We Mustn’t Back Another Us-Led Regime Change In Latin America

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro
AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

By Chris Williamson for Portside – THE silly season is well and truly in full swing with Britain’s big media obsessing about Venezuela and using it as another proxy war against Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories have been fanning the flames and a handful of New Labour diehards have jumped onto the bandwagon to demand that the Labour leader condemn Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Jeremy is on record supporting the Bolivarian revolution that started with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998. The Chavez administration secured colossal improvements in living standards in the intervening years up to his untimely death on March 5 2013. Oil revenues were used as a solidarity tool to address the hideous inequality that afflicted the country after years of neoliberal fundamentalism. This saw a massive investment programme in healthcare, housing and free education, enabling poor Venezuelans to access decent housing, healthcare, medicines and subsidised food for those in need. It also resulted in large numbers of jobs being created in the public sector, giving people the dignity of work in secure employment. Consequently, poverty was slashed, infant mortality was substantially reduced and, according to Unesco, Venezuela eliminated illiteracy in 2005. This spending on education empowered people and facilitated grassroots political participation.

When Washington Decides Democracy Is Dangerous: Stoking Opposition In Venezuela And Syria

A Venezuelan protester holds a poster that reads in Spanish “Against Imperialist aggression, respect Venezuela” during a protest outside the National Assembly in Caracas Venezuela. (AP/Howard Yanes)

By Ramiro S. Fúnez for Mint Press News – QUITO (Analysis)– If you’ve been following international news in recent years, you know that two countries, in particular, have served as punching bags for establishment pundits: Venezuela and Syria. Sure, other countries on mainstream media’s target list — including Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — have also been persistently bombarded with hit pieces. But then these sovereign nations have alwaysbeen under attack since declaring their independence from Washington’s imperialist grip. What distinguishes recent corporate news attacks against Venezuela and Syria from media treatment of the countries mentioned above, however, is the role of their respective Western-backed opposition “movements.” Claiming to fight for “democracy” and “freedom,” protesters from both countries have participated in violent actions aimed at overthrowing their democratically-elected governments — Venezuela since 2014 and Syria since 2011. This hasn’t been the case, at least in recent years, in Russia, China, Cuba, Iran and the DPRK. In Venezuela, right-wing opposition groups have attempted to topple the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela. They hope to follow the path of Brazil and Argentina, where social programs for the poor have been slashed and neoliberal austerity reigns.

Latin America Rejects Trump’s Military Threat Against Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro speaking to National Constituent Assembly, Aug. 10 , 2017. By

By Brian Ellsworth and Mitra Taj for Reuters. After months of attacking Venezuela’s unpopular President Nicolas Maduro, Latin America came out strongly against U.S. threats of military action against the crisis-hit nation. U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise comments on Friday may bring the beleaguered Maduro some respite in the region, just as Venezuela was on verge of becoming a pariah over its recent installation of a legislative superbody, widely condemned as a power grab by the ruling Socialists. Following Trump’s assertion that military intervention in Venezuela was an option, Maduro’s critics are caught between backing the idea of a foreign invasion of Venezuela or supporting a president they call a dictator. The sudden escalation of Washington’s response to Venezuela’s crisis preceded U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to the region beginning Sunday. He is set to visit Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Panama. Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino on Friday disparaged Trump’s warning as “craziness” and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Saturday Venezuela rejected “hostile” threats, calling on Latin America to unite against Washington.

Signs Of Stoking A Civil War In Venezuela Continue

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By Fabiola Sanchez for AP News – CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Pro- and anti-government factions dug themselves further into their trenches Monday amid Venezuela’s deepening political crisis, with each side staking a claim to the powers granted them by dueling national assemblies. The new chief prosecutor who replaced an outspoken government critic outlined plans for restructuring the Public Ministry, while the opposition-controlled National Assembly vowed to continue meeting at the stately legislative palace — a short walk across a plaza from where the all-powerful constitutional assembly is expected to hold its next meeting Tuesday. National Assembly president Julio Borges told fellow lawmakers they should keep an active presence in the building despite threats from the new assembly to swiftly strip them of any authority and lock up key leaders. Borges called the building, with its gold cupola, the “symbol of popular sovereignty.” “We are a testament to the fight for democracy,” he said at a meeting cobbled together amid mounting uncertainty about the legislature’s future. “It should be known this assembly was true to its mandate.” In theory, both the National Assembly and the pro-government constitutional assembly can rule simultaneously, but the new super body created through a July 30 election that drew international condemnation has the authority to trump any other branch of government — and Venezuela’s leaders have promised to do just that.

Newsletter: Policies For The People

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Political economist C. J. Polychroniou recently interviewed David M. Kotz, author of “The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism,” about the transition in the US from a regulated capitalism instituted under FDR that protected workers and the vulnerable to some extent to a financialized global neoliberal capitalism that started in the 1970s. Under neoliberalism, the rich got richer while protections for workers in the form of unions and and the vulnerable in the form of a social safety net were dismantled. In addition, the environmental impacts of industry and fossil fuels are barely considered despite the reality of climate change. Neoliberalism crashed in 2008 and has remained in a crisis state ever since with a stagnating economy, growing wealth divide and political turmoil. Crises are turning points.

Will US Regime Change Operations In Venezuela Create A Civil War?

Andreas Lehner/ Flickr

By Staff of Morning Star – RECENT comments show the CIA is still working for regime change in Venezuela and encouraging the right-wing governments of Mexico and Colombia to do the same. In a Q&A session at the Aspen Institute think tank, CIA director Mike Pompeo said he was “hopeful that there can be transition in Venezuela” and that he had recently been in Mexico City and Bogota “talking about this very issue, trying to help them understand the things they might do so that they can get a better outcome for their part of the world and our part of the world.” The remarks — which are strongly suggestive of collaboration between the CIA and the governments of Mexico and Colombia to remove the elected President of Venezuela — have been condemned by supporters of Venezuela both at home and abroad. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, in a televised interview, denounced the comments and called for explanations from the Mexican and Colombian governments. In a meeting with reporters in Washington, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada accused the CIA of a secret operation “to split up a democratically elected government,” and Venezuelan charge d’affaires Carlos Ron said: “What this group is trying to do with Venezuela is basically divide the government, recognise other leaders and foment a conflict with the Venezuelans. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

Venezuela Elections: Resurgent Chavismo And “Unrecognised” Democracy

Voting queues in the Caracas Poliedro, where residents from the neighbourhoods in Eastern Caracas that have been plagued by violent opposition protests voted (photo by Gregorio Terán, AVN)

By Ricardo Vaz for Investig’Action – After weeks of imperialist threats and opposition violence, the elections for the Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Venezuela took place on July 30th. The result was a massive turnout of over 8 million voters, around 41% of the electorate, which gave chavismo a much-needed shot in the arm. The western media reacted by trying to dispute the number and sticking even closer to the narrative being pushed by the opposition and the US State Department. With the opposition scrambling and US authorities bringing more sanctions and threats, it is now chavismo that has the political initiative. The Constituent Assembly will not solve everything by itself, but it is a tremendous opportunity to push the Bolivarian Revolution forward. A tale of two elections . On July 16th the Venezuelan opposition held a “consultation” in which it called on its supporters to symbolically reject the Constituent Assembly, appeal for military coup and support a so-called “national unity” government.

Trump Is Not The Venezuelan Supreme Court

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By Joe Emersberger for Venezuela Analysis – The Trump administration has threatened Venezuela with economic sanctions if the government proceeds with a vote to elect a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution – the Venezuelan constitution that is. Venezuela is not about to rewrite the U.S. Constitution or some other country’s constitution. That clarification is necessary because the Trump administration and other governments (Canada, Colombia etc..) seem to have collectively appointed themselves the Supreme Court of Venezuela. It should also be noted that Venezuelan opposition leaders have effectively been imposing economic sanctions on their own country for quite some time. Since winning control over the National Assembly in 2015, Henry Ramos Allup and Julio Borges (who have each been National Assembly President) have boasted of blocking Venezuela’s access to foreign loans. According to the opposition-aligned pollster, Datanalisis, 55% of Venezuelans disapprove of that opposition tactic and only 31.7% approve. As for the sanctions Trump has threatened, 65% are opposed and only 26% are in favour. Unsurprisingly, people living through a major economic crisis tend not to be in favor of deliberately making it worse.

Is Talk Of Civil War In Venezuela A Signal For Direction Of US Regime Change Operations

Andreas Lehner/ Flickr

By Staff of Moon of Alabama – On Sunday Venezuela will hold an general election of participants of a constitutional assembly. Half of the representatives will be elected from regular electoral districts. The other half will be elected from and by eight special constituencies like “workers”, “farmers”, “employers”, etc. The second part may be unusual but is no less democratic than the U.S. system which gives voters in rural states more weight than city dwellers. The new assembly will formulate changes to the current constitution. Those changes will be decided on in another general vote. It is likely that the outcome will reinforce the favorite policies of a great majority of the people and of the social-democratic government under President Manduro. The more wealthy part of the population as well as the foreign lobbies and governments have tried to prevent or sabotage the upcoming election. The U.S. has used various economic pressure points against the Venezuelan government including economic warfare with ever increasing sanctions. The opposition has held violent street rallies, attacked government institutions and supporters and called for general strikes. But the NYT propaganda pictures of opposition rallies in the capitol Caracas show only small crowds of dozens to a few hundred of often violent youth.

The Guardian’s Propaganda On Venezuela: All You Need To Know

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By Ricardo Vaz for Off Guardian – With the Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented. WHAT IS HAPPENING ON 30 JULY? To be fair to the Guardian, there is one almost-informative paragraph, where the electoral procedure is explained. In a previous article the Guardian stated that […]election rules appear designed to guarantee a majority for the government even though it has minority popular support” instead of presenting said electoral rules and letting the reader decide if they are so designed. This time they do present the rules, only omitting to say that everyone not currently holding public office can run for a seat. But then the Guardian brings in the propaganda artillery to ensure the reader’s conclusions do not stray too far off from those of the State Department.

CIA Says They Are Working With Mexico & Colombia To Overthrow Venezuela

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By Staff of Tele Sur – The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has demanded the governments of Colombia and Mexico respond to allegations that they are working with the CIA to overthrow the Venezuelan government. In a televised interview, Maduro said, “The director of the CIA has said, ‘The CIA and the U.S. government work in direct collaboration with the Mexican government and the Colombian government to overthrow the constitutional government in Venezuela and to intervene in our beloved Venezuela.’” “I demand the government of Mexico and the government of Colombia to properly clarify the declarations from the CIA and I will make political and diplomatic decisions accordingly before this audacity,” he added. The comments come after CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed the United States is advising Mexico and Colombia on developments in Venezuela.

Venezuelan Opposition Now Opposes The People

A pro-government supporter wears a T-Shirt with image of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, as he waits for results during congressional elections in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

By María Páez Victor for Counter Punch – The leaders of the violent protests -that for 3 months have violated the peace of Venezuelans- are the very same who in 2002 supported the coup d’etat against President Chávez. During those tense 48 hours, one of the very first things they did was to abolish the Constitution of 1999: the one they now purport to defend. During 18 years, the opposition has denigrated the Constitution. So intense has been this revolt against it that even after winning the majority at the National Assembly they insisted the government was illegitimate, ignored the rule of law, disregarded sentences of the Supreme Court, refused to legislate, and declared the main purpose of the Assembly was to “get rid of Maduro”. These paragons are now pretending to be arbiters of democracy and opposing any constitutional amendment by an elected Constitutional Assembly. They are now opposing, not the government, but the people themselves. The day of reckoning has come. The opposition orchestrated economic sabotage, corporate smuggling, black market currency manipulations, full scale hoarding of food and essential products. They closed highways, burned public buildings including a packed maternity hospital, from a helicopter dropped grenades on to the Supreme Court offices, have assaulted, lynched and even burned alive young men of dark skin “who looked Chavista”.

US Occupation Has Already Begun And Is Being Conducted By ExxonMobil

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By Staff of Mission Verdad – According to Gulf Oil & Gas, Dutch oil holding company SBM Offshore NV has been granted a contract awarded by ExxonMobil, a U.S. company that owns 45 percent of the Stabroek Block located on the Atlantic front of the Essequibo through its subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited Atlantic, where the rich deposits of Liza-1 and Liza-2 were found. The CEO of the Dutch holding company Bruno Chabas commented on the contract, “We are proud that ExxonMobil has awarded the Liza contracts to SBM Offshore. Liza, the offshore field in Guyana, is one of the major oil discoveries in the industry over the past decade.” However, this contract is not the first by ExxonMobil to accelerate its plans for oil and gas extraction in the territory claimed by Venezuela. In May, a subsidiary of the Italian oil company ENI named Saipem, took over the rights to carry out “the engineering, acquisition, construction, installation of associated bands, structures and bridges” to Liza-1, according to the World Oil website. Recently teleSUR, citing the U.S. Geological Survey, informed that the area concentrated in the “Liza Project” is the second largest untapped oil fields in the world. With this latest contract awarded, ExxonMobil seeks to produce 120,000 barrels of oil and 170 million cubic feet of natural gas, with a storage capacity of 1.6 million barrels of crude oil.

Venezuelan Opposition Electoral Stunt Backfires, Shows Their Weakness

Andreas Lehner/ Flickr

By Ricardo Vaz for Counter Punch – The opposition “plebiscite”, or “referendum”, which in reality was nothing more than a non-binding “consultation” without any legal status, was predicted as a major political earthquake that would instantly change the country’s landscape. Maria Corina Machado, one of the most extreme opposition leaders, likened it to the destruction of the Berlin wall, Mandela being elected or the toppling of Saddam Hussein (no subtlety there!). The process would have been laughed into oblivion had it taken place anywhere else. No electoral records were used, expired documents were accepted and there was nothing stopping people from voting more than once. There was no monitoring and in the end all the evidence was burned, so no audit was possible. As for the ballot, it had 3 questions to be answered yes/no: whether people rejected the upcoming Constituent Assembly, whether they called the armed forces to intervene (i.e. a coup) and whether all public powers should be renewed, free and fair elections held, and a national unity government formed to restore order. (1) The final result of 7,186,170 votes falls short of the opposition’s total in the 2015 legislative elections, and unlike what Henrique Capriles says, it would not be enough to recall Maduro, who received 7,587,579 votes in the 2013 presidential election, even with all the manipulation of figures (2).

Venezuela Votes: Will The World’s Media Ever Get It Right?

US AID and Venezuela protest photo Reuters

By Staff of Tele Sur – International coverage entirely ignores Sunday’s demonstration of support for a Constituent Assembly. Did you hear the one about a practice election in Venezuela, where millions of people lined up from early morning until late at night, just to cast their vote in a dry run poll that meant absolutely nothing at all? Except to express support for another election in two weeks time? Actually, it’s not a joke. It did happen. On Sunday. Video shows them singing and dancing as they waited to test voting machines and see how the election of a new Constituent Assembly on July 30 will work. But you probably never heard about it. Because the world’s media, pretty much without exception, concentrated almost exclusively on the other vote happening in Venezuela on Sunday, an informal plebiscite held by the opposition, with no constitutional status, to oppose that Constituent Assembly. So let’s just look at the quality media. The New York Times for example — you remember: “All the news that’s fit to print.” Well, maybe not ALL of it …