Archive | May 30th, 2019

Nicaragua in the Shadow of Western Fascism

NOVANEWS
  • Pro governement march in Nicaragua
    Pro governement march in Nicaragua | Photo: teleSUr

    Current US and EU foreign policy embodies fascism in terms of its aspect combining corporate power with State power and policy.

In her Sorbonne University exam results, French philosopher Simone Weil scored better than Simone de Beauvoir or Jean-Paul Sartre. She well understood the varieties of Western fascism and imperialism. So it’s worth paying attention to her remark that Europeans were shocked by Nazi crimes because the Nazis did to them what Europeans did to the people in their colonies. Weil’s remark was hardly news to people in the majority world, but it bears repeating to people in North America and Europe now.

Blood of Augusto Sandino Runs Through Nicaragua’s Veins: Ortega

Current US and EU foreign policy embodies fascism in terms of its aspect combining corporate power with State power and policy. The glitzy contemporary version prioritizes monopoly corporate finance and media as a means to achieving what the US and EU elites want, avoiding the mass destruction of war with uncertain global outcomes against obdurate, determined antagonists. That is the underlying meaning of contemporary sanctions and psychological warfare against Russia, China, North Korea, Syria and, in Latin America, against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, this reality is self-evident given the nature of US and EU proxies. The US and the EU support repressive organized-crime regimes in Colombia, Brazil and Argentina and those regimes’ counterparts among the political opposition of Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. A corollary of that support is the inability of these subaltern political blocs to tell the truth or honor agreements, exactly like their overseers in North America and Europe.

Examples abound of this reality. Early in 2018 the Venezuelan opposition was on the point of signing an agreement with President Nicolas Maduro’s government but dropped out at the very last minute on orders from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Similarly, the US authorities unilaterally abandoned the process easing tensions with Cuba after years of negotiations and just recently they intensified sanctions by activating previously unused measures under the notorious Helms-Burton Act.

In Colombia, the latest violation of the increasingly debased peace agreement has been the re-arrest of Jesus Santrich on phony narcotics charges after his release under the agreement’s key judicial provision, the Special Peace Jurisdiction. That abuse of the agreement follows over 120 murders of demobilized FARC fighters by Colombia’s army and their narco-terror paramilitary allies. Similar gross bad faith characterizes right-wing abuse of judicial practice in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador and the desperate, unsuccessful maneuvers of the opposition in Bolivia against the presidential candidacy of Evo Morales.

This is the regional context for the political negotiations here in Nicaragua between President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government and the US bought-and-paid-for opposition. In contrast to the political opposition in Venezuela, in Nicaragua, the talks are not even with elected politicians. The US controlled opposition representatives have deliberately excluded electorally bankrupt right-wing political parties from the talks The opposition negotiators are almost without exception individuals from organizations dependent one way or another on US financial support.

The Nicaraguan government has accepted talks with these unrepresentative opposition figures in a process mediated by the Papal Nuncio and a delegate from the Organization of American States. The discussions have been continuing formally since March this year with some progress on issues like the conditional release of prisoners convicted of crimes during last year’s failed coup attempt, the return of opposition supporters who fled the country last year, electoral reforms and reinforcing existing constitutional guarantees. All of these are important concessions by the government.

For their part, the opposition refuses to commit either to renouncing future violence or to a joint call with the government for an end to sanctions damaging the Nicaraguan economy. Nor do they seem open to agreeing on a mechanism guaranteeing the implementation of any final agreement that may be reached. In effect, they seem to think the threat of continuing US sanctions and even intervention exonerates them from making any meaningful concessions.

As the talks wear on, the government’s good faith contrasts more and more strongly with the opposition’s bad faith, both to the majority of Nicaragua’s people and to the mediating delegates.  As a smokescreen for their perfidy, the opposition periodically stages distractions either via media theatricals or calculated violence. The latest example of this has been a series of attacks by opposition prisoners in the penitentiary where they are detained. But the Nicaraguan authorities preempted the propaganda value of those attacks by inviting the Red Cross to monitor conditions for those prisoners, a measure which has undercut the opposition’s false claims of abuse.

Two things remain absolutely clear at this stage of the failed US and EU attempts to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. Firstly, people supporting the Nicaraguan opposition are accomplices to profoundly anti-democratic, anti-humanitarian Western government efforts at regime change against a successful progressive government. Secondly, like their fascist counterparts in Venezuela and Colombia, the Nicaraguan opposition is treacherous quislings committed to serving and obeying foreign corporate interests. They have nothing to offer in response to the impeccable national human development plan of President Ortega’s Sandinista government.

Everything suggests that the opposition delegates are determined to find an excuse either to walk away from the current talks or to renege on any eventual agreement. President Ortega’s government negotiators have already made and implemented important concessions but are sticking to their demand that the opposition call for an end to sanctions. In the end, a final agreement may well be reached, but the US and EU owners of Nicaragua’s opposition will never let them honor it. In fact, it may not be entirely true that Nicaragua’s opposition has no plan for their country: they want to be the rulers of a neoliberal hell like Honduras or Haiti.

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Majority US Population Rejects Preemptive Strike on Iran

  • U.S. citizens don't want the country to attack Iran.
    U.S. citizens don’t want the country to attack Iran. | Photo: Reuters

    A recent poll showed that the majority of the U.S. citizens don’t want their country to strike Iran first and half of the population fears a full-fledged war.

Around 60 percent of citizens of the United States said the country should not conduct a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military, while 12 percent advocate for striking first according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

US Warmongers Plan to Threaten Iran by Sending 120,000 Troops

The poll also revealed that 53 percent of U.S. citizens think of Iran as either a “serious” or “imminent” threat, up 6 percentage points from a similar poll from last July. In comparison, 58 percent of the country’s population characterized North Korea as a threat and 51 percent characterized Russia as a threat.

The survey showed that 51percent of adults fear that the United States and Iran would go to warwithin the next few years

Nearly half – 49 percent – of all U.S. citizens disapprove of how Republican Trump is handling relations with Iran, the poll found, with 31 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Overall, 39 percent approve of Trump’s policy.

If Iran attacked, however, 79 percent said that the U.S. military should retaliate: 40 percent favored a limited response with airstrikes, while 39 percent favored a full invasion. None of the countries, however, wants war.

The poll showed 61 percent of U.S. citizens still supported the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers to curb Iran’s potential pathway to a nuclear bomb in return for sanctions relief.

Tension has been increasing between the two countries since the U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Iran saying that any conflict will mean “the official end of Iran.”

The North American country has deployed a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over what it termed Iranian ‘threats.’ This account has been met with widespread skepticism outside the United States.

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Almagro Against Venezuela Dialogue, in Favor of Use of Force

  • Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, publicly calls to illegally oust Nicolas Maduro.
    Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, publicly calls to illegally oust Nicolas Maduro. | Photo: Reuters

    This embrace for military intervention aimed at overthrowing the democratically elected governments is not new for Almagro. Back in 2018, he said that “we should not rule out any option,” regarding Venezuela, and also calling for this “option” in Nicaragua. 

Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has shown his cards once again on Tuesday, coming out against the proposed dialogue between Venezuela’s government and the country’s opposition, in an interview with Infobae.

Maduro Confirms Dialogue with Venezuelan Opposition in Norway

“The last step of the responsibility to protect is the use of force…an incremental process in which obviously results have to come out,” said Almagro, not discarding a military intervention, while dismissing “Norway’s attempt to the issue as a wrong way.”

On May 17, President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro announced that a new process has begun to initiate talks with the country’s opposition, aided by mediation efforts from Norwegian representatives. Yet for warmongering Almagro, the situation in Venezuela will only be resolved by ousting democratically elected Maduro.

This embrace for military intervention aimed at overthrowing the democratically elected governments is not new for Almagro. Back in 2018, he said that “we should not rule out any option,” regarding Venezuela, and also calling for this “option” in Nicaragua.

A rather unsurprising approach from someone who referred to the United States (U.S.) invasion of Panama (1989-90) as a bid to “restore democracy” and protect “human rights,” coincidently the same terms now used by the U.S. and right-wing opposition to “justify” military intervention in Venezuela.

As history proved the Panama invasion, which came after failed coup attempts and economic sanctions in the wake of Manuel Noriega falling out of Washington’s favor, is widely interpreted as a part of U.S. efforts to maintain a supportive government in Panama and U.S. domination in the region.

A few months after in July 1990, a willing new president, Guillermo Endara, signed the Grant Treaty, allotting for millions of dollars in “aid” in exchange for harsh liberalization and privatization overseen by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

According to the book “The Truth About the Invasion,” in a single night, “U.S. troops killed 100 times more Panamanians than in over 21 years of military rule. In a single week, there were 100 times more political prisoners than there were during the five years of the Noriega regime.” But for Almagro, as he has said, this is justified in a convenient  “historical perspective.”

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Timeline of Half a Decade of US Economic War Against Venezuela

NOVANEWS
  • A worker holds a wad of Venezuelan bolivar notes at a state oil company PDVSA's gas station in Caracas, Venezuela May 17, 2019.
    A worker holds a wad of Venezuelan bolivar notes at a state oil company PDVSA’s gas station in Caracas, Venezuela May 17, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

    The various waves of U.S. sanctions have caused economic losses of at least US$130 billion.

As of Jan. 23, 2019 when the self-declared ‘president’ Juan Guaido attempted to lead a coup, the hostility of the U.S. blockade against Venezuela increased substantially.

Cuba Shows Support for Venezuela in 18th ALBA Political Council

However, the latest sanctions by Washington against Venezuela come as a culmination of almost half a decade of U.S. aggression by multiple successive administrations seeking to put an end to decades of leftist rule in the oil-rich South American country.

While the recent U.S. sanctions are blocking the Venezuelan people from using over US$11 billion from Citgo Petroleum, a corporation owned by Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), total damages are estimated at US$130 billion for the period between 2015 to 2018, as the Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia, Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa, said Tuesday.

While the Venezuelan government, human rights organizations and experts, as well as economists,  warn that such sanctions are directly affecting the Venezuelan people, U.S. officials seem to care little about their suffering.

In October 2018, during an exclusive interview with VOA media, former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield said the “best solution” would be to “accelerate” the collapse of the Bolivarian Revolution even if that implied a greater burden of human suffering.

teleSUR put together a timeline of economic sanctions and hurdles placed on the Venezuelan government by both the United States government and the U.S. banking system, revealing a strategic escalation of aggression by the U.S. government over the past few years.

December 2014

The U.S. Congress approved Law 113-278: “Public Law for the Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society in Venezuela,” which establishes the road map for unilateral coercive measures by the U.S. and the countries that operate within its sphere of influence.

This law expressly established “sanctions” against the Central Bank of Venezuela and PDVSA, the main state company which has a monopoly on the exploitation of all the nation’s hydrocarbons and generates more than 90 percent of the revenues in the country.

With this legal instrument, the United States opened the doors for unilateral measures to block and freeze assets, funds and Venezuelan properties; suspension of entry, cancellation of visa or other documentation belonging to officials who hold public office, military officers and diplomatic representatives.

All these actions were aimed at creating the conditions of an economic, financial and commercial embargo on Venezuela, as well as to hinder the participation of state representatives in international relations.

Venezuela has the Means to Defeat the US Blockade

March 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama signed a decree which designates Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the U.S. National Security.”

As a result, Citibank refused to receive Venezuelan funds seeking to purchase 300,000 insulin doses required for the treatment of Venezuelan diabetic patients.

May 2016

Due to pressures from the U.S. Treasury Department, the German bank Commerzbank unilaterally closed the accounts of Venezuelan public institution and companies.

July 2016

Citibank unilaterally terminated its service to correspondent accounts in foreign currency of Venezuelan institutions in the U.S., including those of the Venezuela’s Central Bank (BCV).

Risk rating agencies assigned Venezuela the world’s highest financial risk (2,640 points), well above countries at war, despite having fulfilled its external debt commitments. Venezuela had paid US$63.4 billion in debt service since 2013; however, the financial risk increased 202 percent during the same period, rising from an average of 768 in 2012 to 2,323 in 2016.

August 2016

Portugal’s Novo Banco reported the impossibility of conducting dollar-denominated operations with Venezuelan banks, due to pressures exerted by its corresponding banks.

Chavistas March in Caracas to Mark Nicolas Maduro’s Re-election

September 2016

In order to partially refinance its financial obligations and reschedule its debt amortizations, the Venezuelan government makes an offer to exchange US$7.1 billion in PDVSA bonds. The U.S.-based risk rating agencies threatened investors with declaring default if they agree to the Venezuelan proposal.

November 2016

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. issued a false default alert about an alleged US$404 million PDVSA debt default.

December 2016

Venezuela did not receive a shipment of new banknotes from the Crane Currency company, which is a U.S. Treasury Department’s supplier and was contracted by the Venezuelan state to print currency cone pieces.

July 2017

The Delaware Trust company, an agent of payments of PDVSA bonds, announced that its U.S. correspondent, the PNC Financial Services Group, refused to receive funds from the Venezuelan oil company.

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Jorge Arreaza M

@jaarreaza

Despite obstacles, yesterday 180 Venezuelans finally arrived home from Peru. The Blockade against Venezuela will not slow down the huge effort of the . President @NicolasMaduro welcomes you. We continue on the offensive!

August 2017

The U.S. Executive Order 13808 prohibited all transactions aimed at financing Venezuela, banned direct or indirect purchases of Venezuelan government securities, which included bonds, loans, credit extensions, loan guarantees, credit letters, drafts, bankers acceptance, invoices or discount notes and commercial papers.

With this order, the U.S. blockade against the Bolivarian government became official and granted legal status to the financial boycott, making private banks an openly active partner of the U.S. isolation policy.

The Swiss multinational investment bank, Credit Suisse, prohibited its clients from carrying out financial transactions with Venezuela.

The Bank of China at Panama stated it would not carry out any operation in favor of Venezuela due to both instructions from the U.S. Treasury Department and pressures coming from the Panamanian government.

Similarly, Russian banks refused to make transactions towards Venezuelan banks due to restrictions imposed by correspondent banks based in the U.S. and Europe.

Claiming administrative reasons, the BDC Shandong’s correspondent paralyzed a US$200 million transaction towards Venezuela even though the People’s Republic of China had already rotated the corresponding funds.

October 2017

Venezuela could not deposit money in the Swiss UBS Investment Bank to pay for vaccines and medicines purchased through the Pan American Health Organization (PHO). This caused a delay of four months in the acquisition of vaccines and altered the Venezuelan vaccination schedules.

Embedded video

Samuel Moncada@SMoncada_VEN

Reverend Jackson understands that starving Venezuela into submission with a blockade is inmmoral and inhumane. Trump’s international policy is dangerous and does not make rational sense.

Stop Trump’s war!

November 2017

The Deutsche Ban, the main correspondent of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), permanently closed all Venezuelan accounts.

International banks refused 23 Venezuelan operations, worth US$39 million, aimed at purchasing food, basic supplies and medicines.

The Standard and Poor’s rating agency declared Venezuela to be in “selective default” for allegedly failing to register a payment process on time, a label which was later found to be false.

Wilmington Trust, a company managing bonds, accused the Venezuelan company Corpoelec of not paying US$27 million in debt interests. This happened in a moment when Venezuela’s means of payment were going through a full blockade within the U.S. financial system.

December 2017

U.S. banks arbitrarily blocked 19 bank accounts through which Venezuela had been making payments to land transport cabotage services. This caused fuel shortages in several states and also hindered transactions related to 471,000 vehicle tires which had already been paid.

European banks delayed a US$29.7 million transaction with which the Venezuelan Committees for Local Supply and Production (CLAP)’s food program had arranged to pay its suppliers.

J.P. Morgan Chase delayed accepting resources for US$28.1 million which were destined to pay services from vessels transporting food supplies to Venezuela.

January 2018.

About US$1.2 billion in Venezuelan sovereign bonds and PDVSA bonds could not be repaid to their creditors due to the Trump administration’s sanctions.

February 2018

The U.S. Treasury Department extended financial penalties established in the August 2017 Executive Order 13808. The renegotiation or restructuring of the Venezuelan debt, issued by the government and its public enterprises before August 25, 2017, was impeded.

March 2018

President Trump renewed executive orders 13692 and 13808 for an additional year. He also prohibited debt restructuring in favor of Citgo Petroleum, the PDVSA’s U.S. subsidiary company, and prevented the repatriation of the company’s dividends.

The U.S. issued executive order 13827, effectively prohibiting any citizen or institution from making financial transactions with ‘Petro,’ a Venezuela’s state-owned cryptocurrency.

April 2018

During the Summit of the Americas, Peru’s Foreign Minister announced that Lima Group has decided to create a follow-up group to study further political and economic measures against Venezuela.

In the same event, Colombia and the U.S. agreed to accelerate mechanisms to chase Venezuela’s financial transactions and hinder basic products supply lines.

May 2018

In retaliation for the victory of Nicolas Maduro in the presidential elections on May 20, 2018,  during which the Bolivarian leader received 67 percent of 9 million votes, the U.S. issued executive order 13835 which prohibits purchasing debt and accounts payable by Venezuelan state-owned companies. In addition, the Trump administration sanctioned 20 Venezuelan companies for alleged ties to drug trafficking.

Thus the U.S. government banned all kinds of operations related to the sale, transfer, assignment, or granting performed by any U.S.-based company where the Venezuelan government had a share of 50 percent or more.

Consecuently, over 15,000 hemodialysis patients shouldered the blow when US$9 million meant for purchasing dialysis supplies was blocked. The Colombian government blocked a 400,000 kilos supplies shipment for the Venezuelan food subsidy program.

August 2018

The Brazilian government failed to pay US$40 million to the Venezuela’s Electricity Corporation for its energy supply to the Roraima state. Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes declared that his country’s debt could not be paid due to “the economic and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. and the European Union.”

November 2018

Through a new coercive measure, the Trump Administration prohibited U.S. citizens from trading gold exported from Venezuela.

January 2019

The Trump Administration approved new sanctions against PDVSA, which included freezing US$7 billion in assets owned by CITGO. This measure will bring about US$11 billion estimated export-related losses in the coming years.

On Jan. 28, the State Department and the Department of the Treasury ceded control of CITGO and Venezuelan bank accounts in its territory to Guaido’s representatives.

In Europe, as a result of an extraterritorial and illegal application of coercive measures, the Bank of England announced the confiscation of Venezuela’s gold reserves valued at US$1.4 billion.

March 2019

As a consequence of executive order 13850, the production and trading operations of the Venezuelan Guyana Mining Corporation (Minerven) were affected.

This executive order also compromised the operations of the Venezuelan Economic and Social Development Bank (Bandes) and the institutions over which it retains 50 percent ownership, namely, Bandes Uruguay, People’s Bicentenary Bank, Universla Bank, Bank of Venezuela and Prodem Bank.

April 2019

The operations of more than 30 PDVSA oil tankers were blocked.

People

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‘Leave Venezuela Alone’: Brazil’s Lula Tells Trump in Interview

  • Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva participates in an academic event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 16, 2019.
    Brazilian former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva participates in an academic event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 16, 2019. | Photo: EFE

    Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva requested respect for the Venezuelan people and their right to decide their own future.

In an interview aired Tuesday from the Federal Prison in Curitiba, Brazil, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva commented on the behaviour of right-wing governments and recommended to the United States President Donald Trump that he takes care of his own country and leave Venezuela in peace.

Brazil Needs More Education, Not More Guns’, Lula Warns

“The treatment they are giving to Venezuela is not right. Venezuela must have sovereignty, it must have self-determination. Venezuela is a problem of the Venezuelan people, it is not a problem of the United States. Trump should take care of the United States and stop getting where nobody calls him.”

Asked about the rise of the right, the Workers’ Party leader recalled that Latin America lived an extraordinary period with high economic growth rates, income distribution and social inclusion between 2000 and 2014, with the election of Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Ricardo Lagos in Chile, Lula da Silva in Brazil, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Rafael Correa in Ecuador.

At this moment, however, the right is governing but without achieving important development results: “Now you are living a moment of the extreme right, which is failing in an absurd way,” the former Brazilian president said and added that “in times of terror, we chose monsters to protect us.”

He also pointed out that “when you create hatred in society, anti-politics takes away the hope of anyone… it takes away hope in existing institutions, which means that everything is fair game.”

The current failure of right-wing rulers, Lula warned, is opening the way to even more extremist leaders.

“Neoliberalism, in the form in which it arose at the globalization era, is losing its place… [but] it is losing in favor of the right, just as it lost in favor of Hitler or Mussolini… even in Germany, Angela Merkel, who is a very strong politician, would not rule Germany if it were not due to agreements with the Social Democratic Party (SPD).”

According to the former Brazilian President, Trump’s rise reflects that political dynamic in which the right conquers power by fabricating lies.

“U.S. citizens did not believe Trump had the slightest chance. And why did he eventually win the elections? It was not because of [Vladimir] Putin, as they try to claim. It was because of lies and fake news, as it happened here in Brazil too.”

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Foreign Affairs ??@MFAVenezuela

“These are chapters of a historical struggle” with these words, FM Arreaza described 20 years of aggressions by the opposition & imperialism against the people of to oust Bolivarian Revolution & take control of wealth

Lula also recalled that easy, although unfeasible, promises were part of Trump’s electoral strategy.

“‘America for Americans’, ‘jobs for Americans.’ His election was due to the fact that he had a correct speech for white workers… who were running out of jobs,” Lula said and argued that Trump “promised the obvious: employment for the American people. He promised to fight with the Chinese for the American people and generate employment. That made him win the election.”

Regarding what is happening in Brazil, Lula indicated that former captain Jair Bolsonaro will likely run into more trouble during his term in office if he keeps his current attitudes.

“When I was elected as president, there was a 513 member parliament in which I had 80 congressmen. Bolsonaro has 50 . He will need a lot more than I did to build a [favorable] force correlation. It’s no use saying ‘the old politics’, for he is ‘the old politics’.”

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RSS and BJP Cannot Deny Their Affinity With Hindutva Terrorist Godse

NOVANEWS

hammer sickle-rist

IN the final week of the 2019 Parliamentary Election campaign, Prime Minister Modi, the BJP and the RSS scrambled to distance themselves from the declaration of BJP candidate Pragya Thakur, that “Nathuram Godse was and will remain a patriot, those who call him a terrorist will get a reply in this election.”

Pragya Thakur herself is charged with participating in a terrorist bomb blast, and she had earlier declared that it was her “curse” that resulted in police officer Hemant Karkare being killed at the hands of terrorists during the Mumbai terror attack. But neither Modi nor the BJP were embarrassed by any of this: rather, Modi himself and other BJP leaders described Thakur as a ‘symbol’ of Hindu civilisation and her candidature as a “lesson” to those who dared accuse a Hindu of an act of terror. But it seems that Thakur’s blatant idolisation of Gandhiji’s assassin was a line the BJP, RSS, and Modi do not want to be seen crossing.

So Modi said he would “never be able to forgive” Thakur. But he has made it clear that his self-proclaimed inability to “forgive” Thakur does not extend to actually dropping her as a candidate or a member of the BJP. Moreover, neither Modi himself nor any other BJP leader is able to say the simple words, “Godse was a terrorist who hated secular India and killed Gandhi for his defence of Hindu-Muslim unity.”

Meanwhile the BJP asked Thakur to apologise. In her first ‘apology’ Thakur simply said that she was a faithful member of BJP and that the BJP’s line and her own line were the same. This statement, of course, gave the message that the BJP’s line was, in fact, that of idolising Godse. Soon after, a tweet from Thakur’s Twitter handle appeared, declaring, “I apologise to the people of India for my statement on Nathuram Godse. My statement was entirely wrong. I respect Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, very much.” After the conclusion of the election campaign, another tweet from her handle announced her intention to “undertake a vow of silence for 63 hours” as penance “if” her words had “hurt the sentiments of patriots”.

Thakur had made her remark on Godse in response to a media-orchestrated storm over Tamil actor and political Kamal Haasan’s simple statement of fact: that Nathuram Godse, the first terrorist of independent India, had been a Hindu. Kamal Haasan’s statement was clearly made in response to the PM Modi’s repeated assertion that “no Hindu” had ever been or could ever be a terrorist. Yet, a case was filed against Kamal Haasan, and the Madras HC judge, while granting him anticipatory bail, chastised him for associating a terrorist or criminal with any community. In fact, it was the PM Modi who communalised the issue of terrorism by claiming that no Hindu could ever be a terrorist, and that the cases filed against Pragya Thakur and others were an insult that Hindus must avenge by voting against the Congress party. It is Modi, not Haasan, who deserves judicial chastisement for an election speech that blatantly violates the Constitutional guarantee of equality to all, irrespective of faith, in the eyes of the law.

In fact, it is undeniable that the RSS and BJP share ideological affinity with Gandhi’s assassin Godse, and with those like Savarkar who plotted the assassination. It is well established that Pragya Thakur herself belongs to Abhinav Bharat, a terrorist outfit set up by descendants of Godse and Savarkar to violently overthrow the secular Indian state and achieve a Hindu Rashtra. By handpicking Thakur as a candidate as a mascot for the 2019 election campaign, Modi and the BJP are seeking to camouflage Hindutva terrorism, from Gandhi’s assassination to killings of Muslims and intellectuals like Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi, and Gauri Lankesh, as ‘patriotism’.

There is ample historic evidence that Godse and the RSS shared the same violent hatred for Gandhi for his refusal to condone hatred and violence towards Muslims. Intelligence records document a speech by RSS founder Golwalkar in December 1947, telling Sangh cadres that Muslims must be evicted from India and Pakistan must be finished off, and “if anyone stood in our way we will have to finish him too.” In the same speech Golwalkar went on to name Gandhi and say that “if compelled”, the Sangh would “immediately silence” him. Nathuram’s brother Gopal Godse stated in 1994 that Nathuram and all his brothers were RSS members, and that Nathuram said he had left the RSS, only to shield the RSS from the repercussions of Gandhi’s assassination. India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is on record stating that it was the “communal poison” in the speeches of RSS leaders that led to the assassination of Gandhi, and that RSS “men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.”

As a loyal RSS man, Modi himself inherits this selfsame poisonous attitude to Gandhi. He can hardly afford to openly endorse Gandhi’s assassin. Therefore he seeks to appropriate and distort Gandhi’s legacy by associating Gandhi with “cleanliness” alone, and remaining silent on the fact that Gandhi was killed for upholding Hindu-Muslim unity and resisting anti-Muslim hatred and violence.

By fielding a terror-accused follower of Godse as a candidate for India’s Parliament, the BJP has exposed its true face as a supporter of far-right Hindu majoritarian terrorism. No amount of fake ‘penance’ or crocodile tears shed by Modi or Pragya Thakur for Gandhiji can wash out this ugly fact.

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Venezuela Has the Means to Defeat the US Blockade

  • The Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia indicated that more than 40 financial entities in 17 countries have frozen funds from Venezuela
    The Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia indicated that more than 40 financial entities in 17 countries have frozen funds from Venezuela | Photo: Sputnik

    The Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia said that his country has lost US$130 billion dollars due to the U.S. sanctions imposed on the Bolivarian Republic. 

The Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia, Carlos Rafael Faría Tortosa, said Tuesday that despite the ongoing blockade by the United States, his country has found ways to defeat them and continue to advance his nation’s economic development.

Chavistas March in Caracas to Mark Nicolas Maduro’s Re-election

In an interview with the Russian agency RT, Tortosa said that “when our president announced that the gold production in the country has been recovering, the U.S. government immediately banned any commercial relationship with our mining companies. We, of course, have already found ways to circumvent these sanctions.”

Tortosa indicated that “we will act in the same way in relation to other measures that are being taken against our country.”

According to the ambassador, Venezuela’s total losses as a result of these sanctions imposed by the U.S. has been around US$130 billion.

“As a result of the economic blockade imposed by the United States, the losses are estimated at US$130 billion dollars for the period between 2015 to 2018,” he explained, adding that with these funds, Venezuela could have flourished for nine years.

The representative of the South American country in Russia said that despite the violent actions by sectors of the Venezuelan right, President Nicolás Maduro has insisted on the path of dialogue to peacefully resolve the situation and political differences among Venezuelans.

The diplomat explained that around 40 financial institutions in 17 countries have frozen US$5.47 billion from Venezuela. According to Tortosa, his government is fighting to free these funds and wants to inform the whole world about their financial situation.

Tortosa reiterated that Washington’s main objective is “to overthrow the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro”, and change the political course established by commander Hugo Chávez.

Finally, the ambassador denied the presence of Russian forces in Venezuela, adding that Moscow has expressed its position “to show that the issues can not be resolved with intervention, threats, and blackmail.”

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on Venezuela Has the Means to Defeat the US Blockade

Brazil Loosens Gun Control, Civilians Can Own Military Rifles

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro signed a gun decree that allows civilians to buy and use military rifles.
    Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro signed a gun decree that allows civilians to buy and use military rifles. | Photo: Reuters

    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree this month losing civilian access to military-style weapons.  

Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree this month which will allow citizens to possess rifles with four times the amount of firepower

‘Brazil Needs More Education, Not More Guns’, Lula Warns

Before the decree, the possession of all weapons with firing projectile above 407 joules (the amount of energy released at the moment of firing) was restricted to state security forces. Bolsonaro’s decree allows the public to purchase the T4 rifle, a 5.56 caliber weapon with a force of 1320 joules.

​​​​​The T4, manufactured by the company Taurus, said it has a waiting list of two thousand people waiting for the okay to buy the semi-automatic version of the hand-held weapon and that they could be delivered within three days.

The Ministry of Defense has not commented about the decree yet other than to say it is looking into a report on the presidential measure.

According to Bene Barbosa, a weapons specialist and member of the Free Brazil Movement that seeks to give citizens access to firearms told local press the T4 will have a “burst option” but will provide a single shot.

“The T4 is an assault rifle. … The version that will be available to civilians does not have the burst option. It has a single shot. And, yes, if the citizen meets all legal requirements he or she will be able to have one at home,” Barbosa said.

Brazil’s Military Police Kills 434 in Rio de Janeiro in 2019

In addition to the rifle, pistols of caliber .40, .45 and 9 mm will also now be available for public purchase.

The Federal Public Ministry has requested the suspension of the decree and there are currently, there are three cases against the decree in Brazil’s Federal Court, and three in the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

Barbosa defends the president’s regulation saying, “criminals never had any problem in acquiring any type of weapon or any type of caliber. They were never restricted. Citizens and even policeman have always been restricted and haven’t had access to the arms the criminal has. So, I think (this measure) is extremely positive.”

Ignacio Cano, coordinator of the Laboratory of Analysis of Violence at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Uerj) said that the sale of the rifle is a serious problem for public safety.

“The sale of rifles to the civilian population is an extreme measure that does not exist in almost any country in the world, except for the United States, which represents a risk to the population as these weapons have a greater power of destruction,” Cano told Brazilian media.

The expert also said in Rio de Janeiro rifles symbolize rampant violent crime and he is afraid that if the rifles are commercialized, some will fall into the wrong hands.

Posted in BrazilComments Off on Brazil Loosens Gun Control, Civilians Can Own Military Rifles

5th Guatemalan Migrant Minor Dies in US Immigration Custody

NOVANEWS
  • Pro-migration activists take part in a demonstration in support of the human rights of migrant children outside the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico May 17, 2019.
    Pro-migration activists take part in a demonstration in support of the human rights of migrant children outside the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico May 17, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

    A 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant died Monday in U.S. border patrol custody, the 5th minor to die since December.

A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died Monday in United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody in Texas, officials there said, making him the fifth minor to die after being apprehended by U.S. agents since December at the border wtih Mexico.

US: 2-year-old Migrant Boy Dies After Crossing Border

The boy, Carlos Hernandez, was arrested by U.S. CBP agents May 13 after crossing the border near Hidalgo, Texas with a group of 70 others, according to the agency.

Early Sunday morning, Hernandez told the staff at the central processing station where he was being held that he was not feeling well, a CBP official told reporters.

He was diagnosed with the flu and transferred to the Weslaco Border Patrol Station in south Texas later that day to separate him from others at the processing station in the Rio Grande Valley, the official said.

He was due to be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the care of minor migrant children who cross into the United States without adult family members.

But Monday morning, during a “welfare check,” the boy was found unresponsive, according to a CBP statement. The statement said the cause of death was not yet known, and that the Department of Homeland Security and the Guatemalan government had been notified.

The Guatemalan foreign ministry requested that U.S. authorities urgently explain the cause of death. Local and federal law enforcement are investigating what caused Hernandez to die.

The Guatemalan ministry also said that Hernandez was from the northern department of Baja Verapaz and trying to enter the U.S. to reunite with his family.

Guatemalan Boy Who Died in US Border Custody Buried

The boy was the fifth Guatemalan minor since December to die after being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, making Hernandez the fourth to die in U.S. custody.

A fifth child, who crossed the border with his mother in April, died last week in a hospital but had already been released from U.S. custody at the time.

Jess Morales Rocketto, chair of advocacy group Families Belong Together said, “Four in six months is a clear pattern of willful, callous disregard for children’s lives.”

From October 2018 to April 2019, nearly 293,000 people traveling as families were apprehended at the southern U.S. border—a nearly four fold jump over the same time frame the previous year.

Immigrant advocates say the administration’s policies, including making it more difficult for migrants to seek asylum at official ports of entry, contribute to making their journeys more arduous and drive migrants to seek out remote border outposts badly equipped to care for children.

Julie Linton, co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Immigrant Health Special Interest Group, said she was concerned about sick children potentially being housed in bare-bones border protection facilities for extended periods of time.

“There certainly need to be conditions that do not include lying on a mat with a Mylar blanket on a floor that is cold, and cage-like fencing that extends to the ceiling,” she said on a conference call with reporters Monday. “We absolutely need pediatric health experts at the border.”

Posted in USA, GuatemalaComments Off on 5th Guatemalan Migrant Minor Dies in US Immigration Custody

‘Trial is Political Persecution’: Argentine Ex-President

  • Cristina Fernandez Kirchner (L) and Alberto Fernandez at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 31, 2008.
    Cristina Fernandez Kirchner (L) and Alberto Fernandez at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 31, 2008. | Photo: Reuters

    Argentina’s former president Cristina Fernandez says trial against her is a smokescreen for country’s economic crisis.

Argentina’s Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) said that the trial against her beginning Tuesday is a political “smokescreen” and a new act of political lawfare President Mauricio Macri’s administration is using to divert attention away from the nation’s two-year economic crisis.

Ex-Argentine Leader Cristina Fernandez Announces VP Candidacy

Via Twitter, CFK expressed her disagreement over the legal case against her for alleged corruption during her presidential tenure (2007-2015).

“Clearly, it’s not about justice, but about creating a smokescreen aimed at distracting Argentines, increasingly less successfully, from the dramatic situation that our country and people are going through,” said the current legislator who just announced her candidacy for vice president alongside Alberto Hernandez for the October polls.

“This is a new act of persecution with a single objective: to place a former president who opposses the [current] government in the dock amid ​​​the presidential campaign.”

Former president CFK explained that today’s hearing, which marks the begining of the “Vialidad” trial, arose from a complaint made by the Macri government about public road works carried out in the Santa Cruz Province.

View image on Twitter

Affe Gutierrez@AffeG

“Claramente no se trata de hacer justicia. Sólo armar una nueva cortina de humo” Cristina Fernández http://www.sarahpepen.com/2019/05/21/claramente-no-se-trata-de-hacer-justicia-solo-armar-una-nueva-cortina-de-humo-cristina-fernandez/ 

See Affe Gutierrez’s other Tweets

“Clearly, it’s not about doing justice. It is just a new smokescreen” Cristina Fernandez.

“This is not an original complaint but a reissue of complaints that Civic Coalition (aligned to Macri’s Cambiemos party) have been making since 2008. The Comodoro [court] dismissed the case in 2011 and the Santa Cruz Justice dismissed it for lack of evidence,” Fernandez wrote Tuesday morning.

CFK also explained that the accusations against her are regarding public works made by an institution within the Santa Cruz department under the jurisdiction of the Santa Cruz government and the economic minister.

More specifically, she said, the so-called “evidence” is Congress-approved national budget laws, special decrees issued to make budgetary adjustments and cabinet members.

The formal charges against Fernandez de Kirchner consist of her allegedly receiving kickbacks from a construction company in exchange for public projects.

If found guilty, the charges could end in a 10-year jail sentence for CFK who, as a sitting senator, currently has legislative immunity.

 

 

Posted in ArgentinaComments Off on ‘Trial is Political Persecution’: Argentine Ex-President


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