Reasons why Iran backs Venezuela

Source

July 8, 2020 – 13:48

As two oil-producing countries under U.S. sanctions, Iran and Venezuela have been working in recent years to strengthen geopolitical ties to relieve U.S. pressure and find a solution to improve their economies.

A significant expansion in Iran-Venezuela relations would allow the presidents of both countries – Hassan Rouhani in Tehran and Nicolas Maduro in Caracas – to challenge the United States’ imperialist policies.

 This relationship will calm down sentiments of anti-American groups inside Iran and Venezuela and shows their strong ties and alliance as two members of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

Over the past weeks, Tehran has come to the aid of Caracas in various ways, sending fuel, refinery parts, and more recently humanitarian aid. Fuel delivery is a lifeline for the Maduro government. Venezuela has been suffering from a shortage of gasoline, basic foodstuffs, and medicine amid the economic crisis. 

American sanctions and pressure on the left-wing government in Venezuela have led to a sharp decline in public services and a spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Through supporting Maduro, Iran tries to turn Venezuela into a foothold to challenge U.S. hegemony and revive anti-imperialist policies in the world.

 Besides, Iran is working hard to increase its influence in Latin America, which has long been considered U.S. “backyard” and increase its access to various resources in the continent. 

“Iran flew out some $500 million in gold bullion as payment for services rendered,” according to a Bloomberg report. However, officials in Iran dismissed the report.

The gradual increase in U.S. sanctions against Caracas even pushed back Maduro’s loyal ally Russia. Pressure from Washington caused Rosneft, the Russian state-controlled oil firm, to cease operations in Venezuela in March and sell all of its assets in the country.

That’s why the Maduro government needs Iran’s collaboration to strengthen its hand against U.S. sanctions, as the country is grappling with harsh U.S. restrictions on its oil exports and international financial transactions.

 Iran is experiencing worse economic sanctions. This happened after the U.S. under the Trump presidency unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new ones.

Although Russia and China have continued to support Venezuela by sending humanitarian aid to the country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say Caracas no longer can request multibillion-dollar loans from its international allies as the country has pre-sold its oil for the coming year, which caused the price of this product to fall to its lowest level in history.

But, Tehran-Caracas relations made a fuss, when Western media focused on Iran’s flights to Venezuela in recent weeks; the flights which were reportedly carrying Iranian oil industry equipment and technology for unused Venezuelan refineries.

In mid-May, the news of five Iranian tankers carrying 1.5 million barrels of fuel to Venezuela dominated the headlines. The measure raised concerns if the U.S. Navy would stop the cargo.

It caused both Iranian and Venezuelan leaders to warn the U.S. about any wrong step which may threaten global peace and security.

Iranian oil tankers were eventually escorted into Venezuelan territorial waters by planes and ships from the Venezuelan armed forces to temporarily solve the country’s shortage of fuel.

This collaboration was described as a political victory over U.S. sanctions and bullying in the world.

With officials promising to ship more fuel and food from Tehran to Caracas, it seems that Iran is going to be the greatest help to the Venezuelan economy; It would be enough to turn up the heat on the United States and its allies, especially if Latin America’s political pendulum swings back to the radical left.

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/

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

Source

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

US federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing towards Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran.

It is the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily-sanctioned anti-US allies.

The Trump administration has been stepping up pressure on ship owners to abide by sanctions against US adversaries like Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, Al-Jazeera reported.

In May, Maduro celebrated the arrival of five Iranian tankers delivering much-needed fuel supplies to alleviate shortages that have led to days-long gas lines even in the capital, Caracas, which is normally spared such hardships.

The flotilla’s arrival angered the Trump administration, which struck back by sanctioning the five Iranian captains of the vessels.

The four tankers named in the complaint filed on Wednesday – the Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna – are currently transporting 1.1 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, the report added.

Related News

Maduro Orders EU Envoy to Leave Within 72 Hours Over New Sanctions

Source

Maduro Orders EU Envoy to Leave Within 72 Hours Over New Sanctions

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered EU envoy Isabel Brilhante Pedrosato to leave within 72 hours after the EU sanctioned a group of Venezuelan officials.

“I have decided to give the European Union ambassador 72 hours to leave the country,” Maduro said in a televised address, also noting that Pedrosato will be allowed to use a plane to leave the country.

“Enough of European colonialism against Venezuela,” Maduro added.

Maduro’s order comes hours after the Council of the European Union on Monday sanctioned 11 additional Venezuelan officials, including parliamentarians, a magistrate and a senior military chief, for acting against the National Assembly, which is dominated by the opposition, Reuters reported. The individuals sanctioned are recognized by the Maduro government but not by the members of the Assembly.

The sanctions include a travel ban and an asset freeze. So far, 36 Venezuelan officials linked to the Maduro government face sanctions.

According to the Council, the 11 newly-sanctioned individuals “are particularly responsible for acting against the democratic functioning of the National Assembly, including stripping the parliamentary immunity of several of its members,” Reuters reported. The Council also accused the individuals of “creating obstacles to a political and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela.”

The United States itself has imposed numerous rounds of sanctions against Venezuela in response to the political developments in the country. On January 23, 2019, opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president, denouncing Maduro’s government as undemocratic and calling for Maduro’s ouster. Since then, several failed attempts have been made to remove Maduro from power.

Last year, the US also imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company PDVSA. Recently, the Trump administration sanctioned three Mexico-based individuals for selling crude oil from Venezuela.

“The illegitimate Maduro regime created a secret network to evade sanctions, which Treasury has now exposed,” US Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich said in a statement at the time. “The United States will continue to relentlessly pursue sanctions evaders, who plunder Venezuela’s resources for personal gain at the expense of the Venezuelan people.”

Last Wednesday, Washington also imposed sanctions on the captains of five Iranian tankers over oil deliveries to Venezuela.

“Today, the United States is sanctioning five Iranian ship captains who delivered around 1.5 million barrels of Iranian gasoline to Venezuela in support of the illegitimate Maduro regime,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Maduro has repeatedly stated that the US is using sanctions to choke out his government and gain access to the country’s oil reserves, which are the largest in the world.

“Let’s not allow a Vietnam in Latin America,” Maduro said last year, warning against the dangers of US intervention.”If the United States intends to intervene here, they will have a Vietnam worse than what they can imagine. Let’s not allow violence.”

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.

Maduro Thanks Iran for Sending Oil Tankers, Slams US for Disrupting Shipments

Maduro Thanks Iran for Sending Oil Tankers, Slams US for Disrupting Shipments

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for sending three oil tankers to the energy-hungry and sanction-hit nation while slamming the US for disrupting international fuel shipments headed to the Latin American country. 

During a speech held in Caracas, Maduro thanked Leader of Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the people of Iran and the government of President Hassan Rouhani for “their availability, their solidarity, [and] their courage, which has allowed three ships to arrive to Venezuela with gasoline and supplies for the recovery of the refineries.”

He, however, criticized the US government for having persecuted for more than a year all the ships and imports of supplies to produce gasoline in Venezuela.

“[The US government] has persecuted for more than a year all the ships, all the imports of supplies to produce gasoline in Venezuela. All the ships which were bringing in gasoline,” Maduro said.

He then added that the situation reached its climax recently, in February and March, but stressed,” We have resisted with a plan, we have resisted for the fundamental services, but we have not been left alone in the resistance, we have gone to the battle on a counter-offensive to guarantee the people their supply of gasoline, and we are going to guarantee it.”

“Venezuela and the people of the world have the right to economic freedom, freedom of trade, to buy and sell everything we need in the world,” Maduro stressed.

Three Iranian oil-laden ships have so far reached Venezuelan shores, and two other ships are expected to arrive on May 27 and June 1, according to local sources.

Venezuela is facing difficulties with the supply of gasoline due to sanctions unilaterally imposed by the United States which has also slapped unilateral sanctions on Iran to end its oil exports.

The shipments have created a fresh diplomatic standoff between the US and Iran, with an American official saying Washington is considering measures in response without providing further details.

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that the Iranian oil tankers’ arrival in Venezuela broke the US “unacceptable and criminal” blockade against the country.

The official Cuban news agency Prensa Latina quoted Diaz-Canel as making the remarks on Monday.

Earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro thanked Iranian support, stressing that Caracas and Tehran are both after peace, and have right to do free trade.

Iran’s second oil tanker, Forest, arrived in Venezuela amid the US threats.

Forest entered the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of Venezuela early Sunday, met by the country’s navy.

It follows the first of five Iranian vessels carrying an estimated total of 1.53 barrels of gasoline between them, Sputnik reported.

The first vessel, ‘Fortune’, successfully reached Venezuela the day before and was escorted into the port by the Bolivarian Navy.

Three more oil tankers are expected to arrive in Venezuela from Iran. The five vessels are carrying an estimated 1.53 million barrels of gasoline between them.

Iran has warned of repercussions from the potential interception of Iranian tankers by the US.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country is always entitled to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and warned that if his country’s oil tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world get into trouble by the Americans, Tehran will definitely retaliate.

American Mercenaries Soiled Themselves In Failed Venezuela Coup (Ruslan Ostashko)

American Mercenaries Soiled Themselves In Failed Venezuela Coup (Ruslan Ostashko)

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

For anybody wondering why there are two links, we are trying to get into the habit of posting videos on both YouTube and Dailymotion. Since the subtitle process is different on Dailymotion than on YouTube, it may take a while to perfect it.

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

For anybody wondering why there are two links, we are trying to get into the habit of posting videos on both YouTube and Dailymotion. Since the subtitle process is different on Dailymotion than on YouTube, it may take a while to perfect it.

Over 1,200,000 infected, 70,000 dead by COVID-19, food shortage – the US has serious problems. But the democracy peddlers from Washington don’t have time for that. Instead of fighting the epidemic, the American elite keeps trying to establish marionette regimes in the countries where they can carve up natural resources, and they soiled themselves, as it happened again in Venezuela.

The less opportunity the US has to solve problems in their customary manner – by flooding it all with money, the more often they result in all sorts of embarrassments. For instance, the recent disgrace of the supposedly 5th generation aircraft F-35. This is the very case of whatever the amount of money you pour in it doesn’t help. Because the school of engineering has degraded and the real achievements have been replaced by imitation for the sake of redistribution of billions.

The American foreign policy is in a similar situation. Washington has always relied on force, and on a usual scheme of buying out parts of the local elites, so they would help to overthrow the unwanted government. Very recently this again yielded results in the South American Bolivia. Because the overthrown president Evo Morales behaved exceedingly vegetarian. But there is also Venezuela which for the US plays the role of a bone in their throat. Our [Russian] strategic bombers fly over there. Rosneft is working there. There also sits Nicolas Maduro, whom they attempted to overthrow by force a few times but to no avail. And now we have more public self-soiling.

RIA Novosti: “On 3 May, the Interior Minister Nestor Reverol announced that a naval invasion staged by Colombian militants from the direction of La Guiara in the north of the country was thwarted. According to him, the militants tried to invade the country on high speed boats. The Speaker of Venezuelan National Assembly Diosdado Cabello clarified that 8 attackers were killed and two captured.” “He also announced that one of the captured was an agent of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Later Cabello informed that on Monday, the military and the police in the Northern Sate of Aragua captured another 8 participants of the Sunday naval invasion, including their leader Antonio Sikea.”

The mercenaries were recruited by the Americans among the former members of Venezuelan security forces, who had deserted earlier to the side of the so-called pro-Western opposition, while their American leader has rich experience of participation in conflicts unleashed by the US; from invasion of Iraq to operations in Libya and Syria. Is it then surprising that in Washington they immediately sang denial – the man wasn’t theirs and the US had nothing to do with it?

The American DEA denies that its operative was detained during an armed assault attempt in Venezuela, asclaimed by the country’s authorities.” “The Agency did not take any part in the events of the past weekend, stated the agency’s press service, having advised to also inquire in the State Department.”

The humor in the situation is such that the US media themselves already wrote about the US’ part in yet another attempt to overthrow Maduro.

Iron Curtain (Telegram account): “The Head of PMC ‘Silvercorp USA’ Jordan Goudreau claimed that on Sunday, 3 May he initiated the operation of overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro. However it failed. As The New York Times stated, the group was tasked with penetrating into Venezuela ‘with heavy weapons’, seizing the government buildings within 96 hours, and arresting of the country’s president Nicolas Maduro. The bet was made on ‘demoralization’ of the army, but the Venezuelans managed to defeat the mercenaries.”

It’s no matter whether the American was a DEA operative or had a different ‘roof’. It is clear that now, as he got caught, he is being retroactively removed from any US governmental structure and they will claim that it was his private initiative. Although, if the published information about his work in the White House Secret Service is correct, it is also clear that the operation was sanctioned by the highest ranks of the American state. And that the US has been trying to openly overthrow Maduro for two years is a generally recognised fact. The events demonstrate that the American capabilities for forcible influence over uncomfortable governments are withering away. And the American elites themselves contribute to it enormously while preparing for the autumn battle for the presidential post.

This is why it is not surprising that The New York Times quickly seized the topic of the failure in Venezuela. This will be presented as Donald Trump’s failure and he, in turn, will surely remind the Democrats their disgrace in Benghazi, where during Obama, the American nurtured terrorists killed US citizens. In general, they keep gnawing on each other in Washington. In the meantime, the star-stripped hegemony weakens month by month. And this is good, because the world will be able to breath more freely, when the democracy exporters will spend all their efforts on fighting each other inside their own state.

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

Will Trump really start *two* wars instead of “just” one?

May 20, 2020

Will Trump really start *two* wars instead of “just” one?

[Note: this article was written for the Unz Review]

Amidst the worldwide pandemic induced scare most of us have probably lost track of all the other potential dangers which still threaten international peace and stability.  Allow me to list just a few headlines which, I strongly believe, deserve much more attention than what they got so far.  Here we go:

  • Military Times: “5 Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela amid US pressure tactics
  • Time: “5 Iranian Tankers Head to Venezuela Amid Heightened Tensions Between U.S. and Tehran
  • FoxNews: “Iran tankers sailing to Venezuela in effort to undermine US sanctions

Notice that Military Times speaks of “US pressure tactics”, Time of “tensions” and FoxNews of “efforts to undermined US sanctions”?

I don’t think that this is a coincidence.  Folks in the US military are much more in touch with reality than the flag-waving prostitutes which some people call “reporters” or “journalists”.

Furthermore, the USA has embarked on a new policy to justify its acts of piracy on the high seas with something called Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) all under the pretext of the war on drugs.  To get a better understanding of the context of these developments I asked a specialist of Maritime issues of our community, NatSouth, who replied the following: (stress added)

If a ship does not comply with the request to be boarded, it is usual that the pursuing authorities must gain the permission of the ‘flag’ state prior to boarding, on the high seas and the pursuit has to have started in the coastal state’s jurisdictional waters. The caveat here is that in the Caribbean – Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement (CRA) – (long name: Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Air Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area).  So, there is an agreement with participating coastal states on boardings and pursuits in EEZs and the like.  You can find more on the legal aspects of boardings at sea here  and more info on so-called “consensual boardings” here

The anti-drug/ counterterrorism angle allows the U.S. Navy and the USCG to carry out interdictions on the high seas. Important point to note whether this approach will be taken to interdict the tankers, given that Venezuela is a declared narco-State. The absurdity is that Venezuela isn’t the primary transit point in the region, Colombia holds that honour. https://orinocotribune.com/narco-state-the-report-that-leaves-venezuela-on-the-sidelines-of-the-cocaine-route/

Tweet threat

If I could add at this point, the origins are that Venezuela didn’t wish to play ball with Washington anymore, specifically with the DEA back in 2005, squaring the circle of sorts, (or should that be a vicious circle cunningly used by Washington, because who is going to argue with that narrative, aka the war on terror). March: SOUTHCOM’s Adm. Faller: “There will be an increase in US military presence in the hemisphere later this year. This will include an enhanced presence of ships, aircraft, & security forces to reassure our partners… & counter a range of threats to include illicit narco-terrorism.” At the same time, the State dept released this https://twitter.com/StateDept/status/1260988270302777350 so the US could effectively carry out boardings under the guise of counterterrorism as well.

While the Iranian tankers were in the Mediterranean, Washington released a (delayed) “Global Maritime Sanctions Advisory”, to the maritime industry, setting out guidelines to shipowners and insurers to enable them to avoid the risks of sanctions penalties related to North Korea, Syria and Iran. This also concerns oil exports from Iran, (but doesn’t apply to Iranian flagged ships).  This came after the State Dept gave warning notice to oil companies  to stop operations, including Rosneft (Russia), Reliance (India) and Repsol (Spain).

Then NatSouth concluded the following:

Under international law, every merchant ship must be registered with a flag state, which has jurisdiction over the vessel.  Hence, this time, the use of Iranian-flagged tankers, as a direct response from Washington’s latest version of restating “maximum pressure” campaign on enforcement of Iran and Venezuela sanctions, (back in Feb, literally the same language as in Aug 2019). There was talk back then of a naval embargo, which would a serious notch up in tensions. There was mention of the 4 U.S. warships in the Caribbean, the U.S. Navy tweeted about, but one the Preble went through the Panama Canal into the Pacific). https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/1261325507473391618

Pretty clear, isn’t it?

What the USA is doing is substituting itself for the United Nations and it is now openly claiming the right to board any vessel under whatever kind of pious pretext like, say, narco-trafficing, nuclear proliferation, sanctions against so-called “rogue states”, etc.   Clearly, the AngloZionists expect everybody to roll over and take it.

How likely is that?

Let’s look at a few Iranian headlines, all from PressTV:

  • PressTV, May 16th: “Iran’s fuel shipment to Venezuela guaranteed by its missile power
  • PressTV, May 17th: “US aware Iran will respond ‘very strongly’ if Venezuela-bound ships attacked: Analyst
  • PressTV, May 18th: “Iran: US bears responsibility for any foolish act against tankers heading to Venezuela

Three days in a row.  I think that it is fair to assume that the Iranians are trying very hard to convince Uncle Shmuel not to mess with these tankers.  Does anybody seriously believe that the Iranians are bluffing?

Before we look at some of the aspects of this potential crisis, let’s just mention a few things here.

First, the US is acting in total and official illegality.  Just like the bombing of Syria, the threats to Iran, or the US murderous sanctions Uncle Shmuel imposes left and right – the blockade of Venezuela is a) totally illegal and b) an act of war under international law.

Second, if USN commanders think they can operate with impunity only because the Caribbean is far away from Iran, they are kidding themselves.  Yes, Iranian forces cannot defend these tankers so far away from home, nor can they take any action against the USN in the Atlantic-Caribbean theater of naval operations.  But what they can and will do is retaliate against any AngloZionist target in the Middle-East, including any oil/gas tanker.

Third, while Venezuela’s military is tiny and weak compared to the immensely expensive and bloated US military, being immensely expensive and bloated is no guarantee of success.  In fact, and depending on how the Venezuelan leadership perceives its options, there could be some very real risk for the USA in any attempt to interfere with the free passage of these ships.

What do I mean by that?

Did you know that Venezuela had four squadrons of Su-30MKV for a total of 22 aircraft?  Did you know that Venezuela also had an unknown number of Kh-31A supersonic anti-shipping missiles?  And did you know that Venezuela had a number of S-300VM and 9K317M2 Buk-M2E long range and medium range SAMs?

True, that is nowhere near the amount of weapons systems Venezuela would need to withstand a determined US attack, but it is more than enough to create some real headaches for US planners.  Do you remember what the Argentinian Air Force did to the British Navy during the Malvinas war?  Not only did the Argentinians sink two Type 42 guided missile destroyers (the HMS Sheffield and the HMS Coventry) which were providing long-range radar and medium-high altitude missile picket for the British carriers, they also destroyed 2 frigates, 1 landing ship, 1 landing craft, 1 container ship.  Frankly, considering how poorly defended the British carriers were, it is only luck which saved them from destruction (that, and the lack of sufficient number of Super Étendard strike aircraft and Exocet missiles).  I would add here that the British military, having been defeated on many occasions, has learned the painful lessons of their past defeats and does not suffer from the cocky-sure attitude of the US military.  As a result, they were very careful during the war against Argentina and that caution was one of the factors which gave a Britain well-deserved the victory (I mean that in military terms only; in moral terms this was just another imperialist war with all the evil that entails).  Had the Argentinians had a modern air force and enough anti-shipping missiles, the war could have taken a very different turn.

Returning to the topic of Venezuela, war is a much more complex phenomenon than just a struggle of military forces.  In fact, I strongly believe that political factors will remain the single most important determinant factor of most wars, even in the 21st century.  And chances are that the Venezuelans, being the militarily weaker side, will look to political factors to prevail.  Here is one possible scenario among many other possible ones:

Caracas decides that the US seizing/attacking the Iranian tankers constitutes an existential threat to Venezuela because if that action goes unchallenged, then the US will totally “strangle” Venezuela.  Of course, the Venezuelan military cannot take on the immense US military, but what they could do is force a US intervention, say by attacking one/several USN vessel(s).  Such an attack, if even only partially successful, would force the US to retaliate, bringing US forces closer not only to Venezuelan air defenses, but also closer to the Venezuelan people which will see any US retaliation as an illegitimate counter-counter-attack following the fully legitimate Venezuelan counter-attack.

Then there is the problem of defining victory.  In the US political “culture” winning is usually defined as pressing a few buttons to fire off some standoff weapons, kill lots of civilians, and then declare that the “indispensable nation” has “kicked the other guy’s ass”.  The problem with that is the following one: if they other guy is very visibly weaker and has no chance for a military victory of his own, then the best option for him is to declare that “surviving is winning” – meaning that if Maduro stays in power, then Venezuela has won.  How would the USA cope with that kind of narrative?  Keep in mind that Caracas is a city of over two million people which even in peacetime is rather dangerous (courtesy of both regular crime and potential guerilla activities).  Yet, for Maduro to “win” all he has to show is that he controls Caracas.  Keep in mind that even if the US forces succeed in creating some kind of “zone of real democracy” somewhere near the Colombian border, that will mean nothing to Maduro, especially considering the terrain between the border and the capital city (please check out this very high resolution map of Venezuela or this medium resolution one).  As for the notion of a USN landing on the shores of Venezuela, all we need to do is to remember how the immense Hodgepodge of units which were tasked with invading Grenada (including 2 Ranger Battalions, Navy Seals, most of an Airborne Division, etc. for a total of over 7,000 soldiers(!) against a tiny nation which never expected to be invaded (for details, and a good laugh, see here for a full list of participating US forces!) was defeated by the waves of the Caribbean and the few Cuban military engineers who resisted with small-arms fire (eventually, most of the 82AB was calling in to fix this mess).

In other words, if Maduro remains in power in Caracas then, in political terms, Venezuela wins even though it would loose in purely military terms.

This phenomenon is hardly something new, as shown by the following famous quote by Ho Chi Minh: “You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”

By the way, this is exactly the same problem the Empire faces with Iran: as long as the Islamic Republic remains an Islamic Republic it “wins” in any exchange of strikes with the USA and/or Israel.

Still, it is pretty obvious that the US can turn much of Venezuela into a smoking heap of ruins.  That is true (just like what the USA did to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Serbia and Israel what did to Lebanon in 2006).  But that would hardly constitute a “victory” in any imaginable sense of the word.  Again, in theory, the US might be able to secure a number of landing locations and then send in an intervention force which could try to take key locations in Caracas.  But what would happen after that?  Not only would the hardcore Chavistas trigger a guerilla insurrection which would be impossible to crush (when is the last time the USA prevailed in a counter-insurgency war?), but many Venezuelans would expect the US to pay for reconstruction (and they would be right, according to the rules of international law, “once you take it, you own it” meaning that the USA would become responsible for the socio-economic situation of the country).  Finally, there is always the option of an anti-leadership “decapitating” strike of some kind.  I believe that in purely military terms, the US has the know-how and resources to accomplish this.  I do not believe that this option would secure anything for the USA, instead – it would further destabilize the situation and would trigger some kind of reaction by the Venezuelan military both outside and inside Venezuela.  If anything, the repeated failures of the various coup attempts against Chavez and Maduro prove that the the bulk of the military remains firmly behind the Chavistas (and the failed coup only served to unmask the traitors and replace them anyway!).

The bottom line is this: if Uncle Shmuel decides to seize/attack the Iranian tankers, there is not only a quasi certitude of a war between the US and Iran (or, at the very least, an exchange of strikes), but there is also a non-trivial possibility that Maduro and his government might actually decide to provoke the USA into a war they really can’t win.

Is Trump capable of starting a process which will result in not one, but two wars?

You betcha he is!  A guy who thinks in categories like “my button is bigger than yours” or “super-dooper weapons” obviously understands exactly *nothing* about warfare, while the climate of messianic narcissism prevailing among the US ruling classes gives them a sense of total impunity.

Let’s hope that cooler heads, possibly in the military, will prevail.  The last thing the world needs today is another needless war of choice, never mind two more.

The Saker

The Americans are Weaponizing the Coronavirus Through Sanctions

The Americans are Weaponizing the Coronavirus Through Sanctions

By Darko Lazar

Hollywood actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson was once asked why he likes having Brits as the villains in his movies. He replied: “I wanted to give the Germans a break.”

Although amusing, that sort of sentiment is unlikely to translate into policy when it comes to Washington’s modern-day foes. The Americans don’t give breaks to nations they haven’t conquered.

The onslaught of the coronavirus offered a unique opportunity for the US to test out new approaches towards countries that have been treated as enemies for generations. But Washington chose to double down on cruel and self-defeating strategies.

Unable to stave off mass suffering at home, the dysfunctional American government went to great lengths to weaponize the virus, fueling the incendiary spread of the disease in ‘rogue states’.

And while the mainstream media is eager to magnify Donald Trump’s profoundly stupid comments about injecting disinfectants, they haven’t covered the consequences of his foreign policy decisions with nearly as much fervor.

Blocking recourses needed to combat the pandemic

At the height of the pandemic in late March, the White House quietly cut tens of millions in dollars in funding for health care programs in Yemen.

The move left considerable funding gaps for dozens of UN programs in the war-torn country that were focused on supplying Yemenis with hand soap, medication and staffing clinics.

American officials justified the move by obliterating logic and claiming that it was a response to ‘interference’ from Yemen’s Ansarullah movement. 

Already characterized as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands since 2015. Many of those that perished have succumbed to curable diseases.

That’s because the US-backed Saudi war effort in Yemen consists of a blockade, sanctions, and the frequent bombing of health facilities. These punishing tactics also spawned the deadliest cholera epidemic in modern history, serving as a tragic precursor to the potential impact of the coronavirus.

Washington’s ambition to use the coronavirus in order to cripple defiant nations is equally evident when it comes to Iran.

Even before the start of the pandemic, the Islamic Republic was already the most heavily sanctioned country in history. Several weeks into the coronavirus crisis, Iran was recording one death from COVID-19 every ten minutes.

The Trump administration responded to the suffering of the Iranian people by imposing a new set of sanctions, which targeted companies that build and maintain Shia holy sites. In the days that followed, Washington blocked an Iranian request for a USD 5 billion emergency loan from the IMF, which was earmarked for combating the pandemic.

Similarly, in Venezuela, where years of American sanctions have crippled the public health care system, the White House offered to ease the embargo if President Nicolas Maduro steps down.

Washington also felt that a raging pandemic was the right time to indict Maduro on a bizarre set of drug trafficking charges and offer USD 15 million to anyone who delivers him to the US.

The Americans dished out another million dollars to pay for surgical masks for “Israeli” troops patrolling occupied Palestinian territories.

In this corner of the Middle East, another US-backed campaign to blockade the Gaza Strip left Palestinian health officials pleading for more ventilators and beds for intensive care units.

The “Israeli”-enforced blockade on the Palestinian enclave, which dates back to 2007, continues to severely limit the entry of medical supplies, food, and even drinking water.

Although the coronavirus pandemic brought these unconscionably dangerous and cruel practices to the forefront, the devastating impact of American sanctions and economic blockades unfolds largely out of sight. Ignored by the mainstream media, these measures go both unnoticed and unchallenged.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, only a small percentage of the public actually realizes that the sanctions regimes are Washington’s most pervasive and brutal form of modern warfare. The effects are far more deadly than bombs.

Destroying nations

By cutting off the possibility of a productive life and stunting the growth of millions of young people, sanctions wreck societies one household at a time.

There is never any real expiry date, and the gradual torment that slowly destroys entire generations doesn’t cost nearly as much as an actual military campaign.

Meanwhile, it rolls back decades of progress in industrial development, essential infrastructure, and, of course, healthcare services.

The coronavirus pandemic is only the latest reminder that American sanctions are effectively designed to target the elderly, the sick, and the most vulnerable segments of society.

These are not peaceful instruments that act as a substitute for diplomacy. They are tools of war used to punish all nations that refuse to submit to America’s will.

In 2000, the then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked if she thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children due to sanctions was a price worth paying. Albright replied: “We think the price is worth it.”

Between the coronavirus pandemic and one-liners from ghoulish creatures like Albright, you may be forgiven for thinking that you are living in a Hollywood blockbuster. But if you were hoping to catch a break like the Germans in Mel Gibson’s movies, your rosy optimism will inevitably collide with a reality stage-managed by the US government that is a lot less compassionate.

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

Venezuela: A Failed US Invasion in the Midst of a Pandemic

By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Global Research, May 08, 2020

In the midst of a massive global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people and wrecked economies all over the world leaving millions jobless, some terrorists and mercenaries allegedly backed by certain governments had on 3rd May 2020 attempted to invade the independent, sovereign state of Venezuela. Organised and trained in neighbouring Colombia, they had landed on the coast of Macuto close to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The invasion was foiled by the Venezuelan military and police with the support of the people. Several of the invaders were killed and a couple captured. The captured, both Americans, confessed on Venezuelan TV, that their aim was not only the overthrow of the legally constituted government but also the assassination of the president, Nicolas Maduro. Though the invasion has been thwarted, the captured Americans made it clear that the ouster of the Maduro government was an on-going operation.

It will be recalled that a year ago, in 2019, there was a coup attempt led by an opposition political leader which failed miserably. In April 2002, a coup against the then president, the late Hugo Chavez succeeded momentarily but the people through mass mobilisation restored Chavez to his seat of power. It was the most dramatic expression of genuine ‘people power’.

Coups against leaders who are determined to preserve the independence of their nation and defend the sovereignty of their people orchestrated and engineered by the Deep State in the United States often with the connivance of their allies in the region is the sad saga of Latin American politics. A number of governments have been subjected to this manipulation over the decades. One of the most infamous was the ouster of president Salvador Allende of Chile on the 11th of September 1973. The most recent was the overthrow of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales in November 2019. There is no need to repeat that the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro, was the target of numerous such attempts during his long stewardship all of which failed spectacularly.

Venezuela: A Threat to US National Security? An Absurd Political Pronouncement

Cuba, like Venezuela, is also the victim of all-encompassing economic sanctions initiated and imposed by the US. As a result, both economies and the people have suffered immensely. It is remarkable that in spite of the sanctions, both Cuba and Venezuela have managed to protect their people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed they have done a million times better than the nation that has punished them with sanctions which incidentally has the highest number of fatalities and infections in the world. Cuba has not only maintained a low number on both scores but has also extended generous medical assistance by way of medical personnel and equipment to numerous countries including those in Europe to enable  them to fight the pandemic. In the case of Venezuela it is important to observe that as of 4th May it had only 10 deaths and 357 infections. Apart from help from Cuba, Venezuela has also benefitted from the supply of equipment and the cooperation of medical personnel from China and Russia.

The success of this cooperation is one of the factors that has emboldened president Maduro to propose at the recent virtual Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) chaired by the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, that NAM help to organise the distribution of medical equipment and medicines among its member states. NAM he suggested could even set up an international humanitarian fund for this purpose — an idea first mooted by Chavez years ago. A humanitarian fund whose primary goal would be financing not only the purchase of medicines and equipment especially for NAM’s poorer members but also sponsoring doctors and nurses  if the need arises.

When NAM is directly involved in a concrete programme of this sort in an emergency situation, it would have a tangible role. The citizens of NAM would be able to identify with the movement. The Venezuelan proposal should be pursued until it becomes a reality. It is actual manifestations of cooperation that will bring people together in the post coronavirus era and establish the basis for a new just and compassionate global civilisation.

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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.

Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). 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 © Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Global Research, 2020

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  

SECOND “TERRORIST INFILTRATION” FOILED BY VENEZUELAN AUTHORITIES IN AS MANY DAYS

South Front

Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

On May 4th, the Venezuelan authorities foiled a second “terrorist infiltration” attempt, capturing 8 suspects.

Local fishermen detected the armed incursion and alerted the Venezuelan armed forces.

According to Aragua’s Governor Rodolfo Marco, through local intelligence units and the joint civic-military unity the apprehension of these perpetrators was made possible.

The Venezuelan authorities reported that the eight “terrorists” were arrested inside the town of Chuao in the Aragua state; they were armed and attempting to infiltrate to cause harm to the South American nation.

“We continue in Popular Victory, how great we are! #BolivarianFury operation is proving its efficiency. Mercenaries who step on our homeland’s soil will be exposed to the people’s dignity,” the President Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello said shortly after the apprehension of the suspects.

Madelein Garcia@madeleintlSUR

1. Este es uno de los 2 gringos detenidos en #Chuao, el hijo de Baduel confirmó que trabajan para la seguridad de @realDonaldTrump. Esta historia pica y se extiende

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1:02 AM – May 5, 2020

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“This is one of the two U.S. nationals captured in Chuao, Baduel’s son confirmed that they work for the security of Donald Trump.”

Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

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Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

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Among the detained is Antonio Jose Sequea, who was photographed on April 30th, 2019, alongside Leopoldo Lopez during the failed coup attempt in Caracas.

Also, Adolfo Baduel, son of retired general Raul Baduel former Defense Minister to Hugo Chavez; and two alleged and currently named U.S. citizens.

This is the second alleged plot foiled in two days. On May 3rd, the Venezuelan authorities reportedly killed nine mercenaries and detained two others, who were part of what they called “Operation Gideon”.

They also seized 10 rifles, a Glock 9mm pistol, two AFAG machine guns that were part of the Federal Legislative Palace’s weapons park stolen by seditious groups in the April 2019 coup attempt.

 Allegedly, the entire plot was orchestrated by a former US special forces operative – Jordan Goudreau.

teleSUR English@telesurenglish

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#LIVE | Venezuelan President @NicolasMaduro speaks to his nation: “It’s very strange that the U.S. government hasn’t issued any statement, 48 hs after of the starting of the attempted terrorist incursion in Venezuelan coasts. They always have something to say on events like this”

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teleSUR English@telesurenglish

#LIVE |@NicolasMaduro: “Venezuelan opposition is so decomposed that they are privatizing the complot now, hiring a terrorist mercenary and then letting him down. But this person called Jordan Goudreau, ex-U.S. soldier, has proven there is a contract signed between him and Guaido”

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5:43 AM – May 5, 2020

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There is a video of Goudreau speaking on the matter:

Patricia Poleo@PattyPoleo

Embedded video

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1:07 AM – May 4, 2020

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According to Goudreau, his plan had been coordinated with Guaido who signed a contract on Oct. 16, 2019, for US$212 million. Miami-based opposition Venezuelan journalist Patricia Poleo published the document Sunday evening, which she purported to be a copy of the original contract. 

Poleo interviewed Goudreau, who asserted that Silvercorp was hired to provide services, including “strategic planning,” “equipment procuring” and “project execution advisement,” by none other than Guaido, who despite the evidence has denied it.

Also, several audio recordings of an alleged conference call between Guiado, Goudreau, and senior Guaido envoy Sergio Vergara, in which they agreed to sign the contract were released. Now he has gone public arguing he only got US$50,000 through political consultant Juan Jose Rendon and the opposition kept promising to get him the rest but didn’t deliver.

The presumed “Operation Gedeon” is a thorough conspiracy, with Venezuelan media even providing an infographic:

Second "Terrorist Infiltration" Foiled By Venezuelan Authorities In As Many Days

On May 3rd, after the first attack was stopped Silvercorp’s account tweeted “strikeforce incursion into Venezuela. 60 Venezuelan, 2 American ex-Green Beret.” Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said the government has evidence linking the attacks to the U.S. and Colombia.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

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.”

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

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

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

Adolf Trump Goes for Venezuela. A Jump into Nothingness?

South Front

Adolf Trump Goes for Venezuela. A Jump into Nothingness?

Source: Solidaria, translation Resumen LatinoamericanoNorth America bureau

In the midst of a desolate scenario, when the United States has become the country with the highest number those infected by the corona virus, President Donald Trump and his team of serial criminals like Elliott Abrams, Cuban-American Mauricio Claver-Carone, Marco Rubio and others, announced that their country and 22 other nations would launch a far-reaching operation against drug trafficking in the Western Hemisphere, deploying naval and air force military reinforcements in the Caribbean Sea and the South Pacific.

From Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro denounced this situation to the world, in an extraordinary letter to the governments while the majority of the countries of the world and even the United Nations are requesting that the United States lift the sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and other countries, in view of the very serious emergency of a pandemic of this magnitude.

So far there has been no positive response and the most serious thing is that the threatening military maneuver is not stopping and in the last hours journalists and humanitarian agencies in Colombia have been denouncing the presence of US troops in their country where there is 9 US military bases.

Holman Morris, director of Colombia’s channel three, warned this weekend that U.S. troops and helicopters have arrived at the Colombian-Venezuelan border in the Santander area, posing a scenario of invasion and war at a time when United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world” warning of what any act of war could mean for the most vulnerable and war-torn countries where there has been a collapse in health systems, while COVID 19 is claiming thousands of lives daily.

Three Million Homes Delivered by Maduro’s Social Program in Venezuela

December 28, 2019

Arabi Souri

The Venezuelan Social Program launched in 2011 by late President Hugo Chavez and continued by Nicolas Maduro has achieved its 2019 goal by delivering 3 million units.

President Maduro announced in a tweet:

Nicolás Maduro@NicolasMaduro

¡Hermoso Momento! Hoy #26Dic cumplimos con la meta fijada por nuestro Comandante Chávez: construir 3 millones de viviendas para la alegría y la felicidad del pueblo venezolano. Bendito sea el día en que nació la #GMVV que va rumbo a las 5 millones de viviendas y mucho más.

“What a beautiful moment! On Dec. 26 we met the goal set by our Commander Chavez: to build 3 million dwellings for the joy and happiness of the Venezuelan people. Blessed is the day the Venezuelan Great Housing Mission (GMVV) was born, which aims to deliver 5 million homes and much more.”

Besides the oil reserves, Venezuela has that makes the US interested in exporting its ‘export version of democracy’, the social policies of this country are what makes the junta in the decision making positions of the USA and their puppet politicians mad. And now they have a real estate developer to manipulate in the White House.

The 2020 goal of the Venezuelan social program is to deliver an additional 500,000 units and by 2025 to complete 5 million units. Meanwhile, the US-installed fake president puppet Guido is pushing for the privatization of the state’s assets, in other words, to sell the properties of the Venezuelan people cheap to the same ever greedy junta in control of the West.

Imagine the country under the severe blockade and sanctions by the US and its stooges is building for its people affordable housing, what is the excuse for the super-rich and superpower countries not to do so? Ask your politicians.

Syria is another example, I’ve shared here a couple of times updates on the affordable housing program by the Syrian government, even under the vicious war of terror waged by the US and stooges all over the country, the Syrian Housing Program built 40,000 units during the war!

Syrian Housing Ministry Built 40,000 Apartments During the War

Housing is a basic human need for every human being, and it comes immediately after foodhealthsecurity, and electrical power and these are the main sectors the US and its stooges target in their economic and cross-border terrorism and wars. They’re helped in these wars by the corrupt officials in neighboring countries who fail to deliver the basics to their people.

El informe en español:

El Programa Social Venezolano lanzado en 2011 por el fallecido presidente Hugo Chávez y continuado por Nicolás Maduro ha logrado su objetivo para 2019 al entregar 3 millones de unidades.

Además de las reservas de petróleo, Venezuela tiene que hace que los Estados Unidos estén interesados ​​en exportar su “versión de exportación de la democracia”, las políticas sociales de este país son lo que enloquece a la junta en la toma de decisiones de los Estados Unidos y sus políticos títeres. Y ahora tienen un desarrollador de bienes raíces para manipular en la Casa Blanca.

El objetivo para 2020 del programa social venezolano es entregar 500,000 unidades adicionales y para 2025 completar 5 millones de unidades. Mientras tanto, el falso presidente títere instalado por Estados Unidos, Guido, está presionando para la privatización de los activos del estado, en otras palabras, para vender las propiedades del pueblo venezolano a bajo precio a la misma junta codiciosa que controla Occidente.

Imagínese que el país bajo el severo bloqueo y las sanciones de los EE. UU. Y sus secuaces está construyendo viviendas asequibles para su pueblo, ¿cuál es la excusa para que los países súper ricos y superpotencias no lo hagan? Pregúntale a tus políticos.
 
Siria es otro ejemplo, he compartido aquí un par de actualizaciones sobre el programa de vivienda asequible del gobierno sirio, incluso bajo la cruel guerra de terror librada por los EE. UU. Y los títeres en todo el país, el Programa de Vivienda Sirio construyó 40,000 unidades ¡durante la guerra!

La vivienda es una necesidad humana básica para todos los seres humanos, y viene inmediatamente después de la alimentación, la salud, la seguridad y la energía eléctrica, y estos son los principales sectores a los que se dirigen los EE. UU. Y sus secuaces en su terrorismo y guerras económicas y transfronterizas. Son ayudados en estas guerras por los funcionarios corruptos en los países vecinos que no pueden entregar lo básico a su pueblo.

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

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