude to Mr MAGA whose appointment of Elliott “Iran-Contra” Abrams has done more than any government sponsored propaganda to clearly and bluntly explain to the Venezuelan people who is doing what to them and why.

Seriously, Ron Paul or Tulsi Gabbard speaking of democracy is one thing, but having gangsters and psychopathic thugs like Pompeo, Bolton or Abrams in charge really sends a message and that message is that we are dealing with a banal case of highway robbery triggered by two very crude considerations:

  • First, to re-take control of Venezuela’s immense natural resources.
  • Second, to prove to the world that Uncle Shmuel can still, quote, “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business“, unquote.

The obvious problem is that 1) nobody takes the US seriously because 2) the US has not been capable of defeating any country capable of resistance since many decades already.  The various US special forces, which would typically spearhead any invasion, have an especially appalling record of abject failures every time they stop posing for cameras and have to engage in real combat.  I assure you that nobody in the Venezuelan military cares about movies like “Rambo” or “Delta Force” while they carefully studied US FUBARs in Somalia, Grenada, Iran and elsewhere.  You can also bet that the Cubans, who have had many years of experience dealing with the (very competent) South African special forces in Angola and elsewhere will share their experience with their Venezuelan colleagues.

Last but not least, there are a lot of weapons in circulation in Venezuela and which the various popular militias and National Guard would be more than happy to further distribute to the local population if any invasion appears to be successful.

The State of the Empire and its puppet-President Macrobama

Well, here the famous “insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results” is the best possible description of US actions.  Just look at this sequence:

President Macrobama?

Does all this not look boringly familiar?

Does this bizarre mix of Neocons, gerontocrats and deepstaters really, sincerely, believe that this time around they will “win” (however you define that)?!

More relevantly – has this recipe ever worked in the past?  I would say that if we accept, for argument’s sake, that the goal is to “restore democracy” then obviously “no”.  But if the goal is to wreck a country, then it has worked, quite a few times indeed.

Next, a few misplaced hopes

I am getting a lot of emails suggesting that Russia might do in Venezuela what she did in Syria.  Let me immediately tell you that this is not going to happen.  Yes, there are a lot of Russians in Venezuela, but the “Russians are not coming”. For one thing, I will never cease to repeat that the Russian intervention in Syria was a very small one, and that even if this small force proved formidable, it was really acting primarily as a force multiplier for the Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian government forces.  And yet, even the deployment of this very small force necessitated a huge logistics effort from Russia whose military (being a purely defensive one) is simply not structured for long-distance power projection.  Syria is about 1000km from Russia.  Venezuela is about 10 times (!) further.  Yes, I know,a few Tu-160 visited the country twice now and there are Russian advisors in the country and the Venezuelans have a few pretty good Russian weapons systems.  But here, again, this is a game of numbers.  Limited numbers of Russian-made combat aircraft (fixed and rotary wing), air defense missiles or even large numbers of advanced MANPADs or assault rifles won’t do the trick against a determined US-Colombian invasion.  Finally, there is no Venezuelan equivalent to Iran or Hezbollah (an outside ally and friend) which would be capable and willing to deploy real combat forces for actual, sustained combat against the invader.

Next comes terrain.  Yes, much of Venezuela is difficult to access, but not for jungle-experienced forces which both the US military and the Colombians have.  Furthermore, there is absolutely no need to invade the entire country to topple the legitimate government.  For that all you need is to control is a few key facilities in a few key locations and you are done.  For example, I don’t see the USAF or USN wasting any time in air-to-air combat against the (few) Venezuelan Sukhois – they will simply destroy them in their hangars along with their runways and air combat management radars and command posts.  So the terrain will not prevent the Empire of suppressing Venezuelan air defenses and as soon as this is done, you can expect the usual mix of bomb and missile strikes which will create chaos, wreck command and control capabilities and, basically, disorganize much of the military.  Finally, US forces in Colombia and USN ships off the Venezuelan coast will enjoy a safe harbor from which to launch as many strikes as they want.

Next, hopes that Russia and China will somehow resuscitate the Venezuelan economy are also ill-founded.  First, neither country is interested in pouring money into a bottomless pit.  It is one thing to sign contracts which are likely to eventually produce a return on investment and quite another to dump money into a bottomless pit (as the US and Europe have found out in the Ukraine).  Second, the Venezuelan economy is so deeply enmeshed in the US-UK run international financial system that neither China nor Russia can do anything about it.  That is not to say that US sanctions, subversion and sabotage did not play a major role in the collapse of the Venezuelan economy, they sure did, but it is equally true (at least to Russian specialists) that many of the Chavista reforms were botched, a lot of them were a case of too little too late, and that it will take years to refloat the Venezuelan economy.

Finally, we are comparing apples to oranges here: the task of the AngloZionists is to destroy the Venezuelan economy while the Chinese and Russian task would be, at least in theory, to rescue it.  Destroying is so much easier than building, that the entire comparison is logically flawed and fundamentally unfair.

I really mean no offense to the supporters of Hugo Chavez and his ideals (I very much include myself in this category) but anybody who has been to, or near, Venezuela will tell you that destitute Venezuelans are not only running out of the country in large numbers, but they also contribute to destabilize the neighboring states.  So we should have no Pollyannish notions about all the reports about the economic and social collapse in Venezuela as only “US propaganda”.  Sadly, much of it is true even if often exaggerated, lopsided and missing all the very real successes of the Chavez reforms, hence the continuous popular support, in spite of it all, the Maduro government continues to enjoy.  Still, the overall picture is very bleak and it will take Venezuela consistent and correct action to recover from the current plight.

So is there still hope?  Yes, absolutely!

I recently replied the following to a friend asking me about a possible Russian intervention in Venezuela “I place my own hopes not in the Venezuelan military, or in Chinese or Russian help, but on the amazing ability of the US Americans to f*** up.  At the end of the day, that is our biggest ally: the US stupidity, ignorance, arrogance and cowardice“.

Think of what currently passes as a “policy” of the USA in Venezuela as a diagnostic tool.

Not just to diagnose the moral degeneracy and mental pathology of the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire, but also to diagnose the very real state of despair and chaos of the Empire itself.  Under Obama, for all his faults and weaknesses, the US succeeded in subverting a list of crucial Latin American countries (like Brazil or Argentina) but now, with Mr MAGA, it can’t even do that.  The kind of antics we see from the Pompeo, Bolton & Abrams gang is amazing in its crudeness and, frankly, makes a supposed “indispensable nation” look absolutely ridiculous.  These losers already had to fold several times, in spite of equally hyperbolic threats delivered with maximal gravitas (think DPRK here), and yet they still think that crude bullying methods can yield success.  They can’t.  Immense firepower is not a substitute for brains.

In its short and blood-soaked history, the USA has pretty much always acted like some criminal enterprise run by brutal gangsters, but in the past some of these gangsters could be extremely well educated and intelligent (think James Baker here).  Today, their guns are still lying around (albeit in various states of disrepair), but they are wielded by ignorant retards.  Yes, ignorant retards with guns can be very dangerous, but they can never be effective!

Conclusion

Right now the US, backed by its various colonies and vassal states, appears to be ready to deliver a death blow to Venezuela and, truth be told, they might be able to do just that.  But, for whatever it is worth, my gut feeling is that they will fail again, even against the weakest countries of the Axis of Resistance.  That is not to say that Venezuela is not in a heap of critical problems.  But I believe that in spite of being in a critical condition, Venezuela will be able to bounce back, just like Syria did.  After all, the Syrian example proves that it *is* possible to resist a superior invading force while at the same time successfully engaging in critically needed reforms.  Yes, today’s Caracas is in very bad shape, but the city of Aleppo was in a much worse shape until it was liberated, and now quasi-normal life has returned to it (in sharp contrast to the US liberated devastated city of Raqqa which still lies in ruins).  Yankees (to use the usual Latin-American expression) are just like their Israeli overlords: they are capable of devastating violence but they have no staying power: if things don’t go their way fast, really fast, they run and barricade themselves somewhere faraway from danger.  In our case, they might even do what they did in Iraq and Afghanistan: build obscenely huge embassies, create a special zone around them, and sit tight while the country is engulfed in a bloody civil war.  This way, they can provide CNN & Co. with footage of a “peaceful neighborhood” while still claiming that the Stars and Stripes are still proudly flying high over the enemy’s capital and that “these colors don’t run”.  This would be a disastrous outcome for the Venezuelan nation and this is why we all have to try to prevent this, by speaking out before the US further wrecks yet another country.

Hopefully the memory of past completely failed, humiliating and bloody invasions will convince the right people at the Pentagon to do whatever it takes to prevent the US from launching yet another stupid and immoral war of choice on behalf of the Neocons.

 

VENEZUELA UNDER SIEGE: ‘ISRAEL’ ENTERS THE FRAY, MNUCHIN RAMPS UP SANCTIONS, BOLTON PLOTS INVASION

VENEZUELA UNDER SIEGE: ‘ISRAEL’ ENTERS THE FRAY, MNUCHIN RAMPS UP SANCTIONS, BOLTON PLOTS INVASION

by Jonathan Azaziah

As the American regime was making its latest criminal move against Venezuela, unilaterally and illegally announcing its recognition of Juan Guaidó as President of the country, like Nicolas Maduro wasn’t democratically elected in a landslide half a minute ago… ‘Israel’ was conspicuously, suspiciously and disturbingly silent. Canada and several European states rushed to take Washington’s side in continuing the onslaught against the Bolivarian Revolution. But not the usurping Zionist entity. The official line was that the fake “Tel Aviv” regime was worried about the 5,000-6,000 Jews still in Venezuela, mainly in Caracas. This is just a smokescreen however. More than half of the Land of Bolivar’s Jews have already departed because of El Comandante Hugo Chavez’s (rip) staunch Anti-Zionist policies–a confirmation of how Zionism is majoritarian within Jewry everywhere on Earth excluding Iran. Those who remain, like all other minorities, aren’t under any sort of threat. Certainly, so long as they aren’t agitating against the Bolivarian Revolution and operating as ‘Israeli’ or Western spies, they are protected. And ‘Israel’ knows it too. Moreover, ‘Israel’ isn’t going to pretend that it hasn’t been anti-Bolivarian since DAY… GODDAMN… ONE… With it openly attempting to murder Maduro just a few months ago.

Indeed, the real reason for the cancerous Halakhic-Talmudic endeavor’s quiet is because it was maneuvering one of its top dogs into position: Elliot Abrams. The neocon lunatic is infamous for serving ‘Israeli’ interests in blood-soaked interventions against Iraq, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. He was also an architect of the US regime’s invasion of Panama and subsequent toppling of CIA drug-runner Noriega, years after cosigning the former American asset’s brutal crackdowns on the Panamanian opposition. The moment that Abrams’ new job was secure, Netanyahu announced ‘Israeli’ recognition of Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s Interim President. And Guaidó himself, asserting his credentials as a top-tier Shabbos Goy, invoked none other than the Holofraud in his thanks to Benny the Baby-Killer.

Verily, Netanyahu’s choice to attack Venezuela’s sovereignty on International “Holocaust” Remembrance Day, a fraud of frauds, was utterly strategic in nature–a psychological warfare operation to convince Gentile states sitting on the fence to join the imperialist attack on Nicolas Maduro, the “Hitler” of Venezuela. Bankroller of ‘Israeli’ colonies as well as US Ambassador to ‘Israel’ David Friedman couldn’t contain his glee over the Zionist premier’s stance and vile pro-‘Israel’ Jew Jason Greenblatt, a top Trump regime official, called him “courageous”. Like the whole Mishpucka’s in on it, huh? An illegitimate entity… Recognizing an illegitimate president… In an illegitimate coup… Then praised by illegitimate wonks… Of an illegitimate empire. Try as hard as you possibly can to hold back your vomit. If you can’t though, it’s totally understandable.

Like they were waiting for the cue from Nutty Netty, less than a day after the Zio-Tumor’s approval of Juan Guaidó as Golpista-In-Chief, John “Yosemite Goy” Bolton and Sorosite Steve “Goldman Sachs Gangster” Mnuchin announced devastating new sanctions against Venezuela and its oil company PDVSA, ripping 7 billion dollars from Venezuela right off the cuff and projecting at least another 11 billion dollars taken from the Bolivarian nation by year’s end.

Mnuchin funds at least three Zionist synagogues, Temple Emanu-El, Park East Synagogue, and Kehillat ‘Israel’, along with the Milken Institute, a neo-capitalist garbage dump bankrolled by a who’s who of Zionist warmongers, including the environment-destroying, Iran-hating Resnicks. He’s unabashedly stated that he wants to invest even more American capital into the Zio-Tumor’s technology sector(read: Talpiot) too. His bread, or should we say challah, is buttered with the Kehilla… Not with the American people. We knew that Abrams was going to be working closely with sanctions czar Sigal P. Mandelker, who has already ruthlessly targeted Venezuela, but to have her boss Mnuchin at his disposal now too, offering the full power of Treasury, is particularly frightening.

Not to be confused for a Kosher Gentile that doesn’t do enough to serve his “chosenite” masters, Bolton upped the ante further by getting caught on camera with some scribbling on his notepad that read “5,000 troops to Colombia”, as if to indicate an imminent US military incursion into Venezuela. Was this just another PSYOP to pressure Maduro into resigning? Or was this flagrant warmongering shoved right into the world’s face… Because Sahyu-‘Murica is gonna do whatever the f%#% Sahyu-‘Murica wants to do and it’s tough s%#% for anyone who says otherwise?

These menacing developments beg the question: If Maduro doesn’t call snap elections in 8 days as he has been required to do by World Arrogance — and he’s not going to follow such neo-colonial instructions; the man’s a revolutionary, not a quisling — what is the next step that the Imperium is going to take? Will it be a “shock and awe” invasion like Iraq? Or will a “Free ‘Venezuelan’ Army” be armed, trained and financed by the West, ‘Israel’ and Saudi Arabia in a throwback to Operation Condor as well as the demonic death squads of the 70s and 80s? Venezuela is under siege and prayers are needed for the upholders of El Comandante Hugo Chavez’s (rip) legacy no matter what the immediate (and seemingly dark) future holds. May ALLAH (SWT) protect the Bolivarian Revolution.

Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America’s War on Venezuela

Global Research, January 30, 2019

American economic sanctions have been the worst crime against humanity since World War Two. America’s economic sanctions have killed more innocent people than all of the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ever used in the history of mankind.

The fact that for America the issue in Venezuela is oil, not democracy, will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves on the planet.

America seeks control of Venezuela because it sits atop the strategic intersection of the Caribbean, South and Central American worlds. Control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

From the first moment Hugo Chavez took office, the United States has been trying to overthrow Venezuela’s socialist movement by using sanctions, coup attempts, and funding the opposition parties. After all, there is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état.

Potsdam1 Bildarchiv Alfred de Zayas.JPG

United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, recommended, just a few days ago, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as a possible crime against humanity perpetrated by America.

Over the past five years, American sanctions have cut Venezuela off from most financial markets, which have caused local oil production to plummet. Consequently, Venezuela has experienced the largest decline in living standards of any country in recorded Latin American history.

Prior to American sanctions, socialism in Venezuela had reduced inequality and poverty whilst pensions expanded. During the same time period in America, it has been the absolute reverse. President Chavez funnelled Venezuela’s oil revenues into social spending such as free+6 healthcare, education, subsidized food networks, and housing construction.

In order to fully understand why America is waging economic war on the people of Venezuela one must analyse the historical relationship between the petrodollar system and Sanctions of Mass Destruction: Prior to the 20th century, the value of money was tied to gold. When banks lent money they were constrained by the size of their gold reserves. But in 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard. Nixon and Saudi Arabia came to an Oil For Dollars agreement that would change the course of history and become the root cause of countless wars for oil. Under this petrodollar agreement the only currency that Saudi Arabia could sell its oil in was the US dollar. The Saudi Kingdom would in turn ensure that its oil profits flow back into U.S. government treasuries and American banks.

In exchange, America pledged to provide the Saudi Royal family’s regime with military protection and military hardware.

It was the start of something truly great for America. Access to oil defined 20th-century empires and the petrodollar agreement was the key to the ascendancy of the United States as the world’s sole superpower. America’s war machine runs on, is funded by, and exists in protection of oil.

Threats by any nation to undermine the petrodollar system are viewed by Washington as tantamount to a declaration of war against the United States of America.

Within the last two decades Iraq, Iran, Libya and Venezuela have all threatened to sell their oil in other currencies. Consequently, they have all been subject to crippling U.S. sanctions.

Over time the petrodollar system spread beyond oil and the U.S. dollar slowly but surely became the reserve currency for global trades in most commodities and goods. This system allows America to maintain its position of dominance as the world’s only superpower, despite being a staggering $23 trillion in debt.

With billions of dollars worth of minerals in the ground and with the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela should not only be wealthy, but her people the envy of the developing world. But the nation is essentially broke because American sanctions have cut them off from the international financial system and cost the economy $6 billion over the last five years. Without sanctions, Venezuela could recover easily by collateralizing some of its abundant resources or its $8 billion of gold reserves, in order to get the loans necessary to kick-start their economy.

In order to fully understand the insidious nature of the Venezuelan crisis, it is necessary to understand the genesis of economic sanctions. At the height of World War Two, President Truman issued an order for American bombers to drop “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 140,000 people instantly. The gruesome images that emerged from the rubble were broadcast through television sets across the world and caused unprecedented outrage. The political backlash forced U.S. policy makers to devise a more subtle weapon of mass destruction: economic sanctions.

The term “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) was first defined by the United Nations in 1948 as

“atomic explosive weapons, radioactive material weapons, lethal chemical and biological weapons, and any weapons developed in the future which have characteristics comparable in destructive effect to those of the atomic bomb or other weapons mentioned above”.

Sanctions are clearly the 21st century’s deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

In 2001, the U.S. administration told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; Iraq was a terrorist state; Iraq was tied to Al Qaeda. It all amounted to nothing. In fact, America already knew that the only weapons of mass destruction that Saddam had were not nuclear in nature, but rather chemical and biological. The only reason they knew this in advance was because America sold the weapons to Saddam to use on Iran in 1991.

What the U.S. administration did not tell us was that Saddam Hussein used to be a strong ally of the United States.  The main reason for toppling Saddam and putting sanctions on the people of Iraq was the fact that Iraq had ditched the Dollar-for-Oil sales.

The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million Iraqis died due to Bill Clinton’s sanctions; 500,000 of whom were children. In 1996, a journalist asked former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, about these UN reports, specifically about the children. America’s top foreign policy official, Albright, replied:

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

Clearly, U.S. sanctions policies are nothing short of state-sanctioned genocide.

Over the last five years, sanctions have caused Venezuelan per capita incomes to drop by 40 percent, which is a decline similar to that of war torn Iraq and Syria at the height of their armed conflicts. Millions of Venezuelans have had to flee the country. If America is so concerned about refugees, Trump should stop furthering disastrous foreign policies that actually create them. Under Chavez, Venezuela had a policy of welcoming refugees. President Chavez turned Venezuela into the wealthiest society in Latin America with the best income equality.

Another much vilified leader who used oil wealth to enrich his people, only to be put under severe sanctions, is Muammar Gaddafi. In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his quest to quit selling Libyan oil in U.S. Dollars and denominate crude sales in a new gold backed common African currency. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold-backed Dinar currency.

Africa has the fastest growing oil industry in the world and oil sales in a common African currency would have been especially devastating for the American dollar, the U.S. economy, and particularly the elite in charge of the petrodollar system.

It is for this reason that President Clinton signed the now infamous Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which the United Nations Children’s Fund said caused widespread suffering among civilians by “severely limiting supplies of fuel, access to cash, and the means of replenishing stocks of food and essential medications.” Clearly, U.S. sanctions are weapons of mass destruction.

Not so long ago, Iraq and Libya were the two most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa, with the highest regional standards of living. Nowadays, U.S. Military intervention and economic sanctions have turned Libya and Iraq into two of the world’s most failed nations.

“They want to seize Libya’s oil and they care nothing about the lives of the Libyan people,” remarked Chavez during the Western intervention in Libya in 2011.

In September 2017, President Maduro made good on Chavez’s promise to list oil sales in Yuan rather than the US dollar. Weeks later Trump signed a round of crippling sanctions on the people of Venezuela.

On Monday, U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton announced new sanctions that essentially steal $7 billion from Venezuela’s state owned oil company. At that press conference Bolton brazenly flashed a note pad that ominously said “5,000 troops to Colombia”. When confronted about it by the media, Bolton simply said,

“President Trump stated that all options are on the table”.

America’s media is unquestionably the most corrupt institution in America. The nation’s media may quibble about Trump’s domestic policies but when it comes to starting wars for oil abroad they sing in remarkable unison. Fox News, CNN and the New York Times all cheered the nation into war in Iraq over fictitious weapons of mass destruction, whilst America was actually using sanctions of mass destruction on the Iraqi people. They did it in Libya and now they are doing it again in Venezuela. Democracy and freedom have always been the smoke screen in front of capitalist expansion for oil, and the Western Media owns the smoke machine. Economic warfare has long since been under way against Venezuela but military warfare is now imminent.

Trump just hired Elliot Abrams as U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela, who has a long and torrid history in Latin America. Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Iran Contra affair, which involved America funding deadly communist rebels, and was the worst scandal in the Reagan Era. Abrams was later pardoned by George Bush Senior. America’s new point man on Venezuela also lied about the largest mass killing in recent Latin American history by U.S. trained forces in El Salvador.

There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état. A UN Human Rights Council Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas, pointed out that America’s aim in Venezuela is to “crush this government and bring in a neoliberal government that is going to privatise everything and is going to sell out, a lot of transitional corporations stand to gain enormous profits and the United States is driven by the transnational corporations.”

Ever since 1980, the United States has steadily devolved from the status of the world’s top creditor country to the world’s most indebted country. But thanks to the petrodollar system’s huge global artificial demand for U.S. dollars, America can continue exponential military expansion, record breaking deficits and unrestrained spending.

America’s largest export used to be manufactured goods made proudly in America. Today, America’s largest export is the U.S. dollar. Any nation like Venezuela that threatens that export is met with America’s second largest export: weapons, chief amongst which are sanctions of mass destruction.

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Garikai Chengu is an Ancient African historian. He has been a scholar at Harvard, Stanford and Columbia University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com

YVES ENGLER & PAUL JAY ON TRRN: “TRUDEAU PUSHES TRUMP’S REGIME CHANGE IN VENEZUELA”

Yves Engler–in my opinion one of Canada’s best journalists/authors (if not THE best)–explains:

“The Lima Group was formed because the governments that were critical of the Maduro government in Venezuela, because they couldn’t get resolutions through the Organization of American States.
They didn’t have the majority of votes to pass resolutions at the OAS. So they basically set up another forum to bring together governments, mostly right-wing governments, in Latin America that were critical of the Maduro government.
And Canada has played–was right there at the founding. 
Canada hosted the third meeting of the Lima Group, and now is hosting a second meeting; I think the first country to host two different meetings of the Lima Group.
And this is just part, one part, of a multifaceted Canadian campaign to undermine the Maduro government in Venezuela.
That campaign includes all kinds of critical comments against the Venezuelan government; includes back in September bringing the Venezuelan government–first time ever that a member state has brought another member state to the International Criminal Court.
Canada and a couple of other governments brought Venezuela to the International Criminal Court. Canada has brought in three rounds of sanctions against Venezuela.
Canada has been funding opposition groups in Venezuela.
Canada has been pressuring Caribbean countries to join the Lima Group, to join the critical statements of the Maduro government.
And so–and then in recent–last few weeks, last couple of months, Canada has been right at the forefront in this campaign to recognize the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the interim president, as the president of Venezuela, and completely reject the legitimacy of the Maduro government.
So the Liberal government in Canada is viewed by many as a sort of a progressive government.
But the Trudeau government in Canada has been right at the forefront of this campaign to try to undermine the Maduro government.
And you know, this is certainly what they’re looking for. My estimation is their preference would be a military coup. But there is some indication that Canada even would be fine with a foreign invasion.
In fact, when the head of the Organization of American States a few months ago sort of mused about a possible foreign invasion, the Lima Group, or 11 of the 14 members of the Lima group, criticized the head of the Organization of American States for talking about a foreign invasion.
Canada, Colombia, and Guyana were the three countries that refused to to condemn any talk of a foreign invasion.
So possibly even Canada is prepared to accept some form of military type intervention as part of this effort to get rid of the Maduro government.”
“The Canadian media is sort of on two hands.
On one hand they are just following the sort of Washington-Ottawa propaganda about how, you know, Maduro’s a total dictator that needs to be overthrown. On one hand they’re doing that, and that’s the sort of bulk of the discussion.
But simultaneously they have, as Paul pointed out, the Globe and Mail and the Canadian press both run incredibly–what should be viewed as incredibly damning stories about Canada’s role in building opposition support for Guaido.
They talk about how Canada’s facilitating meetings within Venezuela, facilitating meetings internationally to try to solidify support for this recognition of the head of the National Assembly.
But the thrust of the stories are that, you know, to just present this as a positive affair that Canada is pursuing, to the point where a few of the NDP, the social democratic party, MPs, or people in that party, a couple of them have expressed criticism of Canada’s policy on Twitter, and the media has sort of pushed back against the NDP’s, in my opinion, quite mild criticism of Canadian policy.
But I do want to echo, for sure, what Paul is saying.
There’s a quote in terms of Canada’s role historically in terms of serving empire, and the fact that sometimes it’s better to have a sort of Canadian face on an intervention than a more sort of, more easily demonized U.S. face.
In his biography, Jacques Chretien, a former prime minister, says quite explicitly that he told Bill Clinton that if we just go along with you in everything, we’re just going to be perceived as a 51st state. But if we, if it looks like we have a little bit of independence, we can do more for you than the CIA can do.
And it was almost like–that’s a paraphrase, almost word for word.
So there’s just this historic kind of putting a bit of a Canada, a positive Canada cover on policies that the U.S. is pursuing around the world.
And there’s a long history of that in the hemisphere beyond the example that Paul gave with regards to Afghanistan.
In Haiti in 2004, Canada played a very important role in the overthrow of the elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide.
And again, there was Bill Graham, the former defense minister, said in a book about about the war in Afghanistan, he said that because Canada didn’t officially join the coalition of the willing that invaded Iraq in 2003, they felt like they needed to not only go heavily into Afghanistan, but also participate significantly in the coup in Haiti.
So part of this Canadian policy in Venezuela today is about Canada’s close ties to the U.S. empire.
And Canada, in my opinion, has been quite a beneficiary.
The Canadian corporate class have been very much beneficiaries of U.S. empire for half a century.
And the mining sector in Latin America is a big force, banking sector is a big force that partly explains Canadian policy there today.”
SEE ALSO Yves’ recent article on Venezuela, “Canada joins with imperial ‘Mafia’ to threaten Venezuela“, excerpts including:
“…Over the past two years Canadian officials have campaigned aggressively against President Nicolás Maduro. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has repeatedly criticized Caracas’ democratic legitimacy and human rights record. Recently she said, “the Maduro regime is now fully entrenched as a dictatorship” while in September Ottawa asked (with five South American nations) the International Criminal Court to investigate the Venezuelan government, which is the first time a government has been formally brought before the tribunal by another member.
In recent weeks Canadian diplomats have played an important role in uniting large swaths of the Venezuelan opposition behind a US-backed plan to ratchet up tensions by proclaiming the new head of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, Juan Guaido, president. The Canadian Press quoted a Canadian diplomat saying they helped Guaido “facilitate conversations with people that were out of the country and inside the country” while the Globe and Mail reported that “Freeland spoke with Juan Guaido to congratulate him on unifying opposition forces in Venezuela, two weeks before he declared himself interim president.” Alongside Washington and a number of right-leaning Latin American governments, Ottawa immediately recognized Guaido after he proclaimed himself president on Wednesday. Canadian officials are lobbying European leaders to recognize Guaido as president as well.
Ottawa has long provided various other forms of direct support to an often-violent opposition. In recent years Canada channelled millions of dollars to opposition groups in Venezuela and 18 months ago outgoing Canadian ambassador, Ben Rowswell, told the Ottawa Citizen that “we became one of the most vocal embassies in speaking out on human rights issues and encouraging Venezuelans to speak out.”
Alongside its support for the opposition, Ottawa expelled Venezuela’s top diplomat in 2017 and has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Venezuelan officials. In March the United Nations Human Rights Council condemned the economic sanctions the US, Canada and EU have adopted against Venezuela while Caracas called Canada’s move a “blatant violation of the most fundamental rules of International Law.”
Since its August 2017 founding Canada has been one of the most active members of the “Lima Group” of governments opposed to Venezuela’s elected government. Canada is hosting the next meeting of the “Lima Group”. Freeland has repeatedly prodded Caribbean and Central American countries to join the Lima Group’s anti-Maduro efforts.
In September, 11 of the 14 member states of the “Lima Group” backed a statement distancing the anti-Venezuelan alliance from “any type of action or declaration that implies military intervention” after Organization of American States chief Luis Almagro stated: “As for military intervention to overthrow the Nicolas Maduro regime, I think we should not rule out any option … diplomacy remains the first option but we can’t exclude any action.” Canada, Guyana and Colombia refused to criticize the head of the OAS’ musings about an invasion of Venezuela.
Alongside the head of the OAS, US president Donald Trump has publically discussed invading Venezuela. To the best of my knowledge Ottawa has stayed mum on Trump’s threats, which violate international law.
…Thus, while the scope of the Trudeau government’s current campaign against Venezuela is noteworthy, it’s not the first time Ottawa has supported the overthrow of an elected, left leaning, government in the hemisphere. Canada passively supported military coups against Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 and Brazilian President João Goulart in 1964 as well as ‘parliamentary coups’ against Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo in 2012 and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in 2016. Ottawa played a slightly more active role in the removal of Dominican Republic president Juan Bosch in 1965 and Chilean president Salvador Allende in 1973. In a more substantial contribution to undermining electoral
democracy, Ottawa backed the Honduran military’s removal of Manuel Zelaya in 2009.
Canada played its most forceful role in the removal of a progressive, elected, president in the hemisphere’s most impoverished nation.
Thirteen months before Jean-Bertrand Aristide was, in his words, “kidnapped” by US Marines on February 29, 2004, Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government organized an international gathering to discuss overthrowing the Haitian president. JTF2 special forces secured the Port-au-Prince airport the night Aristide was ousted and 500 Canadian troops were part of the US-led invasion to consolidate the coup.
With regards to Venezuela it’s unclear just how far Ottawais prepared to go in its bid to oust Maduro. But, it is hard to imagine that the path Canada and the US have chosen can succeed without Venezuela being plunged into significant violence.”
Paul Jay, of the Real News Network:

“I know from personal experience that Canada has been trying
to destabilize and nurture and promote the opposition in Venezuela at least from 2004.
When Chavez was still in power, Chavez had been elected over and over again with internationally observed elections.
Everyone said the elections were clean during the Chavez period. Many people that tried to throw the elections into disrepute were invalidated.
The Carter Center legitimatized them.
I actually personally was on an election observer mission to go to polling stations in 2004, 2005, one of the elections leading up to the referendum on Chavez’s presidency.
And I went to 40 polling stations, and I interviewed opposition people in all 40 polling stations in Caracas. And I asked, have you seen any infractions? And if there were any infractions were they dealt with properly.
And I took video, and I recorded it all, and there wasn’t a single complaint from an opposition observer that there had been anything done incorrectly with those elections.
…Now, right around that time, when they were clean elections, and Chavez was getting elected over and over again, my first trip to Venezuela in 2004
My first trip to Venezuela in 2004, I was producing the big debate show on Canadian TV called Counterspin on CBC Newsworld.
I was a well-known documentary filmmaker. I had founded the Big Hot Docs! Documentary Film Festival.
So I was a known quantity in Canada. And so when I was in Venezuela, I said I’ll go say hello to the Canadian embassy. I was trying to figure out what was going on in Venezuela. I figured some Counselor would pat me on the head and say welcome to Venezuela.
No, I got the number two charged d’affaires that greeted me and brings me into a meeting room with seven members of the opposition who then for two hours beat me over the head with how corrupt the regime was, how awful it was, and so on…
What business does a Canadian embassy have with bringing a Canadian journalist into a room with opposition people, essentially trying to involve me in a conspiracy against the Venezuelan government.
So this Canadian government role in Venezuela has been very active in trying to destabilized the situation, promote and nurture the opposition.
And clearly for two reasons.
Number one, Canada is one of the biggest mining nations in the world, and Venezuela has tremendous untapped natural resources, particularly gold. And Canada has a very strong gold mining sector. And the gold was not–Canada wasn’t, Canadian companies weren’t easily getting at that gold.
…So the ability to nurture an opposition and get an in with an opposition that might come to power, and then favour Canadian mining companies, I think that’s one motivation.
And another motivation, I think, has to do with Canada’s role historically; how it plays with the United States and helps the U.S. and its foreign policy.
And I once interviewed a Canadian general in 2004, Lewis MacKenzie. And I asked him, why is Canada so into this Afghan war? You know, this Afghan, post-9/11.
It could have been dealt with as a police-type operation, in terms of going after al Qaeda. But a full-fledged invasion, full-fledged regime change. Why is Canada in this, and in it for the long haul? Because it’s 2004, after the invasion of Iraq.
And his answer was, I think, very instructive. He said, well, we didn’t go to Iraq. So to keep our ability to selling goods into the United States, we needed to pay with some blood.
We needed to send troops to Afghanistan and have some Canadian soldiers killed to show we’re willing to share the burden. He didn’t use the word empire, but that’s essentially what he was saying.
So the role of Canada assisting in very nefarious American policy, and giving it this Canadian, oh, we’re for the UN, we’re humanitarians, giving it that veneer, it’s an important role that Canada plays.
But it’s, I think, now the recognition of Guaido so exposes Canada because it’s such a clear violation of the UN Charter of non-interference in internal affairs.

Insights on the Iran deal, BRICS and Venezuela

January 28, 2019

Insights on the Iran deal, BRICS and Venezuela

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with The Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

An exclusive interview with former Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim on how BRICS came into being, how the nuclear deal was done with Tehran and how the South dealt with Chavez

Brazil is once again in the eye of a political hurricane, after President Jair Bolsonaro’s appearance at Davos and explosive revelations directly linking his clan to a criminal organization in Rio de Janeiro.

With his administration barely a month old, Bolsonaro is already being seen as expendable to the elites that propelled him to power – from the powerful agribusiness lobby to the financial system and the military.

The new game among the elites of a major actor in the Global South, BRICS member and eighth biggest economy in the world consists of shaping a scenario capable of rescuing one the great frontiers where global capitalism is expanding from total irrelevancy.

That includes the possibility of a “soft coup”, with the Bolsonaro clan sidelined by the Brazilian military rallying around the vice-president, General Hamilton Mourao.

Under these circumstances, a conversation with former Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim is more than sobering. Amorim is universally recognized as one of the top diplomats of the young 21st century, a symbol of the recent past, under President Lula, when Brazil was at the top of its game as a resource-rich continental nation actively projecting power as a BRICS leader.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ambassador Amorim, who is also the author of ‘Acting Globally: Memoirs of Brazil’s Assertive Foreign Policy’ in Sao Paulo. Here are some highlights of our conversation – from the birth of BRICS to the current Venezuela crisis.

BRICS – the most important group in the drive towards a multipolar world – is a very dirty word in Washington. How did it all start?

I had met [British economist] Jim O’Neill a few times, who first talked about BRIC, which was not yet a group and nobody saw as a group. This may sound pretentious, but it’s a curious story. I told him, ‘It is you that invented the BRICS, right?’ He said, ‘Yes, of course, I’m very proud of it’. Then I replied, ‘Yes, but I’m the one who made it happen’. Well, it was not exactly me – under the Lula government and all that it entails. The first action in terms of creating the BRIC group – still without an “S” – came from Sergey Lavrov, in a meeting we had in New York in 2006. They had the RIC [Russia, India, China], but they did not hold many summits. And we had IBAS [India, Brazil, South Africa]. Both China and Russia were always trying to get into IBAS. There was the idea that these were three great democracies, each one in a continent and in a major developing country – so the Russians and Chinese might have thought, ‘we also want to get in, why not, because we are not democracies?’ IBAS was also present in the commercial G-20 at the WTO, and IBAS had similar ideas about reform of the UN Security Council; so the geopolitical interests were not the same.

Then Lavrov proposed BRIC as a forum, I think maybe to find some more equilibrium inside the RIC. I always talked in terms of BRICS, so one day he asked me ‘Why do you say BRICS?’ and I replied, “because it’s plural, in Portuguese’, so in a sense, we were already anticipating the entry of South Africa.

We first agreed we would have a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Lavrov and I already had something more substantial, the Indians and the Chinese just read a speech, so it looked like there would not be a consequential follow-up. Next year we met at the Brazilian UN mission, outside of the UN, and decided to do it later out of New York. Lavrov then offered Yekaterinburg, where we had the first ministerial meeting in 2008, and then next year the first presidential summit, also in Yekaterinburg, and in Brazil in 2010. It was here that the idea of BRIC was expanded into BRICS – through a dinner that concluded IBAS and inaugurated BRICS.

At the time, did you think about expanding to other top emerging economies, such as Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, Iran?

IBAS was born on the second day of President Lula’s government [in January 2003], out of an idea to create a group of developing countries, around seven or eight. I thought a larger group would be very complicated, based on my experience – how to coordinate positions and engage in concrete projects. For instance, Egypt would have to be a member.

When did you start to seriously discuss practical steps towards the emergence of a multipolar world – such as trade in members’ currencies? Was it in 2010?

In 2010 certainly, we had the idea of trade using each member’s currency, not yet the idea – that happened under the Dilma government – of the BRICS bank. But we were already talking about the coordination of our development banks. The concept of multipolarity, the Russians may have been the first to outline it. What I do remember about the use of the concept was by the French, especially when there were serious divergences about the attack on Iraq.

Former French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin insisted on it.

Villepin, yes, but even Hubert Vedrine [foreign minister under Jacques Chirac from 1997-2002] before him, who came up with the concept of ‘hyperpower’. So the ones who spread the concept were the French, and we adhered to it, among developing countries. The French, when they talked about the expansion of the UN Security Council, they said they were in favor regarding Germany and Japan, but also ‘three great nations of the South’, Brazil included.

The Lula government started in January 2003. Geopolitics at the time was conditioned by the war on terror. We were already expecting the invasion of Iraq. How did you, in the first days of January 2003, knowing that Dick Cheney and the neocons were about to turn the Middle East upside down, with direct and indirect repercussions on the Global South, how did you start conceiving a multi-vector Brazilian foreign policy? Which were the priorities?

I think neither President Lula nor myself used the term “multipolar” – even though the concept was already on the table. We wanted to have good relations with the US but also with the largest developing countries. When we started the greatest problems were the Free Trade Area of the Americas [FTAA], so we had to look for other partners; the WTO and negotiations in the Doha round; and Iraq. The combination of all these led Brazil to get closer to India and South Africa, to a great extent via the WTO, and because of Iraq, we got closer to Russia, Germany and France. When President Lula went to Davos…

That was Lula’s first Davos, right?

Yes, but first he went to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre [in Brazil], then he went to Davos. The message was the search for an equilibrium; to do business, of course, but based on the idea of democratic social change.

Were you discussing Iraq in detail with Russia, Germany and France?

Yes, we were, with Schroeder in Germany and Chirac, as well as Villepin at the Security Council. And there was a fourth problem: Venezuela. Lula had already talked about it with Chavez. During the inauguration of President Gutierrez of Ecuador, Lula’s first foreign trip, on January 15, Lula proposed, in a meeting in a room full of presidents, the creation of the Friends of Venezuela Group, at a moment when the crisis was acute, even though the country was not as debilitated as today.

Already in January 2003 was there neocon pressure on Brazil in relation to Venezuela?

I think they did not know how to deal with Lula and the new government. But they were very strong on Venezuela – especially [US diplomat] Roger Noriega. And yet they saw Brazil was proposing something and accepted it. Fidel was against it, but Chavez, in the end, was convinced by Lula. And this is also relevant for today. Lula said it in so many words; this is not a Friends of Chavez group, it’s a Friends of Venezuela group. So this must also include the United States, Spain and Portugal – under conservative administrations. That was a way to escape from the OAS [Organisation of American States] and its penchant for the Monroe doctrine [the US policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas].

I used to talk to Colin Powell quite frequently – and not to receive instructions. There were many issues he wanted to know about, and he trusted Brazil. He had a notion of the importance of Brazil, our capacity for dialogue.

Switching to the Obama era, tell us about the role of Brazil, alongside Turkey, in the Iran nuclear negotiation, when you clinched a deal in Tehran in less than 24 hours, only for it to be smashed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the next day.

It was a long process, followed by 19 hours of negotiations, the Iranians tried to reopen one of the issues, both Lula and Erdogan refused. What facilitated our role as mediators was that the US had its hands full in the Middle East. I already had contacts with Javier Solana, then a sort of Foreign Affairs Minister of the EU, and also [Egyptian diplomat] ElBaradei, from my time at the UN. Obama, in a meeting of the G-8 + 5 in Italy, during a bilateral with us, he said three things: ‘I extended my hand and they did not answer’; ‘We need to solve the nuclear dossier’; ‘And I need friends to say what I cannot say’. What we did in the end, because we thought it was the right thing to do, with a lot of work and facing hardships, was exactly what the Americans wanted. One month before the deal I thought it would not happen. But then we received a letter from Obama, and to my greatest surprise, that was a reiteration of the same initial three points.

Hillary always had a different position. I foresaw her reaction as a possibility. We talked on the phone, in Madrid, when I was coming back from Iran, and I said, ‘Look, in Brazil we have this expression, ‘I didn’t read it, and I didn’t like it’. She did not want a deal. In a phone call before my trip, she was adding some other points of discussion and I said, ‘Hillary, this is a trust-building agreement. And these points that you mention were not in the letter delivered by your own President’. I’m not exaggerating, what followed was a silence lasting half a minute. So I thought; did she read the letter? Or she read it, and because they are a great power they can do what they want, and we have to take it, and adapt to it?

So what about China and Russia accepting the American line – no deal, more sanctions?

I know the sweeteners that made them accept it – concessions on the sanctions front. But geopolitically…

What’s your informed hypothesis?

There are two. This was a problem they did not solve. Who’s part of the global directory? The five permanent members of the Security Council. Now we have two developing countries, who are not even part of the Security Council, and they solve it? By coincidence, both were non-permanent members of the Security Council at the time. The other thing is whenever we are discussing a nuclear issue, the five get closer, because they are all nuclear powers.

What’s your insider view, as a statesman, of Vladimir Putin, demonized 24/7 in the US as a major existential threat to the West?

The first time I saw Putin face to face was when he received three nations from the Group of Rio, and the main topic of discussion was Iraq. That was before the invasion in March 2003. What most impressed me was his great knowledge of the dossiers – something you usually don’t expect from presidents. He’s extremely sharp, very intelligent, obviously cares for Russian interests but at the same time pays attention to the balance of power. A very realist politician. I don’t see him as a great idealist. He’s like a 19th-century politician, very conscious geopolitically.

Now, in the South American chessboard, regarding the Venezuelan crisis, we are seeing a direct confrontation between the four major poles of Eurasia – Russia, China, Iran, Turkey – against the US. And with another BRICS member, Brazil, siding against Russia and China.

In a multipolar world, we now have a huge test, because Brazil presides over the BRICS in 2019. How is Brazil going to be seen inside BRICS? There used to be an atmosphere of trust inside BRICS.

I’ve got to say that based on my experience at the Security Council, when I was ambassador, during the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso [from 1995 to 2003], the Russians and the Chinese gave immense weight to respect for national sovereignty. In terms of international law, they always stress non-intervention. I hope we won’t have a confrontation like Vietnam in our region. But when President Trump says that all options are on the table, he’s obviously accepting a military solution. This is very dangerous. I see a very sound Brazilian position coming from General Mourao [the Brazilian vice-president]. And yet the Foreign Ministry says Brazil will support politically and economically a government that does not exist – so that already means intervention.

On a personal level, in the drive towards multipolarity, what is the most important story in the world for the next 10 or 20 years? What is the issue that drives you the most?

I think that the fundamental theme is psychological – and also civilizational. It’s respect for The Other – and the acceptance of alterity. And this also concerns international relations. We need to understand that the common good is part of our well-being. This reflects on individual attitudes, in internal attitudes in politics, and in international relations. Look at the current, violent attack on multilateralism. We should see that it’s better to work multilaterally than capitulate to the law of the jungle.

America to Venezuela – “Your Money AND Your Life!”

January 26, 2019

By Rostislav Ishchenko

America to Venezuela – “Your Money AND Your Life!”
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard

cross posted with https://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-america-to-venezuela-your-money-and-your-life/
source: https://ukraina.ru/opinion/20190126/1022466449.html

Attempts to carry out a coup in Venezuela have been regularly made since the time of Hugo Chávez. The first one in 2002, when the predecessor of Maduro was opposed by a considerable part of army and was arrested for two days by putschists, was the most productive one.

Back then the people of Venezuela took to the streets in support of Chavez. Also, many leaders of the countries of Latin America, including the late Fidel Castro, who enjoyed absolute authority on the continent, also voiced his support. Two days later the putschists released the president and surrendered. Since then the army has been a reliable stronghold of Chavists. And now too the Generals have declared their full support for Maduro.

Apparently, this time the US isn’t relying on internal opposition. Experts already said that the mutiny initiated by Washington is original and unprecedented, because the US simply recognised the the speaker of parliament Juan Guaido, who appointed himself as the interim president, as the acting head of state. However, originality and unprecedentedness in this case lies only in the speed of recognition and the degree of openness of the American interference.

Trump’s Twitter declared Guaido’s recognition a few minutes (about half an hour) after his self-declaration. At the same time, Washington neglected all existing norms of international law. But this is exactly the same scheme that was used in Libya against Gaddafi and in Syria against Assad.

This scheme is rather reliable. As practice shows, without the external support of Russia, the resistance of the national government breaks sooner or later. In Libya eight months passed between the first protests (on February 15th 2011) up to the murder of Gaddafi (on October 20th 2011). Assad in Syria stood on the verge of a catastrophe in the fourth year of the civil war.

In both cases the striking power of the mutiny consisted of foreign mercenaries supported by the aircraft of the West, which closed the sky to the national Air Force, and then giving direct support to rebels, striking blows to the national Armed Forces. The internal opposition only legitimated the invasion, having given the intervention of gangs of pro-West mercenaries the status of an internal resistance.

In both cases there was one more factor – less noticeable but probably most important. The financing of the mutiny and intervention happened at the expense of the part of the assets of the target state that was in western jurisdiction.

The US has already utilised all three components against Maduro. An alternative government that is recognised by Washington as lawful already exists in the person of Juan Guaido. The US tries to give him control over the assets of Venezuela that are in western jurisdiction, and not without success either. The Bank of England refused to return $1.2 billion in gold ingots to Maduro’s government.

The total cost of Venezuela assets abroad is $8 billion. It is possible to assume that if not all of them, then at least a considerable part of them is controlled by the West. At it is precisely with this money that the mutiny will be financed.

So the optimistic assessment of domestic experts is that it is enough to capture the Colombian Embassy in Caracas where the alternative president Juan Guaido hides himself and also to expel American diplomats (who already refused to leave since Washington doesn’t recognise Maduro, who declared a severance of diplomatic relations with the US, as the lawful president) from the country and that everything will settle down. On the contrary, violent acts against foreign diplomatic missions can only legitimate intervention.

While the US and their allies control billions of dollars of the state assets of Venezuela, they can employ “interim” presidents one after the other. The main thing was already done by Juan Guaido — he declared the existence of an alternative center of power. Now it is possible to even kill or arrest Guaido – the alternative government already leads an independent life. Now there can even be no Venezuelan politicians [in the phoney “government” – ed] at all. Statements on his behalf will be made by any blogger from London employed by the CIA.

With the Venezuelan billions requisitioned by the West, the West can maintain many-thousands gangs of mercenaries for years. The violation of the exterritoriality of diplomatic missions will be quite a sufficient pretext for the deployment of an air operation in support of rebels.

Only force sufficient enough to paralyse western efforts can stop a creeping coup in Venezuela. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that the main weight of the fight for their country in any case will fall on the national Armed Forces.

Russia and China can theoretically give military aid to Venezuela, but their geographical position practically excludes carrying out an operation similar to the Syrian one. The communications of any group that Beijing or Moscow will try to deploy in Venezuela will find themselves under the control of the American fleet and it will be rather easy for Washington to paralyse their activity, having declared a naval and air blockade of the territories under the control of Maduro’s government.

Of course, it is possible to breakthrough such a blockade, but it will be a situation that is as critical as the Caribbean Crisis. Superpowers can find themselves on the verge of a direct military clash.

Anyway, the difficulties of logistics assume limited purely military support for Maduro by his foreign allies, while the US, being based on the territory to a hostile-towards-Venezuela Colombia have the opportunity to deploy unlimited forces of mercenaries. They can try to organise an invasion in the favour of Juan Guaido and the regular armed forces of the adjacent Latin American states.

So the fate of the government of Maduro will depend: firstly, on the ability of the national Armed Forces to make a military operation against Venezuela a pleasure that is too expensive; secondly, on the ability of Russia and China to find an indirect way of responding to the West’s aggression, making it not just resource-intensive (in the mean time the US is going to fight against Maduro with Maduro’s money), but causing damage to the financially economic interests of the West – in the here and now, long before the billions stolen from the people of Venezuela will run out.

This is a nontrivial task. Moreover, it is necessary to solve the problem in real time, while the US plans its actions in advance. In the geopolitical sphere an answer will be given to Washington anyway. But whether or not Maduro’s government will survive long enough to see it is a question that so far has no answer. Assad stood and lasted long time to receive help. Gaddafi – No.

What Is Trump’s Motivation Behind the Recognition of Guaido as Venezuelan President?

What Is Trump’s Motivation Behind the Recognition of Guaido as Venezuelan President?

TIM KIRBY | 25.01.2019 |

What Is Trump’s Motivation Behind the Recognition of Guaido as Venezuelan President?

Sadly we do not always get what we vote for. Donald Trump has decided to acknowledge the self-appointed leader of a particular foreign country in spite of it already having an elected leader, which sounds like the type of meddling that Trump said he was against. But, on the plus side at least this is better than the usual invasion + nation-building scenario we have seen in the past and that Trump promised to stop.

The country in question is Venezuela. Mr. Trump officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s new interim president instead of the elected Nicolas Maduro. The motivations behind such a move can be both overt and conscious but often it is what is in the subconscious that we ourselves do not even notice that is actually the key motivating factor in our decisions. There is a very emotional/ideological side to Venezuela that may be influencing “The Donald’s” decision.

After Israel/Palestine, Venezuela is one of the most emotionally divisive nations in the world for Westerners. People really strongly project their own values, beliefs and personal identity to certain political situations in certain nations.

When it comes to Israel, Western Liberals sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians who have been “colonized” by “white” people and are being systematically oppressed. For them this view of the situation confirms the victim culture that they hold so dear.

On the opposite side, Republicans identify with the Israelis as an oasis of Westerness in a desert of heathens. They see the Israelis like some sort of cowboys taming the Wild Mid-East.

This ability to identify with or project one’s identity onto the Israeli/Palestinian question is what makes people get into fiery internet arguments over an issue that they know nothing about having never been to Israel, speaking a local language and being only informed by the “objective” mainstream media.

Israel is a nation/narrative that speaks to many but for vastly different reasons.

Venezuela is not as “big” as Israel in terms of provoking online emotions from naive Westerners but it could be a close second. The quasi-Communist visuals, and “fight the man” attitude of the Chavez|Maduro era are repulsive to dog-eat-dog Republican types whereas the Starbucks swilling Liberal crowd in their Che Guevara T-shirts has tons of sympathy for the “poor victims of colonization” that are just trying to fight back against “oppression”.

For example, influential and respected conservative media giant Alex Jones calls Venezuela “Communist and Socialist” and more or less blames the country’s current struggles on their lack of Westernness. Venezuela does not act like “us” so they are clearly bad and poor because of it.

And, of course, on the other side “The Young Turks” pretty much blame American “Imperialism” for all the problems in Venezuela claiming that the failures of Venezuelan Socialism do not count because of American interference.

We can see the left/right, Liberal/Conservative dichotomy in action when Caracas is in question. But there is one thing the Mainstream Media and Youtubers seem to not understand.

Systemically, Venezuela is not very different from the majority of the countries in the world including the West.

Despite all this talk of Communism and wearing red berets the only thing that is uniquely Soviet about the nation’s constitution is a right to work and housing which were featured in the Stalin constitution of 1936. However, in the very same “Communist” Venezuelan document, when speaking about workers rights we see…

“Article 89.4: Any measure or act on the part of an employer in violation of this Constitution is null and void, and of no effect.”

Yes the word “employer” meaning employer in the Capitalist sense. In fact nowhere do we see anything about “seizing the means of production” or giving rights to “the working class” as we did with the Stalin constitution. Additionally if you even bother to open Google maps you will see there are Western capitalist businesses all over the nation including good ole McDonald’s. You can package a product anyway you want but it doesn’t change the core product and most of this “Socialism” that divides Western thought on Venezuela is merely window dressing. Attention Western pundits, journalists and bloggers!

Venezuela is NOT COMMUNIST.

That nation has a Liberal constitution founded on individual rights in the Western tradition. What it does have is some “workers’ liberation” propaganda and a few government projects smeared on top of this solid Liberal cake. The current Venezuelan constitution was written during the Chavez era itself and yet is still fundamentally Western. In fact all over the EU we see Liberal constitutions with Socialist window dressing. Venezuela is hardly unique in this position.

The key reason for this dissonance has to do with the fact that what is appealing to the Venezuelan people is not very appealing to Washington. Latin America has a lot of gripes with the US for brutality and regime changes during the Cold War. “Fighting the big evil oppressor” and having a country “for the people” are things that commoners can rally around. This marketing strategy worked fantastic for Chavez giving him the popularity of a demigod. However, this sort of red banner quasi-Marxist marketing does not suit President Trump. It is exactly the type of advertising to make the current US leader despise you.

Venezuela’s internal advertising could be forgiven if it were not such an “uppity” nation that actually tries to pursue an independent policy. This stands in direct contradiction to what some see as Trump’s “Fortress America” policy of trying to pull bring American influence and interests back to the Western Hemisphere while at the same time completely and unquestioningly dominating it.

So motivation behind the Trump recognition of Guaido really boils down to three points.

1. Trump finds the Chavez-Maduro “narrative/marketing” repulsive.

2. Venezuela is too uppity and too independent in its politics.

3. Leaders like Maduro are a direct barrier to building “Fortress America”.

Uncle Sam Cracks Whip in Backyard with a Decrepit Hand

Uncle Sam Cracks Whip in Backyard with a Decrepit Hand

 25.01.2019

Uncle Sam Cracks Whip in Backyard with a Decrepit Hand

You could hardly make it up. This week, addressing the Davos summit in Switzerland, via video link, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Russia for interfering in American elections and those of other countries.

The next day, Pompeo was declaring the elected leader in Venezuela “illegitimate” and endorsing an obscure opposition figure as the “recognized president”.

Underway in Venezuela is a coup d’état led by Washington. The country is precariously on a knife-edge of civil war, following the US’ audacious move to delegitimize the government in Caracas.

This is Washington’s interference in the sovereign affairs of another nation – writ large.

And yet the US government and media have the brass neck to accuse Russia of “interference”. Let the world see the USA for what it is – the United States of Arrogance, the United States of Absurdity.

Venezuela faces a foreboding next few weeks. Already the country has been racked by economic chaos – caused in no small part by US sanctions – and persistent street protests, whipped up by Washington’s years-long meddling.

If the violence escalates, US President Donald Trump has warned that “all options are on the table”, meaning possibly a military intervention by Washington. This US script for regime change is so worn out, so predictable, so deplorable.

Russia, which is allied with Venezuela’s elected government of President Nicolas Maduro, has condemned the flagrant violation by the US. Moscow has also warned against any US military intervention, saying it will lead to further mayhem. Maybe that mayhem is exactly what the US is betting on. After all, history shows that when Washington does not approve of a foreign government then its habitual recourse of action is to incite instability and precipitate a failed state, which then allows the US to try to impose its dominance.

Latin America has been viewed by Washington as its “backyard” for the past two centuries. If the Southern Hemisphere does not toe Uncle Sam’s line, then “recalcitrant” countries are forced to “cry Uncle” under pain of military attack, subversion, death squads or economic strangulation.

The imperialist arrogance of Washington towards nominally independent nations is astounding. Most infamously, Cuba defied the US hegemonic overlord by choosing a socialist political system nearly 70 years ago, and for the past seven decades that diminutive island nation has been subjected to a vicious trade embargo as well as countless military aggressions.

Venezuela likewise chose a democratic path of socialism over 20 years ago with the election of Hugo Chavez. Washington has never forgiven that divergence from its hegemony, and for the past two decades has imposed sanctions and hostility on the South American nation.

The “threat of a good example” is never tolerated in Washington’s presumed backyard. Any move towards democracy and independence must be expunged with absolute iron fist. Washington’s preening rhetoric about democracy and law is a travesty of its actual tyranny.

Nicolas Maduro was elected for the second time last May to serve as the country’s president (he took over from Chavez in 2013 after the latter’s death). Maduro has vowed to continue pursuing a socialist form of governance. The US has been agitating a coup in the oil-rich country for the past two decades with sanctions and funding of opposition groups.

Maduro’s re-election won 67 per cent of the vote – albeit with a large abstention figure. His government is the legitimate authority of Venezuela, verified by the country’s National Electoral Commission. Following Maduro’s inauguration earlier this month, the US has ramped up its efforts to delegitimize his mandate.

That move by Washington culminated this week with the blatant orchestration by the White House to declare the obscure opposition figure Juan Guaido as the “recognized president”.

In fell swoop, Washington is declaring the election of Maduro null and void, and urging Latin American countries and other allies to similarly recognize the opposition as the authorities.

Washington’s policy is liable to tear Venezuela apart. The “master of regime change” is at it again. Having caused so much mayhem just recently in Syria and the Middle East, Washington is presuming its role as arbiter of Venezuela’s fate.

Shamelessly, Washington’s vassals and satraps are rowing in behind its outrageous interference in Venezuela. Several rightwing governments in Latin America have predictably jumped at the sound of Uncle Sam’s whip to gang up against Venezuela. Britain, Canada and the European Union have either backed Washington’s usurpation of democracy in Venezuela or meekly gone along with it. The UN and EU have limply called for “calm” and “dialogue” when those organizations should be unequivocally condemning the US for infringing Venezuela’s sovereignty.

Venezuela will be no push over, however. The country’s defense forces are standing with Maduro’s government, and defense minister Vladimir Padrino has condemned “US aggression”. Venezuela’s Supreme Court has declared the opposition’s claim to the presidency as unconstitutional.

Abroad, Venezuela has the support of several neighboring countries, including Mexico, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Russia has emerged as an important international power calling for respect for Venezuela’s sovereignty and the legitimacy of President Maduro. Other foreign supporters include China, Iran and Turkey, who have also denounced the US-led offensive against Venezuela.

It is paramount that international law, sovereignty and the principle of non-interference be upheld. What Venezuela is demonstrating is which powers in the world are the rogue states.

The United States and its various minions, including European and NATO powers, have shown absolutely no regard for international law and sovereignty. We only have to look at the abject turmoil of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and many other countries, to quickly see that truth.

Latin America bears the horrific scars of US imperialism over centuries. We may refer to the coups, fascist regimes and death squads which Uncle Sam bequeathed. Today, the people of Venezuela are again suffering the “benevolence” of the psychopathic Uncle from el Norte.

Nevertheless, the events may show that the Uncle is now a decrepit old tyrant whose malign designs no longer match the multipolar reality of today’s world.

US-LED EFFORTS TO OVERTHROW MADURO SPURRED BY BUSINESS INTERESTS, NOT DEMOCRACY

in Gaza

“Maduro is not a dictator. He is the elected head of a government confronting a genuine national emergency engineered by hostile foreign powers. Measures taken by the government to defend its citizens against the determination of the United States to impose on Venezuela policies which cater to the interests of corporate America at Venezuelans’ expense are wholly legitimate; they represent the actions of a democracy against a US-led international tyranny.

It is important to remember that Maduro’s government, like Chavez’s, has sought to put the interests of ordinary Venezuelans ahead of those of US investors. As a result, it has provoked Washington’s enmity.”

what’s left

US-Led Efforts to Overthrow Maduro Spurred by Business Interests, Not Democracy

January 24, 2019

By Stephen Gowans

The US-led and coordinated intervention to overthrow Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro by recognizing Juan Guaidó, the leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly as the interim president, has nothing whatever to do with restoring democracy in Venezuela (which was never overturned) and everything to do with promoting US business interests.

Washington’s imperial arrogance in effectively appointing Guaidó as president, attempting to go over the heads of Venezuelans—who alone have the right to decide who their leaders are—is motivated by the same concerns that have motivated other US interventions around the world: toppling governments that put their citizens’ interests above those of US investors.

That Washington has a propensity to engage in destabilization operations against leftwing governments is hardly a secret. From 1898 to 2004, the US government undertook 41 successful regime change interventions in Latin America, an average of one every two-and-a-half years. And that excludes the unsuccessful ones, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion.

In almost every instance, US regime change interventions around the world have been motivated either directly or indirectly by commercial considerations, and were undertaken to restore or protect the primacy of US business interests in foreign lands. And in many cases, the interventions paved the way for the installation of rightwing dictatorships.

One ultimately unsuccessful US intervention was the 2002 coup d’état against Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s predecessor. Washington immediately recognized the coup, hailing it as a victory for democracy, but privately recognized it as a major win for US business interests in an oil-rich state teeming with potential profit-making opportunities for US free enterprise.

Washington disliked Chavez because the charismatic leftist leader promoted the welfare of ordinary Venezuelans, rather than pandering to US investors. But the coup against Chavez was short-lived. In a blow against tyranny, the regime change was quickly reversed and Chavez, the country’s legitimate leader, was restored to the presidency.

Determined to eliminate leftist governments in Latin America, Washington stepped up its campaign of economic warfare against the South American country, aiming to plunge its economy into ruin and the Venezuelan people into misery. This was a game plan Washington had followed countless times before and since, in China, Cuba, North Korea, Chile, Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, and Iran: ruin the target country’s economy, attribute the chaos to “the failures of socialism” and economic mismanagement, and wait for the people to rise in revolt against their misery.

The idea that Washington’s intervention in Venezuela has even the slightest connection to protecting democracy is laughable. The US government has notoriously supported a string of rightwing dictatorships throughout Latin America, including that of Augusto Pinochet, who was installed in the wake of a 1973 US-engineered coup against Salvador Allende. Allende crossed Washington by doing what Maduro, and a host of other Third World leaders, had done: put the interests of the local population ahead of those of corporate America.In the Middle East, the United States’s closest Arab allies are a military dictatorship (Egypt) and absolutist monarchies, chief among them Saudi Arabia, whose abhorrence of democracy is absolute. Washington rewards Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid annually, and robustly supports the Saudi tyranny.

Saudis regard their parasitical royal family as completely unacceptable. To protect itself from its own population, the monarchy maintains a 250,000 troop-strong National Guard. The Guard exists, not to defend Saudi Arabia from external aggression, but to protect the monarchy from its own subjects. The al-Saud family’s protectors are trained and equipped by the United States and its satellites, including Canada, which has a $10-billion contract to supply the force with armored personnel carriers, used to put down the frequent uprisings of disgruntled Saudi subjects.

The National Guard’s armorer, Canada, also recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president, dishonestly attributing its decision to follow the US-lead to its purported commitment to democracy. Ottawa has colluded with the dictators of Riyadh in their crackdown on long-suffering, democracy-deprived, Saudi citizens, at the same time supporting General Dynamics Canada’s efforts to rake in Pharaonic profits from arms sales to the democracy-hating Saudi despots.

Let’s be honest about a few things.

First, the agendas of US and Canadian political leaders are set by the economic elites and organized business interests on which they depend for campaign contributions, policy recommendations, and lucrative post political career job opportunities, and with which they’re tightly integrated personally and professionally. Accordingly, they care about the profits of US and Canadian investors, not about the welfare, freedoms or democracy of ordinary Venezuelans. Indeed, they secretly harbor contempt for the bulk of their own citizens and wouldn’t, for a moment, tolerate the flowering of an authentic, robust, democracy in their own countries. The idea that they care about the residents of a distant South American land is a fantasy for political innocents and the weakly naïve.

Second, US-led campaigns of economic warfare do make people’s lives miserable, and many people may attribute their misery to the actions of their own government and wish to see it step down. Others may recognize that sanctions are the cause of their misery, and may support regime change as a way of winning relief from foreign-imposed misery. Indeed, the logic of economic warfare depends on these assumptions being true.

Third, governments threatened by foreign-sponsored regime change face legitimate national emergencies. Maduro is not a dictator. He is the elected head of a government confronting a genuine national emergency engineered by hostile foreign powers. Measures taken by the government to defend its citizens against the determination of the United States to impose on Venezuela policies which cater to the interests of corporate America at Venezuelans’ expense are wholly legitimate; they represent the actions of a democracy against a US-led international tyranny.

It is important to remember that Maduro’s government, like Chavez’s, has sought to put the interests of ordinary Venezuelans ahead of those of US investors. As a result, it has provoked Washington’s enmity. The US intervention in Venezuela in recognizing Guaidó as interim president is emblematic of countless other US regime change interventions. Invariably, these interventions are targeted at leftwing governments that threaten the profit making interests of US businesses. The interventions have nothing whatever to do with democracy; on the contrary, where successful, they are almost always followed by rightwing regimes that build US investor-friendly business climates and integrate their countries economically, militarily, and diplomatically into the US-superintended and Wall Street-led global order. Foreign investors are indulged, and the local population is treated harshly. Far from spurring transitions to democracy, US regime change interventions aim to reverse democracy, and strengthen US global tyranny. The latest US-led intervention in Venezuela is no different, and is just a repeat, with local variations, on similar efforts in Syria, Iran, Cuba and North Korea.

Venezuela – An Appeal to Russia, China and all Unaligned Countries for Support of Sovereign Venezuela Peter Koenig 24 January 2019

January 24, 2019

Venezuela – An Appeal to Russia, China and all Unaligned Countries for Support of Sovereign Venezuela Peter Koenig 24 January 2019

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

On 23 January 2018, the United States has initiated a coup against President Nicolás Maduro and his Government, by encouraging and fully supporting the “self-proclaimed” opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as interim President. Already days ago he had received the full support of President Trump, and today, in a special televised speech, US Vice-president Mike Pence declared that Venezuela’s Freedom begins with the new interim president, Juan Guaído
https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/venezuela-established-its-freedom-with-new-interim-president-juan-guaido-vice-president-mike-pence

RT reports that “the Venezuelan military will not accept a president imposed by ‘dark interests’, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said after Washington and a number of its allies recognized a lawmaker [Juan Guaído] as the new leader in Caracas.”

“The army will continue to defend the constitution and national sovereignty, Padrino said on Wednesday afternoon, hours after opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido was proclaimed interim president by the National Assembly, in a direct challenge to President Nicolas Maduro.”

Washington’s immediate recognition of Guaido as Venezuelan’s legitimate leader, was instantly followed by the Organization of American States (OAS), as well as Canada and France. Mexico apparently has declines to do so “for now”. Is the “for now” an indication that Lopez Obrador’s actions are already being controlled by Washington?

This is an appeal to Russia and China and to all unaligned nations that love their freedom and sovereignty – to stand up in defense of Venezuela’s freedom and sovereignty.

May they use their diplomatic leverage, and if that does not work on Washington’s ‘savages’ – use other means that the empire understands. Keeping Venezuela free from the yoke of the US and its vassal allies – is essential for all the people in Latin America who have already been subjected to US implanted subjugating and abusing dictators, who not only have ruined their countries’ economies, but created extreme poverty where there was prosperity before, i.e. Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay – and Chile, which is well on her way to an economic and social demise.

Venezuela must stay and remain tall.

President Putin and Jinping – please do whatever you can and whatever you must, to stop the US bulldozer from overtaking Venezuela!

Ongoing unrest in the streets of Caracas and major Venezuelan cities, all inspired and fueled on by the United States, and also the OAS (Organization of American States), the Club of Lima (except for Mexico), its European puppet allies, is confusing and dividing the people and has already killed at least 16. It is not clear who is responsible for the killing, but undoubtedly opposition forces funded by outside sources and / or the Fifth Column (inside Venezuela) have a bloody hand in the Venezuelan violence. A western instigated civil war is a real risk.

This coup attempt is an abject illegal interference in another country’s sovereignty, with the ultimate violent and vicious goal that Washington has been practicing over the past 100 years around the globe – and ever with more impunity – of “regime change” to steel a non-conform, non-submissive government’s resources, and of course, to reach eventually the ultimate goal of full spectrum world dominance. Venezuela has by far the world’s largest known hydrocarbon (petrol and gas) reserves which is two days of shipping time away from Texas oil refineries, versus the Arabian Gulf from where today the US imports 60% of its petrol – a shipping time of 40-45 days, higher shipping costs, plus the risk of having to sail through the Iran-controlled Gulf of Hormuz.

In addition, Washington cannot tolerate any socialist country, let alone, one that is located in what Washington considers its backyard, like Venezuela, or, for that matter Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia. The other left-leaning South American country, Ecuador, has recently been “converted” with an internal “soft” coup, aka fake or manipulated elections. Those are usually operated through strong Fifth Columns funded from abroad – and with substantial menaces, including death threats.

So, Washington is dead set, especially with Trump and Pompeo at the apparent helm, who openly propagate a US (and allied, including NATO) invasion of Venezuela to “free” their “oppressed” people; to bring them from one of the only true democracies in the world (quote by Chomsky and the international election supervising US Carter Institute, among others) under the usurping dictatorship protection of the United States of America. Venezuelans will not tolerate such a farce. The 6 million Venezuelans who stood solidly behind Nicolas Maduro when they voted for him in May 2018, have already stood up – and will continue defending their freely and democratically elected President, despite the western media’s fake images of “tens of thousands” in the streets of Caracas demonstrating against legitimate President Maduro and for the self-proclaimed “interim president”, Juan Guaído.

He is, in fact, a criminal who acts totally against Venezuela’s Constitution on which he swore his allegiance to the country when he took up a seat in the Venezuelan parliament. It is clear that this “mass-movement”, as depicted by western media, was organized from outside, possibly paid for by US sponsored “NGOs” – and Venezuelan “insiders”, covert or openly from the opposition, trained by the CIA and other infiltrated US secret service groups. Clearly the Fifth Column is and was at work in Venezuela for years, bringing about the downfall of the economy by monetary and oil price manipulation from outside and from within; and by diverting food and medicine shipments from being delivered to supermarkets and instead being transferred as contraband into Colombia, where they are sold at dollar-manipulated inflated local currencies.
—-
This coup attempt reminds so much of another US State Department instigated but failed overthrow in April 2002 against President Hugo Chavez. The coup was botched by the Venezuelan military and the people of Venezuela. President Chavez was reinstated within 2 days. And the present coup so far has also failed.

President Maduro’s decision to break diplomatic relations with the US is therefore, not only logical, but totally legal. He has given all US diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. Now comes the other ‘coup’ – the US refuses to accept the legal expulsion of their diplomats from Caracas, because the self-proclaimed and US recognized “interim president” has called for all diplomats, first of all those from Washington, to stay in the country. Pompeo is threating Venezuela for any harm that may happen to US citizens, including diplomats during this upraising and what they consider “change of government”.

Here is Pompeo’s statement with regard to diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Stay tuned to how this crisis will unfold.

May Venezuela’s friends and allies put all their might, diplomatic and other, at the support of Venezuela’s freedom and sovereignty.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

The Americans wet their pants because of the Russian Tu-160 in Venezuela

December 13, 2018

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated and subtitled by Eugenia

Trump Regime’s Rage for Regime Change in Venezuela

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Beginning with the Clinton co-presidency, US regimes opposed Venezuela’s Bolivarian social democracy, wanting pro-Western puppet rule replacing it.

In 2001, after Hugo Chavez compared Bush/Cheney’s global war on terrorism with the 9/11 attacks, Washington’s ambassador Donna Hrinak was recalled for consultations.

Ahead of Bush/Cheney’s aborted two-day April 2002 coup against Chavez, State Department cables said it couldn’t be ruled out, the incident one of others to follow against him and Nicolas Maduro.

Days earlier, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted:

“Venezuela reiterates its denouncement and condemns the continuing aggressions that the US government has directly promoted against the constitutional President @NicolasMaduro, democratically elected and re-elected by a wide electoral margin in May of this same year,” separately tweeting:

“We denounce the intervention plans and support for military conspirators by the government of the United States against Venezuela. Even in US media, the crass evidence is coming to light.”

Like their predecessors, Trump regime hardliners want Maduro removed. International law prohibits interfering in the affairs of other nations, except in self-defense if attacked.

The 1970 UN General Assembly Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (Resolution 2625) affirmed “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” in all nations.

It proclaimed their right to “freely determine, without external interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development” – requiring compliance by all member states.

It prohibited the “threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” calling for resolving disputes “by peaceful means.”

International, constitutional and US statute laws never impede Washington’s aim to topple ruling authorities in nations it opposes – Venezuela a prime target because of its world’s largest oil reserves Republicans and undemocratic Dems want control over.

Rex Tillerson when secretary of state and Mike Pompeo when CIA director openly called for toppling Maduro.

At the time, Pompeo accused the Venezuelan president of usurping power and inflicting pain on the Venezuelan people – a bald-faced lie, ignoring US political and economic war on the country still raging.

As CIA director, Pompeo orchestrated months of street violence, falsely calling Bolivarian social democracy a threat to US security, supported by Trump instead of denouncing and preventing what’s going on.

Straightaway after replacing Tillerson as secretary of state last March, Pompeo warned about toughening Trump regime policies against US security threats in Latin America – despite none existing, aiming his remarks mainly at Venezuela.

Illegal sanctions were increased, political and economic war escalated. At the time, Trump said he wouldn’t rule out a “military option” to remove Maduro. Added toughness against Cuba was signaled.

Former Reagan administration assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs Roger Noreiga accused then-under secretary of state for political affairs Thomas Shannon of failing to pursue enough toughness against Maduro.

When Pompeo replaced Tillerson at State, he said Trump regime policies can reverse what he called “shortcomings” in Latin America by “get(ting) tough on (regional) hot spots.”

On Friday, Pompeo warned of unspecified “actions” the Trump regime intends pursuing against Venezuela, saying:

“You’ll see in the coming days a series of actions that continue to increase the pressure level against the Venezuelan leadership…who are working directly against the best interest of the Venezuelan people.”

“We’re determined to ensure that the Venezuelan people get their say.” Maybe he has another coup d’etat, political assassination, or war of aggression in mind.

The Trump regime’s notion of what National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis called “a peaceful, orderly return to democracy” is all about eliminating it wherever it exists and preventing its emergence elsewhere.

Venezuelan Bolivarian social democracy is a prime Trump regime target for elimination. Another attempt to remove Maduro could come any time.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

What Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

August 13, 2018

by Peter Koenig for The Saker BlogWhat Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

Stories about corruption and internally government-generated violence concerning most unaligned countries abound in the MSM. These lies fuel hatred. And the public at large start a malicious rumor circuit. Which, in turn is taken over by the MSM, so that their lies are pushing in open doors. The war drums start beating. The populace wants foreign imposed order, they want blood and ‘regime change’. The consensus for war has once more worked. And the blood may flow. Instigated by outside forces, such as the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID, which train and fund nationals clandestinely in-and outside the country where eventually they have to operate. They are commandeered by Washington and other western powers and act so as to blame the “non-obedient” governments, whose regime must be changed. They constitute part of the Fifth Column.

Fifth Column is a group of people, who undermine the government of a country in support of the enemy. They can be both covert and open. The term Fifth Column originates from the Spanish Civil War, when in October 1936 nationalist rebel General Mola initiated the coup d’état against the legitimate Republican Government. This marked the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. General Mola besieged Madrid with four “columns” of troops and claimed he had a “Fifth Column”, hiding inside the city. The term was henceforth used for infiltrated enemies within a legitimate government. Mola, the mastermind behind the coup died in a 1937 plane crash, and General Francisco Franco became Spain’s dictator for the next almost 40 years. He prevailed over the Republican resistance thanks to Hitler’s and Mussolini’s air support.

Now what’s the true story behind the violence-plagued Nicaragua and Venezuela, and the treacherous new Moreno government in Ecuador?

Take Nicaragua – it all started with the Board of Directors of the Nicaragua Social Security Institute (INSS) on 16 April 2018 approving an IMF-imposed social security reform, modified and then supported by President Ortega. The reform maintained social security at its current level, but would increasing employer contributions by 3.5% to pension and health funds, while only slightly increasing worker contributions by 0.75% and shifting 5% of pensioners’ cash transfer into their healthcare fund. These reforms triggered the coup attempt initiated by the business lobby and backed by the Nicaraguan oligarchy.

Student protests were already ongoing in different university cities in connection with university elections. These protests were re-directed against the Ortega government with the help of US-funded NGOs and the Catholic Church, an ally of the wealthy in most of Latin America. Some of the students involved in ‘re-directing’ the protests were brought to the US for training by the Freedom House, a long-time associate of the CIA. USAID announced an additional US$ 1.5 million to build opposition to the Ortega Government. These funds along with financing from the NED will be channeled to NGOs to support anti-government protests. For more details, see also http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49933.htm .

Summarizing, in the course of the weeks following the coup, violence increased leaving a total of more than 300 dead by early August. Even though Ortega reversed the pension measures, unrests continued, now demanding the resignation of the President and Vice-President, his wife Rosario Murillo Zambrana. Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista and former guerilla leader, was first elected President in 1985. It is clear that the US and the dark forces behind the empire were preparing Fifth Column-type groups to intervene and take advantage of any social upheaval in the country to bring about regime change. What could have and would have been contained, continued as US inspired violent protests eventually aiming at the overthrow of Ortega’s government. That would bring Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua – and Panama – in line with US policies. Will Washington succeed?

On Venezuela – In mid-June 2018, I was privileged to be invited to Caracas as one of several international economists to participate in a Presidential Economic Advisory Commission – to discuss internal and external economic issues. Without going into details of the commission’s deliberations – it is absolutely clear who is behind the food and medicine boycotts (empty supermarket shelves), and the induced internal violence. It is a carbon copy of what the CIA under Kissinger’s command did in Chile in 1973 which led to the murder of the legitimate and democratically elected President Allende and to the Pinochet military coup; except, Venezuela has 19 years of revolutionary experience, and built up some tough resistance.

To understand the context ‘Venezuela’, we may have to look at the country’s history.

Before the fully democratically and internationally observed election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, Venezuela was governed for at least 100 years by dictators and violent despots which were directed by and served only the United States. The country, extremely rich in natural resources, was exploited by the US and Venezuelan oligarchs to the point that the population of one of the richest Latin-American countries remained poor instead of improving its standard of living according to country’s natural riches. The people were literally enslaved by Washington controlled regimes.

A first coup attempt by Comandante Hugo Chavez in 1992 was oppressed by the Government of Carlos Andrés Pérez and Chavez was sent to prison along with his co-golpistas. After two years, he was freed by the Government of Rafael Caldera.

During Peréz’ first term in office (1974-1979) and his predecessors, Venezuela attained a high economic growth based on almost exclusive oil exports. Though, hardly anything of this growth stayed in the country and was distributed to the people. The situation was pretty much the same as it is in today’s Peru which before the 2008 crisis and shortly thereafter had phenomenal growth rates – between 5% and 8% – of which 80% went to 5% of the population oligarchs and foreign investors, and 20% was to be distributed to 95% of the population – and that on a very uneven keel. The result was and is a growing gap between rich and poor, increasing unemployment and delinquency.

Venezuela before Chavez lived practically on a monoculture economy based on petrol. There was no effort towards economic diversification. To the contrary, diversification could eventually help free Venezuela from the despot’s fangs, as the US was the key recipient of Venezuela’s petrol and other riches. Influenced by the 1989 Washington Consensus, Peréz made a drastic turn in his second mandate (1989-1993) towards neoliberal reforms, i.e. privatization of public services, restructuring the little social safety benefits laborers had achieved, and contracting debt by the IMF and the World Bank. He became a model child of neoliberalism, to the detriment of Venezuelans. Resulting protests under Peréz’ successor, Rafael Caldera, became unmanageable. New elections were called and Hugo Chavez won in a first round with more than 56%. Despite an ugly Washington inspired coup attempt (“The Revolution will Not be Televised”, 2003 documentary about the attempted 2002 coup), Hugo Chavez stayed in power until his untimely death 2013. Comandante Chavez and his Government reached spectacular social achievements for his country.

Washington will not let go easily – or at all, to re-conquer Venezuela into the new Monroe Doctrine, i.e. becoming re-integrated into Washington’s backyard. Imagine this oil-rich country, with the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves, on the doorsteps of the United Sates’ key refineries in Texas, just about 3 to 4 days away for a tanker from Venezuela, as compared to 40 to 45 days from the Gulf, where the US currently gets about 60% of its petrol imports. An enormous difference in costs and risks, i.e. each shipment has to sail through the Iran-controlled Strait of Hormuz.

In addition, another socialist revolution as one of Washington’s southern neighbor – in addition to Cuba – is not convenient. Therefore, the US and her secret forces will do everything to bring about regime change, by constant economic aggressions, blockades, sanctions, boycotts of imports and their internal distribution – as well as outrights military threats. The recent assassination attempt of President Maduro falls into the same category.

And let’s not forget, Venezuela’s neighbor Colombia, fully under Washington’s control, has just recently become a NATO country. How absurd, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, stationed in a South American country. But then, NATO is also in Afghanistan, Syria, in the Balkans and wherever US-instigated conflicts need to be fought. Colombian and Venezuela share a border of some 2,200 km of which about 1,500 are difficult to control ‘porous’ jungle, from where clandestine as well as overt military infiltrations are relatively easy. They may also spread to other South American countries. It’s already happening into countries with open doors for US military, like Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Less than 5 years ago, 80% of Latin American populations lived under democratically elected, left-leaning governments. It took South America some 20-25 years to free themselves from the fangs of the Monroe Doctrine. Now in the course of a few years the trend has been reversed, through US intervention with election manipulations – Argentina, Ecuador, Chile – and parliamentary coups – Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay. – Venezuela, together with Bolivia and Cuba, today is Latin America’s last holdout ad hope.

Back to the present – Washington’s goal is “regime change” with the help of a strong Fifth Column, infiltrated in key financial institutions and all the support that comes with it, NED, CIA et al. However, President Maduro has a solid block of 6 million voters behind him, and is embarking with full integrity on a path of “Resistance Economy”. In fact, the recent introduction of the hydrocarbon-backed Petro, and the new just announced Petro-backed Bolivar – are first steps in the right direction; an attempt to de-dollarize Venezuela’s economy. Other measures, like massive efforts to become autonomous in food and industrial goods, à la Russia, rebuild the agricultural sector and industrial parks, are measures to regain economic sovereignty.

On Ecuador – President Rafael Correa has worked with Lenin Moreno, who was his Vice-President and close ally during many years. It is therefore a bit strange that Correa apparently did not know Moreno is a traitor, what he clearly has become soon after taking office. Correa’s internal support was still strong, despite his decline among indigenous people after his (US forced) Amazon petroleum concessions. Though incited by many of the people at large to change the Constitution and run for a third term, he was warned by Washington not to do so, and instead, to promote Moreno as his successor. Correa knows what such warnings mean. He was almost killed in a 2010 Washington inspired police coup, widely thought being linked to his attempt to abandon the US dollar as the Ecuadorian currency and return to the Sucre; and Correa’s memory is still fresh enough to recall the ‘accidental airplane’ death of one of his predecessor’s, President Roldo, who changed the rules for (mostly US) hydrocarbon corporations in 1981.

What lays ahead for Ecuador does not look bright. Several IMF inspired reforms – yes, Ecuador returned to the IMF and World Bank – might reverse social gains achieved under the Correa Regime for the working and indigenous people. Also, a breach on free speech by Moreno is imminent: He announced already a while ago that Julian Assange’s days in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London are counted. If and when Assange has to leave the Embassy, he will likely be arrested by UK police and eventually handed over to the US – where he may expect a very uncertain, but possibly violent future.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog; and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

The Essential Saker II
The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
The Essential Saker
The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world

Paul Craig Roberts: “The United States Is The Only Remaining Colonial Power”

30.07.2018

Written by Paul Craig Roberts; Originally appeared on paulcraigroberts.org

The United States government has never allowed independent governments in Latin America. Every time people elect a government that represents them instead of US economic interests, Washington overthrows the elected government. Marine General Smedley Butler told us this as have many others. There is no doubt about it.

Currently Washington is trying to overthrow the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua and has bought off the Ecuadorian government with oil purchases and the usual personal bribes. Evo Morales government in Bolivia is also targeted by Washington. The Obama regime succeeded in removing the reform governments in Honduras, Argentina, and Brazil.

Paul Craig Roberts: "The United States Is The Only Remaining Colonial Power"

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 41 prepares for take off from the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in the Pacific Ocean. (David A. Brandenburg/Navy)

Reform governments in Latin America, except for Castro’s Cuba, always leave themselves set-up to be overthrown. They foolishly or impotently permit Washington’s agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Agency for International Development, and various so-called NGOs, whose purpose is to maintain Washington’s control and overthrow every government that escapes control, to organize and fund opposition groups and media that work hand-in-hand with Washington to reinstall a Washington-compliant government.

As Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot understood, you cannot overthrow an oppressor class if you leave them unmolested. Whether from weakness or stupidity, Latin American reform governments always leave the electorally defeated oppressor class and its economic and media power unmolested. When Washington reinstalls the oppressor class, the same tolerance is never shown to the overthrown reformers who usually pay with their lives.

All Latin American reform efforts have made the foolsh mistake of leaving the oppressor class with their newspapers and their traitorous connections to Washington in place, including the government of President Ortega in Nicaragua. One would think that Ortega would know better. Washington has been trying to get rid of Ortega and the Sandinistas since the Reagan administration. His government has survived the latest Washington-led coup attempt, but Washington is pouring more money into the effort. Read Kevin Zeese’s report here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49933.htm

Hugo Chavez made the same mistake in Venezuela, and his successor has repeated the mistake. The post-Castro Cuban government is now also falling into the trap of becoming an American vassal as it was under Fulgencio Batista.

The Monroe Doctrine has always been glorified in US textbooks as warning European colonialists away from Latin America. The Americans intended it for themselves and succeeded in keeping Latin America as a colony. The Organization of American States has always been in Washington’s pocket and remains there today. Latin America accepts its colonized existence and does not come to the aid of those democratic governments that Washington targets for overthrow. Latin America is impotent, because its leaders are paid off, blackmailed, or threatened by Washington.

Washington has pretended forever to be the great friend and protector of democracy, but every time an independent government comes into existence in Latin America, Washington overthrows it.

In 2015 President Barack Obama, America’s first Black President and “great friend of the oppressed,” citing “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by Venezuela,” signed an executive order and imposed sanctions. Obama’s excuse was the Washington-incited violence that led to the arrest of some of those committing acts of violence. Washington quickly termed the criminals Washington had incited “political prisoners” and called for “dialogue” instead of “silencing critics with arrests.” Washington declared the arrests of those commiting acts of violence to be “human rights violations by the Venezuelan government.” http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/obama-declares-venezuela-national-security-threat-imposes-sanctions

In other words, the Venezuelan government was violating Washington’s human rights to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

The presstitutes reported this with a straight face.

A government that has no shame whatsoever in telling the most transparent lies while actively trying to overthrow a democratically elected government is a government that deserves universal condemnation. Yet the world is too well paid off or scared to open its mouth.

Preparations for the Final Phase of Regime Change in Venezuela: Will the United States Resort to a Multilateral Military Invasion?

Written by Daniel Edgar exclusively for SouthFront

A ‘top secret’ document entitled “Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship ‘Masterstroke’” has recently received substantial coverage by the ‘alternative’ press in Latin America (needless to say, it has received little or no mention in the ‘mainstream’ press). The document is dated the 23rd of February 2018 and apparently was edited and approved by Kurt Tidd, commander of United States Southern Command (‘SouthCom’).

Many sections of the report read as though they were written by the proverbial Cubans of Miami and their CIA/ mafia handlers. For instance, in the section on ‘Information Strategy’ the report emphasizes the importance of “keeping the harassment to the Dictator as the only responsible of the crisis in which he has submerged the nation” (p.9), and in another section states the intention to “expose him as a puppet of Cuba” (p.3). The unlikely spectre of the small Caribbean island taking over the Latin American continent piece by piece as conquered dominions still has a surprising amount of currency in the mainstream press and among right wing sectors (usually updated as ‘CastroChavism’).

As with the ‘Protocols of Zion’, whether or not the document is authentic (as far as I know SouthCom has not denied its authenticity, and they would hardly acknowledge authorship of such a document), the report appears to provide a very accurate description of the US strategy to impose regime change in Venezuela and re-install a surrogate political regime obedient to Washington ever since the election of Hugo Chavez up to recent events, as well as of the next steps that the United States intends to take. It provides further corroboration that these plans include the extreme and irrevocable step of an open military invasion together with the armed forces of several neighbouring States (in particularly Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Guyana, and presumably also Peru) if all else fails, supported by paramilitary groups and other covert forces and groups already present in or infiltrated into Venezuela and other countries throughout the region.

The report describes the immense scope and brutality of the United States’ disruptive economic, social and political actions to destabilize and overthrow the Venezuelan government and anticipates the possibility of an even more dramatic escalation in intensity and scale. For instance, in order to undermine “the decadent popular support to Government”: “Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises…” (pp.2-3)

Consistent with the stated intentions and plans, over the last year the US has been staging large-scale multilateral military exercises that simulate major aspects of the projected military intervention in Venezuela, including in adjacent areas from where an overt military campaign and associated economic blockade would be waged (see for example Manlio Dinucci, 2017).

While the extravagant hostility and threatening polemic emanating from Washington has presaged the possibility of direct military intervention at least since 2015 when then president Barack Obama promulgated an Executive Order “declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela”, a multilateral military intervention would be unprecedented in recent Latin American history.

While in the nineteenth century an international military coalition was created to invade and subdue a rebellious Paraguay and in the first half of the twentieth century US marines invaded and occupied Latin American countries on numerous occasions, since World War II the US has crafted an extremely effective neo-colonial system of political, economic and technological dominance and control that made overt external military intervention unnecessary. When national governments became too independent or attempted to allocate a larger portion of their country’s wealth and resources to the benefit of its own people instead of US corporations the US could rely on political and economic destabilisation, followed by a military coup by complicit military officers if necessary, to re-establish absolute submission to Washington.

The mere fact that the US may be genuinely considering such a drastic and potentially risky step as a viable course of action is testimony to the resilience of the Venezuelan government and people after almost twenty years of political destabilization, attempted coups and economic sabotage. It also testifies to the importance of Venezuela to the second ‘war of independence’ in Latin America to liberate the continent from imperial/ neo-colonial rule, and amounts to a tacit admission that the all-out efforts of the masters of US foreign policy to impose regime change in Venezuela have thus far failed and are unlikely to succeed in the absence of even more extreme measures, the last resort in the regime change textbook of open military intervention.

In acknowledging the importance of Venezuela to the emergence of independent leadership in numerous Latin American countries since the election of Hugo Chavez and the consolidation of regional forms of cooperation throughout Latin America that explicitly or implicitly rejected Washington’s ‘leadership’, the report states that the recent “rebirth of democracy” (return to conservative, neoliberal, right wing regimes that unquestioningly support Washington’s policies) has halted the trend “in which radical populism was intended to take over” South America. Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador are cited as examples of the resurrection of democracy. In this context, the report states that “overthrowing the Venezuelan Dictatorship will surely mean a continental turning point” (p.2).

Also reflecting the regional significance and implications of related developments, the report includes as part of the ‘Information Strategy’ proclaiming the failure of regional “mechanisms of integration created by the regimens of Cuba and Venezuela, specially the ALBA and PETROCARIBE”, along with “strengthening the image of the OAS” and other multilateral institutions and agreements in the region that are compatible with and subservient to the US’ interests and objectives (p.10).

In terms of the international dimensions of the strategy, the report declares that other components include:

“Fully obstructing imports… Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighbouring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to…” (pp.4-5)

“Preparing the involvement of allied forces in support of the Venezuelan army officers or to control the internal crisis, in the event they delay too much in taking the initiative…

Getting the support of the cooperation of the allied authorities of friendly countries (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Panama and Guyana)…

Organizing the provisioning, relief of troops, medical and logistical support from Panama. Making good use of the facilities of electronic surveillance and signals intelligence, the hospitals and its deployed endowments in Darién, the equipped airdromes for the Colombian Plan, as well as the landing fields of the old-time military bases of Howard and Albrook…

Moving on the basification of combat airplanes and choppers, armored conveyances, intelligence positions, and special military and logistics units (police and military district attorneys and prisons)…” (pp.6-7)

“Developing the military operation under international flag… Binding Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama to the contribution of greater number of troops, to make use of their geographic proximity and experience in operations in forest regions. Strengthening their international condition with the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA…

Using the facilities at Panamanian territory for the rear guard and the capacities of Argentina for the securing of the ports and the maritime positions…

Leaning on Brazil and Guyana to make use of the migratory situation that we intend to encourage in the border with Guyana…

Coordinating the support to Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, Aruba, Curacao, Trinidad and Tobago and other States in front of the flow of Venezuelan immigrants in the event of the crisis…” (pp.7-8)

Another very interesting aspect of the report from my point of view is its discussion of the Colombian component of its strategy (I have been in Colombia for most of the last eight years). Apart from the reference quoted above to pre-stocked military bases in Colombia in apparent preparation for the possibility of a large-scale military conflict with Venezuela (in flagrant contravention of a 2010 judgment of the Constitutional Court of Colombia), the report affirms as intentions and objectives:

“Continuing setting fire to the common frontier with Colombia. Multiplying the traffic of fuel and other goods. The movement of paramilitaries, armed raids and drug trafficking. Provoking armed incidents with the Venezuelan frontier security forces… Recruiting paramilitaries mainly in the campsites of refugees in Cúcuta, La Guajira and the north of Santander, areas largely populated by Colombian citizens who emigrated to Venezuela and now return, run away from the regimen to intensify the destabilizing activities in the common frontier between the two countries. Making use of the empty space left by the FARC, the belligerency of the ELN and the activities in the area of the Gulf Clan…” (p.6)

Apart from indicating that many of the refugees fleeing from Venezuela (the plight of these people is a favourite topic of the mainstream media in Colombia in their constant denunciations of the Venezuelan government) are in fact Colombians returning to Colombia after fleeing the political violence and economic hardship that has ravaged Colombia over the last couple of decades, the report confirms the widespread use of paramilitary groups and other criminal organizations and illegal armed groups to further the United States’ “national interests and foreign policy objectives” in the region. This would also be consistent with the nature of US involvement in Colombia over the last century, as described in detail by Renan Vega Cantor in the 2015 report of the Historical Commission established to investigate the origin and evolution of the social and armed conflict in Colombia.

Fortunately, the eagerly anticipated eruption of widespread violence prior to and following the presidential election on the 20th of May has not eventuated. In addition, in the final presidential debate in Colombia on the 26th of May the two candidates that will take part in the second round on the 17th of June (Ivan Duque and Gustavo Petro) both categorically ruled out the involvement of Colombia in an open military intervention against Venezuela.

It may be that the belligerency and reckless threats and actions simply represent the ‘fire and fury’ brand of erratic ‘diplomacy’ of the latest US Executive in Chief, in the belief that everyone will bend to their will if the threats are extreme enough (backed up by an occasional salvo of missiles). Nonetheless, the US war machine in all of its guises and forms is going to great lengths to ensure that it is prepared for every eventuality, and the only certainty is that an overt military attack against Venezuela orchestrated by the US cannot be ruled out entirely.

The following sections are translations of commentaries by analysts in the region:

***

Julio Yao Villalaz, “Venezuela, An impossible intervention” (“Venezuela, una intervención imposible” (3 March 2018)

“The intervention that the United States is promoting against Venezuela with the complicity of the so-called ‘Lima Group’, made up of 12 countries – less than half of the member States of the Organisation of American States (OAS) – among which is Panama unfortunately, is an illegitimate and impossible endeavour that scandalously violates the Charter of the OAS, the UN Charter and International Law.

The collective violation of International Law involves decades of illicit actions, ever since Hugo Chavez assumed power in Venezuela and the United States began to lose its privileges, benefits and petroleum subsidies…

Notwithstanding the unquestionable lack of credibility of the organisation, the Charter of the OAS sanctifies     principles of International Law that prohibit absolutely the individual or collective intervention of its members in the internal and external affairs of other States and are, mutatis mutandi, the same principles as those of the Charter of the United Nations…

(The author lists relevant principles of the UN Charter that prohibit any form of intervention in the affairs of a member State, and notes that the principle of ‘representative democracy’ sanctified in the Charter of the OAS cannot supersede the principles of the UN Charter which make no such stipulation.)

Moreover, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela far exceeds the so-called ‘representative democracies’ of the region (Venezuela is a participatory democracy) and is one of the most democratic countries in the world, as its history and actual experience demonstrate, verified by the United Nations, international human rights organisations, as well as by other renowned personalities and associations such as the Carter Foundation among others.

However, the United States and its acolytes, henchmen and lackeys from the ‘Lima Group’ persevere with the violation of International Law notwithstanding that they didn’t even gain the support of the OAS for their imperialist adventure (the independent countries of the Caribbean and others prevented it) and that almost all of the members of the ‘Lima Group’ violate and are far from complying with the norms that guarantee minimum requirements for even an elemental democratic governance.

What right does the United States have to threaten Venezuela, if the United States is the worst violator of the UN Charter and the main denier of International Law; if the United States has rejected or refused to ratify more human rights treaties than any other State; when the United States is the country with the highest number of death sentences on the planet; if the United States is the State whose ‘defence’ budget is larger than the budgets of the next six largest States’ budgets combined; if the United States is the State with the largest number of foreign military bases in the world (more than 1,000)…

What right does this delinquent country have to deny the right of the Venezuelan people to exist?

What right does Colombia have to head the aggression against Venezuela, if on the external plane it is a country occupied by the United States (there are seven US military bases in Colombia) that lacks independence; and, on the internal plane, Colombia is a narco-State that maintains one of every 10 Colombians outside the country; when Colombia has betrayed the Peace Accord that it signed with the FARC and assassinates and permits paramilitaries to systematically eliminate social leaders and human rights defenders; if Colombia tolerates persecution and attacks against political movements that participate in national politics, such as the FARC? Colombia is already an accomplice in the sanctions against Venezuela and will be the tip of the spear of the invasion of the Bolivarian Republic.

What right does Peru have to allege a lack of democracy in Venezuela, if its President, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, was at the point of being dismissed by the Congress for ‘moral incapacity’ to govern because he received bribes from Odebrecht; if the same Peruvian president illegally indemnified former president Alberto Fujimori – a confessed perpetrator of genocide – and if his government is permanently under siege by the reclamations of health and education workers?

What right does Argentina have to question the transparency in Venezuela, if its president, Mauricio Macri, is immersed in the Odebrecht scandal as well as the ‘Panama Papers’ and his government is constantly accused by reclamations from its people, the Mapuche Indians, pensioners and the middle class, that has seen the progress achieved during the mandate of former president Cristina Kirchner stagnate?

What right does Brazil have to offer its territory as a trampoline for an intervention and denounce Venezuela as a ‘dictatorship’, if its unelected president, Michel Temer, arrived to the position thanks to a ‘soft coup’ against Dilma Rousseff, is accused by the Prosecutor General of ‘passive corruption, obstruction of justice and criminal organisation’ and has anti-democratically blocked the presidential candidacy of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva?

What right does Mexico have to denounce Venezuela for a ‘humanitarian crisis’ if its president, Enrique Peña Nieto, presides over a corrupt government sustained by drug trafficking and organised crime, that has handed over Mexico’s wealth to the transnationals of the United States and the same Mexico has the world record for journalists assassinated and disappeared?

What right does Honduras have (please!) to question the legitimacy of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela if its president, unconstitutional and unelected, enthroned by a fraud of cosmic proportions, Jose O. Hernandez, clings to power with the support of the bayonets of US Southern Command and kills his own people without hesitation?

What right does Panama have to question the independence and the democracy of Venezuela, if the Partido Panameñista (of president Juan Carlos Varela) assumed power in the arms of the (US) invaders following the invasion of 1989 (who swore in Guillermo Endara as president in a US military base)? It is worth recalling that, at international law, agreements signed under military occupation are ipso facto void.

What moral right does Panama have to destroy the right of Venezuela to self-determination, if Guillermo Endara, the first post-invasion puppet president and president of the Partido Panameñista (the political party of the current Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela), subscribed to the Arias Calderon-Hinton Accord (1991), the basis of the Salas-Becker treaties of 2002 that handed Panama over to 16 federal agencies of the United States (including the Pentagon, the US Army, the US Air Force, the US Navy and the US Coastguard)? These US entities could once again convert Panama into a platform of aggression for the US Southern Command…

(The author, a former Panamanian diplomat, proceeds to describe many other instances of illegal collaboration by Panama’s government with US imperial plans and projects of bilateral and regional dominance.)

Despite the complete absence of moral or legal authority of the ‘Lima Group’ to attack Venezuela, the United States insists on invading the country with the complicity of governments that are unrepresentative, anachronistic, outlaws and enemies of International Law … under the notorious banner of ‘Humanitarian Intervention’.

They want us to believe that in Venezuela there is a ‘humanitarian crisis’ that requires a confrontation of people against people in the region, of the poor against the poor and of brothers against brothers, to satisfy the appetites of Washington, misinterpreting the Chinese strategic genius Sun Tzu, who counselled conserving one’s own forces by utilising foreign forces…

(The author proceeds to review some of the military aggressions by powerful States to further their own interests based on dubious or completely fabricated claims of humanitarian crisis, such as in Yugoslavia and Libya.)

In the case of Panama, the United States didn’t even take the effort to inform the OAS or the UN, nor even the US Senate, that they must approve the invasion in 1989, but they did lie about and satanize General Manuel Noriega, as testified in ‘Secret-Sensitive’ documents of the US National Security Council, documents that establish as the real objectives securing the Panama Canal treaties and derailing the negotiations between Panama and Japan for a new canal.

But in Venezuela there is neither a humanitarian crisis nor a civil war – nor had there been one in Panama. Rather, there is a massive external intervention in the country’s and the people’s affairs, internal and external, an intervention manifested in ultra-modern and multi-faceted forms, with the transnational support of countries, NGOs and personalities that are trying to destroy the Venezuela nation, destroy its revolution and rob Venezuela of its prodigious natural wealth.

The intervention against Venezuela would be an aggression against Latin America and the Caribbean, a regression in Latin American Unity, a blow against the memory of the liberators of Our America, and for all of these reasons, it is an impossible intervention that cannot be allowed to triumph!”

***

Julio Yao Villalaz, “Kuczynski, the ‘Lima Group’, Venezuela and the VIII Summit of the Americas”, (“Kuczynski, el ‘Grupo de Lima’, Venezuela y la VIII Cumbre de las Américas”), 23 March 2018

“With the exit from power of the Peruvian president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) the so-called Lima Group, created as part of a multi-faceted war that the United States has been waging in order to destroy the sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people, has suffered a further loss of legitimacy

The Lima Group is made up of less than half of the members of the Organization of American States (OAS), but Kuczynski’s resignation following accusations of corruption has shaken the VIII Summit of the Americas (held on the 13th and 14th of April) to its foundations. The principle theme of the Summit was, paradoxically, ‘democratic governance and corruption’; its host was to be the now defunct Peruvian leader.

Yes – apart from the resignation of the Summit’s host – the United States tried to widen the basis for its intervention against Venezuela; moreover, the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was denied entry to the Summit. The failure of the hegemon is double, as the simultaneous vacuum in the Peruvian presidency and absence of the Summit’s host exposes the democratic fragility and dubious moral and political merits of several of its associates (Peru, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama, just to mention a few), which have been accused of similar or worse corruption than that which buried Kuczynski and qualifies them as ‘failed States’, according to the new terminology of the US Southern Command (SouthCom).

Given its illicit objectives, since its formation the Peru Group has violated the Charter of the OAS, the UN Charter and International Public Law – all of which consecrate the prohibitions on all forms of intervention, threats and attacks. The Lima Group was formed with full knowledge of the publicly stated intentions of the United States to launch a military invasion of Venezuela and therefore the complicity of its members with the aggression is manifest.

Could Colombia, favourite vassal of the United States in Latin America, deny that it has received fabulous sums from Washington to lease its territory to destabilize, attack, and serve as the spearhead for the invasion of Venezuela?

The Declaration that created the Lima Group in August of 2017 loses its reason for being given the report of the independent investigator of the UN Human Rights Council, the jurist and American historian Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, who was alternatively ignored and vilified by the Western media complex for having stated that ‘there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela’ that would justify a ‘humanitarian intervention’ (that is, armed intervention).

According to Zayas, a graduate of Harvard, in Venezuela there is however ‘suffering and a shortage of supplies, a natural result of the economic and commercial war’ being waged by a violent opposition against its own people, under the auspices of foreign praise and support, not the result of internal oppression…

From the mouth of president Trump, the United States has threatened Venezuela with an imminent armed invasion if it doesn’t submit to his orders – which implies giving its natural resources and wealth to US transnationals. But the US sanctions, which deny the Venezuelan people their right to exist, could be the subject of a legal petition before the International Criminal Court notwithstanding its increasing lack of credibility.

The non-existence of a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela renders impossible the purported application of the Charter of the OAS, the principle objective of the Lima Group, and the debacle of the VIII Summit of the Americas leaves the US without the regional conditions (that is, complicity) that it needs to destroy the Bolivarian Republic.

If the Lima Group doesn’t represent the OAS, which lacks a Security Council to authorize such actions; if the Lima Group doesn’t represent the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) or any other legally constituted regional organization; if the Lima Group cannot act on its own account, in violation of the Charter of the OAS, without risking its own expulsion from that organization; if the Lima Group violates the UN Charter; then, what is this group, who does it serve and what is the legal basis of its actions?

The Lima Group is a band of delinquent States, outlaws and mercenaries that are opposed to the consolidation of the Zone of Peace that has been declared in the region, serve the US Southern Command, and lack legality, to such an extent that the frustrated festivities of the vultures in Lima could prove to be the funeral of their forgotten national dignity.”

***

José Negrón Valera, “USA. ‘The moment has arrived’: The Unitas Lix plan would be the final blow against Venezuela” (“EE.UU. ‘El momento ha llegado’: el plan Unitas Lix sería el golpe final contra Venezuela”), 14 May 2018

“Disguised as military exercises, the US Southern Command has prepared a strategy with which they will try to give the ‘coup de grace’ to the Government of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

‘Orange alert’ in South America

At 6.48am on Saturday the 13th of May the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced to the South American people via a statement on his Twitter account:

“We denounce that the USA and the OAS are implementing a plan to overthrow the Venezuelan Government: before the elections they will realise violent actions supported by the mass media and after the elections they will attempt a military invasion with the armed forces of neighbouring countries”…

Similarly, the Argentine journalist Stella Calloni brought to the attention of public opinion the grave threat that Venezuela faces, revealing a secret document of the US Southern Command.

The 11 page document, entitled “Masterstroke: A plan to overthrow the dictatorship in Venezuela” and signed by admiral Kurt Tidd, commander of the US Southern Command, considers that ‘the moment has arrived’ to intervene militarily in the South American country.

With the synchronization of a time bomb, Roger Noriega, formerly the permanent representative of the United States in the OAS between 2001 and 2003 and bitter enemy of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, wrote in the New York Times that ‘the options for Venezuela’ had been exhausted, stating that the only remaining alternative is the overthrow of Nicolas Maduro.

The importance of Noriega’s article derives from the medium in which it was published. The most influential media platform with respect to the legitimization of the United States’ military operations.

To complete the panorama, the US Embassy in Caracas, in a suspicious demonstration of clairvoyance, informed US citizens that before and after the presidential elections they are expecting demonstrations and focal points of destabilization…

The roadmap to overthrow ‘Chavism’

A strategic analysis of the SouthCom documents that have been revealed, together with the declarations of military spokesmen and mid-level officials of the diplomatic apparatus, enable us to establish with sufficient clarity how they will develop the successive stages of the intervention against Venezuela.

In the first place, one has to take into account the electoral conjunction where it is still possible that the Venezuelan opposition will reach an agreement to combine their forces and support a single candidate.

Despite the fact that the United States, the Lima Group and the European Union have already affirmed that under the ‘actual conditions’ they won’t recognize the results, one cannot dismiss the possibility that a single candidate ‘in extremis’ could provoke a motivating effect in the opposition sectors that still haven’t decided if they will vote.

A scenario of technical stalemate between ‘Chavism’ and the opposition would provide an appropriate context for international pressure against the Government of Nicolas Maduro.

In second place, Noriega reaffirms that the political front cannot be discounted entirely. In this instance, the State Department would be focused on ‘encouraging Venezuelans – including members of the armed forces – to restore democracy’, that is to say, execute a coup d’état.

Although this seems improbable, the Southern Command would not need a successful military rebellion – a skirmish within a military barracks would be sufficient, as occurred a few months ago in Paramacay Fort – in order to demand ‘that power be transferred without delay to the legitimate civil authorities, the members of the National Assembly’.

In this case, they would be evaluating the ‘liberation’ of a zone in the country where a parallel government could exercise de facto functions, with the recognition and support of the international community allied to Washington.

In the document of the Southern Command Tidd emphasizes that, in order to overthrow ‘Chavism’, it is necessary to intensify the psychological war to provoke ‘an exacerbation of the division between members of the Government’, combined with military actions that would start with violent protests in urban centres, especially in Tachira where the Venezuelan Government has been able to neutralize numerous mafia groups dedicated to smuggling contraband goods across the border with Colombia.

The Unitas Lix plan and the final blow

The operations of destabilization could intensify following the announcement of the electoral results on the 20th of May and it is anticipated that they could last until September, when in Colombia the international aerial and maritime military exercises Unitas Lix 2018 will commence.

Kurt Tidd clearly explains that the Bolivarian Government can only be brought down by way of a ‘military operation under an international flag, patronized by the Conference of Latin American Armies, under the protection of the OAS and the supervision, in the legal and media context, of the Secretary General (of the OAS), Luis Almagro’.

Unitas Lix is nothing less than a façade for imposing a maritime blockade of Venezuela in the least traumatic way possible, as occurred in 1902 against the then Government of Cipriano Castro.

The objective of a maritime blockade, according to Kurt Tidd’s logic, is precisely the ‘obstruction of all imports’, especially of food, medicines and other essential goods. However, the centre of gravity of the entire strategy would be to impede the commercialization of Venezuelan petroleum…

It is now that the tempestuous exit of Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia from Unasur makes sense.

Apart from strengthening the OAS as the primary regional organization and main forum to debate a possible situation of political instability in Venezuela, it was essential that the South American Defence Council be abandoned.

It would be incoherent if the regional organization that establishes the objective of ‘consolidating a zone of peace in South America and constructing a common vision in terms of defence’ were to docilely receive the intention of the Southern Command to ‘proceed to station its combat planes and helicopters, armoured vehicles, intelligence stations’ and even prisons in South America.

Another objective of transforming Unitas Lix into a military operation would be to generate a security ring around Venezuela to prevent the possible approach of the military forces of Venezuela’s allies. One of the scenarios to which they would have to pay close attention.

Unitas Lix would be proposed as the last stage of a long term and large scale operation of attrition against Venezuela. However, what is most scandalous about Washington’s plan to overthrow Chavism is that its proponents are well aware that there would be substantial resistance within the country, and even that the Venezuelan opposition ‘doesn’t have sufficient strength’ to guarantee governability.

Nonetheless, Tidd already has the solution: sending ‘the military forces of the UN to impose peace’…”

***

Hector Bernardo, Conspiracy against Venezuela (“Complot contra Venezuela”), 13 May 2018

“In a new anti-democratic gesture, the US government has intensified its strategy to overthrow the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, and prevent the elections scheduled for the 20th of May. In this instance, the attack is headed by the ultra-right senator Marco Rubio, closely linked with the Cuban mafia groups in Miami and the arms trade. Rubio has met with various leaders in the region to reinforce the alternative paths the coup could take.

Marco Rubio has transformed himself into one of the most influential people within the intimate circle of the North American president Donald Trump… (He) is one of the main promoters of aggression against all of the popular governments in the region that do not align themselves with the orders and demands from Washington. In a new assault against the Venezuelan government and people, the Republican senator asserts the necessity of extending the measures that have immersed Venezuela in an economic crisis and affirms that ‘the moment has arrived to accelerate Maduro’s exit’.

Rubio has dedicated much of his political career to persecuting the popular governments in the region. At the moment he is dedicating all of his efforts to attacking Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua though previously, and without the support of the White House, he also campaigned against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (Argentina), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Evo Morales (Bolivia) and Salvador Sanchez Ceren (El Salvador)…

Currently, with the substantial influence he has achieved within the circle of president Donald Trump’s confidants, Rubio has dedicated himself to organizing the international pressure against the government of Nicolas Maduro. An example of this was his recent trip to Costa Rica to attend the delivery of aircraft and ships for the coastguard and vigilance of the country’s airspace as a ‘reward’ for having accepted the demand from Washington to not recognize the result of the presidential election in Venezuela on the 20th of May.

During the Summit of the Americas, held in Peru in April, Rubio met with another leader that has accepted Washington’s schemes in their entirety, the Argentine president Mauricio Macri. After the meeting, Macri reaffirmed that he would not recognize the result of the presidential election in Venezuela either, along with the leaders of Chile (Sebastian Piñera) and Colombia (Juan Manuel Santos). All members of the Lima Group, a forum in which Rubio has significant influence.

Not only has the North American senator dedicated himself to fomenting the political destabilization and economic and financial asphyxiation that the Venezuelan people are suffering, he has also been one of the main instigators and promoters of the violent terrorist actions that have been unleashed there (as well as the recent violent efforts to destabilize the democratically elected government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua)…”

***

References

Julio Yao Villalaz, “Venezuela, una intervención imposible”, Voltairenet, 3 March 2018

http://www.voltairenet.org/article199789.html

– “Kuczynski, el ‘Grupo de Lima’, Venezuela y la VIII Cumbre de las Américas”, 23 Marzo 2018, Voltairenet

http://www.voltairenet.org/article200334.html

Stella Calloni, “El ‘Golpe Maestro’ de Estados Unidos Contra Venezuela (Documento del Comando Sur)”, VoltaireNet, 9 Mayo 2018

http://www.voltairenet.org/article201091.html

– Stella Calloni, “The United States ‘Masterstroke’ against Venezuela”, 17 May 2018, VoltaireNet

http://www.voltairenet.org/article201159.html

José Negrón Valera, “EE.UU. ‘El momento ha llegado’: el plan Unitas Lix sería el golpe final contra Venezuela”, 14 Mayo 2018, Resumen Latinoamericano

http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/2018/05/14/ee-uu-el-momento-ha-llegado-el-plan-unitas-lix-seria-el-golpe-final-contra-venezuela/

“Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship ‘Masterstroke’”, United States Southern Command, 23 February 2018

“Plan para Derrocar a la Dictadura Venezolana ‘Golpe Maestro’”, Estados Unidos Comando Sur

Traducción y original del Documento del Comando Sur, Golpe de Estado en Venezuela (Translation and original of the Document of the US Southern Command, Coup D’état in Venezuela), 13 Mayo 2018, Resumen Latinoamericano –

http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/2018/05/14/traduccion-y-original-del-documento-del-comando-sur-golpe-de-estado-en-venezuela/

Renán Vega Cantor, 2015, “The International Dimension of the Social and Armed Conflict in Colombia: Interference of the United States, Counter-Insurgency and State Terrorism”, Chapter 13, Historical Commission of the Conflict and its Victims, A Contribution to Understanding the Armed Conflict in Colombia, (translated to English by Daniel Edgar), Havana, Cuba

http://www.academia.edu/26880912/The_International_Dimension_of_the_Social_and_Armed_Conflict_in_Colombia_Interference_of_the_United_States_Counter-Insurgency_and_State_Terrorism

Hector Bernardo, “Complot contra Venezuela”, 13 Mayo 2018, Resumen Latinoamericano

http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/2018/05/14/complot-contra-venezuela/

Manlio Dinucci, “Grandes ejercicios militares alrededor de Venezuela”, 25 Agosto 2017, VoltaireNet

http://www.voltairenet.org/article197590.html

– “Large.scale manoeuvres encircling Venezuela”, 25 August 2017

http://www.voltairenet.org/article197571.html

YOU’RE LOSING YOUR MIND AND YOUR DECENCY, RABBI – NOT EUROPE

YOU’RE LOSING YOUR MIND AND YOUR DECENCY, RABBI – NOT EUROPE

August 29, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

leshe.jpg

by Michael Lesher

Because I have no ambition either to be the next Chief Rabbi of Barcelona or to be subject to the whims of whoever is – as it is, I’m not even Spanish – it’s of very little direct importance to me that the current occupant of that position, one Meir Bar-Hen, is a blithering idiot.

On the other hand, I am a Jew – and a human being. And on both counts it does matter very much to me that Rabbi Bar-Hen, who claims in the wake of a car-ramming attack in Barcelona (for which the motive remains unclear) that “Europe is lost” so long as its governments allow Muslims to live side by side with other citizens, is not only a fool but a bigot of unspeakable effrontery. In fact, he’s exactly the sort of man who, with Goebbels, would have pointed to Herschel Grynszpan’s murder of a young German diplomat in 1938 as “proof” that Jews could not be tolerated in Germany.

And yet I confess that even the rabbi’s racism – essentially a declaration of war against every Muslim in Europe – is less infuriating to me than the silent complacency with which his remarks have been received throughout the Jewish world.

One might have hoped a few Jews, even today, would remember that being stigmatized as a collective threat to civilization was a familiar Jewish experience not so long ago. In the previous century, when the Reverend A.E. Patton complained of the danger of immigrant “hordes” who were “stealthy and furtive in manner…too filthy to adopt ideals of cleanliness from the start, too bigoted to surrender any racial traditions or to absorb any true Americanism,” he was writing about Jews, not Muslims, and if asked for evidence of the threat would have pointed to nothing less momentous than the gathering storm in Russia. (The Nazis used similar “evidence,” for that matter; so did some of their descendants at the recent violent hatefest in Charlottesville.) Quite apart from its moral reprehensibility, then, is Muslim-bashing a clever game for Jews to play, given our continuing minority status and a little knowledge of our own history?

And in Spain, of all places! Has a Spanish rabbi utterly forgotten what Jewish historians once dubbed the “Golden Age” of medieval Jewry – namely in Spain, under Muslim ruleand that anti-Semitic persecutions followed on the heels of the expulsion of Muslims from that country?

But bigots don’t speak the language of history, just as they don’t speak the language of contemporary fact. They speak the language of power – and Rabbi Bar-Hen provides a fine example of how that language can turn the truth inside out. Just look at how neatly his recent statements, though at odds with reality, dovetail with Western imperial propaganda.

“I tell my congregants,” Rabbi Bar-Hen told JTA after the attack that left 14 random victims dead in Barcelona, “this place is lost. Don’t repeat the mistake of Algerian Jews, of Venezuelan Jews. Better [get out] early than late.”

Say what?

Algerian Jews did face discriminatory treatment in the 1960s, in the wake of Algeria’s bloody war for independence from France (which the Jewish community, by and large, did not support). But Venezuela is a “historically open society without significant anti-Semitism,” the U.S. State Department concluded as recently as 2005. The only “grievance” of Venezuelan Jews JTA could scrape up the following year was that President Hugo Chavez had had the temerity to criticize Israeli war crimes in Lebanon.

And anyway, what has Venezuela got to do with Spain?

Well, nothing – except that Chavez was on Washington’s enemies’ list long before ISIS was. And that’s the clue to unpacking Rabbi Bar-Hen’s ominous reference to Latin America: it means, “Jews shouldn’t want open societies where the U.S. doesn’t want them. We must stay on the side of Big Brother.”

The same goes for Bar-Hen’s weird juxtaposition of Spain – where, he claims, Jews can’t survive because “radical” Muslims are “living among you” and “it’s very difficult to get rid of them” – against Israel, where he explicitly encourages his congregants to immigrate.

Now, Rabbi Bar-Hen knows as well as anyone that Israel and its occupied territories have a Muslim population too (in fact, one that is proportionally larger than the Muslim community in Spain), and that this population is not altogether acquiescent. If Spain is a “hub of Islamist terror for all of Europe,” as the rabbi claims, what in the world makes Israel a safe haven?

Again, nothing – except that Israel, unlike Spain, is an American client state. And so what the rabbi is really saying to Jews is, “Go where American power goes. The U.S. is fighting a war against the Muslim world, and we want to be on the side of the powerful – never mind what’s right or wrong.”

And then there’s Bar-Hen’s flagship “proof” that Spain is soft on Muslim terrorism: the fact that the government wouldn’t suppress the free travel of Leila Khaled, a Palestinian refugee who nearly 50 years ago helped hijack an airplane (hurting no one) and who wanted, to the horror of people like Rabbi Bar-Hen, to attend a book festival in Spain this year. This showed that Spanish authorities “do not understand the nature of terrorism, if they treat it as an action by the disenfranchised,” the rabbi told JTA.

Got it? In Bar-Hen’s world, a Palestinian woman who was driven out of her native Haifa at the age of 4 can’t possibly be “disenfranchised.” And any country that would dream of allowing a small-time Palestinian resistance fighter to set foot in it, five decades after her last illegal act – the same country having already welcomed the likes of Shimon Peres, the butcher of Qana and eager backer of apartheid South Africa – should be ashamed of itself. That is, if its moral standard is all about what’s good for the Empire.

Which, in a word, is Bar-Hen’s standard.

Taken separately, each one of Bar-Hen’s remarks amounts to pure stupidity. But their sum total is something rather more sinister. Bar-Hen may be a blithering idiot, as I called him a moment ago, but what am I to call a man who scorns the mayor of Barcelona for saying, after the tragic car-ramming deaths in her city, that “Barcelona is a city of peace,” and that “[t]error will not make us stop being who we are: a brave city open to the world”?

Bar-Hen thought so little of that fine statement that he said he might not attend the public solidarity rally called by the mayor, claiming security officials instructed him to avoid public areas in the coming days – because he is recognizably Jewish.

Rabbi, I doubt you’ll read this column. But if you do, I’m calling your bluff. I want to know which “security officials” told you it’s not safe for a Jew with a skullcap to be seen in the streets of Barcelona, though it’s apparently quite safe for Muslims to show themselves, even immediately after a terrible crime has been blamed on someone in their community, and even with the likes of you whipping up public hysteria against them all. I want to know what entitles you to claim victimhood at the same time you incite violence against roughly a billion people worldwide. I want to know why Leila Khaled’s 50-year-old violence is reprehensible to you, while Israel’s continuing brutality is not.

And I want to tell you something, Rabbi. You’re not losing “Europe.” What you’re losing is your mind – your ability to reason, to ground your opinions in fact, to guide your congregants with truth rather than propaganda.

And you’re losing something else, too: your common decency. Because behind your stupidity is, as I’ve shown, a corrupt agenda every Jew, let alone a rabbi, should repudiate. Because when you sell out to imperial power, you cease to be a religious leader and become one more toady to the powers that be. Because inciting hatred against an already demonized people puts you squarely, and exclusively, in the ranks of vulgar propagandists.

And this is one Jew who isn’t going to let rabbis like you forget how utterly, in a moment of crisis, you morally betrayed and abandoned us all.

Venezuela: West’s Battle Against Multipolarism Reaches Far

August 22, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The battle between the established unipolar “international order” dominated by Wall Street, Washington, and London and an emerging multipolar order appears fixated on Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and across the entirety of Asia. However, it extends to virtually every corner of the globe, from competition in the Arctic to politically-motivated controversies in Earth orbit.

The South American nation of Venezuela also seems far-removed from this ongoing competition engulfing the world’s hot spots in the Middle East, Central and Asia, but the fate of this besieged nation is directly linked to the that of the rest of the world, either contributing to an emerging multipolar world order, or providing sanctuary and legitimacy to the established unipolar order currently dominated by Wall Street, Washington, and London.

The nation has been the target of US-backed subversion for decades. The latest iteration of American interference began with the rise of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and a failed US-backed coup in 2002 organized to oust him and place a US-controlled client regime in power.

Venezuela’s “Opposition” are US-Backed Agitators  

Many of those involved in the failed 2002 coup are now leading US-backed protesters in the streets in a bid to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chavez after his death in 2013.

The opposition includes former presidential contender, Henrique Capriles Radonski, who heads Primero Justicia (Justice First) which was co-founded by Leopoldo Lopez and Julio Borges, who like Radonski, have been backed for nearly a decade by the US State Department.

Primero Justicia and the network of foreign-funded NGOs that support it have been recipients of both direct and indirect foreign support for at least just as long.

All three co-founders are US educated – Radonski having attended New York’s Columbia University (Spanish), Julio Borges attending Boston College and Oxford, and Leopoldo Lopez who attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (KSG), of which he is considered an alumni of.

The Harvard Kennedy School, which hosts the notorious Belfer Center, includes the following faculty and alumni of Lopez, co-founder of the current US-backed opposition in Venezuela:

John P. Holdren, Samantha Power, Lawrence Summers, Robert Zoellick, (all as faculty), as well as Ban Ki-Moon (’84), Paul Volcker (’51), Robert Kagan (’91), Bill O’Reilly (’96), Klaus Schwab (’67), and literally hundreds of senators, ambassadors, and administrators of Wall Street and London’s current global spanning international order. 

Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (KSG) is one of several universities that form the foundation of both creating corporate-financier driven international policy, as well as cultivating legions of administrators to execute it. This includes creating cadres of individuals to constitute Wall Street and Washington’s client regimes around the world.
Venezuela’s Problem, Like Other Targeted States, is US Sedition, not “Socialism” 
It is true that Venezuela is deemed a “socialist” nation, and its policy of heavily centralizing the economy has not only failed to alleviate the many longstanding socioeconomic conflicts inflicting Venezuelan society, but has also created an ample vector for Wall Street and Washington’s meddling.
By placing all of Venezuela’s proverbial “eggs” in one centralized “basket,” the United States – through the use of various well-honed geopolitical and socioeconomic tools – has managed to knock that “basket” from the government in Caracas’ hands and is now using its well-funded and organized opposition to crush whatever “eggs” survived the fall.
Unfortunately for Venezuela, the Western political landscape is so deeply rooted in blind, poorly developed political ideology, practical geopolitical and geostrategic analysis has been overlooked across both traditional and alternative media platforms, and instead, many – including opponents of US-backed regime change worldwide – have found themselves cheering on what they believe is the self-inflicted collapse of the socialist Venezuelan government at the hands of “free market” protesters.
In reality, they are cheering on yet another episode of US-backed regime change, wrapped in a protective layer of ideological, political, and economic rhetoric to justify otherwise unjustifiable, extraterritorial meddling, interference, chaos, division, and destruction.
Venezuela’s Place Within the Unipolar-Mulipolar World 

Depending on the ultimate fate of the Venezuelan government, the success of US-backed proxies, and the ability of Venezuela to reconstruct itself after decades of foreign-backed subversion, Venezuela can either enhance or set back the emerging multipolar world order.

Regardless of Venezuela’s fate if and when the government in Caracas is toppled, the US-led unipolar international order will benefit. The elimination of competition, even at the cost of creating a center of regional destabilization is considered favorable versus allowing a bastion of alternative socioeconomic and geopolitical power to persist. And in many ways, the creation of a regional center of destabilization may help the US create “synergies” between the chaos it is fostering in Venezuela and in neighboring South and Central American nations the US has likewise targeted for geopolitical coercion and/or regime change.

For Russia, China, other nations of BRICS, and even emerging economies across Southeast Asia and Central Asia, the loss of Venezuela as a means of counterbalance to US hegemony both in the region of the Americas and globally will allow the US to concentrate more resources toward remaining alternative centers of geopolitical and economic power it seeks to target.

This – not the nature of Venezuela’s “socialist” government – is the focus of US efforts and is what defines the consequences of either US success or failure regarding regime change in Caracas.

Any government, socialist or otherwise, operating outside of Wall Street, Washington, and London’s sphere of influence is a target. Competition, not ideology defines and drives Western foreign policy – and for those who oppose this policy – it must be practical geopolitical and geostrategic analysis that defines conclusions and courses of action – not the ideological debates the US itself is using as a pretext and as rhetorical cover to justify its latest regime-change project.

Venezuela may be geographically far removed from the focal point of the great unipolar-multipolar struggle, but understanding how it fits into conflicts raging in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and across Asia illustrates just how encompassing the “international order’s” reach and ambitions really are – and how deadly dangerous they are to global peace, security, and stability.

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