Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

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Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby conniption » Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:35 pm

MoA
(embedded links)

January 23, 2019
Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change Which Is Again Likely To Fail

The U.S. has been intervening in oil-rich Venezuela since at least the early 2000. Several U.S. backed attempts to oust the elected socialist government, first under Chavez and then under Maduro, failed. But the economic sanctions by the U.S. and its lackeys have made the life for business and the people in Venezuela more difficult. With access to international financial markets cut off, the government did its best to work around the sanctions. It, for example, bartered gold for food from Turkey. But the Bank of England, which is custodian of some of Venezuela's gold, has now practically confiscated it.

The Trump administration is launching another attempt to kick the elected government led by President Maduro out of office. Today the usually hapless opposition in Venezuela is set to launch another period of street riots against the government. It calls on the military to take over:

Opposition leaders are also urging Venezuela's powerful armed forces to withdraw their support for Maduro. And they are taking their campaign abroad by lobbying foreign governments to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Caracas.

On Tuesday, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said that Washington would support any effort by the opposition to form a provisional government to replace Maduro. Addressing average Venezuelans, Pence added: "We stand with you and we will stay with you until democracy is restored."


President Trump is now expected to recognize the opposition leader in the National Congress Juan Guaidó, who does not have a majority in the country, as the nations president.

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But the National Congress no longer has legal power. In 2017 that role was taken over by the elected Constitutional Assembly, which supports the Venezuelan government. The Venezuelan Supreme Court ratified the change. That Guaidó may be called president by Trump does not make him such.

Juan Guaidó, the self declared 'opposition leader', is just a telegenic stand in for the right wing leader Leopold Lopez, who in 2014 was jailed after inciting violent protests during which several people died. Lopez, now under house arrest, is a Princeton and Harvard educated son of the political and financial nobility of Venezuela, which lost its position when the people elected a socialist government. Lopez is the man the U.S. wants to put in charge even while he is much disliked. A U.S. diplomatic cable, published by Wikileaks, remarks that he "is often described as arrogant, vindictive, and power-hungry".

The poor were the winner of the socialist changes. The socialists, first under President Hugo Chavez and now under Nicolas Maduro, used the profits from oil exports to build housing for the poor and to generally lower their plight. These masses will be called upon to protect their government and gains.

The military, which the U.S. already secretly tried to instigate stage a coup, is unlikely to do so. It does well under the socialists and has no interest in changing that. The U.S. also tried to incite Brazil and Columbia to invade their neighbor. But neither country is capable of doing such. The U.S. itself is also unlikely to invade. At the United Nation Venezuela has Russia's and China's support.

Like in 2017 we can expect several weeks of violent protests in Caracas, during which tens or hundreds of police and protester may die. There will also be a lot of howling from the U.S. aligned media. But unless there is some massive change in the political and power configuration, the demonstrations are likely to petter out.

Has the Trump administration a consistent game plan to achieve such a change in the balance of power? I for one doubt that.

Posted by b on January 23, 2019

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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby conniption » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:08 pm

caucus 99 percent

Coup in Progress in Venezuela? TRNN Live

Submitted by wendy davis on Wed, 01/23/2019

Is the US Orchestrating a coup in Venezuela?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... Xo3iE-fB94
The Real News Network
Streamed live 3 hours ago


...

1 of many comments:

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https://caucus99percent.com/content/cou ... -trnn-live
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby conniption » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:50 am

https://orinocotribune.com/gustavo-borg ... VvCZvJKHFk

~~~

orinoco tribune

The Coup in Venezuela Must be Resisted

January 24, 2019

Venezuela has elections. Juan Guaido has never even been a Presidential candidate. Despite massive CIA opposition funding and interference over years as Big Oil tries to regain control of the World’s largest oil reserves, Nicolas Maduro was democratically re-elected in 2018 as President of Venezuela.

By Craig Murray

The coup now under way is illegitimate. I opposed Maduro’s move to replace the elected National Assembly. Sometimes I read back things I wrote in the past and decide I was wrong. Sometimes I think the article was right, but a bit of a potboiler. Occasionally I am proud, and I am proud of my analysis on Venezuela written on 3 August 2017. I believe it is still valid.

Hugo Chavez’ revolutionary politics were founded on two very simple tenets:

1) People ought not to be starving in dreadful slums in the world’s most oil rich state

2) The CIA ought not to control Venezuela


Over the years, Chavez racked up real achievements in improving living standards for the poor and in providing health and education facilities. He was widely popular and both he and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, also racked up very genuine election victories. Maduro remains the democratically elected President.

But the dream went sour. In particular it fell foul of the tendency of centrally planned economies to fail to get the commodities people want onto shop shelves, and to the corruption that goes with centralisation. The latter was certainly not worse than the right wing corruption it replaced, but that does not diminish its existence.

Every revolution will always displace an existing elite who are by definition the best educated and most articulate section of the population, with most access to resources including media – and to CIA secret backing, which has continued throughout at an increasing rate. Chavez did not solve this problem in the way Robespierre, Stalin, Trotsky or Mao would have done. He embraced democracy, let them be – and largely left their private offshore billions, and thus their power, untouched.

Inevitably the day came when economic and administrative failings cracked the solidity of support from the poor for the revolution. The right then stepped up their opposition with a campaign led by corrupt billionaires, which the western media has failed to acknowledge has been throughout murderously violent.

The problem with revolutionary millenarianism is that its failure to achieve utopia is viewed as disaster by its proponents. Maduro ought to have accepted that it is the nature of life that political tides ebb and flow, ceded power to the opposition gains in parliament, maintained the principles of democracy, and waited for the tide to turn back his way – taking the risk that the CIA might not give him the chance. Instead he has resorted to a constitutional fix which dilutes democracy, a precedent which will delight the right who in the long term have most to fear from the populace. Given the extreme violence of the opposition, I am less inclined to view arrests as unquestionably a straightforward human rights matter, than are some pro-western alleged human rights groups. But that Maduro has stepped off the democratic path I fear is true. He has, bluntly, gone wrong, however difficult the circumstances. I condemn both the departures from human rights best practice and the attempt to use a part indirectly elected body to subvert the elected parliament.

But, even today, Venezuela is still vastly more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia, and a far greater respecter of human rights than Israel in its dreadful repression of the Palestinians. Yet support for Israel and for Saudi Arabia are keystones of the foreign policy of those who today are incessant in their demands that we on the “left” condemn Venezuela. The BBC has given massively more news coverage to human rights abuse in Venezuela this last month than in a score of much worse countries I could name – than a score put together.

Human rights abuse should be condemned everywhere. But it only hits the headlines when practised by a country which is on the wrong side of the neo-con agenda.

Anybody who believes that a country’s internal democracy is the determining factor in whether the West decides to move for violent regime change in that country, is a complete idiot. Any journalist or politician who makes that claim is more likely to be a complete charlatan than a complete idiot. In recent years, possession of hydrocarbon reserves is very obviously a major factor in western regime change actions.

In Latin America over the last century, the presence of internal democracy has been much more likely to lead to external regime change than its absence, as maintenance of US imperialist hegemony has been the defining factor. That combines with oil reserves to make the current move a double whammy.

It is disheartening to see the Western “democracies” so universally supporting the coup in Venezuela. The EU in particular has leapt in to support Donald Trump in the quite ludicrous act of recognising corrupt Big Oil puppet Guaido as “President”. The change of the EU into full neo-con mode -so starkly represented in its bold support for Francoist violence in Catalonia – is what led me to reconcile with Brexit and a Norway style relationship.

When I was in the FCO, the rule on recognition was very plain and very openly stated – the UK recognised the government which had “effective control of the territory”, whatever the attributes of that government. This is a very well established principle of international law. There were very rare exceptions involving continuing to support ousted governments. The pre-1939 Polish government in exile was the most obvious example, though once Nazism was defeated Britain moved to recognise the Communist government actually in charge, to the fury of exiled Poles. I was involved in the question of the continued recognition of President Kabbah of Sierra Leone during the period in which he was ousted by military coup.

But I can think of no precedent at all for recognising a President who does not have and has never had control of the country – and has never been a candidate for President. This idea of the West simply trying to impose a suitably corrupt and biddable leader is really a very startling development. It is astonishing the MSM commentariat and political class appear to see no problem with it. It is a quite extraordinary precedent, and doubtless will lead to many new imperialist adventures.

One final thought. The right wing Government of Ecuador has been one of the first and most vocal in doing the West’s bidding. The Ecuadorean government has been colluding with the United States over the efforts to imprison Julian Assange, and at this very time has arranged for FBI and CIA personnel in Quito to take false and malicious statements manufactured by the Ecuador government in collaboration with the CIA, about Julian Assange’s activities in the Embassy in London.

Ecuadorean government documents had already been produced out of Quito, and shown to MI6 and CIA outlets like the Guardian and New York Times, purporting to show the diplomatic appointment of Julian Assange to Moscow in December 2017. I have believed throughout that these fake documents were most likely produced by Ecuador’s new CIA influenced government itself.

Today Ecuador, once a key part of the Bolivarian revolution, is simply a puppet of the CIA, voicing support for a US coup in Venezuela and working to produce fake testimony against Assange. I warn you firmly against giving credence to Luke Harding’s next “scoop” which will doubtless shortly emerge from this process.

https://orinocotribune.com/the-coup-in- ... e-resisted

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~~~

orinoco tribune

The US Coup: New Attempt Eradicate the Chavista Revolution

January 25, 2019

For over two years we have been told Putin’s Russia has interfered with the 2016 US presidential elections. We now find the US government has decided it can unilaterally invalidate the actual presidential elections in Venezuela and recognize a person of its choosing as president. This is one more US-backed coup attempt against a progressive Latin American government, following Venezuela (2002), Haiti (2004, and every following election), Bolivia (2008), Honduras (2009), Ecuador (2010, 2015), Paraguay (2012), Nicaragua (2018).

By Stansfield Smith

Trump issued this statement January 23:

Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela. In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant. The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.

I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy…. We continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people.

In response to Vice President Mike Pence’s provocation the day before, President Maduro stated, “What the US government has done is to give the order to carry out a fascist coup d’état… Never before has a high-level official said that the opposition should overthrow the government… this has no historic comparison in the 200 years of US-Venezuela relations.”

In fact, we may have to go back to Theodore Roosevelt’s creation of the nation of Panama out of Colombia in 1903 to find an appropriate comparison.

The US has sought to destroy the Chavista Bolivarian movement since its origin twenty years ago. Obama, in a statement more out of touch with reality than Trump’s, declared Venezuela an “extraordinary threat to the national security” to the United States, and ever since, the US has imposed more and more sanctions, even blocking sales of food and medicine to Venezuela. These sanctions cut Venezuela off from refinancing foreign debt, and greatly interfere with its international trade. These brutal economic sanctions are inhuman and illegal under the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations charters.

Nicolas Maduro was re-elected President of Venezuela on May 20, 2018 with 67% of the vote. Before the election, during the late spring and summer of 2017, anti-government protesters waged a violent street campaign and the opposition called for immediate presidential elections to terminate the Chavista revolution.

This attempted coup came to naught with the turnout in the July vote for the Constituent National Assembly. Then in the fall of 2017 the Chavista government and the opposition began meeting for mediation talks, facilitated by former Prime Minister of Spain Luis Zapatero, in the Dominican Republic. It was eventually agreed to call for early presidential elections, but in the meantime the opposition decisively lost gubernatorial elections and municipal elections.

Both the government and opposition were to sign an accord, but the US then intervened in the mediation talks and pressured the opposition into abandoning the talks.

The US backed hardliners in the opposition then called for a boycott the May 2018 presidential election in an attempt to delegitimize the electoral process, but this again failed.

Having repeatedly failed to unseat Maduro, the US sought to block his re-inauguration. It began instructing OAS General Secretary Almagro back in spring 2017 to declare Venezuela in a “humanitarian crisis” requiring foreign intervention. This repeatedly failed, as Almagro could never muster a OAS majority. The US then set up the Lima Group, made up of 13 of the more rightwing Latin American governments to orchestrate the destruction of Chavista Venezuela.

On August 4, 2018 the US-backed opposition turned to assassination, but failed in a drone attack attempt on Maduro and the military general staff.

On January 4, 2019 the US allied Lima Group, with the notable dissent of Mexico, said that it would not recognize Maduro as the president when he was to be inaugurated January 10.

On January 22, the Venezuelan National Assembly adopted a statement accusing Maduro of “usurping” power and declaring all his decisions void. Maduro replied he would hold the National Assembly accountable for ridiculing the country’s constitution. This National Assembly was held in contempt by the Supreme Court in 2016 after it defied the National Electoral Council and seated legislators whose elections were nullified on the basis of allegations of vote buying. Until the contempt of court determination is resolved, all decisions made by the National Assembly are unconstitutional, null and void.

With Trump’s January 23 statement (above) the US has recognized Juan Guaido, the unelected president of the National Assembly, as Venezuela’s leader just minutes after Guaido self-appointed himself president of Venezuela. Canada, France, Britain, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador followed suit.

This interference into the internal affairs of Venezuela is a clear violation of the sovereignty of Venezuela and international laws such as the charters of both the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

Russia, Bolivia, Turkey, Iran, China, El Salvador, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, and Nicaragua have all made statements in support of Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.


The Venezuelan military announced it will defend the constitution and national sovereignty, and thus elected President Maduro. The only way the coup can succeed, as it lacks the support of the Venezuelan military, is with military help from a foreign power, the obvious candidates being the US, Brazil and Colombia

In his January 23 speech (pictures) Maduro gave the US Embassy 72 hours to get out and broke relations with the US over this latest coup attempt. The US puppet “president” Guaido declared Maduro illegitimate and declared the US Embassy can stay.

Secretary of State Pompeo stated that Maduro does not “have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata” and vowed to “protect” them. Senator Marco Rubio called on the US to expel Venezuelan diplomatic staff and accept a new set of diplomats appointed by Guaidó.

The Guardian quoted Eric Farnsworth, a former US diplomat and vice-president of the Council of the Americas, who said “[Maduro might] turn sharpshooters on crowds and try to scare everybody back home.”

This ploy of using sharpshooters to kill demonstrators has become a standard technique the US uses to instigate a coup. We saw it in Venezuela itself in 2002, in Iran 2008, in Syria in 2011, the Ukraine in 2014. The corporate media would then begin a campaign about the cost of “world” inaction as Maduro allegedly massacres his own people, and the “world” (meaning the US) would be “forced” to intervene.

So far the Maduro government has not arrested Guaido, who is apparently ensconced in the Colombian Embassy. The Chavista governments have periodically displayed indecisiveness during key points in their process, going back to Chavez not jailing the leaders of the failed US coup in 2002. But the oligarchy’s opposition likewise consistently botch their own plans and discredit themselves even in the eyes of their own supporters.

Inside Venezuela, the mobilization of people on the streets is a key determinant of the outcome of this attempted coup. Even though the country has been battered by a severe economic crisis, caused by a major fall in the price of oil, hoarding by private businesses (which still dominate the economy), US and European Union sanctions, corruption, and the ineffective responses of the Maduro government, the Chavistas can mobilize many more on the streets than the oligarchy’s opposition. The opposition itself is plagued by severe divisions between moderates, who prefer to work within the system, and the radicals, backed by the US, who seek to destroy it.

The strength of the anti-imperialist feeling amongst the Venezuelan masses should not be underestimated either. Moreover, the military is at least 235,000 strong and the grassroots has about 1.6 million in militias.

Washington has already floated the idea of embargoing Venezuelan oil (one-third of US imports), and could even seize CITGO, the Venezuelan owned company.

Meanwhile the Democrats and the anti-Trump Resistance, who proclaim Trump a pawn of Russia (which is an ally of Venezuela), have mostly gone mute concerning Trump’s choosing a US puppet as the new “elected” president of Venezuela.

Representative Tulsa Gabbard did make a clear statement of opposition to US interference:

The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders–so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.


Representatives Ro Khanna and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have also raised some objection. Bernie Sanders issued a more ambivalent statement, as if trying to please everyone.

Nicolas Maduro was first elected president in 2013, and the record since then shows the US has repeatedly tried to unseat him and eradicate the Bolivarian revolution, always meeting with failure. The record also shows the US and European Union have continually imposed harsher and harsher sanctions on Venezuela, increasing the suffering of the Venezuelan people in the name of “democracy” and “freedom.” Further coup attempts and sanctions are in the works, and the peace movement in the US needs to more actively defend Venezuela against US aggressions.

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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:17 am

.

As in the 1920s, isolationism is what they call it when the U.S. affects to disengage in Eurasia and starts more wars in Latin America, the "back yard."

The announced disengagement in Syria, meanwhile, has seen an escalation of aerial bombing and of course the complete defusing for now of the Khasshoggi affair and a continuing full backing of the far larger U.S.-backed action in Yemen.

"He will cut the head off ISIS and TAKE THEIR OIL." - The very first Trump ad.

In repeated statements, Trump said the U.S. after invading Iraq should have left a group behind to secure the oil.

Contrary to the confusing talk about antiwar sentiment (as with the bullshit plugs for the "American" working class), the Trump phenomenon has always been highly ideological, explicit in its tenets of extreme neoliberalism in class matters, extreme state authoritarianism, and aggression against all designated others, and wearing only a fig-leaf in regard to the invocation of white supremacy.

Within Trump's many conflicted statements, which create the impression he has no ideology, the intent to expand U.S. international aggressions should have always been obvious. The rhetoric valorized violence on all levels, from individual to international.

The largest military budgets of all time have been presented with next generation nuclear weapons and withdrawal from disarmament treaties. The MIC has been courted as the real base. He wants to order the military to build the wall. Occasional gestures at peace talk were no more than flares shot up to obscure the new offensive.

If Obama was a consolidation of the Bush achievements in autocracy, state authoritarianism and imperialism, Trump is a renewed escalation shorn of multilateralism - it's all coalitions of the willing now, like the brown wave of extreme right-wing governments (and Canada and the fucking EU, but not Spain and Portugal) now going along in recognizing the self-designated Alt-President of Venezuela.

Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, China, Russia and what will prove to be most of the world's states oppose the intervention. What a sad reality.

This was evident early:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/09/do ... ed-levels/

The candidate who once warned America about Hillary Clinton's hawkishness is turning into a war machine.
BY JENNIFER WILSON, MICAH ZENKO | AUGUST 9, 2017, 3:59 PM


Six months into Trump’s presidency, we now have enough data to assess his own approach. The results are clear: Judging from Trump’s embrace of the use of air power — the signature tactic of U.S. military intervention — he is the most hawkish president in modern history. Under Trump, the United States has dropped about 20,650 bombs through July 31, or 80 percent the number dropped under Obama for the entirety of 2016. At this rate, Trump will exceed Obama’s last-year total by Labor Day.

In Iraq and Syria, data shows that the United States is dropping bombs at unprecedented levels. In July, the coalition to defeat the Islamic State (read: the United States) dropped 4,313 bombs, 77 percent more than it dropped last July. In June, the number was 4,848 — 1,600 more bombs than were dropped in any one month under President Barack Obama since the anti-ISIS campaign started three years ago.

In Afghanistan, the number of weapons released has also shot up since Trump took office. April saw more bombs dropped in the country since the height of Obama’s troop surge in 2012. That was also the month that the United States bombed Afghanistan’s Mamand Valley with the largest non-nuclear bomb ever dropped in combat.

Trump has also escalated U.S. military involvement in non-battlefield settings — namely Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. In the last 193 days of the Obama presidency, there were 21 lethal counterterrorism operations across these three countries. Trump has quintupled that number, conducting at least 92 such operations in Yemen, seven in Somalia, and four in Pakistan.

Hand in hand with Trump’s enthusiasm for air power comes a demonstrated tolerance for civilian casualties.Hand in hand with Trump’s enthusiasm for air power comes a demonstrated tolerance for civilian casualties. Increased air power in Iraq and Syria has resulted in unprecedented levels of civilian deaths. Even by the military’s own count, civilian casualties have soared since Trump took office, though independent monitors tally the deaths as many as ten times higher. In Afghanistan, Trump’s tolerance for killing civilians has led to 67 percent more civilian casualties in his first six months than in the first half of 2016, according to the United Nations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Wilson is research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The expansion of air power and acceptance of civilian harm are together a problem, but they are made worse by the fact that they are occurring without any diplomatic strategy to wind down the wars. The counter-Islamic State strategy review that Trump ordered in January has twice missed deadlines the president set for himself and remains incomplete. Secretary of Defense James Mattis promised Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that he would have a strategy for the war in Afghanistan by mid-July, yet that review is still ongoing. Even while Mattis has called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Yemen, the approach is incoherent with Trump’s doubling-down on airstrikes and support for the Saudi-led coalition conducting its own indiscriminate bombing campaign.

The connection between increased air power and a reduction in hostilities is made even more tenuous by the gutting of the State Department, which Trump has proposed cutting funding by around 30 percent and for which dozens of critical senior posts remain vacant. Without the expertise and resources of a fully staffed diplomatic corps, it’s implausible that there will ever be a U.S.-led or U.S.-supported negotiated political settlement between combatants. In the absence of any coordinated approach to ending these conflicts, Trump is resorting to the default tactic that policymakers have become addicted to over the past nine years: low-cost, low-risk (to U.S. service members) standoff strikes. Under Trump, that military addiction has deepened, demonstrably so.


Russiagaters remaining insane. Had fun reading NYT comments on the story about the VZ military backing the actually elected president, which headlined that Russia warning against the consequences of intervention. There were the straight Old Cold War responses of Russia does it too ("invaded Crimea"), Russia STFU, and even endorsements of the Monroe Doctrine. Among the Russiagate-inclined, however, three conflicting narratives were spawned, two of them impervious to any contrary evidence. My favorite, which works in all situations, is the solipsistic one: everything, always, is to distract from whatever the latest fold in the Mueller investigation is supposed to be. The second has the disadvantage that it will be disproved, but that never mattered: Since Russia has now backed Maduro, Trump will soon deescalate on orders from his real boss and beloved buddy Putin. Third is that it's a kayfabe, the two are collaborating in faking conflict over VZ (which probably doesn't even exist in the real world) to obscure Putin's control of Trump. Invincible QED.

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Last edited by JackRiddler on Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:49 am

.

For the moment, Democracy Now! seems to have rediscovered itself.

Full show on Friday, 18 January was the only U.S. outlet I know that allowed the Venezuelan foreign minister to speak.

A Coup in Progress? Venezuelan Foreign Minister Decries U.S. & Brazil-Backed Effort to Oust Maduro
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/18/ ... transcript

Several items yesterday as the coup attempt unfolds (Jan 24)
https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2019/1/24

Among politicians, Gabbard has issued a short and simple, admirable condemnation of the regime change intervention, period. Sanders opposes the intervention only with a long-winded preface about what a bad guy the "dictator" Maduro is, which sucks. Wrongful aggression is not the time to give any justifications to the aggressors. His cowardice or foolishness about imperialism and the MIC really makes me despair, although we can give him that when the crunch comes, he's usually at the front of doing the right thing (as with Yemen). But never a statement that the military needs to be cut, so not approaching this from a big picture at all, his Westminister College speech notwithstanding. Meanwhile, Durbin's a devil and you may see a majority of the Democrats at least in the Senate go the same way. Rubio is the head inciter of the coup attempt on the U.S. side. What a piece of work.

@TulsiGabbard
The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don't want other countries to choose our leaders--so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.

@TulsiGabbard
In the morning, Trump promises Kim of North Korea, "We won't wage regime-change war against you." In the evening, Kim watches Trump carrying out regime-change in Venezuela. Kim looks at our actions, not empty promises.

@TulsiGabbard
I spoke out against Trump’s threats of military intervention in Venezuela in August 2017.


In France, Melenchon tells it like it is, denouncing the "extreme right wing coup" and asking, what would Macron do if Melenchon proclaimed himself president at (after) a protest?

«Que dirait Macron si Mélenchon se proclamait président après une manifestation ?»

https://www.liberation.fr/politiques/20 ... on_1705167
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby RocketMan » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:35 am

This is so blatant by this point, I wonder how the MSM talking heads can keep their poker face. Julian Borger at The Guardian was practically drooling at the mouth for a regime change ALREADY C'MON.

The coup of 2002 is noticeably swiped from the narrative, as the US national security state was caught in flagrante delicto in that trumped up, abysmal failure of a destabilization operation.
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby conniption » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:48 am

strategic-culture

Image

Pompeo the Warmonger Supports Authoritarian Regimes

Brian CLOUGHLEY
20.01.2019


On January 2 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Brazil, and his Department noted that in discussions with Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo they “highlighted the importance of working together to address regional and global challenges, including supporting the people of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua in restoring their democratic governance and their human rights.” Pompeo declared that the US and Brazil “have an opportunity to work alongside each other against authoritarian regimes.”

From this we gather that Pompeo is a strong advocate of democratic governance and will always make it clear that the United States supports unfortunate people living in countries having “authoritarian regimes.” It is apparent he must believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

Unfortunately it transpired that Pompeo is a selective supporter of democracy and freedom of religion, because after he left Brazil and went to the Middle East he voiced vigorous support for despots who rule countries in a manner that is undeniably authoritarian.

In a speech in Cairo on January 10 Pompeo threatened Iran and declared that “Nations are rallying to our side to confront the regime like never before. Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, and Jordan have all been instrumental in thwarting Iran’s efforts to evade sanctions.” It must be gratifying for him that these nations have joined the US in its crusade against Iran, three of them being hereditary monarchies and one run by a non-regal martinet.

Oman, for example, is “an absolute monarchy by male primogeniture. The Sultan, Qaboos bin Said al Said, has been the hereditary leader of the country since 1970.” Freedom House notes that “The regime restricts virtually all political rights and civil liberties, and imposes criminal penalties for criticism and dissent... Political parties are not permitted, and the authorities do not tolerate other forms of organized political opposition.”

In Jordan “the monarch holds wide executive and legislative powers, including the appointment of the prime minister and all seats of the senate. The monarch approves and dismisses judges; signs, executes or vetoes all laws; and can suspend or dissolve parliament.”

The leader of Kuwait, the Amir, according to the CIA Factbook, is “chosen from within the ruling family, confirmed by the National Assembly; the prime minister and deputy prime ministers are appointed by the Amir.” In this autocracy, according to Human Rights Watch, there are “no laws prohibiting domestic violence or marital rape... a man who finds his mother, wife, sister or daughter in the act of adultery and kills them is punished by either a small fine or no more than three years in prison.”

Pompeo wants “democratic governance and human rights” in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Why not in Oman, Jordan and Kuwait?

The only one of Pompeo’s countries not ruled by a supreme monarch is Egypt, whose president is Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who “was elected in May 2014, almost a year after he removed his elected predecessor, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, from office in a coup.” Sisi “won a second four-year-term in March 2018 against a sole minor opposition candidate. Human rights lawyer Khalid Ali and former prime minister Ahmad Shafiq withdrew from the race, and the former armed forces chief of staff Sami Anan was arrested.”

In his warmongering anti-Iran, anti-Syria speech Pompeo announced that his visit to Egypt was “especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations” and visited the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ and the Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque where he praised Egypt’s “freedoms here in this houses [sic] of worship, these big, beautiful, gorgeous buildings where the Lord is clearly at work.”

He ignored Amnesty International’s statement that in Egypt “the authorities continued to violate the right to freedom of religion by discriminating against Christians.” His own Department recorded that last year “Irrespective of religion, authorities also did not apply equal protection to all citizens and sometimes closed churches, in violation of the law, according to multiple sources.”

The bigotry of the Egyptian regime and its clerics was epitomised on January 13 when Al Azhar University which is responsible for “a national network of schools with approximately two million students” expelled a female student for being hugged by a male friend. The scandal was revealed in a video clip which “showed a young man carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a young woman and then hugging her in what appeared to be a marriage proposal.” According to a University spokesman this violates “the values and principles of society”. There was not a word from Pompeo, that self-declared admirer of Egyptian places of worship where “the Lord is clearly at work.”

Pompeo continued his tour of the region, and next day, as he landed in Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian regime announced that for the seventh time it had extended its state of emergency which “allows authorities to take exceptional security measures, including the referral of terrorism suspects to state security courts, the imposition of curfews and the confiscation of newspapers.” This would be supported in Saudi Arabia where, as chronicled by Freedom House, the “absolute monarchy restricts almost all political rights and civil liberties. No officials at the national level are elected. The regime relies on extensive surveillance, the criminalization of dissent, appeals to sectarianism, and public spending supported by oil revenues to maintain power. Women and religious minorities face extensive discrimination in law and in practice.”

This discrimination was highlighted by the New York Times on January 13 when it published an Op-Ed by Alia al-Houthlal that implored Pompeo to ask Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman to release her sister, the women’s rights activist, Loujain al-Houthlal, who is imprisoned in Riyadh. Ms Alia al-Houthlal wrote that her sister had been tortured in prison, and that a close associate of bin Salman, Saud al-Qahtani, who has been named in connection with the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi [brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year], was present at several torture sessions.

The Times reported that Pompeo began his conversation with bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, by saying “I want to talk to you about a couple of places we’ve been. We think we learned a lot along the way that will be important going forward.” There was no mention of the torture of Loujain al-Houthlal or any other gross violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia where the regime continues to “repress peaceful activists and dissidents, harassing writers, online commentators and others who exercised their right to freedom of expression by expressing views against government policies.”

There was none of that embarrassing stuff. It was all skated over, with Pompeo saying only that “we spoke about human rights issues here in Saudi Arabia – women activists. We spoke about the accountability that – and the expectations that we have. The Saudis are friends, and when friends have conversations, you tell them what your expectations are.”

Pompeo’s expectations include joint action with the Saudi regime and other Middle East autocracies to “counter Iranian malign influence,” which he regards as an even higher priority than “working against authoritarian regimes” in Latin America, which Washington is determined to dominate. Pompeo’s objections to authoritarianism are highly selective, for in his Cairo speech he confined himself to describing Iran “malevolent,” and “oppressive” while denouncing “Iranian expansion” and “regional destruction,” which is a trifle ironic, coming from a Secretary of State whose military devastated Iran’s neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pompeo’s ethical approach is decidedly ambiguous and his moral flexibility would attract the admiration of a trampoline gymnast. His Cairo speech was titled “A Force for Good: America's Reinvigorated Role in the Middle East,” but it is apparent that reinvigoration is confined to plans for destruction of Iran, in which Washington will be assisted by Pompeo’s friends — the Middle East’s authoritarian regimes.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/ ... gimes.html
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby Grizzly » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:05 am

But, but ... Le Paris!
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby MacCruiskeen » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:24 am

How US sanctions paralyzed Venezuela - a timeline (since April 2016):

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1087 ... 63616.html
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby Harvey » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:10 am

MacCruiskeen » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:24 pm wrote:How US sanctions paralyzed Venezuela - a timeline (since April 2016):

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1087 ... 63616.html


This^
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
This he said to me
"The greatest thing
You'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return"


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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby Grizzly » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:42 pm

https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/ajk8xq/americas_1_disinformation_detective_crowdstrike/

America's #1 disinformation detective Crowdstrike planting disinformation on social media to help destabilize Venezuela

23 Jan 2019: https://mobile.twitter.com/MarkAmesExil ... 0718861319

America's #1 disinformation detective Crowdstrike planting disinformation on social media to help destabilize Venezuela

Jan 23: https://mobile.twitter.com/EIWBM_Cat/st ... 1036434433

"send to me from my family in Caracas Venezuela" - this video is from 2016 and it was not sent to him by "family in Venezuela" it's been kicking around for yrs. You see why everyone keeps telling you that nobody from @CrowdStrike can be trusted & they're all liar warmonger pigs?

Crowdstrike put up a video from 2016 claiming that it was footage from the current crisis in Venezuala. The source of the video busted them. Crowdstrike took the video down.
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby RocketMan » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:48 pm

Well, we have gone from the Axis of Evil to the Troika of Tyranny, meaning Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. It's even better, goes down smoother with the snazzy alliteration... Puke. It's really amazing how they can keep getting away with it.
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:24 am


https://www.thenation.com/article/venez ... -politics/

How the Right Is Using Venezuela to Reorder Politics
By Greg Grandin

Donald Trump has been hot for Venezuela for some time now. In the summer of 2017, Trump, citing George H.W. Bush’s 1989–90 invasion of Panama as a positive precedent, repeatedly pushed his national-security staff to launch a military assault on the crisis-plagued country. Trump was serious. He wanted to know: Why couldn’t the United States just invade? He brought up the idea in meeting after meeting.

His military and civilian advisers, along with foreign leaders, forcefully dismissed the proposal. So, according to NBC, he outsourced Venezuela policy to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who, along with National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, began coordinating with the Venezuelan opposition. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence called on Venezuelans to rise up and overthrow the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro. On Wednesday, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, the heretofore unknown 35-year-old Juan Guaidó (whose political godfather is, according to The Washington Post, jailed far-right leader Leopoldo López), declared himself president. Guaidó was quickly recognized by Washington, followed by Canada; a number of powerful Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia; and the United Kingdom.

Trump has a wobbly sense of history, but his instinct to see Venezuela through the prism of Panama is on the mark. Similar to Panama then, Venezuela is today a nation suffering a long, seemingly insurmountable crisis, governed by a regime challenged by a united (or united enough) opposition, which Washington can use to justify intervention and then install in power once the intervention is complete.

And Trump, looking at Venezuela, is doing no more than George H.W. Bush, or Ronald Reagan before him, who both used a one-off war in the Washington’s “backyard” to reorder domestic and international politics. Latin America and the Caribbean have long been Washington’s workshop, especially useful as a place where rising political coalitions can regroup following moments of global crisis, where they can not only rehearse military and destabilization strategies but also sharpen their worldview and work out moral justifications for intervention.

Reagan’s 1983 invasion of Grenada won praise from many Democrats, who celebrated overcoming not just the trauma of the Vietnam War but the Iran-hostage syndrome. One columnist, previewing today’s reality-showization of politics, said that the invasion gave “American television” one of its “better weeks.” The Democratic Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, called the invasion “justified,” as did another harsh Democratic critic of Reagan, Thomas Foley. “Years of frustration were vented by the Grenada invasion,” said New Jersey Democrat Robert Torricelli. Bush’s follow-up invasion of Panama gave television an even better week, and brought the same kind of domestic praise. Both invasions, especially the one of Panama, helped to erode the principle of non-intervention—the foundation of the New Deal diplomatic order—and restore to international law the premise that the United States has the right to wage war on sovereign countries not only in the name of national security but for a higher moral purpose, such as the protection of lives or the defense of human rights.

It seems clear that Trump, himself presiding over a nation suffering a seemingly insurmountable crisis and challenged by a united (or united enough) opposition, is desperate for something to break the deadlock. A quick tour d’horizon reveals strikingly few opportunities. Iran is too risky, for now, and his predecessors have racked over what’s left of the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Venezuela beckons.

We are seeing, sort of, the same kind of coming together witnessed in the run up to Panama and Iraq. “On Venezuela, Where Are Liberals?” wailed the headline for a New York Times column by Bret Stephens last year. They’re with you Bret, they’re with you. Representative Eliot Engel, who now chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, supports Donald Trump’s Venezuela position, promising to introduce legislation to back it up, and he’s backed by Florida Democratic Representative Donna Shalala. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted “America stands by the people of #Venezuela as they rise up against authoritarian rule and demand respect for human rights and democracy.” In Florida, Andrew Gillum, who narrowly lost a contested governor’s race to a right-wing Trumpian (and who was himself was redbaited in that campaign and linked by Trump to Maduro), likewise tweeted out support of Trump’s Venezuela policy. NPR’s coverage was fawning. “This is the right call. Thank you, Mr. President,” tweeted Jeb Bush.

For its part, most of the rising social-democratic wing of the Democratic Party has been slow to respond. California representative Ro Khanna was perhaps the first among the congressional left to criticize the bid for regime change, and he did so forcefully, as did, later, presidential candidate and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard. Bernie Sanders botched his response, leading by accepting the premise of Trump’s intervention, that Maduro’s presidency was illegitimate, before noting that the United States “has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s response has also been muted.

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar provided the strongest statement: “We cannot hand pick leaders for other countries on behalf of multinational corporate interests,” she said. “If we really want to support the Venezuelan people, we can lift the economic sanctions that are inflicting suffering on innocent families, making it harder for them to access food and medicines, and deepening the economic crisis.” Those sanctions had considerable Democratic Party support.

Maduro, the former vice president to the late Hugo Chávez who won a close presidential election in 2013 and then a disputed reelection in 2018, might fall: The coordination—detailed here in The Wall Street Journal—between the opposition and the White House is impressive, as is Washington’s ability to whip together international backing. That’s different from 1989, when every country in the Organization of the American States, including Pinochetista Chile, opposed Bush’s invasion. Or from 1983, when, in the face of OAS opposition, the Reagan administration had to invoke treaty obligations with the microscopic Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to justify its assault on Grenada. In Venezuela, unlike in past rounds of opposition protest, poor people from historically Chavista neighborhoods seem to be joining the calls for Maduro’s ouster (Rebecca Hanson and Tim Gill, at NACLA, here, have a good survey of the current situation).

But Venezuela’s military, comprising at least 235,000 soldiers with a back-up of at least a million and a half pro-government militia members, is so far supporting Maduro. Counter-protests to defend the government appear to be smaller than usual but still comprise a significant number of people. More than a dozen have been killed, but the main axis of confrontation is fast moving from the streets to the diplomatic arena. According to The Guardian, the “US initially ignored the Maduro government’s order expelling embassy staff, but late on Thursday the state department announced it was withdrawing ‘non-emergency US government employees.’”

It’s a split-screen coup, with two competing realities. On one side is a president sitting in the presidential palace, still in control of most levers of government, including the military and police, recognized as legitimate by, among other countries, China, Russia, and Mexico. On the other side is an alt-president, said to be hunkered down in the Colombian embassy, promising amnesties and issuing virtual decrees that have authority with perhaps half the population, and maybe a dozen nations, led by Brazil, the United States, Britain, and Canada. But not the European Union. “All options are on the table,” says Trump, threatening a military response. But there is an emerging sense that, with Venezuela’s military standing pat, he might have lost his bet. Brazil, now led by the homophobic, genocide-celebrating, rape-threatening Jair Bolsonaro, said it won’t participate in a military intervention. “I don’t think the [Trump] administration has thought through all of the consequences of taking action as quickly as it did in recognizing Guaidó,” said Roberta Jacobson, who served as Barack Obama’s and, for a time, Trump’s assistant secretary of state for Latin America (a position that is now vacant).

Whatever happens, it’s clear that the left wing of the Democratic Party needs to sharpen its crisis-response message, to figure out a way to use such moments to put forth a compelling counter-vision to the bipartisan foreign-policy establishment. Not too long ago, there appeared, in the pages of newspapers and journals, a spate of articles wondering what a left-wing foreign policy might look like. “Where Is the Left Wing’s Foreign Policy?” asked the headline for an article by Sarah Jones last year in The New Republic. In the wake of the 2008 financial collapse, there emerged a young generation of wonks offering specific, practical, and feasible steps for how to achieve, say, Medicare for All, or implement a progressive tax structure and a Universal Basic Income. But, as Jones and others pointed out, foreign policy was largely ignored.

Some tried to fill in the void. They offered either specific proposals on vexed topics such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Saudi war in Yemen, China, trade, and Russia, or put forth broad “principles”—including, as Daniel Bessner, a scholar of American foreign policy, wrote in The New York Times, “accountability,” “anti-militarism,” “threat deflation,” and a social-democratic “internationalism.” Should Ocasio-Cortez one day find herself on the House Foreign Relations Committee, they could undergird her attempt to forge a left foreign policy. Added up, the proposals and principles offered by social-democratic foreign-policy advisers-in-waiting are good and decent.

But Trump’s Venezuela putsch attempt reveals that foreign policy is a much more volatile realm of political action, a more primal arena of national identity and collective imagination, than domestic policy. At least since the early years of the presidency of Barack Obama, the Republican Party has been using Venezuela to cohere its message, fusing together an implicit racism and an explicit defense of individual rights and capitalist freedom. The 2009 coup in Honduras gave the right wing an opportunity to use Obama’s initial qualms about the coup to shore up a narrative that equated Obama with both Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, a narrative that Trump has put to effective use. “They want to make us into Venezuela,” he said recently. As social rights—to health care, to education, to a decent life—gain in popularity, the right has perfected the “but Venezuela” response. In doing so, it conveys a whole, fairly coherent worldview. Ocasio-Cortez, say Republicans, is “hellbent” on turning Americans into “Venezuelan socialists” (though Chris Cuomo, of all people, recently had a surprisingly effective comeback).

That Sanders’s and Ocasio-Cortez’s response to Trump’s putsch has been subdued is understandable. The Maduro government is hard to defend except in the abstract—based on the principle of sovereignty and non-intervention—and abstraction is a difficult realm in which to put forth a credible political vision. There’s a deep, insurmountable tension between the ideal of national self-determination and the ideal that human dignity shouldn’t be sacrificed to national self-determination. And the left Democrats want to keep the political debate focused on domestic politics: saner taxes, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal are, in the context of the horridness of US domestic politics, a lot to take on.

But a political coalition cannot dominate the domestic policy debate unless it also dominates the foreign-policy debate. My favorite example of this is when Michael Dukakis, Democratic nominee for the presidency in 1988, tried to make something out of Iran/Contra. He couldn’t. After raising the issue in one of his debates with George H.W. Bush, Bush responded as if he were brushing away a fly: “I will take all the blame” for Iran/Contra, Bush said, “if you give me half the credit for all of the good things that have happened in world peace since Ronald Reagan and I took over from the Carter administration.” Dukakis didn’t raise the issue again.

The political terrain has shifted, and Trump, whatever happens in Venezuela, won’t be able to use foreign policy to such effect. But if the social-democratic wing of the Democratic Party wants not just to react to an existing agenda but set a new agenda, it needs to realize the extent to which foreign policy is the place where, in Gramscian terms, hegemony is established—not over other nations but within this nation; where normative ideas concerning how best to organize society get worked out; where contradictions—between ideas, interests, social groups—get reconciled. That reconciliation comes about not through a laundry list of pragmatic policies but by seizing the ideological high ground.

As the unfolding events in Venezuela reveal, that high ground is up for grabs—though Ilhan Omar gives us a map of how to take it.
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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:21 am

.

The Kayfabe Lider and the current provisional real deep-state head, Pompeo Maximus, drove towards an attack on Venezuela for years, dispatching Little Marco as the cheerleader. The ongoing coup attempt was prepared in recent weeks between Guaido and the exemplary governments in Washington, Colombia and Brazil -- the latter two run by extreme-right death squad backers. But apparently a decisive final spark came from Canada!

Associated Press on how the new Coalition of the Willing was organized:

apnews.com
AP Exclusive: Anti-Maduro coalition grew from secret talks
By JOSHUA GOODMAN, LUIS ALONSO LUGO and ROB GILLIES
6-8 minutes
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The coalition of Latin American governments that joined the U.S. in quickly recognizing Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president came together over weeks of secret diplomacy that included whispered messages to activists under constant surveillance and a high-risk foreign trip by the opposition leader challenging President Nicolas Maduro for power, those involved in the talks said.

In mid-December, Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition’s strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro’s expected swearing-in for a second term on Jan. 10 in the face of widespread international condemnation, according to exiled former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an ally.

To leave Venezuela, he sneaked across the lawless border with Colombia, so as not to raise suspicions among immigration officials who sometimes harass opposition figures at the airport and bar them from traveling abroad, said a different anti-government leader, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security arrangements.

Building consensus in the fragmented anti-government coalition proved to be an uphill battle. The opposition has for years been divided by egos and strategy, as well as a government crackdown that has sent several prominent leaders into exile, making face-to-face meetings impossible. Others inside Venezuela were being heavily watched by intelligence agencies, and all were concerned about tipping off the government.

Long sessions of encrypted text messaging became the norm, the opposition leader said. A U.S. official said intermediaries were used to deliver messages to Guaido’s political mentor and opposition power broker Leopoldo Lopez, who is under house arrest after he tried and failed to lead a mass uprising against Maduro in 2014. The U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns.

Despite Guaido’s personal assurances in Bogota that he would declare himself interim president at a Jan. 23 rally coinciding with the anniversary of the 1958 coup that ended Venezuela’s military dictatorship, the suspense lasted until the hours before the announcement, said a Latin American diplomat from the Lima Group who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Some moderate factions were left in the dark or wanted to go slower, worrying that a bold move would lead to another failure for the opposition. In the end, those differences were smoothed over internally, without any public discord.

“This is the first time in at least five years the opposition has shown an ability to come together in any meaningful manner,” said a senior Canadian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly.

The decision to confront Maduro directly was only possible because of strong support from the Trump administration, which led a chorus of mostly conservative Latin American governments that immediately recognized Guaido.

It was no small diplomatic feat, comparable in recent times only to how the hemisphere in 1994 rallied behind Jean Bertrand Aristide to bring him back to power in Haiti after we was deposed in a coup, given the mistrust of the U.S. in Latin America stemming from U.S. military interventions in the region during the Cold War. Just as impressive, the tough-handed approach drew bipartisan support, with two of the Senate’s most senior Democrats, Dick Durbin and Bob Menendez, offering praise.

The watershed moment was President Donald Trump’s stunning remark in August 2017 from the steps of his New Jersey golf club that a “military option” was on the table to deal with the Venezuelan crisis.

In the weeks that followed, Trump went on to strongly condemn Maduro in his address to the U.N. General Assembly as well as quietly press aides and some Latin American leaders about a military invasion of the country.

From then on, countries in the region realized they had a partner in the U.S. willing to tackle a crisis that had been years in the making but which previous U.S. administrations had chosen to play down because of limited national security implications, said Fernando Cutz, a former senior national security adviser on Latin America to both President Barack Obama and Trump.

For some, especially Mexico, which was renegotiating NAFTA, adopting a more aggressive stance was also an opportunity to gain leverage in bilateral relations with the Trump administration.

“Trump has personally sparked a lot of this,” said Cutz, now with the Cohen Group, a Washington consulting firm. “Literally in every interaction that he has had with Latin American leaders since taking office, he brings up Venezuela. That has forced a lot of hands.”

On Jan. 4 — a day before Guaido was sworn in as national assembly president — foreign ministers from 13 nations of the Lima Group, which doesn’t include the U.S., said they wouldn’t recognize Maduro’s second term.

That set off a scramble at the White House to make sure it wasn’t being left behind, said a former U.S. official and congressional staffer who was in close contact with the national security council. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the administration’s planning.

Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido the night before Maduro’s searing-in ceremony to offer her government’s support should he confront the socialist leader, the Canadian official said. Also active was Colombia, which shares a border with Venezuela and has received more than 2 million migrants fleeing economic chaos, along with Peru and Brazil’s new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
___
Gillies reported from Toronto and Alonso reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Anna Jean Kaiser in Sao Paulo, Brazil, contributed.
___
Follow Joshua Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman
___
Follow Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter: twitter.com/luisalonsolugo


In the attack on Venezuela and the Saddamification of Maduro, I think the current mutation of the Trump-Pence-Pompeo-GOP government has figured out how to overcome some of the obstacles facing any New War push led by Trump, which I described a year and half ago. They have certainly not found a way to enlist popular support at home, but assent and consensus will do to start.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/04 ... part-2017/

As of today, thanks to a long-running trend to no longer suspend disbelief that has only been accelerated by the ascendancy of the Trump, the status of the White House as the entertainment bureau of the federal government has never been as obvious to a majority of the citizenry, whether or not they can muster the energy to notice or care. Not only are the society’s major institutions understood as professionally fake, many even invite one to study and admire the craftsmanship of the fakery (as with advertising/marketing and professional wrestling). In regard to the political theater of the presidency and the two-party system, this observation remains a blind spot for many in the corporate media, although they actually co-produce the show. Producers, like Les Moonves or Jeff Zucker (two of the most important and surely witting factors in the rise of Trump) tend to understand these mechanics much better than the on-air “talent,” who doubtless are selected for their relative ability to sound serious while talking stupid shit.

Politics always involved theater. Modern democratic electoral politics merged with the news and entertainment industry long ago, and for decades they have been developing in tandem. More recently a large part of the audience has been lured into treating the results as media critics, rather than as sovereigns or citizen-participants with an actual stake in the proceedings. As interesting as anything Scaramucci said is that we all treat the identity of the White House press agent as though it is vitally important. As a result of this twisted form of transparency, however, the pretext for a new war may backfire, especially insofar as the war (or the triggering event likely to precede it!) involves numerous casualties of the precious American persuasion.

Think of the WMD lie in 2002-2003. Granted, its falsehood was transparent – it was a laugh riot to pretty much the whole world outside an Anglosphere bubble. Ultimately it failed to prevail even as a myth, and this despite the regime’s exploitation of the irrational and powerful emotional boost of 9/11. All that being said, however, the WMD lie was still a complicated, long-running and professionally crafted P.R. campaign, one involving separate teams of dedicated fabricators at the White House, in the Pentagon, at various intel agencies, at the New York Times, in Italian intelligence, at the Washington think-tanks, among Iraqi expatriate networks, and multiple other locations. At the height of the campaign, most Americans believed it. After all, “sixteen intelligence agencies” were in agreement with the fabrication.

Now, of course, the only such consensus of the intelligence “community” (nowadays numbered at 17, I seem to have missed the new birth) is on the claim that “Russia hacked the 2016 election.” That story may be no less implausible, but its very existence means that a lot of national security insiders are hostile to the Trump Show’s existence, and many of them may be loath to faithfully support whatever spur-of-the-moment back-story is served up for the war pretext.

My assertion, in short, is that a new international aggression cannot be justified via the discredited Twitter Thumbs alone; yet the possessor of these appendages seems bold and demented enough to believe himself capable of it. Unlike Cheney and Rumsfeld’s, his crew is not a long-running criminal enterprise of security state insiders with experience and reach and a specific war plan long in mind (however stupid it may have been). Cheney and Rumsfeld’s crew sprang its high-level leaks, but not on the first day. Trump’s crew is more akin to an open cocktail party for villains of opportunity, most of whom jumped in during his rapid if evitable rise, like the Mercers and Bannon, or who were borrowed afterward from the Prince-DeVos family and the Kochtopus; the latter having at first opposed him. The secretaries may be prepared to ritually bow and scrape before His Manhattan Majesty at the opening of the cabinet meeting, but what unites them? An ideology of extremist capitalism, to be sure, but that makes them all into junior John Galts, looking out for number one. Shared egomania, possession of wealth plundered in scams (much like the Trump Organization’s history), and a proven ability, as Mooch might put it, to stab friends and enemies without distinction, in the front and in the back: A ripe set-up, if ever a “New War” psy-op was to flop.


On the other hand, as things stand, it is unlikely but not impossible that Bolsonaro and Trump are out of office before Maduro. May it be so.

.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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Re: Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change...

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:12 am

.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/goldman-sa ... 1496020176


Goldman Sachs Bought Venezuela’s State Oil Company’s Bonds Last Week

Sale comes as embattled government of President Maduro struggles to raise funds


A group of young opposition demonstrators use trucks to block a road in Venezuela. As the government scrambles to raise funds, Goldman Sachs made a large purchase of Venezuelan oil company bonds last week. PHOTO: ADRIAN MANZOL/ZUMA PRESS

By Kejal Vyas and Anatoly Kurmanaev
Updated May 28, 2017 10:19 p.m. ET

CARACAS, Venezuela— Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS 1.49% bought about $2.8 billion in Venezuelan bonds that had been held by the oil-rich country’s central bank, a lifeline to President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled government as it scrambles to raise funds in the midst of widening civil unrest.


Yeah, "giving a lifeline" must be what they're thinking. Sure.


The New York-based bank’s asset management division last week paid 31 cents on the dollar, or about $865 million, for bonds issued by state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA in 2014, which mature in 2022, according to five people familiar with the transaction. The price represents a 31% discount on the trading Venezuelan securities maturing the same year.


Oh, wait, is this what they're thinking?

The investment comes as Mr. Maduro’s detractors lobby hard to block Western financial institutions from doing transactions that support the cash-strapped government, which has been accused by the U.S. and other countries of widespread rights abuses.

Mr. Maduro’s increasing authoritarianism coupled with critical food and medicine shortages have spawned two months of almost-daily street demonstrations, costing at least 60 lives. The economy is also suffering, having shrunk 27% since 2013. Venezuela is saddled with what the International Monetary Fund estimates will be an inflation rate of 720% this year.

The people familiar said the deal is part of the asset manager’s steady increase in Venezuelan holdings. They said Goldman is betting that a change in government could more than double the value of the debt, which trades at deeply discounted rates with yields around 30% due to chronic default fears. [...]


Way to bury the obvious lede, WSJ.

May the fears come true for Goldman Sachs, at least.

.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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