It was not a protest movement, it was an armed insurgency integrated by US-Israeli & allied supported “jihadist” death squads. From Day One, the Islamist “freedom fighters” were supported, trained & equipped by NATO & Turkey’s High Command.
globalcrisis/globalchange News February 9, 2019
Martin Zeis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephan Best, email@example.com steven25.com
Since Jan 23 the international resistance against an US-orchestrated regime change / coup d’etat in Venezuela has apparently risen.
Initiated by the International Action Center a globally coordinated day of actions has been set for February 23 – the one month anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup attempt.
see: No U.S. War on Venezuela! – https://www.nowaronvenezuela.org/
( full text and partial lists of organisations + individual signers attached … more news, articles, interviews, vidos see e.g.: popularresistance.org, globalresearch.ca, counterpunch.org, consortiumnews.com … some links of selected articles are attached too …)
In Germany a similar call was published on http://multipolare-welt-gegen-krieg.org
( more infos / calls, analysis, reports, actions see: http://multipolar-world-against-war.org/2019/01/31/venezuela-information )
On Feb 07 Medea Benjamin an Nicolas J.S. Davies gave a review about the 68 US- regime change operations / tactics since 1945 including now Venezuela. (see: excerpts below)
Parallel Whitney WEBBdocumented on mintpressnews a leaked Wikileaks doc revealing the US Military Use of IMF, World Bank as “Unconventional” Weapons – Chapter-Headline: Financial Instrument of U.S. National Power and Unconventional Warefare.
„… The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. Though the document has generated new interest in recent days, it had originally been released by WikiLeaks in December 2008 and has been described as the military’s “regime change handbook.” …“ (full text attached) see: https://www.mintpressnews.com/leaked-wikileaks-doc-reveals-how-us-military-uses-of-imf-world-bank-as-unconventional-weapons/254708/
Venezuela: America’s 68th Regime-Change Disaster
by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, February 7, 2019
In his masterpiece, Killing Hope: US Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II, William Blum, who died in December 2018, wrote chapter-length accounts of 55 US regime change operations against countries around the world, from China (1945-1960s) to Haiti (1986-1994).
Noam Chomsky’s blurb on the back of the latest edition says simply, “Far and away the best book on the topic.” We agree. If you have not read it, please do. It will give you a clearer context for what is happening in Venezuela today, and a better. understanding of the world you are living in.
Since Killing Hope was published in 1995, the US has conducted at least 13 more regime change operations, several of which are still active: Yugoslavia; Afghanistan; Iraq; the 3rd US invasion of Haiti since WWII; Somalia; Honduras; Libya; Syria; Ukraine; Yemen; Iran; Nicaragua; and now Venezuela.
William Blum noted that the US generally prefers what its planners call “low intensity conflict” over full-scale wars. Only in periods of supreme overconfidence has it launched its most devastating and disastrous wars, from Korea and Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq. After its war of mass destruction in Iraq, the US reverted to “low intensity conflict” under Obama’s doctrine of covert and proxy war.
Obama conducted even heavier bombing than Bush II, and deployed US special operations forces to 150 countries all over the world, but he made sure that nearly all the bleeding and dying was done by Afghans, Syrians, Iraqis, Somalis, Libyans, Ukrainians, Yemenis and others, not by Americans. What US planners mean by “low intensity conflict” is that it is less intense for Americans. (…)
This does not mean that the US is any less committed to trying to overthrowing governments that reject and resist US imperial sovereignty, especially if those countries contain vast oil reserves. It’s no coincidence that two of the main targets of current US regime change operations are Iran and Venezuela, two of the four countries with the largest liquid oil reserves in the world (the others being Saudi Arabia and Iraq).
In practice, “low intensity conflict” involves four tools of regime change: sanctions or economic warfare; propaganda or “information warfare”; covert and proxy war; and aerial bombardment. In Venezuela, the US has used the first and second, with the third and fourth now “on the table” since the first two have created chaos but so far not toppled the government.
The US government has been opposed to Venezuela’s socialist revolution since the time Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998. Unbeknownst to most Americans, Chavez was well loved by poor and working class Venezuelans for his extraordinary array of social programs that lifted millions out of poverty. Between 1996 and 2010, the level of extreme poverty plummeted from 40% to 7%. The government also substantially improved healthcare and education, cutting infant mortality by half, reducing the malnutrition rate from 21% to 5% of the population and eliminating illiteracy. These changes gave Venezuela the lowest level of inequality in the region, based on its Gini coefficient.
Since Chavez’ death in 2013, Venezuela has descended into an economic crisis stemming from a combination of government mismanagement, corruption, sabotage and the precipitous fall in the price of oil. The oil industry provides 95% of Venezuela’s exports, so the first thing Venezuela needed when prices crashed in 2014 was international financing to cover huge shortfalls in the budgets of both the government and the national oil company. The strategic objective of US sanctions is to exacerbate the economic crisis by denying Venezuela access to the US-dominated international financial system to roll over existing debt and obtain new financing.
The blocking of Citgo’s funds in the US also deprives Venezuela of a billion dollars per year in revenue that it previously received from the export, refining and retail sale of gasoline to American drivers. Canadian economist Joe Emersberger has calculated that the new sanctions Trump unleashed in 2017 cost Venezuela $6 billion in just their first year. In sum, US sanctions are designed to “make the economy scream” in Venezuela, exactly as President Nixon described the goal of US sanctions against Chile after its people elected Salvador Allende in 1970.
Alfred De Zayas visited Venezuela as a UN Rapporteur in 2017 and wrote an in-depth report for the UN. He criticized Venezuela’s dependence on oil, poor governance and corruption, but he found that “economic warfare” by the US and its allies were seriously exacerbating the crisis. “Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns,” De Zayas wrote. “Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees.” He recommended that the International Criminal Court should investigate US sanctions against Venezuela as crimes against humanity. In a recent interview with the Independent newspaper in the U.K., De Zayas reiterated that US sanctions are killing Venezuelans.
Venezuela’s economy has shrunk by about half since 2014, the greatest contraction of a modern economy in peacetime. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the average Venezuelan lost an incredible 24 lb. in body weight in 2017.
Mr. De Zayas’ successor as UN Rapporteur, Idriss Jazairy, issued a statement on January 31st, in which he condemned “coercion” by outside powers as a “violation of all norms of international law.” “Sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela,” Mr. Jazairy said, “…precipitating an economic and humanitarian crisis…is not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes.”
While Venezuelans face poverty, preventable diseases, malnutrition and open threats of war by US officials, those same US officials and their corporate sponsors are looking at an almost irresistible gold mine if they can bring Venezuela to its knees: a fire sale of its oil industry to foreign oil companies and the privatization of many other sectors of its economy, from hydroelectric power plants to iron, aluminum and, yes, actual gold mines. This is not speculation. It is what the US’s new puppet, Juan Guaido, has reportedly promised his American backers if they can overthrow Venezuela’s elected government and install him in the presidential palace.
Oil industry sources have reported that Guaido has “plans to introduce a new national hydrocarbons law that establishes flexible fiscal and contractual terms for projects adapted to oil prices and the oil investment cycle… A new hydrocarbons agency would be created to offer bidding rounds for projects in natural gas and conventional, heavy and extra-heavy crude.”
The US government claims to be acting in the best interests of the Venezuelan people, but over 80 percent of Venezuelans, including many who don’t support Maduro, are opposed to the crippling economic sanctions, while 86% oppose US or international military intervention. (…)
Mexico, Uruguay, the Vatican and many other countries are committed to diplomacy to help the people of Venezuela resolve their political differences and find a peaceful way forward. The most valuable way that the US can help is to stop making the Venezuelan economy and people scream (on all sides), by lifting its sanctions and abandoning its failed and catastrophic regime change operation in Venezuela. But the only things that will force such a radical change in US policy are public outrage, education and organizing, and international solidarity with the people of Venezuela. – emphasis added —
Today Pepe ESCOBAR posted a piece from Vijay PRASHAD about ways to regime change. PRASHAD shows the connection between imperial meddling in states of the Global South and economic structures belonging to Colonial boundaries like producing singular commodities (oil, sugar etc.).
Pepe Escobar – THE ULTIMATE 12-STEP METHOD FOR REGIME CHANGE by Vijay PRASHAD – Dokument 1
Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist intellectual. He is the Executive Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research
Moon of Alabama discusses the possibility of a military intervention by the USA in Venezuela – Coup Attempt Part Of A Larger Project – Document 2
- THE ULTIMATE 12-STEP METHOD FOR REGIME CHANGE
by my friend, the invaluable Vijay Prashad
Reprinted here IN FULL – please share it widely
Step One: Colonialism’s Traps. Most of the Global South remains trapped by the structures put in place by colonialism. Colonial boundaries encircled states that had the misfortune of being single commodity producers – either sugar for Cuba or oil for Venezuela. The inability to diversify their economies meant that these countries earned the bulk of their export revenues from their singular commodities (98% of Venezuela’s export revenues come from oil). As long as the prices of the commodities remained high, the export revenues were secure. When the prices fell, revenue suffered. This was a legacy of colonialism. Oil prices dropped from $160.72 per barrel (June 2008) to $51.99 per barrel (January 2019). Venezuela’s export revenues collapsed in this decade.
Step Two: The Defeat of the New International Economic Order. In 1974, the countries of the Global South attempted to redo the architecture of the world economy. They called for the creation of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) that would allow them to pivot away from the colonial reliance upon one commodity and diversify their economies. Cartels of raw materials – such as oil and bauxite – were to be built so that the one-commodity country could have some control over prices of the products that they relied upon. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), founded in 1960, was a pioneer of these commodity cartels. Others were not permitted to be formed. With the defeat of OPEC over the past three decades, its members – such as Venezuela (which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves) – have not been able to control oil prices. They are at the mercy of the powerful countries of the world.
Step Three: The Death of Southern Agriculture. In November 2001, there were about three billion small farmers and landless peasants in the world. That month, the World Trade Organisation met in Doha (Qatar) to unleash the productivity of Northern agri-business against the billions of small farmers and landless peasants of the Global South. Mechanisation and large, industrial-scale farms in North America and Europe had raised productivity to about 1 to 2 million kilogrammes of cereals per farmer. The small farmers and landless peasants in the rest of the world struggled to grow 1,000 kilogrammes of cereals per farmer. They were nowhere near as productive. The Doha decision, as Samir Amin wrote, presages the annihilation of the small farmer and landless peasant. What are these men and women to do? The production per hectare is higher in the West, but the corporate take-over of agriculture (as Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research Senior Fellow P. Sainath shows) leads to increased hunger as it pushes peasants off their land and leaves them to starve.
Step Four: Culture of Plunder. Emboldened by Western domination, monopoly firms act with disregard for the law. As Kambale Musavuli and I write of the Democratic Republic of Congo, its annual budget of $6 billion is routinely robbed of at least $500 by monopoly mining firms, mostly from Canada – the country now leading the charge against Venezuela. Mispricing and tax avoidance schemes allow these large firms (Canada’s Agrium, Barrick and Suncor) to routinely steal billions of dollars from impoverished states.
Step Five: Debt as a Way of Life. Unable to raise money from commodity sales, hemmed in by a broken world agricultural system and victim of a culture of plunder, countries of the Global South have been forced to go hat in hand to commercial lenders for finance. Over the past decade, debt held by the Global South states has increased, while debt payments have ballooned by 60%. When commodity prices rose between 2000 and 2010, debt in the Global South decreased. As commodity prices began to fall from 2010, debts have risen. The IMF points out that of the 67 impoverished countries that they follow, 30 are in debt distress, a number that has doubled since 2013. More than 55.4% of Angola’s export revenue is paid to service its debt. And Angola, like Venezuela, is an oil exporter. Other oil exporters such as Ghana, Chad, Gabon and Venezuela suffer high debt to GDP ratios. Two out of five low-income countries are in deep financial distress.
Step Six: Public Finances Go to Hell. With little incoming revenue and low tax collection rates, public finances in the Global South has gone into crisis. As the UN Conference on Trade and Development points out, ‘public finances have continued to be suffocated’. States simply cannot put together the funds needed to maintain basic state functions. Balanced budget rules make borrowing difficult, which is compounded by the fact that banks charge high rates for money, citing the risks of lending to indebted countries.
Step Seven: Deep Cuts in Social Spending. Impossible to raise funds, trapped by the fickleness of international finance, governments are forced to make deep cuts in social spending. Education and health, food sovereignty and economic diversification – all this goes by the wayside. International agencies such as the IMF force countries to conduct ‘reforms’, a word that means extermination of independence. Those countries that hold out face immense international pressure to submit under pain of extinction, as the Communist Manifesto (1848) put it.
Step Eight: Social Distress Leads to Migration. The total number of migrants in the world is now at least 68.5 million. That makes the country called Migration the 21st largest country in the world after Thailand and ahead of the United Kingdom. Migration has become a global reaction to the collapse of countries from one end of the planet to the other. The migration out of Venezuela is not unique to that country but is now merely the normal reaction to the global crisis. Migrants from Honduras who go northward to the United States or migrants from West Africa who go towards Europe through Libya are part of this global exodus.
Step Nine: Who Controls the Narrative? The monopoly corporate media takes its orders from the elite. There is no sympathy for the structural crisis faced by governments from Afghanistan to Venezuela. Those leaders who cave to Western pressure are given a free pass by the media. As long as they conduct ‘reforms’, they are safe. Those countries that argue against the ‘reforms’ are vulnerable to being attacked. Their leaders become ‘dictators’, their people hostages. A contested election in Bangladesh or in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in the United States is not cause for regime change. That special treatment is left for Venezuela.
Step Ten: Who’s the Real President? Regime change operations begin when the imperialists question the legitimacy of the government in power: by putting the weight of the United States behind an unelected person, calling him the new president and creating a situation where the elected leader’s authority is undermined. The coup takes place when a powerful country decides – without an election – to anoint its own proxy. That person – in Venezuela’s case Juan Guaidó – rapidly has to make it clear that he will bend to the authority of the United States. His kitchen cabinet – made up of former government officials with intimate ties to the US (such as Harvard University’s Ricardo Hausmann and Carnegie’s Moisés Naím) – will make it clear that they want to privatise everything and sell out the Venezuelan people in the name of the Venezuelan people.
Step Eleven: Make the Economy Scream. Venezuela has faced harsh US sanctions since 2014, when the US Congress started down this road. The next year, US President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a ‘threat to national security’. The economy started to scream. In recent days, the United States and the United Kingdom brazenly stole billions of dollars of Venezuelan money, placed the shackles of sanctions on its only revenue generating sector (oil) and watched the pain flood through the country. This is what the US did to Iran and this is what they did to Cuba. The UN says that the US sanctions on Cuba have cost the small island $130 billion. Venezuela lost $6 billion for the first year of Trump’s sanctions, since they began in August 2017. More is to be lost as the days unfold. No wonder that the United Nations Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy says that ‘sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela’. He said that sanctions are ‘not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes’. Further, Jazairy said, ‘I am especially concerned to hear reports that these sanctions are aimed at changing the government of Venezuela’. He called for ‘compassion’ for the people of Venezuela.
Step Twelve: Go to War. US National Security Advisor John Bolton held a yellow pad with the words 5,000 troops in Colombia written on it. These are US troops, already deployed in Venezuela’s neighbour. The US Southern Command is ready. They are egging on Colombia and Brazil to do their bit. As the coup climate is created, a nudge will be necessary. They will go to war.
2. MoA – Venezuela – Coup Attempt Part Of A Larger Project
88-112 Minuten moonofalabama.org
January 31, 2019
Venezuela – Coup Attempt Part Of A Larger Project – Military Intervention Likely To Fail
The Trump administration has launched a large political project to remake several states in Latin America. The Wall Street Journal headlines:
U.S. Push to Oust Venezuela’s Maduro Marks First Shot in Plan to Reshape Latin America
The Trump administration’s broader aim is to gain leverage over Cuba and curb recent inroads in the region by Russia, Iran and China
The plan includes regime change in Venezuela, Nicaragua and eventually Cuba. The removal of any Russian or Chinese interest is another point. It is a multiyear project that has bipartisan support. It will likely require military force.
The targets: Raúl Castro of Cuba, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.
The project seems to echo the „New Middle East“ plan then Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice launched in 2006. It largely failed due to U.S. incompetence but left behind severely damaged states.
That the U.S. is going for such a wide ranging plan in the western hemisphere might explain why Trump is pressing to end the other military projects in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The starting shot for the new plan, the U.S. led coup attempt in Venezuela, is already in trouble. The U.S. selected puppet Juan Guaidó had called for demonstrations in support of his coup that were supposed to take place yesterday. But even the NYT, which propagandizes for each and every regime change operation the U.S. undertakes in Latin America, could find only little evidence of support:
Mr. Guaidó also took part in protests on Wednesday at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas, where he was swarmed by international reporters. Wearing a white lab coat, he linked arms with medical students and marched with them up a roadway, before speeding off on the back of a motorbike.
The demonstration was one of a handful in the city on Wednesday, though on a smaller scale than some recent demonstrations. Some workers walked out of their jobs for hours in protest against Mr. Maduro and his government, gathering on corners through the capital.
Videos from Venezuela showed a crowd of some hundred people in the better off quarters of Caracas. Meanwhile pictures of several pro-Maduro demonstrations in various cities showed much larger crowds. New demonstrations will be held on Saturday and are likely to show similar results.
The Washington Post claims that anti-government protests took place in two of the more destitute areas of Caracas. But the report contradicts itself. It starts:
As the opposition campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro dramatically escalated, the warren-like streets of the Puerta Caracas slum filled with pot-banging, anti-government demonstrators. A culture center run by Maduro loyalists was burned down. Hungry, beaten-down residents felt a rush of hope.
Then night fell, along with the boot steps of government forces.
Maduro called the arsonists “fascist criminals,” and residents in the western Caracas enclave paid the price. Mask-wearing special forces, locals said, swarmed the neighborhood last week, kicking in doors, rounding up young people and imposing an effective curfew.
Twenty propaganda filled paragraphs later we learn that the described arson of a culture center took place before the coup attempt happened and likely has nothing to do with it:
The uprisings began the night of Jan. 22, with residents of Puerta Caracas banging pots and lighting dumpsters on fire. Around midnight, neighbors say, a group of hooded boys threw molotov cocktails at the culture center.
Early Wednesday, family members said, Abel Pernia, 19, was heading to a doctor’s appointment when armed intelligence police officers grabbed him, shoved him against a wall and handcuffed him.
… [more] protests erupted in Petare last Wednesday and continued until dawn. A group set fire to barricades, threw stones and attacked an outpost of the National Guard. Security forces repelled them with tear gas as residents chanted “we don’t want food boxes! What we want is for Nicolas to leave!”
Neighbors said that criminal gangs were among the crowd and created havoc by violently confronting the police. The response was immediate.
The coup attempt was launched on January 23. The arson incident took place on January 22. The following day the police came and arrested people involved in it. More gang riots followed.
The whole story has nothing to with the coup attempt or with general protests against Maduro. It is about gang crime in some slum quarters. Gang fighting has long been a problem in Caracas. A special police force, the FAES, was set up in 2017 to get it under control.
That the Washington Post has to use an unrelated incident to proclaim that the poor people support the coup attempt shows how little real evidence it has to support that propaganda claim.
The public in Venezuela is evidently not supporting the foreign induced coup attempt. A recent poll shows that more than 80% of the people are against sanctions and other international interventions to remove President Maduro. 80% also support talks between the government and the opposition which Maduro repeatedly offered but which the coup plotters reject.
It is very unlikely that civil disobedience or demonstrations will be able to remove the government of Venezuela. The opposition simply does not have enough people on its side to create more than inconveniences.
It is also not the plan.
It is obvious that the U.S. wants a violent conflict. Either the Venezuelan military will have to launch a coup or the violence will have to be brought in from the outside.
The military has for now declared that it is not willing to do anything against the government. Other measures will have to be taken. That the Trump administration selected Elliott Abrams, Ronald Reagan’s „Assistant Secretary of Dirty Wars“, as special envoy to its puppets is telling:
The choice of Abrams sends a clear message to Venezuela and the world: The Trump administration intends to brutalize Venezuela, while producing a stream of unctuous rhetoric about America’s love for democracy and human rights. Combining these two factors — the brutality and the unctuousness — is Abrams’s core competency.
An oped by the U.S. selected dude, who was created by the U.S. regime change machine, was published in today’s New York Times:
Juan Guaidó: Venezuelans, Strength Is in Unity
To end the Maduro regime with the minimum of bloodshed, we need the support of pro-democratic governments, institutions and individuals the world over.
Notice the „minimum of bloodshed“? One wonders how many thousands of dead will do.
Guaido explains the murky legal foundation for his claims to presidency:
I would like to be clear about the situation in Venezuela: Mr. Maduro’s re-election on May 20, 2018, was illegitimate, as has since been acknowledged by a large part of the international community. His original six-year term was set to end on Jan. 10. By continuing to stay in office, Nicolás Maduro is usurping the presidency.
My ascension as interim president is based on Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution, according to which, if at the outset of a new term there is no elected head of state, power is vested in the president of the National Assembly until free and transparent elections take place. This is why the oath I took on Jan. 23 cannot be considered a “self-proclamation.” It was not of my own accord that I assumed the function of president that day, but in adherence to the Constitution.
The early election in May 2018 was held on demand of the opposition parties some of which, urged by the U.S., did not take part in it. There is no evidence of fraud that lets one doubt the results. Maduro won among several candidates with more than 60% of the votes. One might argue that has more legitimacy than some other elected people.
Not liking the outcome is not a reason to declare an election illegitimate.
If Maduro’s first term ended on January 10 why did it take it Guaido, as head of the National Assembly, thirteen days to find that Maduro’s second term was ‚illegitimate‘? Moreover, if article 233 is used as justification to temporarily usurp the presidency then Guaido has the duty to hold new elections within 30 days. So far he has not even called for them. His reasoning is not convincing at all.
Guaido goes on to say that he needs support of the military. But this does not sound like he has it:
The transition will require support from key military contingents. We have had clandestine meetings with members of the armed forces and the security forces. We have offered amnesty to all those who are found not guilty of crimes against humanity. The military’s withdrawal of support from Mr. Maduro is crucial to enabling a change in government, and the majority of those in service agree that the country’s recent travails are untenable.
He further claims, like the Washington Post above, that the gang violence before the coup attempt shows that Maduro has lost all support:
Mr. Maduro no longer has the support of the people. Last week in Caracas, citizens from the poorest neighborhoods that had been Chavista strongholds in the past took to the streets in unprecedented protests. They went out again on Jan. 23 with the full knowledge that they might be brutally repressed, and they continue to attend town hall meetings.
Guaido ends by calling for external support for his endeavor.
What he needs are billions of dollars to build up some mercenary army that will help him to overthrow the government.
The U.S. seized Venezuelan assets but will have trouble handing them to Guaido. The main asset is CITGO, which owns refineries and gas stations in the United States. But CITGO is deep in debt. Its refineries depend on the heavy oil from Venezuela. If might well go into bankruptcy in which case the debt holders will take it over. At least 49.5 % will go to the Russian company Rosneft. The legal process will take years.
So how much U.S. money is Trump willing to invest in his plan?
Venezuela will have trouble defending itself against a foreign military attack. The Maduro government is not the most competent, the military is quite corrupt, and money is scarce. China and Russia may support it with some additional loans, but are otherwise unlikely to come to its help. Cuba and Nicaragua may be willing to send troops but have little else to offer.
But the Bolivarian movement in Venezuela has millions of supporters. Most are poor people who would lose out under a new rightwing government. While the Venezuelan military may be corrupt and not very willing to fight, many people will surely take up arms to defend the gains they made under Maduro and Chavez.
It might be relatively easy to invade Venezuela and to defeat its regular military. But the following occupation would be a very difficult endeavor. The Pentagon has seen how this worked out in Iraq. It will likely warn against the use of any U.S. troops in Venezuela. Other countries will likewise be careful not to get into such a mess.
The CIA and the coup plotters can hire thousands of throat cutting thugs to do some extreme damage to Venezuela. But they have little chance to win more than a completely destroyed country.
Might that be the real aim? Is the project for the New Middle East Latin America one of complete destruction?
Posted by b on January 31, 2019 at 01:59 PM | Permalink
Highlights by StB
Greets Stephan Best
The following open letter—signed by 70 scholars on Latin America, political science, and history as well as filmmakers, civil society leaders, and other experts—was issued on Thursday, January 24, 2018 in opposition to ongoing intervention by the United States in Venezuela.
The United States government must cease interfering in Venezuela’s internal politics, especially for the purpose of overthrowing the country’s government. Actions by the Trump administration and its allies in the hemisphere are almost certain to make the situation in Venezuela worse, leading to unnecessary human suffering, violence, and instability.
Venezuela’s political polarization is not new; the country has long been divided along racial and socioeconomic lines. But the polarization has deepened in recent years. This is partly due to US support for an opposition strategy aimed at removing the government of Nicolás Maduro through extra-electoral means. While the opposition has been divided on this strategy, US support has backed hardline opposition sectors in their goal of ousting the Maduro government through often violent protests, a military coup d’etat, or other avenues that sidestep the ballot box.
„Actions by the Trump administration and its allies in the hemisphere are almost certain to make the situation in Venezuela worse, leading to unnecessary human suffering, violence, and instability.“
Under the Trump administration, aggressive rhetoric against the Venezuelan government has ratcheted up to a more extreme and threatening level, with Trump administration officials talking of “military action” and condemning Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, as part of a “troika of tyranny.” Problems resulting from Venezuelan government policy have been worsened by US economic sanctions, illegal under the Organization of American States and the United Nations ― as well as US law and other international treaties and conventions. These sanctions have cut off the means by which the Venezuelan government could escape from its economic recession, while causing a dramatic falloff in oil production and worsening the economic crisis, and causing many people to die because they can’t get access to life-saving medicines. Meanwhile, the US and other governments continue to blame the Venezuelan government ― solely ― for the economic damage, even that caused by the US sanctions.
Now the US and its allies, including OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, have pushed Venezuela to the precipice. By recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the new president of Venezuela ― something illegal under the OAS Charter ― the Trump administration has sharply accelerated Venezuela’s political crisis in the hopes of dividing the Venezuelan military and further polarizing the populace, forcing them to choose sides. The obvious, and sometimes stated goal, is to force Maduro out via a coup d’etat.
The reality is that despite hyperinflation, shortages, and a deep depression, Venezuela remains a politically polarized country. The US and its allies must cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change. If the Trump administration and its allies continue to pursue their reckless course in Venezuela, the most likely result will be bloodshed, chaos, and instability. The US should have learned something from its regime change ventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and its long, violent history of sponsoring regime change in Latin America.
„The US should have learned something from its regime change ventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and its long, violent history of sponsoring regime change in Latin America.“
Neither side in Venezuela can simply vanquish the other. The military, for example, has at least 235,000 frontline members, and there are at least 1.6 million in militias. Many of these people will fight, not only on the basis of a belief in national sovereignty that is widely held in Latin America ― in the face of what increasingly appears to be a US-led intervention ― but also to protect themselves from likely repression if the opposition topples the government by force.
In such situations, the only solution is a negotiated settlement, as has happened in the past in Latin American countries when politically polarized societies were unable to resolve their differences through elections. There have been efforts, such as those led by the Vatican in the fall of 2016, that had potential, but they received no support from Washington and its allies who favored regime change. This strategy must change if there is to be any viable solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
For the sake of the Venezuelan people, the region, and for the principle of national sovereignty, these international actors should instead support negotiations between the Venezuelan government and its opponents that will allow the country to finally emerge from its political and economic crisis.
If the Trump administration and its allies continue to pursue their reckless course in Venezuela, the most likely result will be bloodshed, chaos, and instability… The following open letter—signed (following names)
Martin Zeis, 15.04.2018 16:55
Below some recently published articles on AntiMedia (about: http://theantimedia.com/about-anti-media/ )
Trump Ordered Syria Strike Based on a Secret Legal Justification Congress Cant’t See
World Leaders Condemn Attack on Syria as US Threatens Additional Airstrikes
Secret Saudi Cable Leaked: Overthrow the Syrian Gov’t, but Play Nice With Russia
Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Urges Mattis to protect World From Trump
Thousands of US Troops and Marines arrive in Jordan Near Syrian Border
Why there won’t be a revolution in Iran
Regime change is unlikely but what is in play is setting the scene for a further renewal of economic sanctions
By Pepe Escobar January 3, 2018 5:01 PM
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did the right thing going on television and at least acknowledging popular anger over hard economic times. Inflation is high at 12% but down from 40% at the start of Rouhani’s first term. And the recent increase in fuel and food prices by up to 40% has hardly helped.
That was part of Team Rouhani’s 2018 budget, which cuts subsidies for the poor – a key feature of the previous Ahmadinejad administration.
Then there is youth unemployment, which hovers around the 30% mark. Similar figures recently came out of Spain, a member of the European Union. Of course, that explains why the bulk of the protesters are under 25 from working class backgrounds.
What Rouhani should have explained to Iranians in detail is the direct consequences of hard economic times and United States sanctions, which are affecting the country.
These were coupled with financial threats against western firms now back in business, or at least contemplating opening up operations, in Iran.
Rouhani did promise after signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in the Austrian capital of Vienna in 2015 that it would lead to more jobs and stimulate the economy.
While that has not been the case, legitimate protests singling out economic problems have never gone away. In fact, they have been part of the Iranian picture for decades.
If we consider the Islamic Republic experiment, a sort of “theocracy with democratic characteristics,” the most striking element is how deeply rooted it is in the country.
I learned this during my many trips to Iran and it has a great deal to do with the basij, or voluntary militias. They have permeated all aspects of social life from unions to student bodies and civil servant groups.
In this respect, there is a strong similarity to China, where the Communist Party is embedded in the very fabric of society.
Talking to young people in places such as Kashan or Mashhad showed me how solid the popular base was behind the Islamic Republic experiment. It was certainly more thought-provoking than listening to ayatollahs in Qom.
Still, what is happening now in Iran is that legitimate protests related to economic hardships have been hijacked by the usual suspects in a move to influence the minority. After all, Rouhani’s administration is comparatively liberal compared to the populist Ahmadinejad government.
So, what we have is a concerted attempt to turn legitimate protests into a “revolutionary” movement with the aim of bringing about a regime change. In all practical purposes, this would be civil war.
Well, it will simply not work. Anyone familiar with Iran knows the country’s civil society is far too sophisticated to fall into such a crude and obvious trap.
For a clear take on the foreign influence angle, you should watch Professor Mohammad Marandi, of the University of Tehran, an academic of absolute integrity, arguing with a former BBC employee on the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera television network.
Indeed, what is certain is that foreign elements are acting as provocateurs to influence the protests. This “whole world is watching” tone is meant to intimidate Tehran’s response.
Yet there has to be a crackdown against the violence as Rouhani strongly hinted. Imagine the police response if the level of violence seen on Iranian streets was happening in France or Germany?
Regime change is unlikely but what is in play is setting the scene for a further renewal of economic sanctions against Iran. Possibly, in this case by the EU. Hopefully, it will not fall into this trap.
Anyway, Tehran is already gearing up to increase business across Eurasia through China’s new Silk Roads, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Eurasia Economic Union.
In the end, it is up to Team Rouhani to be creative in alleviating the burden on the economic front.
Martin Zeis, 20.09.2017
below a commentary on Trump’s UN speech* written by Robert Parry.
His conclusion: „… what Trump made clear in his U.N. address is that his “America First” and “pro-sovereignty” rhetoric is simply cover for a set of policies that are indistinguishable from those pushed by the neocons of the Bush administration or the liberal interventionists of the Obama administration. The rationalizations may change but the endless wars and “regime change” machinations continue.“
Trump Falls in Line with Interventionism
By Robert Parry,
Sep 19, 2017
Exclusive: President Trump’s U.N. speech showed that despite his America First rhetoric, his policies are virtually the same as the neocon strategies of George W. Bush and liberal interventionism of Barack Obama, says Robert Parry.
In discussing President Trump, there is always the soft prejudice of low expectations – people praise him for reading from a Teleprompter even if his words make little sense – but there is no getting around the reality that his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly must rank as one of the most embarrassing moments in America’s relations with the global community.
Trump offered a crude patchwork of propaganda and bluster, partly delivered as a campaign speech praising his own leadership – boasting about the relatively strong U.S. economy that he mostly inherited from President Obama – and partly reflecting his continued subservience to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
However, perhaps most importantly, Trump’s speech may have extinguished any flickering hope that his presidency might achieve some valuable course corrections in how the United States deals with the world, i.e., shifting away from the disastrous war/interventionist policies of his two predecessors.
Before the speech, there was at least some thinking that his visceral disdain for the neoconservatives, who mostly opposed his nomination and election, might lead him to a realization that their policies toward Iran, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere were at the core of America’s repeated and costly failures in recent decades.
Instead, apparently after a bracing lecture from Netanyahu on Monday, Trump bared himself in a kind of neocon Full Monte …
– He spoke with the crass hypocrisy that the neocons and many Israeli leaders have perfected, particularly his demand that “all nations … respect … the rights of every other sovereign nation” — when he made clear that he, like his White House predecessors, is ready to violate the sovereignty of other nations that get in Official Washington’s way.
A Litany of Wars
Just this century, the United States has invaded multiple nations without U.N. authorization, based on various “coalitions of the willing” and other subterfuges for wars of aggression, which the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed the “supreme international crime” and which the U.N. was specifically created to prevent.
Not only did President George W. Bush invade both Afghanistan and Iraq – while also sponsoring “anti-terror” operations in many other countries – but President Barack Obama acknowledged ordering military attacks in seven countries, including against the will of sovereign states, such as Libya and Syria. Obama also supported a violent coup against the elected government of Ukraine.
For his part, Trump already has shown disdain for international law by authorizing military strikes inside Yemen and Syria. In other words, if not for the fear of provoking American anger, many of the world’s diplomats might have responded with a barrage of catcalls toward Trump for his blatant hypocrisy. Without doubt, the United States is the preeminent violator of sovereignty and international law in the world today, yet Trump wagged his finger at others, including Russia (over Ukraine) and China (over the South China Sea).
He declared: “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.”
Then, with a seeming blindness to how much of the world sees the United States as a law onto itself, Trump added: “The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based.”
Of course, in the U.S. mainstream media’s commentary that followed, Trump’s hypocrisy went undetected. That’s because across the American political/media establishment, the U.S. right to act violently around the world is simply accepted as the way things are supposed to be. International law is for the other guy; not for the “indispensible nation,” not for the “sole remaining superpower.”
— Full text attached (pdf, 3p) —