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.

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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
In Solidarity from Caracas-Venezuela

After Venezuela’s Election, U.S. And Allies Turn Up Heat – A Coup Could Be Ahead

What The Media Isn’t Telling You About The Jailing Of Opposition Leaders In Venezuela

Sat 7/22: Urgent Action agst NY Times Collab. w/US govt attacks on Venezuela

July 18, 2017

JOIN US ON SATURDAY, JULY 22 TO PROTEST THE NEW YORK TIMES AS A COLLABORATOR WITH THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT! 
WHEN:   SAT., JULY 22ND, 3:30 TO 6:00 PM
  
WHERE:  GATHER AT TIMES SQUARE – Broadway & W. 44th St., Manhattan FROM THERE, MARCH TO THE NY Times Building 620 8th Ave btw. W. 40th St. & W. 41st St.
 
Two days ago Venezuela received three threats in this order.
“ The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” 
-Malcolm X
 
The New York Times has been A MAJOR force FOR REGIME CHANGE IN VENEZUELA.  THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA IN THE U.S. HAS FREQUENTLY collaborated with THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S domination plans in Latin America and around the planet. 

The mainstream media in the US was able to justify, through a lie perpetrated again and again, an invasion of Iraq,  with consequences that led to the death of a million people, the destruction of a country’s effective infrastructure, and the displacement of millions of people.  
  
The wars which the United States has WAGED with unconditional support from the mainstream media have generated innumerable humanitarian crises on the planet. 
CURRENTLY, The United States seeks to interfere in the ORGANIZATION OF A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY IN VENEZUELA SCHEDULED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR JULY 30TH.  THIS CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY REPRESENTS AN ADVANCE FOR DEMOCRACY AND POPULAR POWER IN VENEZUELA! 

Stop the economic warfare! 

Stop right wing terrorism! 

Stop the undeclared economic blockade to Venezuela! 

Respect to Venezuela’s sovereignty! 

YES TO DEMOCRACY!  NO TO INTERVENTION! 

IN DEFENSE OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY!  La Constituyente VA! 


This action will counter the accelerating conservative and liberal propaganda campaign in the United States against Nicolas Maduro’s government. Washington’s and corporate media’s campaign accompanies deepening ongoing violent actions and destabilization campaigns against the Venezuelan economy and finances aimed at overturning the Bolivarian government. This has included not only violence and assassinations inside Venezuela directed against “Chavista” civilians, as well as soldiers and police, but also violent assaults and attacks inside the United States against Venezuelan diplomats, representatives, and civilians by opponents of the Maduro government who are living and operating in the United States. 


Come and demonstrate your solidarity with the people of Venezuela who are under constant attack by terrorist groups financed by the US. 


The mainstream media have never denounced: 
  • The killing of more than 300 peasants  
  • The April 11, 2002 coup against President Chavez
  • The paramilitary presence in the violent protests against the government
  • The millions of dollars donated from the State Department to the Venezuelan opposition
  • The lynching and terrorist attacks of the Venezuelan opposition “PEACEFUL PROTESTERS” financed by US government agencies.
Article that we recommend about the current situation in Venezuela:
 
 
 
 
More Information: cbalbertolovera@gmail.com
 
Sponsors/Endorsers: 
Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle NYC; International Action Center; Answer Coalition; International Concerned Family and Friends
 of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ); United National Anti-war Coalition; Workers World Party; Cuba Solidarity; International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity; FMLN NY, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Bayan

WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN VENEZUELA-TIPS

June 11, 2017

WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN VENEZUELA

Since early April this year, Venezuelans have been suffering the consequences of violent street protests, resulting in more than 60 deaths, hundreds more injured and millions of dollars in value in the destruction of public and private property. We are deeply sorry for the death of so many people, both civilians and law enforcement agents. Media reporting on this situation, however, has been strongly biased, with news outlets falsely depicting Venezuela as a country in state of economic collapse and at war, where peaceful protesters are violently repressed by a dictatorial government. Here are the facts:

  1. PROTESTS ARE NOT PEACEFUL:

Protesters marching against the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro are very often far from peaceful and come equipped with home-made weapons, Molotov cocktails, bazookas, ammunitions, explosives, stones as well as firearms, which they use against the forces of law and order. Opposition demonstrators have set government buildings on fire, vandalized and destroyed public and private property, looted and burned hundreds of small shops and have even perpetrated attacks against two maternity hospitals which they tried to set on fire. In the case of the Hugo Chavez Maternity Hospital, the three-hour attack by opposition armed thugs gravely endangered the lives of 54 babies, mothers in labour, nurses, doctors and patients all of who had to be evacuated. A few weeks ago some of the most violent opposition demonstrators started to throw human and animal excrements at the forces of law and order. There is no need to mention the danger of all kinds of diseases erupting in a tropical climate with streets full of excrements and in a delicate health situation due to the increased appearance of the Zika virus. Only a few weeks ago Venezuelan opposition supporters attacked Venezuela’s Diplomatic Mission in Spain, asking publicly on social media for Venezuelan ambassadors to end up like the former Russian Ambassador in Turkey, Andrei Karlov, who was assassinated in Ankara last year. In fact, also a few weeks ago, our Consulate in the Caribbean island of Bonaire was attacked by sympathizers of the Venezuelan opposition who unlawfully entered the premises of the diplomatic mission and vandalized equipment and materials, in clear violation of international law. Unfortunately, similar incidents have also taken place in many other Venezuelan diplomatic missions worldwide. Worse still, opposition armed thugs have thus far set two people on fire, one of whom, Orlando Figuera (22) was brutally beaten, doused with gasoline and then set on fire, he suffered 80% burning of his body and died on June 5. Disgracefully there has been scant reporting in the mainstream media (MSM) on the hundreds of instances of highly visible opposition horrific violence and wanton destruction despite the fact that world media outlets have hundreds of correspondents and journalistic teams based in Venezuela itself. And most MSM reporting on violence is falsely attributed to government repression. It is difficult not to draw the conclusion that MSM avoids telling the truth about opposition violence and destruction because it contradicts their false narrative that the protests are about ‘beleaguered democrats’ fighting against an increasingly ‘authoritarian government.

  1. NO POLITICAL PRISONERS:

In Venezuela people have been arrested because they have committed criminal acts, causing violence in the streets leading to the death of dozens of people and putting many lives at risk, not because of their political position. This is the case in most countries. In the United States, the U.S. Code (Title 18 Crimes and Criminal Procedure) punishes any person participating in any action construed as rioting carries the penalty of 5 years in prison (Ch. 102), and any action construed as sedition to bring about “regime change”, that is advocating overthrow of the government (Ch.115) carries the penalty of 20 years in prison. If to these crimes we add the list of offences committed by the opposition armed thugs since the current wave of violence began in April 2017 and about which there is irrefutable evidence, period in which they committed crimes such as arson (Ch.5), assault Ch.7), civil disorder (Ch.12), importation, manufacture, distribution and storage of explosive material (Ch.40), illegal importation, distribution and use of firearms (Ch.44), terrorism defined as violent acts intended to intimidate or coerce the civilian population (Ch.113B), carry penalties from 5 to 20 years in prison. Since the armed thugs deployed by the opposition have perpetrated all the crimes listed above, had they carried them out in U.S. territory and had they been applied US legislation (Chapters in brackets) they would be facing prison sentences ranging from 5 years to several decades in prison.[1]

The US Code (Title 18 Crimes and Criminal Procedure) specifies with total clarity what rioting is:

“…a public disturbance involving (1) an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons, which act or acts shall constitute a clear and present danger of, or shall result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual or (2) a threat or threats of the commission of an act or acts of violence by one or more persons part of an assemblage of three or more persons having, individually or collectively, the ability of immediate execution of such threat or threats, where the performance of the threatened act or acts of violence would constitute a clear and present danger of, or would result in, damage or injury to the property of any other person or to the person of any other individual.

As used in this chapter, the term “to incite a riot”, or “to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot”, includes, but is not limited to, urging or instigating other persons to riot, but shall not be deemed to mean the mere oral or written (1) advocacy of ideas or (2) expression of belief, not involving advocacy of any act or acts of violence or assertion of the rightness of, or the right to commit, any such act or acts.”

 

Of the over 60 persons who have lost their lives so far, only seven deaths have been attributed to government authorities, and those responsible have been charged and currently face prosecution. The full list of fatal victims of the wave of violence is as follows:

 

14 during lootings eight of whom died electrocuted when they intended to loot a bakery in El Valle; one died during another looting when the owner shot him dead; and the owner of a small restaurant was killed by the looters;
9 in street barricades most of whom died when trying to cross them leading to their vehicles overturning and/or were confronted by violent armed demonstrators who were guarding the barricades;
7 by law and order officers the culprits have been identified, all have been arrested and all face prosecution; 29 is the total number of officers arrested for these deaths;
3 shot by firearms arms fired by criminal gangs
2 by lynching a retired lieutenant of the Bolivarian national Guard and a young man who was participating in opposition demonstrations was set on fire alive and died due to 80% of body burning
1 health condition a person could not get to an emergency health centre due to the street blockade installed by armed opposition gangs
1 in a fight among members of a gang in a barricade;
17 passers by who had no connection whatsoever with either opposition protests or government demonstrations – one of them, Almelina Carrillo, was killed by being hit in the head by a bottle containing frozen water thrown from a building by opposition lawyer Hugo Trejo;
3 members of the law & order forces one of them was shot dead by a sniper, the other two were brutally killed by opposition protesters
24 persons have died in unclear circumstances and are still under investigation – six of these have died by being hit with ball bearings fired from “metras’, home made guns, used by opposition protesters; two of them would be passers by; two more would have died by the action of the forces of law and order.[2]

 

The Venezuelan authorities are doing everything in their power to investigate those deaths and charge the perpetrators, regardless of their political allegiance.

In this context it is important to point out one more time that Leopoldo Lopez is not a political prisoner. He was indicted and has been charged for publicly instigating violence, asking protestors to use non-peaceful means in order to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro, and about which there is irrefutable public evidence. And Henrique Capriles, was charged and banned from public office because of illicit administrative practices during his tenure as a governor of the Miranda state, not because of his role as an opposition leader.

  1. FOOD SHORTAGES

Food shortages in Venezuela are not due to the fact that Venezuela has run out of financial means. Just about a month ago Venezuela repaid US$2.7 billion on its debt. Food and medical shortages are created artificially by the blocking of opposition-controlled production and distribution channels. Evidence for Economic Warfare has been collected by numerous academics. Their research is available at http://www.15yultimo.com/.[3] The economic war that was unleashed against Venezuela in around 2012 has the following components:

  • Hoarding of basic foodstuffs and items of basic necessities including medicines
  • Gigantic operations of contraband of foodstuffs, items of basic necessities and gasoline to Colombia to take advantage of the massive exchange rate differential thus selling them at several times their Venezuelan, heavily-subsidised, prices
  • Currency speculation taking advantage of the Bolivar’s low exchange rate which occurs on a large scale principally in the municipality of Cucuta, across the border in Colombia
  • Catastrophic fall of the oil price brought about deliberately as a geopolitical weapon aimed at crushing the economies or Russia, Iran and Venezuela (in 2008 the world price of oil was US$148 the barrel, by 2016 had fallen below US$28 the barrel, in consequence the Venezuelan government lost about 85% of its revenues in hard currency)
  • International financial blockade of Venezuela thus seeking to make it impossible for our nation to obtain credits in the international financial market.

All of these aspects of the economic war against Venezuela take place in a highly unfavourable world context for commodity-producing nations because they were all hit very hard by the world “credit crunch” which has also affected the advanced economies most of whom went into acute crises. In short, most of the economic difficulties Venezuela faces are either domestically induced or externally generated.

On top of this, last month Julio Borges, head of the Venezuelan parliament, sent more than a dozen letters to major banks asking them not to carry out transactions with the Venezuelan government. The financial blockade is a central component on the ongoing economic war against our country. The strategy to artificially create a situation where basic foodstuffs and medicines are in short supply is not new. The same happened to Chile in the early seventies, where economic warfare was one of the many dirty methods used to oust the democratically elected government of the socialist President Salvador Allende. In spite of the intensity of the ongoing economic warfare against Venezuela, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has declared Venezuela a country where the percentage of undernourished persons, relative to the whole population, was less than 5 % during the years 2014-2016 (the same percentage as in Western Europe), that is, though there problems, there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

  1. POSTPONEMENT OF REGIONAL ELECTIONS:

Postponement of the regional elections has been falsely portrayed as a government “strategy” to suppress elections altogether. In reality, the main reason for the postponement was to give smaller parties the chance to comply with all legal requirements necessary (first and foremost the 0,5 % signature threshold) in order to participate in elections, as indicated in the “Law on Political Parties, Public Assemblies and Demonstrations” (Title I, Chapter III, Article 26). Nonetheless, on 23 May, the National Electoral Council (CNE) set 10 December 2017 as the date for regional elections in Venezuela. Yet, despite the fact the Venezuela’s right wing opposition has unleashed the current wave of violence on the false argument that elections have been totally suppressed in Venezuela, instead of welcoming the CNE announcement of regional elections in Dec 2017 as a victory, they have instead rejected it and have strongly hinted that they would boycott these elections (something they also did to their detriment in 2005). In other words, we confront an opposition that does not believe in democracy.

It is important to stress here that the 19 elections held throughout the last 17 years, have all been declared as completely transparent, free and fair by the Carter Centre, the Organization of American States, European Union observers and other international election observers.

  1. WHY HAS THERE NOT BEEN A RECALL REFERENDUM?

The answer is simple: according to the Venezuelan Constitution, a recall referendum needs to be carried out before half-term of the leader who may be recalled from office (Arts 72 and 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution). Opposition parties had not presented the signatures necessary for the referendum before half-term (July 2016). Carrying out a recall referendum after that deadline would be unconstitutional, just like calling general elections outside the period established in our Constitution would be unlawful. Venezuela is the only country in the world that can recall elected representatives at every level.

  1. SEPARATION OF POWERS DOES EXIST IN VENEZUELA

Separation of powers in Venezuela exists within the framework of the principles stipulated in the 1999 Constitution, as it is the case in most countries. The best example of this has been the recent debate about the Supreme Court (TSJ) on the National Assembly, after stating that Parliament remained in contempt of Supreme Court previous rulings. The opposition-led National Assembly repeatedly refused to process ordinary, uncontroversial but above all constitutional initiatives from the government, such as investment decisions, financing of infrastructure projects, and so forth. The Supreme Court made a ruling to itself approve such Executive initiatives from there on. Venezuela’s Attorney General disagreed on the grounds that it might contravene some principles of the Constitution. Faced with a divergence that emerged among two key state bodies – normal in any nation, which conclusively confirms the independence of all state bodies – the matter was resolved through a discussion in the appropriate body, the Defence Council of the State.

  1. VENEZUELA LEAVING THE OAS

The General Secretary of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, has violated the fundamental principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of its member states, acting against a number of articles of the OAS Charter. Almagro’s almost daily statements against he government of Venezuela have no precedent even in the murky story of the OAS. Every single such statement by Almagro on Venezuela breaks not only the sacred principle of non interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation but they also scandalously contravenes the OAS own Charter which in its Article 1, stipulates that The Organization of American States has no powers other than those expressly conferred upon it by this Charter, none of whose provisions authorizes it to intervene in matters that are within the internal jurisdiction of the Member States.” Despite repeated attempts by the OAS Secretary General to apply the Democratic Charter against Venezuela and suspend it from the OAS, this has failed. It is important to stress here that the OAS has never taken the decision to apply the Democratic Charter to Venezuela as Almagro and many media keep falsely asserting. Furthermore, none of Luis Almagro’s pronouncements against the government of Venezuela have ever got the endorsement of the OAS, of any of its bodies or the OAS Permanent Council (though there are some governments in the region that do share Almagro’s views on Venezuela, notably Brazil’s Temer golpista government). Nevertheless, working hand in hand with the Venezuelan opposition and the US government, Secretary Almagro has abused his role in order to help create an impression of Venezuela as a failed state and put pressure on other countries to do so as well, with the explicit intention to bring about external intervention. Such development has no precedent in the history of OAS. His actions have prompted calls for resignation by Chilean legislators, the Bolivian Foreign Ministry and progressive social movements in the region, such as the Salvadorian Network in Solidarity with Venezuela.

  1. US ILLEGAL FINANCING OF VENEZUELA’S OPPOSITION: ‘REGIME CHANGE’

As part of her research, Eva Golinger, an American solicitor, has revealed that between 2002 and at least 2014, the US Government has channelled around 120 million US dollars to finance Venezuelan opposition parties and organizations[4]. This flow of money represents a violation of the Political Sovereignty and National Self-Determination Act of 2010 that bans foreign funding of political groups in the country. The US Government has sent this funding to Venezuelan opposition groups mainly through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and USAID, all of which have worked closely with the CIA to bring about “regime change” in Venezuela. The spirit of this huge influx of resources was confirmed by President Obama’s Executive Order of 9 March 2015, and renewed a year later, which falsely declares Venezuela to be “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”. If you bring this funding to the US scale it would amount to a hostile foreign power channelling the equivalent of US$6.4 billion to bring about regime change.

  1. FIGHT AGAINST ILLICIT DRUGS:

Venezuela is not a drug-producing country, but it unfortunately sits between the world’s largest cocaine producer, Colombia, and the world’s largest cocaine consumer, the United States. This  is why it always had and still has to fight illicit trafficking as well as  international narco-mafias within its borders. Venezuela has developed a comprehensive strategy to fight illicit drugs through international cooperation, the implementation of measures to reduce domestic consumption, the interception of illegal drug shipments, the destruction of clandestine airstrips, border monitoring measures and the detention and extradition of drug traffickers. Between 2008 and 2012 alone, 102 drug lords were captured and arrested. Twenty-one of them were promptly deported to the US and 36 to Colombia, at the requests made by the authorities of these countries and in compliance with international agreements on the fight against organized crime. The firm determination to combat international drug trafficking mafias led President Nicolas Maduro to enact a law in 2012 enabling the interdiction of any drug-trafficking aircraft violating Venezuelan airspace. Thanks to this legal instrument, Venezuela has destroyed, disabled or brought down over 100 aircraft belonging to the drug transporting structure of Colombia and other countries illegally flying over our territory. In fact, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDC) recognises these efforts in their World Drug Report of 2015 stating that

In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, cocaine seizures decreased to 20.5 tons in 2013 (from 27.6 tons in 2012). According to authorities in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the country remains a transit point for cocaine, particularly cocaine trafficked by air in private aircraft, but newly introduced legislative changes related to air traffic control have decreased the entry and exit of uncontrolled aircraft, which has led to a decrease in drug trafficking by air (54).

  1. WHY SO MANY FAKE NEWS ABOUT VENEZUELA?

Ever since President Chavez passed away in 2013 and, even more openly, since the opposition won a parliamentary majority in 2015, Venezuela’s opposition has tried to oust the democratically elected government of Venezuela, explicitly stating that their aim as to “get rid” of President Maduro within six months, no matter how. As it was clear by the end of 2016 they had failed to do so whether by legal or violent means, so they have adopted an international strategy. Their plan is to create the impression that chaos reigns in the country so as to justify and bring about external intervention. With the overwhelming majority of the media in opposition hands, and with the enthusiastic support of the world corporate media, a campaign of intoxicating proportions has been waged daily against the Venezuelan government. This strategy has already been tried in the past, with the help of the US government, as evidenced in declassified papers.

In spite of all these years of economic warfare, financial blockades, media and psychological warfare against the government of Nicolas Maduro, we have managed to build 1.7 million heavily subsidised houses in the last three years. More than 1 million people have been lifted from illiteracy and the number of people receiving pensions and students has increased fourfold.

So as to respond to the food shortages resulting from the ongoing “economic war” waged against our government, in March 2016, the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAPs) were established. CLAPs distribute food packs filled with the most important Venezuelan staples such as pasta, rice, flour, edible oil, coffee, butter, canned food or salt at a fair price. According to the research institute Hinterlaces, 60 % of all Venezuelans believe that CLAP is the right way to deal with the economic crisis in Venezuela. So far, the 30.000 CLAPs in Venezuela are distributing food packs to about 6 million households. Even the opposition admits that the CLAPs are working effectively and that they have helped ease social tensions. According to Datanalisis, 50 % of Venezuela’s population receives products through the CLAPs. In addition, in 2016 the government created three new ministries commissioned to address the current food shortages in Venezuela: The Ministry for Agricultural Production and Lands, the Ministry of Fishing and Aquaculture as well as the Ministry for Urban Agriculture. The latter in particular is expected by 2020 to satisfy the needs of more than 3 million people through urban gardens, urban parcels, productive courtyards, organoponics vegetable gardens and urban greenhouses.

  1. US FOREING POLICY TOWARDS VENEZUELA

It is well known that practically since 1999, US foreign policy towards the Bolivarian government of Venezuela has been informed by (a) an intense hostility originating and (b) its very existence is as an “anomaly” to be reversed as soon as possible. Thus, the US since 1999 has been centrally involved in every single seditious effort to overthrow the democratically elected and legitimate government of Venezuela, notably in the April 2002 short-lived coup d’état. That is, for 18 years US foreign policy has sought to eradicate lock, stock and barrel, what it considers the anomaly of the Bolivarian government and its policies.

This US framework did not change one iota even when there was a wave of progressive governments that came to office in Latin America shifting the whole region sharply to the left thus historically producing the biggest gains in social progress, expansion of democracy and strengthening of national sovereignty, with millions being taken out of poverty and many more millions being economically, politically, socially and culturally included in their nations. In other words, the Bolivarian “anomaly” spread like wildfire throughout the continent. US foreign policy makers instead of reshaping policy to take stock of the new context seeking to minimise ruptures by adopting a constructive attitude to the emerging geopolitical reality, the change towards Cuba notwithstanding, it launched itself into a vigorous policy of destabilization and “regime change” on a continental scale which targeted Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, but the emphasis was Venezuela where the destabilization intensity was and continues to be the highest.

Following years of open hostility especially during G.W. Bush’s presidencies, it reached its zenith when president Obama issued the infamous Executive Order declaring Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” in 2015 which he renewed in 2016, and that under president Trump has taken the form of sanctions against Venezuela officials accused of drug trafficking without bothering to produce any evidence whatsoever. Worse, the US SOUTHCOM has made very threatening statements talking about a “compelling” need to intervene in Venezuela.

President Trump and the US extreme right have massively intensified their aggression against the Venezuelan government, but despite that President Maduro insists on seeking dialogue and good, normal relations with the US. Likewise, President insists on seeking a dialogue with Venezuela’s right wing opposition. In other words, Venezuela wants nothing more than

 

  1. Demand full respect for international law and unconditional support for our right to self-determination and sovereignty
  2. The rejection of any form of interference in our internal matters, especially from the US, international law ought to be respected
  3. The condemnation of any form of violence and of any illegal, violent and unconstitutional means to topple the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro.
  4. And together with UNASUR, the Vatican, the three former presidents and the various countries that have formally joined the process, support dialogue and peace
  5. Any existing difference or disagreement that may exist between Venezuela and the US to be addressed and ideally resolve through constructive engagement and diplomacy
  6. HOW BIG IS THE WAVE OF VIOLENCE?

Opposition protests are taking place in less than 1% of the Venezuelan territory. The majority of the Venezuelan people wants to live in peace and has grown tired of the ongoing protests, which make their life even more difficult. Polls persistently show that well over 80% reject the right wing opposition’s wanton violence. The Venezuelan government has insisted all along on dialogue and has reached out to include Pope Francis as well as the former Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in the discussions. Recently, President Maduro, invoking Arts 347, 348 and 349 of the Constitution, has announced a Constituent Assembly to modify the 1999 Constitution so as to unlock the current political impasse and bring about peace. Although fully in line with our laws, this act has falsely been called a “coup d’état” by opposition leaders, who since 2013 have continually campaigned for a Constituent Assembly even collecting signatures for it. It is puzzling they quietly dropped the proposal when Art 348 states that it can also be called by “15% of the voters registered with the Civil and Electoral Registry”, something they could easily achieve. The Venezuelan government will continue to act fully line with the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999 and asks you to respect and support its efforts for peace and dialogue. Furthermore, Venezuela’s right wing opposition’s alleged central reason for the current wave of violence was the “cancellation” of the regional elections. The National Electoral Council has just announced they will be held on 10th December 2017 but, true to their undemocratic and seditious nature, all opposition leaders have rejected and have said publicly they oppose these elections in the same way they now violently oppose the Constituent Assembly which they once strongly campaigned for.

 

We are happy to provide more evidence for every single point mentioned above. Please do not hesitate to contact us at cbalbertolovera@gmail.com

[1] All the information comes from the U.S. Code – Unannotated Title 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure – See more at: http://codes.findlaw.com/us/title-18-crimes-and-criminal-procedure/#!tid=NE93D63E2CF2444E4AF661A26F1A907B8  (visited 8th June 2017)

[2] All the information about the list of fatal victims comes from “Lista de fallecidos por las protestas violentas de la oposición venezolana, abril a junio de 2017” Albaciudad 96.3FM, http://albaciudad.org/2017/06/lista-fallecidos-protestas-venezuela-abril-2017/ (visited 8th June 2017)

[3]For a discussion in English, consult Dr. Curcio’s latest book “The visible hand of the market. Economic Warfare in Venezuela”, to be downloaded at: http://www.15yultimo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/THE-VISIBLE-HAND-OF-THE-MARKET.-ECONOMIC-WARFARE-IN-VENEZUELA.-PASQUALINA-CURCIO-C.pdf

[4] http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/25/the-dirty-hand-of-the-national-endowment-for-democracy-in-venezuela/

Right-Wing Terrorism in Venezuela

June 11, 2017

COHA.org

By Frederick B. Mills, Guest Scholar at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, and William Camacaro, Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

One May 20th, the 21 year old vendor from the shanty town of Petare,  Orlando José Figueras, was beaten, stabbed, doused with gasoline and set on fire by opposition militants in the middle class neighborhood of Altamira during an anti-government demonstration reportedly because they took him for a Chavista or a thief. This atrocity has sent tremors throughout the popular barrios and raised the profile of terrorism from the right in Venezuela. The horrific scene was captured on video and by professional photographer, Marco Bello, and described in testimonies of the victim and his parents. Other demonstrators at the scene reportedly urged the attackers not to kill Figueras as he pleaded for his life.  What happened to Figueras, who has lived to tell his story, is impossible to ignore, and it casts light on the hatred and savagery of some radical and extremist supporters of the opposition in Venezuela.

This hostility did not emerge overnight. An intensifying rhetoric aimed at vilifying and stigmatizing  all Chavistas, often mixed with racism and bigotry, has motivated a growing number of hate crimes and assaults as well as the destruction of symbols of Chavismo. This destruction is manifest in recent vandalizing of government buildings; the Hospital Materno Infantil Hugo Chávez (Hugo Chavez Maternity Hospital); a fleet of buses, and the humble house of a Chavista artisan in the state of Merida. There have even been a number of cases recently where Chavistas, their family members, and perceived sympathizers have been harassed by opposition supporters in the U.S., Italy, Spain, and Australia.

Since some of the anti-government violence and road blocks occur in opposition governed municipalities, in too many cases with impunity, eight mayors have been served notice by Venezuela’s Supreme Court to restore order in accord with their legal obligations. There is also growing pressure on a reluctant Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, whose allegiance to the government appears to be wavering, to vigorously investigate, and where appropriate prosecute, all of these crimes.

Despite the political polarization that has gripped Venezuela, hatred and violence does not garner broad support in this Bolivarian Republic. According to an April 2017 Hinterlaces poll, 80% of Venezuelans are “in disagreement” with the violent demonstrations and guarimbas [street disturbances] as instruments of protest. Most Venezuelans want peace and support talks between the opposition and the government.

Generalizing about either the opposition or Chavismo will inevitably distort the complex political landscape in Venezuela. The opposition to the Maduro administration includes a diversity of political orientations, from extreme right to social democrat and many of the opposition parties come under the umbrella of the United Democratic Roundtable (MUD). There are also a number of dissident groups on the left, including ones that consider themselves Chavista, but unlike the MUD, none of those groups are appealing for U.S. intervention to advance their agendas.

Most anti-government demonstrators are expressing their dissent peacefully and have legitimate concerns and demands. Many in the opposition argue that the government is undemocratic and corrupt, and that the security forces repress lawful protest. The Maduro administration argues that it is fighting corruption; that there is a U.S. backed coup underway in Venezuela; and that security forces are dealing not only with lawful demonstrations, but also with various levels of anti-government violence, including hate crimes, sabotage, barricades, destruction of property, sniper fire, and armed attacks on police and Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), some of which have been lethal. In the midst of these challenges, Chavistas are still able to mobilize sizable peaceful demonstrations, such as the ones on Venezuelan Independence Day (April 19), and on May 1, to defend national sovereignty and the Bolivarian project.

Some of those in the front lines of anti-government street disturbances are minors, equipped with expensive gas masks and helmets, shields, and at times, Molotov cocktails and homemade weapons. In some middle class municipalities governed by MUD politicians, there is growing impatience among residents for having to suffer the indignity of being ruled by masked children and youth, while oftentimes police look the other way. In such communities these one time “heroes of the resistance” have worn out their welcome. The government has described  these children as victims and delivered a report to UNICEF on May 25th documenting violations of the laws that protect children from exploitation.

Government officials in Venezuela reported the arrests of six paramilitaries from Colombia in the state of Tachira last week, who are allegedly contracted by radical right-wing opponents of the government. These claims deserve some serious investigation by an independent body rather than being derisively dismissed as unworthy of consideration. This is critically important because these ultra right-wing elements arguably aim at terrorizing the general population, exacerbating the economic crisis, and ultimately creating sufficient chaos in Venezuela so as to legitimate a so called “humanitarian” intervention by the United States. If this is the case, the Venezuelan people ought to be commended, even at this late date, for not releasing the dogs of war on a large scale. Venezuelans want peace.

Venezuela Analysis (VA) keeps track, on a daily basis, of the causes of recent deaths in Venezuela.  In a recent summary, VA reports:

“The latest killing brings the death toll in seven weeks of anti-government protests to at least 55, including eight confirmed deaths at the hands of authorities and eighteen people killed by opposition violence. The Public Prosecution has confirmed that at least 972 people have been injured in the unrest to date.

The protests have likewise seen widespread attacks on public and private property, including 115 businesses looted nationwide, reports Últimas Noticias.

In the latest incident of public property destruction, Bolivar state Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez has confirmed that 54 public-operated TransBolivar buses were set on fire early Monday morning, leaving 51 of the units totally destroyed.” (Lucas Koerner, May 22, 2017; see update)

All such violence and killings, incontestably,  ought to draw indignation. A number of police and GNBpersonnel have been arrested and charged with crimes by Venezuelan authorities for violations of human rights, including homicide. These abuses are widely reported as should all violations of human rights, including those caused by opposition political violence.

With regard to the MUD’s bid to enter popular barrios to recruit for their cause, The MUD is not likely to get significant traction.  Despite the severe economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by an economic war reminiscent of the tactics used to bring down Salvador Allende, Chavistas and most social movements have not jumped on the MUD train and have defended their neighborhoods from the entrance of opposition militants. The image of Figueras on fire; the assassination of the young Chavista legislator Robert Serra and his wife (October 2014); and the historic memory of the Caracazo (February 1989) are all vivid reminders of the fate that could await Chavistas under a MUD “transition”.

Hate crimes, and the terrorist violence of paramilitaries and the ultra right, as well as the presence of so many children in the ranks of opposition militants at the barricades, is not just a problem for Venezuelans; it could soon pose a political problem for Washington and its allies in the OAS, which justify their blatantinterventionism in the name of human rights and democratic values. As Patricio Zamorano points out, Secretary Luis Almagro’s extreme partisanship on behalf of the Venezuelan opposition has not only (deliberately or not)  given the green light to hard liners within the opposition camp;  it has also undermined talks being promoted by Pope Francis. Almagro now has the infamous distinction in the region of severely damaging the institutional legitimacy of the OAS in order to do Washington’s bidding.

The State Department views Venezuela as an obstacle to the rehabilitation of United States hegemony in the region and it sees the OAS as an instrument for imposing its agenda. There is no mystery over this. In an unusual display of candor,  the State Department, in its Congressional Budget Justification for FY 2018, states:

“The Organization of American States (OAS) promotes U.S. political and economic interests in the Western Hemisphere by countering the influence of anti-U.S. countries such as Venezuela and by promoting free and fair elections and building international support for the peace accord in Colombia and rebuilding efforts in Haiti.“ (p. 180)

The OAS ought to take issue with such a statement and insist that the organization should be promoting the “political and economic interests” of all the member states in the spirit of new regional organizations that have worked overtime to buttress the region against an excess of U.S. manipulation.

Such manipulation and meddling is obvious in the case of Venezuela. Obama’s executive order declaring Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”; targeted sanctions against the government; funding for opposition organizations; as well as recent meetings between opposition leaders and U.S. officials; have provided the opposition with the confidence to stay the course for nothing less than regime change without delay.  Ironically, the MUD rejects the regional elections scheduled for December 10, 2017 for which it previously had been clamoring; repudiates the constituent assembly process; demands the release of “political prisoners”; and refuses talks with the Maduro administration mediated by Pope Francis and supported by the UN, CARICOM and other regional partners, as well as the majority of Venezuelans.

It is urgently important to condemn not only abuses by security forces, but also the selective assassinations and hate crimes against Chavistas.  The MUD leadership’s failure so far to denounce all terrorist violence and to completely repudiate the use of children at the barricades, as well as the continued reluctance of some opposition mayors to act to restore public order in their municipalities, is not consistent with a principled stand on human rights.  Although so far anti-government violence is limited to a few parts of the country, attempts at plunging this South American nation into chaos in order to justify foreign intervention ought to set off alarm bells for all progressive forces.

By Frederick B. Mills, Guest Scholar at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, and William Camacaro, Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Featured Image: Fifty-four public buses were torched in Ciudad Guyana on May 22. Taken from: @TransBolivar

Venezuelan Revolutionaries Demand ‘Truly Communal State’

May 13, 2017

 

Puebla, Mexico, May 13, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas this week to rally in support of the country’s commune movement.

Socialist revolutionaries from across the country joined the march, calling on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to endorse a proposal to provide constitutional recognition of communes. Currently, the commune movement has broad legal recognition, but isn’t included in the country’s constitution. However, commune supporters are optimistic that could soon change, with Maduro recently calling for constitutional reform.

“The commune is the essence of the people,” said Frank Corrales from the Guerrero JiraJara Socialist Commune.

Speaking to Venezuelanalysis during a rally on Tuesday, Corrales said, “We know what we really need [and] … it is in us to truly prepare, from the grassroots, the transformation of this state into a truly communal state.”

“We have to keep transforming the state, into a socialist state, where the largest possible amount of happiness is brought to all of the people. The commune or nothing!” he said.

Venezuela currently has around 1500 communes and 45,000 communal councils nationwide, with members numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Supporters say these communes are organised through direct democracy, with the backing of the Maduro administration.

To find out more, check out the video below.

DEFEAT THE COUP AGAINST THE BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC

May 13, 2017

An open letter to the people, from the Communist Party of Venezuela

To our compatriot Nicolas Maduro, President of the Republic; to the working class and working people of the city and countryside; to the patriotic officers, classes, and soldiers of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces; to the national leadership and militancy of the political parties and popular organisations of the Great Patriotic Pole, including the United Socialist Party.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela finds itself threatened yet again by acts of political violence from sectors of the extreme right as part of the execution of a destabilising plan elaborated by North American imperialism.

This plan has as its objective the imposition through force and blackmail of a government which would work to maintain US hegemony throughout the continent, taking apart the processes of national liberation which begun across Latin America at the start of this century, and turning back progressive advances which have allowed the working class and the people in general to establish rights and social advances which were historically denied them by governments which responded absolutely to the interests of the bourgeoisie, which in itself acted as a subordinate to North American imperialism.

On this occasion the aggressive escalation against our people by those actors of the oligarchy and extreme right is much greater.

Apart from the anti-popular violent acts resulting in the creation of shortages and the high cost of living, terrorist acts have been seen in various cities across the country in recent weeks.

These acts have been accompanied by a national and international propaganda war which looks to sew confusion and instigate confrontation between nations, creating a state of chaos and violence which only favours a bloody resolution of the political crisis, be it through a coup or a direct intervention by North American imperialism and the international institutions at its beck and call.

The Venezuelan extreme right, following instructions from US imperialism and with its direct financing, does not control itself in its crimes of violence and provocation.

With such objectives in mind, the pro-US right are pressuring military officers with diverse forces of blackmail and manipulation.

We call on the patriotic soldiers and officers to not cede to these unpatriotic terrorists and to take up the cause of the defence of our national sovereignty and our independence and the security of our people without hesitation and with complete commitment.

For us, the Venezuelan communists, it is clear that what is happening is the sharpening of the class struggle in its political form — the heightening of the struggle for power. The forces which represent the interests of European and North American great monopoly capital are attempting to take over control of Venezuela and all Latin America by defeating and vanquishing the social and political sectors which offer resistance to such objectives.

In light of the dangerous terrorist escalation, which is putting our national sovereignty, independence, and the gains of the working people at risk, we call for a unified, forceful, and coherent response. It is necessary to mobilise without delay the widest possible anti-imperialist alliance to defeat the anti-democratic terrorist plans.

We urgently need the central government, the parties of the Great Patriotic Pole, the forces of the popular and working-class movement, and the patriotic command of the armed forces to work together.

It is necessary to develop a popular and patriotic plan to defeat the pro-imperialist and terrorist extreme right. To not do so would be to act with irresponsibility and, in reality, to hand oneself over without a fight.

The true revolutionaries do not hand ourselves over, we fight united until we succeed.

The Venezuelan working class needs that the sectors of the petit-bourgeoisie which currently hold hegemonic power in the national executive, the other powers of state and parties of government, immediately abandon all sectarian and selfish conduct which has only weakened the Bolivarian process and effectively works in favour of the enemies’ plans.

The Communist Party of Venezuela has insisted for many years for the need for a collective and unified national leadership of this Bolivarian process of changes, but the petit-bourgeoisie groupings which have exercised hegemonic control over the government have not paid attention to these calls and proposals.

Hence, in the current context we insist on unity of action of all the political and social forces willing to defend the nation against the imperialist enemy and their puppets.

However also, in the context of a wavering and inconsequent petit-bourgeoisie in power, we call upon the most conscientious and combative sectors of the popular and workers’ movements, the peasantry, the middle strata, the revolutionary intellectuals and the patriotic officers to forge a block of forces which will lead the wide patriotic and anti-imperialist alliance so as to halt the seditious plans of the pro-US right and also so as to displace the reformist-appeasement sectors which, from positions of government, tend to favour the sectors of the big bourgeoisie and form pacts with social democratic elements of the right wing.

Only an ample, popular unity, led by the organised and conscientious working class can guarantee the defence of the Bolivarian nation and the deepening of the revolutionary changes towards the real construction of socialism on scientific and committed foundations.

Peace is won by defeating fascism.

Protest Against the State Department’s Hitman: The General Secretary of the OAS, Luis Almagro.

May 11, 2017

Please join us to protest Luis Almagro who has become a serious problem for peace in the region. Luis Almagro is an agent of the State Department, who works for the armaments industry complex of this nation and whose goal is to subject the peoples of the Americas to the boots of the Pentagon.

When:

Wednesday May 17 @ 11:30 AM to 3:00PM

Where:

Americas Society Council of the Americas 680 (bet. 68th & 69th St.)Park Avenue New York, NY

Why

 Secretary General of the OAS Luis Almagro is a Threat to Peace in Venezuela

Despite the massive abuse of human rights in Honduras, Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico the Secretary General appears to be singularly focused on bringing about regime change in Venezuela. Moreover, Almagro now appears willing to facilitate a slide towards civil war and imperial intervention in Venezuela even though U.S. military intervention would be catastrophic and deal a serious blow to regional independence.

The situation is volatile. Colombian paramilitaries have been infiltrating the country and there has already been a deadly confrontation with Bolivarian security forces. At the same time, the ultra right inside Venezuela is engaging in mounting selective assassinations and acts of terrorism and sabotage. The right wing coalition of political parties (MUD) now refuses all dialog and is set on the path of confrontation. The large majority of Venezuelans, however, want peace.

On May 6, the head of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, met in Washington with Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster. On May 9, the opposition voice Lilian Tintori called for a military coup. On the same day Secretary Almagro, spoke, via video conference, to the Venezuelan National Assembly. He declared that “Venezuela is a dictatorship” and that Maduro’s call for a constituent assembly was “undemocratic” as if it were up to the Secretary General instead of Venezuelan citizens to decide such issues.

The US—Almagro campaign for regime change has further polarized the politics in Venezuela. Each call by Almagro over the past year to invoke the democratic charter against Venezuela or suspend this nation from the OAS has only emboldened the right wing opposition to take a hard line. It is no surprise then, that the opposition now refuses all dialog with the government, has called for early presidential elections, rejects the constituent assembly, and refuses to rein in the ultra right’s terrorism unleashed on the streets.  The US-Almagro strategy is to bring a “quick” solution to the conflict.  They know that the longer it takes to bring down the government, the more likely the popular sectors will buy into the constituent assembly process and join the resistance to a US backed right wing coup.

Almagro is now fully exposed as a hypocrite and lackey of US power. He cannot be a friend of peace while countenancing assassinations and the burning of public buildings. He cannot be an effective advocate of democracy by brandishing the threat of North American aggression as political leverage. He cannot consistently champion the Venezuelan constitution and call for early presidential elections. If he really wants to help Venezuela in this moment of crisis, Almagro should call on Washington to repeal Obama’s executive order declaring Venezuela an extraordinary threat to the national security of the United States and he should insist that the opposition join Vatican mediated talks.

To endorse this action: cbalbertolovera@gmail.com

Bolivarian Circle Alberto Lovera NY, International Action Center, Worker World Party, Cuba Solidarity New York, Alianza Pais, Libre Resistencia Hondureña, Pastor for Peace, International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, The Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee, International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity, Fuerza de la Revolución, December 12th Movement, SOUTH ASIAN FUND FOR EDUCATION,SCHOLARSHIP AND TRAINING (SAFEST).


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