A few short comments about the Fascist coup in Bolivia

November 12, 2019

Source

These are the folks who just came to power:

They are all members of some kind of Fascist “Christian” cult.

This is what these folks did with those who dare oppose them:

Trump loves this.  He called it a

significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere” and then he proceeded to threaten two more Latin American states by saying “these events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere”.

Old Uncle Shmuel is still hard at work

In fact, he has a very good point.  What this latest coup signals to all patriotic Latin Americans who want to see their continent free from US oppression is this: if you want to openly defy the diktats of the Empire, make absolutely sure the commanders of your armed forces are loyal to you.  Furthermore, you should never forget that the most powerful weapon of the Empire is not its bloated and mostly clueless military force, but its ability to use corruption to obtain by the printing press what they cannot seize by brute force.

So far, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua have been successful in their resistance against Uncle Shmuel.  Likewise, there seems to be an internal (and covert) “hidden patriotic opposition” inside the Brazilian military (at least according to my Brazilian contacts) which might limit the damage done by the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the coup against Lula da Silva (for example, the Brazilian military has declared that they will not allow Brazil or Brazilian forces to be used in an attack against Venezuela).

Finally, the absolutely shameful behavior of many Latin American countries whose comprador elites are trying to catch up with Poland as the most abjectly subservient voluntary slaves of the Empire.  These countries all know that both Maduro in Venezuela or Morales in Bolivia were honestly elected and that all the rumors about a stolen election are nothing more than crude lies.  In sharp contrast, the so-called “US allies” in the region are all spineless prostitutes who are in power solely because of the support of the AngloZionist Empire.

In 1971 an Uruguayan journalist named Eduardo Galeano wrote a seminal book entitled “Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina” which was eventually translated into English under the title “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent“.  This extremely famous book (at least in Latin America) is as actual in 2019 as it was almost half a century ago: the veins of Latin America are still bleeding and the folks doing the bloodletting have not changed one bit.

The only good news so far is that the US-backed regimes in Latin America are all facing various levels of protests and dissatisfaction which might lead to popular protests which could eventually remove the comprador elites once again, but this time around the leaders of the resistance need to truly understand that winning a popular vote is simply not enough: every time a truly patriotic regime comes to power, the US eventually is successful in using its agents in the ruling classes in general and especially in the armed forces to overthrow the popularly elected leaders.

Hugo Chavez made many mistakes, but that he got right, and that is why the US has not been able, at least so far, to trigger a color revolution in Venezuela.  Well, they tried and failed.  As for Cuba, it has resisted the combined might of the US Empire for many decades, so they also know something crucial.

Over the past decades the “front lines” between sovereign and free Latin American countries and US puppets has moved many times, and both sides felt at times victorious and at times despondent.

And yes, the coup against Morales is a HUGE blow to the resistance to the Empire.  The man was much more than just a leftist patriot, he was a moral symbol of hope for the entire continent.  Now that he is gone, a lot of Latin Americans will be as disgusted and sad as I am today.

I take some solace in Mexico’s decision to give Morales political asylum. I don’t know enough about Mexico to speculate on the motives of the Mexican President, but now that Morales is safe he can always relocate to another country if needed.

Should Morales ever come back to power, his first priority ought to be a profound purge of the military and the replacement of “School of the Americas” types with real patriots.  Doing this will not be a sufficient condition for success, but it will be a required one nonetheless.

The Saker

Behold the Breathtaking Weakness of the Empire!

 • APRIL 30, 2019

The Empire has suffered painful defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq, but one has to admit that these are “tough” countries to crack. The Empire also appears to have lost control of Libya, but that is another complex country which is very hard to control. We also saw all the pathetic huffing and puffing with the DPRK. But, let’s be honest, the US never stood a chance to bully the DPRK into submission, nevermind invading or regime-changing it. Syria was much weaker, but here Russia, Iran and Hezbollah did a world class job of repelling all the AngloZionist attacks, political and military. Besides, I for one will never blame Trump for not listening to Bolton and not triggering WWIII over Syria (yet?)

But Venezuela?!

No Hezbollah or Iran backing Maduro there. And Venezuela is way too far away from Russia to allow her to do what she did in Syria. In fact, Venezuela is in the proverbial “backyard” of the US and is surrounded by hostile puppet regimes. And yet, tonight, it appears that the US puppet Guaidó has failed in his coup attempt.

Moon of Alabama did a great job covering the events of the day, so I will refer you to the excellent article “Venezuela – Random Guyaidó’s New Coup Attempt Turns Out to Be A Dangerous Joke“. I fully concur that today’s coup was both a joke and very dangerous.

Russian readers can also check out this article by Vzgliad which also gives a lot of interesting details, including the fact that Guaidó launched his coup from the Colombian Embassy in Caracas (see here for a machine translation).

But the thing which amazes me most tonight is the truly breathtakingly pathetic weakness of the clowns who launched this latest failed operation: Pompeo and Mr MAGA. Check them out:

Let’s begin with Pompeo.

According to him, the coup failed because of Russia (what else is new?)! Not only that, but Maduro had already decided to run to Cuba, but then the Russians stopped him.

Really?

So are we to believe that the coup was a stunning success, yet another feather to the CIA’s “hat” of failed successful covert operations? Apparently so.

After all, why would Maduro want to run unless he realized that the situation was hopeless?

But then “Russia” called him and told him to stay put. The conversation must gone something like this:

Putin: Mr Maduro – you don’t need to worry about a thing. Just do what we tell you and stay put.
Maduro: but my people hate me! They all turned against me! The military is behind the coup!
Putin: no, no, it’s all under control, just stay put.
Maduro: but the mob will lynch me if I stay!!!!
Putin: no worries, nobody will touch you.

Does that dialog look credible to you? I sure hope not! I think that anybody with a modicum of intelligence ought to realize that Maduro’s decision to stay in place could only have been based on one of two possible considerations:

  1. The coup has failed and Maduro is safe or
  2. The coup is successful and Maduro will stay and fight till his last breath (like Allende did)

But tonight Maduro is safe in Caracas and the coup plotters are on the run.

The truth is that only a loser and imbecile like Pompeo could come up with such a lame excuse in a desperate attempt to “cover his ass” and blame his failure on the Neocon’s favorite scapegoat: Russia.

Now let’s check what his boss had to say:

Trump does not blame Russia. Instead, he blames Cuba!

I don’t know what kind of silly scenarios Mr MAGA ran in his head to come up with “the Cubans did it” but that is even more ridiculous than “the Russians did it”. Reading this “tweets” (how appropriate for this bird-brain!) one could get the impression that the Cubans launched a full-scale military attack (involving both the Cuban military and “militias”) and that they orchestrated a brutal crack-down on the Venezuelan people.

In the real world, however, Cuba did nothing of the sort.

But, really, who cares?!

In the Empire of Illusions fact don’t matter. At least to the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire who continue to believe that only spin matters.

In the case of Venezuela, spin alone failed.

So what’s next?

According to the typical scenario revealed to us by John Perkins, the next step should be a full-scale US invasion. And yes, he is right, that would be what the Empire would have done in its heyday. But nowadays?

Check out this interesting news snippet: Eric Prince wants Blackwater to send 5,000 mercenaries to Venezuela (does anybody know why and how these clowns came up with the 5,000 figure? First Bolton, now Prince. Do they really think that this is enough?!).

The point is not whether Prince will ever get to send mercenaries to Venezuela or whether the Trump administration is inclined to accept this offer. The point is that Prince would have never made this offer in the first place if the US military was up to the task. It is not, and Prince knows that very well.

The military stands by the Constitutional government of Venezuela
The military stands by the Constitutional government of Venezuela

As for Maduro, he seems to have the support not only of a majority of his people, but of the Venezuelan armed forces. As for the armed forces, they are clearly enjoying the support of the people.

This is a very bad combination for the Empire. Here is why:

Yes, Venezuela has immense problems. And yes, both Chavez and Maduro have made mistakes. But this is not about Chavez or Maduro, this is about the rule of law inside and outside Venezuela. This is about the people of Venezuela, even the suffering ones, not willing to renounce the sovereignty of their country. Yes, Chavez did not solve all of Venezuela’s problems, but to deliver the country to the Empire would mean crushing any hope of true, real, people power. The Venezuelan people apparently have no illusions about their Yankee neighbors and they don’t want the Empire-style “democracy” to turn Venezuela into the next Libya.

I should never say never, and God only knows what tomorrow (May 1st) will bring (Guaido has called for a mass protests) but my gut feeling is that the Empire “injected” itself into Venezuela just enough to trigger an immune reaction, like a vaccine, but not enough to infect Venezuela with a toxin powerful enough to kill it.

In the meantime, US aircraft carriers are in the Mediterranean trying to scare Russia, Syria and Iran all at the same time. I can just imagine the disgusted contempt with which this latest sabre-rattling with outdated hardware is received in Moscow, Damascus or Tehran. Even Hezbollah remains utterly unimpressed.

The truth is that the only people who have not come to the realization that the Empire is broken and defeated are the rulers of the Neocon deep state and those who still watch the legacy Ziomedia.

By now everybody else has realized who utterly impotent the Empire has become.

Conclusion:

The Empire only appears to be strong. In reality it is weak, confused, clueless and, most importantly, run by a sad gang of incompetent thugs who think that they can scare everybody into submission in spite of not having won a single significant war since 1945. The inability to break the will of the people of Venezuela is only the latest symptom of this mind-boggling weakness.

I will leave the last word to this charming lady who really said it all:

WASHINGTON NOT HAPPY ABOUT NEW CHINA FOCUS ON CENTRAL AMERICA

25.04.2019

As it becomes clear that the Trump Administration support, so far unsuccessful, for regime change in Venezuela is also very much about targeting the huge financial presence of China with the Maduro regime, recent news of a major Chinese oil success in Cuban waters will clearly deepen the geopolitical tensions. And it involves not only Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil .

China’s major state-owned oil company, CNPC, through its subsidiary, Great Wall Drilling, has begun exploring for oil off Cuba’s coast in a joint venture with state-owned oil firm Cuba Petroleum Company (CUPET), according to an April 16 report in the China state news agency, Xinhua. Great Wall has been engaged in oil exploration in Cuba since 2005, but this is the most promising result to date. Advanced drilling technology from CNPC has opened the prospect of major oil off Cuba for the first time.

The news comes as Washington sanctions target Venezuela oil earnings and also its agreements to supply Cuba with low cost oil. While the Maduro government continues to insist it will deliver oil to Cuba despite sanctions, clearly the security of supply is becoming riskier and supply less.

On April 21 US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that Washington will use a heretofore unused sanction law that allows legal action in US courts to sue foreigners using property seized by the communist regime. While it’s not clear how hard that will hit Cuba, it will clearly chill foreign companies looking to invest in Cuba.

Cuba is well-known to have provided large-scale military assistance as well as thousands of Cuban doctors and medical personnel to support the Maduro presidency in Venezuela. What is less well-known and perhaps an unspoken motive behind the Bolton declaration is the presence of China in both countries.

China presence in Cuba

Details of Chinese loans to the Cuban economy are classified state secret and not disclosed. Clearly though, Beijing has quietly been increasing its presence in the Caribbean island, a country which during the Cold War Fidel Castro era had become a close ally of the Soviets, putting them then at odds with China. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, despite several attempts by Russian companies such as Norilsk Nickel to gain a presence in Cuba again, financial restraints have hindered any strong new Russian presence.

China appears to have no such problems, and has been investing in a number of key areas in Cuba’s liberalizing economy. Since Cuba trade liberalizations over the past two years, China has sold Yutong buses, Sinotruk trucks, YTO tractors, Geely cars, Haier domestic appliances to Cuba along with 100 railroad locomotives.

Huawei is building internet hotspots on the island and discussions are underway, though with no result to date, for $600 million Chinese investment in a China-Cuban joint venture at the Las Camariocas Cuban nickel processing plant that was left unfinished by the Soviets. Cuba has the world’s third-largest nickel reserves. In 2017 Haier opened a Cuban computer assembly plant with an annual capacity of 120,000 laptops and tablets and a ship container terminal Santiago de Cuba, financed by a $120 million Chinese development loan.

Currently Beijing is Cuba’s largest trading partner and Havana’s largest creditor, with Cuba importing major supplies of Chinese rice, along with thousands of China tourists, a business that brings Cuba an estimated $2 billion annually. Sugar and nickel are the two major Cuban products sent to China amid a trade imbalance in China’s favor.

If China now develops major offshore oil resources in Cuba, their presence will significantly increase and the decline of Venezuelan oil to Cuba as a kind of barter payment for the military and medical and other support, will be eased. Until now Russia’s Rosneft has filled the oil import gap for Cuba.

A Chinese Caribbean?

China is well-established as the major foreign creditor as well to Venezuela with some estimates putting their debt as high as $61 billion. Venezuelan oil is clearly at the heart of the relationship, but there are indications Chinese companies also are looking to exploit untapped gold and coltan resources there. Since the Washington declarations in support of Guaido, China has been unusually outspoken in defense of Maduro, unusual for a state that claims never to involve in local politics.

With details of the extent of Chinese investments in Venezuela not fully clear, China has also made a major presence in neighboring Guyana, since 2018 officially welcoming the small former British colony to join the Belt, Road Initiative, sometimes called China’s New Economic Silk Road. That is indeed far away from an original Beijing infrastructure project, first unveiled by Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan in 2013 that proposed to link all Eurasia from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic in a dual network of deep-water container ports and high-speed railways. As it unfolds, the China BRI clearly is developing global perspective, and this is clearly beginning to unsettle some in Washington.

In Guyana Chinese companies and Chinese money are presently building a highway link from Manaus in Northern Brazil through Guyana, giving Brazil far more efficient access to the Panama Canal, cutting thousands of miles off the shipping route. Talks are reportedly also underway for China to build a deep-water port in Guyana’s northern coast to link to China’s highway to the Brazil Amazon region bordering Venezuela, with its vast untapped mineral riches. People in Guyana say the road-port will benefit China far more than Guyana. In any case, it would enable efficient ship transport from the Amazon through the Panama Canal to China.

And Panama…

If we add to the quiet but growing Chinese economic presence in Cuba, Venezuela and Guyana, the recent actions of Beijing in the strategic Panama Canal it begins to explain part of Washington’s growing alarm over developments in Venezuela and Cuba.

In 2016 China’s Landbridge Group bought Panama’s Margarita Island Port in the Colón Free Trade Zone, the largest port, on the canal’s Atlantic side, giving the Chinese company intimate access to one of the most important goods distribution centers in the world. They have made major expansion since using by state-owned China Communication Construction Corp., today the world’s largest infrastructure and engineering company.

Already in 1997 China’s Hutchinson Whampoa took control of the American-constructed ports of Balboa and Cristobal in a 50-year contract. Today Hutchison Whampoa is owned by Cheung Kong Holdings of the family of Chinese billionaire Li Ka Shing.

In 2017, Panama delivered a shock to Taiwan, and to Washington, and withdrew its earlier recognition of Taiwan in favor of Beijing. In early April, this year Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela was in China to discuss formally joining the China BRI. In December, 2018 China’s Xi Jinping paid an official visit to Panama as well. Beijing has put Panama high on its priority list. Chinese goods are the second in volume to those of the USA going through the canal.

In addition to Chinese ownership of vital Panama container ports such as Margarita Island Port, China is proposing to build a $4.1 billion 243-mile high-speed rail line from Panama City to its border with Costa Rica —under the rubric of the Belt and Road.

As these relationships develop, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he is considering joining Belt and Road.

In this strategic setting, it becomes clearer why Washington is beginning to react more strongly in its backyard, Central America, by invoking the 19th Century Monroe Doctrine, a de facto empty shell of rhetoric. What is desperately lacking is a series of positive economic initiatives from Washington to provide the means to help those countries develop critical infrastructure across Central and South America, a stark departure from earlier Gunboat Diplomacy. Were that to begin, the climate in the region could become much more friendly to cooperation with Washington.

 

“New Eastern Outlook”

Video: Venezuela Blackout: Cyber Attacks, Sabotage and Political Horror Movies

During the past few days, Venezuela was suffering a major blackout that left the country in darkness. The crisis started on March 7 with a failure at the Guri hydroelectric power plant, which produces 80% of the country’s power. Additionally, an explosion was reported at Sidor Substation in Bolivar state.

Since then, the government has been struggling to solve the crisis with varying success.

President Nicolas Maduro says that the blackout is the reason of “the electric war announced and directed by American imperialism.” According to Maduro, electrical systems were targeted by cyberattacks and “infiltrators”. He added that authorities managed to restore power to “many parts” of the country on March 8, but the restored systems were knocked down after the country’s grid was once again attacked. He noted that “one of the sources of generation that was working perfectly” had been sabotaged and accused “infiltrators of attacking the electric company from the inside.”

Communication and information minister Jorge Rodriguez described the situation as “the most brutal attack on the Venezuelan people in 200 years”. He also described the situation as the “deliberate sabotage” on behalf of the US-backed opposition.

In own turn, the US continues to reject claims accusing it of attempts to destabilize the situation in the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even claimed that Washington and its allies would not hurt the “ordinary Venezuelans.” According to him, what’s hurting the people is the “Maduro regime’s incompetence.”

“No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro,” Pompeo wrote in Twitter, adding that “Maduro’s policies bring nothing but darkness.”

Unfortunately, the top diplomat did not explain how wide-scale economic sanctions imposed to wreck the country’s economic should help the “ordinary Venezuelans”.

The State Department attitude was expectedly supported by US-proclaimed Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido, who recently returned to country after an attempt to get more foreign support for US-backed regime change efforts. Guaido accused the “Maduro Regime” of turning the blackout during the night in a “horror movie” with his “gangs” terrorizing people.

Another narrative, which recently set the mainstream media on fire, is the alleged Cuban meddling in the crisis. According to this very version of the event, “forces of democracy” were not able to overthrow the Venezuelan government because its political elite is controlled by Cuban intelligence services. President Donald Trump even said Maduro is nothing more than a “Cuban puppet.”

Taking account already existing allegations about the presence of Hezbollah and Russian mercenaries in Venezuela and an expected second attempt to stage US aid delivery provocation on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, it becomes clear that chances of US direct action to bring into power own political puppet are once again growing.

The February attempt to stage a provocation failed and make a final step toward a regime change by force failed after it was publicly revealed that the US-backed opposition was intentionally burning “aid trucks” to blame the Maduro government. Furthermore, the military backed Maduro, and the scale and intensity of protests across the country were not enough to paralyze the government.

The blackout in Venezuela was likely meant to bring the country into disorder and draw off army and security forces. Therefore, an attempt to stage a new provocation to justify a foreign intervention to overthrow the Venezuelan government could be expected anytime soon.

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

Global Research, February 18, 2019
Nicolas Maduro Moros

Imperial logic I: External crises distract from internal ones

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

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

Imperial logic II: A state of war must be permanent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defeating imperial logic: The Cuban and Syrian lessons

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

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

Castro outsmarted the empire’s CIA hitmen 600 times

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

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

Assad: military might and striking the right alliances

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

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

Maduro can keep Uncle Sam’s hands off Venezuela

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

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

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

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

Cuba – “The Equilibrium of the World” – and Economy of Resistance

February 13, 2019

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

Cuba – “The Equilibrium of the World” – and Economy of Resistance

The Forth International Conference for “The Equilibrium of the World” took place in Havana., Cuba from 28 to 31 January 2019. The Conference, organized by the José Marti Project of International Solidarity, was sponsored by UNESCO and a number of local and international organisms and NGOs. It coincided with the 60th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and as such was also a celebration of that successful demonstration to the world that socialism, solidarity and love for live can actually survive against all odds – and, yes, Cuba, has faced more hardship than any other country in recent history, through boycotts, embargoes and all sorts of economic sanctions, heinous military infiltrations and assassination attempts, initiated by the United States and followed, largely under threats from Washington, by most of the western world.

Viva Cuba! – A celebration well deserved – and in the name of José Marti, who was born 166 years ago, but whose thoughts and spiritual thinking for a new world are as valid today as they were then. They may perhaps best be summarized as love, solidarity, justice, living well for all and in peace. These principles were taken over by Fidel and Raul Castro, the Che and Hugo Chávez. They transcend current generations and reach far beyond Latin America.

The conference had many highlights; brilliant speakers; a torch march was organized at the University of Havana in honor of José Marti; and the organizers offered the participants an extraordinary music and modern ballet performance at the National Theater.

From my point of view some of the important messages came from the representative of China, who talked about the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of building bridges and connecting countries and people, whereas the west was building walls. A Russian speaker sadly admitted that it took his government a long time and relentless trying to build alliances with the west – until they realized, relatively recently, that the west could not be trusted. Professor Adan Chavez Frias Chavez, Hugo’s brother, described an invasive history over the past 100 years by the United States of Latin America and called upon the brother nations of the Americas and the world to bond together in solidarity to resist the empire’s infringement and steady attempts to subjugate sovereign nations – with a vision towards a multipolar world of equals, of sovereign nations living together in peaceful relations.

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My own presentation focused on Economy of Resistance. And what a better place than Cuba to talk about economy of resistance! Impossible. Cuba has a 60-year history of successful resistance against a massive embargo, ordered by Washington and followed by almost the entire western world, thus demonstrating that the west has been reduced to a US colony. This was true already during the Cold War, but became even clearer when the Soviet Union “fell”. Here too, the west, led by Washington, was instrumental in the collapse of the USSR – but that’s another story – and the US grabbed the opportunity to become the emperor of a unipolar world. Cuban troops also resisted and conquered the attempted US Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón) invasion launched by President Kennedy in 1961 – and not least, Fidel Castro survived more than 600 CIA initiated assassination attempts.

The principles of Economy of Resistance cover a vast domain of topics with many ramifications. This presentation focused on four key areas:

  • Food, medical and education sovereignty
  • Economic and financial sovereignty
  • The Fifth Column; and
  • Water Resources – a Human Right and a vital resource for survival.

On food, health and education sovereignty – Cuba is 100% autonomous, as far health and education go.

However, Cuba imports more than 70% of the food her citizens consume and that, at present, mostly from the European Union. Cuba has the capacity and agricultural potential to become not only fully self-sufficient, but to develop and process agricultural produce into an agricultural industry and become a net exporter of agricultural goods.

This process might be addressed as a priority policy issue. However, it will take some time to fully implement. Meanwhile, it may be wise to diversify imports from other parts of the world than the EU – i.e. Russia, China, Central Asia, friendly ALBA countries – because Europe is not trustworthy. They tell you today, they will always honor your purchasing contracts, but if the empire strikes down with sanctions – as they did recently for anyone doing business with Iran, Cuba may be “cooked”.

Spineless Europe will bend to the orders of Washington. They have demonstrated this time and again, not least with Iran, despite the fact that they signed the so-called Nuclear Deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, on 14 July 2015 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, UK, Russia, France, and China—plus Germany and the EU – and Iran), after which Obama lifted all sanctions with Iran – only to have Trump break the agreement and reimpose the most draconian sanctions on Iran and on enterprises doing business with Iran. The US government, and by association Europe, does not adhere to any agreement, or any international law, for that matter, when it doesn’t suit them. There are plenty of indications – Venezuela today, to be followed by Nicaragua and Cuba. These should be valid signals for Cuba to diversify her food imports until full self-sufficiency is achieved.

Already in 2014, Mr. Putin said the ‘sanctions’ were the best thing that could have happened to Russia. It forced her to revamp her agriculture and rebuild her industrial parks with the latest technology – to become fully independent from imports. Today, sanctions are a mere propaganda tool of the west, but they have hardly an impact on Russia. Russia has become the largest wheat exporter in the world. – Cuba could do likewise. She has the agricultural potential to become fully food-autonomous.

On Economic and financial sovereignty – four facets are being addressed. The first one, foreign investments, Cuba may want to focus on (i) technology; (ii) assuring that a majority of the investment shares remains Cuban; (iii) using to the extent possible Cuba’s own capital (reserves) for investments. Foreign capital is bound to certain conditionalities imposed by foreign investors, thus, it bears exchange rate and other risks, to the point where potential profits from foreign assets are usually discounted by between 10% and 20%; and (iv) last but not least, Cuba ought to decide on the sectors for foreign investors – NOT the foreign investor.

Following scenario, as propagated by opposition lawyer and economist, Pablo de Cuba, in Miami, should be avoided:
“Cuba cedes a piece of her conditions of sovereignty and negotiates with foreign investors; puts a certain amount of discounted debt at the creditors’ disposal, so as to attract more investments in sectors that they, the investors choose, for the internal development of Cuba.”

As the hegemony of the US dollar is used to strangle any country that refuses to bend to the empire, a progressive dedollarization is of the order, meaning, in addition to the US dollar itself, move progressively away from all currencies that are intimately linked to the US dollar, i.e. Canadian and Australian dollars, Euro, Yen, Pound Sterling – and more. This is a strategy to be pursued in the short- and medium term, for the protection against more sanctions dished out by the US and its spineless allies.

Simultaneously, a rapprochement towards other monetary systems, for example in the east, especially based on the Chinese gold-convertible Petro-Yuan, may be seriously considered. Russia and China, and in fact the entire SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), have already designed a monetary transfer system circumventing the western SWIFT system, which has every transaction channeled through and controlled by a US bank. This is the key motive for economic and financial sanctions. There is no reason why Cuba could not (gradually but pointedly) join such an alternative system, to move out of the western claws of embargo. The SCO members today encompass about half of the world population and control one third of the globe’s GDP.

Drawbacks would be that the import markets would have to be revisited and diversified, unless western suppliers would accept to be paid in CUC, or Yuan through a system different from SWIFT. Moving away from the western monetary transfer system may also impact remittances from Cubans living in the US and elsewhere in the west (about US$ 3.4 billion – 2017 – less than 4% of GDP). It would mean departing from monetary transactions in the Euro and European monetary zones.

Be aware – the future is in the East. The West is committing slowly but steadily suicide.

Another crucial advice is – stay away from IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Trade Organization (WTO) – and the like. They are so-called international financial and trade organizations, all controlled by the US and her western “allies” – and tend to enslave their clients with debt.

Case in Point – Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), a leftist, has little margin to maneuver Mexico’s economy, inherited from his neoliberal predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto. Mexico’s finances are shackled by the international banking system, led by the IMF, FED, WB and by association, the globalized Wall Street system. For example, AMLO intended to revive PEMEX, the petroleum state enterprise. The IMF told him that he first had to “financially sanitize” PEMEX, meaning putting PEMEX through a severe austerity program. The banking community agreed. In case AMLO wouldn’t follow their “advice”, they might strangle his country.

The CUC versus the Peso, a dual monetary system (CUC 1 = CuP 25.75), has also been used by China up to the mid-80s and by Germany after WWI, to develop export / import markets. However, there comes a time when the system could divide the population between those who have access to foreign currencies (CUC-convertible), and those who have no such access.

Also, the convertibility of the CUC with the Euro, Swiss franc, Pound Sterling and Yen, make the CUC, de facto, convertible with the dollar – hence, the CUC is dollarized. This is what Washington likes, to keep Cuba’s economy, despite the embargo, in the orbit of the dollar hegemony which will be used in an attempt to gradually integrate Cuba into the western, capitalist economy. – However, Washington will not succeed. Cuba is alert and has been resisting for the last 60 years.

The Fifth Column – refers to clandestine and / or overt infiltration of opposing and enemy elements into the government. They come in the form of NGOs, US-CIA trained local or foreigners to destabilize a country – and especially a country’s economy – from inside.

There are ever more countries that do not bend to the dictate of the empire and are targets for Fifth Columns – Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Pakistan and more – and Cuba?

The term, “Fifth Column” is attributed to General Emilio Mola, who during the Spanish civil war in 1936, informed his homologue, General Francisco Franco, that he has four columns of troops marching towards Madrid, and that they would be backed by a “fifth column”, hidden inside the city. With the support of this fifth column he expected to finish with (the legitimate) Republican government.

The process of “infiltration” is becoming ever more sophisticated, bolder and acting with total impunity. Perhaps the most (in)famous organization to foment Fifth Columns around the world, among many others, is the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the extended arm of the CIA. It goes as a so-called NGO, or ‘foreign policy thinktank’ which receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department to subvert non-obedient countries’ governments, bringing about regime change through infiltration of foreign trained, funded and armed disruptive forces, sowing social unrest and even “civil wars”. Cases in point are Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Libya – and more – and now they attempt to topple Venezuela’s legitimate, democratically elected Government of Nicolás Maduro.

They work through national and international NGOs and even universities in the countries to be ‘regime changed’. Part of this ‘Infiltration” is a massive propaganda campaign and intimidation on so-called allies, or client states. The process to reach regime change may take years and billions of dollars. In the case of Ukraine, it took at least 5 years and 5 billion dollars. In Venezuela, the process towards regime change started some 20 years ago, as soon as Hugo Chavez was elected President in 1998. It brought about a failed coup in 2002 and was followed by ever increasing economic sanctions and physical military threats. Earlier this year, Washington was able to intimidating almost all of Europe and a large proportion of Latin America into accepting a US-trained implant, a Trump puppet, Juan Guaidó, as the interim president, attempting to push the true legitimate Maduro Government aside.

To put impunity to its crest, the Trump Government blocked 12 billion dollars of Venezuela’s foreign reserves in NY bank accounts and transferred the authority of access to the money to the illegitimate self-appointed interim president, Juan Guaidó. Along the same lines, the UK refused to return 1.2 billion dollars-worth of Venezuelan gold to Caracas. All these criminal acts would not be possible without the inside help, i.e. the “Fifth Column”, the members of which are often not readily identifiable.

It is not known, how often the empire attempted ‘regime change’ in Cuba. However, none of these attempts were successful. The Cuban Revolution will not be broken.

Water resources – is a Human Right and a vital component of an economy of resistance.

Water resources will be more precious in the future than petrol. The twin satellites GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) discovered the systematic depletion of groundwater resources throughout the world, due to over-exploitation and massive contamination from agriculture and industrial waste. Examples, among many, are the northern Punjab region in India with massive, inefficient irrigation; and in Peru the Pacific coastal region, due to inefficient irrigation, unretained runoff rain- and river water into the Pacific Ocean, and destruction of entire watersheds through mining.

Privatization of water resources, not only of drinking water and water for irrigation, but of entire aquifers, is becoming an increasing calamity for the peoples of our planet. Again, with impunity, giant water corporations, led by France, the UK and the US are gradually and quietly encroaching on the diminishing fresh water resources, by privatizing them, so as to make water a commodity to be sold at “market prices”, manipulated by the water giants, hence, depriving ready access to drinking water to an ever-growing mass of increasingly impoverished populations, victims of globalized neoliberal economies. For example, Nestlé and Coca Cola have negotiated with former Brazilian President Temer, and now with Bolsonaro, a 100-year concession over the Guaraní aquiver, the largest known, renewable freshwater underground resource, 74% of which is under Brazil. Bolsonaro has already said, he would open up the Amazon area for private investors. That could mean privatization of the world’s largest pool of fresh water – the Amazon basin.

Economic Resistance means – Water is a Human Right and is part of a country’s sovereignty; water should NEVER be privatized.

For Cuba rainwater – on average about 1,300 mm / year – is the only resource of fresh water. Cuba, like most islands, is vulnerable to rainwater runoff, estimated at up to 80%. There are already water shortages during certain times of the year, resulting in droughts in specific regions. Small retention walls may help infiltrate rainwater into the ground, and at the same time regulate irrigation, provide drinking water and possibly generate electricity for local use through small hydroelectric plants.

The National Water Resources Institute (INRH – Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidráulicos), is aware of this issue and is formulating a forward-looking water strategy and planning the construction of infrastructure works to secure a countrywide water balance.

Other challenges include the hygienic reuse and evacuation of waste water, as well as in the medium to long run an island-wide Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

In Conclusion, Economic Resistance might be summarized as follows:

  • Self-sufficiency in food, health services and education. Cuba has achieved the latter two and is now aiming at achieving 100% agricultural autonomy – and in the meantime is advised diversifying food import markets.
  • Economic and financial sovereignty, including progressive dedollarization, deglobalizing monetary economy and creating internal monetary harmony.
  • The “Fifth Column” – always be aware of its existence and with perseverance keep going on the path of past successes, preventing the Fifth Column’s destabilizing actions.
  • Water resources autonomy – achieving countrywide Integrated Water Resources Management, with focus on protection, conservation and efficient water use.

***

انقلاب واشنطن في كراكاس وسبل المواجهة البوليفارية…!

يناير 30, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

إنّ مخططات الولايات المتحدة العدوانية، وتصعيد التآمر المفتوح والمفضوح والمناقض لكافة القوانين والأعراف الدولية، تجاه فنزويلا ورئيسها ونظامها السياسي، ليس بجديد على السياسة الخارجية الأميركية ولا هو من اختراع الرئيس الأميركي الحالي، دونالد ترامب. إذ إنّ المؤامرات، التي تقوم بتنفيذها ادارة ترامب الحاليّة، تعود في الحقيقة الى بدايات القرن التاسع عشر وتعتبر امتداداً «لعقيدة مونروي» Monroe Doctrine ، التي أطلقها الرئيس الأميركي آنذاك، جيمس مونروي James Monroe وذلك عبر خطاب ألقاه امام الكونغرس الأميركي، بتاريخ 2/12/1923، والذي حدّد فيه الخطوط العريضة للسياسة الخارجية الأميركية، والتي تتمحور حول النقاط التالية:

1 – وجود منطقتي نفوذ في العالم Two Spheres . وتمثلت عندئذ في منطقة النفوذ الأميركية ومنطقة النفوذ الأوروبية.

2 – عدم تدخل الولايات المتحدة في الشؤون الداخلية الأوروبية، وسمّي هذا المبدأ بالانجليزية: Non –

Intervention، إلا في حال تجاهلت الدول الأوروبية هذه المبادئ.

3 – إنهاء أطماع الاستعمار، في منطقة النفوذ الغربية /أيّ الأميركيين / بمعنى وقف محاولات إعادة السيطرة على الدول التي نالت استقلالها حديثاً في تلك الحقبة. وقد سمّي هذا المبدأ

بالانجليزية: Non – Colonization.

4 – وعلى قاعدة ما ذكر أعلاه قام الرئيس الأميركي، في خطابه المذكور، بإطلاق شعار أميركا للأميركيين… وهو ليس بعيداً، في جوهره، عن شعار دونالد ترامب القائل: أميركا أولاً.

أما في ظلّ الصراع الدولي القائم حالياً على مناطق النفوذ، الذي تغذيه عدوانية الولايات المتحدة بأشكال وأساليب مختلفة، فإنّ صراع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية لم يعد مقتصراً على القوى الاستعمارية الاوروبية، للسيطرة على أميركا الجنوبية، كما كان الوضع في بداية القرن التاسع عشر، وإنما انتقل هذا الصراع الى دائرة أوسع وصلت الى روسيا والصين وإيران، نتيجة للتحوّلات الجيوسياسية التي شهدها العالم.

وعليه فقد عمدت الإدارة الأميركية الى توظيف وسائل وأساليب جديدة، بهدف مواصلة سيطرتها على مقدرات شعوب أميركا الجنوبية، والتي تعتمد على القوة العسكرية والنشاط المخابراتي التخريبي، الذي يهدف الى تحقيق سيطرة الولايات المتحدة المطلقة على كلّ قارة أميركا الجنوبية. وهو ما يعني محاربة أيّ حكومة او قوة سياسية، في تلك القارة تحاول أن تعارض سياسات الولايات المتحدة او حتى المطالبة بهامش أوسع من الاستقلالية، كما كان الوضع في البرازيل والأرجنتين وتشيلي في العقدين الماضيين، وصولاً الى صعود حركة اليسار البوليفارية في فنزويلا الى السلطة قبل حوالي عقدين من الزمن، وعبر انتخابات حرة ونزيهة. الأمر الذي دفع بالولايات المتحدة للعودة الى أساليب تغيير الحكومات الوطنية بالقوة، كما فعلت عام 1973 عندما دعمت مجموعة انقلابية تشيلية في تنفيذ انقلاب عسكري في تشيلي، أدّى الى قتل الرئيس الشرعي للبلاد، سلفادور الليِنْدي، واستيلاء عملاء الولايات المتحدة من الجنرالات على الحكم وإقامة نظام حكم عسكري قتل عشرات آلاف الأبرياء من الشعب التشيلي.

اذن، فقد عمدت الولايات المتحدة الى إعادة تفعيل سياسة إسقاط الحكومات والدول الوطنية في تلك القارة، وذلك من خلال:

أ – إقامة 76 قاعدة عسكرية في دول عدة من دول أميركا الجنوبية والبحر الكاريبي، التي من بينها: بنما/ بورتو ريكو /كولومبيا /البيرو .

ب – إقامة قواعد تجسّس وحرب إلكترونية/ إعلامية/ حرب نفسية في أميركا الجنوبية، للتأثير في الرأي العام هناك وتأليبه على الحكومات الوطنية.

ج- ومن أجل ذلك أقامت الولايات المتحدة قبل فترة وجيزة، بالتعاون مع الأرجنتين وعلى أراضٍ أرجنتينية، قاعدة تجسّس رئيسية أو إقليمية، أطلقوا عليها اسم مركز الأمن الإقليمي، وذلك عند المثلث الحدودي بين الأرجنتين والبرازيل والبراغواي.

د- توقيع اتفاقية تعاون عسكري بين البنتاغون ووزارة الدفاع البرازيلية، في شهر 11/2017، تقوم جيوش الدولتين بموجبها بتنفيذ تدريبات عسكرية مشتركة في غابات الأمازون.

إذن فهو نشاط عسكري أمني دعائي تخريبي واسع النطاق، يشمل المساحة الممتدّة من حدود المكسيك مع الولايات المتحدة شمالاً، وحتى القطب المتجمّد الجنوبي، في أقصى جنوب قارة أميركا الجنوبية. وهذا الأمر يستدعي إدارة العمليات في هذا المسرح الشامل بشكل منهجي ومخطط ومدروس ومن قبل جهات مختصة عالية الكفاءة، خاصة أنّ معركة السيطرة على هذه القارة ليست مقتصرة على المواجهة مع فنزويلا وكوبا، كما ذكرنا سالفاً.

ومن أجل تحقيق ذلك قامت الولايات المتحدة بما يلي:

أولاً: توسيع صلاحيات القيادة الجنوبية South COM في الجيوش الأميركية، بحيث تشمل تنسيق وإدارة كافة عمليات الجيوش الأميركية في أميركا الجنوبية.

ثانياً: توثيق العلاقة والتعاون بين هذه القيادة وبين وكالة الاستخبارات الجوفضائية الأميركية National Geospatial-intelligegence Agency . علماً أن هذه الوكالة هي أهمّ وكالة تجسّس عسكرية أميركية يشمل عملها الجانبين العسكري والتجاري بالإضافة الى الاستطلاع الميداني وإعداد الخرائط.

ثالثاً: إقامة ثلاثة غرف عمليات، للإشراف على إدارة الميدان في أميركا الجنوبية، حيث توجد الغرفة الأولى في ولاية فلوريدا الأميركية والثانية في سوتو كانو Soto Cano في هندوراس. أما الثالثة فتوجد في القاعدة الأميركية، المقامة على اراضٍ كوبية محتلة، في غوانتانامو Guant namo.

ولعلّ من الجدير بالذكر التنويه الى انّ قائد القيادة الجنوبية في الجيوش الأميركية، الأدميرال كورت تيد Kurt Tidd، قد لخّص التحديات والأهداف الأميركية وخططه الاستراتيجية، في أميركا الجنوبية لفترة السنوات العشر المقبلة، وخلال حديث له أمام الكونغرس الأميركي في شهر شباط 2018، بالنقاط التالية:

أ أنه وبالنظر الى القرب الجغرافي، بين الولايات المتحدة وأميركا الجنوبية، وبسبب العلاقات التجارية والمواضيع المتعلقة بالهجرة، فإنّ تأثير هذه القارة في الحياة اليومية للولايات المتحدة اكبر من تأثير أيّ منطقة أخرى في العالم.

ب أما التحدي الأهمّ، حسب ترتيب الأولويات من قبله، فيتمثل في محاربة الاتجار بالمخدرات وأعمال العصابات الإجرامية، المحلية – في دول أميركا الجنوبية – او تلك العابرة للحدود.

ج محاربة الوجود أو النفوذ المتزايد لكلّ من الصين وروسيا وإيران في أميركا الجنوبية.

من هنا فإنّ مواجهة الحملة التي بدأتها واشنطن، ضدّ الدولة الوطنية في فنزويلا ورئيسها البوليفاري، لن تكون سهلة ولا جولة صراع قصيرة وسريعة، وإنما ستكون مواجهة طويلة ومتجذرة وشاملة، تستخدم فيها الولايات المتحدة كافة الأسلحة والأدوات التي في حوزتها وهي كثيرة. مما يعني انّ الولايات المتحدة لن تعمد الى تنفيذ محاولة غزو فاشلة، كتلك التي نفّذتها في خليج الخنازير في كوبا بتاريخ 17/4/1962، وانما ستقوم بمواصلة الضغط الاقتصادي والمالي والحصار الخانق، الى جانب تنفيذ عمليات تخريبية واسعة ضدّ أهداف اقتصادية /نفطية / وكذلك ضدّ مراكز عسكرية وأمنية، معتمدة في ذلك على الإمكانيات اللوجستية لقواعدها العسكرية، الموجودة في كل من كولومبيا والبيرو المجاورتين لفنزويلا، وذلك لإشاعة الفوضى الشاملة في البلاد، تمهيداً لاستيلاء عملاء الولايات المتحدة في المعارضة الفنزويلية – المنقسمة على نفسها – على الحكم وإعادة سيطرة شركات النفط والتعدين الأميركية على ثروات فنزويلا وتكريس كون أميركا الجنوبية حديقة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وبالتالي التسبّب في عرقلة التعاون البنّاء والمثمر بين الثلاثي الصيني الروسي الإيراني ودول تلك القارة في الحدّ الأدنى.

وهذا أمر يستدعي:

تعميق وتوثيق التعاون بين الدول الثلاث، لإيجاد استراتيجية مشتركة لمواجهة المشروع الأميركي القاضي بإسقاط قارة أميركا الجنوبية، وبشكل سريع جداً، ينطلق من ضرورة تعزيز الصمود الاقتصادي لحكومة فنزويلا الوطنية.

– الأخذ بعين الاعتبار أنّ الدور الأوروبي، في هذه الازمة، هو دور الذيل التابع والذي ظهر واضحاً في المواقف التي اتخذتها الدول الأوروبية من الانقلاب واعتراف معظمها بمنفذ الانقلاب الأميركي الفاشل. هذا الموقف الذي يتساوق تماماً مع عقيدة الرئيس الأميركي السابق، جيمس مونرو 1923، الذي أعلن فيه أنّ الغرب أميركا الشمالية والجنوبية هو منطقة نفوذ للولايات المتحدة .

– تعزيز دعم التنظيمات والمجموعات والأحزاب اليسارية والتقدمية في عموم القارة، حتى لو كانت تبدو غير فاعلة حالياً، وذلك لأنّ ما يجري هناك هو حلقة من حلقات الصراع الجيوسياسي الدولي التي يجب أن تعطى حقها، والتي انْ تمكنت الولايات المتحدة بنتيجتها من تثبيت سيطرتها على أميركا الجنوبية، فإنّ ذلك سيعني توسيع السيطرة البحرية الأميركية في المحيطين الأطلسي والهادئ الأمر الذي سيلحق ضرراً استراتيجياً كبيراً بالنشاط البحري الصيني والروسي كما الإيراني أيضاً.

– لذا فإنّ المطلوب الآن، الى جانب الدعم الاقتصادي الواسع لحكومة الرئيس مادورو، هو البدء بالحشد السياسي الاستراتيجي، في قارة أميركا الجنوبية، تمهيداً لاستعادة المراكز القيادية، التي سقطت في أيدي الولايات المتحدة، في عدد من دول القارة، وهو أمر ليس مستحيلاً وإنما يحتاج الى قراءة دقيقة، للظروف الموضوعية في تلك الدول، والاستفادة من الإمكانيات المتوفرة، لدى الثلاثي الصيني الروسي الإيراني، واستثمارها سياسياً على المدى البعيد، وبأقصى درجات الكفاءة لضمان تحقيق النجاح على المدى المتوسط والبعيد.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

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15 حزيران يوم عربي للتضامن مع أميركا اللاتينية

يناير 25, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– منذ اللقاء التاريخي الذي جمع القائد العربي الراحل جمال عبد الناصر بالقائد الثوري أرنستو تشي غيفارا في الخامس عشر من حزيران من العام 1959، وهو اللقاء الذي تحل ذكراه الستون بعد خمسة شهور، والتلاقي بين نضال شعوب منطقتنا لمواجهة مشاريع الهيمنة الأميركية والعدوان الصهيوني ونضال شعوب أميركا اللاتينية في مواجهة الأنظمة العميلة لواشنطن ومشاريع العدوان والهيمنة الأميركية العنصرية للمستوطنين البيض على السكان الأصليين الحمر للقارة الأميركية، تعبير عن ترابط عميق نادر، وحاجة فكرية وسياسية لنضال شعوب المنطقتين البعيدتين في الجغرافيا، الحاسمتين في الأهمية الاستراتيجية، المتكاملتين في القدرة على هز عروش الإمبراطوريات.

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– مع حصار كوبا، رغم صمودها، ورحيل جمال عبد الناصر رغم استمرار خيار المقاومة، تراجعت حرارة الحضور للنضال المشترك لشعوبنا وشعوب أميركا اللاتينية، حتى جاء القائد الراحل هوغو شافيز، ووجد نظيره في الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ليجدّدا معاً لقاء عبد الناصر وغيفارا. وكما في اللقاء الأول قبل ستين عاماً،

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كان اللقاء الثاني في القمة العربية اللاتينية التي عقدت في الدوحة قبل عشر سنوات تماماً وتبعتها زيارات متبادلة للرئيسين شافيز والأسد، تأكيداً على عمق التلاقي، والعمق له عنوان واحد في الماضي كما الحاضر كما في المستقبل، وهو فلسطين.

– تميّزت فنزويلا بقيادة شافيز ومن بعده مع القائد المقاوم نيكولاس مادورو بموقف حاسم من القضية الفلسطينية، ومن سورية والمقاومة من جهة، ومن «إسرائيل» من جهة مقابلة، وبالمقياس المصلحي الذي يتحدّث عنه كثير من اللبنانيين والعرب لتبرير التخاذل حتى الخيانة، خاطرت فنزويلا بمصالحها لأجل الوقوف مع قضية حق اسمها فلسطين، وشكلت مواقفها إدانة وتعرية لمواقف الحكومات العربية الذاهبة للتطبيع مع «إسرائيل» في زمن تغلق فنزويلا السفارة الإسرائيلية، وترفع علم فلسطين في ساحاتها ومناسباتها، ولمن يصدّق ولمَن لا يصدّق، ما دبر لفنزويلا ويدبر لها منذ سنوات، هو عقاب على مواقفها من أجل فلسطين.

– أضعف الإيمان أن نقف مع فنزويلا، لأننا نقف مع أنفسنا، ورسالتنا عبر فنزويلا للعالم أننا نقدِّر من يقف معنا، ولا نبيع ولا نشتري بالصمت أو بالتراضي أو بالتغاضي، وهذا اضعف الإيمان. فالرسالة الأميركية والإسرائيلية، واضحة ومضمونها أن مصير مَن يقف مع فلسطين هو الاقتلاع والحصار دون أي اعتبار للمعايير القانونية والدستورية، وهو مضمون الرسالة ذاتها التي حملتها الحرب على سورية. وكما كان الحكام العرب يدافعون عن خيانتهم بوقوفهم في خندق الحرب على سورية، يقفون اليوم في خندق الحرب على فنزويلا. وكما انتصرت سورية ستنتصر فنزويلا، فأميركا بعد الهزيمة في سورية هي غير أميركا قبلها، والعالم بعد النصر السوري هو غير العالم قبله، والانتقال الأميركي إلى فنزويلا هو علامة ضعف لا علامة قوة. فالشعب والجيش في فنزويلا سيقفان في المرصاد، لمحاولات الغزو والعدوان، وسيكون للرصاصة الأولى فعل سحري في كشف حقيقة ما يجري أمام المأخوذين بأكاذيب المعارضة التي لا تشبه أحداً إلا عينات سوق النخاسة للمعارضة السورية، ودواعش العنصرية البيضاء سيتكفّلون بفضح طبيعة البديل الذي تحمله هذه المعارضة. فجيوشهم الحقيقية هي الجماعات البيضاء الفاشية، وعصابات القتل والإجرام المموّلة من تجار السلاح والمخدرات.

– كما كان للسنوات التي مضت عنوان واحد هو سورية، سيكون للشهور المقبلة عنوان هو فنزويلا. وكما لم تبخل فنزويلا لا يحق لنا أن نتردّد، وليكن الاستعداد والإعداد من اليوم لإحياء يوم الخامس عشر من حزيران المقبل كيوم للتضامن العربي اللاتيني، تحييه كل القوى والنخب العربية المؤمنة بفلسطين، وبتكامل نضال الشعوب بوجه الهيمنة والعدوان، وبأن المقاومة الحقة والبطلة بوجه الكيان الاستيطاني الأول القائم على إبادة السكان الأصليين الذي تمثله اميركا، لا تنفصل عن المقاومة الحقة والبطلة بوجه الكيان الاستيطاني الثاني الذي يمثله احتلال فلسطين، ولتبدأ الفعاليات التضامنية من اليوم بلا انقطاع ليصل الصوت قوياً إلى كاراكاس، لستم وحدكم أيها الأحرار… ونحن قوم لا ننسى وقفات العز وأهلها.

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Can Nicolas Maduro Ensure the Survival of Venezuela’s Socialist Government?

Darko Lazar

Venezuela’s slow-moving political crisis shifted into a new phase this week as the country’s opposition leader and President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, swore himself in as interim head of state.

Despite never having stood as a candidate in recent presidential elections, or ever receiving a single vote, Guaido’s maneuver was quickly given the seal of approval from Washington under the pretext of ‘restoring democracy’ to Venezuela.

In what appeared to be a well-coordinated campaign, dozens of US allies followed suit, while anti-government demonstrations flared up in the streets of Caracas, leaving scores dead.

For those working the Venezuela beat, labels like ‘colored revolution’ and ‘another Maiden’ were increasingly hard to resist.

Meanwhile, the country’s elected leader, Nicolas Maduro, called it what it was – a coup d’état.

Maduro’s point of view was shared by his counterparts in Iran, Syria, Turkey, Cuba, China, Bolivia and Russia – all of whom have denounced Washington’s policy of regime change.

These dramatic developments have sharply accelerated the Venezuelan crisis, giving it brand new domestic, regional and international dimensions.

And although Maduro has been weathering challenges to his leadership since the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, in 2013, the situation has never been quite so intense.

This suggests that the campaign to remove him from office has officially peaked.

The question now is whether Maduro is able to ensure the survival of the socialist government that over 9 million Venezuelans voted for in the last election – one that has sought to liberate the country from Washington’s iron grip.

According to the Director at the Center For Syncretic Studies, Joaquin Flores, the Venezuelan president is not going anywhere, anytime soon.

“You are not going to see a speech tomorrow or in ten days from now, declaring out of the blue that Maduro is stepping down. That just doesn’t seem like it’s on the cards,” Flores told Al-Ahed News.

In yet another crucial development on Thursday, the Venezuelan military took to the airwaves to vow loyalty to the embattled president, declaring that Maduro represents an independent country in the face of imperialist aggression.

Flores believes that such realities on the ground further limit options for the opponents of the Venezuelan leader.

“Maduro still enjoys support from broad segments of society and importantly the command of the military,” he added while ridiculing the foreign interpretation of the Venezuelan constitution, which is used to justify Guaido’s recognition as interim president.

“There is no vacancy of the presidency in the way that it is being ridiculously interpreted,” Flores explains. “The president would have to be missing not just declared a persona non grata by a foreign entity. Furthermore, that vacancy does not move over to the president of the National Assembly. It moves over to the vice president [of Venezuela]. In the event that there is no vice president – and there is a vice president – then it goes over to a new election.”

For his part, researcher in Latin American affairs, Hassan Al-Zein, shares Flores’ optimism about Maduro’s political future.

“There is a good possibility that Maduro will not be toppled,” Al-Zein said. “He can avoid it because the army is by his side. There is also popular support.”

Tough obstacles

A combination of harsh US sanctions, a subversive, foreign-backed opposition, and the collapse of oil prices have crippled Venezuela’s economy, fomenting years of unrest.

The country with the world’s largest known oil reserves is now plagued by skyrocketing inflation and a shortage of basic goods.

However, most of the mainstream coverage of the Venezuelan crisis will attribute these problems to the ‘incompetent’ and ‘widely unpopular’ Maduro government.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, other states that oppose and challenge US dominance appear to have a lot more confidence in Caracas.

During the two decades of Chavista rule, Venezuela has emerged as one of Iran’s most important strategic allies, with the two countries signing economic and military agreements valued in the billions of dollars.

Late last year, Maduro was hosted in Moscow by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, where the two inked multi-billion-dollar partnerships for oil exploration, mining and other trade ties.

Meanwhile, in the first nine months of 2018, Caracas exported over 23 tons of gold worth USD 900 million to Turkey, after Maduro decided to abandon gold refining from Switzerland over fears that his country’s assets may be seized in line with US sanctions.

And then there is China, which has given Venezuela USD 65 billion in loans, cash and investment over the last decade.

More importantly, China exerts a great deal of influence in the whole of Latin America, where it is the second largest trading partner.

As such, both Al-Zein and Flores agree that Washington’s efforts to remove the Maduro government are unlikely to go unchallenged by Venezuela’s powerful allies.

“Things aren’t going to happen in Venezuela that China perceives are contrary to its interests in the region,” Flores opined. “I think China likes Maduro and I think that China likes the present government in Venezuela. So that’s a very tough obstacle.”

Meanwhile, Al-Zein is convinced that another obstacle will come in the form of Russian troops on the ground.

“I believe that Russia considers that Venezuela resembles President Bashar al-Assad. It cannot allow the overthrow of this man no matter the price. This is clear from the strong statements, as well as the planes [Russian Tupolev Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers] it sent.”

It is difficult to ascertain how seriously these scenarios are being considered in Washington where US President Donald Trump refuses to rule out military action against Venezuela.

But with two men claiming the post of president, the Venezuelan crisis has the potential to quickly morph into another Syria-style bloodbath with far reaching geopolitical consequences.

Source: Al-Ahed News

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

in Gaza

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

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

what’s left

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

January 24, 2019

By Stephen Gowans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s be honest about a few things.

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

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

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

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

Venezuela’s Military Backs Maduro, US Orders Non-Emergency Embassy Staff to Leave

Venezuela DM

Venezuela’s Military Backs Maduro, US Orders Non-Emergency Embassy Staff to Leave

January 25, 2019

The US State Department ordered nonessential personnel to leave Venezuela, but is not closing its embassy in Caracas, the department said Thursday as the Latin American country’s military threw its weight behind President Nicolas Maudro.

On Wednesday, Maduro said he was ending diplomatic relations with the United States in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US was recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader.

Maduro ordered US diplomats to leave within 72 hours. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, said Maduro “no longer has the authority” to do so.

The US State department said it was evacuating non-emergency staff for security reasons, and that US citizens should “strongly consider” leaving the country.

Military Backs Maduro

Flanked by military top brass, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, himself a general, declared the 56-year-old Maduro the legitimate president — and vowed to defend his authority against an attempted “coup d’etat.”

Following Padrino’s lead, eight generals in turn reiterated their “absolute loyalty and subordination” to the socialist leader in messages carried on state television.

And the Supreme Court — made up of regime loyalists — doubled down by reaffirming its allegiance to Maduro’s “legitimate authority.”

“A coup is brewing in Venezuela with the consent of foreign governments,” charged the court’s president Maikel Moreno.

China, Russia Stance

The international dispute over the country’s leadership appeared to deepen Thursday, with China and Russia voicing support for Maduro’s embattled government. Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned the United States that the Kremlin continues to back Maduro and the principle of non-interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

Pompeo and OAS

Pompeo, in his remarks to the Organization of American States (OAS) on Thursday, urged all members to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s leader and pledge support for Venezuela’s “democratic transition”.

“All OAS member states must align themselves with democracy and respect for the rule of law,” said the top US diplomat.

“All member states who have committed to uphold the Inter-American Democratic Charter must now recognize the interim president. The time for debate is done. The regime of former President Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate. His regime is morally bankrupt, economically incompetent and it is profoundly corrupt. It is undemocratic to the core,” added Pompeo.

Guaido, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, declared himself interim president during a day of mass demonstrations a day earlier.

 

Source: Agencies

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US Declares War on ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Pushing Them Closer to Russia

US Declares War on ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Pushing Them Closer to Russia

US Declares War on ‘Troika of Tyranny’ Pushing Them Closer to Russia

The US is going to extend its “combat operations” — the sanctions war aimed at reshaping the world — to Latin America. Tough new penalties are planned against the “troika of tyranny,” consisting of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua “in the very near future.” This announcement was made by National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton on Nov.1 — a few days before the US mid-term elections — in an attempt to draw more support from Hispanic voters, especially in Florida. An executive order on sanctions against Venezuela has already been signed by President Trump, but that’s just the beginning.

It was rather symbolic that on the same day the NSA delivered his bellicose speech, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling for an end to the US economic embargo against Cuba. The document did not include amendments proposed by the US that would put pressure on Havana to improve its human-rights record.

This is a prelude to a massive escalation in US foreign policy, which will include the formation of alliances, in addition to the active confrontation of those who dare to pursue policies believed to be anti-US. “Under this administration, we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores,” Bolton stated, adding, “The troika of tyranny in this hemisphere — Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua – has finally met its match.” Sounds like a declaration of war. Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Peru are probably some of the nations the US is eyeing for a potential alliance.

Bolton’s “troika” includes only countries ruled by governments that are openly “red” or Communist.  The list of nations unfriendly to the US is much longer and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Grenada, Uruguay, and some other states ruled by leftist governments. Andrés Obrador, the president-elect of Mexico, takes office on Dec. 1. The Mexican leader represents the country’s left wing and looks like a tough nut to crack. Outright pressure may not be helpful in this particular case.

Now that this new US policy is in place, Moscow and Washington appear to have another divisive issue clouding their relationship. The “troika of tyranny” against which Washington has declared war enjoys friendly relations with Russia.

With Cuba facing tougher restrictions, new opportunities are opening up that will encourage the Russian-Cuban relationship to thrive.   The chairman of the Cuban State Council and Council of Ministers, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his official visit to Moscow Nov. 1-3.  Their joint statement reaffirmed the strategic and allied relations between the two counties. Their long list of joint projects includes the deployment of a Russian GLONASS ground station in Cuba, which will give it access to a broad array of technical capabilities for satellite and telecommunications services and for taking remote readings of Earth. Russia will modernize Cuba’s railways. Sixty contracts are scheduled to be signed during President Putin’s visit to Cuba next year. Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant, has recently resumed fuel shipments to Cuba and is negotiating a major energy agreement.

Military cooperation is also to get a boost. The military chiefs are to meet this month to discuss the details. Moscow is considering granting Havana €38 million for Russian arms purchases.

The US-imposed restrictions are a factor spurring Russian exports to Cuba and other regional countries. When the US cut aid to Nicaragua in 2012, Russia increased its economic and military cooperation with that country. The memorandum signed between the Russian and Nicaraguan governments on May 8, 2018 states that the parties are to“mark a new step to boost political dialog” in such areas as “international security and cooperation through various international political platforms.”  Russia accounts for about 90% of Nicaraguan arms and munitions imports. It has far-reaching interests in building the Nicaraguan Canal in its role as a stakeholder and partner responsible for security-related missions.

President Vladimir Putin offered support for his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro after the United States rejected his reelection in May.  Russian energy giant Rosneft plays an important role in that country’s energy sector. It was Russia that came to Venezuela’s rescue in 2017 with a debt-restructuring deal that prevented the default that was looming after the US sanctions were imposed. This was just another example of Moscow lending a helping hand to a Latin American nation that was facing difficult times.

Russia is currently pursuing a number of commercial projects in the region, in oil, mining, nuclear energy, construction, and space services. It enjoys a special relationship with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which was founded by Cuba and Venezuela and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, among other countries. This grouping is looking to create economic alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions. This cooperation with Latin American nations goes far beyond ALBA. For instance, the Peruvian air force is in the process of contracting for 24 additional Mi-171s, as well as establishing a maintenance facility for their helicopters near the La Joya base in Arequipa. A contract to upgrade its aging Mig-29 fighters is under consideration. In January 2018, Russia signed a number of economic agreements with Argentina during President Macri’s visit to Moscow.  All in all, trade between Russia and Latin American countries reached $14.5 bln in 2017 and is growing.

RT Spanish was launched in 2009, featuring its own news presenters and programming in addition to translated content, with bureaus operating in Buenos Aires, CaracasHavanaLos AngelesMadridManagua, and Miami.  Russia’s Sputnik media outlet has been broadcasting in Spanish since 2014, offering radio- and web-based news and entertainment to audiences across Latin America.

Some countries may back down under the US sanctions and threats, but many will not. There’s a flip side to everything. The policy could backfire. The harder the pressure, the stronger the desire of the affected nations to diversify their international relations and resist the implementation of the Monroe doctrine that relegates them to the role of America’s backyard.

Photo: Flickr

Welcome to the Jungle

October 31, 2018

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with Consortium News by special agreement with the author)

A troubling new era has begun in Brazil with the election on Sunday of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro as president, writes Pepe Escobar.

It’s darkness at the break of (tropical) high noon.

Jean Baudrillard once defined Brazil as “the chlorophyll of our planet”. And yet a land vastly associated worldwide with the soft power of creative joie de vivre has elected a fascist for president.

Brazil is a land torn apart. Former paratrooper Jair Bolsonaro was elected with 55.63 percent of votes. Yet a record 31 million votes were ruled absent or null and void. No less than 46 million Brazilians voted for the Workers’ Party’s candidate, Fernando Haddad; a professor and former mayor of Sao Paulo, one of the crucial megalopolises of the Global South. The key startling fact is that over 76 million Brazilians did not vote for Bolsonaro.

His first speech as president exuded the feeling of a trashy jihad by a fundamentalist sect laced with omnipresent vulgarity and the exhortation of a God-given dictatorship as the path towards a new Brazilian Golden Age.

French-Brazilian sociologist Michael Lowy has described the Bolsonaro phenomenon as “pathological politics on a large scale”.

His ascension was facilitated by an unprecedented conjunction of toxic factors such as the massive social impact of crime in Brazil, leading to a widespread belief in violent repression as the only solution; the concerted rejection of the Workers’ Party, catalyzed by financial capital, rentiers, agribusiness and oligarchic interests; an evangelical tsunami; a “justice” system historically favoring the upper classes and embedded in State Department-funded “training” of judges and prosecutors, including the notorious Sergio Moro, whose single-minded goal during the alleged anti-corruption Car Wash investigation was to send Lula to prison; and the absolute aversion to democracy by vast sectors of the Brazilian ruling classes.

That is about to coalesce into a radically anti-popular, God-given, rolling neoliberal shock; paraphrasing Lenin, a case of fascism as the highest stage of neoliberalism. After all, when a fascist sells a “free market” agenda, all his sins are forgiven.

 

Bolsonaro: Leader of trashy jihad.

The Reign of BBBB

It’s impossible to understand the rise of Bolsonarism without the background of the extremely sophisticated Hybrid War unleashed on Brazil by the usual suspects. NSA spying – ranging from the Petrobras energy giant all the way to then President Dilma Rousseff’s mobile phone – was known since mid-2013 after Edward Snowden showed how Brazil was the most spied upon Latin American nation in the 2000’s.

The Pentagon-supplicant Superior War College in Rio has always been in favor of a gradual – but surefire – militarization of Brazilian politics aligned with U.S. national security interests. The curriculum of top U.S. military academies was uncritically adopted by the Superior War College.

The managers of Brazil’s industrial-military-technological complex largely survived the 1964-1985 dictatorship. They learned everything about psyops from the French in Algeria and the Americans in Vietnam. Over the years they evolved their conception of the enemy within; not only the proverbial “communists”, but also the Left as a whole as well as the vast masses of dispossessed Brazilians.

This led to the recent situation of generals threatening judges if they ever set Lula free. Bolsonaro’s running mate, the crude Generalito Hamilton Mourao, even threatened a military coup if the ticket did not win. Bolsonaro himself said he would never “accept” defeat.

This evolving militarization of politics perfectly meshed with the cartoonish BBBB (Bullet, Beef, Bible, Bank) Brazilian Congress.

Congress is virtually controlled by military, police and paramilitary forces; the powerful agribusiness and mining lobby, with their supreme goal of totally plundering the Amazon rainforest; evangelical factions; and banking/financial capital. Compare it with the fact that more than half of senators and one third of Congress are facing criminal investigations.

The Bolsonaro campaign used every trick in the book to flee any possibility of a TV debate, faithful to the notion that political dialogue is for suckers, especially when there’s nothing to debate.

After all, Bolsonaro’s top economic advisor, Chicago Boy Paulo Guedes – currently under investigation for securities fraud – had already promised to “cure” Brazil by bearing the usual gifts: privatize everything; destroy social spending; get rid of all labor laws as well as the minimum wage; let the beef lobby plunder the Amazon; and increase the weaponizing of all citizens to uber-NRA levels.

No wonder The Wall Street Journal normalized Bolsonaro as a “conservative populist” and the “Brazilian swamp-drainer”; this fact-free endorsement ignores that Bolsonaro is a lowly politico who has only passed two pieces of legislation in his 27 lackluster years in Congress.

WhatsApp Me to the Promised Land

Even as large misinformed masses progressively became aware of the massive Bolsonaro campaign manipulative scams on WhatsApp – a tropical post-Cambridge Analytica saga; and even as Bolsonaro pledged, on the record, that opponents would have only two options after Sunday’s elections, jail or exile, that was still not enough to arrest Brazil from inexorably slouching towards a dystopian, militarized BET (Banana Evangelical Theocracy).

In any mature democracy a bunch of businessmen – via black accounting – financing a multi-tentacle fake news campaign on WhatsApp against the Workers’ Party and Lula’s candidate Haddad would qualify as a major scandal.

WhatsApp is wildly popular in Brazil, much more than Facebook; so it had to be properly instrumentalized in this Brazilian remix of Cambridge Analytica-style Hybrid War.

The tactics were absolutely illegal because they qualified as undeclared campaign donations as well as corporate donations (forbidden by the Brazilian Supreme Court since 2015). The Brazilian Federal Police started an investigation that now is bound to head the same way of the Saudis investigating themselves on the Pulp Fiction fiasco in Istanbul.

The fake news tsunami was managed by the so-called Bolsominions. They are a hyper-loyal volunteer army, which purges anyone who dares to question the “Myth” (as the leader is referred to), while manipulating content 24/7 into memes, viral fake videos and assorted displays of “Bolso-swarm” ire.

Consider Washington’s outrage at Russians that may have interfered in U.S. elections allegedly using the same tactics the U.S. and its comprador elites used in Brazil.

Smashing the BRICS

Crushing the BRICS (Russian presidency)

 

On foreign policy, as far as Washington is concerned, Reichskommissar Bolsonaro may be very useful on three fronts.

The first one is geo-economic: to get the lion’s share of the vast pre-salt reserves for U.S. energy giants.

That would be the requisite follow-up to the coup de grace against Dilma Rousseff in 2013, when she approved a law orienting 75 percent of oil wealth royalties towards education and 25 percent to health care; a significant U.S.$ 122 billion over 10 years.

The other two fronts are geopolitical: blowing up the BRICS from the inside, and getting Brazil to do the dirty work in a Venezuela regime change ops, thus fulfilling the Beltway obsession on smashing the Venezuela-Cuba axis.

Using the pretext of mass immigration from Venezuela to the Brazilian stretch of the Amazon, Colombia – elevated to the status of key NATO partner, and egged on by Washington – is bound to count on Brazilian military support for regime change.

And then there’s the crucial China story.

China and Brazil are close BRICS partners. BRICS by now essentially means RC (Russia and China), much to the disgust of Moscow and Beijing, which counted on Haddad following in the footsteps of Lula, who was instrumental in enhancing BRICS geopolitical clout.

That brings us to a key point of inflexion in the rolling Hybrid War coup, when the Brazilian military became convinced that Rousseff’s cabinet was infiltrated by agents of Chinese intel.

Still, China remains Brazil’s top trade partner – ahead of the U.S., with bilateral trade reaching $75 billion last year. In parallel to being an avid consumer of Brazilian commodities, Beijing has already invested $124 billion in Brazilian companies and infrastructure projects since 2003.

Chicago Boy Guedes has recently met with Chinese diplomats. Bolsonaro is bound to receive a top Chinese delegation right at the start of his mandate. On the campaign trail, he hammered that “China is not buying in Brazil, China is buying Brazil”. Bolsonaro might attempt to pull a mini-Trump sanction overdrive on China. Yet he must be aware that the powerful agribusiness lobby has been profiting immensely from the U.S.-China trade war.

A mighty cliffhanger is guaranteed to come at the 2019 BRICS summit, which will take place in Brazil: picture tough guy Bolsonaro face to face with the real boss, Xi Jinping.

So what is the Brazilian military really up to? Answer: the Brazilian “Dependency Doctrine” – which is a true neocolonial mongrel.

On one level, the Brazilian military leadership is developmentalist, geared towards territorial integration, well-patrolled borders and fully disciplined, internal, social and economic “order.” At the same time they believe this should all be carried out under the supervision of the “indispensable nation.”

The military leaders reason that their own country is not knowledgeable enough to fight organized crime, cyber-security, bio-security, and, on the economy, to fully master a minimal state coupled with fiscal reform and austerity. For the bulk of the military elite, private foreign capital is always benign.

An inevitable consequence is to see Latin American and African nations as untermenschen; a reaction against Lula’s and Dilma’s emphasis on the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and closer energy and logistical integration with Africa.

Can’t Rule Out Military Coup

Despite this there is internal military dissent – which could even open a possible way towards the removal of Bolsonaro, a mere puppet, to the benefit of the real thing: a general.

When the Workers’ Party was in power, the Navy and the Air Force were quite pleased by strategic projects such as a nuclear submarine, a supersonic fighter jet and satellites launched by Made in Brazil rockets. Their reaction remains to be seen in the event Bolsonaro ditches these techno-breakthroughs for good.

The key question may be whether there is a direct connection between the cream of the crop of Brazilian military academies; the “dependency generals” and their psyops techniques; different evangelical factions; and the post-Cambridge Analytica tactics deployed by the Bolsonaro campaign. Would it be a nebula congregating all these cells, or is it a loose network?

Arguably the best answer is provided by war anthropologist Piero Leirner, who conducted deep research in the Brazilian Armed Forces and told me, “there’s no previous connection. Bolsonaro is a post-fact. The only possible connection is between certain campaign traits and psyops.” Leirner stresses, “Cambridge Analytica and Bannon represent the infrastructure, but the quality of information, to send contradictory signals and then an order resolution coming as a third way, this is military strategy from CIA psyop manuals.”

Brazilian Military: Keeping an eye on Bolsonaro. (Wikimedia Commons)

There are cracks though. Leirner sees the arch of disparate forces supporting Bolsonaro as a “bricolage” which sooner or later will disintegrate. What next? A sub-Pinochet General?

Why Bolsonaro is not Trump

In The Road to Somewhere; The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics, David Goodhart shows that the driving force behind populism is not the fascist love of an ultra-nation. It’s anomie – that feeling of a vague existential threat posed by modernity. That applies to all forms of Right populism in the West.

Thus we have the opposition between “Somewheres” and “Anywheres”. We have “Somewheres” that want their nations’ democracy to be enjoyed only by the “home” ethnicity, with the national culture not contaminated by “foreign” influences.

And we have “Anywheres” who inhabit the roootless postmodern vortex of multiculturalism and foreign travel for business. These are a demographic minority – but a majority within political, economic, educational and professional elites.

This leads Goodhart to make a crucial distinction between populism and fascism – ideologically and psychologically.

The standard legal distinction can be found in German constitutional law. Right populism is “radical” – thus legal. Fascism is “extreme,” thus illegal.

Trump being labeled a “fascist” is false. Bolsonaro in the West has been labeled “The Tropical Trump.” The fact is Trump is a Right populist – who happens to deploy a few policies that could even be characterized as Old Left.

The record reveals Bolsonaro as a racist, misogynist, homophobic, weaponizing thug, favoring a white, patriarchal, hierarchical, hetero-normative and “homogenous” Brazil; an absurdity in a deeply unequal society still ravaged by the effects of slavery and where the majority of the population is mixed race. Besides, historically, fascism is a radical bourgeois Final Solution about total annihilation of the working class. That makes Bolsonaro an outright fascist.

Trump is even mode moderate than Bolsonaro. He does not incite supporters to literally exterminate his opponents. After all, Trump has to respect the framework of a republic with long-standing, even if flawed, democratic institutions.

That was never the case in the young Brazilian democracy – where a president may now behave as if human rights are a communist, and UN, plot. The Brazilian working classes, intellectual elites, social movements and all minorities have plenty of reasons to fear the New Order; in Bolsonaro’s own words, “they will be banned from our motherland.” The criminalization/dehumanization of any opposition means, literally, that tens of millions of Brazilians are worthless.

Talk to Nietzsche

The sophisticated Hybrid War rolling coup in Brazil that started in 2014, had a point of inflexion in 2016 and culminating in 2018 with impeaching a president; jailing another; smashing the Right and the Center-Right; and in a post-politics-on-steroids manner, opening the path to neo-fascism.

Bolsonaro though is a – mediocre – black void cipher. He does not have the political structure, the knowledge, not to mention the intelligence to have come so far, our of the blue, without a hyper-complex, state of the art, cross-border intel support system. No wonder he’s a Steve Bannon darling.

In contrast, the Left – as in Europe – once again was stuck in analog mode. No way any progressive front, especially in this case as it was constituted at the eleventh hour, could possibly combat the toxic tsunami of cultural war, identity politics and micro-targeted fake news.

They lost a major battle. At least they now know this is hardcore, all-out war. To destroy Lula – the world’s foremost political prisoner – the Brazilian elites had to destroy Brazil. Still, Nietzsche always prevails; whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The vanguard of global resistance against neo-fascism as the higher stage of neoliberalism has now moved south of the Equator. No pasarán.

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030. Follow him on Facebook.

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