Archive | November 1st, 2018

US VP Pence’s Accusations of Venezuelan Financing of Migrant Caravan Disproved

On-the-ground journalists have classed the accusations as “completely ridiculous” and a lie, showing that the migrants “don’t have a dollar to even pay for a bottle of water.”

By Paul Dobson
The migrants have marched through Guatemala and are now in Mexico. (Reuters/EP)
The migrants have marched through Guatemala and are now in Mexico. (Reuters/EP)

Merida, October 24, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Journalists have joined Venezuela officials in ridiculing allegations made on Tuesday by US Vice President Mike Pence that Venezuela is financing the migrant caravan traversing Central America en route to the Mexican-US border.

Pence, in an interview with the Washington Post, claimed that US-allied Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez had told him that the 7000-strong migrant march is “organized by leftist groups in Honduras, financed by Venezuela, and sent north to challenge our sovereignty and challenge our border.”

Washington Post Live

@postlive

.@costareports asks @VP Mike Pence about @realDonaldTrump’s claim that unknown Middle Easterners had infiltrated the migrant caravan heading to the U.S. border. “It’s inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent,” Pence said.

His accusations were backed up by outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who claimed that “Honduran politicians allied with Venezuelan & Cuban socialist dictators are encouraging the caravan to undermine US-friendly gov’t of Hernandez.”

Neither Pence nor Haley provided any evidence for their claims. Pence also echoed US President Trump’s remarks that there are Middle Eastern “terrorists” within the mass of migrants.

Trump has vowed to “do whatever we have to,” including using the US military, to stop the migrants from “violating” US territory. He has also recently cut billions of dollars of funding to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to punish them for failing to detain the march.

Speaking on the ground from the march, which currently finds itself en route to Mapastepec, Mexico, after a day’s rest in Huixtla close to the Mexican-Guatemalan border, Mexican journalist Jorge Ramos resolutely disproved Pence’s accusations. Ramos pointed out that the awful material conditions of the migrants prove that no external financing, let alone government backing, exists.

“It is ridiculous, completely ridiculous. I have spent the last 48 hours with these immigrants and they don’t have a single dollar. If they are being financed, I don’t see it, because they have nothing. There is no financing, and it’s not from Nicolas Maduro. The explanation is very simple; they are here due to violence and extreme poverty,” he reported.

“[Pence] is lying. There is no proof. (…) Here people don’t have a dollar to even pay for a bottle of water. This is a lie which the White House is saying maybe for political motives, but the reality here is not that [of external government backed financing],” he went on to claim.

Ramos also stated that he saw no-one from the Middle East, challenging Trump to “speak the truth and not create fear.”

Testimony from the immigrants confirmed that motives behind the 3500km-long procession include the search for a better quality of life and employment, as well as fleeing violence, crime, and extreme poverty. No interviewed migrants mentioned political motives or any connection to Venezuela.

Likewise, the man accused by the Honduran government of organising the march, Bartolo Fuentes, a leftist journalist and migrant rights activist from the Central American country, has since clarified that the procession was self-organised through social media.

He also stated that the impoverished Hondurans wanted to leave en masse to protect themselves from organised crime and that there were no political motives behind the procession. Fuentes additionally accused the Honduran and US governments of inventing “fictitious excuses” to shift the blame from the poverty which their policies have created in the region.

Venezuelan authorities have also responded to the accusations, with National Constituent Assembly (ANC) President Diosdado Cabello stating, “Imperialist cynicism has no limits and their lackeys repeat [their accusations] like parrots. They are blaming us for everything.”

Diosdado Cabello R@dcabellor

Como una profecía autocumplida, resulta ahora q nuestro país es quien financia la “caravana” centroamericana que va rumbo a EE.UU., el cinismo imperial no tiene límites y sus lacayos repiten como loros. Nos culpan de todo porque no nos rendimos. Nosotros Venceremos!!

He also went on to criticise the visit of Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie to Peru, allegedly to inspect the conditions of the Venezuelan immigrants there, claiming that the move was concocted to distract attention away from the Honduran Caravan. Jolie’s visit was sponsored by the United Nations and NATO.

“Lights, camera, action: Angelina Jolie appears to give all of her ‘love’ to the caravan of Venezuelans in Peru, sorry, the Venezuelan diaspora. Such opportune news for the right wing press which don’t talk about the Central American migrants and the ‘love’ which they will receive when they get to the US,” Cabello added.

Whilst President Maduro is yet to respond to Pence’s accusations, he has previously called on the US government to open their border and “respect” the migrants.

Speaking Saturday, he also expressed his “pain” at what is happening, assigning blame to “capitalism” for creating the conditions which force citizens to migrate in such large numbers.

ANC Vice President, Tania Diaz, also showed solidarity with the migrants Wednesday, pointing out the hypocrisy between the media coverage of the migrant caravan and the Venezuelan migratory situation. Caracas has repeatedly claimed that a narrative of migratory humanitarian crisis is being used to justify a foreign intervention in the country.

“In Central America they don’t say ‘humanitarian crisis, massive exodus, catastrophe, diaspora’. There, it is a ‘caravan’, as if it were a party, and they are thousands which are fleeing poverty, violence, a lack of opportunities, hope, and the US government is closing the door to them.”

mapa.png

Path from San Pedro Sula, in Honduras, to the US-Mexican border. (Archive)
Path from San Pedro Sula, in Honduras, to the US-Mexican border. (Archive)

The migrant procession began in San Pedro Sula, Honduras October 13 with around 1000 people. It has since swelled to over 7,125 according to UN data. They are currently 2,734 kilometres short of El Paso, their final destination (on the US-Mexico border), which is approximately 555 walking hours away. It is unclear when the caravan is expected to arrive, and whether Mexican and US authorities will allow them to achieve their objective. Mexico is due to see a change in president this December 1, with the leftist Lopez Obrador taking over from US-backed Pena Nieto.

Since leaving Honduras, the migrants have crossed Guatemala, attracting interest from those in similar conditions who have joined the march. After a brief standoff with Mexican police on the Mexico-Guatemala border, they managed to cross into Mexico. A second, 1000-strong Caravan set off from Guatemala Tuesday, looking to join the first en route in Mexico.

Honduras has been one of the staunchest US allies in Latin America since 2009, when a US-instigated coup ousted then-president Manuel Zelaya. The country since has also been marred by violence and instability, as well as seeing a dive into poverty, with social leaders being targeted in political assassinations.

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Ditching the Dollar: Venezuela Moves to Euros in International Trade

Venezuela’s vice president for the economy announced on Wednesday that the country will stop using the dollar for international transactions in favor of the Euro.

By Loud & Clear – Radio Sputnik
00:00/11:14

The news follows Venezuela’s turn toward cryptocurrency with the creation of the Petro in an effort to reduce its exposure to transactions conducted with dollars.

“Since the government launched its first cryptocurrency, the Petro, there’s been an increased amount of interest in Venezuelan society as to cryptocurrencies’ use and the way that they can be used by general, average citizens to generate income. So your average young Venezuelan is now really interested in bitcoins and a whole range of other cryptocurrencies, partly because they allow them to trade on the international scene,” Paul Dobson, a journalist for Venezuela Analysis who is based in Merida, Venezuela, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear.

When it comes to the euro, Dobson cautioned that the government’s statements “have to be considered a little bit more in terms of a show of intent rather than a concrete change.”

“It definitely shows that the government is looking to move away from dollar dependency, and in some ways it aligns them closer with efforts made by other countries in the last couple of months,” he told Loud & Clear hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

Last week, Sputnik News reported that China sold off $3 billion in US dollar bonds. In recent months, Russia, China, Japan, Turkey, Iran and Iraq have all ditched the dollar in bilateral trade with each other. Meanwhile, the European Union scrapped its use of the dollar when trading with Iran in order to circumvent US sanctions.

While Venezuela’s move won’t have a “massive impact on the economy,” Dobson said, it is part of a larger trend of countries dropping the dollar in response to US President Donald Trump’s hawkish economic policies.

For the Venezuelan economy to drastically change, there needs to be a “shift in how these oil contracts are drawn up and agreed upon,” Dobson said. “The international oil trade provides the vast majority of Venezuela’s foreign currency.”

“There are indicators that show that Venezuela is successfully moving away from an oil-dependent economy,” he added, citing a report from New York brokerage firm Torino Capital in September that said Venezuela’s non-oil exports are at an all-time high.

“The US hegemony of [the dollar] will only be seriously challenged when these sorts of international alliances reach a turning point, when they reach a certain accumulation of strength.”

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What is the Impact of US Sanctions on Venezuela?

Image result for US Sanctions on Venezuela CARTOON

What do people on the streets of London and Caracas think about US sanctions and Venezuela’s economic problems? A Simple Question takes a look.

By A Simple Question – Press TV

Venezuelan President Maduro says US-backed enemies of his country have launched an economic war on him. He also claims opposition leaders worked together in an effort to assassinate him and that they tried to overthrow him through violent street demonstrations.

Despite pointing the finger of blame at US President Donald Trump, he still claimed he hoped to meet with Trump face to face. But in 2017 the White House responded to a similar request by saying such a meeting would only take place if the country returned to democracy. Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the United States have been tense since the now dead socialist President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.

Both Chavez and Maduro, his successor, have accused Washington of assassination attempts against them. Meanwhile, Trump has imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela and its state oil company. He has even imposed sanctions on President Maduro’s wife and several of his top allies to further increase pressure on the government.

Venezuela also accuses the United States of encouraging its emigration crisis to embarrass Caracas, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves but is in full economic collapse. Pro-government supporters of President Maduro have taken to the streets to protect against American interference after reports that US officials met secretly with Venezuelan military officers to discuss plans to oust Maduro.

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A Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela? A Case Study into NGO Mercy Corps

Does an NGO whose CEO is a member of Washington’s top foreign policy think tank really have Venezuelans’ best interests at heart, Nina Cross asks.

Mercy Corps staff with Venezuelans on the Colombian border. (@MercyCorpsCo / Twitter)
Mercy Corps staff with Venezuelans on the Colombian border. (@MercyCorpsCo / Twitter)
By Nina Cross 

Following a sharp increase in Venezuelan migration since 2015, the corporate mainstream media, alongside the governments of the US, EU and Colombia, is aggressively pushing the narrative of a “humanitarian crisis,” at the same time that Western NGOs flock to set up shop along the Colombian border.

But what if NGOs are being used to influence how the movement of people from Venezuela into Colombia is being shaped and reported, and what’s more, if they are directly benefiting from this situation? To explore the idea, we focus on one such NGO, US-based Mercy Corps, which recently announced an expansion of its operations on the Colombo-Venezuelan border.

Mercy Corps’s budget for global operations, of the order of US $500 million (according to its 2017 annual report), includes funding from US and EU government agencies. Its financiers have included the UK’s International Department of Development, which has regularly sent aid via Mercy Corps to rebel-held areas in Syria. Other funders include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation.

In March 2018, Mercy Corps carried out a “rapid needs assessment” (RNA) of Venezuelan migrants arriving at two main points along the Colombian border. The information gathered was used to “demonstrate” the dangers involved during and after crossings from Venezuela, and the reasons for leaving the country. It is in response to this second question that the people interviewed by Mercy Corps all say the same thing: they are migrating due to an economic crisis in Venezuela, which is linked to hyperinflation.

Independent UN experts, as well as other commentators, have shown on many occasions that the causes of this economic crisis have been significantly exacerbated by the economic sanctions imposed for years upon Venezuela by the US, as well as clarifying that the crisis in Venezuela is economic, not humanitarian. Even US State Secretary Mike Pompeo recently admitted that the sanctions “sometimes have an adverse impact on the people of Venezuela.”

However, Mercy Corps is not concerned with narratives that expose US and EU complicity, and as such, its recommendations fail to include the most obvious point: end the sanctions and stop the hostility towards Venezuela as they are inflicting hardship on its population.

Instead, Mercy Corps’ RNA identified 3 basic needs to be met by the Colombian government: a path to legal entry into Colombia that did not involve passports, the legal right to work in Colombia with the same wages and protections as Colombians and access to shelter, food and water. It is on this third point which Mercy Corps looks to fish for substantial (tax-free) donations and financing from the Global North.

In April, the Colombian government agreed that migrants could register, without passports, at any of the 500-plus checkpoints it would set up along the border over a two month period, to end in June. The reason given was to see how many Venezuelans were entering Colombia. The checkpoints were spread along the 1,500 mile border. Any information supplied by migrants at the checkpoints would be retained by NGOs, not passed to government departments.

By August, the Colombian government agreed that nearly half a million Venezuelans could remain in Colombia for up to two years, look for employment and have access to basic services. The reason given for this change was to accommodate humanitarian needs.

This shift in policy was a reversal of the government’s ruling in February, when up to 3,000 Colombian soldiers were stationed along the border to check for passports. This tightening of rules was referred to as a “diplomatic closure” and the government claimed in a short time the number of migrants fell by 30%.

Yet within a few weeks Bogota U-turned its policy to allow the unhindered movement of Venezuelans, and NGOs such as Mercy Corps were conscripted to enable the process. The new policy of the Colombian government met exactly the needs identified by Mercy Corps, suggesting that the campaign for this migration was an international, organised effort.

In October of this year, Mercy Corps announced they are expanding their services on the border, including providing migrants with a debit card to purchase products. Yet, one out of every three Venezuelans attended by Mercy Corps did not see any improvements to their diet in the two weeks since arriving to Colombia, and 12 percent reported that it had worsened.

Since the Colombian government changed its policy, the number of people leaving Venezuela has increased, according to the Migration Policy Institute, an organisation affiliated to the EU.

As the exodus expands, the humanitarian needs of migrants grow more urgent.

Humanitarian crisis? Mercy Corps as a propaganda tool

The situation of Venezuelan migrants is now being called a “regional humanitarian crisis,” creating a picture of unimaginable catastrophe that needs external intervention.

This escalating crisis narrative of an expanding exodus is placing Venezuela under intense scrutiny. While punishing Venezuela with sanctions from the front, and promoting a migration crisis from behind, the EU and US, with the cooperation of Colombia, are attempting to box Venezuela into a more isolated and vulnerable position.

Colombia has enjoyed close ties with the EU, and soon after changing its policy on Venezuelan passports, it became a NATO partner, further cementing its EU and US dealings. This ballistic development means that the consequences of border conflict, fuelled by a recent movement of 5,000 extra troops to the Catatumbo border region, should be taken very seriously.

Meanwhile, Mercy Corps has consistently driven a narrative of a full-blown humanitarian crisis and rampant violence under President Maduro, including unfounded allegations of repression and torture. For instance, the NGO has made the unsubstantiated, hyperbolic claim on their website that “newborns in Syria have a better chance of survival than those born in Venezuela today,” wich clearly looks to stoke the fire.

Harnessing its “independent charity voice,” Mercy Corps is playing its part as a propaganda tool in vilifying the Venezuelan government, enabling its US and EU funders to continue their sanctions, which only worsen the economic hardship of average Venezuelans, the root cause for leaving their country, as explained in Mercy Corps’ own needs assessment. And whilst all this goes on, Mercy Corps gleefully rakes in ever greater funding so as to “attend” to the “humanitarian crisis” they, together with the mainstream media, have played a key role in manufacturing.

Political interference and profit from Mercy Corps

However, beyond playing a role in the international media war, Mercy Corps is intimately linked to the Washington policy-making establishment that has formulated the US policy of illegal, unilateral sanctions.

Mercy Corps is connected to the influential US Council on Foreign Relations(CFR) through its CEO Neal Keny-Guyer, who declared earnings of $460,000just for his Mercy Corps role in 2017. Apart from being a member of the CFR, he also serves as chairman for Interaction, the US’ largest alliance of NGOs and sitting on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Fragility, Violence and Conflict. The CFR, a virtual who’s who of America’s wealthiest and most powerful people, claims it “helps policymakers” on “international peace and stability,” whilst actually pushing Washington’s neoliberal agenda and interests around the world.

The president of the CFR is Richard Haass, Middle East advisor under George Bush, and advisor to Colin Powell under George W. Bush. On his 2016 election win, Donald Trump publicly considered Haass as an advisor.

The CFR president recently displayed his frustration that US-backed military coups and UN- sanctioned military intervention in Venezuela, all of which would create a further migratory exodus, were taken off the table, despite ongoing rumours from the White House, Bogota, and even Brasilia, that they may be be possible.

Richard N. Haass

@RichardHaass

For those here and the region who will be quick to criticize the administration for this, i ask what is your policy other than watching Venezuela become a failed state that is starving and crushing its people and creating hundreds of thousands of refugees? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/world/americas/donald-trump-venezuela-military-coup.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share 

A military ceremony in Caracas, Venezuela, this month. The White House declined to answer detailed questions about talks with rebellious officers.

Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans With Rebel Venezuelan Officers

Venezuelan military officers seeking to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro sought help from the Trump administration, which met with them several times.

nytimes.com

Richard N. Haass

@RichardHaass

Venezuela’s future is bleak. Sanctions and refugee support will not alter things. R2P is essentially dead. Local govts need the capacity to deal w internal and regional security challenges. Existing regional bodies are inadequate. my latest from @ProSyn https://bit.ly/2OT8wPN 

What the Crisis in Venezuela Reveals | by Richard N. Haass

With inflation skyrocketing, infrastructure crumbling, crime running rampant, and hunger spreading, Venezuela’s situation is bleak, and shows no signs of improving. The question for the rest of the…

project-syndicate.org

In February the CFR made a Preventive Action Plan which recommended more economic sanctions for Venezuela, and in May more US sanctions were imposed.

Whilst sanctions have helped create the conditions which drive people out of Venezuela, US government aid has flowed to NGOs in Colombia, to which Mercy Corps has taken its chunk.

Mercy Corps’ 2017 financial statement shows that the organization benefited from US $464,452,000 in governmental grants and private backing alone, only spending $139,876,000 in humanitarian relief and $46,699,000 in humanitarian recovery. Of this humanitarian relief, the vast majority was spent on the mysteriously entitled “subgrant” category, and only $21,753,000 on actual materials and supplies for migrants.

Aid and NGOs: Assets of US policymakers

The CFR also included an aid plan for Venezuela which called for State Department funding for the Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration (PRM), an organisation which finances Mercy Corps.

In August, the US announced an aid plan at the United Nations Assembly General (UNGA), matching the plan set out by the CFR.

Additionally, in an April article the CFR also suggests “…bypassing the government, if enough aid is provided by the United States, the Lima Group, and the EU to enable people to bring some back into Venezuela.”

The CFR continues: “While not the ideal means to provide humanitarian aid inside Venezuela, smuggling is a well-established activity and effectively closing the border to the influx of such aid would significantly add to the discredit of the Maduro government.”

Indeed, the CFR is explicitly advocating illegal smuggling as a means of destabilizing the elected government in Caracas. Meanwhile, smuggling is a problem for Venezuela, but not in the terms described by the CFR. On the contrary, Venezuela has suffered from extensive smuggling of subsidized goods and fuel into Colombia, exasperating shortages and as such generating more inflation.

Mercy Corps: A toy in the US imperialist toolbox

This game played by think-tanks and policymakers reveals Washington’s glaring double-standards vis-a-vis Venezuela. While they help to create and exploit the need for basic foods and medicines in another hemisphere, roughly 45,000 of their own people die each year through lack of health care. Around 30 million Americans have no medical cover at all, roughly the population of Venezuela, which has health care written into its constitution.

Every year a further 2 million Americans travel out of the US for treatment they cannot afford at home. Some will die if they do not find treatment abroad, but instead of being a crisis, this is termed ‘medical tourism.’

At the same time, the US is deporting tens of thousands of Hondurans, while more attempt to cross the border into the US every day, a legacy of Hillary Clinton’s 2009 adventurism.

Yet, we are constantly told to believe that Washington cares about migrants and the well-being of Venezuelans.

While US policymakers play games around Venezuela, with toys from the imperialist toolbox, along with their EU friends, it is no wonder Maduro fears assassination.

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Venezuelan Opposition Celebrates Far-Right Bolsonaro Victory in Brazil, Calls for Intervention

The result sparked deep concern among Chavista sectors fearing a possible military escalation from the ex-military man, whom they describe as a “neo-fascist.”

By Paul Dobson
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro (center to left) poses with military police in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Cidade de Deus
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro (center to left) poses with military police in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Cidade de Deus. Bolsonaro has pledged to give police free reign in Brazil’s poorest areas in the name of fighting crime. (Facebook)

Merida, October 29, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s opposition has welcomed the victory of ultra-right candidate Jair Bolsonaroin Brazil’s presidential elections Sunday, calling on the new president-elect to intervene in Venezuela in line with their political goals.

Bolsonaro won the second round with 55 percent despite nearly 10 percent of ballots being marked null or void. Abstention was 22 percent, one point higher than the first round.

Following the controversial jailing and political barring of leftist frontrunner Lula da Silva on unfounded corruption charges, previously obscure nine-term congressman Bolsonaro soared to popularity in recent months, campaigning on an outsider platform of social conservatism, anti-corruption, and hardline anti-crime policies. Widely considered a “neo-fascist,” the far-right former army captain has repeatedly expressed nostalgia for Brazil’s military dictatorship, pledging to “cleanse” the country of leftists among numerous other inflammatory racist, sexist, and homophobic statements. His campaign team has also hinted at military action against Venezuela, raising concerns that Brazil could be used as a launchpad for a US-led strike on Caracas.

After the announcement of Sunday’s results the ex-president of Venezuela’s National Assembly and leader of the hard-right First Justice party, Julio Borges, took to Twitter to congratulate Bolsonaro, as well as to “invite him to work for the rescuing of democracy in Venezuela.” Borges is currently a fugitive of the Venezuelan justice system in Colombia on charges of conspiracy and alleged masterminding of the August drone terrorist attack against President Maduro.

To the right of First Justice, the Popular Will party also welcomed Bolsonaro’s victory, tweeting that they hope to “count on your struggle to rescue liberty and democracy in Venezuela.”

“We hope that your government will contribute to promoting peace and liberty in all of the countries in the region and in rescuing democracy in Venezuela,” declared Popular Will leading member Lilian Tintori.

Lilian Tintori

@liliantintori

Felicitaciones al presidente electo de Brasil @jairbolsonaro. Le deseamos mucho éxito en su gestión. Esperamos que su gobierno contribuya a promover la paz y la libertad en todos los países de la región, y el rescate de la democracia en Venezuela.

For his part, ex-Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, another fugitive currently based in Spain, likewise praised Bolsonaro as “an ally to confront the government.”

The opposition leaders’ comments mirrored those of Organisation of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro, himself a vociferous opponent of Venezuela, who tweeted his support for Bolsonaro’s “message of truth and peace.”

“We congratulate President-elect Jair Bolsonaro and aplaude his message of truth and peace. Count on the commitment of the Secretary General of the OAS to work together for democracy, human rights, security and development in the region,” he declared.

US President Donald Trump was also quick to place a congratulatory phone call to Bolsonaro, pledging joint military cooperation with Brasilia.

Following his electoral victory, Bolsonaro also reaffirmed his commitment to Washington and against Venezuela and Cuba, proclaiming, “We will stop praising murderous dictatorships, and we will stop scorning or even attacking important democracies like the USA, Israel and Italy.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Had a very good conversation with the newly elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who won his race by a substantial margin. We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else! Excellent call, wished him congrats!

For its part, the Venezuelan government issued a formal statementcongratulating Bolsonaro and calling on him to “retake diplomatic relations based on respect, harmony, progress, and regional integration for the wellbeing of our peoples.” The Venezuelan-Brazilian border has turned increasingly hostile over recent months following increasing migratory traffic, xenophobic violence by Brazilian communities, and Brasilia’smilitarisation of the area.

Meanwhile, Venezuela leftist organizations expressed alarm at the election result, with many leaders and social movements wasting no time in evaluating its potential implications for the country.

One of Venezuela’s leading campesino groups, the Bolivar-Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ), issued a statement decrying the result as “a true right hook to progressive and transforming processes in our continent.”

“[The outcome] obliges the Left to evaluate very seriously the causes and reasons… the ultra right was able to capitalise on the deep rejection of corruption [in Brazil] which has been embodied by a perverted political class… [with the previously ruling] Workers’ Party converting itself into a symbol of this perversion,”the CRBZ continued.

International relations secretary of the Venezuelan Communist Party, Carolus Wimmer, similarly proposed that non-structural populist policies of the Workers’ Party must be factored into explaining the result. “We must retake class-based struggle… the ascension of fascism in an emerging economy (…) marks the start of a deepening of the class struggle in our continent,” he argued.

He also underlined the role of the United States in Bolsonaro’s victory, recalling that Steve Bannon, ex-White House strategist, played “an important role in the campaigning and positioning of Bolsonaro as the leader of the discontent.”

Venezuelan revolutionary intellectual Luis Britto Garcia expressed concernthat the election result will spell a heightened military threat against Venezuela, stressing “We can’t carry on without border controls… This new context forces us to assume an extreme rethink of security and national defence… we must be conscious of the strategic doctrines which look to divide Venezuela.”

Chavista economist and ex-Finance Minister Luis Salas, however, took a less pesimistic position, suggesting that “the Left in general and in Latin America in general tends to have a catastrophic and depressive reading of history (…) Bolsonaro’s triumph is a step backwards, without a doubt, and there is great danger, but it is not the end of the world nor of history.”

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What is the Impact of US Sanctions on Venezuela?

Image result for US Sanctions on Venezuela CARTOON

What do people on the streets of London and Caracas think about US sanctions and Venezuela’s economic problems? A Simple Question takes a look.

By A Simple Question 

Venezuelan President Maduro says US-backed enemies of his country have launched an economic war on him. He also claims opposition leaders worked together in an effort to assassinate him and that they tried to overthrow him through violent street demonstrations.

Despite pointing the finger of blame at US President Donald Trump, he still claimed he hoped to meet with Trump face to face. But in 2017 the White House responded to a similar request by saying such a meeting would only take place if the country returned to democracy. Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the United States have been tense since the now dead socialist President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.

Both Chavez and Maduro, his successor, have accused Washington of assassination attempts against them. Meanwhile, Trump has imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela and its state oil company. He has even imposed sanctions on President Maduro’s wife and several of his top allies to further increase pressure on the government.

Venezuela also accuses the United States of encouraging its emigration crisis to embarrass Caracas, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves but is in full economic collapse. Pro-government supporters of President Maduro have taken to the streets to protect against American interference after reports that US officials met secretly with Venezuelan military officers to discuss plans to oust Maduro.

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Venezuela Launches Media Response Plan to Fake News Attacks

The ‘Zero Tolerance Media Plan’ is to be run by the Foreign Office and will look to offer responses to misleading and false international coverage of Venezuela.

By Paul Dobson
Vice Minister for International Communication William Castillo announced the plan. (Archive)
Vice Minister for International Communication William Castillo announced the plan. (Archive)

Merida, October 31, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan government has announced the creation of a media based task force to address fake or misleading international news stories about the Caribbean nation.

The ‘Zero Tolerance Media Plan’ was announced by Vice Minister for International Communication William Castillo Monday, and will run through the Foreign Office and its network of embassies and consulates.

Castillo explained that the plan looks to offer responses to instances of fake news coverage “one by one.”

“There have been attacks against the Venezuelan demonym, not just against the country, its political authorities, its government, or Chavismo any more, but now against the people, the average folk, our national identity,” he explained.

Castillo used one example of a recent anonymous note in a Portuguese TV channel which claimed that Venezuelan mothers were giving away their children so as to be able to eat. “This is fake,” he clarified.

Caracas has frequently denounced a media-based campaign to undermine its sovereignty, democratic credentials, and social advances in recent years. Venezuelan authorities claim that US-led media outlets, as well as important European outlets such as El Pais in Spain, look to damage the reputation of the nation and create spin which justifies coercive measures against the country, such as sanctions and an international intervention.

A recent example involves the so-called “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela following increased migration levels.

“In Central America they don’t say ‘humanitarian crisis, massive exodus, catastrophe, diaspora’. There, it is a ‘caravan’, as if it were a party, and they are thousands which are fleeing poverty, violence, a lack of opportunities, hope, and the US government is closing the door to them,” stated Vice President of the National Constituent Assembly Tania Diaz, drawing comparison with the 7000-strong migrant march which is en route to the Mexican-US border.

Further examples include the media coverage of the August 4 terrorist drone attack against President Nicolas Maduro, in which corporate media outlets used words such as “apparent” and “alleged” to sew doubt about the reality of the attack which targeted the President and injured seven soldiers.

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The Troika of Tyranny: The Imperialist Project in Latin America & Its Epigones

Roger Harris looks at the context of the recent round of sanctions announces against Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

John Bolton announced the new sanctions against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. (Alex Wong / GettyImages)
John Bolton announced the new sanctions against Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. (Alex Wong / GettyImages)
By Roger Harris – Popular Resistance

Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are today threatened by US imperialism. The first salvo of the modern Age of Imperialism started back in 1898 when the US seized Cuba along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the Spanish-American War.

The Age of Imperialism, as Lenin observed, is characterized by the competition of the various imperial powers for dominance. That inter-imperialist rivalry led to World War I. Lenin called those putative socialists who supported their own national imperialist projects “social imperialists.” Social imperialism is a tendency that is socialist in name and imperialist in deed. Imperialism and its social imperialist minions are still with us today.

US Emerges as the World’s Hegemon

The United States emerged after World War II as the leading imperialist power. With the implosion of the Socialist Bloc around 1991, US hegemony became even more consolidated. Today the US is the undisputed world’s hegemon.

Hegemony means to rule but even more so to dominate. As the world’s hegemon, the US will not tolerate neutral parties, let alone hostile ones. As articulated in the Bush Doctrine, the US will try to asphyxiate any nascent counter-hegemonic project, no matter how insignificant.

In the Caribbean, for instance, the US snuffed out the leftist government of Grenada in 1983 in what was code named Operation Urgent Fury. Grenada has a population smaller than Vacaville, California.

The only powers that the world’s hegemon will tolerate are junior partners such as Colombia in Latin America. The junior partner must accept a neoliberal economic regime designed to serve the interests of capital. Structural adjustment of the economy is demanded such that the neoliberal “reforms” become irreversible; so that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Colombia recently joined NATO, putting that junior partner’s military under direct interaction with the Pentagon bypassing its civilian government. The US has seven military bases in Colombia in order to project – in the words of the US government – “full spectrum” military dominance in the Latin American theatre.

Needless-to-say, no Colombian military bases are in the US. Nor does any other country have military bases on US soil. The world’s hegemon has some 1000 foreign military bases. Even the most sycophantic of the US’s junior partners, Great Britain, is militarily occupied by 10,000 US troops.

The US is clear on its enemies list. On November 1, US National Security Advisor John Bolton, speaking in Miami, labelled Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba the “troika of tyranny.” He described a “triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua.”

Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba are targeted by US imperialism because they pose what might be called the “threat of a good example;” that is, an alternative to the neoliberal world order. These countries are suffering attacks from the imperialists because of the things they have done right, not for their flaws. They are attempting to make a more inclusive society for women people of color, and the poor; to have a state that, instead of serving the rich and powerful, has a special option for working people, because these are the people most in need of social assistance.

Sanctions: The Economic War against Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba

The US imperialist rhetoric is backed with action. In 2015, US President Obama declared Venezuela an “extraordinary threat to US security” and imposed sanctions. These sanctions have been extended and deepened by the Trump administration. The US has likewise subjected Cuba to sanctions in a seamless bipartisan policy of both Republicans and Democrats for over half a century. Now the US is the process of imposing sanctions on Nicaragua.

Unilateral sanctions, such as those imposed by the US, are illegal under the charters of both the UN and the Organization of American States, because they are a form of collective punishment targeting the people.

The US sanctions are designed to make life so miserable for the masses of people that they will reject their democratically elected government. Yet in Venezuela, those most adversely affected by the sanctions are the most militantly in support of their President Nicolás Maduro. Consequently, the Trump administration is also floating the option of military intervention against Venezuela. The recently elected rightwing leaders Bolsonaro in Brazil and Duque in Colombia, representing the two powerful states on the western and southern borders of Venezuela, are colluding with the hegemon of the north.

The inside-the-beltway human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, fail to condemn these illegal and immoral sanctions. They lament the human suffering caused by the sanctions, all the while supporting the imposition of the sanctions. Nor do they raise their voices against military intervention, perhaps the gravest of all crimes against humanity.

Liberal establishments such as the advocacy group Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) try to distinguish themselves from hard-line imperialists by opposing a military invasion in Venezuela while calling for yet more effective and punishing sanctions. In effect, they play the role of the good cop, providing a liberal cover for interference in the internal affairs of Latin American nations.

These billionaire-funded NGOs have a revolving-door staffing arrangement with the US government. So it is not surprising that they will reflect Washington’s foreign policies initiatives. But why do some organizations claiming to be leftist so unerringly echo the imperialists, taking such umbrage over Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua while ignoring far greater problems in, say, Mexico, Colombia, and Honduras, which are US client states?

Most Progressive Country in Central America Targeted

Let’s take Nicaragua. A year ago, the polling organization Latinobarómetro, found the approval rating of Nicaraguans for their democracy to be the highest in Central America and second highest in Latin America.

Daniel Ortega had won the Nicaraguan presidency in 2006 with a 38% plurality, in 2011 with 63%, and 72.5% in 2016. The Organization of American States officially observed and certified the vote. Polls indicated Ortega was perhaps the most popular head of state in the entire western hemisphere. As longtime Nicaraguan solidarity activist Chuck Kaufman noted, “Dictators don’t win fair elections by growing margins.”

Nicaragua is a member of the anti-imperialist Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America with Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and some Caribbean states. Speaking at the UN, the Nicaraguan foreign minister had the temerity to catalogue the many transgressions of what Martin Luther King called “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and express Nicaragua’s opposition.

These are reasons enough for a progressive alternative such as Nicaragua to curry the enmity of the US. The enigma is why those claiming to be leftists would target a country that had:

– Second highest economic growth rates and the most stable economy in Central America.
– Only country in the region producing 90% of the food it consumes.
– Poverty and extreme poverty halved; country with the greatest reduction of extreme poverty.
– Reached the UN Millennium Development Goal of cutting malnutrition by half.
– Nicaraguans enjoyed free basic healthcare and education.
– Illiteracy had been virtually eliminated, down from 36% in 2006 when Ortega took office.
– Average economic growth of 5.2% for the past 5 years (IMF and the World Bank).
– Safest country in Central America (UN Development Program) with one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America.
– Highest level of gender equality in the Americas (World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2017).
– Did not contribute to the migrant exodus to the US, unlike neighboring Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
– Unlike its neighbors, kept out the drug cartels and pioneered community policing.

In April of this year, all of this was threatened. The US had poured millions of dollars into “democracy promotion” programs, a euphemism for regime change operations. Suddenly and unexpectedly, a cabal of the reactionary Catholic Church hierarchy, conservative business associations, remnants of the US-sponsored Contras, and students from private universities attempted a coup.

Former members of Ortega’s Sandinista Party, who had long ago splintered off into political oblivion and drifted to the right, became effective propagandists for the opposition. Through inciting violence and the skillful use of disinformation in a concerted social media barrage, they attempted to achieve by extra-legal means what they could not achieve democratically. Imperialism with a Happy Face.

We who live in the “belly of the beast” are constantly bombarded by the corporate media, framing the issues (e.g., “humanitarian bombing). Some leftish groups and individuals pick up these signals, amplify, and rebroadcast them. While they may genuinely believe what they are promulgating, there are also rewards such as funding, media coverage, hobnobbing with prominent US politicians, and winning awards for abhorring the excesses of imperialism while accepting its premises.

Today’s organizations that are socialist in name and imperialist in deed echo the imperial demand that the state leaders of the progressive movements in Latin America “must go” and legitimize the rationale that such leaders must be “dictators.”

They try to differentiate their position from the imperialists by proffering a mythic movement, which will create a triumphant socialist alternative that fits their particular sect’s line: Chavismo without Maduro in Venezuela, Sandinismo without Ortega in Nicaragua, and the Cuban Revolution without the Cuban Communist Party in Cuba.

The political reality in Latin America is that a right-wing offensive is attacking standing left- leaning governments. President George W. Bush was right: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” There is no Utopian third way. Each of us has to determine who are the real terrorists, as the juggernaut of US imperialism rolls out a neoliberal world order.

Chaos: The New Imperialist Game Plan

For now, the coup in Nicaragua has been averted. Had it succeeded, chaos would have reigned. As even the most ardent apologists for the opposition admit, the only organized force in the opposition was the US-sponsored rightwing which would have instigated a reign of terror against the Sandinista base.

The US would prefer to install stable rightwing client states or even military dictatorships. But if neither can be achieved, chaos is the preferred alternative. Libya, where rival warlords contest for power and slaves are openly bartered on the street, is the model coming to Latin America.

Chaos is the new imperialist game plan, especially for Bolton’s so-called troika of tyranny. The imperialists understand that the progressive social movements in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba are too popular and entrenched to be eradicated by a mere change of personnel in the presidential palace. Much more drastic means are envisioned; means that would make the bloody aftermath of the US-backed Pinochet coup in 1973 in Chile pale by comparison.

In Venezuela, for example, the opposition might well have won the May 2018 presidential election given the dire economic situation caused in large part by the US sanctions. The opposition split between a moderate wing that was willing to engage in electoral struggle and a hard-right wing that advocated a violent takeover and jailing the Chavistas.

When Venezuelan President Maduro rejected the US demand to call off the elections and resign, he was labelled a dictator by Washington. And when moderate Henri Falcon ran in the Venezuelan presidential race on a platform of a complete neoliberal transition, Washington, instead of rejoicing, threatened sanctions against him for running. The US belligerently floated a military option for Venezuela, stiffened the suffocating sanctions, and tipped the balance within the Venezuelan opposition to the radical right.

The US is not about to allow Venezuela a soft landing. Their intent is to exterminate the contagion of progressive social programs and international policy that has been the legacy of nearly two decades Chavismo. Likewise, for Cuba and Nicaragua. We should also add Bolivia in the crosshairs of the empire.

We’ve seen what Pax Americana has meant for the Middle East. The same imperial playbook is being implemented in Latin America. Solidarity with the progressive social movements and their governments in Latin America is needed, especially when their defeat would mean chaos.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on The Troika of Tyranny: The Imperialist Project in Latin America & Its Epigones

Naziyahu: Brutal Murder of Khashoggi by Saudis ‘Horrendous,’ But… ‘Larger Problem Is Iran’

NOVANEWS

Netanyahu: Brutal Murder of Khashoggi by Saudis ‘Horrendous,’ But… ‘Larger Problem Is Iran’

The Israeli prime minister’s first public comments on the killing come amid reports he urged the Trump administration to stand by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Trump, Bibi

While publicly condemning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized the importance of Saudi Arabia as a strategic regional partner and has reportedly has urged the Trump administration to maintain support for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

As the global community continues to demand justice for murdered Washington Postcolumnist and Saudi Arabian dissident Jamal Khashoggi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his first public comments, described Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month as “horrendous” before immediately defending Saudi Arabia as strategically important to counter Iran.

“What happened in the Istanbul consulate was horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. Yet at the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable,” Netanyahu toldreporters after a diplomatic meeting in Varna, Bulgaria on Friday. “I think that a way must be found to achieve both goals. Because I think that the larger problem is Iran.”

Earlier on Friday, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the prime minister’s security cabinet, had said in a radio interview that Khashoggi’s murder “was a despicable action. It’s worthy of all reproach. This was a civilian, a journalist, not a terrorist,” but also that “Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, are our allies in recent years against the spread of Iran and against the Iranian nuclear threat.” Iran maintains that it is not trying to build nuclear weapons and international watchdogs have foundthe nation in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

The Israelis’ remarks followed a Washington Post report on Thursday that Netanyahu had privately urged the United States to maintain support for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS. According to the Post, in recent days, autocraticEgyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi and Netanyahu have “reached out to the Trump administration to express support for the crown prince, arguing that he is an important strategic partner in the region.”

As details of the grisly killing have emerged, MbS has faced heightened scrutiny over suspicions that he was involved in a plot to assassinate Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia has changed its official story multiple times since the dissident entered the consulate on Oct. 2 and never reemerged. Initially, the kingdom said Khashoggi left the facility unharmed, before claiming he died in a “fistfight” gone wrong. The country’s attorney general finally admitted last week that, as Turkish officials have alleged for weeks, the murder was premeditated.

While President Donald Trump has revoked visas or limited travel for 21 individuals accused of being involved with the murder, the president has accepted the crown prince’s denials that he never had “any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish consulate.” Trump also has resisted pressure from the public and politicians to cut off arms sales and military support for Saudi Arabia as it wages war on Yemen, where the Saudi and UAE-led coalition’s bombing campaign has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The Post also reported Thursday that the crown prince has spoken with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, arguably his top ally in the Trump administration, multiple times since Khashoggi was killed—including a call with Kushner and National Security Adviser John Bolton in which the MbS alleged that Khashoggi was “a dangerous Islamist” affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Echoing Khashoggi’s repeated denials over the years that he was affiliated with the Egypt-based organization, his family said in a statement: “Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous.”

Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, on Friday requested that his remains be turned over for a proper burial. However, Turkish presidential adviser Yasin Aktay told the Hürriyet Daily News this week that he believes Khashoggi’s body was cut up then dissolved in acid. “Now we see that they did not only dismember his body but also vaporized it,” Aktay said. “The reason they dismembered Khashoggi’s body was to dissolve his remains more easily.”

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Naziyahu: Brutal Murder of Khashoggi by Saudis ‘Horrendous,’ But… ‘Larger Problem Is Iran’

Murder of Saudi Journalist Builds Opposition to Yemen War

NOVANEWS

Mid-term elections could reverse Trump policies

The Arab Spring spread through Saudi Arabia and continued for years in the mostly Shia Muslim, eastern part of the country. When the current Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman came to power, he escalated the war in Yemen and cracked down on dissent at home. (Photo by Reese Erlich)

The Arab Spring spread through Saudi Arabia and continued for years in the mostly Shia Muslim, eastern part of the country. When the current Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman came to power, he escalated the war in Yemen and cracked down on dissent at home. (Photo by Reese Erlich)

The murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has backfired on the Saudi royal family by focusing new attention on its vicious war on Yemen.

The last few weeks have seen startling new reports on civilian atrocities and growing support for a House of Representative resolution invoking the War Powers Act to stop the war. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-San Jose) now has 73 cosponsors for a resolution that would stop US participation in the Yemen slaughter.

The Khashoggi murder has fundamentally shifted opinions on Capitol Hill about US-Saudi relations, Rep. Khanna told me in a phone interview. He likened it to one partner in a marriage having an affair.

“The marriage may last but it will never be the same,” he said. “It’s opened people’s eyes.”

Murder expressly in the Orient

On October 2, the Saudi regime, headed by Mohammad bin Salman, murdered opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. Saudi officials had a premeditated plan to kill Khashoggi, dress a Saudi operative in his clothes and then have him walk around the city to leave the impression he was still alive.

In reality, Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered with a bone saw, according to Turkish government sources. While tens of thousands of Yemenis have died as a result of the Saudi invasion of Yemen, it took the death of one man to focus world attention on Saudi atrocities.

Partially in response to the Khashoggi scandal, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis called for all sides in the Yemen War to begin UN-sponsored peace talks within 30 days. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that the Houthi movement, which is fighting Saudi Arabia, begin the ceasefire first. Past United States calls for ceasefires and peace talks went nowhere because the Trump administration is determined not to disrupt relations with Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration provides intelligence to the Saudi military fighting in Yemen and helps refuel its fighter jets. The United States currently has dozens of soldiers deployed in Yemen, ostensibly to combat terrorism. Earlier this year the New York Timesrevealed that about a dozen Green Beret commandos were stationed in Saudi Arabia along the Yemen border to train the Saudi military in interdicting Houthi missile attacks.

As I’ve reported previously, the Trump administration could end the war within days. US technicians fuel and maintain Saudi fighter planes manufactured by Boeing. Trump could order the technicians to stop work, as provided in the Boeing contract.

“If the United States stopped fueling the planes, the war would end,” noted Khanna.

Who’s fighting and why?

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) invaded Yemen in 2015 claiming to support the legitimate government of Yemen’s Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In reality, Hadi was installed by the United States after an Arab Spring uprising and today acts as a Saudi puppet. He lives in Saudi Arabia, not Yemen.

The Houthis, a conservative political Islamic movement, control the northern part of Yemen. Iran supports but does not control the Houthis. The Houthis havekilled civilians by firing artillery indiscriminately into Yemeni cities and launching rockets into southern Saudi Arabia, according to Human Rights Watch.

But the Saudi/UAE coalition is responsible for far more death and destruction. In an online interview from the Yemeni capital Sanaa, radio reporter Ali Shahari told me coalition planes have destroyed massive amounts of infrastructure and caused the deaths of tens of thousands. The two occupying powers have blocked access to the country’s ports, which stops even humanitarian aid such as food and medicine.

“The people here are suffering from malnutrition due to the imposed blockade,” Shahari said. “This is a catastrophe.”

The United States, UK and France provide the deadly munitions responsible for civilian deaths. Lockheed-Martin sold the guided missiles to Saudi Arabia that caused the deaths of 40 children and 11 adults in the infamous August attack on a school bus.

Most of the mainstream media say some 10,000 Yemenis have died in the war, but that figure comes from a two-year-old UN estimate. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project(ACLED), a research institution funded in part by the US State Department, indicates that from 2016 to the present, some 56,000 Yemeni civilians and combatants have died. The total since the beginning of the war will likely be 70-80,000, according to a ACLED spokesperson.

A new report by the World Peace Foundation shows that the Royal Saudi Air Force intentionally attacks food storage facilities. Report author and Tufts Professor Martha Mundy explained, “There is strong evidence that Coalition strategy has aimed to destroy food production and distribution in the areas under the control of Sanaa.”

Bump from Trump

Obama and now Trump have supported the Yemen occupation to defend US so-called national interests, part of the larger fight against Iran. The United States accuses Iran of seeking to militarily dominate the region from Lebanon, through Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen.

My — how the kettle calls the pot black. The United States has dominated the Middle East in the post-World-War II era and seeks to maintain its power in an alliance with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. It has massive military bases in Bahrain and Qatar

The US Navy keeps the sea lanes open for US and allied oil corporations. And, by sheer coincidence, oil and munitions companies make billions of dollars in profits.

Funny how “national interests” are of great interest to the rich but not to the nation.

The Saudis had predicted a quick victory in Yemen but are now bogged down in a never-ending war that costs at least $5-6 billion a month. Fallout from the Khashoggi murder has made the war even more problematic.

Neither Obama nor Trump ever formally declared war in Yemen, and the fighting there has nothing to do with combating terrorism. Even the Republican-dominated House in November 2017 voted by a whopping 366-30 margin to stop United States participation in the Yemen war. In March a similar measure failed in the Senate by a vote of only 55-44.

If the Democrats win the House, and particularly the Senate, they could put tremendous pressure on Trump to reverse his disastrous Mideast policies.

Rep. Khanna emphasized that his War Powers Act measure has significance beyond the Yemen war. “The bill is a reassertion of Congress’s role in foreign policy,” he said. “It’s a reorientation of US policy away from interventionism.”

Posted in Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Murder of Saudi Journalist Builds Opposition to Yemen War

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