Sunday, February 24, 2019

Don’t fall for Trump’s lies about Venezuela 
By Walter Smolarek 
Feb 22, 2019

People...are being hit with an avalanche of propaganda about Venezuela and the government of President Nicolás Maduro. This happens in the run up to every U.S. war. The tactic is to psychologically prepare people to accept the coming aggression by connecting it to a noble cause. The information war always precedes the real war.

The ANSWER Coalition has issued an anti-war call to action — based on opposition to the U.S.-backed coup, sanctions and war — which allows people with varying opinions of the Venezuelan government to find the necessary points of unity to take action together. The PSL agrees that this is the correct approach for building the movement. With that said, we think it is critical to challenge the mass media’s depiction of the Venezuelan government.

That demonization is constant — led by Donald Trump, Mike Pence, John Bolton and Marco Rubio and then echoed by the “opposition” like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, CNN and the New York Times. It is repeated so often that it has an impact even on progressive people who are against a new war. In opposing a coup or intervention, many will quickly add “of course I don’t support Maduro” who is “dictatorial,” “corrupt,” and “undemocratic” or “has mismanaged the economy.” But is this really true, or is it just propaganda of the war-makers themselves?

President Nicolás Maduro at a rally in support of the Bolivarian Revolution on Feb. 2, 2019. Photo: Prensa Presidencial

Is Maduro a ‘dictator’?

If President Maduro is a dictator, why has he allowed large demonstrations to take place on a regular basis calling for his ouster, promoted by huge private media corporations? Does a dictatorship allow 11 opposition partiesto take part in elections, as happened in the most recent vote the country held last December?

Even the U.S.-backed coup leader Juan Guaidó, who pronounced himself president and every day calls for the military to mutiny and for a hostile foreign power to intervene, is free to travel around the capital city giving speeches and holding meetings as part of his campaign to overthrow the government.

Is the electoral system fraudulent?

Venezuela has had 24 elections since Chavez was first elected in 1998. International observer missions have long verified the electoral system as free, fair and top-notch. The right-wing opposition even won some of these elections and didn’t claim fraud then! The system is unchanged since then. The claim of electoral fraud has not been backed by evidence; it has been made precisely because the opposition could not find a way to dislodge the governing socialist party and President Maduro.

What about the images of violence on the streets?

Opposition protests large and small take place all the time in Venezuela without incident. Following Maduro’s first election in 2013, right-wing forces initiated a series of riots called “guarimbas” in 2014 that claimed 43 lives. The majority of the 43 people killed were bystanders or others who were targeted by the rioters, including nine members of the police or national guard. They set up barricades and barbed wire to close off intersections and whole neighborhoods, and commit horrific violence against those who stood in their way.

Elvis Rafael Durán was one of their victims. His father Luis recalled two years after his death, “On [my son’s] way home he crashed into a barbed wire that was hanging across the boulevard and he was decapitated. … If these people hadn’t called for these violent acts, none of this would have happened. My son would not have lost his life.” In 2014, an opposition demonstration marched on a government agency that provides free housing to the poor and attempted to burn down the building, which included a nursery filled with children!

The opposition revived these tactics in 2017 with renewed brutality and with their extreme white supremacy on full display. One of their victims was a young Afro-Venezuelan named Orlando Figuera, who was stabbed multiple times, then doused with gasoline and burned alive.

The riots were aimed at escalating the conflict with Venezuela’s government to give the image of instability or provoke the sort of repression which could usher in an international intervention. Any government would punish the perpetrators of such violence. One opposition “freedom fighter” celebrated by U.S. politicians like Marco Rubio was Oscar Perez, who was killed in a shootout while being arrested. His crime? He had hijacked a helicopter and dropped grenades on the Venezuelan Supreme Court.

Despite all this, the government has cracked down on police excesses. After violent anti-government protests in late 2016, for example, seven police officers were arrested and charged with “violations of fundamental rights.” In 2014, a police officer was charged with the murder of an opposition protester despite the fact that he was surrounded and being pelted with rocks. Maduro’s interior minister defended the officer’s arrest, saying, “We will be relentless in the application of justice and the law.”

Are opposition leaders being arrested?

The right-wing leaders who were arrested and jailed, like Leopoldo Lopez, Freddy Guevara and David Smolansky, were those who organized and encouraged this violent movement. They were not arrested because of their beliefs. This is who the U.S. considers “political prisoners.” Opposition parties and leaders, drawing on huge sums from the country’s upper class and U.S. agencies, continue to organize and agitate openly. One such opposition leader Henri Falcon ran in the 2018 presidential election and received 2 million votes (just under 20 percent). He accepted his defeat to Maduro.

What about the removal of opposition parties?

Some of the opposition parties that boycotted the last few elections have been de-listed by the government. That is true, but hardly a scandal. In most states in the United States too, a third party is only on the ballot if it reaches a certain threshold in votes in the last election, and if it fails to do so it has to start from scratch.

Did Maduro ‘ruin the economy’?

The country is in the midst of a serious economic crisis. But laying the blame on Maduro ignores both the causes of the crisis and the government’s response.

The main reason for the economic problems is the historic collapse of the price of oil that began in 2014. For the last 100 years, Venezuela has depended on oil almost exclusively to fund its national budget and acquire foreign currency earnings. The Bolivarian Revolution has led to enormous social progress since Hugo Chavez’s election in 1998, but it has not yet been able to overcome this legacy of foreign domination, a difficult task that few countries have been able to accomplish.

The price of oil reached a peak of more than $105 per barrel in June 2014 and then fell dramatically to under $35 in February 2016.

This has been greatly exacerbated by U.S. sanctions against the industry that has now turned into a full-blown blockade, which Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton estimates will cost Venezuela about $30 million a day. At the urging of the United States in late 2017, Belgian financial services firm Euroclear froze $1.65 billion of Venezuelan public funds — including $450 million of cash! — that the government was attempting to use to purchase food and medicine. 

In January, the Bank of England essentially plundered $1.2 billion worth of Venezuelan gold that the government had deposited with them, announcing that they would only allow the coup leader Guaidó to access the assets. This is pure colonial looting.

Is the economic crisis because of socialism?

While the Bolivarian Revolution and Venezuelan government have declared that their project is to build socialism and have made major strides in that direction, the vast majority of the economy is still in the hands of capitalists. The private sector controls 50 percent of production and distribution of food, 80 percent of personal hygiene items, 70 percent of pharmaceutical items, and 80 percent of clothes and shoes.

Venezuela exists in a global order dominated by hostile capitalist classes, to whom it has to sell its exports, such as oil, and from whom it has to import goods as wide-ranging as food to technology and spare parts. Even the state-owned and nationalized enterprises have to operate by the rules of those foreign corporations, banks and creditors. All this creates a large toolkit for the forces of capitalism — not socialism — to sabotage, extort and undermine Venezuela’s economic development.

What about the inflation?

In 2003, Hugo Chávez instituted currency exchange controls to keep the Venezuelan elite from taking their money out of the country and its banks, exchanging it for dollars, which would leave the country broke and collapse its currency. Only certain amounts of currency could be exchanged for dollars and it had to go through government approved institutions.

This led to an underground exchange of currency that widened over time. When oil prices collapsed, the government could have done what the governments of the rich do: cut off all social programs, sell off government assets to private investors, and let the poor fend for themselves and starve. Instead, the government continued to finance these programs and import food and medicine with its dwindling foreign currency reserves. The government tried to issue debt to investors to stabilize its finances, like so many others do, but U.S. sanctions and a pullout by international capital limited this. In response, the Maduro government printed more money to import needed food and technology (for the people). This increased inflationary pressures, however.

There is also considerable evidence that suggests the U.S. Federal Reserve devalued Venezuelan currency at various moments for political reasons. Meanwhile, privately run websites like DolarToday, publishes wildly inflated estimates of the “true” value of the Venezuelan currency relative to the U.S. dollar. DolarToday is run by Gustavo Díaz, a former Venezuelan military officer who participated in the failed 2002 coup. This constitutes a form of psychological warfare constantly throwing workers and businesses into doubt about the real value of their wages and products. With each exchange rate spike, stores increased their prices, but, fearing future instability, did not then lower prices in equal measure when the exchange rate declined. This too accelerated inflation.

Meanwhile, private distributors and importers hoarded goods to inflate their costs and deepen the social crisis. State-subsidized and price-controlled goods (such as gasoline) have been pilfered into the underground market and resold at huge profits at the Colombian border. For instance, one raid conducted by security forces in 2015 uncovered a stockpile of 176,000 liters of gasoline, 1,260 liters of vehicle oil, 2,000 cases of beer, two tons of sugar, three tons of rice, a half ton of cooking oil and nearly 15 tons of other essential food goods.

Altogether these factors created a crisis of confidence in the currency as a whole. Mistakes and mismanagement are of course part of the problem — as the government has always declared — but at its core Venezuela has been punished by international capitalism for continuing to prioritize the needs of the poor throughout this economic downturn and against the sanctions.

Is the government letting people starve?

No. Six million families now benefit from a new initiative called Local Committees for Supply and Production that directly distributes packages of essential food and other consumer goods on a regular basis to those who are most affected by inflation.

The Venezuelan government has repeatedly raised the minimum wage to try and make up for inflationary pressures. Other steps include making the metro transportation system of Caracas, although already affordable, completely free so people can go to work and school unimpeded by finances.

Are all the country’s resources being stolen by the Venezuelan leadership, as the U.S. government claims?

There is of course bureaucratic corruption in Venezuela, as the government readily admits, and as there is in many countries. But in the face of this crisis, the Venezuelan government has focused on defending the living standards of poor and working people. In 2016, during the collapse of oil prices, the Venezuelan government allocated 73 percent of its budget to social programs.

In 2017, Maduro announced a new program aimed at guaranteeing jobs to young people called Chamba Juvenil. Nearly 200,000 youths enrolled in the program. Venezuelan youth, especially those historically excluded from higher education because of poverty, now enjoy free education and real opportunity, thanks to 45 public universities and colleges that have been created in 20 years of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Perhaps the Maduro government’s most impressive social program is the Grand Housing Mission Venezuela, an initiative to give free or nearly free homes to every Venezuelan who is in need of dignified housing. At the beginning of this year, the Housing Mission reached a new milestone: 2.5 million new homes constructed and distributed to the people. Taking an average family size of four, this means one-third of Venezuela’s 30 million people benefiting from the program. Imagine the U.S. government — which is far richer — providing homes to 100 million poor people!

What about the medical shortages?

Venezuela’s constitution guarantees the right to medical care, and more than 20,000 Cuban doctors and nurses provide free care to the population. With Cuban-Venezuelan cooperation, thousands of Venezuelans have been trained to become the new generation of doctors.

But these health gains have been threatened by U.S. sanctions and even right-wing violence targeting these facilities and doctors. In 2018, Venezuela’s purchase order of five major medical shipments was blocked by U.S. banks under government order. The year’s vaccination program for children was delayed for five months, and the country’s 60,000-plus diabetics were denied insulin, again because of U.S. sanctions.

Why is the Maduro government blocking ‘humanitarian aid’?

The United Nations and Red Cross have both declared that the “aid” at the Colombian border does not meet the definition of humanitarian, which has to be neutral, apolitical and requested by the receiving country. Why would Venezuela allow the very countries that have looted its resources and treasury to now pretend to be for “humanitarian aid”? It rightly views this as political theater to try and humiliate the government in the media and provoke it into a military conflict.

Venezuela has not rejected aid from its international friends. Venezuelan Health Minister Carlos Alvarado announced last week the arrival of 933 tons of medicines and medical supplies from China, Cuba, and the Pan American Health Organization. Earlier this week, President Maduro announced that 300 tons of Russian aid is scheduled to arrive soon. This is more than 10 times the amount being “offered” by USAID, whose director has been giving militant speeches calling for regime change in Venezuela.


There is no need to bow before the lies about Venezuela from Trump, Bolton or Senator Marco Rubio. There is a reason that the Maduro government continues to enjoy its widest support among the country’s poor and working class, even though they have been hit hardest by the economic crisis. Millions see that the government and United Socialist Party has consistently tried to make society more just, equal, participatory and independent — and that is precisely why U.S. imperialism and the country’s oligarchy are trying to strangle it.

The United States Destroys Venezuela’s Economy
By Margaret Kimberley:

“…Sanctions are war by other means, invisible to most eyes…Let the whole world sanction the United States for its continuing aggressions that devastate so many people.

“…Venezuela’s problems were created by the United States government, first during the Obama administration and now continuing under Trump’s. It is sanctions against the Venezuelan government and its people that have created hyperinflation, hunger, and a devastated health care system that was once the envy of that region…

Anyone who claims to be anti-war must also oppose the ongoing horrors visited upon the Venezuelan people. They are suffering and dying because of decisions made by the bipartisan war party. If the left were consistent in its analysis and actions no president would dare to attack Venezuela or any other country in this manner...

Read more:

On March 16the people of the United States will come together to say: 
  • U.S. hands off Venezuela! 
  • NO to the coup — the U.S. does not have the right to select other country’s leaders!
  • NO to the sanctions, oil embargo and economic war on Venezuela that aims to cause suffering for ordinary people in the country.
  • NO to intervention and war from the U.S. and their proxies in the region

  • ANSWER Coalition
  • CodePink
  • Black Alliance for Peace
  • Alliance for Global Justice
  • San Francisco Central Labor Council
  • Popular Resistance
  • Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee
  • Haïti Liberté
  • International Support Haiti Network
  • Popular Education Project
  • Abby Martin, journalist, The Empire Files
  • Dr. Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidate
  • Dr. Jared Ball, Prof. of Communication Studies, Morgan State Univ., imixwhatilike
  • Medea Benjamin, activist and author, CodePink
  • Cindy Sheehan, activist and author, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
  • Berthony Dupont, Director, Haïti Liberté
  • Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, constitutional rights attorney
  • Max Blumenthal, journalist
  • Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace
  • Mike Prysner, Iraq War veteran, producer, The Empire files
  • Dr. George Ciccariello-Maher, author
  • Dr. Anthony Monteiro, Saturday Free School
  • Dr. Jodi Dean, author, Prof. of Political Science, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
  • Gloria La Riva, National Coordinator, Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee
  • Kim Ives, journalist
  • Anoa Changa, host, The Way With Anoa
  • Dan Cohen, journalist and filmmaker
  • Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice
  • Eugene Puryear, Stop Police Terror Project
  • Jeanette Charles, International Solidarity Liaison, Venezuela Analysis
  • Lucas Koerner, Editor and Analyst, Venezuela Analysis
  • Margaret Flowers, Co-Coordinator, Popular Resistance
  • Kevin Zeese, Co-Coordinator, Popular Resistance
  • Dan Kovalik, author and human rights lawyer
  • Mahdi Bray, National Director, American Muslim Alliance (AMA)
  • Brian Becker, National Director, ANSWER Coalition
  • 615 U.S. West Coast Committee
  • Arab Americans for Syria
  • Baltimore Peace Action
  • BAYAN Pacific Northwest
  • Canadian Peace Congress
  • Centro Autónomo de Albany Park, Chicago
  • Chicago ALBA Solidarity
  • Christian Network for Liberation and Equality
  • Clínica Martín-Baró (San Francisco, CA)
  • D19: FNRP/LIBRE, USA-Canada
  • Democratic Socialists of DePauw
  • Eastern Masschusetts Pride at Work, AFL-CIO
  • Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice - Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (Canada)
  • Friends of the Congo
  • Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition
  • Global Women's Strike
  • Green Party of New Jersey
  • Green Party US Peace Action Committee
  • GW Progressive Student Union
  • Int'l Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
  • International Action Center
  • Internationalist Students' Front at GW
  • Jamaica Patriotic Movement
  • Juan Jose Gutierrez, director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition
  • Korean Peace Alliance
  • Labor Fightback Network
  • Malcolm X Center
  • Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) - Vancouver, Canada
  • Monmouth County Green Party
  • Movimiento 26 de Abril-Puerto Rico
  • National Lawyers Guild/L.A.
  • New Mexico Raging Grannies
  • Office of the Americas
  • Peace Action of San Mateo County
  • People United Against Oppression
  • Pittsburgh Anti-Imperialist League
  • Pride at Work, Massachusetts AFL-CIO
  • Puerto Rican Nationalist Party
  • Roofers Local 36
  • Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  • San José Peace and Justice Center
  • Seattle Anti War Coalition
  • Seed the Commons
  • Socialist Coalition of North Georgia
  • Socialist Rifle Association
  • Sri Lanka Peace & Solidarity Council
  • St. Pete for Peace
  • Stop the War Machine
  • Task Force on Americas
  • Tennessee Activist Coalition
  • The Peace House, OKC
  • Unidad Latina en Accion
  • Veterans For Peace
  • Veterans For Peace Chapter 099
  • Veterans For Peace Chapter 89 Nashville
  • Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
  • Washtenaw Reds
  • Wilder Utopia
  • WNC 4 Peace
  • Women In Black Lancaster
  • Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike
  • Coleen Rowley (Apple Valley, Minnesota)
  • Dominic Moulden (Washington, DC)
  • Dr. Henry Clark (Richmond, Ca)
  • Elaine Kinch (Racine, WI)
  • Walter Lippmann (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Alan Minsky, Progressive Democrats of America*
  • Ann Wright, Retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat*
  • Arnold Matlin, Rochester Committee on Latin America*
  • Carolyn/Tom Horvath/Leonhardt, Hope House of Prayer*
  • Corry Hughes, For the People, By the People Indivisible North Country NH*
  • Danilo Udovicki, University of Texas at Austin, associate professor School of Architecture*
  • Dr Eulalia Reyes, Australia - Venezuela Solidarity Network*
  • Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War*
  • Gayle McLaughlin, California Progressive Alliance*
  • Gerry Condon, President, Veterans For Peace*
  • Jim Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus of the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles*
  • John Beacham, Crashing the System Podcast*
  • Johnny Achi, Co-Founder Arab Americans for Syria*
  • Jon Flanders, Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO*
  • Juan José Gutiérrez, Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition*
  • Lucy Pagoada, D19: FNRP/LIBRE, USA-Canada*
  • Madelyn Hoffman, New Jersey Peace Council *
  • Susanna Cooper, Jemez Action Group*
  • Valerie Robinson, Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor*

For more information:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

With later updates  
Venezuela: Victim of brutal sanctions, economic warfare and a media war, for illegal regime change.
Some background reading & videos:


An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: 
Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

UN Human Rights Rapporteur, Alfred De Zayas, explains how criminal US sanctions have asphyxiated Venezuela's economy and prevented crucial access to food and medicine, causing the crisis the US empire is using as the pretext for military intervention. The most repeated myths about Venezuela are debunked. Excellent journalism with factual reporting to repudiate the mainstream 'news' propaganda.

Watch the full episode: 

Five Striking things You Didn’t Know About Venezuela

“The US plan failed to prevent an election, the election was contested and it was fair…”
Ted Snider: “…an election narrative quite different from the one offered by the Venezuelan opposition and its American allies and repeated by the mainstream press emerges when some of the unsupported premises are questioned… 

No one seriously claims that Maduro’s opponent, Henri Falcón, won more votes in the 2018 election. It wasn’t even close… Voter turnout was low because Maduro’s opposition called on its followers not to vote

Maduro had initiated a series of negotiations with the opposition, during which an election date was agreed upon… At the last minute before the agreement was to be signed, the opposition withdrew and refused to sign. But they didn’t do it because they didn’t agree with the terms. They did it because they wanted to claim that an election held without them was illegitimate

Though that part of the story is sometimes told – though not very often in the mainstream media – the striking part that is never told is that it was the U.S. that told the radical opposition to boycott the election to create the appearance of illegitimacy then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the opposition’s spokesperson, Julio Borges, and instructed him to refuse to sign the agreement…

the plan was not just an election that was boycotted by the radical opposition, but an election that was boycotted by every serious opposition candidate, so that Maduro could win only an uncontested victory… it was also meant to get Falcón to boycott the election But Falcón did not join the boycott

the leading opposition contender for Venezuela’s May presidential election, Henri Falcón, was told by US officials that the Trump administration would consider financial sanctions against him if he entered the presidential race… the larger US plan was to hold all opposition candidates back, leaving an uncontested Maduro looking like the illegitimately anointed dictator of Venezuela…

the election was not the uncontested anointing of Maduro that the opposition and the media portray. Henri Falcón offered the electorate a legitimate alternative to Maduro

Maduro and Venezuela’s U.N. ambassador formally asked the UN to send observers to monitor the election. Falcón went to New York with the ambassador so that he, too, could try to persuade the UN to monitor the elections. It was the bloc of opposition boycotters – and some say the US – who acted as obstructionists and asked the UN not to send the monitors.

If they couldn’t present the election as illegitimate because it was uncontested, then they would attempt to present it as illegitimate because it was unmonitored…

What the mainstream media never mentions, though, is that, even under the weight of opposition obstructionism, the elections were not unmonitored. At least four different groups of international observers monitored the election All four certified the election as fair

So, the US plan failed to prevent an election, the election was contested and it was fair…

The Venezuelan opposition is typically presented by the media as a monolithic bloc. It is not. The coalition represented by Juan Guaidó is an extremist group that has been largely discredited in Venezuela because of their past illegal involvement in coups and street violence.

There is also a more moderate opposition. And that more moderate opposition has not followed Guaidó down the road of abandoning the electoral arena in favor of international pressure and coups. They have not even endorsed Guaidó…

Maduro received the votes of 31% of all eligible voters: more than Trump received in 2016 or Obama in 2012. It is not even obvious that the opposition is united behind Guaidó. 

Read the complete article:

Juan Guaidó: The Man Who Would Be President of Venezuela Doesn’t Have a Constitutional Leg to Stand On

This exposes how US and other governments, such as Australia, which recognize Guaido as "interim president of Venezuela", are acting fraudulently. 

As Alfred de Zayas, United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, tweeted: 

“Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution is inapplicable and cannot be twisted into legitimizing Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President. A coup is a coup.”

Roger Harris: “Donald Trump imagines Juan Guaidó is the rightful president of Venezuela. Mr. Guaidó, a man of impeccable illegitimacy, was exposed by Cohen and Blumenthal as “a product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers.”... Here, his constitutional credentials to be interim president of Venezuela are deconstructed…

Although anointed by Trump and company, Guaidó’s Popular Will Party is not representative of the “Venezuelan opposition,” which is a fractious bunch whose hatred of Maduro is only matched by their abhorrence of each other. Leading opposition candidate Henri Falcón, who ran against Maduro in 2018 on a neo-liberal austerity platform, had been vehemently opposed by Popular Will who demanded that he join their US-backed boycott of the election…

The Guaidó/Trump cabal does not reflect the democratic consensus in Venezuela, where polls consistently show super majorities oppose outside intervention. Popular opinion in Venezuela supports negotiations between the government and the opposition as proposed by Mexico, Uruguay, and the Vatican. The Maduro administration has embraced the negotiations as a peaceful solution to the crisis facing Venezuela.

The US government rejects a negotiated solution, in the words of Vice President Pence: “This is no time for dialogue; this is time for action.” This intransigent position is faithfully echoed by Guaidó…

The Guaidó/Trump cabal’s fig leaf for legitimacy is based on the bogus argument that Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution gives the National Assembly the power to declare a national president’s “abandonment” of the office. In which case, the president of the National Assembly can serve as an interim national president, until presidential elections are held. The inconvenient truth is that Maduro has shown no inclination to abandon his post, and the constitution says no such thing…

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ), which is the separate supreme court branch of the Venezuelan government has certified Maduro’s reelection, as have independent international observers. Further, no appeal was filed by any of the boycotting parties, while all participating parties – including opposition ones – signed off on the validity of the election after the polls closed

As Alfred de Zayas, United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, tweeted: “Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution is inapplicable and cannot be twisted into legitimizing Guaidó’s self-proclamation as interim President. A coup is a coup.”

Read the complete article:

Venezuela Is An Opportunity For Russia And China To Change The World

Paul Craig Roberts: “Nothing better illustrates Washington’s opposition to democracy and self-determination than the blatantly public coup Washington has organized against the properly elected president of Venezuela… 

Moon of Alabama’s explanation of Washington’s attack on Venezuela gives you a truer picture that differs completely from the lies voiced by the American and European politicians and presstitute media, a collection of whores who are devoid of all integrity and all morality and lie for their living…

...If Russia and China quickly established a military presence in Venezuela to protect their loans and oil investments, Venezuela could be saved, and other countries that would like to be independent would take heart that, although there is no support for self-determination anywhere in the Western World, the former authoritarian countries will support it. Other assertions of independence would arise, and the Empire would collapse.

Venezuela is an opportunity for Russia and China to assume the leadership of the world, but I doubt the Russian and Chinese governments have the vision to seize the opportunity and, thereby, fundamentally change the world. Putin is wasting his breath when he correctly criticizes Washington for its violations of international law. In Washington’s view, law is what serves American interest.

Here is Moon of Alabama’s analysis:

Read the complete article:

Venezuela - U.S. Aid Gambit Fails - War Plans Lack Support

Moon of Alabama: “…The U.S. is using the pretext of 'delivering humanitarian aid' from Columbia to Venezuela to undermine the government and to establish a supply line for further operations… The government of Venezuela does not reject aid that comes without political interference. Last year it accepted modest UN aid which consisted mostly of medical supplies from which Venezuela had been cut off due to U.S. sanctions…

The International Red Cross, the Catholic church's aid organization Caritas and the United Nations rejected U.S. requests to help deliver the currently planned 'aid' because it is so obviously politicized

Rejecting aid out of political reasons is not unusual. When the hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused huge damage along the U.S. gulf coast, a number of countries offered humanitarian and technical aid. U.S. President Bush accepted help from some countries, but rejected aid from other ones: An offer of aid from the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, which included two mobile hospital units, 120 rescue and first aid experts and 50 tonnes of food, was rejected, according to the civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson. Mr Jackson said the offer from the Venezuelan leader…included 10 water purification plants, 18 power generation plants and 20 tonnes of bottled water.

The U.S. intent to establish a 'humanitarian aid' supply line into Venezuela has a secondary purpose. Such aid is the ideal cover for weapon supplies. In the 1980s designated 'humanitarian aid' flights for Nicaragua were filled with weapons. The orders for those flights were given by Elliot Abrams who is now Trump's special envoy for Venezuela…

Officials in Venezuela have accused the US of sending a cache of high-powered rifles and ammunition on a commercial cargo flight from Miami so they would get into the hands of President Nicolás Maduro's opponents… Where one such weapon transport is caught multiple are likely to go through.

But to run a war against the government pure weapon supplies are not enough. The U.S. will have to establish a continuous supply line for heavy and bulky ammunition. That is where 'humanitarian aid' convoys come in…

Under the current government most people in Venezuela are still better off than under the pre-Chavez governments... The people will not forget that even when the economic situation will become more difficult. They know who is pulling the strings behind the Random Guy Guaido who now claims the presidency. They know well that these rich people are unlikely to better their plight.

U.S. politicians are making the same mistakes with regards to Venezuela as they made with the regime change wars on Iraq and Syria. They believe that all people are as corrupt and nihilistic as they are…”

Read the complete article:

Venezuela as the pivot for New Internationalism?
Saker interview with Michael Hudson 
One of the most respected independent economists gives an understanding of the state of Venezuela’s economy when Chavez came to power, the various reforms and changes that he introduced, the causes of the current economic crisis in Venezuela, and how to rescue it. 
Can China, Russia and Iran help counteract US sabotage, subversion and sanctions?

Read the complete article:

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

Eric Zuesse: “…Her active effort to replace Venezuela’s Government began with her formation of the Lima Group, nearly two years ago. And she and Trump together chose whom to replace Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro, by: Juan Guaido. Guaido had secretly courted other Latin American leaders for this, just as Freeland had already done, by means of her secretly forming the Lima Group.

On 25 January 2019, the AP bannered “AP Exclusive: Anti-Maduro coalition grew from secret talks” and reported that the man who now claims to be Venezuela’s legitimate President (though he had never even run for that post), Juan Guaido, had secretly visited foreign countries in order to win their blessings for what he was planning…

Regardless of whether or not the Trump-Freeland-Luna program for Venezuela succeeds, democracy and human rights won’t be advanced by it; but, if it succeeds, the fortunes of US-and-allied billionaires will be. It’s part of their global privatization program…

That’s their dream. They want to monopolize the corruption everywhere, not to end it, anywhere. And that’s why they distort and blatantly lie about Venezuela’s democratic constitution now, just as they did about Ukraine’s democratic constitution in February 2014. It’s, essentially, a lawless international gang of billionaire thugs. It is the international Deep State…”

Read the complete article:


Did Venezuela’s President Really ‘Steal’ the 2018 Election from an Unknown Who Didn’t Run?

Joe Emersberger: “…Guaidó didn’t even run in the 2018 presidential election. Henri Falcón was the opposition politician who finished a very distant second in that election… Nobody has shown or even attempted to show that any votes, never mind millions of votes, were stolen from Falcón… in 2012, Jimmy Carter said the Venezuelan electoral system was the best in the world…

So why wasn’t Falcón ‘recognized’ by Trump?
What’s the argument for Trump anointing Guaidó?

The US recognizes the 2015 national assembly election won by the opposition – as it would definitely have recognized the 2018 presidential election had Falcón won. And part of article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution says that if the president “abandons” his post, the president of the national assembly takes over until new elections are held. Guaidó was very recently named the national assembly president.

Clearly, Maduro did not ‘abandon’ the presidency by soundly beating Henri Falcón in a clean election that was marred, if anything, by murderous US interference…”

Read the complete article:

What Corporate Media Aren't Telling You About Venezuela

"Call this elision what it is: war propaganda."

Gregory Shupak: “The US media chorus supporting a US overthrow of the Venezuelan government has for years pointed to the country’s economic crisis as a justification for regime change, while whitewashing the ways in which the US has strangled the Venezuelan economy…

Thus, the US government acknowledges that it is knowingly, consciously driving the Venezuelan economy into the ground, but US media make no such acknowledgment, which sends the message that the problems in Venezuela are entirely the fault of the government, and that the US is a neutral arbiter that wants to help Venezuelans. Call this elision what it is: war propaganda.”

Read the complete article:

Former US President Carter: Venezuela’s Electoral System “Best in the World”

...“of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” Venezuela has developed a fully automated touch-screen voting system, which now uses thumbprint recognition technology and prints off a receipt to confirm voters’ choices. 

In the context of the Carter Centre’s work monitoring electoral processes around the globe, Carter also disclosed his opinion that in the US “we have one of the worst election processes in the world, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money,” he said referring to lack of controls over private campaign donations…

Read the complete article:

Regime Change for Profit: 
Chevron, Halliburton Cheer On US Venezuela Coup

If Guaidó comes to power and privatizes PDVSA, U.S. oil companies — with Chevron and Halliburton leading the pack — stand to make record profits in the world’s most oil-rich nation, as they did in Iraq following the privatization of its national oil industry after U.S. intervention.

Whitney Webb: “…the current U.S. effort to topple the government led by Chavista politician Nicolás Maduro has become notable for the openness of the “coup architects” in admitting that putting American corporations – Chevron and Halliburton chief among them — in charge of Venezuelan oil resources is the driving factor behind this aggressive policy… However, the timing of the Trump administration’s regime-change push in Venezuela is key.

While companies like Chevron and Halliburton have been hemorrhaging profits in recent years, they have so far withstood the fallout due to the record high production of U.S. shale oil. Yet, the “golden age” of U.S. shale is quickly disappearing, with top industry insiders like Harold Hamm along with Halliburton’s rival company, Schlumberger, expecting shale output growth to slow by as much as 50 percent this year. Hamm is a close confidant of President Trump.

If this comes to pass, American oil companies will be in a bad way. Yet, if Guaidó comes to power and privatizes PDVSA, U.S. oil companies — with Chevron and Halliburton leading the pack — stand to make record profits in the world’s most oil rich nation, as they did in Iraq following the privatization of its national oil industry after U.S. intervention.

Worst of all, as the U.S.’ past interventions in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere have shown, Washington stands willing to kill untold thousands of innocent people in Venezuela — either through direct military intervention or a proxy war — to benefit American oil companies. 

Will the American people let yet another presidential administration destroy an entire nation for Chevron, Halliburton and other powerful American corporations?...”

Read the complete article:

Venezuela: The US’s 68th Regime Change Disaster

Medea Benjamin and Nicolas JS Davies: "...US officials and their corporate sponsors are looking at an almost irresistible gold mine if they can bring Venezuela to its knees... But the only things that will force a radical change in US policy are public outrage, education, and organizing, and international solidarity with the people of Venezuela."

Read the complete article:

The REAL Reason The U.S. Wants Regime Change in Venezuela

Watch this short video, take their advice to "fact check everything", and critically assess the official corporate 'news' media narrative:  


John Perkins - Confessions of an economic hitman.

Watch the video, and draw your own conclusions about what's really happening now in Venezuela, and elsewhere. . .

“Twelve years ago, John Perkins published his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and it rapidly rose up The New York Times’ best-seller list. In it, Perkins describes his career convincing heads of state to adopt economic policies that impoverished their countries and undermined democratic institutions. These policies helped to enrich tiny, local elite groups while padding the pockets of U.S.-based transnational corporations… 

If economic pressure and threats didn’t work, Perkins says, the jackals were called to either overthrow or assassinate the non-compliant heads of state. That is, indeed, what happened to Allende, with the backing of the CIA…”


The Making of Juan Guaido: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader

Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.

Dan Cohen & Max Blumenthal: “…While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government’s elite regime change factories… While Guaidó is today sold as the face of democratic restoration, he spent his career in the most violent faction of Venezuela’s most radical opposition party, positioning himself at the forefront of one destabilization campaign after another…

“‘These radical leaders have no more than 20 percent in opinion polls,” wrote Luis Vicente León, Venezuela’s leading pollster. According to Leon, Guaidó’s party remains isolated because the majority of the population “does not want war. ‘What they want is a solution.’”

But this is precisely why he Guaidó was selected by Washington: he is not expected to lead Venezuela towards democracy, but to collapse a country that for the past two decades has been a bulwark of resistance to US hegemony. His unlikely rise signals the culmination of a two-decades-long project to destroy a robust socialist experiment…”

Read the complete article:

Internal US Gov’t Document Outlines Program of ‘Economic Warfare’ on Venezuela

An internal government document reveals tactics of “economic warfare” and “financial weapons” the US is using against Venezuela in the name of “furthering capitalism.”

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

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”…”

Read the complete article:

U.S. Major-General Smedley Butler (1881-1940): 
“War is a racket”.

It was then; it is now. Why believe the lies about Venezuela now?

33-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, twice decorated with the Medal of Honor, America's most decorated soldier became a whistle blower against the racket of war

Butler famously confessed to having been a “high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

“…I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903…”

“Economic Warfare” against Venezuela. Illegal US Sanctions Causing Economic and Humanitarian Crisis according to Former UN Rapporteur

“A former United Nations rapporteur has criticised the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he claimed was the real reason for the economic and humanitarian crisis facing the country.

Alfred de Zayas, who last year became the first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years, also suggested in his recently published UN report, that US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law… 

Mr. De Zayas is one of 70 signatories of an open letter, along with with Noam Chomsky and over 70 other academics and experts, who have condemned what they described as a US-backed coup attempt against the Venezuelan government.”

Read the complete article:

Venezuela: Let’s Cut to the Chase

By Pepe Escobar

Caracas has committed the ultimate cardinal sin in the eyes of Exceptionalistan; oil trading bypassing the US dollar or US-controlled exchanges. Remember Iraq. Remember Libya.

Read the complete article:

How US trained Juan Guaido for Regime Change

Journalist and author Max Blumenthal joins Rick Sanchez to offer his analysis of Venezuela’s political crisis. He says Juan Guaido’s “real constituency is in Washington” and that he’s at the forefront of a years-long destabilization campaign orchestrated by the US.


Elliott Abrams, America’s special envoy to Venezuela, participated in many of the most ghastly acts of U.S. foreign policy from the past 40 years, all the while proclaiming how deeply he cared about the foreigners he and his friends were murdering, writes Jon Schwarz.

Read the complete article:

Elliott Abrams
Biography of an imperial warmonger.
The very scary new U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela.

Read the complete article:

Elliott Abrams: The War Criminal Running US Policy in Venezuela
The Real News Network: US Special Envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, is back in the halls of power after a career of supporting dictators, violence and genocide around the world.
Watch this short video (6:40)

Sanctions of Mass Destruction: America’s War on Venezuela

Garikai Chengu: The fact that for America the issue in Venezuela is oil, not democracy, will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore history. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves on the planet.

Read the complete article:

Veterans Call to Resist U.S. Coup in Venezuela

“Veterans For Peace is outraged at the unfolding coup d’etat in Venezuela, which is clearly being orchestrated by the U.S. government. Two hundred years of blatant U.S. intervention in Latin America must come to an end. 

Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985, in part prompted by the U.S.-backed “contra” war in Nicaragua, and U.S. support for the right wing government in the bloody civil war in neighboring El Salvador. We did not want to see another Vietnam War in Central America.

Years of increasingly crippling U.S. sanctions have succeeded in destabilizing the Venezuelan economy and created great unrest, division and migration. The U.S. government encouraged Venezuelan opposition parties to boycott last year’s election. Now they are calling the election fraudulent, and attempting to install a little-known politician more to their liking. This is part of a dangerous game that the U.S. continues to play throughout Latin America…”

Read the complete statement:

Some extra reading and viewing:

John Pilger looks back over the Chavez years in Venezuela, including his own travels with Hugo Chavez, and the current US and European campaign to overthrow Nicolas Maduro in a 'coup by media' and to return Latin America to the 19th and 20th centuries.

Venezuela – US Attack Imminent?
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst, after working for over 30 years with the World Bank

The U.S.-Venezuela Aid Convoy Story Is Clearly Bogus, but No One Wants to Say It
Adam H. Johnson: "...the instinct to alleviate that suffering is a healthy one. But a craven marketing stunt by far-right Cold Warriors - without any buy-in from actual aid organizations - cannot be taken at face value..."

US Media Erase Years of Chavismo’s Gains
Gregory Shupak: Under President Hugo Chávez, poverty in Venezuela was cut by more than a third, and extreme poverty by 57 percent. In 2013, the UN included Venezuela in a group of 18 nations that that had cut their number of hungry people by half. In 2014, the resident UN coordinator for Venezuela called the country “one of the leading countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in reducing inequality.” These kinds of social gains have been almost entirely written out of media coverage of the effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

Facts Refuting Claims of ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ in Venezuela
“…The “humanitarian crisis” is a category of the International Humanitarian Law… The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) considers Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (in all these crises the U.S. played a direct or indirect role) as countries that qualify for the category of “humanitarian crisis”… Venezuelans do not face all these issues and whatever issues are there, are much less intensified… Western media are only interested in showing the 4.4 percent of extreme poverty… they are turning a blind eye to the fact that the U.S. sanctions are the main reason for economic problems in the country along with private companies boycotting Venezuelan goods… Calling out the fakeness of the humanitarian aid for “hungry” people of Venezuela, the President said to BBC, “It's very simple if you want to help Venezuela, release the billions of dollars in resources that belong to us. So don't come with a cheap show, a show of indignity, of humiliation...”… 

Venezuela Estimates $38B in Losses from US Sanctions

The World Today With Tariq Ali - No War in Venezuela
Tariq spoke at a public meeting in London, where many attended to express their solidarity with the people of Venezuela, and to reject the coup attempt by the United States and their allies.

Who Is Joanna Hausmann?
Why is Joanna Hausmann (Joanna Hausmann Comedy), whose father is a member of the Central Bank of Venezuela and chair of the World IMF bank committee, becoming a mainstream media sensation and talking head on the crisis in Venezuela to push for regime change and US intervention? Kei Pritsker breaks it down:


Starving Venezuela Into Submission

The Crisis and Coup in Venezuela. A Review

US Air Freight Company that Smuggled Weapons Into Venezuela Linked to CIA “Black Site” Renditions

Why Venezuela Is In Crisis -- Saker interviews Michael Hudson

Facts Don’t Interfere With Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President

Blood for Oil in Venezuela?

Russia Proposes Venezuelan 'Peaceful Measures' Initiative to UN

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