America’s Coup Efforts in Venezuela Enter Frightening New Phase

April 20, 2019

Marjorie Cohn / Truthout

The United States is taking illegal and dangerous actions to execute regime change in Venezuela. In January, Juan Guaidó declared himself “interim president,” in a strategy orchestrated by the United States to seize power from President Nicolás Maduro.

In March, Guaidó announced that “Operation Freedom,” an organization established to overthrow the Maduro government, would take certain “tactical actions” beginning on April 6. Part of the plan anticipates that the Venezuelan military will turn against Maduro.

This strategy is detailed in a 75-page regime change manual prepared by the U.S. Global Development Lab, a branch of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The manual advocates the creation of rapid expeditionary development teams to partner with the CIA and U.S. Special Forces to conduct “a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations [in] in extremis conditions.”

Some of these actions will, in all likelihood, involve combat operations. A USAID official said, “Anybody who doesn’t think we need to be working in combat elements or working with SF [special forces] groups is just naïve.”

The manual was written by members of Frontier Design Group (FDG), a national security contractor whose “work has focused on the wicked and sometimes overlapping problem sets of fragility, violent extremism, terrorism, civil war, and insurgency,” according to its mission statement. FDG was the “sole contractor” that USAID hired to write a “new counterinsurgency doctrine for the Trump administration,” Tim Shorrock wrote at Washington Babylon.

Guaidó is funded by USAID’s sister organization, the National Endowment for Democracy, which is notorious for meddling in other countries and putting a good face on the CIA’s dirty business, as the late journalist William Blum explained.

Writing in Salon, Medea Benjamin and Nicolás J. S. Davies cited Blum’s statement that the United States generally opts for “low-intensity conflict” over full-scale wars. They noted that “’low-intensity conflict’ involves four tools of regime change: sanctions or economic warfare; propaganda or ‘information warfare’; covert and proxy war; and aerial bombardment. In Venezuela,” they added, “the U.S. has used the first and second, with the third and fourth now ‘on the table’ since the first two have created chaos but so far not toppled the government.”

Indeed, a combination of punishing sanctions imposed by the United States and blackouts exploited if not engineered by the U.S. have been unsuccessful in removing Maduro and installing Guaidó.

U.S. Sanctions Intensify Suffering of Venezuelan People

The Venezuelan economy was in dire straits before the Trump administration imposed harsher sanctions in January.

Crude oil production in Venezuela fell by 142,000 barrels a day in February, according to OPEC. “This shows that the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration in January had an immediate, very harsh impact on Venezuela’s economy, and on the general population, which depends on the export revenue from oil for essential imports including medicine, food, medical equipment, and other life-saving necessities,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, stated.

If this drop in oil production continues at the same rate, Venezuela stands to lose more than $2.5 billion in oil revenues during the next year. The U.S.-imposed sanctions will speed that decline.

On April 4, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Human Rights Watch issued a 71-page report documenting food and medicine shortages and sharp increases in disease throughout Venezuela. They characterize the situation as a humanitarian emergency and recommend a full-scale response by the United Nations secretary general.

U.S. Misuses Humanitarian Aid as a “Political Weapon”

Guaidó’s opposition “plans to use aid as their chief political weapon,” according to The New York Times.

Although in February, the United States tried to deliver humanitarian assistance to Venezuela though Colombia, Maduro refused to accept it.

“The U.S. misuse of ‘humanitarian assistance’ as a cover for smuggling weapons and other non ‘humanitarian’ items also has a long history” in Latin American countries, Alfred De Zayas, former UN special rapporteur in Venezuela, said in an interview with AntiDiplomatico. De Zayas called out the United States for its hypocritical policy: “It is not possible to be a major cause of the economic crisis — having imposed … sanctions, financial blockades and economic war — and then mutating into a good Samaritan.”

The U.S. government’s cynical strategy is to increase the suffering of the Venezuelan people, in hopes they will rise up against Maduro. This flawed approach was used by the Eisenhower administration after the 1959 Cuban Revolution. It was based on a State Department memo that proposed “a line of action that makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the [Fidel Castro] government.” The U.S. economic blockade against Cuba continues to hurt the people but they have not overthrown their government.

At the end of March, the Venezuelan government and the opposition agreed that the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies would establish a global relief campaign for humanitarian aid.

Venezuela has asked for and received assistance from the United Nations, Russia, China, Turkey, India and Cuba, De Zayas reported, “but that was humanitarian and offered in good faith and without strings attached. U.S. aid is the ‘fruit of the poison tree.’”

On April 3, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who has helped lead the charge for regime change in Venezuela, introduced a 76-page bill in the Senate that would approve $400 million in assistance to Venezuela and take steps to facilitate regime change. It would assess “the declining cohesion inside the Venezuelan military and security forces and the Maduro regime,” and “describe the factors that would accelerate the decision making of individuals to break with the Maduro regime” and recognize Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela.

The Rubio bill would also require briefing on “the full extent of cooperation by” Russia, China, Cuba and Iran with the Maduro government.

U.S. Opposes Russia-Venezuela Cooperation

At the end of March, the Russian government sent 100 troops to Venezuela. Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “Russian specialists … arrived in accordance with the clauses of a bilateral agreement on technical-military cooperation.”

In early April, Russia announced plans to install a training facility for military helicopters in Venezuela. The Trump administration is rattling its sabers at Russia. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned that the United States considers the presence of military forces from outside the Western Hemisphere a “direct threat to international peace and security in the region.”

Russia, however, denies that its military presence in Venezuela poses a military threat. “The Russian side did not violate anything: neither the international agreements nor Venezuelan laws,” according to Zakharova.

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza cited the hypocrisy of U.S. policy. He said it is “such cynicism that a country with more than 800 military bases around the world, much of them in Latin America, and a growing military budget of more than US$700 billion, intends to interfere with the military-technical cooperation program between Russia and Venezuela.”

In late March, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill called the “Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act” to gauge Russia’s influence in Venezuela. It aims to devise a strategy “to counter threats … from Russian-Venezuelan cooperation.” The bill also requires assessment of “national security risks posed by potential Russian acquisition of CITGO’s United States energy infrastructure holdings.”

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, an organization of former intelligence officers and other national security practitioners, wrote in a memo to Donald Trump, “Your Administration’s policies regarding Venezuela appear to be on a slippery slope that could take us toward war in Venezuela and military confrontation with Russia.”

The U.S. government has also threatened Cuba for its support of Venezuela. Vice President Mike Pence said the Trump administration would take “strong action not only to isolate Venezuela but also we’re looking at strong action against Cuba.” On April 5, Pence announced that the United States is imposing sanctions on two companies that deliver Venezuelan crude oil to Cuba. And, egged on by Rubio, Trump is considering extending the economic blockade against Cuba.

Forcible Regime Change Is Illegal

The United Nations Charter prohibits the use or threat of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of another nation. Likewise, the Charter of the Organization of American States forbids any country from intervening in the internal or external affairs of another nation. And the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees the right to self-determination.

Idriss Jazairy, the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of sanctions, said, “Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state.”

In mid-March, nearly 40 organizations, including CODEPINK, American Friends Service Committee, Peace Action, Just Foreign Policy and VoteVets, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, urging support for the bipartisan measure, H.R. 1004 – “Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Act.” The groups called it “a critical safeguard against unconstitutional U.S. military action.”

H.R. 1004 “prohibits funds made available to federal departments or agencies from being used to introduce the Armed Forces of the United States into hostilities with Venezuela, except pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) a specific statutory authorization that meets the requirements of the War Powers Resolution and is enacted after the enactment of this bill, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States or the Armed Forces.”

It is imperative that Congress invoke the War Powers Resolution, passed in the wake of the Vietnam War, to prevent the president from escalating the dangerous U.S. economic and military aggression against Venezuela. On April 4, for the first time since its enactment, Congress used the War Powers Resolution to end unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Yemen.

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Fall Delegation to Bolivia: Presidential Election October 20, 2019, Food Sovereignty and Indigenous Resistance!!

April 20, 2019

Come to Bolivia to witness one of the most important electoral processes in the region at this critical moment for the continent.

Bolivia is the first country in the hemisphere governed by a progressive indigenous. Learn about indigenous struggles for sovereignty over food, land, and water.  Meet with farmers, community leaders, government leaders, and others.  Experience the rich culture of the Andes and soak in the sights, sounds, people, and politics in this historic moment in Bolivia.

When: October 16-25, 2019

Where: Start in Cochabamba and end in La Paz; visits to Coroico and Coripata (Yungas de La Paz), Cochabamba and Chapare

Cost for Activities: $1050. This will cover all lodging, all ground transportation, at least 2 meals per day, and translation.  Additional expenses during the trip will be minimal.
**Airfare not included.  Possible group rate available for those traveling from NYC.**

Anyone interested should email cbalbertolovera@gmail.com as soon as possible, as space for this trip is very limited.  Please allow a day or two for responses.

Sponsored by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of NY.

Check out these articles from past delegations:

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2008/magdoff040208.html

http://monthlyreview.org/090824shiavoni-camacaro.php

What people are saying about our delegations:

Visiting Venezuela with the Bolivarian Circle of New York “Alberto Lovera” delegation was a great experience.  I was able to enter into dialog with the process underway at cooperatives and communal councils and see for myself the enthusiasm of the Chavista base for participatory democracy, food security and protecting the social gains of the revolution while moving forward.

Frederick B. Mills 

Professor of Philosophy

Bowie State University

The delegation gave me a fabulous window into one of the most exciting social experiments of our time, the Bolivarian revolution and the public policies committed to social Justice that it informs. It also wetted my appetite for more. I will soon be incorporating some of what I learned into my seminars, and I hope to be able to bring a contingent of students in the near future.

Claudia Chaufan

Associate Professor
 University of California San Francisco

“The Food Sovereignty delegation to Venezuela was interesting, informative and a lot of fun. We saw collective farms, factories, feeding centers and spent time with groups of people struggling for land reform and human dignity. We had lots of opportunities to see how people work together and how agriculture is changing in Venezuela. I loved the people we traveled with and created strong bonds with many of them. It’s the kind of trip that makes you want to return in a few years to see how much progress is being made. It further inspired me to work in the food democracy movement in the US and figure out ways to stay in solidarity with our Venezuelan sisters and brothers.”

Nancy Romer
General Coordinator
Brooklyn Food Coalition
http://www.BrooklynFoodCoalition.org

“Traveling with William and Christina gave me an insider perspective that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise. I highly recommend taking a trip on one of these delegations whether you are highly interested in food politics and socialism, or are new to the subject.”

Paula Crossfield
Founder and the Managing Editor of Civil Eats http://civileats.com/about/

“I traveled to both Venezuela and Bolivia with William Camacaro and Christina Schiavoni as the leaders of the trip. I can’t say enough about the quality of these trips and their leadership. I was astounded at the range of activities each trip provided: food centers for the elderly, African communities, women’s collectives, revolutionary centers, fishing industry in Venezuela, agricultural initiatives such as the production of quinoa in Bolivia, meetings with government officials, wonderful community cultural events (sometimes in our honor!), and more. Additionally, both William and Christina were very attentive to the people on the trips, addressed personal crises that arose, and helped in any way possible. There was never a sense that you were simply on your own in a foreign country, and had to fend for yourself. They were always available for questions, suggestions, and concrete help. IN SO DOING THE TRIP LEADERS CREATED A FAMILY-LIKE FEELING AMONG THE GROUP MEMBERS. I have been traveling on political/educational trips for decades, and can only say; the Bolivarian Circle’s trips are the bomb!”

Suzanne Ross, PhD, clinical psychologist and activist with the Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition, NYC

“The food sovereignty tours to Venezuela are an incredible eye opener. You can read about aspects of the country’s shift to a fairer food system but to see it first hand – and meet the people that are making the change happen – is totally inspiring.”

Simon Cunich
Australian Filmmaker
Creator of the documentary Growing Change http://www.simoncunich.com.au/

 

Call for Solidarity Delegation to Caracas August-13 to 22 -2019

April 20, 2019

What’s going on right now in Venezuela? Come see for yourself by connecting with the grassroots movements at the heart of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.

The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York, In partnership with Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL),US Food Sovereignty Alliance invites historians, artists, videographers, writers, political analysts, and other activists who sympathize with the Bolivarian Revolution to join a delegation to Caracas, Venezuela this coming August. Witness:
communities organizing themselves in the face of manufactured food shortages to grow and distribute their own food
participatory democracy in action through community councils, ‘comunas’ and other forms of citizen organization
community-run art, media, education, health and nutrition efforts alternative markets and fairs featuring homemade products and agroecologically produced foods parks, natural areas, historic sites, and other reclaimed public spaces.

Come and see with your own eyes the effects of the economic warfare and the sanctions against the Venezuelan people imposed by Donald Trump’s administration

Come witness the efforts of the popular sectors to regroup and defend the political, economic and social rights guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

Come see the real “threat” posed by Venezuela – as living proof that another world indeed is possible. As the Venezuelan people assert, “Venezuela is not a threat – we are hope!”

When: August-19 to 22 -2017

Tentative itinerary: Start and end in Caracas; visits to the states of Miranda and Aragua.

Cost for activities: $1000. This will cover all lodging, all ground transportation, 2 meals per day, qualified trip leaders, and Spanish-English interpretation. Additional expenses during the trip will be minimal. Airfare not included. Sponsored by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York

For more information: cbalbertolovera@gmail.com or estebanbartlett@gmail.com phone number: 502 415 1080

Some important articles:

Special Report: Hunger in Venezuela? A Look Beyond the Spin

Statement of International Solidarity with Venezuela’s Seed Law

Venezuela Passes Law Banning GMOs, by Popular Demand

Venezuela Takes Control of Its Border as Bogotá and Caracas Bring Their Cases to UNASUR

Venezuela Recognized by FAO for Halving Malnutrition

Revolution, Counter Revolution, and the Economic War in Venezuela: Part I

Revolution, Counter Revolution, and the Economic War in Venezuela: Part II

“THE COMMUNE OR NOTHING”: POPULAR POWER AND THE STATE IN VENEZUELA

VENEZUELA TO CONSIDER BAN ON TRANSGENIC SEED

VENEZUELA AND THE BATTLE AGAINST TRANSGENIC SEEDS

US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting

April 20, 2019

 

EXCLUSIVE: Away from the public eye, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank hosted a top-level, off-the-record meeting to explore US military options against Venezuela.

By Max Blumenthal

(The complete list of attendees for the private CSIS event on US military options against Venezuela appears at the bottom of this article.)

The Washington, DC-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a private roundtable on April 10 called “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela.” A list of attendees was provided to The Grayzone and two participants confirmed the meeting took place. They refused to offer any further detail, however.

Among the roughly 40 figures invited to the off-the-record event to discuss potential US military action against Caracas were some of the most influential advisors on President Donald Trump’s Venezuela policy. They included current and former State Department, National Intelligence Council, and National Security Council officials, along with Admiral Kurt Tidd, who was until recently the commander of US SOUTHCOM.

Senior officials from the Colombian and Brazilian embassies like Colombian General Juan Pablo Amaya, as well as top DC representatives from Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido’s shadow government, also participated in the meeting.

On January 23, following backroom maneuvers, the United States openly initiated a coup attempt against Venezuela’s elected government by recognizing National Assembly president Juan Guaido as the country’s “interim president.”

Since then, Venezuela has endured a series of provocations and the steady escalation of punishing economic sanctions. President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of attacks on the Simon Bolivar hydroelectric plant at the Guri dam, which have led to country-wide blackouts openly celebrated by top Trump officials.

In a March 5 call with Russian pranksters posing as the president of the Swiss Federation, US special envoy for Venezuela Elliot Abrams ruled out military action against Venezuela, revealing that he had only held out the threat to “make the Venezuelan military nervous.”

Since then, however, Guaido has failed to mobilize the national protest wave the Trump administration had anticipated, and the Venezuelan military has demonstrated unwavering loyalty to Maduro. In Washington, the sense of urgency has risen with each passing day.

‘We Talked About Military Options in Venezuela’

The CSIS meeting on “Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela” suggests that the Trump administration is exploring military options more seriously than before, possibly out of frustration with the fact that every other weapon in its arsenal has failed to bring down Maduro.

On April 10, I obtained a check-in list containing the names of those invited to the meeting. It was apparently incorrectly dated as April 20, but had taken place earlier that day, at 3 PM.

I confirmed that the meeting had taken place with Sarah Baumunk, a research associate at CSIS’s Americas Program who was listed as a participant.

“We talked about military… uh… military options in Venezuela. That was earlier this week though,” Baumunk told me, when The Grayzone asked her about the meeting that was wrongly listed for April 20.

When The Grayzone asked if the event took place on April 10, Baumunk appeared to grow nervous. “I’m sorry, why are you asking these questions? Can I help you?” she replied.

After I asked again about the meeting, Baumunk cut off the conversation. “I’m sorry I don’t feel comfortable answering these questions,” she stated before hanging up.

The Grayzone received additional confirmation of the meeting from Santiago Herdoiza, a research associate at Hills & Company, who was also listed as an attendee. “I’m sorry, that was a closed meeting. Good evening,” Herdoiza commented when asked for details on the event.

A Who’s Who of Trump Administration Coup Advisors

The CSIS check-in list not only confirms that the Trump administration and its outside advisors are mulling options for a military assault on Venezuela; it also outlines the cast of characters involved in crafting the regime change operation against the country.

Few of these figures are well known by the public, yet many have played an influential role in US plans to destabilize Venezuela.

The complete check-in list can be viewed at the end of this article. Below are profiles of some of the more notable figures and organizations involved in the private meeting. (Names of attendees are in bold).

Admiral Kurt Tidd, Former Commander of US SOUTHCOM:From 2015-18, Tidd was the commander of the US Naval Forces Southern Command, overseeing operations in Central and South America. Last October, Tidd complained, “My Twitter feed is made up of about 50 percent of people accusing me of planning and plotting the invasion of Venezuela, and the other 50 percent imploring me to plan and plot the invasion of Venezuela.” Given his participation in the CSIS meeting on attacking Venezuela, his accusers might have had a point.

On February 20, Tidd’s successor, Admiral Craig Faller, threatened Venezuela’s military and urged it to turn on Maduro in support of the US-backed coup attempt.

Embedded video

CNW@ConflictsW

Craig Faller, commander of the US Southern Command: “This message is for the Venezuelan military, you will ultimately be responsible for your actions, do the right thing,”

Ambassador William Brownfield: Appointed as US ambassador to Venezuela under George W. Bush, promoted to assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs by Barack Obama, and now a CSIS senior advisor, Brownfield has been at the center of psychological warfare operations against Venezuela. According to McClatchy, Brownfield helped devise a scheme in 2017 to generate suspicion within Maduro’s inner circle by sanctioning all of his key advisors except one: Diosdado Cabello, the president of the Constituent Assembly once seen by the US as a potential rival to Maduro. The idea was to create the suspicion that Cabello was a CIA asset, and “mess with the Chavez mentality.”

Brownfield advised Trump’s National Security Council, “Don’t just hit everyone because you can. Hit the right people and then maybe get others to just be scared and wonder when they’ll get hit.” Mark Feierstein, a NSC official at the time who now works as a senior associate at CSIS and attended its April 10 meeting, was reportedly involved in the plot. However, the plan fell apart as soon as the US sanctioned Cabello under pressure from Sen. Marco Rubio.

Fernando Cutz and Juan Cruz, former National Security Council officials at the Cohen Group: Cutz collaborated closely with Brownfield on the plan to generate rifts in Maduro’s inner circle. Born in Brazil, Cutz is a career USAID foreign service officer who worked on Cuban policy under Obama and entered the Trump NSC under its former director, Gen. H.R. McMaster. Cutz is credited by the Wall Street Journal with presenting Trump with his initial platter of options for destabilizing Venezuela, starting with “a financial strike at Venezuela’s oil exports.” Cutz’s colleague at the Cohen Group, Juan Cruz, was Trump’s former Latin America director. In March 2018, Cruz became the first US official to openly call for the Venezuelan military to disobey Maduro and implement a coup.

Embedded video

Max Blumenthal

@MaxBlumenthal

Revealing comments from @fscutz, one of the key architects of the US coup in Venezuela, declaring that the goal of intervention is to “restore Venezuela’s place as an upper middle class country” https://youtu.be/W6cSmf_6xqs 

Pedro Burelli, BV Advisors: A former JP Morgan executive and ex-director of Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA, Burelli allegedly helped foot the $52,000 bill for a series of meetings in Mexico in 2010 where Guaido and his associates plotted to bring down then-President Hugo Chavez through street chaos. In an interview with The Grayzone, Burelli called the Mexico meetings “a legitimate activity,” though he refused to confirm his participation. Today, he makes no secret of his desire for Maduro’s removal by force, tweeting images of jailed Panamanian President Manuel Noriega and the murdered Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi to suggest preferred outcomes for Venezuela’s president.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Pedro Mario Burelli@pburelli

.@NicolasMaduro, jamas me has hecho caso. Me has fustigado/perseguido como @chavezcandanga jamás osó. Óyeme, tienes sólo dos opciones en las próximas 24 horas:

1. Como Noriega: pagar pena por narcotráfico y luego a @IntlCrimCourt La Haya por DDHH.

Roger Noriega, American Enterprise Institute: A veteran of the Iran-Contra scandals and regime change operations from Haiti to Cuba, where he plotted to sabotage US efforts at rapproachment – “stability is the enemy and chaos is the friend,” he said – Noriega has been at the center of Washington’s efforts to impose its will on Venezuela. Last November, Noriega recommended that Trump appoint Ambassador Brownfield to lead contingency plans for a military invasion of the country.

Carlos Vecchio and Francisco Marquez, Guaido’s shadow embassy in Washington: Installed as the symbolic ambassador of the Guaido coup regime in Washington DC, Vecchio currently oversees no consular facilities and has no diplomatic authority. He is wanted in Venezuela on arson charges and was photographed posing with a young man who brutally beheaded a woman named Liliana Hergueta. Marquez is associated with Vision Democratica, a DC-based lobbying outfit which employs another Venezuelan opposition member who attended the CSIS meeting on military force, Carlos Figueroa.

Embedded video

Anya Parampil

@anyaparampil

VZ coup governement official @Fmarquez77 squirms & blows up as soon as @MaxBlumenthal says he’s in DC to represent the empire recolonizing Latin America, not the VZ people. Marquez’s lack of self control & refusal to let his opponent talk is revealing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wakReG0wPaA 

Sergio Guzman, Bernardo Rico, and Karin McFarland, USAID: The US Agency for International Aid and Development (USAID) has been the leading edge of the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine Venezuela’s government. After ramping up its activities in Venezuela in 2007, USAID began contributing between $45-50 million per year to Venezuelan opposition political, media, and civil society groups. On February 23, USAID director Mark Green presided over a deliberately provocative attempt to ram aid shipments by truck across the Colombian border and into Venezuela. The humanitarian interventionist spectacle backfired badly, resulting in opposition hooligans setting fire to the aid shipments with molotov cocktails. (Green falsely accused Maduro’s forces of burning the aid.) This February, USAID rolled out plans for a “Red Team…to train aid workers as special forces” capable of “executing a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations in extremis conditions.”

Emiliana Duarte, Caracas Chronicles and advisor to Maria Corina Machado: Duarte’s name was crossed off the CSIS check-in list, indicating that she was invited to the private meeting on military options but did not attend. She is a staff writer for Caracas Chronicles, a leading English language publication echoing the political line of Venezuela’s opposition. Duarte has also contributed to the New York Times, most recently in February, when she argued that the US-backed coup attempt was, in fact, “Venezuela’s very normal revolution.” Nowhere in Duarte’s writing has she acknowledged that she is serving as an advisor to Maria Corina Machado, a close ally of Sen. Marco Rubio and one of the most extreme figures among Venezuela’s opposition. In 2014, a series of emails were leaked allegedly revealing Machado’s role in an alleged assassination plot. “I think it is time to gather efforts; make the necessary calls, and obtain financing to annihilate Maduro and the rest will fall apart,” Machado wrote in one email.

Santiago Herdoiza, Hills & Company: While Herdoiza appears to occupy a low level position, he works at a high powered international strategy firm founded by former George W. Bush administration officials. The firm works on behalf of clients like Chevron, Boeing, and Bechtel to “eliminate barriers to market access and profitability.” In some cases, the firm says it has been able to persuade governments to lower tariffs and drop opposition to free trade deals. Through its participation in the private CSIS meeting, Hills & Company seems to have signaled that it is willing to also entertain the use of military force to open up markets for its clients.

David Smolansky, OAS coordinator for Venezuelan migrants: Once a leader of Guaido’s US-backed Popular Will party, Smolansky took sanctuary in Washington and began working for regime change in 2017. Following the US recognition of Guaido as “interim president,” Smolansky was appointed by OAS President Luis Almagro as coordinator for Venezuelan migrants. While it is unknown what advice Smolansky offered at CSIS regarding a military assault on his country, there is a near-consensus in Washington that an attack would massively exacerbate the migration crisis. A war on Venezuela “would be prolonged, it would be ugly, there would be massive casualties,” Rebecca Chavez, a fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, declared in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in March. (Chavez’s boss, Michael Shifter, was a participant in the CSIS meeting on use of force).

Dr. Jill Stein🌻

@DrJillStein

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Urgent call to celebrate May Day in solidarity with Venezuela

April 5, 2019

 

Caracas, Venezuela, April 26 to May 5, 2019

What’s going on right now in Venezuela? Come see for yourself by connecting with the grassroots movements at the heart of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. Come with us to celebrate workers’ day, MAY DAY, in Caracas, Venezuela, get to know the Venezuelan anti-imperialist working class and come join us in the great march of the workers with President Nicolas Maduro.

The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York invites trade unionists, workers, journalists,  analysts and other activists to know the movement of Venezuelan revolutionary workers during the celebrations of May First who sympathize with the Bolivarian Revolution to join a delegation to Caracas, Venezuela this coming May. Witness: the struggle of the Venezuelan people in the framework of one of the most critical time for the survival of the Bolivarian revolution and in the midst of an economic warfare and multiple economic sanctions imposed by Donald Trump’ administration. come and see for yourselves the reality of the country learn that there is no humanitarian crisis but an economic war led by the United States and its allies in the region.

Come see by yourself communities organizing themselves in the face of manufactured food shortages to grow and distribute their own food participatory democracy in action through community councils, ‘comunas’ and other forms of citizen organization community-run art, media, education, union leaders, health and nutrition efforts alternative markets and fairs featuring homemade products and agroecologically produced foods parks, natural areas, historic sites, and other reclaimed public spaces.

Come see the real “threat” posed by Venezuela—as living proof that another world indeed is possible. As the Venezuelan people assert, “Venezuela is not a threat—we are hope!

  • When: April 26 -May 5 2019
  • Tentative itinerary: Start and end in Caracas; visits to the states of Miranda and Aragua.
  • Cost for activities: $900. This will cover all lodging, all ground transportation, 2 meals per day, qualified trip leaders, and Spanish-English interpretation. Additional expenses during the trip will be minimal. Airfare not included. Sponsored by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York

For more information: cbalbertolovera [at] gmail.com.

Some important articles

Join us today at 5PM to defense the Bolivarian revolution

January 9, 2019

Join us  in defense of the Bolivarian revolution this coming January 10 at 5PM

THE BOLIVARIAN CIRCLE OF NEW YORK INVITES OUR FRIENDS FROM THE CITY OF NEW YORK

This coming January 10 there will be a protest organized by the most reactionary elements of the Venezuelan right wing in front of the consulate of Venezuela in the city of New York. Please come with your red flags or your Venezuelan flags, bring anything that shows your support for the Bolivarian revolution, at this critical moment we must be present!

 

Location of the consulate of venezuela

Manhattan: between Madison Street and Fifth Avenue on the side of St. Patrick’s Cathedral  7 East 51st Street

This coming Thursday at 5 PM in the afternoon

“The United States seems destined by Providence to plague the America of misery in the name of freedom.”

Simón Bolívar (1783-1830)

For more information: cbalbertolovera@gmail.com

The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”

October 12, 2018

 

 

“If the US attacks Venezuela from Colombia it will initiate a “war of 100 years, and this war will extend to the entire continent.”

President Hugo Chavez Frias (Nov. 2009)

William Camacaro / Frederick B. Mills

Year of the Americas: Venezuela in the crosshairs

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis began his trip to South America on August 13th to “exchange strategic perspectives” with senior defense counterparts in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. This trip follows a series of Latin America tours by high level Trump administration officials all aimed at making 2018 the “Year of the Americas”Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited in February 2018; Vice President Penceattended the Eighth Summit of Americas in April and returned for a Latin America tour in JuneSecretary of State Mike Pompeo went in July; and US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, visited Central America in February and Colombia just last week.

A major focus of senior US official tours to Latin America this year has been to discuss ways to increase pressure on Venezuela with the aim of bringing down the government. Regime change in Venezuela is presumably in accord with the “freedom model” advanced by the White House. The content of this model, supposedly exemplified by Colombia,  claims to champion democracy throughout the Americas, yet this content was not democratically determined. Moreover, the “year of the Americas,” having been largely made in the USA, did not emerge from a consensus of all those in the hemisphere whose everyday lives would be impacted by it. These contradictions are important issues because the “freedom model” threatens to impose unbridled neoliberalism throughout the region by any means necessary.

In this latest high level visit, Secretary of Defense Mattis arrived in Brazil just one week after an assassination attempt by opposition extremists against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.  If the drone attack had been successful, it could have also eliminated many of the leaders of other state institutions and decimated the military high command, generating the intended chaos and leaving a political void in the country. A “transitional” opposition government already waiting in the wings in Bogota and Miami would have probably acted quickly to fill this void and swear in a provisional government. With prompt endorsement from the US-NATO alliance and its regional partners in the Lima Group, such a provisional government could then have called for an international mission to deal with an urgent “humanitarian crisis.” While this and various other possible plans for regime change are a matter of speculation, there is no doubt attacks on the Venezuelan state are still underway in Caracas: Venezuela is under siege.

Such a terrorist attack in the Western Hemisphere should have evoked a strong condemnation by the White House, however, Washington’s antipathy towards Caracas appears to have muted any such concerns. This refusal of the Trump administration to take an unequivocal stand against political assassination, even in the case of an attack on a perceived adversary, does not bode well for regional peace and security, nor for the rule of law, in this self declared “year of the Americas.”

Although Washington has denied any US involvement in this terrorist attack on the Venezuelan state, according to AP, “President Donald Trump reportedly floated the idea of invading Venezuela to both senior administration officials and world leaders multiple times in the past year.” Trump also met with several Latin American leaders, and floated the same idea, but was unable to garner support at the time. Washington’s outspoken support for regime change and President Trump’s contemplation of military intervention may have been perceived by opposition hardliners as giving the green light to such conspiracies to overthrow the government in Caracas.

Some historical context may help explain, but not justify, Washington’s tepid response to the assassination attempt in Caracas and its call for regime change in this South American nation. For two decades the US has backed the Venezuelan opposition drive to undermine, first President Chavez, who was elected president in December of 1998,  and now Maduro, who was first elected President in April 2013, following the death of Chavez on March 5, 2013. A short lived coup against Chavez in April 2002, followed by an oil strike, and then a recall referendum, all failed to unseat Chavez. And more recently, opposition protests, a US led effort in the OAS to isolate Venezuela, an escalating economic war, several foiled coup plots, and now an assassination attempt against Maduro, have also failed to bring the current Venezuelan government to its knees.

On May 20, despite intense pressure from the US and Lima Group to postpone presidential elections in Venezuela, Maduro was re-elected with 68% of the vote and 48% participation. The election had been boycotted by a majority of the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) as part of an effort to delegitimize the electoral process. This effort was somewhat undermined, however, by the participation of opposition party Avanzada Progresista candidate, Henri Falcon, as well as Evangelical candidate, Javier Bertucci, who both ran against Maduro despite pleas from Washington and the MUD to withdraw from the contest. The election was arguably a victory for Maduro, having brought out a significant, though historically smaller percentage of the electorate, despite the MUD boycott and threats of dire consequences from the empire should voters go to the polls.

Why the adversarial relationship between Washington and Caracas for the past two decades? It is not just about the control of natural resources, though Venezuela does have some of the largest proven oil reserves in the world and is rich in minerals, including gold. The Bolivarian revolution has posed a challenge to US hegemony in the region since the election of Chavez in 1998 because it has been the principle catalyst for Latin American independence and integration and has promoted a multipolar world. Moreover, Venezuela has been in the forefront of the formation of regional bodies, such as ALBA, CELAC, and UNASUR, that do not include the United States. These associations had begun to shift the center of gravity for decisions concerning the fate of regional economics and politics from the Global North to the peoples of the Americas, giving political space to progressive governments that have sought alternatives to the so called Washington Consensus.  That Venezuela led the way for this seismic shift in regional politics, which has recently undergone setbacks, is something Washington has not and apparently will not pardon.

There are  several important indicators that preparation for a possible international military intervention in Venezuela is underway. There has been an increase in military exercises coordinated by US Southern Command. Recent press reports reveal that President Trump has been contemplating an invasion of Venezuela. And there is an intensifying right wing lobby in Washington against the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba; as well as open calls by some US policy makers for a military coup in Caracas.

It is clear that for Washington regime change in Venezuela is now a top priority.

But why the hurry to topple Maduro? It could be that the US seeks to bring about regime change in Venezuela before the progressive government elect of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) in Mexico takes office in December. AMLO has already declared Mexico would pursue a foreign policy based on respect for the sovereignty of member nations. He is also committed to using dialogue as a means of resolving differences within and among nation states. As AMLO states clearly: “Nothing by force; everything by using reason.” Such a non-interventionist stance would strengthen the discourse within the Organization of American States (OAS) in favor of diplomacy over coercion as well as dilute the anti-Bolivarian influence of the Lima Group in which Mexico has been a major player. It would then not be so easy for the US to patch together a coalition of the willing to impose regime change in Venezuela.

Another consideration for Washington and its allies in the region is the popular push back against neoliberal reforms and corruption in Argentina, Peru and Brazil. This push back may soon intensify and make it increasingly difficult for the US to put together a coalition of the willing to invade Venezuela. The balance of forces can change at any moment given the vulnerability of these key US partners in the region. The entire continent is a pressure cooker.

If the US and its “coalition of the willing” in the region were rash enough to deploy a military option against Venezuela, it would likely meet fierce resistance from the popular sectors and the civic–military alliance built by Chavez to defend the Bolivarian Republic against such an eventuality. As Chavez once declared, “in the face of an invasion by the most powerful country on earth, we will disperse, we will become earth, air, water, and we will wage a war of resistance.” These words still have currency in Venezuela today. For despite the present hardships and  growing discontent with the economic crisis, polls indicate that the large majority of Venezuelans oppose the sanctions and outside military intervention and prefer dialogue over civil conflict.

An invasion of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela could have unintended but tragically foreseeable consequences for Venezuela’s neighbors. Most immediately, it could ignite a rapid escalation and spread of the armed conflict that is still underway in Colombia and thereby further undermine the Colombian peace accords signed in 2016, an accord which is already coming apart.

An attack on Venezuela would also likely provoke an intensification of repression and resistance in Argentina, where President Mauricio Macri, on the heels of new agreements with the IMF, last month issued a decree for the military to “collaborate in internal security.” In Argentina, this ominous measure has evoked memories of the role of the Argentine military during the dirty war (1976-1983) that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives.

The involvement of Brazil in a US led intervention in Venezuela could lead to increased protests against the unpopular Brazilian President, Michel Temer, who was brought to power in a parliamentary coup. Temer is now facing growing opposition from grassroots movements as well as an electoral challenge by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

These considerations suggest that the relentless US backed assault on Venezuela will not enhance the cause of freedom and democracy in the region and may instead, in the case of some nations, provoke escalating civil conflict, when politics and dialogue ought to prevail.

Colombia exemplifies the “freedom model”

If advancing the cause of regime change in Venezuela, followed by Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Cuba is the proposed destructive part of “the year of the Americas” what is the constructive part? US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, visited Colombia last week to celebrate the inauguration of the right wing president elect Iván Duque. On August 4, in an article for the Miami Herald, Haley declared: “It’s time for Maduro to go” and held up Colombia as an example of the advancement of the “freedom model”:

“Colombia is increasingly embracingthe freedom model. Colombia has democracy, economic growth, and respect for human rights. The freedom model is the future, both in the Americas and worldwide. It produces stable societies, not to mention good strategic partners for the United States.”

In this statement Colombia is portrayed as paradigmatic of the “freedom model” for the “year of the Americas.” If this is the case, the model is not very encouraging with regard to “respect for human rights.” The death threats against thousands of activists across the country are far from idle. Since January 1, 2016, 336 community leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in Colombia. As Amnesty International points out, these atrocities have continued, even in the aftermath of a peace treaty between the government and the FARC, with the “silent complicity of the government elect.”

This South American nation is also suffering violence by a number of groups– paramilitaries, leftist guerillas, narco-traffickers, and the military– all of which are competing for control of territory and resources. According to the UNHCR, the violence has resulted in the massive internal displacement of 7,671,124 citizens. In a recent report, this UN agencyalso noted “an increase in murders of, and threats against, human rights defenders and community leaders in the Pacific Coast region. In most cases, the victims are from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.” Advancing democracy and human rights in the present climate then, will not be easy. President Duque will be dealing not only with an insurgency, an assassination campaign against community leaders, and a growing narcotics trade, but what Insight Crime recently described asthe establishment of “criminal organizations within state institutions.”

During her visit to Colombia, Ambassador Haley also visited the Colombian-Venezuelan border, denouncing the government of Venezuela and drawing attention to the plight of Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia and their need for material assistance. There has been little coverage, however, of the increasing xenophobia against these immigrants, many of whom are Colombian citizensDuring the first six months of 2018, 99 of 114 reported foreign homicide victims in Colombia have been Venezuelan, and 18 of 21 suicides by foreigners are reportedly also Venezuelan. So Venezuelan immigrants need more protection as well as material assistance.

As the US pledges 9 million to Colombia to aid Venezuelan immigrants, it tightens the stranglehold on the Venezuelan economy through a series of ever more stringent sanctions, exacerbating the very economic crisis which generates such emigration. Sanctions have triggered the freezing of billions in Venezuelan assets, including more than1.65 billion dollars which the Maduro administration maintains had been slated for the purchase of food and medicine. It is clear that sanctions not only target government officials; they hurt Venezuelan citizens as well.

One way the US can help the Venezuelan consumer is not only to remove the crippling economic sanctions, but also to denounce the constant flow of contraband Venezuelan gasoline, food and medicine into Colombia. More than 25 thousands liters of Venezuelan gasoline is smuggled into Colombia every day, as well as tons of contraband Venezuelan subsidized food. These items fetch much higher prices in Colombia than in Venezuela, despite the soaring inflation in Venezuela’s ailing markets. Dealing in contraband enriches Colombian and Venezuelan mafias, small time smugglers, and corrupt officials on both sides of the border, while aggravating food shortages and the economic crisis inside Venezuela. Venezuela’s ambitious economic recovery plan, the prospects for which are presently the subject of much heated debate, is in part aimed at derailing this illegal gravy train. If the plan meets with even moderate success, it could save billions in lost annual revenue and put some of these mafias out of business.

The “year of the Americas” is not likely to bring peace and prosperity to the region any time soon if Colombia is taken as a prime example of the “freedom model.” Colombia is host to seven US military bases that now threaten the peace and security of the entire region. As mentioned above, it is no secret that the Trump administration contemplates a military invasion of Venezuela and some Venezuelan opposition hardliners join Washington’s call for the Venezuelan military to overthrow the elected government. Moreover, Colombian territory serves as a base of operations for a “transitional” Venezuelan government as well as a safe haven for conspiracy against Caracas. Finally, President Duque has announced that Colombia, which now enjoys NATO “global partnership” status, will soon withdraw from UNASUR, a move that would deal a serious blow to the union’s mission of advancing regional independence and cooperation.

No to war. Yes to regional peace, dialogue, and cooperation

The last time President Trump floated the idea of invading Venezuela, his cabinet did not go along. And despite advice from his inner circle not to bring the issue up among regional allies, he did so anyway, and at the time, regional allies baulked at the idea.  But times have changed. With Uribista President Iván Duque at the helm in Colombia, the outcome of any similar deliberation is less certain. To be sure, given the possible catastrophic consequences of a military option for all nations involved, Secretary Mattis might hear some serious reservations from some of his defense counterparts during his South America tour this week. The outcome of these meetings is uncertain. The specter of Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen as well as the insurgencies of the 1980s and 90s in Central America should suggest caution to the interlocutors.

Progressive forces around the world ought not be mere bystanders as the future of the Americas hangs in the balance. It is still possible to resist the spread of perpetual war and a permanent state of exception to the Western Hemisphere. The imposition of necropolitics from the North in the name of democracy and freedom can never gain democratic legitimacy among the sovereign peoples of the Americas. After five hundred years of subjugation and exploitation, millions in the Global South can finally see their way forward toward building a new world, a world in which all human beings can live and grow in community and in harmony with the earth’s ecosystems. Approaching this goal may be a long way off. And in practice, every project will have its limitations and even reversals. But it is ethically impossible for hegemonic consensus to be built around models imposed from outside by the colonizer. The protagonists of economic and social transformation in Venezuela and beyond must be the constituents themselves. It is up to people of the Americas, not Washington, nor the European Union, nor the agents of empire in the OAS, to construct their own models to advance a politics of liberation.


Originally published on Couterpunch.

Demand the Resignation or Expulsion of the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro

September 17, 2018

[ESPANISH VERSION AT THE BOTTOM]

The American Continent

Demands the Resignation or Expulsion of the

Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro

We the undersigned citizens and residents, as well as organizations of the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean, committed to the sovereign equality of our nations, respectful of the democratic institutions of our peoples, and aware of the grave history of foreign military intervention in Latin America, declare our strong rejection of the declarations this week by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro. During his September 14th visit to Cucuta, Colombia, the Secretary General said “with regard to military intervention to overthrow the regime of Nicolas Maduro, I  believe that we should not discard any option.”

It is an extremely serious matter that as a representative of an international body, in theory the custodian of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, who is charged with protecting, as a sacred duty, continental democracy, expresses in such a blatant form the possibility of military intervention against a republic of our Americas.

Luis Almagro, breaking with the impartiality that ought to characterize the office of the Secretary General, a post representing a community of nations with all its political and ideological diversity, has led an extremely partisan, targeted, discriminatory campaign aimed exclusively against the legitimate government, elected at the polls, of President Nicolas Maduro, thereby allying himself in an integral way with the hegemonic policies of the government of the United States towards the continent.

Secretary Almagro has attacked the government of Nicolas Maduro on numerous occasions in terms that denigrate the entire continent and the values of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This is not the first time Almagro has broken with the democratic institutionality of the Americas. On April 3, 2017, Almagro manipulated the Permanent Council of the OAS, using unscrupulous maneuvering to suspend the Presidency of Bolivia for just enough time to appoint the representative of the government of Honduras, an ally of Almagro’s partisan efforts. This was done in an attempt to force a vote of condemnation against the government of President Maduro, an effort that failed to garner the support of the minimum required number of countries.

The reprehensible conduct of Almagro evokes the specter of the historic record of the OAS, during the cold war, when the continental body abandoned its regional spirit and became another arm of the imperialist foreign policy of the United States.

Almagro has never expressed, in similar terms, his denunciation of the grave situation of Honduras, one of the most violent countries on the planet. He responded in a passive manner to the electoral fraud of November 2017, despite the denunciation of serious irregularities by his own observation team of the election that brought Juan Orlando Hernandez to power.

Almagro has also not condemned, with the same force he attacks Venezuela, the government of Mexico, co-responsible for the disappearance of 43 students of Ayotzinapa, and the tens of thousands of persons tortured, disappeared, mutilated and murdered at the hands of state actors and narco-criminals.

Almagro has not raised his voice in the face of the serious state of affairs in Colombia, where more than 7.6 million Colombians have been displaced by civil conflict and 343 social movement leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered since January 2016. Hundreds more continue to receive death threats. The selective indignation of Luis Almagro speaks for itself.

The gravity of the statements of Almagro constitutes a strong moral blow against his own nation’s history. Uruguay, the Secretary’s country of origin, has itself suffered the drama of military intervention, one that brought death and suffering to hundreds of thousands of Uruguayans. The same historic drama took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans during the dictatorships of Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. To call for military intervention in Venezuela is an enormous infamy and reflects a disdain for the very institutionality of the OAS and its Inter-American Democratic Charter.

The Lima Group, despite being allied with the foreign policy of the United States, gave a rare show of independent democratic expression by repudiating Almagro’s declarations. But this Group, some of whose member nation’s face their own serious political and economic challenges, has yet to repudiate the economic sanctions against Venezuela and align itself with the cause of regional peace and cooperation. Nevertheless, this “preoccupation and rejection” by the Lima Group of Almagro’s bellicose statement in Cucuta shows the seriousness of Almagro’s escalating interventionism since he assumed the post of Secretary General of the OAS.

For all the above reasons, the undersigned urge the immediate resignation or expulsion by means of a vote by the member states of the OAS of the present Secretary General, Luis Almagro, for the serious abandonment of his duties, for his repudiation of the democratic values of the continent, for breaking the guidelines of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and for his partisan and intensely adversarial conduct towards the elected government of Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela.

Washington DC, Sep. 17, 2018

To support this initiative write to the following address: AlmagroVeteYa@gmail.com

Firmas/Signatures

Nombre y cargo, o nombre de la organización / Name and title, or organization’s name

Use a star* when organization is for identification only. Usa estrella cuando organizacion es solamente para identificación

  • Comité Ejecutivo del Foro de Sao Paulo en Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia
  • Comité Ejecutivo del Foro de Sao Paulo en New York City, NY
  • Frederick B. Mills, Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State University*
  • William Camacaro Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle-WBAI producer
  • Dr Francisco Dominguez, Middlesex University, London, UK
  • Kevin Zeese, co-director, Popular Resistance
  • Margaret Flowers, co-director, Popular Resistance.
  • Daniel Kovalik, Adjunct Professor of International Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Efia Nwangaza, Founder-Director Malcolm X Center for Self Determination
  • Lee Artz, Director Center for Global Studies Purdue Northwest
  • Arnold Matlin (Rochester Committee on Latin America)
  • Hugo Siles Alvarado, Cochabamba, Former Ambassador from Bolivia to the UN in New York
  • Henry Lowendorf, Co-chair Greater New Haven Peace Council PO Box 3105
  • Claudia Chaufan, MD, PhD Associate Professor York University * Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Canada
  • CINDY SHEEHAN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND HOST OF CINDY SHEEHAN’S SOAPBOX WWW.CINDYSHEEHANSSOAPBOX.BLOGSPOT.COM COORDINATOR OF WOMEN’S MARCH ON THE PENTAGON
  • Tarak Kauff Veterans For Peace Managing Editor Peace In Our Times Executive Committee Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases
  • Roger D. Harris 10 Echo Avenue Corte Madera, CA 94925
  • Stephen Sefton, community worker, Nicaragua
  • Nombre Barbara Moore, Profession, escritora
  • Walter Tillow, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Rick Sterling,  Board President of Task Force on the Americas
  • Nicolas J S Davies Author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.
  • Enrique Hernández-D’Jesús, poeta y fotógrafo venezolano C.I. 3315461
  • Gerardo Renique * City University of New York 
  • Suzanne Ross; International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ)
  • PanAfrica International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal / MOVE
  • arbara Larcom
  • Coordinator, Casa Baltimore/Limay Baltimore, Maryland
  • Fr. Luis Barrios, Ph.D., STM Holyrood Church/ Iglesia Santa Cruz
  • Maria Páez Victor Spokesperson Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle Toronto
  • Angel Concha ca
  • Priscilla Felia Whitestone NY
  • Lisa Makarchuk *Retired Teachers of Ontario
  • Joanna Beltrán Girón, Graduate Student, Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Venceremos Brigade,
  • Fuerza de la Revolucion,
  • Haiti Liberte
  • Emile Schepers, Virginia USA
  • International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
  • Carol I Moeller Costa, Task Force on the Americas* California, USA
  • Tereza Carbajal (Washington DC)
  • Roberto Villarroel
  • Gerald Meyer, Prof. Emeritus Hostos Community College (CUNY)
  • Jose Gregorio Bermudez Soto
  • Eddy Córdova Córcega.  
  • Arelis Meza. Venezuela
  • Reinaldo Sosa. Venezuela
  • Judith Valencia. Venezuela
  • Victor Meza. Venezuela
  • Eliana Meza. Venezuela                                                  
  • Raquel Bonzi Paraguay
  • Ruben Cesar Suarez Frente Amplio Conaicop Uruguay
  • Consejo Nacional e Internacional de la Comunicación Popular
  • Red Contacto Sur- Uruguay
  • Radio Ciudadana 103.3 fm Uruguay
  • Maigualida Rivas. UDO Venezuela
  • Carlos Jesús Almeida Morgado. República Bolivariana de Venezuela.
  • Enny Pulgar-Venezolana residente en Argentina
  • Fernando Rousseau, República Argentina
  • Omar Nabil Nasser. Venezuela
  • Maigualida Rivas. UDO Venezuela
  • Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice-Venezuela Solidarity Campaign -Canada
  • Mobilization Against War and Occupation – Vancouver, Canada
  • Azza Rojbi (Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade-Vancouver)
  • Thomas Davies (Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver)
  • Huáscar Gelacio Guilarte, Venezuela

      

             

EL CONTINENTE AMERICANO

EXIGE LA RENUNCIA O

EXPULSIÓN DEL SECRETARIO GENERAL DE LA OEA,

LUIS ALMAGRO

Los abajo firmantes, ciudadanos y residentes, además de organizaciones de Estados Unidos, Canadá, Latinoamérica y El Caribe, creyentes en la soberanía de nuestras naciones, respetuosos de la institucionalidad democrática de nuestros pueblos, y conscientes de la grave historia de intervencionismo militar en América Latina, declaramos nuestro más enérgico rechazo a las declaraciones de esta última semana del Secretario General de la Organización de Estados Americanos, OEA, Luis Almagro.

Almagro, durante su visita a Colombia el 14 de Septiembre expresó a la prensa que “en cuanto a intervención militar para derrocar el régimen de Nicolás Maduro, creo que no debemos descartar ninguna opción”.

Es gravísimo el hecho de que un representante de un organismo internacional, en teoría custodio de la Carta Democrática Interamericana, que protege de forma sagrada la democracia continental, exprese de forma tan abierta la posibilidad de intervención militar contra una república de nuestra América.

Luis Almagro, rompiendo lo que debiera ser una Secretaría General ecuánime, representante de la comunidad de naciones con toda su diversidad política e ideológica, ha liderado una campaña sesgada, específica, discriminatoria y de forma exclusiva contra el gobierno legítimamente elegido en las urnas del Presidente Nicolás Maduro, aliándose de forma íntegra con la política hegemónica de EEUU hacia el continente.

Almagro se ha expresado en innumerables ocasiones contra el gobierno del Presidente Nicolás Maduro en términos que denigran a todo el continente y a los valores de la Carta Democrática Interamericana. No es primera vez que Almagro rompe con la institucionalidad democrática de las Américas. Almagro manipuló al propio Consejo Permanente de la OEA, quitándole con artimañas la Presidencia del organismo a Bolivia por algunos minutos, para traspasarla a dedo al representante del gobierno de Honduras, aliado de la campaña contra el pueblo de Venezuela, como aconteció el 3 de abril de 2017. Pretendía forzar un voto contra el gobierno del Presidente Maduro, no logrando, ni siquiera el apoyo mínimo de países para una declaración de condena.

La conducta condenable de Almagro ha reactualizado los fantasmas del pasado de la OEA durante la Guerra Fría, cuando el organismo continental abandonó su espíritu regional de naciones y se convirtió en un brazo más de la política exterior imperialista de EEUU.

Almagro nunca se ha expresado en términos similares frente a la grave situación de Honduras, uno de los países más violentos del planeta. Su Secretaría General respondió con pasividad el fraude electoral de 2017, pese a que su propia observación electoral denunció la corrupción que llevó al poder a Juan Orlando Hernández.

Almagro tampoco ha condenado con la misma fuerza con que ataca a Venezuela, al gobierno de México, co-responsable del desaparecimiento de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa, y de cientos de miles de torturados, desaparecidos, mutilados y asesinados, a manos de las fuerzas del Estado y de las bandas narco-criminales.

Almagro no ha levantado la voz frente a la gravísima situación de Colombia, que aún sufre el desplazamiento de millones de colombianos, y el  asesinato de 343 líderes sociales y defensores de derechos humanos desde enero de 2016. Las amenazas siguen contra cientos de activistas. El doble estándar de Luis Almagro habla por sí solo.

La gravedad de los dichos de Almagro es un fuerte golpe moral contra su propia historia nacional. Uruguay, país de origen del Secretario General de la OEA, sufrió por sí mismo el drama de la intervención militar, que trajo muerte y sufrimiento a cientos de miles de uruguayos. El mismo drama histórico engulló las vidas de millones de latinoamericanos en las dictaduras de Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brasil y Bolivia. Llamar a la intervención militar en Venezuela es de una infamia enorme, y refleja el desprecio de Luis Almagro por la propia institucionalidad de la OEA que dirige y de su Carta Democrática Interamericana.

El propio Grupo de Lima, a pesar de ser un aliado de la política exterior de los Estados Unidos, dio una rara muestra de expresión democrática e independencia al repudiar las declaraciones de Almagro. Algunos países miembros de esta coalición enfrentan sus propios desafíos políticos y económicos y aún no repudian las sanciones económicas contra Venezuela. Sin embargo, la “preocupación y rechazo” por parte del Grupo Lima de la declaración belicosa de Almagro en Cúcuta muestra la seriedad del creciente intervencionismo de Almagro desde que asumió el cargo de Secretario General de la OEA.

Por tanto, los abajo firmantes exigimos la renuncia inmediata o la expulsión con los votos de los países miembros de la OEA del actual Secretario General Luis Almagro, por grave abandono de sus funciones, por su repudio a los valores democráticos del continente, por romper los lineamientos de la Carta Democrática Interamericana, y por su conducta sesgada, parcial e intolerante frente al gobierno legítimamente elegido de Nicolás Maduro, Presidente de Venezuela.

Washington DC, 17 de septiembre de 2018

Para apoyar esta iniciativa escribanos a la siguiente dirección: AlmagroVeteYa@gmail.com

The Combat Order Was Given: Santos’ War Against Venezuela

February 16, 2018

War preparations already began.

International media loudly spread the idea that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Latin America and the Caribbean was designed to align the region against Venezuela and pressure Caracas by increasing economic sanctions, but Tillerson was also trying to push the regional leaders to support the United States and Colombia’s intentions of a military aggression against Venezuela. That’s the reason he visited some of his closest allies, including those that have been particularly aggressive against Venezuela. The visit to Jamaica, a close Caribbean ally to the United States, had the aim to attract the smaller countries of the region who have so far firmly resisted all kinds of threats from the United States, pushing them to stop their support for Venezuela. In the political realm, Jamaica was the least important in Tillerson’s trip, but it was the most precious stop in diplomatic terms.

However, the tour main objective, as Tillerson made clear before starting traveling, was to counter Rusia and China increasing influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, expressed in a strong and progressive cooperation agenda. It’s not a coincidence that Tillerson’s trip had taken place almost immediately after the Second Ministerial China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) forum in Santiago de Chile, with the presence of China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi.

Opinion:
US Policy Chief Culprit in Venezuela’s Collapse

In this context, the main strategic objective was Venezuela. In that logic, showing its disdain for the Caribbean countries, Mexico represented the possibility of knowing how much oil could they provide to “buy off” the leaders of those island nations, in order to “free them from the obligation” of receiving Venezuelan oil and to keep trying the diplomatic way towards the Seventh Summit of the Americans, to take place in Lima next April. He traveled with the same goal to Peru, a country where the current president is allied with the former dictator Fujimori’s party. Peru will host the international meeting, which intents to expel Venezuela from the Panamerican system. Argentina was inspected by Tillerson to reaffirm it would take the responsibility of politically conducting the aggression, before the imminent exit of Bachelet and Heraldo, who played that role until now, as the United States are certain that Piñera, his Chancellor Ampuero and the pro-Pinochet cabinet that will take over Chile’s government, are not capable of leading the aggression against Venezuela.

Just as Jamaica was Tillerson’s most important stop in diplomatic terms, Colombia was the most transcendental stop in operative terms for refining the details of the aggression. I point to the evidence.

If we accept Von Clausewitz’ core idea, which says that “war is the extension of politics by other means,” to which Lenin adds “by violent means,” we would have to affirm that the “order was given,” as is said in military terms. From Colombia (could’ve been from Santos or from Tillerson), the opposition received the order to not sign the agreement previously reached with the government in Santo Domingo, having the Dominican President Danilo

Medina and Spanish former Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as witnesses. If we see things that way, we would have to recognize that when Santos, Macri and others say they will not recognize the Venezuelan elections’ outcomes, they are telling the opposition they wouldn’t be recognized even if they won, because war is the only way they know. That’s why the agreement wasn’t signed.

War preparations already began. In Catatumbo, a North of Santander Department region bordering Venezuela, specifically in the Tibu and Tarra communities, illegal armed groups have taken over control of security, without the army, police or state institutions doing anything to avoid it. These terrorist groups seized the opportunity, as the FARC 33 front disappeared from the zone, to operate with complete impunity. In the same department’s Villa del Rosario, the “Los Pelusos” armed group and the self-referred Gaitanist Self-defense of Colombia (AGC) are taking over six neighborhoods (Galan, La Palmita, Pueblito Español, Montevideo, Primero de Mayo and San Jose) of this 90 thousand people city, in which they have been deploying to prepare Venezuela’s invasion, in front of the eyes of the army and Colombia’s authorities.

There is a presence of armed groups in eight of the ten communes that compose the city of Cucuta. Paramilitary has control over areas in Los Patios, Villa del Rosario, San Cayetano, La Parada, Juan Frio, La Uchema, Palo Gordo, Ragonvalia and Puerto Santander under the command of Luis Jesus “Cochas” Escamilla Melo, chief of the Paramilitary Army of the North of Santander (EPN). The Los Rastrojos group also operate in the border city. In Venezuela, the group has a presence in Llano Jorge and San Antonio del Tachira. Despite the people’s call for the national, regional and local government, the authorities suspiciously ignore this obvious violence against the citizens and threat to Venezuela.

Drills have been seen in the US Military bases in Colombia. Also, 415 US Air Force members arrived illegally to Panama, before the government had authorized their presence in the country, as the Panamanian political analyst from Panama Marco A. Gandasegui H. has pointed out before. Also, in June of last year, the military did the Tradewinds 2017 drills in Barbados, less than 1,100 kilometers away from the Venezuelan coast, and the AmazonLog17 drills in the Brazilian Amazon, with troops from Brazil, Colombia and Peru, November last year, only 700 kilometers from the border with Venezuela.

The most elemental theory shows that, independently from the characteristics of a foreign military aggression, the success depends on the existence of an internal front. That’s how it was in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lybia. In Yemen, they didn’t have it and they had to hire war mercenaries. By coincidence, the biggest recruitment came from Chile (from former members of Pinochet’s repressive forces) and Colombia (from members of the several paramilitary groups that operate in Colombia). The problem is that the United States wasn’t able to build that required internal front. Nobody imagines Henry Ramos Allup, Julio Borges or Henrique Capriles commanding troops secretly or from some mountain in the national territory. That’s why they gave Oscar Perez the role the opposition leaders couldn’t assume. Those who were not capable of leading the movement against the government, nor managing a democratic parliament, nor taking a street insurrection to victory, and not even attract a sector of the armed forces for their obscure plans, they would hardly be able to conduct an armed group.

That’s the responsibility the Imperial Chancellor has given to Santos, the Colombian oligarchy and its government. Before, in Obama’s times, he was ordered to make peace with the FARC in order to dismantle one of the only military forces, along with the ELN, that could’ve countered the actions of the paramilitary army protected by Uribe and Santos.

However, the show began before Tillerson’s arrival to Bogota: already in November last year, Lorenzo Mendoza was in that city. A month after, the former prosecutor Luisa Ortega, her husband, someone called Ferrer, the “union leader” Marcela Maspero and the “magistrates” sent by Ramos Allup and Borges, that wander around the world looking for something to do and how to survive, reunited also in Bogota before New Year’s Eve to try to find legal foundations for the invasion. A month later, well-known people from Venezuelan opposition traveled to Bogota and reunited with radical Venezuelan groups in Usaquen, with support from Colombian authorities.

Colombia’s Internal Revenue Service Minister Mauricio Cardenas said again in Davos, Suiza, that the fall of Maduro was inevitable and spoke about the necessity of an economic plan to deal with the situation. This is the same minister that has done nothing to solve his country’s problem of 8 million displaced and relocated people. He also hasn’t provided an answer for the Mocoa city’s reconstruction, the capital of Putumayo department, almost a year after the tragedy that destroyed it.

In that same order, Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, national secretary of the Social Pastoral of Colombia and member of the same political party that makes up the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, who under the command of Cardinal Parolin opposes Pope Francis, is setting his “human aid” for Venezuela plot, without saying anything of the thousand of wayuu children that die from malnutrition on a daily basis, or the hundreds of social and human rights activists that have been murdered in the last weeks in Colombia, the last of which was Temistocles Machado, who moved the country for his leadership and loyalty towards his community. Also, Henao and his mentor Santos don’t speak about the abuses to Colombians that want to come back to their country from Venezuela, and who are segregated and harmed for confessing also having Venezuelan citizenship.

While Colombia falls apart, with a 10 percent unemployment rate; a virtual education strike in the next days ;and the fall of the Chirajara bridge (even though it was awarded with the national engineering prize) that no one will speak about, in spite of the 9 innocent Colombian citizens that died on the accident, because it was built by Coviandes, a company belonging to the richest person in the Colombia Carlos Sarmiento Angulo; and while a high, high ranking officer (so high people say that if he falls, the whole country will shake) protects himself cowardly in his armor after a rape accusation against him by a renowned journalist, Santos is worried about Venezuela.

The truth is his party is gone, he has no candidate and doesn’t know what he’s going to do to guarantee impunity at the brink of disaster… or he knows: he hopes to clean his sins directing the attack to Venezuela and seeking redemption from the north. He has until August 10. We must stop it, the Venezuelan people will stop it!

From Caracas Urgent –Promote this information.

August 5, 2017
We are currently in Caracas Venezuela, despite all the threats, and attacks of the empire and his poor puppet-Donald Trump. Life does not stop, yesterday in the popular area of San Agustin there was a celebration of several hours until dawn. People were celebrating La Constituyente Ya, People were dancing and singing la Constituyente YA. Here I’m posting three interviews I am also posting a series of photos on the installation of the constituent assembly a huge popular party.
The videos are by me and Rosana Silva
Pictures by Rosana Silva
Please use the photos and videos
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