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Heisenberg wrote:I'm not equating the two situations. I'm just pointing out that once you accept the principle that large countries have the right to interfere with other countries' internal affairs, you have no real right to complain if that same principle gets applied to you.

And I'd still like to know what action you support in Venezuela, and why you think it will actually improve the condition of the people there in light of the failed military interventions of the last 30-odd years.

Change of the socio-economic structure of the country from failed state-socialism to either unrestrained liberalism or liberal social-democracy depending on where Venezuela will want to go. In Venezuela you can build a perfectly feasable European model or American model with all of the resources it has even right now because of how much oil the country possesses.
Last edited by JohnRawls on 04 Feb 2019 17:42, edited 1 time in total.
Heisenberg wrote:And how do you envision that being achieved? Military action by the US?

Maduro retires and Guiado takes power until the next election. Let there be a free election. Let Chavistas take part in it also. People will vote for anybody they deem fit. Obviously Chavistas won't win but it doesn't mean that Chavistas have no right to continue as a party or as a political force. If a liberal society is to be built in Venezuela then Chavistas need to be included. It will be their job to cleanse the sins of the past from themselves and reform to full social democrats over time.

Venezuela: What Activists Need To Know About The US-Led Coup
Two things stand out about the US coup in Venezuela. First, it is unusually open. Typically, the US tries to hide its coups. Second, the coup is built on a series of obvious falsehoods, yet the bi-partisans in Washington, with a few exceptions, keep repeating them.

First, we will correct the falsehoods so readers are all working from the same facts. Second, we will describe how this coup is being defeated. It will be another major embarrassment for the Trump administration and US foreign policy.

It is important to understand Venezuela has become a geopolitical conflict as Russia and China are closely allied with Venezuela. China and Russia coming into the backyard of the United States challenges the antiquated Monroe Doctrine.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest gold reserves, as well as diamonds and other minerals such as coltan (needed for electronic devices). And, Venezuela is taking over as president of OPEC and will be in a position to push for oil payments in non-dollar currencies or in cryptocurrencies, a major threat to the US dollar.

Correcting the Record
There are a series of false statements repeated by DC officials and corporate media to justify the coup that are so obvious, it is hard to believe they are not intentional. In his two-paragraph comment on the coup, even Senator Bernie Sanders repeated them.

1. Truth: President Nicolás Maduro is the legitimate president.
President Maduro was re-elected on May 20, 2018, in response to the opposition demanding an early election. The legitimacy of the election of Maduro is so evident that it must be assumed those who say he is illegitimate are either intentionally false or ignorant. The election was scheduled consistent with the Venezuelan Constitution and in consultation with opposition parties. When it became evident that the opposition could not win the election, they decided, under pressure from the United States, to boycott the election in order to undermine its legitimacy. The facts are 9,389,056 people voted, 46% of eligible voters. Sixteen parties participated in the election with six candidates competing for the presidency.

The electoral process was observed by more than 150 election observers. This included 14 electoral commissions from eight countries among them the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America; two technical electoral missions; and 18 journalists from different parts of the world, among others. According to the international observers, “the elections were very transparent and complied with international parameters and national legislation.”

Venezuela has one of the best electoral systems in the world. Voter fraud is not possible as identification and fingerprints are required for each voter. Voting machines are audited before and immediately after the election. Venezuela does something no other country in the world does — a public, citizen’s audit of a random sample of 53% of voting machines that is televised. All 18 parties signed the audits.

Maduro won by a wide margin, obtaining 6,248,864 votes, 67.84%; followed by Henri Falcón with 1,927,958, 20.93%; Javier Bertucci with 1,015,895, 10.82%; and Reinaldo Quijada, who obtained 36,246 votes, 0.39% of the total.

This same voting system has been used in elections that Maduro’s party has lost in governor’s and legislative elections. Venezuela is a real democracy with transparent elections. The United States could learn a good deal about real democracy from Venezuela.

2. Truth: The economic crisis is caused by outside intervention, internal sabotage and the decline in oil prices.
There is no doubt the economic situation in Venezuela is dire. The cause is the economic war conducted by the United States, the major decline in oil prices and economic sabotage by the opposition. In essence, the United States and opposition created problems in the Venezuelan economy and now say Maduro must be replaced because of problems they created.

Oil was discovered in Venezuela in the early part of the 20th Century and has dominated the economy since then. The Dutch Disease, the negative impact of an economy based on one natural resource, causes a sharp inflow of foreign currency, which raises the value of the country’s currency, making the country’s other products less price competitive. It is cheaper to import products rather than create them. This makes it more difficult for segments of the economy like agriculture and manufacturing to develop.

Chavez/Maduro sought to diversify the economy. They put in place thousands of communes and hundreds of thousands of people working in cooperatives to build agriculture and manufacturing. When the global price of oil was cut by more than half, it collapsed Venezuela’s public finances undermining these efforts. The economic war by the US made it difficult for Venezuela to borrow and trade with some countries.

Economic sanctions against Venezuela began under President Bush in 2004, escalated under President Obama when he declared Venezuela a national security threat in 2015, and the Trump administration escalated them further with financial sanctions. United States sanctions cost Venezuela some $6 billion since August, according to an October analysis. Measures against the nation’s oil industry have prohibited the Venezuelan majority-owned company, CITGO, from sending profits back to Venezuela, a $1 billion loss to the government yearly. Now, the Bank of England is refusing to return $1.2 billion in gold reserves after US officials, including Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, lobbied them to cut Venezuela off from its overseas assets. After the coup, the Trump administration escalated further with oil sanctions adding seizing $7 billion in Venezuelan oil assets.

The US economic war and sabotage of the economy by business interests has been exposed as part of the effort to remove Maduro by creating social unrest and lack of confidence in the government. This has included hoarding of goods, storing essentials in warehouses and selling Venezuelan goods in Colombia.

In September 2018, Venezuela pointed to a false media campaign exaggerating migration from Venezuela. They highlighted statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to affirm that Venezuela has the fewest volunteer migrants in the continent. They pointed out 5.6 million Colombians have fled violence in their country and live in Venezuela. Venezuela has programs that have helped thousands of Venezuelans return home.

Socialism strengthens economies, as demonstrated in Portugal. Indeed, one criticism of Venezuela is that the Bolivarian Process is moving too slowly to put in place a socialist economy. There is a need for more sectors to be nationalized and put under democratic control of the people.

3. Truth: The opposition is violent, not the Maduro government.
Opposition protesters have been extremely violent. One tactic of the opposition was to be violent and then film the government’s response to make the government look violent. When Abby Martin was confronted by opposition protesters, they told her, “Do not film anything that we do. Just film what the government does to us.” She reported on the violence saying, “the vast majority has been caused by either indirect or direct violence by the opposition.”

Martin reports the opposition attacked hospitals, burned down the Housing Ministry, assassinated Chavistas and attacked citizen communes such as an art commune that gave free dance and music lessons to local children. Afro-Venezuelans were burned alive. Protesters pulled drivers out of buses and torched the buses. When photos and videos of opposition violence were put on social media, Martin and her colleague, Mike Prysner, became the target of a false media campaign on social media. The opposition did all they could to prevent them from reporting the truth using hundreds of death threats and threats they would be lynched.

In 2017, Venezuela Analysis reported that violent opposition protests included an attack on a maternity hospital endangering the lives of more than 50 newborn babies. Another report described the opposition using snipers to shoot government officials and civilians. Opposition newspapers urged that blunt objects be used to “neutralize” pro-government protesters, resulting in serious injuries and death.

Steve Ellner also reported that violence was coming from the opposition. He pointed to attacks at grocery stores, banks, buses, and government buildings. Other commentators described specific incidents of violence by the opposition including killing people. Maduro ordered the arrest of a retired general who tweeted how to use wire to decapitate people on motorcycles, which happened, and how to attack armored vehicles with Molotov cocktails.

Documents show that violence was the opposition’s strategy. They sought to “Create situations of crisis in the streets that will facilitate US intervention, as well as NATO forces, with the support of the Colombian government. Whenever possible, the violence should result in deaths or injuries.”

The tales of government violence are rooted in lies. The government’s response was Maduro calling for a peace conference describing it as “a national peace conference with all the country’s political sectors … so we Venezuelans can try to neutralize violent groups.”

4. Truth: The National Assembly acted in violation of the law and is in contempt of court.
The National Assembly is not the only democratic body in Venezuela. Indeed, its actions since the opposition won a majority have violated the law and protected the violence of the opposition with an embarrassing amnesty bill.

On December 6, 2015, the opposition won a parliamentary majority in the Assembly. There were allegations of vote buying in Amazonas state that were investigated by the National Electoral Council, another branch of the government. The Supreme Court barred four legislators from Amazonas taking office, two from the opposition, one allied with the opposition and one from the ruling party. The National Assembly allowed three candidates to take office. The Assembly has been held in contempt of court since July 2016 and their decisions were nullified.

Before the court ruling, the Assembly passed an amazing amnesty law, which granted amnesty for crimes the opposition has committed since 1999 (Chavez’ election). The law is an admission of guilt and provides a well-organized catalog of crimes including felonies, crimes committed at public rallies, terrorist acts involving explosives and firearms and undermining the economy. They essentially admitted exactly what Chavez/Maduro have claimed — crimes to overthrow the government for 17 years. Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled the amnesty law was unconstitutional. Inaccurately, the Trump administration calls the Assembly Venezuela’s only remaining democratic institution.

This January, a subsidiary of the state oil company asked the Assembly to intervene claiming the president cannot make reforms to mixed public-private oil businesses without the prior approval of the National Assembly. On January 16, the court ruled that the Assembly was still in contempt of court and could not act. This is also when the Assembly elected Juan Guaidó as their president, who would later appoint himself President of Venezuela, as part of the US-led coup. Guaidó’s election to head the legislature was illegal and nullified by the court.

The Assembly still exists but remains in a state of contempt of the judiciary. It can rectify the situation by removing the lawmakers accused of electoral fraud. The Assembly refuses to do so because their goal is to remove Maduro from office and they need a super-majority to do so.

A Timeline of the US Coup in Venezuela
In “Anti-Maduro Coalition Grew from Secret Talks,” the Associated Press explains the coup was “only possible because of strong support from the Trump administration, which led a chorus of mostly conservative Latin American governments that immediately recognized Guaidó.”

Since August 2017, Donald Trump has been saying that military intervention against Venezuela was a distinct possibility. AP describes this as a “watershed moment” in the coup planning. They report Trump pressuring aides and Latin American countries to invade Venezuela. In September, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration had been meeting with coup plotters since mid-2017.

The Wall Street Journal reports Trump has long viewed Venezuela as one of his top-three foreign policy priorities, with Iran and North Korea. Trump requested a briefing on Venezuela on his second day in office, talking of the immense potential of Venezuela to become a rich nation through its oil reserves. AP reports that Trump “personally sparked” this as he brought up regime change in Venezuela in every meeting with Latin American leaders.

After Maduro was re-elected, administration plans began taking shape, driven in part by key members in the National Security Council and anti-Maduro advocates in Congress like extreme interventionist Senator Marco Rubio.

On November 1, John Bolton zeroed in on Latin America, calling Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela a “troika of tyranny.” On January 2, Bolton met with his Brazilian and Colombian counterparts to collaborate to “return Venezuela to its democratic heritage.”

On January 10, Maduro was sworn in for his second term, Pompeo spoke with opposition leader Guaidó, pledging support. Canada also played a key role, AP reports that Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaidó the night before Maduro’s inauguration offering Canada’s support. This was 13 days before Guaidó announced he was president of Venezuela.

On January 12, the State Department backed Guaidó’s move to invoke his authority as president of the assembly, saying, “It is time to begin the orderly transition to a new government.” On January 15, the National Assembly declared Maduro as illegitimate. The Trump administration worked to get allies lined up to support Guaidó’. By January 18, the Venezuela Foreign Minister was describing a US coup in progress.

The night before Guaidó’s announcement on January 23, Vice President Mike Pence put out a video message encouraging Venezuelans to overthrow their government, saying, “We are with you. We stand with you, and we will stay with you.” Guaidó also received a phone call from Pence the night before he appointed himself president where he pledged that the U.S. would back Guaidó.

Guaidó declared that Maduro’s government was illegitimate and he was assuming the presidency. In a well-coordinated charade, almost instantly, Trump recognized Guaidó as the country’s rightful leader. To further demonstrate the preconceived, tightly coordinated and efficiently carried out the coup, US allies, among them Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru, quickly recognized the coup president.

The Trump administration is claiming Guaidó represents the lawful government and is entitled to all Venezuelan revenues. The State Department notified the Federal Reserve that Guaidó is the agent for access to Venezuelan assets in US banks.

Nearly as quickly, Maduro drew statements of support from Russia, China, Turkey, Mexico, Cuba, Bolivia, and others. The Venezuelan Supreme Court called for an investigation into the National Assembly and Guaidó, regarding the illegal usurpation of Executive power. The Venezuelan military announced it supported Maduro and Russia warned the US not to intervene militarily.

On January 25, the Organization of American States, which is traditionally a US tool, rejected a resolution to recognize Guaidó. Medea Benjamin of CODE PINK interrupted Pompeo at the OAS holding a sign that said: “a coup is not a democratic transition!” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza thanked Benjamin, saying, “With her protest, she revealed the macabre coup plan against Venezuela, we will always prevail, thank you!” Eighteen countries defeated the proposal.

At the UN Security Council meeting on January 26, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of attempting “to engineer a coup d’etat.” He demanded to know whether the Trump administration “is ready to use military force” against Venezuela. European countries gave Venezuela eight days to hold an election, a suggestion Venezuela rejected. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Venezuela an “illegitimate mafia state.” He accused Russia and China of trying “to prop up Maduro.”

Both China and Russia have told the US not to intervene in Venezuela’s internal affairs. In December, Russia sent two nuclear-capable strategic Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela along with an An-124 heavy military transport plane and an II-62 long-haul plane. As of December, Russia has one brigade in Venezuela and was discussing sending a second military brigade to Venezuela even before the coup due to the continued threat of intervention from the United States.

China has lent over $50 billion to Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements over the past decade and has become a partner in the Venezuelan oil industry. In December, seven months since signing a financial business venture with China, Venezuela’s oil production has doubled to 130,000 barrels per day. The take-over of Venezuela’s oil would also be an attack on China. China and Venezuela signed 28 bilateral strategic cooperation agreements on September 14 in the areas of oil, mining, security, technology, finance, and health.

Demonstrating the nature of the coup president, the first acts that Guaidó took were to seek a loan from the International Monetary Fund, which would put Venezuela in debt to western bankers and under their control, and to privatize the Venezuelan oil industry, which would rob Venezuela of the funds being used to lift up the poor and working class.

The appointment by Mike Pompeo of Elliott Abrams as the person in charge of overseeing operations “to restore democracy in Venezuela” is an ominous sign. It is scandalous and demonstrates the most extreme elements of the US establishment are leading the charge. Abrams was convicted during the Iran-Contra scandal, supported US-backed death squads in Guatemala and El Salvador in the 1980s, played a key role in the Reagan administration support for the murderous Contras in Nicaragua and was the person who gave approval for the US-backed coup in Venezuela in 2002.

Analyst Vijay Prashad writes the coup violated the charters of the United Nations and of the Organisation of American States and describes efforts to call on the military to rise up against the government have failed. The Trump administration is now threatening a total oil embargo on Venezuela and is leaving the “military option” open.

The concerted campaign by the US and Canada to install Juan Guaidó as the new ‘self-declared’ interim President of Venezuela has been met with initial failure. Unfortunately, the illegal and undemocratic attempts to destabilize the country and overthrow the democratically-elected President will continue with harmful consequences. The people of Venezuela are rising once again to defend their country against hostile foreign intervention. It is essential that we support them in this fight. Many groups are holding solidarity rallies and issuing statements of support. Find rallies and protests here and here.

While Sanders got all the facts wrong about Venezuela, he did reach the right conclusion: “The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries. We must not go down that road again.” People in the United States have an important role to play in supporting Venezuela and defeating the coup.
https://popularresistance.org/venezuela ... cI1DcAFlQh
skinster wrote:https://twitter.com/AbbyMartin/status/1092295633593978881

Reality check. Maduro is the one threatening civil war while Guiado is saying it is unrealistic and not needed :lol:
JohnRawls wrote:Change of the socio-economic structure of the country from failed state-socialism to either unrestrained liberalism or liberal social-democracy depending on where Venezuela will want to go. In Venezuela you can build a perfectly feasable European model or American model with all of the resources it has even right now because of how much oil the country possesses.

There are a lot of "failed socialism" memes coming from SUV-driving nations - as if SUV-driving isn't a massive failure in and of itself.

The following quote sums them up better than even I could.

Michael K Smith wrote:... the current crisis (in Venezuela) has been meticulously planned, nurtured, and yearned for years by U.S. imperial strategists, who are now perfectly delighted, not appalled, by the crisis. For them to call the situation a failure of socialism is like Jack the Ripper pronouncing his strangled female corpses a failure of feminism.
QatzelOk wrote:There are a lot of "failed socialism" memes coming from SUV-driving nations - as if SUV-driving isn't a massive failure in and of itself.

The following quote sums them up better than even I could.

10% of Venezuelan population has left the country in the last 3 years. While me, a person living in a Potato-SUV-driving nation has no will to flee my own country. :lol:

https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2018/1 ... llion.html
Venezuela is a real democracy

A country can't be a 'democracy' with a large press freedom deficit. Which it has. Soon You won't be allowed to 'insult Venuzelaness' and apologists with persist with their defence anyway.
redcarpet wrote:A country can't be a 'democracy' with a large press freedom deficit. Which it has. Soon You won't be allowed to 'insult Venuzelaness' and apologists with persist with their defence anyway.

a "democracy" where the president banned the opposition from the elections :lol:
at this point Im not sure if skinster is trolling or she is just plain Noemon edit: Rule 2
probably the latter
Zionist Nationalist wrote:a "democracy" where the president banned the opposition from the elections :lol:
at this point Im not sure if skinster is trolling or she is just plain Noemon edit: Rule 2
probably the latter

And created a SECOND legislature. Yeah. Stacked with his party. Ever heard of a country with 2 national legislatures? ROFL.
JohnRawls wrote:10% of Venezuelan population has left the country in the last 3 years. While me, a person living in a Potato-SUV-driving nation has no will to flee my own country. :lol:

https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2018/1 ... llion.html

A lot of Palestinians left Palestine. A lot of Cherokee (all) left Cherokee Nation.

None of these are the fault of the local populations.
QatzelOk wrote:A lot of Palestinians left Palestine. A lot of Cherokee (all) left Cherokee Nation.

None of these are the fault of the local populations.

Different context Qatz.
redcarpet wrote:And created a SECOND legislature. Yeah. Stacked with his party. Ever heard of a country with 2 national legislatures? ROFL.

This is just further proof that Venezuela is twice as democratic as everywhere else. :excited:
Venezuela: Coup d’Etat or Constitutional Transition?
There’s been a lot misinformation in the international media about whether what is happening in Venezuela is a brazen US-led power grab or a constitutional transfer of power aided by the international community.

On January 23, National Assembly President Juan Guaido, who was virtually unknown in Venezuela before being selected for the legislative post on January 5, swore himself in as “interim president” of the South American country and was immediately recognized by Washington and its allies.

Guaido claims that his new self-ascribed job title is fully in keeping with Article 233 of Venezuela’s 1999 constitution. But is this the case?

An open and shut case
Article 233 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela specifies that an “absolute vacuum of power” occurs in the following circumstances: the president’s death, resignation, impeachment by the Supreme Court, “permanent physical or mental incapacity” certified by a medical expert designated by the Supreme Court and approved by the National Assembly, “abandonment of post” declared by the National Assembly, or recall by popular referendum.

Guaido’s claim to the presidency rests on the second to last of these conditions, namely the argument that Nicolas Maduro has failed to fulfill his constitutional responsibilities, thereby abandoning his post. Article 236 outlines in detail the duties of the president, which include everything from conducting international relations and leading the armed forces to granting pardons and convoking referenda.

The opposition may not like Maduro for a variety of reasons, but a cursory glance at the head of state’s Twitter feed will reveal that he has hardly abandoned his presidential functions. That is, he has not holed himself up in Miraflores presidential palace playing Call of Duty in lieu of showing up for work.

Now even if Maduro were to develop a debilitating video game addiction, this would not necessarily mean that his powers would pass to the president of the National Assembly.

Article 233 clearly specifies that in the event of an “absolute power vacuum” of any of the types mentioned above occuring within the first four years of his or her six-year mandate, the president shall be succeeded by the vice president. This is what happened after President Hugo Chavez’s death on March 5, 2013, when Nicolas Maduro took over as acting president and new elections were called within 30 days. If the above scenario occurs in the last two years of the elected term, the vice president is sworn in and finishes the mandate. Only in the case of a power vacuum occurring between presidential elections and the president-elect’s inauguration will the president of the National Assembly temporarily take office.

Therefore, even if we accept the opposition’s rather dubious claim that recently sworn-in Maduro has abandoned his post, it would be Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, not Guaido, who would take office.

In the interest of fairness, let’s concede for a moment that Juan Guaido is the legitimate “interim president” of Venezuela. Why then has he yet to call new presidential elections within 30 days as explicitly specified by Article 233?

Not only has Guaido failed to call new elections, but his National Assembly approved a law on February 5, titled “Democratic Transition Statute,” which allows the un-elected politician to remain in power for a “maximum period of twelve (12) months” in the case of the “technical impossibility” of holding them sooner.

Article 233 makes absolutely no mention of “technical conditions,” as an excuse for delaying elections, and the Venezuelan opposition certainly had no “technical” issues impeding them from holding their illegal July 14, 2017 plebiscite amid a violent anti-government insurrection.

The only conclusion is that Guaido is playing it fast and loose with the Bolivarian Constitution to justify a dictatorship.

Was Maduro legitimately elected?
Constitutional exegesis aside, the crux of the opposition’s argument is that Nicolas Maduro’s May 20, 2018 reelection was mired in “fraud” and hence his swearing-in “illegitimate,” creating a power vacuum.

This contention has been taken up by the mainstream media as an article of faith and repeated ad nauseam.

For corporate journalists, it doesn’t appear to matter that Maduro was re-elected with 6.2 million votes, amounting to around 31 percent of eligible voters, which, as Joe Emersberger notes, is average among US presidents. For instance, Barack Obama received 31 percent in 2008 and 28 percent in 2012, while Trump was elected with just 26 percent in 2016, failing to win the popular vote.

Nor does the Western pundit class seem to care that Maduro won with exactly the same electoral system with which the opposition scored its landslide parliamentary victory in 2015, from which Juan Guaido purports to derive his legitimacy.

Indeed, the fact that Maduro was re-elected cleanly, as verified by reports from four different in independent international monitoring missions, is non-consequential, given that Washington preemptively refused to recognize the results of the election more than 90 days ahead of time in support of the main opposition parties’ boycott.

But the US did not stop there. The Trump administration went as far as to threaten to sanction opposition candidate Henri Falcon for daring to defy the boycott, while the major anti-government parties sabotaged his candidacy by actively urging abstention and falsely suggesting that the former governor was in league with Maduro. Somehow this egregious interference in another sovereign country’s electoral process was completely ignored by a Western media lobotomized by Russia-gate hysteria.

All this is quite ironic in light of the fact that the right-wing opposition took to the streets in deadly protests in 2017 demanding early presidential elections with full backing from Washington.

However, after elections were brought forward to April 2018 in the context of internationally-mediated negotiations in the Dominican Republic, the opposition turned around and reportedly rejected a preliminary agreement reached with the government, abandoning further talks. A subsequent deal to push elections back to May 20 brought a faction of the opposition led by Falcon on board, to the fury of hardline parties close to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who issued repeated calls for a military coup alongside other top US officials.

There is little doubt that had the opposition united behind Falcon, he would have stood a very good chance of beating Maduro, whose popularity has plummeted amid the severe economic crisis that has gripped the country for four years. Why then did the US and its local clients opt for a boycott?

Radical regime change
On April 11, 2002, the Venezuelan opposition with the support of sections of the military staged a coup ousting democratically elected President Hugo Chavez. Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce President Pedro Carmona swore himself in as “interim president” and proceeded to dissolve the National Assembly, the new constitution and the courts. Carmona was recognized by the Bush administration and Spain’s Aznar government, while the New York Times glowingly endorsed him as a “respected business leader.” In fact, it was unrepentant war criminal Elliott Abrams, recently resurrected as Trump’s “special envoy to Venezuela,” who gave the green light to the coup plotters. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund, from whom Guaido is considering soliciting financing, rushed to offer loans to the new coup regime.

Between 50 and 60 anti-coup protesters were gunned down in the streets by the infamous Metropolitan Police during the Venezuelan opposition’s short-lived coup regime. The Cuban embassy was besieged, while future opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles alongside Guaido’s political mentor, former Chacao Mayor Leopoldo Lopez, carried out what they euphemistically called a “citizen’s arrest,” in fact a kidnapping, of President Chavez’s interior minister, Ramón Rodriguez Chacin.

Contrary to mainstream media depictions, the Carmona regime is the only dictatorship Venezuela has had over the last two decades. Moreover, any parallels between 2002 and today are hardly coincidental. Like in 2002, the current US-backed coup seeks to completely dismantle Venezuela’s Bolivarian institutional framework of expanded political, social, and economic rights, but this time in the name of the constitution they previously dissolved. There is no clearer evidence than Guaido’s publicly disclosed plans to introduce major privatizations in Venezuela’s oil sector, whose nationalization formed the bedrock of the Bolivarian anti-imperialist project. Nevertheless, as we saw in 2002, the opposition will not stop there, for it is driven by the single-minded desire to eliminate Chavismo as a mass political force and thus restore the “exceptional” pre-Chavez liberal democracy that only ever existed in the imagination of the upper middle class white elite. The recent burning alive of a man perceived to be Chavista in Merida, like the lynchings we saw during the 2017 opposition protests, is just one manifestation of this virulent anti-poor hatred.

In short, the international left has a duty to halt the US-backed coup underway in Venezuela. Only through sustained, popular opposition to US imperialism can we avoid a return to the dark age of Washington-sponsored dictatorships and dirty wars which men like Elliott Abrams enthusiastically promoted across the hemisphere in the 1970s and ‘80s. The fate of democracy in Venezuela, and worldwide, hangs in the balance.

Zionist Nationalist wrote:a "democracy" where the president banned the opposition from the elections :lol:
at this point Im not sure if skinster is trolling or she is just plain Noemon edit: Rule 2
probably the latter

The opposition weren't banned from the elections, they boycotted them because they know they won't win. They don't want an election now for the same reason.

This is taking place in DC on the 16th and the Saturday after. I recommend people who live nearby attend. :)

London today:
Internal US Gov’t Document Outlines Program of ‘Economic Warfare’ on Venezuela
An internal government document reveals tactics of “economic warfare” and “financial weapons” the US is using against Venezuela in the name of “furthering capitalism.”

Venezuela has suffered from an economic crisis in recent years, and while the US government and corporate media outlets have blamed this hardship solely on the ruling socialist party, internal US government documents acknowledge that Washington has been using what it clearly describes as “financial weapons” to wage “economic warfare” on the oil-rich South American nation.

The quiet admission confirms what Caracas’ government has said for years: The United States is waging an economic war on Venezuela, the country with the world’s largest oil reserves.

Crippling sanctions imposed by the Donald Trump administration have bled Venezuela of billions of dollars.

The first United Nations rapporteur to visit the nation in two decades, legal expert Alfred de Zayas, told The Independent that the devastating international sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and could potentially be a crime against humanity.

Professor Steve Ellner, a leading scholar of Venezuela’s politics who has lived and taught in the country for decades, explained in an interview on Moderate Rebels that the sanctions have economically isolated Caracas: “The fear of retaliation on the part of the Trump administration has pressured the world economic community to lay off the Venezuelan economy. This amounts practically to a blockade of Venezuela.”

In early 2019, the Trump administration dug the knife deeper. On January 23, the US government initiated a political coup in Venezuela by recognizing the unelected right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as supposed “interim president.”

Guaidó, who was unknown to a staggering 81 percent of Venezuelans according to a January poll, has tried to usurp the legitimate government of President Nicolás Maduro, who was re-elected in a 2018 presidential election that was voluntarily boycotted by the US-backed opposition.

This ongoing coup attempt is the culmination of a two-decade long US destabilization campaign aimed at shattering Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. Caracas has long described this campaign as one of economic warfare. And internal US government documents show that’s exactly what it is.

US “financial weapons” and “economic warfare”
With the coup raging in Venezuela, WikiLeaks published an excerpt from what it described as the “US coup manual,” the Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare booklet (PDF).

WikiLeaks drew particular attention to a segment of the publication entitled “Financial Instrument of U.S. National Power and Unconventional Warfare.” This section outlines how the US government, in its own words, uses “financial weapons” to wage “economic warfare” against foreign governments that try to pursue an independent path.

In the unconventional warfare manual, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) wrote that the US “can use financial power as a weapon in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war.” And it noted that “manipulation of U.S. financial strength can leverage the policies and cooperation of state governments” — that is to say, force those governments to comply with US policy.

Institutions that help the US government accomplish this, ARSOF continued, are the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Examples of “financial weapons,” include “State manipulation of tax and interest rates” and pressure on financial institutions to restrict “loans, grants, or other financial assistance to foreign state and nonstate actors,” ARSOF stated.

“The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has a long history of conducting economic warfare valuable to any ARSOF UW campaign,” the manual concludes.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is what oversees sanctions against countries like Venezuela. And on January 28, the day WikiLeaks tweeted the above excerpt, OFAC sanctioned Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).

Targeting Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA
The goal of these latest US sanctions is clear: Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary and the former chief information officer of Goldman Sachs, indicated that Venezuela’s US-backed coup leader Juan Guaidó will use PDVSA and Venezuela’s US-based oil assets to bankroll his unelected parallel government.

OFAC, which ARSOF noted “has a long history of conducting economic warfare,” was careful to point out while it was sanctioning PDVSA that this state oil company is “a primary source of Venezuela’s income and foreign currency.”

As The Grayzone has reported, Guaidó immediately targeted PDVSA within hours of having declared himself “interim president” (with the Trump administration’s blessing). Guaidó and the US-backed right-wing opposition hope to restructure PDVSA and move toward privatization, rewriting Venezuela’s hydrocarbons laws and handing out contracts to allow multinational corporations access to the largest oil reserves on the planet. And Guaidó has sought financial assistance from the IMF, which ARSOF identified as a US ally in its economic warfare strategy.

The ARSOF Unconventional Warfare manual makes it clear that these policies are not just a peaceful pressure campaign; they are part of an explicit strategy of “unconventional warfare” aimed at Venezuela.

These words, straight from the mouth of the US government, confirm that sanctions and other punitive economic policies are not a mere prelude to war; they are a form of war.

The United States is not “considering” a war against Venezuela; the superpower has already been waging a war, for years, on this independent South American nation

This is precisely what led former UN rapporteur Alfred de Zayas to say, both in an interview with The Independent and in a report on Venezuela that he submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, that the United States, and allies like the European Union and Canada, have waged “economic warfare” on Venezuela.

De Zayas, a legal expert who teaches international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy, wrote, “Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns.” He added, “Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees.”

The first UN rapporteur to report from Venezuela in a shocking 21 years, de Zayas told The Independent, “When I come and I say the emigration is partly attributable to the economic war waged against Venezuela and is partly attributable to the sanctions, people don’t like to hear that. They just want the simple narrative that socialism failed and it failed the Venezuelan people.”

And the US has not been alone in its aggression. The Bank of England has likewise refused to let the sovereign government of Venezuela withdraw its £1.2 billion of gold reserves. Instead, a UK foreign office minister has sought to give that money to the Trump-appointed coup leader, Juan Guaidó.

Real US foreign policy goals
The ARSOF Unconventional Warfare manual provides further insight into what really motivates the United States to wage economic warfare in Venezuela and beyond.

The document outlines one of the key goals of US foreign policy:

Furthering free trade, unencumbered by tariffs, interdictions, and other economic barriers, and furthering capitalism to foster economic growth, improve living conditions, and promote the sale and mobility of U.S. products to international consumers.

President Trump’s ultra-militaristic National Security Adviser John Bolton echoed these priorities in an interview with Fox Business. “We’re in conversation with major American companies now… I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here,” Bolton declared.

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/30/ ... venezuela/

Venezuela crisis: Guaidó vows to open aid routes with volunteers

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has vowed to open humanitarian aid routes into the country in defiance of the government.

Mr Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president, called on volunteers to help with distribution and said his plans would be ready next week.

Footage shows soldiers blocking a key bridge at the border with Colombia.

A government official called aid "a Trojan horse" and said the country had a duty to defend its borders.

"According to our constitution, we have the right and the duty to defend our borders peacefully," said Freddy Bernal.

He accused US president Donald Trump, who has endorsed the opposition leader, of just wanting to exploit Venezuelan oil.

Why is aid needed?
Millions of people have fled Venezuela as hyperinflation and other economic troubles render food and medicines scarce.

Since the outbreak of the current political crisis, Washington has announced sanctions on the Venezuelan oil industry.

President Nicolás Maduro, who has the support of the army, has rejected letting foreign aid into the country.

Last week a tanker and cargo containers blocked the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, which links Venezuela to its more stable neighbour to the west.

The blockages were still there on Friday, and many soldiers were seen standing guard.

Mr Guaidó does not control any territory in Venezuela so, instead, he is planning to set up collection centres in neighbouring countries to which Venezuelans have fled.

He said he wanted to set up an international coalition to gather aid at three points, and press Venezuela's army to let it into the country.

Food and medicine organised by the US federal government's USAID agency arrived on Thursday and have been stored at a warehouse on the Colombian side of the border.

The bridge of desperation - BBC News
The agency has been bound up in international politics before - Russia expelled it in 2012, citing "attempts to influence political processes through grants); and Bolivia expelled it the year after, accusing it of seeking to "conspire against" the Bolivian people and government.

Both Russia and Bolivia are allies of President Maduro in the current crisis.

How far will Guaidó go?
Mr Guaidó has warned many Venezuelans are in danger of dying without international aid.

Speaking to AFP news agency, he said the groups he was putting together would "make a first entry attempt" at the blocked bridge when they had gathered enough supplies. He said he expected this to happen next week.

It would be "almost miserable at this point of huge necessity" for the military to block any convoy entering, he said.

A number of Venezuelan leaders have also appealed to the military to allow aid lorries to cross into the country.

Asked whether he would authorise the intervention of foreign military forces, Mr Guaidó said: "We will do everything possible.

"This is obviously a very, very controversial subject, but making use of our sovereignty and, within our jurisdictions, we will do what is necessary."

What's the background to the crisis?
In January, Mr Maduro was sworn in for a second term following disputed elections which many opposition leaders did not contest because they were in jail or boycotting them.

Mr Guaidó, who is head of Venezuela's National Assembly, declared himself president on 23 January.

He says the constitution allows him to assume power temporarily when the president is deemed illegitimate. On Saturday he said protests would continue until his supporters had achieved "freedom".
skinster wrote:https://twitter.com/ShoebridgeC/status/1092137327693045760

In France today:

You are assuming that around 155 countries that said nothing about the situation are supporting Maduro. They just don't care.
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