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Authoritarianism in Venezuela? A Reply to Gabriel Hetland

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By Lucas Koerner | Venezuelanalysis 

Venezuela is once again dominating international headlines as violent opposition protests bent on toppling the elected Maduro government enter their seventh week. The demonstrations have claimed to date at least 54 lives since April 4, surpassing the previous wave of violent anti-government protests in 2014, known as “the Exit”. However, this time around, the unrest coincides with a severe economic downturn and a transformed geopolitical landscape defined by the return of the right in Brazil and Argentina as well as an even more bellicose regime in Washington.

Meanwhile, the international outcry at this latest violent effort to oust the Chavista government has been far more muffled than the last time.

With the notable exception of an open letter by LASA members, a UNAC/BAP joint statement,  and other smaller protest actions, the US left has been largely passive vis-a-vis both the Trump administration’s escalating intervention against Venezuela as well as the systematic media blackout, preferring silence to active solidarity with Chavismo.

In this environment, some leftist academics have publicly broken with the Maduro administration over its response to the country’s current political and economic crisis.

In a recent piece for NACLA*, University of Albany Assistant Professor Gabriel Hetland parts ways with the Bolivarian government, citing concerns over Maduro’s “authoritarian” slide.

“Yet, while previous claims of Venezuela’s authoritarianism have had little merit, this is no longer the case,” he writes.

While we deeply respect Professor Hetland’s critical contributions to the debate on Venezuela, we at Venezuelanalysis ** – a collective of journalists and activists who at one point or another have lived, studied, and/or worked in Venezuela – firmly reject this charge of authoritarianism on both analytical and political grounds.

Setting the record straight

Hetland cites a number of recent actions of the Venezuelan government to bolster his claim, including the Venezuelan Supreme Court’s (TSJ) alleged “dissolving” of the opposition-held National Assembly (AN), the “cancel[ation]” of the recall referendum, the postponing of “municipal and regional elections that should have occurred in 2016”, and the TSJ’s blocking of the AN’s legislative activity in 2016.

There are of course a number of serious problems with this account.

To begin, several elements of this narrative are misleadingly presented, if not all-together factually inaccurate.

First of all, as Venezuelanalysis reported at the time, the TSJ’s March 29 decisions did not “dissolve” the Venezuelan National Assembly as was almost uniformly reported in the mainstream press. Rather, the rulings sought to temporarily authorize the judiciary to take on pertinent legislative functions, which in this particular case meant approving a pressing joint venture agreement between Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and its Russian counterpart, Rosneft, which was critical for the former’s solvency. The ruling – which was based on article 336.7 of the Venezuelan constitution – provoked a rift within Chavismo, with the current and former attorney generals lining up on opposite sides of the constitutional divide. One can certainly criticize the since-reversed decision on constitutional and political grounds, but to present it as a “dissolution” of the parliament is just disingenuous.

This brings us to the question of the Supreme Court’s blocking of the opposition-majority legislature in 2016. It is undeniable that the TSJ did in fact strike down three of the four laws the AN managed to approve last year. However, it takes two to tango and Hetland severely understates the opposition’s own role in this protracted institutional standoff. It’s important to note that the AN did not “act beyond its authority” only “in some cases”, as Hetland describes.

From quite literally the moment that the new AN was sworn-in in January 2016, the body explicitly declared war on the Bolivarian institutional order crafted by Chavismo, with AN head Henry Ramos Allup promising to oust Maduro “within six months” – a blatantly unconstitutional threat against a sitting president. A sampling of the legislation pursued by the National Assembly in 2016 includes a law to privatize Venezuela’s public housing program, a law to return expropriated lands and enterprises to their former owners, a law forcing the executive to accept humanitarian aid into the country, the infamous Amnesty Law, as well as a constitutional amendment retroactively shortening the presidential term by two years. We can add to this list the opposition’s attempted parliamentary coup, in which it declared that Maduro had “abandoned his post” first in October and again this past January – which Hetland likewise neglects to acknowledge. Nor does he mention the reason for the legislature’s current “null” status, namely the opposition’s refusal to unseat three of its lawmakers from Amazonas state currently under investigation for alleged vote-buying in flagrant violation of the high court. Again, one may still criticize the TSJ’s blockage of the AN, but to understate the parliament’s systematic efforts to overthrow the Bolivarian government by any means necessary is quite misleading.

Hetland similarly omits the opposition’s own role in the suspension of the recall referendum (RR) process. As we noted, the opposition-held parliament came into office with the objective of overthrowing Maduro “within six months” – a goal evidently incompatible with the RR, which takes a minimum of eight months. Indeed, the RR was just one of the strategies in the opposition’s four-pronged plan to oust Maduro unveiled in March 2016, which also included the aforementioned constitutional amendment, a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution (which the opposition now opposes), and heating up the streets to force Maduro’s resignation. As a result of the opposition’s own internecine divisions, it delayed in beginning the RR and made serious procedural errors, such as collecting 53,658 fraudulent signatures, which gave the government a pretext to indefinitely stall the process in the courts. There is no doubt that the Maduro administration dragged its feet on the RR process knowing full well it would likely lose, but this was hardly the one-sided drama presented by Hetland.

Lastly, the National Electoral Council (CNE) did in fact postpone the regional elections scheduled for last year, citing logistical conflicts with the RR process, a move which is indefensible on constitutional and political grounds. However, it’s worth noting that there is a precedent for such a delay: the local elections slated for December 2004 were similarly postponed until August 2005 on account of the recall referendum against then President Chávez the year before. Hetland passes over this important detail in his rush to indict Venezuela’s democratic credentials.

Moreover, while it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize the Bolivarian government for delaying the governors’ races, municipal elections are a different story. Local elections are scheduled for 2017, meaning that they can be held any time before the close of the year. In suggesting that the government has postponed local elections, Hetland commits yet another factual error that serves to inflate his largely ideological case for the Maduro administration’s “creeping authoritarianism”, as we shall see below.

Fetishizing liberal democracy

Beyond these factual errors and misrepresentations, the main problem with Hetland’s piece is his implicit notion of “authoritarianism”, which he at no point takes the time to actually define.

Without going extensively into the genealogy of this term, it’s key to remember that authoritarianism is hardly a politically neutral concept.

As Hetland correctly observes, the charge of authoritarianism was dubiously leveled against the Chávez administration and other “pink tide” governments who were excoriated by Western commentators and political scientists for daring to challenge the hegemony of (neo)liberal capitalist representative democracy.

Indeed throughout the last decade, political scientists led by former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Casteñeda have distinguished between a “good” reformist, liberal left epitomized by Brazil’s Lula Da Silva that is willing to play ball with the Washington and transnational capital and a “bad” radical, populist left embodied by Hugo Chávez, which has opened up the liberal representative floodgates to direct mass participation in democratic governance.

As Sara Motta underlines, this binary is deeply colonial in nature: the “mature” and Westernized “good-left” has learned from the alleged failures of revolutionary Marxism and embraced incremental reform, while the “bad-left” remains mired in the clientelism and tribal authoritarianism of the “pre-modern” past, rendering it hostile to liberal democracy.

This “good-left”/“bad-left” dichotomy is of course nothing new, amounting to a minor aesthetic rehashing of the “revolutionary”/“democratic” distinction applied to the Latin American left in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, which in turn is founded on the classic “civilization” versus “barbarism” divide.

Hetland, in lieu of questioning the liberal ideological criterion behind this colonial binary, preserves the distinction, announcing that the Maduro government has passed over into the dark realm of authoritarianism:

By cancelling the recall referendum, suspending elections, and inhibiting opposition politicians from standing for office, the Venezuelan government is systematically blocking the ability of the Venezuelan people to express themselves through electoral means. It is hard to see what to call this other than creeping authoritarianism.

In other words, “authoritarianism” for Hetland seems to amount to the quashing of proceduralist liberal democratic norms, including most notably separation of powers, threatening the political rights of the country’s right-wing opposition.

What we get from this formalist approach is a sort of Freedom House-style checklist in which the pluses and minuses of global South regimes (freedom of speech, press, etc.) are statically weighed and definitive moral judgement concerning “democratic quality” are handed down. Venezuela is still not yet a “full-scale authoritarian regime,” Hetland tells us, “given the opposition’s significant access to traditional and social media and substantial ability to engage in anti-government protest.” In this point, Hetland’s conclusion is virtually indistinguishable from that of mainstream Latin American studies, which has long invented convoluted monikers such as “participatory competitive authoritarianism” to characterize the Bolivarian government.

The trouble with this perspective is that it ends up reifying these so-called authoritarian practices, casting them as the cause – together with the opposition’s regime change efforts – of Venezuela’s current crisis rather than a symptom of the underlying correlation of forces.

The Maduro administration’s alleged steamrolling of certain liberal democratic norms – particularly the postponement of regional elections – is undoubtedly quite concerning, precisely because it evidences the catastrophic impasse in the Bolivarian revolutionary process.

We at Venezuelanalysis have long been critical of the Bolivarian government’s top-down institutional power plays to contain the opposition’s efforts to oust Maduro, which we view as a conservative attempt to maintain the status quo in lieu of actually mobilizing the masses of people from below to break the current deadlock and resolve the crisis on revolutionary terms.

In this vein, we have critiqued those tendencies within the Venezuelan state which we see as consolidating the power of corrupt reformist “Boli-bourgeois” class fractions in the bureaucracy and armed forces, including direct military control over imports, the de-facto liberalization of prices, reduced social spending coupled with draconian debt servicing, the Orinoco Mining Arc, a dubious but since-modified party registration process, and a conservative turn in anti-crime policy.

Yet Hetland is strangely silent regarding these reformist retreats and regressions over the past four years, which for all intents and purposes are far more serious than many of the above “authoritarian” abuses he describes.

It is precisely here that the charge of “authoritarianism” betrays its liberal ideological bias: by prioritizing the procedural violations affecting the bourgeois right-wing opposition, Hetland renders invisible the underlying dynamics of class warfare brutally impacting the popular classes.

Therefore, contra Hetland, the problem is not that liberal democratic norms have been undercut per se, but rather that the revolutionary construction of alternative institutions of radical grassroots democracy – the “communal state” in Chávez’s terms – has come up against decisive structural roadblocks.

Here we must be unequivocal: liberal democracy is not absolute nor universal, and its relation to revolutionary processes is always mediated by context. To impose these norms on the Cuban Revolution, for instance, in its context of genocidal imperial siege is the height of absurdity and political irresponsibility. Given these circumstances, Cuba’s model of revolutionary democracy – despite all its faults and limitations – is no less legitimate than other democratic socialist projects that have made strategic use of elements of liberal democracy, such as Chile and Nicaragua in the 70s and 80s or Venezuela and Bolivia today.

The Bolivarian process is, however, fundamentally different, as it is premised on an electoral road to socialism in which the existing bourgeois democratic order is approached as a strategic space of counter-hegemonic struggle. In this context, the suspension of certain liberal rights such as elections or specific opposition freedoms would only be acceptable under exceptional circumstances in which the Bolivarian government were actually taking revolutionary measures to resolve the current crisis and commanded unquestioned legitimacy among its social bases.

Despite the undeniable spiral of political and economic violence driven by the opposition, Venezuela is unfortunately not going through an equivalent of a “special period” insofar as the leadership of the party and state has thus far failed to go on the offensive against endemic corruption and take the fight to the local and transnational capitalist enemy as was the case during crucial revolutionary turning points in Russia, China, and Cuba.

Given this reality, the message coming from some sectors of Chavismo that there can be no elections under conditions of warfare – a legitimate argument in other contexts including Nazi-besieged Britain – is questionable at best. Nonetheless, this counterfactual is useful insofar as it demonstrates that liberal democracy is a wholly inadequate yardstick for evaluating revolutionary processes, confounding far more than it clarifies, as in the case of Hetland’s critique of “authoritarianism” in Venezuela.

Throw them all out?

In this diagnosis of causes of the current crisis, our position coincides with that of the vast majority of Venezuelan left-wing movements whose chief grievance is hardly the litany of “authoritarian” practices against the right-wing opposition enumerated by Hetland, but, on the contrary, the reformist and at times outright counter-revolutionary policies being pursued by the Maduro government.

The same is true for Venezuela’s popular classes – the social base of Chavismo – who don’t particularly care that the Supreme Court has blocked the National Assembly and the president has been ruling by emergency economic decree since February 2016. According to independent pollster Hinterlaces, around 70 percent of Venezuelans negatively evaluate the opposition-controlled parliament, while 61 percent have little faith that a future opposition government will address the country’s deep economic problems. Rather, the majority of Venezuelans want the Maduro administration to remain in power and resolve the current economic crisis. Their discontent flows not from Maduro’s use of emergency powers – contrary to the international media narrative – but rather from his failure to use them to take decisive actions to deepen the revolution in lieu of granting further concessions to capital.

Despite the setbacks, retreats, and betrayals that have characterized the past four years since the death of Chávez, the mood among the Venezuelan masses is not a uniform rejection of Venezuela’s entire political establishment as Hetland suggests in a sweeping generalization:

If any slogan captures the current mood of the popular classes living in Venezuela’s barrios and villages it is likely this: Que se vayan todos. Throw them all out.

While Chavismo has undoubtedly bled significant support over the past five years and the ranks of independents, or ni-nis, has swollen to over 40 percent of the population , the PSUV remarkably remains the country’s most popular party, actually increasing its support from 27 to 35 percent since January. Similarly, Maduro still has the approval of approximately 24 percent of Venezuelans, making him more popular than the presidents of Brazil, Mexico, and Chile – a fact consistently suppressed by international corporate media. These poll numbers are nothing short of incredible in view of the severity of the current economic crisis ravaging the country, speaking to the partial efficacy of some of the government’s measures such as the CLAPs as well as the opposition’s utter failure to present any alternative program.

Likewise, despite growing disillusionment with the government and hints at a possible rupture, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of Venezuela’s social movements and left-wing political parties continue to back Maduro.

What’s more is that this left unity in support of the Bolivarian government has only hardened in the face of the ongoing opposition onslaught and in anticipation of the National Constituent Assembly to be held in the coming months.

However baffling on the surface, this staunch defense of the Maduro administration actually makes perfect sense for at least two reasons.

First, as any Chavista who has lived through the last six weeks of right-wing terror can attest to, the choice between the continuity of Chavismo in power and an opposition regime is not a matter of mere ideological preference – it’s a question of survival, as there is no predicting the extent of the political and structural violence the opposition would unleash if they manage to take Miraflores. This is in no way to deny or downplay the fallout of the current economic crisis, for which the government bears a great deal of responsibility, but there is no doubt that an opposition government would take this economic war on the poor to new levels of neoliberal savagery.

Second, the existence of the Bolivarian government embodies the lingering possibility of transforming the inherited bourgeois petro-state as part of the transition to 21st Century socialism. While there is cause for skepticism about the real possibilities of pushing forward the democratization and decolonization of the Venezuelan state in this conjuncture, there has been an outpouring of grassroots support for the National Constituent Assembly which could serve as a vehicle to retake the revolutionary offensive and institutionalize radical demands from below.

This broad-based consensus of critical support for the government on the part of Venezuela’s left stands sharply at odds with Hetland’s “plague on both your houses approach”, which, in Steve Ellner’s terms, ends up “placing opposition and Chavista leaders in the same sack” as equally undesirable alternatives.

While there is indeed tremendous anger and frustration with the government – which may in fact translate to a crushing electoral defeat for Chavismo in the next elections – the prevailing sentiment among much of Venezuela’s popular classes in the face of the opposition’s present reign of terror remains “no volverán” (they shall not return).

The role of solidarity

All of this brings us to the position of international solidarity activists with respect to Venezuela.

We wholeheartedly agree with Hetland that it is the duty of each and every self-respecting leftist and progressive to “reject any and all calls for imperialist interventions aimed at ‘saving’ Venezuela”.

Nevertheless, while anti-interventionism is urgently necessary, this begs the question, with whom are we supposed to be in solidarity?

Hetland calls on us to stand with “the majority of Venezuelans who are suffering at the hands of a vengeful, reckless opposition, and an incompetent, unaccountable government.”

The end result of such a “plague on both your houses” approach is a refusal to take a side in this struggle – in a word, neutrality. This posture flows naturally from Hetland’s liberal framework of authoritarianism, which necessarily posits the Western intellectual as a disembodied arbiter – occupying the Cartesian standpoint of the “eye of God” in Enrique Dussel’s terms – uniquely capable of objectively weighing the democratic virtues and deficits of Third World regimes.

In contrast, we at Venezuelanalysis stand unconditionally with Venezuela’s Bolivarian-socialist movement, which at this conjuncture continues to critically support the Maduro administration.

We take this stance not out of a willful blindness to the Bolivarian government’s many faults and betrayals, but because we (and particularly our writers on the ground) know that for a great many Chavistas the choice between radicalizing the revolution and right-wing restoration is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

A version of this article was submitted to NACLA, but no initial response was received. The editor elected to go ahead and publish at venezuelanalysis.com in the interest of a timely response. UPDATE: NACLA did ultimately respond to our submission on the afternoon of May 19, but by that time, the article was already published. 

** Written by Lucas Koerner on behalf of Venezuelanalysis’ writing and multimedia staff as well as VA founder Greg Wilpert.

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Standoff in Venezuela

Venezuela has been rocked in recent weeks by almost daily protests and counter-protests, as right-wing opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro seek to bring down his government.

While the media portrays these events as a popular rebellion against an authoritarian government, supporters of the pro-poor Bolivarian revolution initiated by former president Hugo Chavez say the country is witnessing an escalation in what is an ongoing counter-revolutionary campaign seeking to restore Venezuela’s traditional elites in power and reverse the gains made by the poor majority under Chavez and Maduro.

Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes interviewed Steve Ellner, a well-known analyst of Venezuelan and Latin American politics and a retired professor at Venezuela’s Universidad de Oriente, to get his views on recent events.

*     *     *

When it comes to the current turmoil in Venezuela, the media have been unanimous in their version of events: the Maduro regime is on its last legs due to the overwhelming opposition it faces from the people, including among the poorest sectors that previously supported the government, and therefore its only recourse for survival is violent repression. How accurate is this media narrative?

It’s hardly a far-gone conclusion.

There is no better indication of the deceptiveness of the mainstream media’s narrative than the spatial nature of the anti-government protests in early 2014 known as the “guarimba” and again this year.

The protests are centred in the middle and upper class areas whose mayors belong to the opposition. The strategy behind the protests is for the mass civil disobedience, confrontation with security forces and widespread destruction of public property to spread to the poorer areas.

Certainly, the popular sectors have a long tradition of street protests, particularly over deficient public services. But the popular sectors have remained largely passive, although with more exceptions now than in 2014. Obviously the opposition is banking on greater active popular support than in 2014.

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Along similar lines, the Chavista United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has been more damaged by electoral abstention among disenchanted Chavistas than those who end up voting for the opposition. Such electoral behaviour is what explains the Chavista defeat in the December 2014 elections for the National Assembly.

But the Chavista leaders still have an impressive degree of mobilisation capacity, as was demonstrated in two recent marches, one on Venezuelan Independence Day on April 19, and the other on May 1.

The nation’s precarious economic situation as well as the complete political turnaround in the hemisphere strengthens the opposition’s hand. Whereas in past political crises, such as the coup attempt in 2002 and the general strike of 2002-2003, the Chavez government was able to count on backing from other Latin American nations including in some cases non-leftist ones.

Now Venezuela’s neighbouring governments, in spite of their considerable unpopularity and internal discontent, have explicitly taken up the cause of the Venezuelan opposition.

But at this point I would describe the political situation in Venezuela as a standoff, a far cry from saying that the government is on its last legs. Of course, given the political volatility over the recent past, predictions have to be at best tentative.

In an ultimate sense, the popular sectors have the last word. If they were to join the protests, then the statement that the Maduro government is, as you say, on its last legs, would be accurate. The situation would then be similar to that of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the miners began to march against the government, thus signalling the collapse of the regime.

Even some former supporters of the government today speak of an authoritarian turn on the part of Maduro. Is there any truth to this accusation?

To answer your question it has to be pointed out that Venezuela is not in a normal situation, with what political scientists call a “loyal opposition” that recognises the government’s legitimacy and plays by the rules of the game. Thus to talk about government actions without placing them in context – as the corporate media is prone to do – is misleading.

The opposition leaders of today are, for the most part, the same ones involved in the coup and general strike of 2002-2003, the same ones who refused to recognise the legitimacy of the electoral processes in 2004 and 2005 and consistently questioned the legitimacy of the National Electoral Council except in those cases in which the government was defeated.

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They are also the same ones who refused to recognise Maduro’s triumph in the presidential election of 2013, resulting in about a dozen deaths, and then promoted the four months of protests in 2014 involving civil disobedience on a massive scale along with considerable violence, resulting in 43 deaths including six members of the national guard.

The current period commences with the opposition’s triumph in the National Assembly elections of 2015 when the president of that body, Henry Ramos Allup, immediately announced that regime change would be achieved within six months; subsequently the National Assembly turned down the executive’s budgetary allocations. All along the opposition has rejected the government’s call for a national dialogue, demanding concessions as a precondition for negotiations.

The protests that have occurred in the last month are a repeat of the guarimba of 2014. Opposition leaders completely evade the issue of violence, other than declaring that they are opposed to it in an abstract sense.

Practically every day they call marches in the affluent eastern part of Caracas that attempt to reach the downtown area where the presidential palace is located. Government spokespeople have stated numerous times that downtown Caracas is off limits for the opposition marches; security forces commonly employ tear gas to prevent passage.

The reason for the government’s refusal is obvious. With a massive number of opposition people in the downtown area for an indefinite period of time, massive civil disobedience, the surrounding of the presidential palace and violence would all ensue, along with uncontrollable chaos.

The confrontations would be aggravated by the coverage of the international media, which has always spun their reports to favour the opposition. The fact that every day for the last several weeks the main leaders of the opposition have called for marches to reach downtown Caracas, even though they know full well that confrontations will occur, would suggest that their strategy for gaining power envisions street disruptions and combat.

The spatial nature of the protests is key. You may say that the government is justified in avoiding the protests from reaching the centre of Caracas. But the question may be asked, would the Chavistas tolerate peaceful marches originating from the affluent eastern half of the city marching though Chavista strongholds in the popular sectors?

The question is clouded by the fact that the opposition marches almost invariably involve civil disobedience and violence.

Would you say that both the Chavistas and the opposition are assuming intransigent positions?

Both sides are playing hard ball, but a description of the political setting is indispensable in order to appreciate what is at stake. The fact is that the democratic nature of some of the government’s decisions is questionable, two in particular.

A month ago, ex-presidential candidate (on two occasions), and governor of the state of Miranda, Henrique Capriles was stripped of his right to participate in elections due to charges of corruption.

In the second place, the gubernatorial and municipal elections which were slated for December 2016 have been delayed on grounds that other proposed electoral processes have pushed them into the future. Although Maduro has indicated that his party is ready to participate in those elections, a date has still not been set. If elections were held today, the Chavistas would very possibly suffer losses.

The hardliners in the Chavista movement headed by National Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello are obviously calling the shots and they support an aggressive line toward the opposition. The most visible voice for the “soft-line” is former vice-president Jose Vicente Rangel, who favours gestures that would encourage negotiations and buttress those in the opposition who reject street confrontation.

Likewise, the radicals in the opposition are firmly in control. They have made clear that once in power, they would jail the Chavista leaders on grounds of corruption and violation of human rights. Their call for “No to Impunity” is a coded slogan. It means in effect a witch hunt against the Chavista movement and repression that would pave the way for the imposition of unpopular neoliberal policies.

Indeed, neoliberalism characterised Capriles’ platform in the two presidential elections of 2012 and 2013. There is a definite relationship between the radical tactics and intolerance displayed by the opposition, on the one hand, and the neoliberal program which would be imposed should the opposition return to power, on the other hand.

To sum up, the narrative that calls the Maduro government “authoritarian” is a blatant misrepresentation of what is happening. On the other hand, the Chavista leaders have on occasion distanced themselves from democratic principles. Their actions, however, need to be contextualised.

What has been the impact of interference by the US government and the Organization of American States, along with the changing attitude of certain governments in the region?

The foreign actors you refer to have failed to place themselves above Venezuela’s internal politics in order to promote a peaceful resolution to a conflict that could well degenerate into civil war. The statements issued by the White House as well as Luis Almagro, the OAS’ secretary general, coincide in their entirety with the opposition’s narrative and demands.

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Rather than taking sides in Venezuela’s internal conflict, the OAS should have called for a national dialogue and named a nonpartisan committee to investigate disputed events. The decision of the Maduro government to withdraw from the OAS was a reaction to the organisation’s partisanship, which has served only to exacerbate the political polarization.

The OAS and other international actors reinforce the Venezuelan opposition’s narrative that conflates pressing economic problems and the alleged authoritarianism of the Maduro government. This line inadvertently strengthens the hand of the hardliners within the opposition.

The only way to justify regime change by non-electoral means and the intervention of foreign actors, such as the OAS, is to attempt to demonstrate that the nation is headed toward a dictatorship and systematically violates human rights.

But the moderates within the opposition – although at this point they have no visible national leader – favour emphasising economic issues in order to reach out to the popular sectors of the population, attract some of the disenchanted Chavistas, and at the same time accept dialogue with government representatives. The moderates therefore place an accent mark on economic issues more than political ones.

In this sense, the intromission of foreign actors who question the Venezuelan government’s democratic credentials only serves to bolster the position of the radicals in the opposition and to further polarise the nation.

In terms of the current economic problems: how serious are the shortages?

The problem of shortages of basic products is undeniable, even while media outlets like the Wall Street Journal claim that the nation is on the verge of mass starvation. Hunger is a scourge that afflicts the lower strata in other, if not all, Latin American nations. But the key index from social and political viewpoints is the contrast with standards in Venezuela in previous years. The deterioration has certainly been sharp with regard to the period prior to the sharp decline in oil prices in mid-2015.

What do you foresee happening in the immediate future? Is the Maduro government doomed? What do you think of the proposed Constituent Assembly?

Maduro’s proposal for a constituent assembly is a mixed bag with regard to the possibility of achieving greater stability.

On the one hand it is an initiative – something new – that is designed to break the deadlock the nation finds itself stuck in. A favourable scenario would be that the Chavistas are able to activate their base as well as that of social movements and achieve an important degree of electoral participation.

Furthermore, in the best-case scenario, constituent assembly delegates would formulate viable proposals to deal with pressing issues, such as corruption, and the Chavistas in power would demonstrate genuine receptivity to them.

In short, a constituent assembly based on bottom-up participation could be a game changer.

In the case of the alternative scenario, the constituent assembly proposal will be viewed as a ploy to buy time and sidetrack the electoral process.

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US Sponsored “Regime Change” in Venezuela is Now Official

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US Sponsored “Regime Change” in Venezuela is Now Official. US National Security Advisor McMaster Calls for a “Quick, Peaceful Solution”

 

United States National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster released an official statement Saturday expressing the need for a “quick and peaceful solution” to Venezuela’s “ongoing crisis”. 

The press release was made public after McMaster met with Venezuelan opposition leader and current National Assembly President Julio Borges at the White House earlier that day.

It reads:

“They [Borges and McMaster] discussed the ongoing crisis in Venezuela and the need for the government to adhere to the Venezuelan Constitution, release political prisoners, respect the National Assembly, and hold free and democratic elections.”

The statement has sparked alarm in Venezuela and amongst international movements in solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution. They have likened Saturday’s meeting to a series of similar encounters that took place between US officials and opposition figures just before a short-lived coup against former President Hugo Chavez Frias in 2002.

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Julio Borges and H.R. McMaster

The meeting comes as Washington hardens its stance vis-a-vis the Maduro government. Last week, a bipartisan group of US senators presented a bill to Congress asking for sanctions on more Venezuelan officials in a bid to further isolate Caracas in the region.

Violent protests have rocked the South American country since the beginning of April when a stand-off between the leftist national government and the opposition-controlled National Assembly came to a head. So far, 42 people have lost their lives in the unrest, which has seen armed opposition protesters block roadsgun down government supporters, set fire to public institutions, and clash with security forces. At least 15 people have been killed by protesters, while a further five have died at the hands of authorities.

Despite the deadly unrest, opposition leaders have said that they will boycott a constituent assembly called by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as a way out of the impasse and have continued to call for their supporters to take to the streets.

The situation was brought to the attention of the United Nations this past Saturday, after Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hayley, took aim at the Venezuelan government, accusing it of a “crackdown” on dissent in an official statement.

Anonymous sources have told Venezuelanalysis that the US is quietly pushing to table Venezuela as a discussion point at the UN Security Council but the move has so far been met with resistance from other nations.

The move to turn up the pressure on Venezuela comes as the United States escalates its military involvement in the region.

Over the weekend, the head of the Brazilian the armed forces, Theofilo de Oliveira, revealed that the US will also lead multinational military drilling exercises between Brazil, Colombia and Peru later this year as part of a 2015 NATO project.

A temporary military base will also be set up in the Brazilian town of Tabatinga on the Amazonian frontier between the three countries as part of the programme, confirmed the armed forces chief.

The military exercises have been described as “unprecedented” in the region.

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Venezuela’s Maduro calls masses to the streets

NOVANEWS

nicolas-maduroWarning of a growing danger by the right-wing opposition’s attempts to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, he and other leaders of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) have issued a call for a giant rally of the people on April 19 to counter a planned right-wing rally.

Alerting to the danger, in a rally of thousands of militia and soldiers to salute the seventh anniversary of the Bolivarian Militias of Venezuela, Maduro said, “If you hear news that the traitors are trying to carry out a coup d’etat, come out and take the power of the Republic, the same as the 13th.” The 13th is in reference to April 13, 2002, when tens of thousands of people restored Hugo Chávez to his presidency after a failed two-day coup.

Maduro announced a plan to increase the militias to 500,000, under the command of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), “and equip each of them, including a rifle.” Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López declared, “The FANB ratifies its unconditional loyalty to the constitutional presidency of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, our commander-in-chief Nicolás Maduro.”

Today, many of the same capitalist opposition leaders involved in the 2002 coup plots are once again activating their reactionary base of support to take to the streets demanding regime change.

Violent confrontations by extremist elements of the right-wing opposition against pro-government supporters and state security forces have already resulted in a number of deaths. The protests bear a resemblance to the 2014 attacks that left 43 dead and hundreds injured in the aftermath of the December 2013 elections.

Their intent was to disregard President Maduro’s legitimacy and the constitutionality of his administration, and try to pave the way towards his removal.

Several years of intense economic war by the largest Venezuelan corporations that dominate the import market of food, essential household goods and appliances have led to extremely high inflation and shortages. In turn, the discontent in the population has provided fuel for the opposition and led to a right-wing majority in the National Assembly elections in 2015.

The most recent opposition protests began after a March 29 decision by the pro-Bolivarian Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) to take over the legislative functions of the National Assembly, which had been declared in contempt of court since July of 2016. The TSJ ruled that the National Assembly failed on multiple occasions to remove three opposition legislators from the state of Amazonas who are accused of buying votes during the 2015 elections.

Although the Supreme Court reversed its March 29 action due to strong opposition, the right-wing immediately took to social media and the international press to denounce Maduro’s government. It became the pretext for the latest wave of violent attacks.

The opposition has set fire to the Supreme Court and damaged other buildings associated with state-run institutions and hurled rocks and other projectiles at police, security forces and even President Maduro. They fired shots at residents of the Ali Primera Socialist City commune that was established for low-income citizens by the Bolivarian Revolution in 2014. A 13-year-old resident, Bryan Principal, was killed as a result of the gunfire.

Opposition aided by Washington and the OAS

The recent surge in calls for regime change follow the abandonment of a Vatican-brokered dialogue by the coalition of opposition groups known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) on January 26.

Then on Feb. 8, 34 members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter to President Trump demanding increased sanctions against Venezuelan officials for alleged corruption and human rights violations. The hit piece is signed by extremists known for anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela positions, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Díaz-Balart, Robert Meléndez, Ted Cruz, Mark Meadows and Dana Rohrabacher, among others.

In an attempt to smear PSUV leaders and justify the U.S. sanctions, Vice President Tarek El Aissami was falsely accused by the same U.S. congress members of drug trafficking. Previously, PSUV Vice President Diosdado Cabello was similarly accused. No proof or evidence was ever presented in either case.

On Feb. 15 Trump hosted Lilian Tintori, a well-known opposition figure with the Popular Will Party (Voluntad Popular) whose husband, Leopoldo López, is among the jailed fascists responsible for inciting violence in 2014. Trump later tweeted that “Venezuela should allow Leopoldo López, a political prisoner … out of prison immediately,” alongside a picture of himself with Vice President Pence, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Tintori.

In early March, Rubio and other senators called on the Organization of American States to “evoke the Democratic Charter” and expel Venezuela from the regional body. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, an open supporter of Washington’s schemes and the Venezuelan opposition, reiterated the opposition’s demand that Venezuela’s presidential elections scheduled for 2018 be moved ahead to take place in 2017.

An illegal session of the OAS Permanent Council met on April 3 where representatives from the U.S., Canada and several Latin American right-wing governments including Argentina, Brazil and Mexico unsuccessfully attempted to impose their will over member states sympathetic to the democratically elected Maduro administration.

According to the Bolivarian Embassy in Washington, such an action “would undermine the legitimacy of the Venezuelan government and therefore trigger a series of violent actions in Venezuela.” The resolution failed for lack of sufficient votes.

Almagro’s obsession with Venezuela while overlooking the blatant legislative coups and repression in Brazil, and state-sanctioned violence in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico against activists, journalists, and community leaders, reveals his subservience to the dictates of the United States.

In an April 6 report released by the U.S. Military’s Southern Command, the leading commander states the potential necessity of a “regional response” in Venezuela to combat the “growing humanitarian crisis … due to widespread food and medicine shortages; continued political uncertainty; and a worsening economic situation.”

It is ironic that the Pentagon would concern itself with the Venezuelan people’s economic conditions, when millions of people in the United States suffer hunger, homelessness and lack of health care due to the gargantuan U.S. military budget and its militarism.

The United States call for a regional response against Venezuela is not only a violation of the country’s sovereignty. It also shows a weakness of the opposition, notwithstanding its violent tactics and dangerous threat to the Bolivarian process.

The opposition has failed to present a viable program of economic and social stability and well being for the vast majority of Venezuelans, because what the right-wing seeks is a return to the time when they, the 1%, ruled with complete domination.

Road map to regime change

This is why the right-wing Venezuelan opposition of extremist groups and capitalist class is relying more and more on U.S. imperialism for influence and intervention.

Opposition figures inside Venezuela are even taking cues from the recent U.S. aggression against Syria to call for “humanitarian” intervention against their own country. David Smolansky, mayor of El Hatillo municipality and coordinator with Popular Will, accused the Maduro government in a tweet of using chemical weapons to quell protests, making mention of Syria.

Recent polling from the independent firm Hinterlaces reveals that 55 percent of Venezuelans do not believe in pursuing regime change as a viable strategy for progress, but would rather see a peaceful resolution to resolving the country’s economic problems.

It is in the hands of the Venezuelan people to determine their path forward, not for Washington to dictate. And it is for the progressive forces in the United States and worldwide to stand with the Bolivarian government and people.

U.S. hands off Venezuela!

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Solidarity with those fighting to defend Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution!

NOVANEWS

Solidarity with those fighting to defend Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution!

Statement from the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) – U.S.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends its fullest solidarity with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the PSUV and all the people fighting to defend the Bolivarian Revolution. We denounce the increasing violence and terror by the right-wing opposition, whose only objective is to overturn the great social struggle that was first launched by revolutionary leader Hugo Chávez. His dream of a just society and sovereign Venezuela that inspired many millions of Venezuelans has never had a moment’s peace.

Whether by coup or oil sabotage or terrorism or economic warfare, U.S. imperialism continues to fund, organize and encourage an internal opposition, as well as seek its right-wing allies in the OAS and other governments to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs. We reject the concocted lies and false accusations meant to demonize government leaders in order to justify interventionist plots such as those attempted by OAS head Luis Almagro.

While President Maduro and his government have called for peace and dialogue, the opposition is calling for more violence and outright overthrow of the democratically elected president. Facing this danger, the government has a right and duty to defend the Constitutional order and the people against a coup.

We demand an end to all U.S. destabilization efforts against the Venezuelan people and government. Together with peoples around the world who tomorrow, April 19, are mobilizing in defense of President Maduro, the Bolivarian Revolution and the Venezuelan people, the PSL stands side-by-side with our sisters and brothers, to say:

¡No Pasarán!
Long Live the Legacy of Hugo Chávez!
Long Live the Bolivarian Revolution!

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Venezuela to leave OAS, defends its sovereignty

NOVANEWS

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriquez

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez

In a decisive move on Wednesday, Venezuela declared it is withdrawing from the Organization of American States. This will take place after a two-year process.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez made the announcement after yet another maneuver against the Venezuelan government by OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro the same day. In an Extraordinary Session of the OAS Permanent Council, Almagro once again called for a meeting to discuss Venezuela’s internal situation

In May 2016 and again this past March, Almagro attempted to get resolutions passed condemning Venezuela’s government in order to suspend its membership. They failed both times for lack of votes among the member states.

The OAS head has repeatedly insisted that President Nicolás Maduro hold presidential elections this year, despite a decision by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council that the elections are to be held in 2018. The right-wing opposition in Venezuela had attempted a presidential-recall effort last year, but the CNE invalidated it due to thousands of fraudulent signatures.

With Almagro’s new offensive on Wednesday, President Maduro declared the severing of ties with the OAS. “As Head of State in use of my Exclusive Powers in accordance with the Constitution I have ordered the immediate withdrawal of the OAS.  … Enough of interventionist abuses and violation of legality, Venezuela is the cradle of the Liberators and it will be respected.”

Almagro insists the OAS will continue to meet about Venezuela, although no date is set.

He is widely understood as acting for the United States government, which has pressured its right-wing allies, the heads of state of Mexico, Panama, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and others to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

Although the OAS declares its mission is to promote “democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” it has been extremely selective in the application of those principles.

It said nothing when the U.S. government financed a bloody contra war against the Nicaraguan revolution, it did nothing to stop the U.S. proxy war at the Bay of Pigs, and didn’t act against the U.S. for its 1973 coup in Chile. April 24 marked the bloody 1965 U.S. invasion of Dominican Republic. More recently, the OAS did not expel Honduras nor condemn the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew President Mel Zelaya in 2009. And there is no condemnation of the violent denial of human rights of over 100,000 people killed in Mexico. The U.S. continued blockade of Cuba is a massive 55-year crime against the Cuban people. These are only a few of the crises that the OAS did nothing to defend the peoples of the hemisphere.

This is because the OAS is a creation of U.S. imperialism since its founding in 1948. Its Washington headquarters should be a clue.

It should be remembered that only one state was ever punished by the OAS. That was Cuba, for succeeding in the first true example of human rights, people’s democracy and freedom. At the order of the United States, Cuba was expelled in 1962, for being “Marxist-Leninist.”

After its years of resistance and being a true beacon for the Americas, the resolution expelling Cuba was finally canceled in 2009. But although Cuba is listed as the 35th member state of the OAS, it has proudly refused to re-join. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez once said, “The OAS has a negative historical baggage as an instrument of domination of the United States that can’t be changed by any reform.”

But there is an institution that counters the U.S. dominance in the region. CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, includes all states except the United States and Canada. And it will meet on May 2 in El Salvador, to discuss ways to truly ensure the principles of sovereignty and independence.

Washington has waged a multi-pronged destabilization campaign against the revolutionary process known as the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela. Part of that campaign has been the funding of violent right-wing groups that are engaging in more and more deadly acts against the symbols of progress in Venezuela: hospitals, government housing institutes, schools.

In recent days, the Bolivarian masses have been in the streets defending their revolutionary struggle against the violence and threats. Venezuela’s declaration proclaiming its right to pursue its own course free of U.S. imperial dictates is an important step forward.

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Chavista Trade Unionist Kidnapped and Murdered in Venezuela

NOVANEWS
Image result for Esmin Ramirez PHOTO
By TeleSUR 

Venezuelan trade union leader Esmin Ramirez was killed Sunday in the southeastern state of Bolivar after being kidnapped in an act that people close to him claim was politically motivated.

Ramirez, who was a member of the Movement 21 labor syndicate in the state-run iron ore producer Ferrominera and part of the PSUV political party in Cachamay, was killed in El Rinconcito sector in Guayana City, a city along the bank of the Orinoco River in Bolivar state.

The leader was killed by several gunshots to the head. He had been previously kidnapped on Saturday night in San Felix. His body was retrieved by officials Sunday.

Ferrominera expressed condolences in a statement on social media, saying the company hoped that authorities would investigate and clarify the details surrounding the Ramirez’ death.

Ramirez had denounced previous attacks against other members of his organization in the past and was an active participant in marches in support of President Nicolas Maduro, who has in recent weeks faced a wave of violent anti-government protests demanding his ouster.

The union leader was preparing for a massive march for International Worker’s Day on May 1.

Meanwhile, another grassroots leader, Jacqueline Ortega, was murdered in the greater Caracas area in Santa Lucia del Tuy on Saturday. Ortega was also a member of the PSUV as well as a leader in her community’s Local Production and Supply Committee, known as CLAP, a government-created alternative food distribution program.

Ortega was reportedly shot dead in her home by four masked assailants.

 

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As Protests Rage in Venezuela, US Media Silent on Pro-Government Movements

NOVANEWS
Image result for Maduro CARTOON
Sputnik 

As clashes between the Maduro government in Venezuela and the opposition are getting more and more fierce, the US media is openly calling for an economic war against the Bolivarian Revolution government, blaming it for casualties on both sides of the conflict.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker, author, journalist and lecturer Arnold August noted that the US media has a very clear stance: that Maduro and his Bolivarian Revolution government are responsible for everything bad that is happening in the country. Those who do not blame Maduro directly nonetheless report on the issue in such a way as to create the impression that Maduro is responsible, August said.

​For example, an April 24 opinion piece by the Washington Times is entitled “Venezuela’s coming civil war: Maduro is arming his thugs to crush the democratic hopes of his desperate people.”

Reuters took a more subtle approach, reporting casualties among civilians without naming who fired the shots, on April 25.

“A 42-year-old man who worked for local government in the Andean state of Merida died from a gunshot in the neck at a rally in favor of president Nicolas Maduro’s government, the state ombudsman and prosecutor’s office said,” the report reads.

“Another 54-year-old man was shot dead in the chest during a protest in the western agricultural state of Barinas, the state prosecutor’s office added without specifying the circumstances,” it continues.

Major media, such as the Miami Herald and CNN, reported in the last few days that the US will have to consider imposing “serious sanctions” on Venezuela, should Maduro fail to host “free and fair” elections, allowing opposition leaders to campaign, August recalled. The US media also purposefully omits reports of demonstrations by the Chavistas — the supporters of the acting government.

The Green Left news website, on the other hand, reported “tens of thousands” of pro-government activists. Deutsche Welle carefully refrained from separating the sides, giving an overall estimate of 6 million people protesting on April 19.  August claimed there were 3 million pro-government protesters across the whole country. All agree that these demonstrations have been the largest in the history of the nation.

August mentioned an opinion piece written for CNN by Jose Miguel Vivanco and Tamara Taraciuk Broner, “high-ranking members” of Human Rights Watch, August explained. Human Rights Watch is heavily financed by George Soros, who is known to be a big proponent of regime change around the world.

Vivanco and Taraciuk’s piece promotes the narrative that all of the deaths and violence in the country are “rightfully” blamed on Maduro, and that international pressure is needed to restore “human rights and democracy in Venezuela.”

“This is one big lie, if I may be quite frank,” August commented.

The US may be up to more than just harsh words in the media, August noted. On April 24, the Maduro government seized a General Motors factory in Venezuela, forcing the company to flee the country, leaving 2,700 people without jobs.

Officially, GM did not pay its taxes and refused to conform to “basic economic and financial rules,” August explains.

But he speculates that GM could have been involved in a darker scheme, similar to what happened in Chile in the 1973 coup d’état against Salvador Allende government.

“Main enterprises in Venezuela — General Motors, but there are others as well — were specifically organizing to hoard goods, to keep it away from the people, in order to create problems, to create a situation where people are starving, etc.,” August told Becker, adding that US companies also cut flights to Venezuela in an attempt to harm its income from tourism.

“It is undeniable that there are internal problems and weaknesses in the economy under the Bolivarian Revolution, but the main feature of the problem at this time is what has been induced and still being induced by the US and its allies,” he said.

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US Has Given Green Light for Coup in Venezuela ?

NOVANEWS

According to the Bolivarian leader, the U.S. government wrote up a coup scenario for opposition leader Julio Borges.

 

A day before opposition leaders convened more protests in Caracas calling for the ouster of Venezuela’s government, the country’s leader has accused the United States of working with right-wing leaders towards a coup.

“The U.S. government, the State Department has given the green light, the approval for a coup process to intervene in Venezuela,” President Nicolas Maduro said, speaking from the Miraflores Palace.

Maduro said that security forces had arrested an “armed commando group sent by the opposition in order to attack the mobilization called by the right-wing for Wednesday to generate violence and deaths in the country.” An investigation has been opened to determine who is behind the plan.

According to the Venezuelan leader, who also pointed to a U.S. State Department statement issued Tuesday evening warning of an “international response” should “peaceful protests” face repression, the U.S. government wrote up a coup scenario for opposition leader Julio Borges.

The “scenario” Maduro referred to consists in generating violence and deaths before blaming the Venezuelan government for allegedly violently attacking political opponents. Then the plot leaders would demand immediate elections, ahead of Maduro’s official end of term in 2019.

“No more coups in Venezuela, no more plots,” said Maduro, adding that he activated a public security plan to maintain order.

The Venezuelan leader also called on government supporters to take the streets in the defense of the 18-year Bolivarian Revolution, which has seen an unprecedented internal and external attack in recent months.

The demonstrations come after weeks of opposition-led anti-government demonstrations calling for the ouster of the country’s Supreme Court judges as well as President Nicolas Maduro. According to reports, among those killed in the ensuing violence include a 13-year-old boy who was shot Wednesday when opposition protesters entered a social housing complex and an 83-year-old woman who was not able to receive medical attention due to opposition roadblocks.

Opposition protesters have vandalized various areas in Caracas in recent days causing economic damage estimated at around 50 billion bolivars, President Maduro announced Sunday. A high school, a community health center, various subsidized food markets and several government ministries have also reportedly been severely affected.

The opposition MUD alliance has called for a “Mega March” protest in Caracas on Wednesday and estimate a large turnout with promotions flooding social media.

Officials fear that there could be violence should they attempt to redirect marches to areas where pro-government demonstrators will be gathered.

The original

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Destabilization Plots Against Syria and Venezuela

NOVANEWS
 

The empire is on the rampage across the planet. World War 4 is intensifying with disastrous results for the world. The US has expanded its aggression against so many countries at once that is hard to keep up.

North Korea is under threat of an unprovoked attack. However North Korea is prepared to defend itself and Trump will probably be forced to back down. In fact he already has made a fool of himself with his ghost armada.

In Afghanistan he dropped a MOAB bomb on Torah Bora suffocating and incinerating untold numbers of Afghanis. In fact he plans another pointless surge in Afghanistan when everyone knows the war is lost.

Yemen which has already known untold suffering in the 2-year long war will now suffer even more as the US expands its role in the conflict attempting to rescue the genocidal Saudi royals from a humiliating defeat at the hands of Yemen’s people.

The US is expanding its decades long war on Somalia.

In Ecuador the US is trying to undermine the election of Lenin Moreno. NATO is cementing its ties to the fanatical bloodthirsty royals of the GCC countries (the Saudis, Qataris, and other tyrants) through the NATO-Istanbul cooperation Initiative which means NATO and Al Qaeda are basically officially allied as if it wasn’t already obvious after the horrifying wars on Libya and Syria.

In other words Trump is massively expanding every dirty war and destabilization campaign the Empire is involved in and doubtless in future months we will learn of countries now peaceful being thrown into chaos as a result of CIA/NED operations now being launched of which we have no idea. We can only hope that Russia and China are working on some plans of their own.

For now, however,  I must focus on the two countries which are among the most important fronts in World War 4:  Syria and Venezuela. Thankfully the initial attack on Syria was far from the all out war I feared. Brave soldiers and civilians were killed but the Syrians were able to get the air base back online the next day. However it sets a dangerous precedent for the US to attack Syria whenever the NATO death squads are loosing some battle.

In Venezuela there is yet another attempt to overthrow the government and install US puppets. The Neoliberal opposition in Venezuela have been rioting revealing their true character with the evil and stupidity of their antics. However the people of Venezuela have taken to the streets to oppose the latest plots against their country.

We’ll probably never know what actually happened behind the scenes but instead of launching an all out regime change assault on Syria, Trump merely did openly what the US has been doing “accidentally” since it began bombing Syria. He targeted the SAA and doubtless their Russian and Iranian allies at Shayrat airbase which the Syrian Arab Air force was using to support the SAA’s victorious counter-offensive in the battle of Hama and in its attacks on ISIS controlled areas. It was also of course the same base from which allegedly Syria shot down an Israeli jet which was openly serving as ISIS air force. The rumor is that using electronic warfare Russia was able to disable more then half the Tomahawks. Only 23 of 59 hit their targets. It is unclear how many were killed as Syria attempted to portray the effects as minimal in order to avoid boosting enemy morale. Regardless of the damage the strikes have had little effect on the course of the war. The SAA is advancing victoriously across the country although NATO’s terrorist death squads are also launching fierce counter-offensives they made only temporary gains that were quickly reversed. Once again Syria has proved itself the most heroic country on the planet. In the face of Trump’s treachery, the endless lies of the mainstream media and genocidal “Human Rights” groups, the threats of the US and NATO, and attacks by the US and Israel they refuse to lose heart or to stop even for a single day their war to liberate their country from the terrorist death squads.

These monsters whom the west calls moderates sunk to a new level of infamy last week with their murder of over 200 people of whom 116 were children. We will never forget the horrible massacre at Rashideen. The people killed were refugees from the towns of Foua and Karfaya who have suffered one of the most tragic sieges of the war.

I learned of them at the same time as I learned of the work of the courageous Eva Bartlett back in 2015. Her articles were both horrifying and heartbreaking. Often lacking food, electricity, clean water, or medicine, they were being continually bombarded by death squads who fired rockets, artillery and “Hell Cannons” Fuel canisters turned into fire bombs.

Families watched as their loved ones died because of lack of medicine. Children starved to death or were killed by terrorists. Yet their plight was of course completely ignored by the propagandists in the mainstream media. Since then their ordeal has continued shelling hunger and being forced to repel constant attacks. Finally a deal was struck to evacuate them to safety in the same way as the Syrian government has allowed the terrorists to flee unharmed with their lives and families.

But the terrorists of course cannot be trusted to show similar mercy to their victims. Instead they decided to murder the children of the refugees. First they held the refugees captive on the buses for two days. Then a car drove up offering to give away food to the starving passengers. As the children gathered around to collect bags of potato chips the NATO death squads detonated a bomb killing over 200 people 115 of them children. The poor refugees of Foua and Karfaya were not even allowed to keep the corpses of their murdered children but were forced to watch as the terrorists and some turkish ambulances collected and then drove off with their children’s corpses. It is hard even to find words to describe the monstrous depravity of this crime which is on the hands not just of the terrorists but their US-NATO-GCC-Israel backers and above all on the western media who the terrorists knew could be counted on to completely ignore their many crimes.

Thankfully heroic independent journalist Vanessa Beeley was there to further investigate and expose this terrible tragedy which was caught on film. We must never forget the horrifying massacre of Rashideen.

Although Trump’s missile strikes have failed to shift the balance of the war far more menacing are his plans to invade and occupy Syria which are ever expanding. The Pentagon is now talking about sending 50,000 troops to invade an occupy Syria. In addition to the massive territory the US is occupying in northern Syria using the kurds as a front, the US now plans to do the same for the Wahhabi death squads in the south and the East. The US, the Jordanian army, and their terrorist allies have launched an invasion from the south. The US also sent helicopters to land an Invading US army to the east of Deir Ezzor the Heroic Syrian city that has been surrounded by ISIS for years and has refused to surrender.

Clearly the US plans to seize as much Syrian territory as possible so it will have a base to endlessly wage war on Syria. The US plans to create a terrorist proxy state in Eastern Syria. In reality it will be a US approved version of ISIS that will be given a huge swath of territory under US protection. As a reward for the many horrific crimes they have committed, murder, looting, rape, slavery, destruction of Syria’s heritage, destruction of hospitals, schools, food storage, electric facilities, poisoning water, Suicide bombings, hell cannons, Mutilation torture and genocide the NATO backed rebels will be given their own state guarded by american troops.

People who blow up busloads of children will be rewarded for their crimes with their own american puppet state. This possibility is too sickening to contemplate but the Trump administration is moving with lightning speed to insure that this plan is carried out creating yet another terrorist proxy army the “Eastern Shield” whose ranks are sure to swell with “former” ISIS members and other terrorists fighting alongside US Marines. It’s another planned disaster for the empire of chaos. Death, destruction, Chaos will be the inevitable results of this insane policy. With typical 21st century insanity this scheme is called “Safe Zones.”

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In Venezuela, yet another coup scheme is under way. Syria appears to be the blueprint for what they have planned for Venezuela. Simply label terrorism as peaceful protests and use the chaos as an excuse to intervene. Instead of Al Qaeda however the foot soldiers are the fascist fifth column the US has spent nearly 20 years funding and training. They hope to create as much death and destruction as possible in the hopes it can be blamed on the Venezuelan Government and be used to trigger an intervention.

In fact the “opposition” has been flying to Washington DC plotting their coup quite openly. They hope to install a puppet regime with the aid of US troops composed of Venezuela’s old corrupt politicians. These would impose the same unpopular neo-liberal austerity measures carried out in Brazil and Argentina after their soft coups against the wishes of the public who are brutally repressed. Thankfully the CIA created opposition who were foolishly elected to the national assembly a year and a half ago have since discredited themselves. At the same time since those elections the failure of the government to cope with the economic war inspired the grass roots Bolivarian movement the people not the politicians to come up with their own solutions.

Related imageVisitors to Venezuela now claim that the worst is over and that things are once again improving. It is the ultimate revenge of Hugo Chavez even from the grave he was able to inspire the Venezuelan people to put his ideas into practice.

This is precisely what has inspired the rage in the fascist opposition and their CIA backers. Of course racist billionaire emperor Trump hates the Bolivarian Socialist Republic of Venezuela as do his drug dealing cuban terrorist friends in brigade 2506. Doubtless he okayed this new coup scheme. Thus like the bombing of the buses in the Massacre at Rashideen by terrorists emboldened by Trump’s cruise missile strikes the crimes of the fascist opposition are also the result of his criminal policies.

Thankfully for the people of Venezuela the rich fascists are amateurs compared to the “moderate rebels” but their intent is no less monstrous. A woman is on her way from work suddenly a frozen bottle of water tossed out of a window high up in an apartment complex by a Venezuelan fascist comes crashing down onto her head. As I write she is still in the hospital in critical condition. The incident demonstrates the total contempt for ordinary Venezuelans that the fascist opposition shows. It was the result of calls by opposition politicians for attacks on Chavista protestors calling for turning flower pots into weapons  although the woman was merely heading to work.

In another incident 4 fascists attacked a Venezuelan police officer who had fallen off his motorcycle they ripped out 4 of his teeth as a macabre form of torture. They have engaged in a campaign of looting arson and terror.

The most memorable incident proving their total depravity was an attack on a maternity hospital full of newborns and their mothers. They were forced to evacuate the hospital when a mob of fascists began throwing rocks and glass then set a huge trash fire to try and smoke them out. Long ago near the beginning of World War 4 the Kuwaiti ambassadors daughter coached by the Hill and Knowlton PR firm pretended to be a nurse who had witnessed savage Iraqi soldiers stealing incubators from helpless babies. This completely fabricated story was used as an excuse to launch a war followed by sanctions that killed half a million Iraqi children.

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Now the US is funding an Opposition group that is doing almost exactly the same thing as the Iraqi’s were accused of. Many of the children needed help breathing but were forced to flee. Even the Iraqis were not accused of setting fires aimed at killing the newborns the way Venezuela’s fascist opposition have done. Of course the US state department will instead condemn the Maduro government demanding they give free reign to the fascists in the hopes of a Maidan style coup. Venezuela has already been warned not to interfere with their rights to attack women and children or to perform amateur dental torture on unwilling victims. The attack on the Maternity Hospital is the latest example of the fascist opposition which hates the ordinary people of Venezuela so much that it attempts to destroy every program aimed to improve their lives whether hospitals aiming to heal or subsidized stores intending to provide affordable food. If allowed to continue they would happily wreak the same misery on Venezuela as the NATO death death squads have inflicted on Syria.

Thankfully neither the Maduro Government nor the Venezuelan people will allow these fascist scum to seize control of their country. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans held Anti-Imperialist marches demanding an end to outside interference in their country. To discourage an Invasion Maduro plans to massively expand the armed civilian militia from 100,000 to 500,000. Thus if the US and it’s allies should ever invade the Venezuelan people are prepared to fight for however long it takes to liberate their country and perhaps the entire continent. At the same time the Government is prepared to defend Venezuela. They have instituted Plan Zamora a massive drill aimed at readying their defenses. They have already arrested a Colombian Death squad planning to carry out an assassination campaign under cover of the fascist riots. They also foiled a military coup attempt and arrested a ringleader. Thus we have reason to hope that this latest coup attempt will fail like all the others. However the empire of chaos will never stop trying to destroy Venezuela. A dozen people have already died during this latest coup attempt.

The Struggle continues. World War 4 is heating up. The future seems bleak. Yet we can draw inspiration from the heroic spirit of the peoples of Syria and Venezuela. No matter what they have suffered they simply refuse to give up. This determination to struggle on no matter the odds or how long it takes is the only thing that has ever been able to defeat the empire as the peoples of Vietnam and Korea have shown in the past. The whole world is in deadly danger and every single one of us must rise to the occasion if there is to be any hope for a future. The bright dream of Venezuela that we can build a better world and the grim determination of Syria never to surrender are an inspiration to the world.

Sources

Vanessa Beeley on one of the greatest war crimes in recent memory the massacre at Rashideen
https://syria360.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/rashideen-massacre-children-lured-to-their-slaughter-by-nato-state-terrorists/

Pepe Escobar on Mad Emperor Trump’s War on the world
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-14/pepe-escobar-trumps-new-normal-piece-cake-foreign-policy

Tony Cartalucci on the US Plan B for Syria Stealing Massive amounts of Syrian Land to Create a “Safe Zone” for Al Qaeda and the US Kurdish Mercenaries
https://syria360.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/us-didnt-change-priorities-in-syria-it-lost/

The Latest news from Syrian Perspective

https://syrianperspective.com/2017/04/teebat-al-imaam-liberated-syrian-army-on-a-roll-in-derah-last-citizens-leave-besieged-towns-of-kafrayyaa-and-al-fawah.html

Fascist Attack on a Maternity Ward in Venezuela
https://libya360.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/venezuela-attack-on-hospital-is-a-war-crime-crime-against-humanity/

The Fascist coup plot in Venezuela
https://libya360.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/venezuela-opposition-coup-plans-fascist-dictatorship/

The Latest Incidents in the fascist terror campaign in Venezuela
https://libya360.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/venezuela-fascist-gangs-attack-maternity-childrens-hospital/

Posted in Syria, VenezuelaComments Off on Destabilization Plots Against Syria and Venezuela

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