Blinken Talks the Talk, but Will He Walk the Walk?

During his 24 years as a senior foreign correspondent for The Washington Times and United Press International, Martin Sieff reported from more than 70 nations and covered 12 wars. He has specialized in US and global economic issues.

Martin Sieff

March 8, 2021

Biden has so far made no move whatsoever to rein in the continued bold and potentially very dangerous US military exercises with allies right up to the very borders of Russia.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s March 3 speech at the US State Department should be warmly welcomed around the world, especially in Caracas and Tehran: It does indeed mark a highly significant shift in US foreign policy and deserves to be taken at face value: But it does not address fundamental policy conflicts with Russia and China that Biden inherited from his predecessors – and not just Donald Trump. And it is these far bigger, unaddressed issues that may very well yet propel the world into a nightmarish thermonuclear war.

Blinken in his speech made an acknowledgement that his predecessors Mike Pompeo, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton would never have been capable of – and that John Kerry was never allowed to admit.

Blinken openly admitted that there had been US efforts to topple governments by force that Washington was critical of. He further openly acknowledged that some of those efforts had failed and that they had badly discredited the cause of democracy and the United States itself around the world.

“We will incentivize democratic behavior, but we will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or by attempting to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force. We tried these tactics in the past. …they haven’t worked. They have given democracy promotion a bad name and they have lost the confidence of the American people. We will do things differently,” Blinken said.

There is every reason to believe that Blinken was sincere in his commitment to forswear efforts at regime change in both Iran and Venezuela.

First, the very day before his important speech, Blinken held a telephone conversation with Venezuelan opposition politician Juan Guaido, whom Trump, Pompeo and then National Security Adviser John Bolton farcically tried to promote as the legitimate president of Venezuela. US allies around the world, especially in Europe and Latin America have been humiliatingly led by the nose to publicly support this absurd contention, akin to incredibility to claiming that Venezuela’s great Angel Falls flow up not down, or that the World is Flat.

No details of what Blinken discussed with Guaido have yet emerged at this time of writing but it is very clear what the secretary of state’s message was: Like so many previous corrupt and vanity-filled dupes eager to grab the coattails of America’s imagined New Rome global imperium, Guaido was told he was going to be thrown under the bus.

This move is clearly demanded by US pragmatic interests. If there is one lesson that Wall Street and its US government servants have followed for the past 150 years since the rise of John D. Rockefeller and J. P Morgan: It is to back Winners and throw Hopeless Losers to the wolves.

Guaido certainly counts as a Hopeless Loser: He has gained no discernible political, popular or military support within Venezuela, despite the continuing suffering caused by the ongoing US economic war launched against Caracas by President Joe Biden’s old boss and close friend Barack Obama in 2014 and then enthusiastically intensified by Trump and Pompeo.

Does that mean the economic war against Venezuela will end? Certainly not. Blinken himself, like his master, President Biden supported it 100 percent during the Obama administration. And the new administration, already the source of Republican wrath for its domestic economic and social policies, will not casually open up a new front where it can be attacked as wimps.

Like brutalized children, liberal Democrats have been terrified of such accusations ever since Senator Joe McCarthy accused them of “losing China ” (China was never theirs to lose) and being soft on communism back in 1950.

Also, ending the economic war on Venezuela would require decisive and original action and Blinken, like Biden and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, has owed his long, slow, steady rise precisely to following the golden rule of liberal Democrats since the days of party presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s: Never take a strong, sustained position on anything , good or bad. Even when you see a policy is leading you off the edge of a cliff, just slow it down a bit and still tumble over the cliff to your political doom. Never dare to actually stop, or reverse any disastrous course of action.

These simple principles determined the endless foreign policy fiascos of Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and even to some degree Bill Clinton.

Clinton was led by the nose, though reluctantly, to bomb Serbia and risk needless confrontation with Russia by his secretary of state Madeleine Albright and her lifelong mentor, Russia-phobic former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Blinken’s foreswearing of any effort at direct regime change therefore appears to be part of a policy that while initially appearing moderate will never lead to anything truly constructive.

Blinken, like Biden and Sullivan, wants to restore US participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran for no better reason than that they all supported it and helped negotiate it in the first place for Obama.

However, the new administration has already made clear it does not dare risk driving Saudi Arabia into China or Russia’s arms. Blinken’s speech may indeed lead to the return of US participation in the JCPOA, something America ‘s European allies and the Iranians would both welcome. But it looks unlikely so far to lead to anything else.

Also, so far, Biden has so far made no move whatsoever to rein in the continued bold and potentially very dangerous US military exercises with allies right up to the very borders of Russia. Yet if these moves had been carried out by the Russian Air Force and Navy off the shores or close to the territories of the United States, they would provoke complete outrage.

Similarly, the US armed forces are plunging ahead, secure in both administration and bipartisan congressional support, to step up military deployments in the Western Pacific openly proclaimed as containing China within the two Island Chains of the great ocean.

Blinken’s speech should indeed be welcomed as a positive first step towards reducing global tensions: But it is far too early to celebrate whether he will continue to walk the walk even while he talks the talk.

New US admin stands for same grotesque & brutal policies against Venezuela, shows just how little they actually CARE for people

moi

Eva Bartlett

Mar 4, 2021, RT.com

Venezuelan non-president, Juan Guaido, is back in headlines after the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called him to discuss America’s favorite talking points: “a return to democracy” via “free and fair elections.”

I’m sure the irony will not be lost on those who question the legitimacy of the US election that saw Biden take power.

Anyway, you would have to have been offline or in a coma for the past couple of years to not be aware of some key facts about ‘interim president’ Guaido and US “concern” for Venezuelans.

Venezuelans didn’t vote for Guaido to be president, he hasn’t even stood for president. Venezuelans voted for Maduro. America can huff and puff and whine, but that won’t change the reality.

Guaido named himself ‘interim president’, to the support of only roughly 50 countries – leaving a glaring nearly 150 countries not recognizing this Western-groomed stooge as Venezuela’s leader.

Further, Guaido not only isn’t president of the country, he is no longer president of the National Assembly. As a result, recently, even the EU dropped its recognition of Guaido as interim president. He is a Western-groomed thug who fully backs America’s aggression and sanctions against his own country.

Venezuela’s election process has been recognized as transparent and effective, with former US President Jimmy Carter in 2012 calling it “the best in the world.” On the other hand, Venezuelan opposition, as well as Western nations, have interfered with and attempted to sabotage elections.

As for America’s grave “concern” for Venezuelans, the US in February 2019 staged a “humanitarian aid” delivery via Colombia (“aid” which contained nails and wire, likely meant for opposition barricades), blaming Maduro for “burning food & medicine,” when in fact the trucks were burned by “opposition” supporters. That same month, President Trump threatened military intervention against Venezuela.

The US allegedly sabotaged Venezuela’s power grid in March 2019 (and then blamed the Maduro government for the power failure).

And two former US Special Forces soldiers were in May 2020 arrested in a failed invasion (with the goal of capturing Maduro) which allegedly the Trump administration and Guaido himself were involved in.

President Maduro blamed the August 2018 drone assassination attempt on Colombia and elements in the US. The US was also linked to the kidnapping and coup against former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

But aside from those and many other provocations against Venezuela, it is the brutal sanctions against the country that is a clear indicator of just how little America cares for the people.

As many have already surmised, the Biden administration is a continuation of the previous admin’s policies, and Blinken is the new Pompeo. They even sound the same.

  • Blinken to Ukraine’s foreign minister: “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” “Russian aggression...”
  • Pompeo to the same“support for #Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is ironclad,” “Russia and its proxies’ intransigence, aggressive actions...”
  • Blinken on Crimea: “Russia’s invasion and seizure,” “we call on Russia to end its occupation,” “#CrimeaisUkraine” (newsflash: it’s not, and there was no invasion).
  • Pompeo on the same: “#Crimea is #Ukraine,” “We call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea.

And of course, their American speak on Guaido is also the same, with both Blinken and Pompeo feigning concern for the lives of the Venezuelan people.

Flogging a dead horse named Guaido

The guy just isn’t popular in Venezuela, not now, not back in early 2019 when America & allies tried to foist him onto Venezuelans.

When I traveled to Venezuela in March 2019, aside from documenting the lack of chaos that Western pundits and media insisted was ongoing at the time, I also tried to find evidence of the massive support the same pundits and media claimed Guaido had.

I had seen on various occasions massive demonstrations of solidarity with President Maduro, the man who average Venezuelans support, particularly impoverished indigenous and Afro-Venezuelans who are conveniently ignored by Western media.

On March 30, I spent a good chunk of the day riding around on motorcycle taxi trying to find pro-Guaido protests which had been advertised, instead at designated sites and times finding none, a trickle, or pro-Maduro protesters instead.

Later the same day, I saw another massive pro-Maduro demonstration.

In encounters with Venezuelans during my few weeks in Caracas, I met people who made clear they didn’t support Guaido and what they were fighting for.

In a hilltop community, one such man told me:

We are poor people, but we are proud, we have dignity. We are fighting against Imperialism, against rich people that want our country, that want us as slaves, that want our oil, our water. But we will win.

The governments of the United States and other nations want to tell everybody that we are starving, we are dying in the streets, we are being oppressed by our government. But we’ve never been more free than now, in spite of all the problems we do have.”

He and others spoke of the extreme racism and discrimination Afro-Venezuelans and indigenous Venezuelans faced before Chavez came to power.

Before, we were treated like nothing, we were treated only as workers, that was it. Say to your governments, this isn’t a fight against Maduro, this is a fight against the people that are trying to be free.”

I won’t even repeat some of the unbelievable racist slurs they were subject to.

Some months later, back in Ontario, I met Ronald Abache, an Afro-Venezuelan who attended a lecture I gave. During the question period, he was so articulate about racism in Venezuela, “very alive, but hidden under class status,” that I asked to record his words.

In 1999, for the first time ever in any country in South America, a law was passed to not discriminate against people of color. People that never had a voice now have one and will never give it up again. You can go to the remotest area in my country and everybody can read. Everybody knows their rights and knows that their voice counts.”

He also challenged the opposition to answer one question:

What would they do different? What is their plan? If they’re planning to go back to those great old days (sarcasm), the people are not having it. Two million militias, old people, young people, everybody knows what the United States is doing. My mother is 70, she’s about to join the militia!

These are just some of the people marginalized by Western media and politicians. The ones who claim concern for Venezuela.

As Mr. Abache noted, Venezuelans themselves aren’t going to accept US hegemony, not only the leadership. I got a powerful sense of that in the demonstrations I observed and from the people I spoke with.

The new Biden administration may want to pressure Venezuela into compliance, but the people won’t accept that.

RELATED:

US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention 

Venezuela playlist

Biden Continues US War on Venezuelan Social Democracy

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, March 06, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

Let’s not mince words.

Biden and hardliners around him are like their predecessors.

They’re hostile toward virtually everything just societies hold dear — notably democracy the way it should be.

The US and West have fantasy versions, the real thing virtually banned.

Established by Hugo Chavez in 1999, continued by Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelans have governance of, by, and for everyone equitably — social democracy.

US policymakers consider it a threat of a good example — why they’ve gone all out to replace it with fascist tyranny short of hot war that remains an ominous possibility.

Since establishment of Venezuelan social democracy, US regimes from the Clinton co-presidency to Obama/Biden, then Trump, and now Biden/Harris aim to return the country to client state status.

They seek control over its vast oil resources, the world’s largest.

In 2013, Obama/Biden killed Chavez. Poisoned or infected with cancer causing substances, four major surgeries in 18 months couldn’t save him.

At the time, William Blum explained that the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace.”

“I Personally believe that Hugo Chavez was murdered by the United States,” he said.

Coup plots against him and Maduro failed. Other dirty tricks worked no better, including intermittent, US orchestrated, street violence.

Virtually everything US regimes threw at Venezuela to eliminate its model social democracy failed.

Further attempts are virtually certain. The US is hellbent to transform all sovereign independent nations into subservient client states.

It’s likely just a matter of time before another attempted regime change plot surfaces.

At the same time, endless US war by other means continues.

In 2015, Obama/Biden declared Bolivarian social democracy an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States (sic).”

On Wednesday, Biden/Harris reaffirmed the above, saying the following:

“(C)ircumstances described in Executive Order 13692 (2015), and subsequent executive orders issued with respect to Venezuela, have not improved (sic), and they continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States (sic).”

“Therefore in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 USC 1622(d), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 (sic).”

Bolivarian Venezuela prioritizes peace, stability, and cooperative relations with other countries — threatening no one, surely not the USA, armed and dangerous with nuclear and other super-weapons.

Biden’s new executive order maintains a US state of war by other means on the Bolivarian Republic.

No US national emergency exists with Venezuela or any other countries. No US enemies exist.

So time and again they’re invented by US policymakers to justify what’s unjustifiable under international and US constitutional law.

On March 2, Tony Blinken’s spokesman Ned Price said the following:

His boss spoke with widely despised, usurper-in-waiting, self-declared Venezuelan president with no legitimacy Guaido.

“Blinken stressed the importance of a return to democracy in Venezuela through free and fair elections (sic).”

After Maduro’s PSUV party won an overwhelming legislative majority last December with over two-thirds public support — a landslide triumph — the EU withdrew support for Guaido as (self-declared) interim president (with no legitimacy).

Jimmy Carter called Venezuela’s electoral process “the best in the world” for good reason. Elections when held are scrupulously open, free and fair.

When Maduro was reelected in May 2018, over 150 members of the International Electoral Accompaniment Mission said the following:

“The technical and professional trustworthiness and independence of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela are uncontestable.”

The Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America, one of the observer groups, said “results communicated by the National Electoral Council reflect the will of the voters who decided to participate in the electoral process.”

Similar assessments follow all Bolivarian elections.

They shame US fantasy democracy — a totalitarian police state, masquerading as democratic.

According to Price, Blinken is “increas(ing) multilateral pressure… for a peaceful, democratic transition (sic).”

Longstanding US policy calls for eliminating Bolivarian social democracy, wanting Venezuela transformed into a vassal state under US-installed puppet rule.

The above is how the scourge of US imperialism operates worldwide.

All nations free from its control are targeted for regime change — wars by hot and/or other means its favored strategies.

Illegal sanctions are weapons of war by other means.

Blinken said they’ll remain in place to continue US maximum pressure on the country.

Venezuelan social democracy conflicts with US imperial aims to dominate planet earth, control its resources, and exploit its people everywhere.

As long as Bolivarianism exists, both right wings of the US war party won’t likely cease trying to eliminate it.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

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

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Featured image: Protest against U.S. intervention on Venezuela, in front of the White House, Washington DC. (Credit)

الديمقراطيّة الأميركيّة: الحقيقة والوهم! من غوايدو كراكاس إلى «غوايدو» واشنطن…

د. عدنان منصور

الولايات المتحدة الأميركية التي نصّبت نفسها لعقود، حاملة شعارات براقة، وآثرت باستمرار على ترويجها، وتسويقها لشعوب العالم، مدّعية حرصها الدائم و»غيرتها» الشديدة على التمسك بالمبادئ والقيم، وعلى نشر مفاهيم الديمقراطية في العالم، وتعزيز أسس الحرية وحقوق الإنسان، آخر من يحقّ لها الكلام بعد ما شاهده العالم من مهزلة «ديمقراطية» يوم أول امس جرت على أرضها.

لم تكن الولايات المتحدة يوماً، بأجهزتها العميقة داخل الدولة، الا نصيرة ومنقذة، وداعمة للأنظمة الدكتاتورية في العالم بأبشع صورها، وعدوة رئيسة لكل الانظمة الوطنية الديمقراطية الحرة التي جاءت بإرادة شعوبها، وكان ذنبها الكبير الذي لا يُغتفر، انها ترفض سياسة التبعية، والإذلال والتسلط، والسيطرة الأميركية عليها .

لم تحترم الولايات المتحدة ارادة الشعوب الحرة، التي قررت عدم السير في الفلك الأميركي، مصمّمة الحفاظ على قرارها الحر المستقلّ، حيث كانت واشنطن تلجأ الى معاقبة الأنظمة التي تعارض سياساتها، والإطاحة بها، من خلال تنفيذها للانقلابات، وتخطيط المؤامرات، وتحريك أجهزتها العسكرية والاستخباراتية. هكذا كان سلوك الولايات المتحدة على الدوام ضدّ الأنظمة الديمقراطية الوطنية في أميركا الوسطى وأميركا الجنوبية، وفي أفريقيا، وآسيا والعالم العربي. ليس من السهولة على العالم أن ينسى ما فعلته أجهزة المخابرات الأميركية CIA وقوات المارينز، من مؤامرات متنقلة أطاحت بالأنظمة الديمقراطية لتحلّ مكانها انظمة ديكتاتورية تكون في خدمة الولايات المتحدة وأهدافها، ومصالحها الاقتصادية والأمنية والاستراتيجية.

كان الحال مع سلفادور اللندي في تشيلي، مروراً بكوبا الثورة، ونيكاراغوا، والمكسيك، وبنما، وغانا نكروما، وإيران مصدّق، وإندونيسيا سوكارنو، وسيريلانكا باندرانيكا، وغيرها الكثير من الأنظمة الوطنية الديمقراطية التي أطاحت بها الولايات المتحدة خلال عقود سابقة حيث اللائحة تطول.

اليوم تطفو الديمقراطية الأميركية المزيفة على السطح. فالمنظومة العميقة داخل الدولة الأميركية، تفعل فعلها، وتثبت للملأ أنها ضدّ الديمقراطية وإرادة الشعب الأميركي الذي جاء ببايدن رئيساً للولايات المتحدة. هذه المنظومة التي تحرم الديمقراطية الحقيقية على الشعوب الحرة التي تختار زعماءها بإرادتها، والتي تعمل في ما بعد على تشويه العملية الديمقراطية والتشكيك فيها، ومن ثم التحضير للقيام بالإطاحة بها، تطبّق اليوم سلوكها المشين حتى في الداخل الأميركي رافضة قرار الشعب، معتبرة ان الانتخابات الرئاسية، يشوبها التزوير، والفساد والفوضى والتآمر، فقامت باقتحام الديمقراطية في عقر دارها، وهي التي جاءت برئيسها قبل أربع سنوات، والمنهزم اليوم عبر صناديق الاقتراع.

لقد أنجبت الولايات المتحدة من جملة من أنجبتهم، غوايدو في فنزويلا، وبينوشيه في تشيلي، وباتيستا في كوبا، وعائلة تروخيليو في جمهوريات الموز، وماركوس في الفلبين، والشاه محمد رضا بهلوي في إيران، وسوهارتو في اندونيسيا، وحسني الزعيم في سورية، بالإضافة الى عشرات الدمى في العالم العربي وبلدان العالم الأخرى.

ها هو غوايدو أميركا يطلّ برأسه في الداخل الأميركي هذه المرة، عبر قرصان الديمقراطية المزيفة ترامب، لينقض على النتيجة الرئاسية كما تنقض أجهزة الولايات المتحدة على نتائج الانتخابات التي تقول فيها الشعوب كلمتها الحقة، وتعبّر عن إرادتها الحرة، التي تتعارض مع سياسات الغطرسة الأميركية، وتدخلاتها ونفوذها وهيمنتها!! فالدولة التي يقول رئيسها وهو على سدة الرئاسة، إن انتخابات بلده مزيفة ومزوّرة، غير جديرة بأن تكون النموذج الذي يُحتذى به من قبل الشعوب الحرة، وبالتالي هي آخر من يحق لها بعد اليوم، ان تراقب وتتابع أيّ عملية انتخابية تجري في دولة من دول العالم، أو تحكم، أو تعطي شهادة «حسن سلوك» تقيم من خلالها مستوى شفافية الديمقراطية للدول التي ترفض بالشكل والأساس سياسة التسلط والتهديد والابتزاز الأميركي.

يوم السادس من كانون الثاني لعام 2021، لن يكون إلا وصمة سوداء على جبين الديمقراطية الأميركية التي ترنّحت أمام المشهد البشع عندما شاهدت شعوب العالم كله، جحافل «الجمهوريين» وهي تقتحم عقر دار الديمقراطية وتعبث بها، في مشهد قلّ أن نرى نظيره في العالم. فلو كان الذي حصل في الولايات المتحدة، جرى مثله في دولة من دول العالم لا ترضى عن سياستها وتوجهاتها واشنطن، لثارت ثائرتها، وأقامت الدنيا وأقعدتها، لتظهر للعالم بمظهر الغيور والحامي للديمقراطية وحرية الشعوب وحقوقها .

ما حصل في الولايات المتحدة أثلج ولا شكّ قلوب العديد من الشعوب الحرة المقهورة التي ذاقت الكثير من الظلم والمصائب والويلات والفوضى والحروب والدمار التي حلت بها، نتيجة السياسات التعسّفية المستبدة، التي مارستها الإدارة الأميركية بحقها، والتي كانت تبرّر أفعالها وتدخلاتها في شؤونها، بسبب «حرصها» البالغ

على احترام الديمقراطية، وحقوق الإنسان وتوفير الحرية لها.

لقد كشفت بوضوح منظومة الدولة العميقة التي أرادت أن تطيح بنتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية وتعيدها الى نقطة الصفر، الوجه المزيف للحياة السياسية الأميركية، التي تشوّهت وغابت عنها صدقيتها، وأوجدت شرخاً كبيراً داخل المجتمع الأميركي، حيث لا أحد يستطيع منذ الآن، معرفة متى وكيف سيلتئم الجرح العميق، بعد ان تزعزعت الثقة بـ «الديمقراطية» الأميركية، من قبل الداخل قبل الخارج.

*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق

Venezuela Wins, While Trudeau’s Foreign Policy Continues to Fail Canadians

By Arnold August

Global Research, December 13, 2020

“Venezuelan voters turn their backs on Chavismo after 17 years.”  This was the international corporate media headline of choice five years ago after Chavismo lost the National Assembly elections.

During the following five years, and since 2019 using the imposed National Assembly president figurehead of the then-elected Juan Guaidó, the US and its allies (including the European Union and the Lima group led by Canada and Colombia), carried out a ferocious hybrid war. The goal was to overthrow the Maduro government by any means necessary and convert Venezuela into a satellite of the US and the West.  

However, according to the latest report of the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela, released December 8, the ruling Chavistas of the PSUV/GPP gained 91 per cent of seats in the National Assembly, or 253 of the 277 seats contested. Other parties: 11 seats for Democratic Action (AD), three for Avanzada Progresista (AP), three for El Cambio, two for Primero Venezuela, one for Copei and one for the Communist Party (PCV). The Chavistas won 69.43 per cent of the votes cast. Participation or voter turn-out was 30.50 per cent.

The hard-core extremist Trump-Guaidó forces could not win as they had five years ago, because they boycotted the National Assembly elections completely. The reason for this is painfully obvious: they knew their support for US sanctions and military intervention has left them completely discredited. The US-led game plan to disrupt the elections thus backfired, and the fact that the elections were held at all has strengthened Chavismo.

The participation rate on December 6 was 30.50 per cent. On the surface this may seem to represent a defeat, or even a refutation of the Chavismo. Yet the concerted effort by the US and its allies to provoke a major abstention rate of at least 80% did not go as planned. Franco-Argentinian Marco Teruggi, one of the most respected and consistent journalists on Venezuela, has provided a balanced assessment:

“[….] There was neither an 80% abstention, nor was the abstention the result of a call from Guaidó and Pompeo, but rather the result of a series of variables, such as, for example, the situation of prolonged economic difficulties in the framework of an economic blockade that, during 2020, took on even greater dimensions within the ‘maximum pressure’ deployed from the United States. The economic variable, with its consequent impact on discontent and exhaustion, was not the only explanation for the participation rate. Another reason can be found in a complex political conflict that generated an erosion among the population, where some sectors no longer feel represented in any of the existing political options.”

In dealing extensively with the low participation rate, Argentinian political analyst Atilio Boron also offers a balanced view. He confirms and elaborates on many points raised by Marco Teruggi. Firstly, he considers that “the plans of the subversive right and imperialism have been defeated, in a pyrrhic battle.” That being said, on the issue of the turn-out, he writes:

“Among the factors that had a negative impact on him not going to the polls en masse are undoubtedly the effects of the pandemic. This situation discourages leaving home, getting on public transport, queuing to vote, being in close proximity with strangers, and so on. Such deterrents cannot be underestimated. This, of course, does not remove the need to review the popular mobilization devices that were always so important in Chavismo and that give the impression of being in need of an urgent overhaul.”

According to Leonardo Flores of Code Pink, “migration is another factor that artificially reduced turnout. Only citizens who currently reside in the country can vote in legislative elections, but most who left in recent years still appear on voter rolls as living in Venezuela.”

In addition, December 6 reports from the ground by The Grayzone indicate that Guaidó was “running a COVID-19 scare campaign through messaging apps & spending all day telling Venezuelans to stay in their homes. Yet, 6.251 million Venezuelans went to the polls, irrespective for whom they voted.  They are the heroes of this chapter in Venezuelan history.

Nevertheless, on December 10, President Nicolás Maduro declared in summing up the elections and he results that “There are many things to learn, modify, study and fathom”

A Reconfiguration in Venezuelan Politics 

The election has also led to a reconfiguration in Venezuelan politics. The US have shot themselves in the foot. There are no longer any pro-US-Guaidó forces in the National Assembly. One of the American electoral observers in Venezuela, Margaret Flowers of People’s Dispatch, reports.

“We just met with candidates from the ‘Democratic Alliance [Alianza Democratica],’ the opposition parties in Venezuela who have been in negotiations with the Maduro government and who are participating in the National Assembly election this year despite US pressure to boycott them. They believe in peace, democracy and that Venezuelans can solve their problems by using the legal institutions.

This is absolutely amazing: the EU leaders follow the Ziomedia and declare Biden the winner!!

This is absolutely amazing: the EU leaders follow the Ziomedia and declare Biden the winner!!

November 07, 2020

Dear friends,

When I saw this I could not believe my eyes: “European leaders congratulate Joe Biden, after media count declares him victorious in US presidential election“.

This is truly unheard of: foreign leaders declare a winner in a US election even BEFORE the vote count has been certified by US courts!!!  Talk about “interference in US elections” – this really takes the prize!

Yeah, I know, these EU knuckleheads also declared Guaido and Tikhanovskaia had won.  But let’s be realists here: it is one thing to declare some victor in small and extremely weak countries, and quite another to do that with the supposed Sole Hyperpower and Planetary Hegemon.

Wow!  Just wow!

We have to wonder what the point of these declarations are and I think the answer is obvious: put the maximal pressure on USSC Justices to accept the fait accompli (which, of course, is neither a fait, nor is is accompli, but nevermind that!).

Just the fact that the US Deep State has the power to force the EU leaders into that kind of blatant intervention is the best proof that there are no real democracies in the West – all we are dealing with is a transnational plutocracy.

Bottom line: the struggle for the liberation of the West from this gang of corrupt megalomaniacs is now on.  Yes, right now the resistance in the West looks very week, poorly organized and even very corrupt (just think of how corrupt the GOP is!).  But those who are familiar with Hegelian dialectical analyses will immediately see that this is an unstable situation which cannot and will not last.

The Saker

Maduro: Venezuela Has Right to Buy Weapons from Any Country, Even US

Maduro: Venezuela Has Right to Buy Weapons from Any Country, Even US

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuela can buy weapons from any country that wants to sell them, even the United States, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told reporters.

During a press conference, broadcast on Twitter, Maduro was again asked to comment on the words of Colombian President Ivan Duque, that Venezuela bought missiles from Iran.

“Venezuela can buy bullets, weaponry, tanks, planes and missiles from a country that wants to sell them, be it the United States, Colombia, Iran, Russia, China, India – any country”, Maduro said.

Maduro also said Venezuela and Iran had long-term relationships in many sectors.

“Duque said that Venezuela had bought missiles from Iran. And I replied that this was not true, but it seemed to me a very good idea”, he said, adding that if necessary, Venezuela would consider such an issue.

The political situation in Venezuela worsened in January 2019, when opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido illegally proclaimed himself interim president in a bid to oust reelected President Maduro from power.

Guaido was quickly endorsed by the United States and its allies in Latin America, while Russia, China, Turkey and several other nations only recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Maduro himself has characterized the events in the country as an attempted coup so that the US could take control of Venezuela’s rich resources, especially oil.

Since then, the Trump administration has been extending support to Guaido, while slapping Caracas with a set of sanctions, the most painful of which turned out to be the freezing of the country’s accounts in Europe and the blocking of assets and interests of the oil and gas company PDVSA within US jurisdiction.

A Stroke of Genius

A Stroke of Genius

October 02, 2020

by Jimmie Moglia for the Saker Blog

It takes strength, endurance, resignation and stomach to like Donald Trump. Not for what he actually is. Under the pen of Alexandre Dumas, for example, Trump may even appear as a not-dislikable Yankee D’Artagnan of sorts. Maybe with less finesse than the original musketeer, whose contained yet French swaggering captivated millions of readers, when reading was still ‘cool’.

Rather for some infamous things Trump did and for some unspeakable people he has endorsed or surrounded himself with.

As for things evil, I’ll refer, for one, to the disgraceful delivery of the stolen Golan Heights to the Zionist entity – proving that before the Arabs’ complaints were to be finally dismissed, all remedy should be hopeless.

The other is the treatment and characterization of Venezuela. Some words, in time, are debased by vulgar application, and can be no longer heard without the involuntary recollection of unpleasing images. Such is the case of ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’ and ‘socialism’ uttered by Trump and his minions.

This is no place for platitudes about socialism, but using ‘socialism’ as an excuse to strangle Venezuela is yet an atrocious misuse of language and thought. For it forces Venezuelans to see Americans as strangers to whom Venezuelan life is indifferent, or enemies, for whom Venezuelans’ deaths are desirable.

As for Trump’s associated detestable characters there is only the embarrassment of choice. Elliott Abrams, for one, the disgust of whom arises from the revival of images he is commonly associated with, notably the Nicaraguan ‘Contras’ campaign, for which he was actually tried and condemned as one who has committed a crime. In other words a criminal.

Besides, Abrams is the perfect live embodiment of the Merchant of Venice, seeing whom a protagonist in the play exclaims, “Here comes the devil, in the likeness of a (term and characterization avoided for they may be disturbing to some readers).”

On a related subject, I read recently that Jewish financiers and academics are developing artificial intelligence in order to ceaselessly scan the Internet for “hidden anti-Semitism on social media.”

The Times of Britain reports, “Workers on the “Decoding Anti-Semitism Project” will write algorithms to find codes such as “Juice” instead of “Jews” and look for anti-Jewish narratives, conspiracy theories and stereotypes that are harder to detect automatically than explicit racism. They hope to develop a tool that can scan websites and social media profiles for implicit anti-Semitism.”

A strange range of Jews and European crypto-academic characters staff this curious venture. The prize is several million euros in grants, donated by the German-Jewish Alfred Landecker Foundation, an NGO with strings that suggest both comedy and tragedy.

Who established the Alfred Landecker Foundation? The Reimann family, German billionaires who own controlling stakes in Krispy Kreme, Dr. Pepper and other major players in the goy-poisoning food-market. The Reimanns have pledged 250 million euros during the next 10 years.

The family is not Jewish, but was targeted for “reparations” by sundry Jewish “defense bodies.” It began last year when some influential Jewish journalists and organizations triggered an international public relations blackmail campaign against the Reimanns. For, apparently, there were some skeletons in the Reimanns’ National Socialist past.

Devra First, for example, a Jewish journalist at the Boston Globe, led one of the early attacks with an article titled, “I found out Nazi money is behind my favorite coffee. Should I keep drinking it?” It is easy to predict that she may not drink the coffee but keep the money.

As for the “Decoding Anti-Semitism Project,” given the massive Zionist successful fight against free speech, the reader can easily imagine and construe the consequences.

But I digress. Another obnoxious, despicable and ridicule character is the hyper-buffoon Juan Guaidó, whom most of my readers would not probably even trust to park their car – a veritable master at making a complete ass of himself worldwide. For example, by believing that two pranksters posing as the President of Switzerland and his interpreter asked his ‘permission’ to transfer Venezuelan government money held in Swizerland to Guaìdo’s personal Swiss bank account. And to whom Guaidó pledged his help in promoting a color revolution in the Russian Federation to replace Putin with Navalny.

But returning to Trump, we may set all of the above apart, when recognizing genius. For such I rate his having made himself recognized as Covid-19 positive (along with his wife). Even if he (and supposedly she) are asymptomatic and apparently in good health.

For, by doing so, he may avoid the traps inherent in the patently pitiful debates. He will equally avoid the violent (BLM, Antifa) predicted outbreaks associated with his public presence, and maybe even direct terrorist assaults.

Furthermore, he will be able to wage his electoral campaign from the White House, maybe in front of the fireplace (FD Roosevelt style). While his enemies will be inherently prevented from criticism of the venue and the reason thereof.

After all they vehemently maligned him for having been ‘soft’ on Covid. Therefore they cannot certainly expect him to violate the quarantine, risking to infect all he comes in contact with. And by appearing in TV in good health, he may actually and factually counterbalance the apocalyptic narratives of the mainstream media and associates.

Furthermore, his enemies cannot even utter the suspicion that he is simulating the malady. For if the suspicion arose that the ‘swabs’ can be a tool for manipulation, liable to yield unreliable or even purposely inaccurate answers, the whole construct would begin to creak.

Hence Trump, for once, has defeated his enemies by using their very tools.

All of the above does not change the reality that – even assuming no fraud in the elections, given the documented ease of deception without a user-registration system – the Americans will still be compelled to chose the lesser of two evils, commonly known as the evil of two lessers.

Venezuela – A Tribute for Endless Pursuit of Democracy

Venezuela – A Tribute for Endless Pursuit of Democracy

September 19, 2020

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

Venezuela is again the shining light of Democracy – pushing ahead with the 6 December National Assembly (NA) elections – despite the endless challenges of covid – of sanctions, of embargos, of confiscation of foreign assets, and even of a totally illicit blockage of reserve currencies – Venezuela’s gold – naturally in the world’s protectorate of international financial fraud, The City of London.

This unique drive for democracy against all odds succeeds to a great degree thanks to President Maduro, who relentlessly resists not only the attempts against his life, but the lies and vilifications about Venezuela from most of the western world, led, of course, by the United States, followed closely by the European Union which, it seems, dominated by NATO, can’t break loose from being at Washington’s bidding.

It is sad to see European states – hands and minds still dripping of colonial blood, not being able to break the stranglehold of their genocidal past – and step onto a new plate, into a new history – fighting for justice and human rights. An example how far from this eye-opening conscientious awakening Europe is, was again demonstrated today by the EU Commission’s call to “sanction” Russia for the totally unproven Navalny poisoning, by stopping the almost completed Nord Stream 2 German-Russian gas pipeline project.

Never mind the absurdity, that Germany and the EU are punishing themselves, not only because alternative badly needed gas supplies will be considerably more expensive – and god forbid – may be coming from US fracking sources. In other words, the EU would approve of an environmental disaster. Many of EU member countries are by their Constitution barred from using fracking gas or oil.

And again, the EU vassalhood – to call it what it is – refused President Maduro’s invitation to observe the December 6 elections. Mr. Maduro went out of his way to invite all the important opinion makers to come and observe the fairness of the elections, including the UN and the Europeans. The latter prefer not to see the correctness with their own eyes, but being able to criticize what they have not seen. There is no darker blindness than that emanating from not wanting to see.

And that of course only, because the European leaders (sic) – all shoe-ins by an international deep state elite – will do whatever it takes to preserve as long as possible the unsustainable – an unfettered, neoliberal no holds barred capitalism. The WEF (World Economic Forum) calls it best: The Great Reset – the upwards reorganization of assets. After the very elite-made global covid hoax has destroyed and continues to devastate most of what was the world economy, what gave work and food to billions of people – people are dwelling in the gutters with nothing left – no health care, no shelter, no food – no hope. The latter is the killer.

Venezuela is the antidote to this western usurping approach to civilization – what’s left of it. Venezuela pursues justice and fights for equality. By the way, Venezuela is in the honorable company of Cuba, Syria, Iran, Russia and China. The US, alias the west, cannot tolerate an example of ethics in its hegemonic orbit. Western allies – united under the boot of NATO – pretend freedom is their cause, while their own people suffer from unfathomable injustice every day – poverty and famine of children is skyrocketing in the Global North, the so-called developed or industrialized world – the bankers world, the world of those who indebt the Global South into dependence, into the Global North’s neo-colonies.

Venezuela, on the contrary, aims at eradicating poverty famine and misery – and that despite her constant strangulation by Washington and their western allies, and even by some of what should be their Latin Brothers, the Lima Group, formed in August 2017 in Lima, Peru (12 members as of December 2019: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana, Saint Lucia, Bolivia and Haiti).

Imagine – how much pressure these Lima Group countries are under to accuse, boycott, denigrate and speak out in international fora against their fellow Latin Americans of Venezuela. Once upon a time there was a United Latin America – united under the leadership of Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar. With the onset of the British Empire’s transatlantic move of its power center to become the United States of America, the southern part of the America’s became what recent US Presidents called “our backyard” – ready to be usurped in any way possible, mostly in the form of military dictatorships and lately by Washington-induced coups against democratically elected heads of states.

However, the spirit of Simon Bolivar, El Libertador, lives on. Together with Nicolas Maduro’s tenacious will for freedom, for autonomy, for full sovereignty for Venezuelans, their use and destiny over natural resources, may prevail and influence upcoming elections in Bolivia (October 2020), Chile (October 2020 referendum on whether a new Constitution ought to be drafted, replacing the one dating back to Pinochet), Brazil (municipal election in November 2020) and Ecuador (general elections in February 2021).

Venezuela’s overarching strength by solidarity and endless fight for justice and Human Rights, brought the opposition to its knees. The right-wing Washington supported opposition, led by self-nominated “president” Juan Guaidó, boycotted past elections, so as not to show their weakness vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Now, perhaps the real head of opposition, Henrique Capriles, is changing tactics. Realizing that the only way to have any say in the political arena of Venezuela is by participating in it, he is calling for participation in the 6 December National Assembly elections.

President Maduro has always invited participation of the opposition in elections and will welcome their presence for the December 2020 NA elections too. Because Democracy is at the heart of Chavismo, the very socialist thought being carried forward – steadily, without wavering, by President Maduro and his Government. – Viva! Venezuela’s Democracy – a shining light for the Americas and for the world.

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 online journals such as Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO) and more. 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.

UK denying Maduro access to Venezuelan gold is not only THEFT, it’s MURDER of London’s reputation as trusted financial center

Source

George Galloway

George Gallowaywas a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years.

He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

The standards are poor at the Bank of England these days, I don’t know why anyone would want to do business with them. George Galloway gives British banking, and justice, a triple-fail rating.

It used to be “a thing” when I was growing up. “As safe as the Bank of England” was the acme of trustworthiness and security. But as Venezuela – and any other Global South country foolish enough to entrust the British with their sovereign wealth just found out in the High Court in London – the Bank of England isn’t any longer safe at all.

Almost a billion dollars worth of Venzuelan gold bullion has just been stolen by the British government, theft has just been legalized, and the thieves didn’t even bother to wear a mask.

The gold was deposited in London by the then internationally recognized government of Venezuela. But the now internationally recognized government of Nicolas Maduro has been refused permission to have its value transferred to the United Nations in New York for work they wish the UN Development Program to conduct against the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Venezuela in legal battle to get its gold back from Bank of England

Instead, a man off the street in Caracas by the name of Juan Guaido – who has not only never been elected to power in Venezuela, he’s no longer even elected as the leader of the opposition – is the legal owner of the gold, says Justice Alice-in-Wonderland. After all, words mean whatever the British government wants them to mean.

The elected president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is recognized by the great majority of countries in the world. More importantly, his government is recognized at the United Nations. It is not true, as the British government told the High Court, that they “do not recognize” the Maduro government – they recognize it every day at the UN, in discussions in the canteen as well as in the chamber.

Moreover, it is the principle of British diplomacy that they “recognize” whomsoever is in effective control of a territory – whether they like them or not. Though, come to think of it, they did breach that “principle” once before – when they continued to recognize the Cambodian genocidal murderer Pol Pot  and insist that Comrade Number 1 remains in his seat in New York long after he was actually overthrown and while the mountain of corpses in Cambodia were being counted.

By any standards, Maduro is in effective control of Venezuela and Juan Guaido is not. Maduro controls every square inch of Venezuela, is the elected president, is recognized by the United Nations and by most countries in the world. Guaido is not elected, is not recognized by the United Nations, nor by most countries in the world and doesn’t control one single inch of Venezuelan territory. But he is now the proud owner of the gold in the Bank of England. It makes the Great Train Robbery look like a mere bagatelle, Guaido makes the Thief of Baghdad look like an amateur. It is the greatest single act of theft ever to take place on British soil. And that’s saying something.

ALSO ON RT.COMMystery of the Venezuelan gold: Bank of England is independent of UK govt – but not of foreign govt

But away from the scene of the crime, away from Venezuela, British officials in their ivory tower should take note. It wasn’t just theft which took place in the Strand this week – it was murder. The murder of London’s reputation as a financial center you can trust.

Certainly, any sovereign government which has invested its sovereign wealth in London should examine their head if not the current state of their balance. This decision has given a green light to the Pirates of the Caribbean, and you could be next. Fall out with the British government and they can now hand all your country’s wealth they can grab, over to your opposition, however discredited.

Quite a day’s work in financial standards, a triple-A fail.

If I ever won the National Lottery (which I don’t enter) the last place on Earth that I would deposit my millions would be in London. Standards here just went down the rabbit-hole and will never re-emerge. The City of London has fallen.

When I was young I told my Irish grandfather that the teacher had told me that the British had an empire so vast that the Sun never set upon it. He answered “that’s because God would never trust the British in the dark.” I knew he was telling the truth. And now so does Venezuela.

©  Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/493718-uk-maduro-venezuela-gold/

If Trump Is Thinking About a Meeting with Maduro, What About Trudeau?

By Arnold August

Global Research, June 23, 2020

Based on an interview held in the White House last Friday, June 19, the U.S. website Axios reported:

“Asked whether he would meet with Maduro,” Trump said, “I would maybe think about that…. Maduro would like to meet. And I’m never opposed to meetings — you know, rarely opposed to meetings. I always say, you lose very little with meetings. But at this moment, I’ve turned them down.”

The context of what may appear to be a sudden reversal in Trump’s Venezuelan policy is to be found in John Bolton’s recently released memoir on life under Trump, The Room Where It Happened. According to Bolton (cited by Axios), after throwing the full diplomatic weight of the U.S. government behind Juan Guaidó, Trump’s private feelings about his protégé were ambivalent:

“He thought Guaidó was ‘weak,’ as opposed to Maduro, who was ‘strong.’”

“By spring [of 2019], Trump was calling Guaidó the ‘Beto O’Rourke of Venezuela,’ [Democratic Party candidate for the 2016 presidential elections won by Hilary Clinton] hardly the sort of compliment an ally of the United States should expect.”

In the Trump lexicon, the honorific applied to O’Rourke generally means “loser,” a term to deprecate political opponents. It may be that this tentative reaching out to Maduro, as opposed to hanging on to what was appearing even in Trump’s eyes as a lost cause, has its roots in previous discussions among Trump’s Cabinet.

Any eventual contact between Trump and Maduro is an ongoing but controversial story emerging from U.S. corporate media, the White House and perhaps Bolton. In fact, only one day after Trump seemed to have opened the door to discussing with Maduro, he tweeted on June 22.

“I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!“

However, “meeting” and “discussing” is still in the news. Moreover, the fact remains, following the latest divulgations cited above, that Trump is evaluating “discussion” from a position of weakness. As Trumps has admitted, his anointed “president“ is a complete failure to date.

The situation in Canada is different. Action can be taken now as there is nothing to wait for. The Trudeau government plays a leading role in carrying forward Trump regime-change policy through the right-wing Lima group, with its avowed intention of overthrowing Maduro and installing Guaidó.

The time is ripe, because on June 17 the Trudeau government suffered a humiliating defeat in its high profile bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. In the spotlight during the weeks leading up to the vote, we saw just how close Trudeau’s relationship is to Trump. In fact, many Canadians viewed it as subservience. This evaluation even found its way into some corporate editorials on the defeat. Also under scrutiny in the UNSC debacle was the Trudeau government’s lack of respect for international law and UN resolutions.

In a word, since June 17, Trudeau does not have either an international or domestic mandate to conduct foreign policy as he has carried out since winning office. Along with other grassroots organizations and personalities, the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute was instrumental in pushing for the NO vote and creating domestic support to back up the international appeals.

If Trudeau would like to make up for his past errors and show the world there is indeed a difference between the U.S. and Canada, and that we do not perhaps stand behind every Trump move, what better opportunity that to build on Trump’s short-lived opening to Maduro? Why should Trudeau not declare that, unlike Trump, he would like to have fair and open discussions with Maduro, as anyone who believes in an “international rules-based order” should do? Surely it would take courage to do so. But this is far closer to “Canadian values” than what Trudeau has been repeating over the last few weeks. Such a courageous stand would also constitute a rebuttal of Trump’s heavy-handed, dictatorial methods. Since the vote on the 17th, the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, encouraged by its and others’ success in breaking through the usual mainstream media blackout, is following up on what many see as a mandate from the grassroots. It is calling for a popular discussion and consultations on foreign policy in these terms:

“Dear PM Trudeau,

Time to Fundamentally Reassess Canadian Foreign Policy

One of the 10 subjects raised is:

  • Why is Canada involved in efforts to oust Venezuela’s UN-recognized government, a clear violation of the principle of non-intervention in other country’s internal affairs?

Trudeau has admitted that he has to take stock of a foreign policy that has been so soundly rejected by United Nations’ member states. By revising its failed and harmful policy toward the Venezuelan people, it would contribute to a much-needed atmosphere of discussion and consultation on Canada’s outdated and unpopular foreign policy.

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Featured image is from The Santiago TimesThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Arnold August, Global Research, 2020

Venezuela To Take US Sanctions To ICC

Venezuela To Take US Sanctions To ICC

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuela vowed to take the United States to the International Criminal Court [ICC] in response to new unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington on the Latin American nation.

The administration in Washington introduced sanctions on Thursday that targeted Mexican companies and individuals for allegedly attempting to evade US restrictions on Venezuela’s oil sector.

“Washington continues to narrow the circle around Venezuela. They [the United States] believe that we cannot export oil and the Venezuelan people are left without food products, medicines, and petrol,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on his Twitter page later in the day.

“The UN multipolar system must respond. We will go the International Criminal Court over this case,” he added.

Venezuela descended into political turmoil after opposition figure Juan Guido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” of the country in January last year, and with Washington’s assistance and help from a small number of rogue soldiers, later launched a botched putsch against the elected government. There was also an attempt at assassinating the legitimately-elected President Nicolas Maduro with a drone in 2018.

Guaido’s self-proclamation and his coup received backing from the US administration.

Washington has imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions against the oil-rich nation aimed at ousting Maduro and bringing Guaido to power instead.

The sanctions, which include the illegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets abroad and an economic blockade, have caused enormous suffering for millions of people in the country.

In yet another show of animosity toward the government in Caracas, a group of US-backed mercenaries attempted to intrude into the northern Venezuelan state of La Guaira on speedboats last month, but the country’s military foiled the attack, killing eight of the armed men and arresting several others.

One of the two US citizens arrested during the marine incursion said in a public interrogation on Venezuelan state TV that the purpose of the military operation had been to seize an airport in Caracas, kidnap Maduro, and take him to the US.

The contract under which the mercenaries carried out the attack bore Guaido’s signature as well as those of other opposition figures.

In a similar move, Iran, which is also under harsh US sanctions, opened a case at the Hague-based court in 2018, calling on the organization to suspend unilateral economic sanctions imposed by Washington after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 international nuclear deal.

AMERICA’S MEDDLING IN VENEZUELA HAS NO BOUNDARIES. AFTER A FAILED COUP ATTEMPT, TRYING TO INSTALL A BOGUS PRESIDENT AND IMPOSING CRIPPLING SANCTIONS, WILL IT EVER BE HELD TO ACCOUNT?

May 21, 2020, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

America’s meddling in Venezuela has no boundaries. After a failed coup attempt, trying to install a bogus president, and imposing crippling sanctions, will it ever be held to account?

Venezuela is back in the news again, just weeks after yet another failed coup attempt that was almost certainly backed by the US. This time, it’s the American sanctions against the country that are making the headlines – measures that caused US company AT&T to shut down satellite TV provider, DirecTV, thereby depriving Venezuelans of a number of foreign channels.

The irony, of course, is that while it’s US sanctions that are the cause of this shutdown, had it been President Nicolás Maduro who closed DirecTV, you can bet Western media headlines would be screaming about censorship of the media (although most were rather quiet when Estonia shut down Sputnik.).

The impact of this latest development will be a major inconvenience for most of Venezuela’s poorest – another example of how the sanctions are not merely targeting the administration but the people themselves. US sanctions against Syria, Venezuela, Iran and a long list of other targeted nations have deprived them of access to vital medicines, medical equipment, income and more.

As I noted in a prior article, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that a staggering 40,000 Venezuelans died in 2017 and 2018 due to sanctions. This shameful statistic lends weight to former UN expert Alfred de Zayas naming sanctions as a form of terrorism, “because they invariably impact, directly or indirectly, the poor and vulnerable.”

So well done, America, for adding another layer of misery to the heap you’ve already created.

The plan to abduct Maduro

Just a couple of weeks beforehand, on May 3 and 4, Venezuelan forces had prevented 60 paramilitaries on two speedboats – including Americans – from carrying out their plan to kidnap Venezuela’s president and replace him with Juan Guaido, who the US and Canada have been attempting to install as president since early 2019.

Guaido, the self-appointed ‘interim president’, was aware of the plot, which involved a contract of $213million according to documents that have entered the public domain. The US and Canadian authorities were most likely in the loop, too. 

Guaido first announced himself as ‘interim president’ in January 2019, to the surprise of most Venezuelans and with no election. Most countries rejected this breach of Venezuela’s sovereignty, with only a smattering of Western terrorist supporting countries that advocate regime change – and some nations that they bully – endorsing him. 

A month later, there were failed Western-backed attempts to ram ‘aid trucks’ (loaded with wires and nails) through Colombia’s border with Venezuela, the goal being to vilify the government for failing to accept what was clearly not aid (and was not coming via a proper channel either).

In March, the unpopular Guaido was booed and fled from a pro-government area in Caracas, ironically with Venezuelan security protecting him from an angry crowd. In the same month, I tried to see the supposedly massive pro-opposition rallies I had heard of in the capital, but instead came across huge pro-government demonstrations

In April, Guaido and a violent right-wing opposition leader, with the backing of the US, attempted a coup— an attempt clearly rejected by masses of Venezuelans. Fast forward to January this year and Guaido failed to be re-elected as president of the country’s National Assembly.gwedo

Guaido attempted to scale a fence before the vote took place. His claims that he was barred from entering have been disputed. (Reuters) via Venezuelanalysis.com

In spite of the absurd amount of backing Guaido has received from Western governments, it seems even some opposition within Venezuela don’t want him, and would prefer to return to dialogue with Maduro’s government.

Perhaps this was down to Guaido staffers’ alleged involvement in embezzling ‘humanitarian aid’ funds. Photos taken with  Colombian drug traffickers and paramilitary leaders probably didn’t help his cause, either.

After so many Guaido false starts and flops, and their failure to bring him an iota of legitimacy, surely it’s time for the US and Canadian administrations to accept they are flogging a dead horse?

What’s the UN doing?

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, tweeted: “May 20 at 3:00 pm, the UN Security Council will debate the situation in Venezuela. The meeting was requested by Russia after the terrorist armed attack carried out from Colombia on May 3. We will denounce to the world the aggression against our people.”

While I do of course support Venezuela’s desire to denounce the attempted coup, and the bloodshed that could have prevailed – including of civilians – had the paramilitaries been successful, forgive me for being cynical that justice will prevail.

After all, history has shown that nothing is done when the US and allies commit war crimes in Syria. Likewise, they have never been held accountable by the UN for what they did in Iraq. And what about the war crimes of Israel against Palestinian civilians, and the Saudis against the Yemenis?

Sadly, I don’t have an answer as to what’s a better option than attempts for justice and accountability via the UN.

But I know this much: this won’t be the last failed attempt to overthrow Venezuela’s government, and it won’t be the last time the country and its allies have to condemn immoral and illegal US and Canadian acts.

So vile are these governments that even now, while the world is focused on dealing with Covid-19, they are scheming to bring more misery to the people of Venezuela. They should hang their heads in shame, but they’ve got none.  

RELATED LINKS:

My Venezuela 2019 Youtube playlist

-Venezuelan woman: “We didn’t vote for you, Guaido. Trump, stop f*cking us over. [VIDEO]

-Reminder of Corporate Media Lies on Venezuela [VIDEO]

Venezuela isn’t Syria… but America’s war tactics are the same

US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

Canada and the Coup Attempt Against Venezuela, by Arnold August

Drones, Documentaries, Death: Silvercorp’s Contract to Take Down Maduro in Full

10.05.2020

Personal documents are shown by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a virtual news conference in Caracas, Venezuela May 6, 2020.

A 13-strong group of US citizens and dissident Venezuelans attempted to infiltrate Venezuela via the coastal state of La Guaira from Colombia in the early hours of the morning, their aim being to precipitate a nationwide rebellion against the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The contract signed by private mercenary firm Silvercorp USA and opposition elements in Venezuela, which provided the basis for ‘Operacion Gedeon’, the attempted 3rd May coup against the Nicolas Maduro government, has been published online.

The attempt to install Juan Guaido as President and capture and intern high-ranking government officials was in the end quickly and easily stifled, the conspirators captured by the Bolivarian National Armed Force.The surreal incident has been widely condemned and ridiculed, and compelled US President Donald Trump to deny Washington was in any way involved in the bungled, befuddling operation. Questions still abound over the calamitous intervention, but the contract sheds significant light on the the extent of the dastardly plan allegedly financed and backed by Guaido and his supporters.

Continue here

Venezuelan opposition signed $213 million contract with US mercenary group to topple Maduro: report

By News Desk -2020-05-08

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:25 A.M.) – A new report from the American newspaper, Washington Post, revealed talks between the Venezuelan opposition and the private American security company, Silvercorp, to topple Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro.

The newspaper published a 42-page document, which is a contract between the security company and the Venezuelan opposition to “provide services” worth $213 million, which the two parties discussed last October.

“Service Provider Advisors will advise and assist Partner Group in planning and executing an operation to capture/detain/remove Nicolas Maduro (heretoafter ‘Primary Objective’), remove the current Regime, and install the recognised Venezuelan [self-proclaimed] President Juan Guaido”, the 42-page document said.

The document bears the signatures of the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaido, and his advisor, Juan Rendon, and the opposition Venezuelan parliamentarian, Sergio Vergara, on the one hand, and the head of the U.S. Security Police, a former member of the U.S. Special Forces, Jordan Goudreau, on the one hand.

Guaido’s press office did not comment on the published document, while Juan Rendon said in an interview with CNN that the deal with the American company had not been completed, and that Silvercorp had undertaken a “failed suicide operation” in the absence of support from Guaido.

The “Justice First” party, and the “popular will” to which Guaido belongs, published a joint statement Thursday, stating that “democratic forces do not support or finance militias, violence, or paramilitary groups.”

On Wednesday, Venezuelan state television broadcast the statements of two members of the aforementioned security company, who were arrested along with more than 10 others who participated in the operation, which was foiled last Sunday, in which they confessed that the operation was aimed at kidnapping Maduro and transferring him to the United States.

Silvercorp claimed responsibility for the operation, but Juan Guaido denied his relationship with it and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied any “direct official relationship” to the U.S. authorities in this process, while Maduro accused President Donald Trump and Pompeo and Colombia President Evan Duque of being behind the attempt to topple him.

ALSO READ  

Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro

Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro

May 02, 2020

Source

Ex-Green Beret led failed attempt to oust Venezuela’s Maduro

By JOSHUA GOODMANFILE – In this Aug. 4, 2018 file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, security guards surround Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with protective gear as an unidentified drone interrupts his speech in Caracas, Venezuela. An exiled Venezuelan national guardsman accused of partaking in this drone attack on Maduro is among voluntary combatants in three safe houses of former soldiers plotting a military incursion from neighboring Colombia, according to an Associated Press investigation. (Xinhua via AP, File)

MIAMI (AP) — The plan was simple, but perilous. Some 300 heavily armed volunteers would sneak into Venezuela from the northern tip of South America. Along the way, they would raid military bases in the socialist country and ignite a popular rebellion that would end in President Nicolás Maduro’s arrest.

What could go wrong? As it turns out, pretty much everything.

The ringleader of the plot is now jailed in the U.S. on narcotics charges. Authorities in the U.S. and Colombia are asking questions about the role of his muscular American adviser, a former Green Beret. And dozens of desperate combatants who flocked to secret training camps in Colombia said they have been left to fend for themselves amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The failed attempt to start an uprising collapsed under the collective weight of skimpy planning, feuding among opposition politicians and a poorly trained force that stood little chance of beating the Venezuelan military.

“You’re not going to take out Maduro with 300 hungry, untrained men,” said Ephraim Mattos, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who trained some of the would-be combatants in first aid.

This bizarre, untold story of a call to arms that crashed before it launched is drawn from interviews with more than 30 Maduro opponents and aspiring freedom fighters who were directly involved in or familiar with its planning. Most spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation.

When hints of the conspiracy surfaced last month, the Maduro-controlled state media portrayed it as an invasion ginned up by the CIA, like the Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco of 1961. An Associated Press investigation found no evidence of U.S. government involvement in the plot. Nevertheless, interviews revealed that leaders of Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition knew of the covert force, even if they dismissed its prospects.

Planning for the incursion began after an April 30, 2019, barracks revolt by a cadre of soldiers who swore loyalty to Maduro’s would-be replacement, Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized by the U.S. and some 60 other nations as Venezuela’s rightful leader. Contrary to U.S. expectations at the time, key Maduro aides never joined with the opposition and the government quickly quashed the uprising.

A few weeks later, some soldiers and politicians involved in the failed rebellion retreated to the JW Marriott in Bogota, Colombia. The hotel was a center of intrigue among Venezuelan exiles. For this occasion, conference rooms were reserved for what one participant described as the “Star Wars summit of anti-Maduro goofballs” — military deserters accused of drug trafficking, shady financiers and former Maduro officials seeking redemption.

Among those angling in the open lobby was Jordan Goudreau, an American citizen and three-time Bronze Star recipient for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served as a medic in U.S. Army special forces, according to five people who met with the former soldier.

Those he interacted with in the U.S. and Colombia described him in interviews alternately as a freedom-loving patriot, a mercenary and a gifted warrior scarred by battle and in way over his head.

Two former special forces colleagues said Goudreau was always at the top of his class: a cell leader with a superb intellect for handling sources, an amazing shot and a devoted mixed martial arts fighter who still cut his hair high and tight.

At the end of an otherwise distinguished military career, the Canadian-born Goudreau was investigated in 2013 for allegedly defrauding the Army of $62,000 in housing stipends. Goudreau said the investigation was closed with no charges.

After retiring in 2016, he worked as a private security contractor in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. In 2018, he set up Silvercorp USA, a private security firm, near his home on Florida’s Space Coast to embed counter-terror agents in schools disguised as teachers. The company’s website features photos and videos of Goudreau firing machine guns in battle, running shirtless up a pyramid, flying on a private jet and sporting a military backpack with a rolled-up American flag.

Silvercorp’s website touts operations in more than 50 countries, with an advisory team made up of former diplomats, experienced military strategists and heads of multinational corporations — none of them named. It claims to have “led international security teams” for the president of the United States.

Goudreau, 43, declined to be interviewed. In a written statement, he said that “Silvercorp cannot disclose the identities of its network of sources, assets and advisors due to the nature of our work” and, more generally, “would never confirm nor deny any activities in any operational realm. No inference should be drawn from this response.”

`CONTROLLING CHAOS’

Goudreau’s focus on Venezuela started in February 2019, when he worked security at a concert in support of Guaidó organized by British billionaire Richard Branson on the Venezuelan-Colombian border.

“Controlling chaos on the Venezuela border where a dictator looks on with apprehension,” he wrote in a photo of himself on the concert stage posted to his Instagram account.

“He was always chasing the golden BB,” said Drew White, a former business partner at Silvercorp, using military slang for a one-in-a-million shot. White said he broke with his former special forces comrade last fall when Goudreau asked for help raising money to fund his regime change initiative.

“As supportive as you want to be as a friend, his head wasn’t in the world of reality,” said White. “Nothing he said lined up.”

According to White, Goudreau came back from the concert looking to capitalize on the Trump administration’s growing interest in toppling Maduro.

He had been introduced to Keith Schiller, President Donald Trump’s longtime bodyguard, through someone who worked in private security. Schiller attended a March 2019 event at the University Club in Washington for potential donors with activist Lester Toledo, then Guaidó’s coordinator for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Last May, Goudreau accompanied Schiller to a meeting in Miami with representatives of Guaidó. There was a lively discussion with Schiller about the need to beef up security for Guaidó and his growing team of advisers inside Venezuela and across the world, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Schiller thought Goudreau was naive and in over his head. He cut off all contact following the meeting, said a person close to the former White House official.

In Bogota, it was Toledo who introduced Goudreau to a rebellious former Venezuelan military officer the American would come to trust above all others — Cliver Alcalá, ringleader of the Venezuelan military deserters.

Alcalá, a retired major general in Venezuela’s army, seemed an unlikely hero to restore democracy to his homeland. In 2011, he was sanctioned by the U.S. for allegedly supplying FARC guerrillas in Colombia with surface-to-air missiles in exchange for cocaine. And last month, Alcalá was indicted by U.S. prosecutors alongside Maduro as one of the architects of a narcoterrorist conspiracy that allegedly sent 250 metric tons of cocaine every year to the U.S.

Alcalá is now in federal custody in New York awaiting trial. But before his surrender in Colombia, where he had been living since 2018, he had emerged as a forceful opponent of Maduro, not shy about urging military force.

Over two days of meetings with Goudreau and Toledo at the JW Marriott, Alcalá explained how he had selected 300 combatants from among the throngs of low-ranking soldiers who abandoned Maduro and fled to Colombia in the early days of Guaidó’s uprising, said three people who participated in the meeting and insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.

Alcalá said several dozen men were already living in three camps he maintained in and around the desert-like La Guajira peninsula that Colombia shares with Venezuela, the three said. Among the combatants in the camps was an exiled national guardsman accused of participating in a 2018 drone attack on Maduro.

Goudreau told Alcalá his company could prepare the men for battle, according to the three sources. The two sides discussed weapons and equipment for the volunteer army, with Goudreau estimating a budget of around $1.5 million for a rapid strike operation.

Goudreau told participants at the meeting that he had high-level contacts in the Trump administration who could assist the effort, although he offered few details, the three people said. Over time, many of the people involved in the plan to overthrow Maduro would come to doubt his word.

From the outset, the audacious plan split an opposition coalition already sharply divided by egos and strategy. There were concerns that Alcalá, with a murky past and ties to the regime through a brother who was Maduro’s ambassador to Iran, couldn’t be trusted. Others worried about going behind the backs of their Colombian allies and the U.S. government.

But Goudreau didn’t share the concerns about Alcalá, according to two people close to the former American solider. Over time, he would come to share Alcalá’s mistrust of the opposition, whose talk of restoring democracy was belied by what he saw as festering corruption and closed-door deal making with the regime, they said.

More importantly to Goudreau, Alcalá retained influence in the armed forces that Maduro’s opponents, mostly civilian elites, lacked. He also knew the terrain, having served as the top commander along the border.

“We needed someone who knew the monster from the inside,” recalled one exiled former officer who joined the plot.

Guaidó’s envoys, including Toledo, ended contact with Goudreau after the Bogota meeting because they believed it was a suicide mission, according to three people close to the opposition leader.

Undeterred, Goudreau returned to Colombia with four associates, all of them U.S. combat veterans, and begin working directly with Alcalá.

Alcalá and Goudreau revealed little about their military plans when they toured the camps. Some of the would-be combatants were told by the two men that the rag-tag army would cross the border in a heavily armed convoy and sweep into Caracas within 96 hours, according to multiple soldiers at the camps. Goudreau told the volunteers that — once challenged in battle — Maduro’s food-deprived, demoralized military would collapse like dominoes, several of the soldiers said.

NO CHANCE TO SUCCEED

Many saw the plan as foolhardy and there appears to have been no serious attempt to seek U.S. military support.

“There was no chance they were going to succeed without direct U.S. military intervention,” said Mattos, the former Navy SEAL who spent two weeks in September training the volunteers in basic tactical medicine on behalf of his non-profit, which works in combat zones.

Mattos visited the camps after hearing about them from a friend working in Colombia. He said he never met Goudreau.

Mattos said he was surprised by the barren conditions. There was no running water and men were sleeping on the floors, skipping meals and training with sawed-off broomsticks in place of assault rifles. Five Belgian shepherds trained to sniff out explosives were as poorly fed as their handlers and had to be given away.

Mattos said he grew wary as the men recalled how Goudreau had boasted to them of having protected Trump and told them he was readying a shipment of weapons and arranging aerial support for an eventual assault of Maduro’s compound.

The volunteers also shared with Mattos a three-page document listing supplies needed for a three-week operation, which he provided to AP. Items included 320 M4 assault rifles, an anti-tank rocket launcher, Zodiac boats, $1 million in cash and state-of-the-art night vision goggles. The document’s metadata indicates it was created by Goudreau on June 16.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of cowboys in this business who try to peddle their military credentials into a big pay day,” said Mattos.

AP found no indication U.S. officials sponsored Goudreau’s actions nor that Trump has authorized covert operations against Maduro, something that requires congressional notification.

But Colombian authorities were aware of his movements, as were prominent opposition politicians in Venezuela and exiles in Bogota, some of whom shared their findings with U.S. officials, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

True to his reputation as a self-absorbed loose cannon, Alcalá openly touted his plans for an incursion in a June meeting with Colombia’s National Intelligence Directorate and appealed for their support, said a former Colombian official familiar with the conversation. Alcalá also boasted about his relationship with Goudreau, describing him as a former CIA agent.

When the Colombians checked with their CIA counterparts in Bogota, they were told that the former Green Beret was never an agent. Alcalá was then told by his hosts to stop talking about an invasion or face expulsion, the former Colombian official said.

It’s unclear where Alcalá and Goudreau got their backing, and whatever money was collected for the initiative appears to have been meager. One person who allegedly promised support was Roen Kraft, an eccentric descendant of the cheese-making family who — along with former Trump bodyguard Schiller — was among those meeting with opposition envoys in Miami and Washington.

At some point, Kraft started raising money among his own circle of fellow trust-fund friends for what he described as a “private coup” to be carried out by Silvercorp, according to two businessmen whom he asked for money.

Kraft allegedly lured prospective donors with the promise of preferential access to negotiate deals in the energy and mining sectors with an eventual Guaidó government, said one of the businessmen. He provided AP a two-page, unsigned draft memorandum for a six-figure commitment he said was sent by Kraft in October in which he represents himself as the “prime contractor” of Venezuela.

But it was never clear if Kraft really had the inside track with the Venezuelans.

In a phone interview with AP, Kraft acknowledged meeting with Goudreau three times last year. But he said the two never did any business together and only discussed the delivery of humanitarian aid for Venezuela. He said Goudreau broke off all communications with him on Oct. 14, when it seemed he was intent on a military action.

“I never gave him any money,” said Kraft.

`WE KNEW EVERYTHING’

Back in Colombia, more recruits were arriving to the three camps — even if the promised money didn’t. Goudreau tried to bring a semblance of order. Uniforms were provided, daily exercise routines intensified and Silvercorp instructed the would-be warriors in close quarter combat.

Goudreau is “more of a Venezuelan patriot than many Venezuelans,” said Hernán Alemán, a lawmaker from western Zulia state and one of a few politicians to openly embrace the clandestine mission.

Alemán said in an interview that neither the U.S. nor the Colombian governments were involved in the plot to overthrow Maduro. He claims he tried to speak several times to Guaidó about the plan but said the opposition leader showed little interest.

“Lots of people knew about it, but they didn’t support us,” he said. “They were too afraid.”

The plot quickly crumbled in early March when one of the volunteer combatants was arrested after sneaking across the border into Venezuela from Colombia.

Shortly after, Colombian police stopped a truck transporting a cache of brand new weapons and tactical equipment worth around $150,000, including spotting scopes, night vision goggles, two-way radios and 26 American-made assault rifles with the serial numbers rubbed off. Fifteen brown-colored helmets were manufactured by High-End Defense Solutions, a Miami-based military equipment vendor owned by a Venezuelan immigrant family.

High-End Defense Solutions is the same company that Goudreau visited in November and December, allegedly to source weapons, according to two former Venezuelan soldiers who claim to have helped the American select the gear but later had a bitter falling out with Goudreau amid accusations that they were moles for Maduro.

Company owner Mark Von Reitzenstein did not respond to repeated email and phone requests seeking comment.

Alcalá claimed ownership of the weapons shortly before surrendering to face the U.S. drug charges, saying they belonged to the “Venezuelan people.” He also lashed out against Guaidó, accusing him of betraying a contract signed between his “American advisers” and J.J. Rendon, a political strategist in Miami appointed by Guaidó to help force Maduro from power.

“We had everything ready,” lamented Alcalá in a video published on social media. “But circumstances that have plagued us throughout this fight against the regime generated leaks from the very heart of the opposition, the part that wants to coexist with Maduro.”

Through a spokesman, Guaidó stood by comments made to Colombian media that he never signed any contract of the kind described by Alcalá, whom he said he doesn’t know. Rendon said his work for Guaidó is confidential and he would be required to deny any contract, whether or not it exists.

Meanwhile, Alcalá has offered no evidence and the alleged contract has yet to emerge, though AP repeatedly asked Goudreau for a copy.

In the aftermath of Alcalá’s arrest, the would-be insurrection appears to have disbanded. As the coronavirus spreads, several of the remaining combatants have fled the camps and fanned out across Colombia, reconnecting with loved ones and figuring out their next steps. Most are broke, facing investigation by Colombian police and frustrated with Goudreau, whom they blame for leading them astray.

Meanwhile, the socialist leadership in Caracas couldn’t help but gloat.

Diosdado Cabello, the No. 2 most powerful person in the country and eminence grise of Venezuela’s vast intelligence network, insisted that the government had infiltrated the plot for months.

“We knew everything,” said Cabello. “Some of their meetings we had to pay for. That’s how infiltrated they were.”

___

Investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York and investigative reporter James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report.

___

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

___

Joshua Goodman on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/APjoshgoodman

Sitrep – Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua

February 19, 2020

Chris Faure for The Saker Blog

While the Mena is exploding in tensions, the Empire is hungry and is not leaving these countries in Latin America any breathing room. Although it can be argued that the circumstances are different in each, there are certain commonalities that can be pointed out.

Venezuela

The Trump administration warned early in February of “impactful” measures on the government of Venezuela

First was a blanket set of sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned airline CONVIASA. Why, you may ask? Well according to the administration, this airline is used to “shuttle corrupt officials.” We see the ‘rules based international order’ at work, as there is no evidence of corruption, but these days it seems as if one fights US sanctions, you must be corrupt. The rule of evidence for corruption now is resisting imperial sanctions. CONVIASA operates flight services to domestic destinations and throughout South America and the Caribbean.

The other notable event was that Guiadó went home to Venezuela on TAP, a Portugese airline, only to be ‘warmly welcomed’ by screaming Venezuelans beating him up. The Venezuelan Government suspended for 90 days the Portuguese airline, over what is formally declared as “some irregularities detected in Juan Guaido´s returning flight. The self-proclaimed ‘president’ returned to Venezuela after a tour of Europe and the United States on a TAP flight under a different identification, as Antonio Márquez, and his uncle was on the same flight, smuggling explosives.  Name change or no name change, he was still beaten up by Venezuelans.

Some good news is that the US Government’s case against the Venezuelan embassy protectors ended up in a hung jury, and the four protectors were not jailed. This was another failure in the open coup attempt on Venezuela.

The latest is that the US is placing more sanctions on Russia’s Rosneft Trading in relation to their quest for what they call “the opportunity for a transition of power” which the rest of us understand as color revolution and extraction of assets from a country working hard at their own sovereignty.

“Russia categorically repudiates unilateral restrictions, through which the US, which seeks global hegemony, is trying to make the whole world bend to its will. This has never influenced and will not influence Russia’s international policy, including its cooperation with the legitimate authorities of Venezuela, Syria, Iran and any other country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Nicaragua

In Nica, as the locals call it, the startup to regime change has commenced. The Grayzone reports that the US embassy and European Union are meeting with right-wing Nicaraguan opposition leaders and pressuring them to unite against elected leftist President Daniel Ortega in the lead-up to the 2021 election. https://thegrayzone.com/2020/02/07/nicaragua-opposition-support-us-eu-coalition/

Sanctions are rolling in and this one is similar to what we saw in Brazil, and now in Bolivia, where the rightist evangelicals (usually Christian Zionist) are being used as the pressure point aiming to unseat the Sandinistas.

Nicaragua, according to the Empire under the guise of the Donald Trump administration has declared the small nation of Nicaragua to be a supposed “national security threat,” and has imposed several rounds of aggressive sanctions on the country, with the aim of destabilizing its economy.

Bolivia

After the contested election and a coup d’état that saw Evo Morales being expelled as President as well as having to flee from his beloved country, snap general elections will be held in Bolivia on May 3rd, 2020.

The situation on the ground is still that of a coup d’état. The indigenous Bolivian population which Evo Morales brought into the light and gave opportunity to flourish economically, is under stress, pressure and still being murdered as we speak.

Few people know that as in Venezuela, we are dealing with another Western backed self-elected interim president in Bolivia – Jeanine Añez. On declaring herself interim president, she also undertook not to run for the position in forthcoming elections. That undertaking did not last long though and she is a candidate now.

As in Nicaragua, we are also dealing with rightist evangelicals being used for political power. “Evangelical preacher Chi Hyun Chung exposed this corruption after he placed third in the last election but didn’t make it onto the ballot. Chung reported that these groups were asking for payments of between one million and 1.5 million U.S. Dollars for the right to use their names. He called on electoral authorities to intervene to end the practice.”

But was this a Western backed coup and how do we know that it was? The easiest to see, is who the golpistas immediately made friends with.

Ollie Vargas states : “The Anez administration’s ties to the U.S. are openly admitted. Evident in the dramatic speed with which Morales’ progressive foreign policy was torn up. Full relations were re-established with the U.S. and Israel and USAID was brought in to ‘cooperate’ in the elections and other government functions. However, less known are Anez’s hiring choices. One of the first advisors to be brought in to her inner circle was Erick Foronda, who was chief advisor to the U.S. embassy in Bolivia for 25 years prior to taking on the role with Añez.

The cooperation continues as the electoral campaign gets underway. Following the footsteps of many Bolivian rightists, Añez is now contracting the services of CLS Strategies, a U.S. political consulting firm, to provide “strategic communications counsel” during the coming elections. CLS Strategies is the same firm used by the government in Honduras after that country’s coup against Manuel Zelaya.”

The golpistas are doing their best to ban any candidate from MAS. The MAS radio channels are being banned and the people are being scattered violently wherever they gather. Evo Morales is still a candidate and has declared his candidacy from Argentina, where he has safe harbor. But he is not running for President. The presidential front runner for MAS (Evo’s party, the biggest voting block in Bolivia and generally known as The Movement toward Socialism) is Luis Arce. He has just had a conference with Evo Morales in Argentina, to plan the election. It is generally accepted that even since Morales left, MAS still has the majority and will win a fair election. This is clearly not the era of fair elections and the lastest news in, is that MAS is declaring an emergency as both Evo Morales as well as Luis Arce will be banned from running, under some invented pretext by the electoral commission.  The real issue is, despite the coup or golpe in Bolivia, despite the exit of Evo Morales, MAS is still winning.

The golpistas have serious western support, and MAS is not standing down from their Movement toward Socialism. The police forces are brutal toward the indigenous, one has no idea what the defense forces are really doing and the expectation is that we will have another coup type event arise as tempers are hot.

In the cities, it feels as if the right is winning, yet in the indigenous rural areas, MAS has a clear lead. This is where it stands now and one has to keep in mind that the rural areas are not being polled thoroughly.  The rural areas are all MAS supporters as it is these people that received an economic opportunity under Evo Morales:

C:\Users\NIETZS~1\AppData\Local\Temp\lu5700hdiuj.tmp\lu5700hdix9_tmp_7613a400b6ddbfce.jpg

Summary : Now that we have seen the similarities between a coup starting in Nicaragua, the longer lasting meddling in Venezuela, and the similarities in the playbook for Bolivia, we can only go back to Harold Pinter’s Nobel Acceptance Speech for Literature, 2005.

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’ It’s a scintillating stratagem.”

“Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. “

https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/2005/pinter/25621-harold-pinter-nobel-lecture-2005/


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US Congress Approves Legislation to Wage a Hybrid “Humanitarian War” on Venezuela?

The 50-page-long section of the bill that codifies legislation about Venezuela is titled ‘‘Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development Act of 2019’’ or ‘‘VERDAD Act of 2019’’

By Nino Pagliccia

Global Research, December 27, 2019

Last December 16 both houses in the US approved the appropriation bill to be signed by president Trump. Aside from the mind-boggling amount of $1.4 trillion that was approved in total our interest was in looking at the details concerning Venezuela.

press release issued by the organization Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) is quite misleading in its over optimism suggesting that the appropriations bill “rejects the use of force in Venezuela and endorses a negotiated solution to the country’s crisis”. Another interpretation may be more realistic.

The full bill of 1773 pages includes a section about Venezuela. The first reference to the country is to state that “not less than $30 million shall be made available for democracy programs for Venezuela” and that the funds “shall be made available for assistance for communities in countries supporting or otherwise impacted by refugees from Venezuela, including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago”. It is not possible to know if this is above the previously reported $52 million announced by Mark Green, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) last September. To make it more confusing the same report states that this “is in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars already committed by the US to support the more than 4 million vulnerable Venezuelans who have fled the country’s crisis.”

The 50-page-long section of the bill that codifies legislation about Venezuela is titled ‘‘Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development Act of 2019’’ or ‘‘VERDAD Act of 2019’’.

The legislation co-sponsored by senators Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio, was introduced last April in the Senate, and later referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. That same April self-appointed interim president Juan Guaidó staged (another) coup at La Carlota air base in eastern Caracas and called for the military to rise up against Maduro in the hope that the military would defect in mass and join him. The timing of the legislation and the attempted coup may have been carefully planned to coincide, but the coup never happened.Trump Has Venezuela in His Sights

Aside from the $30 million for democracy programs, the VERDAD Act authorises a whopping $400 million for fiscal year 2020 to carry out “humanitarian relief” activities such as humanitarian assistance to individuals and communities in Venezuela and humanitarian aid to Venezuelans and hosting communities in neighboring countries. The US Secretary of State is mandated to provide within 180 days an update to the Venezuela humanitarian assistance strategy in coordination with USAID. Aside from this proviso, the allocation of the expenditures is very vague and leaves the door open to any interpretation or act of faith. For instance, it is not obvious that humanitarian assistance from the US can be provided within Venezuela. What then?

The legislation with the misnomer VERDAD, which means TRUTH in Spanish, is a repetition of untruths to justify the need to provide humanitarian relief. It has the standard US government recognition for the president of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó who was “sworn in” (read, self-appointed) as interim president on January 23, 2019 following the “fraudulent” (read, not suitable to the US) election of May 20, 2018. It further states the US full support for the International Contact Group on Venezuela (European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Uruguay), the OAS and the Lima Group (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia). Relevant comparison here is the almost 120 countries that have recognised the Maduro government.

Moreover, the VERDAD Act calls for “new presidential election in Venezuela that complies with international standards” (read, accepted by the US), with international observers like the OAS (read, the organization that contributed to the military coup in Bolivia), and boosting “independent media outlets” (read, corporate media). To carry out this activity the bill grants an extra $17.5 million to the office of the Secretary of State.

In a nutshell we can safely say that the US government will make large amounts of US tax payers money available for regime change in Venezuela under the guise of “humanitarian relief” for a crisis that the US government created to start with.

The VERDAD Act of 2019 has nothing new that we had not heard or reported before with the exception, perhaps, of the statement referred to by WOLA, “Nothing in this title [Title I – Venezuela Assistance] may be construed as an authorization for the use of military force.” But that does not give any reassurance to Venezuelans because in a Hybrid Warfare scenario it is very easy to create a situation where new conditions – likely fabricated under the pretence of national security – may be used on a whim to trigger a military intervention.

Indeed, a Hybrid Warfare uses some means that are readily recognisable such as infowar, discredit of leadership, recognition of an opposition, implementation of sanctions, financial and economic blockade, among others. These have all been utilised in the case of Venezuela, and the VERDAD Act spells them out with a dollar amount. But there are many other means of a Hybrid Warfare to achieve regime change that are not announced or perceptible, at least not until we see the resulting impact. For instance, the triggering of protests and riots, the arming of the opposition, acts of sabotage, promises of bribery for treason, and others.

If the US premises that Nicolas Maduro is a dictator and that there is no democratic process in Venezuela are false in order to justify its ideological goal, how can we trust Washington’s accountability process in the management of those funds appropriated for “humanitarian relief”? Wouldn’t it be more cost effective to end the sanctions? What if those funds are used to co-opt other governments in the region, the Lima Group countries, the OAS, or to create a paid mercenary group such as that proposed by private security firm Blackwater to topple Maduro?

The ultimate question is, is the US government using its legislative power to legitimize a Hybrid Warfare against Venezuela with the VERDAD Act of 2019?

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Nino Pagliccia is an activist and freelance writer based in Vancouver. He is a retired researcher from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He is a Venezuelan-Canadian who follows and writes about international relations with a focus on the Americas. He is the editor of the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations” (2014). He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Activists gather in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC in March, 2019.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Nino Pagliccia, Global Research, 2019

Venezuela – Take 2

September 28, 2019

Venezuela – Take 2

by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker Blog

It is tacitly assumed that that the American information industry produces notices and descriptions of actual events. Whereas it routinely delivers a narrative of adulterated facts and improbable fiction – the whole blended with a top-down imposition of Zionist ideology masquerading as national interest. I say ‘Zionist’ because a country in which the word of command comes from elsewhere is nothing more than a province. Which may explain many events unequivocally alien to American interest.

All this the world well knows – at least the unknown percentage of those who like to think. However, especially with Venezuela, there has been, among media outlets and pundits, a remarkable recrudescence of the presumption of imbecility in the American public.

But it is unjust and unrealistic to blame large social groups for their assumed gullibility. No one can indict a people. Individuals are caught up in the workings of a mechanism that forces them into its own pattern. Only heroes can resist, and while it may be hoped that everybody will be one, it cannot be demanded or expected.

Nor the trend is limited to America. Western European media figures and sundry politicians, having been taught the art of the ridicule – often in ‘prestigious’ States-side universities – seldom fail to signalize themselves by zealous imitation.

Were we not dealing with the suffering of a people and the economic strangling of a nation to steal her resources, the sallies and patent ridicule of the puppets and puppet-masters involved would be a recurrent fund of merriment.

Nevertheless, it commonly happens to him who endeavors to obtain distinction by ridicule or censure, that he teaches others to practice his own arts against himself.

Trump and his cabal or cartel have tried inventive ways to revile the Venezuelan government. So far they have only succeeded in ridiculing themselves. And their narrative has reached peaks of paradox and parody, in the comical effort to give their news a semblance of credibility.

I will mention but a few instances later, so as not to leave a statement unproven, though most readers may already know some.

Still, for the contemporary Pangloss there may be a measure of consolation in the Trumpian Cabal’s orgy of ridicule. For the domineering powers are literally terrorized by the alternative narratives, official and unofficial, reaching the discerning public through social media, directly from Venezuela.

Therefore they wage a grotesque battle, a Waterloo of fake-news, attempting to choke the liberty of expression – which, in the instance, amounts to curbing the liberty of intelligence.

Given that the flux of alternative news is still relatively marginal, this censorious obsession shows that, even in the secret enclaves of power, some believe that we are nearing a turning point in collective perception, a consummation devoutly to be wished by us, and unwished by them.

It is historically interesting that in the 1960s the Jewish political-ideological machine was clamoring for freedom of expression, and succeeded in having the US Supreme Court declare that pornography is free-speech.

In turn, this opened the flood to a Weimar-Republic-style mass acculturation whose consequences do not need description – see Weinstein as emblem of Jewish Hollywood, and Epstein as emblem of Jewish pornography and pornomania.

But sixty years later, and in total control of all media channels – the same forces find free-speech hateful, and want their adversaries insulted without self-defense and censored without apologists. Witness the erasure of hundreds of alternative information channels from the web.

Meanwhile, that just about all Western European countries have joined in pretending to believe Trump’s charade, is no support for his credibility.

For “Western European countries” means their politicians. And all know well that avarice is an insatiate and universal passion – since the enjoyment of almost every object that can afford a pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of mankind, may be procured by the possession of wealth. Consequently, politicians at large rarely cease to follow the easiest path to keep, maintain and increase their wealth and emoluments. And shameless servility to the moment’s master is the commonest formula.

For one thing, the Trump cartel assumed that any populace worldwide, with its immemorial and traditional levity, would applaud any change of masters, if accompanied by suitable fanfare and the promise or prospects of bread and circuses.

Hence they believed that the Venezuelans would promptly switch their allegiance to the service of a US appointed puppet. While the fanfare could adequately dissemble the plotters’ appetite for plunder.

In one of his often-quoted related pronouncements, Trump said that,

“The problem with Venezuela is not that socialism was poorly implemented, but that socialism was faithfully implemented.”

Far from me to oppose an “ism” with another. The various ‘isms’, as used, are not fruitful principles, nor even explanatory formulae. They are rather names of diseases, for they express some element in excess, some dangerous and abusing exaggeration.

Consider ‘globalism’, ‘neo-liberalism,’ ‘fascism’, ‘communism’, ‘socialism,’ ‘radicalism’, etc. If there may be something positive in them (and there is some good sometimes in sundry “isms”) it slips through these categories.

To compare, traditional medicine classified men according to whether they were ‘sanguineous’, ‘bilious’ or ‘nervous’. But someone in good health is none of the above. Equally, a state contains (or should contain) opposing points of view, holding them as in a chemical combination, much as all colors are contained in a beam of light.

But for Trump and the deep state behind him – though it has been the same since Reagan – neo-liberal capitalism is a dogma, which to dispute is heresy, and to doubt infamy.

The recurrent self-praising claim by media pundits and politicians about America being a democracy is either misleading and cretinous information or bold and imaginative fiction. Whereas actually, in some ways, the United States is a socialist state.

For example, government statistics, easily verifiable online, show that in 2018 there were 40 million people on food stamps (read ‘very poor’). And social programs with different names but similar scope exist in every state, to provide healthcare for those on food stamps and others. Furthermore, the very ‘social security’ system has socialism imprinted in its name.

Applying the same broad analysis to the economy at large, let’s say that in one case a state-owned enterprise produces something needed. In another case a private company lobbies the state to receive the same money that the state company would have spent to manufacture the same product.

Given that both instances involve human beings, is one state ‘socialist’ because it produces directly what it needs, and another ‘capitalist’ because it lets a non-state-owned company produce the same thing?

This is not advocating one method versus another – but only to suggest that a state-owned enterprise does not imply that the state itself is ‘socialist’. In fact in many countries, including the US, the state owns many enterprises, partially or completely.

The argument is purely theoretical, and it excludes many related insoluble dilemmas and controversial questions. For example whether a state or a privately owned enterprise is more subject to corruption, etc.

Nevertheless, I do not think that Venezuela’s ‘socialism’ is the cause of Trump’s uncouth bullying, contempt and coarse insults. For, as much as it is concealed, Venezuela is actually a mixed economy.

Now, cause and effect in history can be more-or-less arbitrary patterns into which we can weave events to render them significant. Nevertheless, in the instance, greed for Venezuela’s resources cannot be, in my view, the sole explanation.

Behind Trump’s contempt and insults there is a psychological engine and the whole weight of the historical-cultural machine that actually keeps America running.

Especially the Americans (and the fever began with the industrial revolution), know very little of a state of feeling that involves a sense of rest, of deep quiet, silence within and without, a quietly burning fire, a sense of comfort, existence in its simplest form. And I apologize for the generalization that always excludes the many exceptions.

For them life is devouring and incessant activity. They are eager for gold, for power, for dominion; the aim is to crush men and to enslave nature. They show an obstinate interest in means, but little thought for the end. They confound being with individual being, and the expansion of the self with happiness — while tending to ignore the unchangeable and the eternal.

It could be described as living at the periphery of our own essence for being unable to penetrate to its core. They are excited, ardent, positive, because they are also superficial. ‘Superficial’ may suggest less intelligent but the opposite is true. Superficiality and intelligence are anything but incompatible.
Why so much effort, noise, struggle and greed? It seems a mere stunning and deafening of the self.

When death comes they recognize that it is so. — why not then admit it sooner?

Activity is beautiful when, in some ways, it also partakes of the divine in the Greek sense — that is to say, when it is spent in the service of that which does not fade and transcends the mere domain of matter.

Some readers may argue that what is true for America also applies elsewhere, in Europe for example. As I repeat, short of dogmatic assertions, the idea here is but an attempt to find a cause for a culture.

For, unlike America, Europe had, in the XIX century, the romantic movement, which thoroughly influenced millions across the continent. Its literature affected the mode of thought of multiple generations in different countries. Romanticism swept through Europe at the very time when education became universal. And I include the Russian classics as powerful agents for suggesting or imprinting images and perceptions of a view of life that could not possibly be more un-American.

Before virtually crossing to the Venezuelan shores and interpreting their view of things I should add another qualifying proposition.

An analyst or interpreter of current events (just as any historian of the past), depends on his own judgment as to what is important in human life. Even when he rigorously confines himself to one selected political or cultural phase of a country, he still has decided on what constitutes the best outcome of that phase, and on what constitutes an outcome of degradation.

The whole judgment on ideas and actions (in the instance on what happens in Venezuela), depends upon such implicit presuppositions. You cannot rate wisdom or folly, progress or decadence, except in relation to some standard of judgment and to some end in view. For, in considering the flow and the history of ideas, the notion of mere knowledge is an abstraction. Accessories of emotion and purpose always accompany knowledge.

In the instance and for what is worth, an image still comes to my mind, when I compare Venezuela with other South-American countries. In 2014 Brazil held the world’s soccer championship. Multiple TV stations from different countries could not mask on their screens that, not many yards away from a stadium, began the favelas, living emblems of almost unimaginable degradation.

Considering that stadiums and infrastructures built for such colossal events routinely decay into ruins after little time of use, a question arises as to their intrinsic and extrinsic worth.

In contrast, and even according to UN official statistics, the so-called Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela succeeded in dramatically reducing the number of people in dire poverty, while almost eliminating illiteracy. That programs of such scope are costly requires no demonstration. Whether it is preferable to invest in mass sports or in the relief of masses from illiteracy and degrading poverty, is a question that only single individuals can answer.

But it took the spirit and guts of Hugo Chavez to affect such a veritable revolution, possibly at a time when the US was not paying much attention, engaged as it was in bombing Yugoslavia and in establishing whether Clinton had or never had sex with that woman.

He who applauds the resurrection of a people, otherwise condemned as the irrelevant accessory of idle elites – who use the poor as a gauge to affirm their own ‘betterness’ – cannot feel but some sympathy towards the Bolivarian revolution. And he would feel so even without awareness of the enormous challenges and mixture of successes and defeats that accompany all epoch-making upheavals.

As for the Trump’s Cabal it would be interesting, anthropologically speaking, to understand the grotesque sociology of this flock. Their manners, as exhibited towards Venezuela, have shown a remarkable display of depravity – uniting the crimes that typically prevail among those immune from self-analysis, with the vices that spring from the abuse of power and immunity from prosecution.

Among the clowns of the Cabal, Marco Rubio deserves a special (dis)honorable mention, as the representative of a world upside-down. Including his showing a picture of Gheddafi assassinated and covered in blood, while threatening Maduro with the same outcome, should he not accede to American demands. As if the despotic power – which could take Gheddafi’s life without a trial and stigmatized his memory without proof – had any claim on using patent murder as an example of righteousness to be replicated.

Actually, I strongly doubt whether Rubio would even understand the implication of his words and gesture. Either he is a moron with the entertainment value of a tap-dancing oyster, or his head is as empty as a eunuch’s underpants.

Rubio is a senator (!) and, if I am not mistaken, was even spoken of as a candidate for president (!). Which prompts me to agree with Pythagoras that souls of animals infuse themselves into the trunks of men.

The happily departed Bolton is an equal competitor for the Olympic medal of ridicule. In the latest failed coup attempt, he proclaimed that Maduro was about to leave Venezuela for Cuba when ‘the Russians’ prevented him from boarding the plane.

As Jose’ Rodriguez – Venezuela’s Minister of Information – explained and documented on television, that ambulating Pinocchio called Guaido’ had assured Bolton that he had already corrupted and paid-off a sufficient number of generals so as to make the coup a done-deal. That wasn’t true but Bolton believed it.

All the while, the succeeding events of the failed coup make up the script of a proper farce.

Including Mike Pence’s outstanding arrogance when, in the UN assembly, had the gall to tell the Foreign Minister of Venezuela that he should not be there. As if the US had a divine right to make and unmake world governments at will. With his performance Mike Pence demonstrated to be worth less than six pence.

Of Pompeo it could perhaps be said what the historian Napier said of the British ambassador to Germany during the 1930s, “He is obtuse enough to be a menace, and yet not stupid enough to be innocuous.”

All in all, the Trump’s Cabal includes ambitious individuals, seemingly untaught or unable to observe, reason, deduce and infer, unless observation be blindness and madness logic.

Trump keeps labeling Nicolas Maduro as ‘corrupt’ and a ‘dictator’. Both words belong to the no-man’s-land of lexical ambiguity.

As for dictatorship, there have been six presidential elections, in Venezuela, since 2002. And, as readers who have followed the events know, in the last 2018 elections, the Trump Cabal ordered the opposition not to present candidates, after they had formally agreed to do so.

I will not offend the readers by proving what they already know – that charges of dictatorship may be levied against Trump and sundry predecessors on much stronger grounds.

The issue of corruption is trickier. I doubt if anyone who worked in, or had to do with, large corporations or government, never met with evidence of corruption. Without even touching on lobbying, a peculiar institution for bribing, bulldozing, and corrupting the legislators who are supposed to represent the people’s interests. Or on ‘financial engineering’, an inventive euphemism to suggest monetary genius instead of monetary fraud.

For what is worth, unable as I am to find a reliable method for measuring and assessing corruption, I pretend to do what Balzac did when he wrote his novels, though I write none.

He kept on his desk the Dictionary of Physiognomy – a monumental work in four massive volumes, written by the Swiss Abbot Johann Lavater, in the 18th century. In his novels, Balzac used Lavater’s physiognomy extensively. So that his characters, being accurately described as they are, cannot but logically behave as they do.

Physiognomy had its era of success and popularity before being dismissed as a pseudoscience. Though I suspect that many use it unconsciously when forming their first impression of an individual.

With all necessary reservations, amateurishly and therefore inaccurately, I suggest that Trump’s physiognomy reads, “Everything has a price and money buys everything. Conscience is but a word that cowards use to keep the strong in awe. Power (via money acquired from any source) is my conscience, my tool of operation and my law.”

For brevity’s sake I will not describe individual facial components of the specific physiognomy – as Lavater does in his work.

As a corollary derived from Trump’s physiognomy, “twitting” is the ideal communication tool and perfect match for his character. In his hands a ‘tweet’ means “I say so because it is and that’s it.”

By the way I am not passing judgment – however difficult it may be, the application of physiognomy should not be affected by emotional or philosophical preferences.

In fact, assuming his physiognomic profile correct, Trump is ethically consistent. Whereas, in my view, the other members of his Cabal are not. Routinely, they cannot even pretend to the smooth face of hypocrisy. They are sincere only when they are arrogant.

Again I do not pretend to be right. Two men observing the same person, or even object, will describe it diversely, according to the point of view from which either beholds it. Still, truth being the legitimate object of observation and history, it is better that she should be sought-for by many than few, lest for want of seekers, among the mists of prejudice and the false lights of interest, she’d be lost altogether.

Comparing Trump with Maduro, the difference could not be greater. Maduro’s physiognomy suggests that he takes his job as a mission. And that he has a frightful understanding of what Venezuela would revert to, if the Anglo-Zionists and their ‘lameculos’ took over. His oratory is incomparable with Trump’s. It is helped by the inherent majesty of the Spanish language, but is also evidence of a long and careful self-training and study. A remarkable achievement in itself, considering that Maduro’s political path began as a union leader among bus drivers.

For their own self-respect, we may think that the Venezuelan opposition should contain characters with greater respectability than what the world has seen so far.

The ‘interim’ president Guaido’ was recently shown holding an empty milk jug in the air while claiming that he had not enough money to buy milk for his daughter. Almost simultaneously, Venezuelan intelligence had caught Guaido’s assistant Marrero texting with other coup organizers. They were arguing about how and to assign and distribute among themselves the hundreds of millions that Uncle Sam had confiscated from the accounts of the Venezuelan bank in the US. A bank that is (was) necessary to handle the sales of Venezuelan oil to the US.

Among other exploits, Guaido’ had already ridiculed himself for believing the two Russian pranksters (’bromistas’ in Venezuelan Spanish), who faked a call from the President of Switzerland. In which the ‘president’ asked Guaido’ if the accounts of the Venezuelan government in Switzerland should be reassigned to Guaido’s name, and he agreed. And, when prompted by the bromistas, he also agreed to support the Russian pro-US candidate Navalny in a future attempt to unseat Putin.

In a theater, bad actors feel embarrassed towards the audience for their poor performance. With Venezuela it’s the audience that feels embarrassed for the actors.

Following the developments of the ongoing attempted Venezuelan coup, also yields some unusual and curious perspectives, along with the possibility of discovering other interesting Guaido’-style characters.

Readers may remember Victoria Nuland, Obama’s and Hillary’s factotum in Ukraine – passed into history for her “F-the-Europeans” pronouncement, while discussing which puppets to appoint in the US-financed, post-coup Ukrainian government.

Maybe some readers do not yet know that Victoria Nuland has a Venezuelan equivalent in the shape of a Vanessa Neumann, familiarly referred-to in the European press as “The Cracker from Caracas.”

As Wikipedia explains, Neumann is the “Venezuelan” (meaning Guaido’s) ambassador to “the court of St. James” (meaning England). Though Wikipedia modestly adds that, “The administration of Nicolás Maduro does not recognize Guaido’s diplomats.”

Besides also being Jewish, Neumann has the usual impeccable curriculum of the Vanity-Fair intellectualoids, who can read and therefore believe they can think, ever swimming with the tide of pomp that beats upon the high shores of the world. And of whom French author George Bernanos said that, “The intellectual is so often an imbecile that we should consider him as such, until he (or she) has demonstrated the contrary.”

Like others of that ilk, Neumann is the apotheosis of fake, but I mention her here for her involvement in a not-so-well-known ramification of the so-far unsuccessful coup in Venezuela.

Between Venezuela and Guyana there is a disputed territory, apparently an Eldorado of natural resources, called the Essequibo. The roots of the dispute lay in the 1600 when the Northern Provinces of Holland declared independence from Spain. The sequence of events being intricate, a summary is mandatory.

When Venezuela declared independence from Spain in 1810, thanks to Simon Bolivar, she also claimed the Essequibo as successor to the Spanish empire. For the Spaniards had originally discovered the region, established their sovereignty, settled and exercised political control.

In the meantime England also laid claims, and since England had helped Venezuela in her struggle for independence, Venezuela did not, at the time, interfere with the British claim.

Jumping many intermediate steps and disputes, in 1966 there was an agreement between Venezuela and the now independent Guyana, to delay a final decision on the settlement of the Essequibo. Even so, Venezuela maintains her claim to the rightful ownership of the territory.

Vanessa Neumann comes into the picture thanks to a telling conversation on the Essequibo between her and an assistant to Guaido’ called Manuel Avendano (link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjaSN_Hiq1I).

It appears that Neumann, or Guaido’, or both had already agreed – even prior to the attempted coup – to give ownership of the Essequibo to various American companies for exploitation.

Neumann tells Avendano that during her participation to an impending meeting of the so-called “Group of Lima” (read, the South-American countries supporting a coup in Venezuela) she will not answer any questions on the subject of the Essequibo, raised by the Guyana representative. Apparently the representative had already asked her about the related post-coup government’s intention. Or rather, officially, as she explains, “we will continue to uphold the line that we intend to appropriate ourselves of the Essequibo” – whereas they have already given it away to the American multinationals.

The current legitimate Venezuelan government has declared that the Neumann-Guaido’s arbitrary pronouncement on the Essequibo is evidence of treason by the ‘coupistas.’

Why Maduro allows Guaido’ to roam free in Venezuela, while he continues to plot for her subjugation by the US, is a puzzle for me and (I think) for those unfamiliar with the subtle tools of diplomacy. Though it is reasonable to guess that the more Guaido’ speaks and moves, the more he makes an ass of himself, hence discomposing his own cause – but it is only a supposition.

Given that Russia and China openly support and assist Venezuela, we may still hold some hope that evil may not prevail. While waiting for the verdict of time, that infallible controverter of false opinions.

Couldn’t Care Less! Venezuela’s Representative at the UNGA Reads a Book during Trump’s Speech

Couldn’t Care Less! Venezuela’s Representative at the UNGA Reads a Book during Trump’s Speech

By Staff

As US President Donald Trump was delivering his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, somebody was busy enough to read a book instead of listening.

In a photo published by @FarsNewsInt, the lady representing Venezuela appeared attentive enough to the book in her hands, with a caption that describes the action happening while Trump was giving his speech there.

Trump has been notoriously known for intervening in Venezuela’s affairs, especially after the failed coup attempt against legitimate president Nicolas Maduro by US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.

During his third address to the United Nations, Trump was threatening to tighten US sanctions against Iran, accusing the Islamic Republic of “menacing behavior” in the Middle East.

“As long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted. They will be tightened,” Trump claimed on Tuesday at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Trump repeated his baseless accusations against Iran’s civilian nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as Tehran’s support for the people in the war-ravaged countries of Syria and Yemen.

The US president also continued to criticize the 2015 nuclear agreement that he withdrew from last year.

Trump’s speech follows escalating tensions in the Middle East following attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

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