From Madero to Maduro: Lessons of the Mexican Revolution for 21st Century Venezuela

From Madero to Maduro: Lessons of the Mexican Revolution for 21st Century Venezuela

MARTIN SIEFF | 21.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

From Madero to Maduro: Lessons of the Mexican Revolution for 21st Century Venezuela

Just over 100 years ago, Mexico had a popular, much beloved democratically elected President determined to reduce foreign influence and obscene profits flowing out of the country and raise the standard of living for his people. The US financial interests on Wall Street orchestrated a military coup and made sure he was brutally murdered.

The president obviously was not Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, who has been set up to receive the same treatment this year, but his name was remarkably close – Madero not Maduro. The parallels and contrasts between the two men are thought-provoking.

Unfortunately poor Francisco Madero, an idealistic reformer who ruled as President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913 did not have the tough political street smarts and plain common sense that Venezuela’s Maduro has exhibited throughout his long, controversial but undeniably successful career.

Madero naively trusted in the army commander-in-chief he had inherited from his predecessor President Porfirio Diaz, General Victoriano Huerta. Huerta had prospered throughout the long 35-year rule of Diaz from 1876 to 1911 by carrying out genocidal campaigns for him against the Yaqui Indians and the Mayans.

In 1913, Wall Street interests enthusiastically supported Huerta when he carried out a coup against the innocent Madero. Woodrow Wilson, the US president of the day was an exceptionally ugly racist who despised the Mexican people and at first went along with Huerta’s coup.

The huge financial and mining interests in New York were eager to continue plundering Mexico’s resources while more than 90 percent of its people lived virtually as slaves in appalling poverty under Diaz.

In the last decade of Diaz’s rule – securely supported by the Wall Street financial robber barons, as historian Matthew Josephson called them and by the complacent administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft – at least 600,000 people were worked to death as real slaves on the estates of Diaz’s supporters. Not a whisper of disapproval was heard from Washington.

Huerta ruled with his usual mindless thuggish brutality for less than a year and a half before provoking such national revulsion that he was ousted in a brief and bloody civil war. He fled of course to the United States but then made the mistake of alienating US business and military leaders alike by openly embracing Imperial Germany to plot his militaristic comeback.

Huerta died in loose US military custody in 1916 after a night of dining out and carousing. Poisoning by the Americans was widely suspected but the cause may well just have been heavy drinking. His autopsy revealed extreme cirrhosis of the liver.

To this day Huerta is reviled as the murderous mass killer and cowardly murderer and tool of cynical foreign interests he was while the well-meaning, but tragically ineffectual Madero is genuinely loved by the people of Mexico. The days from the start of Huerta’s coup to the president’s murder – gunned down by an impromptu firing squad of assassins by night along with his own brother and vice president are remembered as La Decena Tragica, The Ten Tragic Days.

In the years that followed, Mexico endured all the horrors of a collapsed state with rival feuding bands slaughtering each other and everyone else they came across. The population of the country plummeted from 15 million in 1910 to 11.6 million a decade later. Factoring in how many deaths were masked by the high birth rate, well over four million people, or more than 25 percent of the total population died in the years of anarchic violence that Huerta’s murder of President Madero set in motion.

La Decena Tragica continues to reverberate in Mexico to this day. When current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador continues to withstand massive pressures from the Trump administration to recognize their preferred puppet, Juan Guaido as Washington’s preferred figurehead president of Venezuela, he is heeding his people’s reverence for martyred President Madero and remembering the bloodbaths and chaos that the hated Huerta unleashed in his place.

Madero naively trusted in the honor of his army commander, the murderous Huerta. By contrast, President Maduro in Venezuela, like his political mentor and predecessor Hugo Chavez, has taken care to always have an army high command loyal to the democratically elected national civilian leadership. Nevertheless, today, US leaders have openly called on Venezuela’s military leaders to scrap their own cherished constitution and political processes and violently topple President Maduro – All of course in the name of their usual mythical and never-defined “freedom.”

However, Bloomberg News pointedly noted in a recent report that in a Venezuelan military establishment of more than 2,000 generals and admirals, only a single officer who did not even command any troops has sworn allegiance to National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido, the farcical boy toy whom the Trump administration is trying to set up as “president” of Venezuela in Maduro’s place.

It is just as well. The precedent of Mexico more than a century ago teaches us that if the US plot to topple President Maduro were to succeed, as the one to remove and murder President Madero did so tragically 106 years ago, then civil war, chaos and the violent death of multiple millions of innocent people would rapidly follow.

In the seven years following the murder of Francisco Madero, more than a quarter of the population of Mexico were slaughtered or starved to death. The history of states where 21st century US administrations have successfully orchestrated “regime change” makes clear that Venezuela would suffer a similar fate.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan and Ukraine remain appalling object-lessons to the world in US criminal incompetence – at the very least – in “nation-building.” The consequences of the endless failed attempts to topple the government of Syria tell the same terrible story.

The bullets that slammed into gentle, naïve little President Madero more than a century ago continue to ricochet in our own bloodstained age.

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New Moscow after the Syrian war….and Venezuela موسكو الجديدة بعد حرب سورية… وفنزويلا

New Moscow after the Syrian war….and Venezuela

فبراير 21, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The American talk about the military intervention in Venezuela becomes obvious, after the failure of the bets on the recognition of the coup and the failure of the bets on separating the army and inciting it to take over power. The assertions of the American thinking of the military involvement have been reported by the journalists who covered the press conference of the US National Adviser John Bolton on Venezuela, they read in Bolton’s papers “five thousands US soldiers from the marines to Colombia” and the words of Republican Congressman Lindsey Graham after discussing the military intervention in Venezuela during his meeting with the President Donald Trump, he indicated that he warned Trump from the threats of that intervention and added that Trump’s zest to intervene is a matter of concern.

Implementing the American intentions is not as easy as their owners think. There is an exhausting distance between these intentions and their turning into practical steps in the light of the indicators shown in the stability of the situation in Venezuela in favor of the President Nicolas Maduro. The public prosecutor confronted the coup perpetrators, and the army has warned them from any tampering in the security, ensuring its support of the legitimacy of Maduro, and that the coup perpetrators themselves will not find the popular support among their bases to protect the military intervention contrary to the support on which they depended in the elections as “promises of well-being and economic solutions”. The external intervention is already hated in Latin America. And the wars mean disasters and devastation. Whenever the American intervention seems an option, the coup perpetrators lose some of their supporters. The Colombians whom the Americans want as a pretext for intervention will not bear the consequences. They expressed their denial of any information about any intervention hoping that that Washington takes into consideration that they do not want to be involved.

It is clear that the size of the resistance which will be generated and the danger of its expansion outside Venezuela after the reviving of the national liberation movement that belongs to the Bolivian roots in Latin America may lead to confrontation that will last for years, and will spread far from Latin America to the United States where there is a split between the white and the Latinos in the light of the racist rhetoric of the President Donald Trump and the spread of the fascist culture with the presence of weapons. The experience of Syria forms a source of inspiration to the Venezuelan leadership and the Venezuelan army. The talk about arming people and launching the resistance has spread after the assumptions of the American intervention.

The most important thing is that the Syrian experience in the war was in very difficult circumstances against wider alliances and bigger capacities, but it achieved a legendary victory that revealed the magnitude of the power of people under a courageous national leadership on one hand, and the size of the fragility reached by the American force on the other hand, but most importantly is that this experience  has mobilized Russia to wage the war and to restore its status as a superpower that is entrusted with the international law. Now it is reaping the outcomes of its international role, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed decisively the Russian position towards the American threat to Venezuela by saying that Moscow will do what it is needed to prevent the danger expressed by the threats of the American military intervention, since it will not take time that it took in Syria.

If the American military adventure occurred, Washington would hasten to end its imperial status.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

موسكو الجديدة بعد حرب سورية… وفنزويلا

يناير 30, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– الكلام الأميركي عن التدخّل العسكري في فنزويلا صار فوق الطاولة، بما يعنيه من فشل الرهانات على الصدمة الأولى للاعتراف بالانقلاب، ومثله فشل الرهانات على شقّ الجيش أو تحريضه على تسلم السلطة، وجاءت التأكيدات على مؤشرات التفكير الأميركي بالتورط العسكري عبر ما نقله الصحافيون الذين قاموا بتغطية المؤتمر الصحافي لمستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي جون بولتون حول فنزويلا، وقرأوا في أوراق بولتون الموضوعة على الطاولة عبارة، خمسة آلاف جندي أميركي من المارينز إلى كولومبيا، وجاء كلام عضو الكونغرس الجمهوري ليندسي غراهام عن مناقشة التدخل العسكري في فنزويلا في جلسة جمعته بالرئيس دونالد ترامب، مشيراً إلى تحذيره لترامب من مخاطر هذا التدخل، ومضيفاً أن حماسة ترامب للتدخل تثير القلق، بحيث لم يعد من داعٍ للتساؤل حول طبيعة النيات الأميركية.

– ترجمة النيات الأميركية ليست بالسهولة التي يظنها اصحابها، فبين النيات وتحولها قراراً وخطوات عملية مسافة لا يبدو قطعها سهلاً، في ظل المؤشرات التي حملها ثبات الوضع في فنزويلا لصالح الرئيس نيكولاس مادورو، فتحركت النيابة العامة بوجه الانقلابيين، وحذرهم الجيش من أي عبث بالأمن مؤكداً وقوفه مع الشرعية التي يمثلها مادورو. والانقلابيون أنفسهم لن يجدوا التأييد الشعبي بين قواعدهم لحماية التدخل العسكري، بخلاف التأييد الذي استندوا إليه في الانتخابات بوعود الرفاه والحلول الاقتصادية. فالتدخل الخارجي مكروه أصلاً في كل اميركا اللاتينية، والأميركي الأبيض يحرّك ذاكرة سوداء مقيتة، والحروب بطبيعتها تعني الكوارث والخراب، وكلما بدا التدخل الأميركي خياراً فقد الانقلابيون شارعاً من شوارع مؤيديهم. والكولومبيون الذين يريدهم الأميركيون منصة للتدخل لن يتشجعوا لتحمّل التبعات وقد عبّروا عن إنكارهم أيّ معلومات عن تدخل أملاً بأن يصل صوتهم إلى واشنطن لعدم توريطهم.

– التدخل لن يكون نزهة، وهذا يعلمه كلّ عاقل، والواضح بأنّ حجم المقاومة التي سيولدها وخطر امتدادها إلى خارج فنزويلا بإنعاش حركة التحرر الوطني التي تنتسب للجذور البوليفارية في أميركا اللاتينية، والمواجهة قد تفتح جراحاً تمتدّ لسنوات، وتتنشر أبعد من أميركا اللاتينية إلى الولايات الأميركية حيث الانقسام بين البيض واللاتينيين في ظل الخطاب العنصري للرئيس دونالد ترامب، وانتشار الثقافة الفاشية بوجود السلاح، والتجربة التي مرت بها سورية تشكل مصدر إلهام للقيادة الفنزويلية والجيش الفنزويلي، والحديث عن تسليح الشعب وإطلاق المقاومة صار حديث اليوم مع الأنباء عن فرضيات التدخل الأميركي.

– الأهم في التجربة السورية التي تمّت المواجهة خلالها ضدّ الحرب التي قادتها واشنطن في ظروف شديدة القسوة، بوجه تحالفات أوسع، ومقدرات أكبر، وصنعت نصراً أسطورياً كشف حجم القوة المختزنة لدى الشعوب والدول في ظل قيادة وطنية شجاعة، من جهة، ومن جهة مقابلة حجم الهشاشة التي بلغتها القوة الأميركية. وأهمّ المهمّ هو كيف فعلت هذه التجربة فعلها في استنهاض روسيا لدخول الحرب من بابها الواسع، واسترداد مكانتها كدولة عظمى مؤتمنة على القانون الدولي. وها هي اليوم تقطف ثمار هذا الدور على الساحة الدولية، وتقارب التهديد الأميركي على فنزويلا بروح مبادرة وبموقف حازم عبّر عنه وزير الخارجية الروسية سيرغي لافروف بالقول إنّ موسكو ستفعل كلّ ما يلزم لمنع الخطر الذي تحمله التهديدات بالتدخل العسكري الأميركي، ولن تحتاج موسكو لاتخاذ القرار الوقت الذي احتاجته في حالة سورية.

– إنْ وقعت المغامرة العسكرية الأميركية في فنزويلا ستكون واشنطن قد حفرت قبرها بيدها وسرعت نهاية مكانتها الإمبراطورية.

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Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails

Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 20.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump’s Demagoguery Goes Off the Rails

It may seem oxymoronic, but President Trump is living proof that lunatics can think big. Not content with “only” threatening regime change in Venezuela, the American leader is expanding his mission to rid the Western hemisphere of socialism, with Cuba and Nicaragua next in line for US “salvation”.

In a particularly unhinged speech last weekend in Miami, Florida, Trump declared Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura a “Cuban puppet” and “failed dictator”. Trump denounced socialism with a verve that has not been heard from a US president since the depth of the Cold War more than 30 years ago.

“In Venezuela, and across the Western hemisphere, socialism is dying and liberty, prosperity and democracy are being reborn,” said Trump inferring the “Troika of Tyranny” that his national security advisor John Bolton – another lunatic – previously coined to describe Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

The Miami Herald reported Trump’s speech as a “harbinger” for regime change in the three Latin American countries.

Trump’s claim of “democracy being reborn” is a bit hard to take at a time when this president is declaring state-of-emergency powers at home to push through his faltering border wall “vanity project”. Dozens of US states are suing Trump for “presidential over-reach of executive powers”. Constitutional scholars are warning of an incipient shift to fascism under Trump.

For Trump to then proclaim he is spearheading freedom and liberty for the entire Western hemisphere is a foreboding sign that his megalomania is spectacularly out of control.

The prospects of the US military fighting a war in Venezuela, let alone Cuba and Nicaragua as well, are in the realms of impossible fantasy. But with this Commander-in-Chief the fantasy is being entertained.

Trump in his Miami speech delivered a mafia-like ultimatum to the Venezuelan military. Either it supports the US-anointed minor opposition figure Juan Guaido who declared himself “acting president” of Venezuela almost a month ago, or the armed forces face obliteration, said Trump.

With the tone of an organized crime boss, Trump warned that Venezuela’s defense forces were “risking their lives” by supporting the “failed dictatorship” of “former” President Maduro. “If you choose this path, you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything,” added Trump.

In response, President Maduro slammed Trump for his “Nazi-like speech” and for daring to threaten his country’s military with annihilation if it does not submit.

The criminality of the occupant in the American White House is astounding. The brazen threat of aggression against another nation – as well as implicitly against Cuba and Nicaragua – is on par with the fascism of the 1930s leading up to World War II.

The flying in of US military cargo planes to Colombia and Brazil purportedly laden with food aid for Venezuela is a flagrant cover for mounting an armed incursion. In close coordination with the CIA-groomed opposition figure Juan Guaido, the US is contriving a deadline of this weekend for the aid supplies to be allowed entrance into Venezuela.

President Maduro is refusing to permit the US material into his country. Venezuela’s armed forces are resolutely in support of the government in Caracas and therefore can be counted on to block any attempt to force the US aid across the borders from Colombia and Brazil. The impasse may, however, provide pretext for US military intervention.

The impending crisis whipped up by Trump with Venezuela seems insane. The South American country may be in economic turmoil, but it is hardly a humanitarian catastrophe meriting such drama. Besides the turmoil has largely been instigated by Washington slapping sanctions and asset freezes on Venezuela’s lifeline oil economy. If the US were to lift its illegal sanctions on the country then much of the chaos would subside.

For the Trump administration to declare a minor opposition figure as the “recognized president” of Venezuela is an audacious violation of international law and norms. Shamefully, several European states have sought to legitimize Washington’s subversion in Venezuela.

Of course, subverting the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro has the all-important prize of allowing US capital to get its hands on Venezuela’s colossal oil wealth.

Another motive is to eradicate any “threat of good example” in Uncle Sam’s presumed backyard. If Venezuela can be subjugated, then the Trump administration has Nicaragua and Cuba next in its cross-hairs for regime change. There is also the benefit of suppressing any political opposition domestically within the US, with a campaign against socialism in the Western hemisphere used to smear emerging socialists at home.

Still another motive for Trump is to desperately find a patriotic purpose with which to mobilize his support base. Despite his blustering campaign promises, Trump has delivered very little to his voters over the past two years. With his 2020 re-election bid in sight, Trump’s faltering border wall project is perhaps the most embarrassing failure. Not able to deliver on his “vanity project”, Trump is casting around for an alternative cause célèbre.

“Fighting socialism” in Venezuela and elsewhere in the Western hemisphere is Trump’s next star-turn. But how absurd can it get? Trump is presenting himself as more messianic than Cold War hawks in Washington during past decades when they could at least plausibly invoke Soviet expansionism as a propaganda threat.

Trump’s lunatic demagoguery is going big – off the rails.

Can Maduro Emulate Cuba and Syria to Keep NATO’s Imperialist Hands Off Venezuela?

Global Research, February 18, 2019
Nicolas Maduro Moros

Imperial logic I: External crises distract from internal ones

Empires with internal problems tend to create external crises to distract the public opinion and unite their political and economical ruling class in a fictitious nationalistic fervor. The current United States policy of overt regime change in Venezuela, backed entirely by its NATO vassals, follows an evergreen imperial playbook of creating new crises to obscure failures and divisions.

In addition to the administration’s overall incompetence, the legal investigations through the Mueller inquiry, and the failure to deliver to its MAGA sycophants their big wall, it has passed unnoticed, and it will never be admitted by US officials or media that the US imperial wars in Afghanistan and Syria are in fact lost. Assad will remain in power, and the US administration has publicly admitted that it was negotiating with the Taliban. The temptation for the empire’s ideologues is too strong not to follow the precept: when you have lost a war, you declare victory and you leave. And next time around, you try to pick a weaker target.

Imperial logic II: A state of war must be permanent

A prime example of this in recent history was the way the events of September 11, 2001 were used internally to justify the emergence of a police state, using far-reaching legislation like the Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Externally, 911 was successfully used by the US to trigger, almost immediately, an invasion of Afghanistan with the entire NATO membership under the hospice of the military alliance’s Article 5, which stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all. This was the very first time, since the creation of NATO in 1949, that Article 5 was put into force.

With the US public opinion still largely revengeful, misinformed by media manipulations, and eager to wage war, two years later, in 2003, it was fairly simple for the Bush administration and its neocons to sell the invasion of Iraq as a war of necessity, and not for what it truly was: a war of choice, for oil and greater control of the Middle East. Cynically, the aftermath of 9/11/2001 gave the empire and its powerful military-industrial complex two wars for the price of one.

Imperial logic III: People are collateral damage of “Realpolitik”

Great moral principles of altruistic universal humanitarian concerns are almost never at stake in these instances. They are mainly smoke screens to hide the board of a cold, Machiavellian, and complex chess game where innocent bystanders often perish by the millions. They are the acceptable collateral damage of realpolitik’s grand strategists. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the true guiding principle of US imperial realpolitik, and all US foreign policy decisions that derived from it, was to stop the so-called communist domino effect.

Communist domino effect: three simple words for a game that killed millions of innocent people worldwide, first in Korea in the early 1950s, then in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s, and later, under the tutelage of some of the very same criminal architects, in Central and South American countries like Chile. Now in their golden years, most of these murderous policymakers, like Henry Kissinger, enjoy an active retirement with honors, respect and, unlike their colleague Robert McNamara, not a hint of remorse.

One of these policymakers, a veteran of US imperialism in Central America and also one of the staunchest advocates of Iraq’s invasion in 2003, has made a come back. He is neocon extraordinaire Elliot Abrams. Abrams has been rewarded for his actions in the Iran-Contra affair, El Salvador, and Nicaragua with a nomination as Special Envoy of the Trump administration for Venezuela. In other words, Abrams is in charge of the US-sponsored coup task force against Venezuela’s legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro.

Defeating imperial logic: The Cuban and Syrian lessons

There are many others examples in history where in a David versus Goliath fight, the little guy who, on paper, did not stand a chance eventually through sheer determination, organization and vast popular support, won on the battlefield. Vietnam is obviously a special case in this regard, as the Vietcong of Ho Chi Minh managed to defeat, almost back to back, the old colonial masters of the French empire in the 1950s, and of course soon thereafter, the US empire.

In the early 1960s, during the Cuban missile crisis, Castro’s days seemed to be numbered. More recently, in Syria, all the lips of the NATO coalition, Israel and Gulf State allies were chanting in unison that as a precondition for resolving the Syrian crisis, “Assad must go!” By 2017, however, some coalition members such as Qatar, France and Germany were not so adamant about the “Assad must go” mantra. Not only did Bashar al-Assad not go, but also, as matter of fact, he is regaining control of his entire country, on his own terms.

Castro outsmarted the empire’s CIA hitmen 600 times

Nicolas Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez, had in Fidel Castro a source of inspiration and the guidance of a father figure. Chavez, like other neo-Marxists, looked up to Fidel for leading a successful revolution, through military action, which had toppled the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista. This regime was not only a docile servant of the US government but was also directly associated with the Mafia’s criminal activities in Cuba in the era of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. With Batista’s complicity, American gangsters had turned Cuba into a gambling and prostitution paradise where the US’ unscrupulous rich went to play. Castro shut down the bordello that had become Cuba and proudly rebuilt his island, and he consciously set out to transform Cuba slowly and steadily into a socialist country.

Needless to say, the shutdown of their depraved and lucrative tropical paradise was unacceptable for the US empire’s ruling elites. Against all odds, the Cuban communist leader managed to defy one US administration after another, and without compromise remained at the helm of the Cuban revolution. It was not for a lack of trying either to invade Cuba, as in the Bay of Pigs botched invasion episode, or to cook up countless assassination attempts on Castro’s person. Starting almost immediately after he took power in 1959, Castro was the target of CIA assassination attempts. From the Kennedy era all the way to the Clinton administrations, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 plots to kill him. Some of the attempts involved collaborations of the Mafia with the CIA. Castro once said, “if surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal!” It has to be added that, at least so far, Fidel Castro has also won a posthumous gold medal for ensuring the legacy of the Cuban revolution.

Assad: military might and striking the right alliances

Almost eight years ago, some people in quiet mansions, regal palaces or discrete offices in Washington, Riyadh, Doha, London, Paris, and Tel Aviv or undisclosed locations came up with what appeared to be an excellent plan. They would hijack some of the genuine energy of the Arab Spring then quickly sponsor it with a huge arsenal, while hiring some supposed good Djihadists soldiers-of-fortune as the main muscle to get rid of the uncooperative Bashar al-Assad. In what I called in May 2013, an “unholy alliance to wreck and exploit,” the Western and Gulf States coalition to topple Assad was born. In the US, the late Senator John McCain was one of the cheerleaders of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Eight years later, with Syria in ruins, 350,000 people dead, around 4.5 million refugees still scattered principally in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, Assad has prevailed in a bittersweet victory, considering that his country has been wrecked as a battleground for proxy wars. Bashar al-Assad did not win on his own. He managed to retain complete loyalty from the Syrian army during the past eight gruesome years. Assad also could count on the military involvement of dependable allies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran and, of course, a critical impact of Russia once Putin’s administration decided to commit military assets and troops.

Maduro can keep Uncle Sam’s hands off Venezuela

One can only hope that Venezuela’s US-sponsored coup attempt using the subterfuge of a phony revolution does not follow the track of Syria in terms of the mayhem. However, the analogies are numerous between Maduro’s situation today and that of Assad in 2011. First, Maduro has at his disposal a reasonably well-equipped military as well as the Chavista militia. To defeat the unfolding coup attempt, the loyalty of the armed forces has to be ironclad. Second, just as Assad has done, Maduro must work to cultivate, in pragmatic ways, both regional and worldwide alliances.

Cuba will do a lot to help. But will Mexico, Bolivia, and Uruguay go beyond diplomatic posturing in their solidarity with Maduro against NATO’s imperialism? How involved and how far, either economically or, in a worse-case scenario, militarily are Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran willing to go? In geopolitics, unlike diplomacy, only actions talk. Venezuela has a massive bargaining chip in the form of the mostly untapped biggest oil reserve in the world. This is Maduro’s ultimate ace in this game, and it should be used shrewdly. In realpolitiks, friends might be temporary, and they always want something. This is not an altruistic environment.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

Cupid’s Zionist Arrows Missing Maduro

By Hussein Samawarchi

I wasn’t waiting to see if the Arabs participating in the most recent US charade against the free world would exchange Valentine’s love cards with the “Israelis” or not. That is something only a person who is acutely naive would doubt. I just wanted to see if they did it publicly or not. After all, the bosses of Pence and Pompeo are the same ones who need to ensure that the bloodthirsty Netanyahu continues his rampage against Palestinian children and that can only be accomplished by getting him to win elections, the results of which would be almost secured if the scandal-plagued Zionist PM proves to the settlers that he’s opening Arab airports for them.

One way or another, the “Israeli” media was going to celebrate candlelight dinners between the lords of Petroleum and the PM who, not so long ago, was shown on video speaking openly about the US public opinion being his to manipulate. They, the “Israeli” newspapers and TV stations, leak such news frequently. And, unfortunately, this is one aspect where public deception is not the case.

It is all related to Venezuela, whose legal president, Mr. Nicolas Madura, has proved that it is possible for a Latin to be more Arab than many of those who wear the traditional Dishdashah. Actually, more humanely correct and closer to the philosophy of Islam than most of them. Mr. Maduro and the brave people of Venezuela are living proof that the gap between Christianity and Islam is nonexistent when it comes to right and wrong.

The major Latin American nation has been subject to enormous pressures by the US for as long as we can remember. The Venezuelans’ natural tendency to refuse being dictated to has led them to be on the blacklist of the CIA; they are simply too proud to receive late night phone calls from some American ambassador and this is just unfathomable to the agency that orchestrated the infamous Operation Condor. They want to control Venezuela’s natural resources and its politics.

Nevertheless, it has become obvious that the objective behind the insistent campaign to destroy the very foundations of Venezuela and starve its citizens goes beyond wanting to turn it into another puppet state.

The graduates of Kissinger’s school of political terror have found that bringing a nation like this great Bolivarian one with all its top natural and human resources to its knees would serve as a lesson to the Arab leaders who were still hesitant regarding being seen in the same room with “Israel” and Cupid. If the CIA can starve the Venezuelans into overthrowing a government that says NO to imperialism, then the same could be done with the dictators of the Gulf region. It’s a very simple concept: Forget the Palestinians or we will bring someone in your place who would.

The exaggerated “Israeli” flag portrayed during the separatists’ demonstration in Venezuela was a signal to Arabs preparing to fly to Warsaw. Pompeo probably authorized the $10 payment to each person carrying it while planning the shameful seating arrangements for the summit along with the comical little microphone act that was staged.

Iran has been subject to crippling embargos for the past 40 years; high-quality medicine is not only produced there, but it is also affordable by everyone. There is no fear of falling sick in the Islamic Republic and not finding the proper medical attention for free. Even dental care which is not covered by insurance in so many so-called first world countries is available free of charge in centers around the Iranian capital. This is just one simple example of what an anti-imperialist government gives to its people.

President Maduro realizes this and so do the majority of his people. There is no doubt that Venezuela will pull through this ordeal and it will do so by primarily sticking to its high ethical standards in international affairs and then by keeping its close relationships with the countries supporting real independence and freedom of choice.

The assassin of Imam Mohammad Baqir Al Sadr was buried in disgrace. The kidnapper of Imam Mousa al-Sadr was buried in disgrace. Those trying to assassinate Palestine will be buried in disgrace. No amount of celebrating Valentine’s with Netanyahu by officials will make the Arab citizen forsake his true love, Jerusalem.

.Trump Finds Re-Election Slogan – ‘Evil Socialism’

Trump Finds Re-Election Slogan – ‘Evil Socialism’

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 15.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Trump Finds Re-Election Slogan – ‘Evil Socialism’

The 2020 US presidential elections are well underway with at least six Democrat contenders so far throwing their hats into the ring. For his part, incumbent President Donald Trump has newly minted a cause for his re-election – saving America from creeping socialism.

During his State of the Union speech last week, Trump conspicuously warned “fellow Americans” of the putative evil of socialism. He lambasted the “socialist dictatorship” of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, then fatuously and falsely leveled all the economic misery of the South American country on the alleged failings of socialism. As if years of US economic sanctions against the country and recent confiscation of oil assets have nothing to do with Venezuela’s turmoil.

In the next lines of his annual nationwide address, Trump then linked US political opponents with Venezuela’s socialist President Maduro, retorting: “And some people want to bring socialism to the United States!”

The logic is revealing. First, that the president should even mention socialism in this Union address in such a pointed way shows that there is a foreboding concern among the American oligarchy – of which supposed “maverick” Trump is a consummate insider – that there is a surging interest in working class rights, propelled by a popular disdain towards capitalism and a growing affinity with socialism.

Secondly, the pejorative bracketing of political opponents in the US with the “Maduro regime” in Venezuela is a tried-and-trusted method of political smearing. Any would-be contender for the White House who speaks out about class issues and the systematic social failings of capitalism will be, it is calculated, denigrated as a “socialist stooge” in league with Venezuela’s Maduro.

For the 2016 election, Trump ran on the ticket of “Make America Great Again”. For the 2020 campaign, the emerging re-election slogan will be along the line of “Keep Socialism out of America”.

Trump’s erstwhile promises to salvage the “American carnage” and reinvent American greatness have transpired to be empty gimmicks of a sales conman. More than halfway into his presidency, the vast majority of ordinary working Americans are no better off, maybe even worse off. Trump’s bragging about overseeing the world’s “hottest economy” is all hot air, as detailed by American economics professor Richard Wolff. The boost in stock market indicators rather than a reinvigoration of the real productive economy is very much down to the massive tax giveaways to the super-rich and corporate executives that this real-estate-magnate-turned-president has bestowed.

The continuing deterioration in social conditions for most Americans has resulted in an increased popular hostility towards corporate capitalism, Wall Street and what more and more citizens correctly perceive as a plutocracy masquerading as “democracy”. The alienation from capitalism and the myth of the “American Dream” has resulted in a growing openness among ordinary citizens to socialism. The corruption and misery of capitalism is driving people to search for alternatives. Polls have shown majorities of US public expressing a positive identity with socialist politics. It is no longer a taboo concept. This is quite a shocking achievement in the US, where decades of government, news media and academic propaganda have tried to expunge any notion of socialism from the American mind.

A reflection of the trend is seen in the increasingly critical rhetoric among certain Democrat politicians about economic injustice. The Bernie Sanders wing of the party, which includes new wave Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Tulsi Gabbard, have openly articulated the word “socialism” – which again is something of a dramatic development in the US after decades of McCarthyite witch-hunting and Edgar J Hoover-like demonization of socialists as “traitorous Reds”.

The latest Democrat to announce their bid for the White House is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. During her contender speech last weekend at a rally for Blue Collar communities, Warren spoke scathingly of “the failure of the American system”. She talked about the chasm between the oligarchic one per cent in American society and the massive poverty of the rest. It was an implicitly radical speech.

Trump is very much in that top one per cent of super-rich who have siphoned off America’s wealth during decades of neoliberal capitalism, overseen by both Republican and Democrat administrations belonging to the two parties of Big Business.

There is, however, an awareness among the more leftwing side of the Democrats that the party has to break from its sponsorship links to Big Business and Wall Street – as epitomized by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race – if it is to win the White House in 2020.

Trump should be an easy target for a genuine contender who can expose his empty conman talk about caring for “American workers”. Trump’s blatantly pro-rich tax banditry would also be a field day for a socialist candidate to make huge political hay. So too would his continuation of American imperialist warmongering, as most clearly manifested in the Trump administration’s outrageous interference in Venezuela’s democracy.

Donald J Trump, the big-mouth realtor, knows that he is vulnerable to a genuine political offensive from the left. There is a groundswell of opposition to “the system” among ordinary citizens – if it can harnessed by a confident socialist candidate. That would explain why Trump has lately “discovered” the threat of socialism to “our great country”.

The trouble is that it is doubtful if such a counter-candidate exists in the present US political landscape. In Elizabeth Warren’s rally at the weekend, she seemed to studiously avoid using the words “capitalism” or “socialism”. Her rival Democrat candidate, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, reportedly distanced herself in media interviews from being identified as a socialist following Trump’s Red-baiting State of the Union speech last week.

Over the next year in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, we can expect more such withering attempts by Trump and the establishment political class to find common cause in denigrating any opponent who sounds too much like a socialist, even if that opponent doesn’t actually use the word themselves.

The irony is rich, or maybe that should be super-rich. Trump has complained about opponents in Washington and the corporate media for waging a witch-hunt against him over his alleged links to Russia. Yet this oligarchic conman has no scruples or hesitation in using witch-hunt tactics to defile opponents who are labelled as “evil socialists”.

This desperate maneuver by Trump to use socialism as a bogeyman is unwittingly a signal that America’s plutocracy does actually view the resurgence in class politics and socialism as a real threat to its privileged siphoning off of wealth under capitalism.

Can American voters find a candidate who courageously takes up their cause? That is the kind of breakthrough that America and the rest of world needs.

We’ve seen the west’s approach to Venezuela before – in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, need I go on?

Instead of pleading with those who will not support him, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela might want to take a closer look at who his foreign friends are

By Robert Fisk

February 13, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –    The closest I ever came to Venezuela, many years ago, was a transit connection at Caracas airport. I noticed a lot of soldiers in red berets and a clutch of goons, and it reminded me, vaguely, of the Middle East.

Now, sitting in the rain squalls of the wintry Levant, I flick through my newspaper clippings of our recent local autocrats – Saddam, Assad, al-Sisi, Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman (you can fill in the rest for yourself) – and I think of Nicolas Maduro.

The comparisons are by no means precise. Indeed, it’s not the nature of the “strongmen” I’m thinking about. It’s our reaction to all these chaps. And there are two obvious parallels: the way in which we sanction and isolate the hated dictator – or love him, as the case may be – and the manner in which we not only name the opposition as the rightful heir to the nation, but demand that democracy be delivered to the people whose torture and struggle for freedom we have suddenly discovered.

And before I forget it, there’s one other common thread in this story. If you suggest that those who want presidential change in Venezuela may be a little too hasty, and our support for – let us say – Juan Guaido might be a bit premature if we don’t want to start a civil war, this means you are “pro-Maduro”

Just as those who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq were “pro-Saddam”, or those who thought the west might pause before it supported the increasingly violent opposition in Syria were labelled “pro-Assad”.

And those who defended Yasser Arafat – over a long period a super-terrorist, a super-diplomat and then a super-terrorist again – against those who would oust him as leader of the Palestinians, were abused as “pro-Arafat”, “pro-Palestinian”, “pro-terrorist” and, inevitably, “anti-Semitic”. I recall how George W Bush warned us after 9/11, that “you are either with us or against us”. The same threat was made to us about Assad.

Erdogan has used it in Turkey (less than three years ago) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump’s US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side … either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

You get the point. Now is the time for all good people to stand alongside the United States, the EU, the nations of Latin America – or do you support the Russkies, Chinese, Iranian headbangers, the perfidious Corbyn and (of all people) the Greeks? Talking of the Greeks, European pressure on Alexis Tsipras to conform to the EU’s support for Guaido – proving that the EU can indeed bully its smaller members – is a good argument for Brexiteers (though far too complex for them to understand).

But first, let’s take a look at our favourite tyrant, in the words of all who oppose him. He’s a powerful dictator, surrounded by generals, suppressing his people, using torture, mass arrests, secret police murders, rigged elections, political prisoners – so no wonder we gave our support to those who wish to overthrow this brutal man and stage democratic elections.

Not a bad precis of our current policy towards the Maduro regime. But I am referring, of course, word-for-word, to the west’s policy towards the Assad regime in Syria. And our support for opposition democracy there wasn’t terribly successful.

We were not solely responsible for the Syrian civil war – but we were not guiltless since we sent an awful lot of weapons to those trying to overthrow Assad. And last month the notepad of US national security advisor John Bolton appeared to boast a plan to send 5,000 US troops to Colombia

And now let’s tick the box on another Maduro-lookalike – at least from the west’s simplistic point of view: the military-backed elected field marshal-president al-Sisi of Egypt, whom we love, admire and protect. Powerful dictator? Yup. Surrounded and supported by generals? You bet, not least because he locked up a rival general before the last election. Suppression? Absolutely – all in the interest of crushing “terrorism”, of course.

Mass arrests? Happily yes, for all the inmates of Egypt’s savage prison system are “terrorists”, at least according to the field marshal-president himself. Secret police murders? Well, even forgetting the young Italian student suspected by his government to have been allegedly tortured and bumped off by one of Sisi’s top Egyptian cops, there’s a roll call of disappeared activists.

Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election.

President Trump sent his “sincere congratulations”. Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising. Oh yes, and Maduro’s last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent.

As the late sage of the Sunday Express, John Gordon, might have said: it makes you sit up a bit. So, too, I suppose, when we glance a bit further eastwards to Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers were routed in 2001 by the US, whose post-9/11 troops and statesmen ushered in a new life of democracy, then corruption, warlordism and civil war.

The “democracy” bit quickly came unstuck when “loya jurgas”, grand councils, turned into tribal playpens and the Americans announced that it would be an exaggeration to think that we could achieve “Jeffersonian democracy” in Afghanistan. Too true.

Now the Americans are negotiating with the “terrorist” Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at.

Now all this may not encourage you to walk down memory lane. And I haven’t even listed the sins of Saddam, let alone our continuing and cosy relationship – amazing as it still seems – with that Gulf state whose lads strangled, chopped up and secretly buried a US-resident journalist in Turkey.

Now just imagine if Maduro, tired of a journalist critic slandering him in Miami, decided to lure him to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and top the poor guy, slice him up and bury him secretly in Foggy Bottom. Well now, I have a feeling that sanctions might have been applied to Maduro a long time ago. But not to Saudi Arabia, of course, where we are very definitely not advocating democracy.

“Now is the time for democracy and prosperity in Venezuela,” quoth John Bolton this week. Oh, yes indeed. Maduro runs an oil-soaked nation yet its people starve. He is an unworthy, foolish and vain man, even if he’s not Saddamite in his crimes. He was rightly described by a colleague as a dreary tyrant. He even looks like the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway lines in silent movies.

So good luck to Guaido. Palpably a nice guy, speaks eloquently, wise to stick to aid for the poor and fresh elections rather than dwell on just how exactly Maduro and his military chums are going to be booted out.

In other words, good luck – but watch out. Instead of pleading with those who will not support him – the Greeks, for example – he might take a closer look at who his foreign friends are. And do a quick track record on their more recent crusades for freedom, democracy and the right to life. And by the way, I haven’t even mentioned Libya.

This article was originally published by The Independent“-

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 The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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