Category: Latin America
Venezuela Continues to be Chavista, According to New Poll

Caracas, March 2, 2015 According to a new poll released by International Consulting Services (ICS), approximately 57% of Venezuelans have confidence that the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro will improve the economy.
The poll also featured several results which suggest that Chavismo continues to be the preferred political option for the country’s citizens.
In the midst of an economic crisis triggered by crashing oil prices and economic war in which basic goods remain scarce, only one fourth of Venezuelans regard scarcities as the country’s biggest problem. This finding contradicts the image of widespread hunger and desperation among Venezuelans projected by the international media.
Moreover, in the face of an inflation rate fast approaching 70%, only 1 in 10 Venezuelans consider inflation as the nation’s principal issue. Rather, insecurity, a perennial problem in Venezuela, remains the top concern for half of the country’s citizens.
The study also contained some unexpected findings regarding upcoming parliamentary elections. Contrary to international predictions of a landslide victory for the opposition, 43.6% of Venezuelans said they would vote for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allied parties if elections were held today.
This figure means that even in the midst of acute economic difficulties, the PSUV retains a strong lead over the opposition, which was the preference of less than 32% of poll respondents.
Additionally, the poll found that on the eve of the second anniversary of the death of Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, around 62% of Venezuelans consider themselves chavistas, or “partisans… of the ideals” of the late Venezuelan leader. This result attests to the ongoing majoritarian popularity of the Bolivarian project initiated by Chávez, even despite his physical absence.
Furthermore, in the area of human rights, the survey discovered that 80% of Venezuelans believe that respect for human rights is guaranteed in the Bolivarian republic. This figure stands at odds with statements by the U.S. government and international media, regarding alleged “human rights violations” committed by the government of Nicolas Maduro.
The poll was conducted between February 10 and February 20 and included a sample of 1300 respondents drawn from every state in the country. The figures were reported with a confidence level of 95%.
U.S. Behind Coup d’Etat Attempt in Venezuela
U.S. Behind Coup d’Etat Attempt in Venezuela
Pretoria, Feb 19 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan ambassador to South Africa Mairin Moreno today reiterated that the hand of the US Goverment was behind the latest coup d” etat attempt in her country, and stressed that they will not stop condemning it.

Just a week ago, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro uncovered this new coup d’ etat that was planned for last February 12, when the Youth Day was celebrated in Venezuela, said Morena in an interview with Prensa Latina.

The ambassador warned that the plan was orchestrated by the opposion and funded by the US Government and included a series of violent acts.

Moreno recalled that the coup was planned meticulously, and they tried to buy the support of Venezuelan top ranking military officials for that purpose.

However, thanks to the consolidated Venezuelan Armed Forces and the Intelligence services, the new coup d’etat was uncovered, stressed the ambassador.

Moreno said that Venezuela will not stop denouncing to the world the atrocities that have been attempted against the Bolivarian Revolution.

The diplomat added that they planned to bomb with Tucano warplanes some of the main Government headquarters, such as the Miraflores Palace, Telesur television channel, and some ministries.

She added that Venezuelan leaders, as it is the case of Robert Serra, have been killed in desperate acts staged by the opposition and forces from abroad to overthrow the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

The ambassador also noted that the chaos created in the country through the increase in prices, smuggled goods, stockpiling activities, are part of the constant attack against the Venezuelan people.

sgl/ajs/rc/dfm

Modificado el ( jueves, 19 de febrero de 2015 )
A Book that was Missing

Havana, February 13, 2015
Remarks at the presentation of the book ¿Quién mató al Che?
Cómo la CIA logró salir impune del asesinato by Michael Ratner
and Michael Steven Smith, Social Sciences Publishing House, Cuba.
[Spanish translation of Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder]

Unofficial translation by Susana Hurlich, Havana
================================================
A Book that was Missing
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith, in addition to being eminent lawyers, are active participants in the most important battles of the North American people for justice and freedom. Their book, dedicated to Leonard Weinglass – who, up to his last breath, devoted his life to the liberation of the Five Cuban anti-terrorists who served long years of unjust and cruel imprisonment in the United States – pays well-deserved tribute to our mutual friend when our heroes have now returned free to the Homeland.

To fight for justice in that country means, above all, to seek the truth and make it known in the most difficult of circumstances, confronting the concealment and manipulation of a powerful machinery determined to impose nothing else but ignorance on millions of people. This is a task that Lenny as well as Ratner and Smith have known how to carry out assiduously and consistently.

To prove that Ernesto Guevara was assassinated by the CIA, that his death was a war crime – a crime that never perishes – and that this deed was entirely the responsibility of the U.S. government called for an unremitting search.

After many years of demanding that the authorities comply with their own laws with respect to public access to information, today we can read documents that, despite the crossings-out and deletions that still seek to conceal numerous facts, allow the reader to discover that the official versions about Ernesto Guevara’s final combat were deliberately distorted.

It’s all about trying to make us believe that Washington preferred that Che, defeated and taken prisoner, would continue to live and that the crime was the result of unilateral decisions made by soldiers of the Bolivian Army who were then a docile instrument of the Empire.

Much has been written about Che and his epic Bolivian campaign and there are many authors who echoed the interpretation fabricated by the exponents of “plausible deniability.” At this stage, when both selective and massive assassination and the practice of torture and extrajudicial executions have become a generalized practice of a new way of making war, the book by Ratner and Smith is an opportune reminder that such treatment has a long trajectory.

It is as old as that of using servile armies and assassins – uniformed or not – as simple tools causing countless suffering to the peoples of Latin America under military dictatorships that the United States equipped, trained and managed.

In an earlier book, published in 1997 and the result of an equally relentless pursuit, the authors had revealed how the FBI tracked Ernesto Guevara’s activities in Guatemala and Mexico when he was not yet Che. In this book that they offer us now it can be confirmed that during his Bolivian campaign he was obsessively followed at the highest levels in Washington.

The U.S. Government’s Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for the cold-blooded murder of a wounded and unarmed young prisoner by the name of Ernesto Guervara. The actual perpetrators of the cowardly act were soldiers who acted under the control of the CIA and obeyed their orders without batting an eye.

Some are still walking, however, on the streets of Miami or are in their offices at Langley, mulling over their frustration. Because they could not kill Che. Che continued to live and his message returned victorious in a new Bolivia and in a Latin America that confidently moves ahead towards complete emancipation.

Because Che fought all his life leading the list of those named as essential by Bertolt Brecht. Essential are those who are never missing when they are most needed, those who are present, always on the front line, when the struggle is harder and more complex.

That is why Che lives. Because we need him now more than ever.

The Cuban edition of this book appears in a new juncture in which we greatly need the Guevarian light. Now we are entering a stage that poses new challenges that we must face with wisdom and firmness. The historic enemy of our people has not changed its nature or its strategy of domination, only its tactics. Because its crude and violent policy – and it is recognized as such – of half a century failed, now it will test methods that intend to be more subtle to achieve the same ends.

We must accept the challenge and advance down that path without ever abandoning our principles. And always remembering Che’s visionary warning. Do not trust the imperialists “not even a little bit, not in anything.”

Exclusive: Interview With Maximilien Sánchez Arveláiz, Venezuelan Ambassador-Designate to the U.S.

Posted: Updated:


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-kovalik/exclusive-interview-with-_26_b_6704780.html
Dan Kovalik
Human rights attorney

2015-02-18-Max.jpg
Photo of Maximilien Sánchez Arveláiz (Courtesy of Venezuelan Embassy)

Dan: I was just reading that, even with the economic problems in Venezuela, the government has decided to press forward in fully funding its social programs.

MA: Yes definitely, we want to keep and maintain our social programs, and that is our priority, to take care of Venezuelan families. We already have some progress to show and we want to maintain that. . . . [W]hat’s going on in Venezuela for the last 10 years, and longer, and in the rest of the region, is a bit like The New Deal . . . and to a certain extent the Civil Rights Movement. We are talking about economic, social inclusion and political inclusion. . . .

Dan: And there has been a real decline in poverty and extreme poverty in Venezuela in the last 15 years?

MA: Yes, definitely. Remember when Chavez was elected in 1999, at that time . . . the poverty rate at that time stood around 42-45% and I think right now it has been reduced to 25%. And extreme poverty rate that fell [from 23.4%] to 7% and I think it was last year when the UN Food and Agriculture Organization recognized Venezuela as the leader in Latin America for the eradication of hunger. I think in 2014 again you have this Gini coefficient . . . [t]hat shows again that inequality fell even more in 2014. So, we are moving in the right direction. . . . See, World Bank figures.

Dan: I have recently been reading comparisons between Venezuela now and Chile in 1973, and I wonder if you think that is a fair comparison.

MA: Definitely, you know that wonderful documentary done by Patricio Guzman, The Battle of Chile? Maybe at that time it was in black and white, and now it is in color. But if you see some of the images, some of the sequences on that documentary and you look to Caracas now, you could find some similarities . . . for example, what President Maduro just denounced – the sabotage; the same recipe with the same ingredient. So, right now, they are trying to promote a coup on our economy. For the last two years, we have been facing hording, contraband and many forms of fraud in order to destabilize the distribution of food and obviously create the sensation of chaos and then you have all these pictures of people in long queues waiting to go the market. Again, the same trick. . . . I hope that we will not be able to make a “Battle of Venezuela,” or, if yes, the result in the end would be better.

Dan: Can you talk about the U.S.’s recently-imposed sanctions against Venezuela?

M.A.: In Venezuela, the sanctions could be seen as a green light for certain sectors of the opposition. So we will see what happens. In April, we will have the Summit of the Americas in Panama. So that’s going to be quite interesting to see where we are then. A few days ago at the CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states) meeting in Costa Rica, there was a unanimous resolution condemning the unilateral imposition of sanctions by the U.S. upon Venezuela. All of the governments, all of the delegations, that were part of that summit, we are talking about all of the regions of Latin America, condemn it. . . .

Dan: I wonder if you could comment on Noam Chomsky’s statement that Chavez led the historic liberation of Latin America.

M.A.: I understand what Chomsky was saying, but I think that Chavez did not think of himself as a leader of the movement, but rather as a part of a cultural struggle to bring progress and provide for the basic necessities of the Venezuelan, and to some extent, all of the Latin American people. Now, it was true that when Chavez was elected in 1999, we were maybe the only ones in the region, with the clear exception of Cuba, who saw themselves as part of this struggle. But then after Chavez, and maybe because we were the avant-garde to some extent, you had other leaders who were elected — like Lula in Brazil, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Evo Morales in Bolivia — leaders that have been promoting social and political inclusion which are key elements to guaranteeing social development and democracy. So, yes, Chavez was an amazing leader. . . . You know, he was born in a mud hut. . . . He came from the very lower classes, and he never forgot where he came from. And, all his life he dedicated himself to help the poor and to improve their lives, and to some extent we can say that he died because of that and for them. . . . Similarly, Nicolas Maduro was a bus driver, he had a working class background, and he is somebody again who knows where he comes from as well, and will never forget that. . . . And, it is unfortunate that some people can’t accept that somebody that doesn’t come from the higher classes can lead their country.

Dan: When you refer to the Civil Rights Movement, it reminds me that when I was in Caracas during the elections in April 2013, I witnessed a pro-Maduro rally and what struck me was that nearly everyone at that rally was black. People in this country don’t think about the historic oppression of Afro-Venezuelans, and what the Chavista revolution has done for them.

MA: Yes, we are talking about people who were disenfranchised citizens, second-class citizens and they have now become a real part of society. Again, when we are talking about the Civil Rights movement in the 60’s it was quite violent actually here the reaction against this movement. Yes, you know, so you can understand how you could have sectors of Venezuelan society who might react in a certain violent manner against this process of inclusion. . . .

Venezuelan Legislator Gives Details on Thwarted Coup
Published 13 February 2015
The teleSUR Caracas headquarters were one of the strategic areas the alleged coup plotters planned to attack.
Venezuelan National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello revealed the details of what the government says was a “thwarted coup” on Thursday night on public television. His public announcement followed one earlier by Nicolas Maduro.
Cabello and Maduro said the plan was financed from the U.S, and was to be carried out early today during the anniversary of the start of the violent opposition blockades last year and marches today by the country’s youth. People were going to be killed during the marches, and strategic targets would have been bombed in an attempt to overthrow the Maduro government.
Cabello said it was important to inform the people of the plans and names of people involved in the attempt, which he said included a small group of civilians and airforce officials. He said that thanks to the actions of state security and intelligence officials, various people and their equipment were detained and confiscated, including a computer with the “tactical objectives of the coup group.”
Cabello showed a map which he explained came from that computer and had various buildings marked as “tactical objectives,” including the Miraflores Palace, the justice ministry, the teleSUR building, the National Electoral Council (CNE) and the military intelligence headquarters.
The buildings they planned to attack:
- teleSUR headquarters (east Caracas)
- Headquartes of the Military Intelligence (DIM)
- Plaza Venezuela
- Metro station Zona Rental (center of Caracas)
- Ministry of Defense (center of Caracas)
- Caracas municipality building (west)
- Miraflores palace (national government and presidential headquarters)
- Public Prosecutor’s office (center of Caracas)
Caracas mayor, Jorge Rodriguez, also participated in the public announcement, and he stated that it was opposition legislator Julio Borges who chose the buildings.
“Legislator Julio Borges will have to explain if he was planning this map of attack targets … among them was the (western area of Caracas) La Cadelaria where the opposition always wins elections … what were they going to say to the people who came out of their houses because they were going to be bombed … or when they were going to bomb the international channel, teleSUR,” Rodriguez said.
Cabello said that authorities had confiscated grenades, military and Sebin (intelligence) uniforms, an eight minute video with a declaration by the plotters and a collection of AR15 rifles. Widely available in the United States, the AR15 was first developed for the U.S. military, but is today one of the most popular rifles that is commercially available in the United States. It is not legally available to the public in Venezuela.
The AR15 has been used in a number of mass shootings in the United States, including the 2012 Aurora shooting, which left 12 people dead in Colorado.
Rodriguez explained, “Venezuela has a very violent sector of the opposition that doesn’t hesitate to plan actions that could mean dozens of deaths or the assassination of the president.”
The coup attempt was going to start with a public announcement that Borges and opposition political leader Antonio Ledezma were going to sign, and it was going to be published by a national media, Cabello claimed.
He added that a Tucano plane was going to conduct the air strikes.
​Various airforce officers have been detained, for their alleged involvement in the plot.
Cabello argued that the opposition was organizing legal activities, such as collecting signatures, while at the same time, “secretly planning a coup.”
He also showed a photo (below) and alleged that a U.S. official recently visited Venezuela to observe the trial of Leopoldo Lopez, who is accused of having convoked the opposition violence last year, which lead to 43 deaths. He asked, “What right does a U.S. official have to attend (the trial)?”
—————————-

Coup Plot in Venezuela Thwarted

Venezuelan President Maduro speaks at a public event in Caracas Febraury 12,. 2015, a coup plot against Venezuelan President was recently thwarted. | Photo: AVN

Published 12 February 2015 (8 hours 44 minutes ago)
Coup plotters planned on assassinating the Venezuelan President and installing a transitional government.
A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed Thursday in a televised address.
Those involved were being paid in U.S. dollars, and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.
Maduro stated that the coup plotters already had a “transitional” government and program lined up once the acts – which included bombings on the Miraflores Palace and the teleSUR offices in Caracas as well as assassinations of members of the opposition, Maduro and others – was carried out.
The Venezuelan president explained that a video of masked military officials speaking out against the government had been recorded, which was set to be released after the assassination attempt was carried out.
The Venezuelan Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez stated via his Twitter account that the armed forces remain loyal to the constitutional government.
“The Bolivarian National Armed Forces remain resolute in their democratic beliefs and reject coup schemes that threaten the peace of the republic,” said Padrino.
According to Maduro, one of the suspects was already under surveillance and had been suspected of plotting against the government during last year’s violent demonstrations, but was not charged. Nevertheless he continued plotting against the democratically-elected government.
The four-stage plan involved creating an economic assault on the country, creating an international debate around a supposed humanitarian crisis, a political coup involving officials who would turn on the government and finally a military coup that would lead to the installation of the transitional program.
Maduro stated that the plot, which was scheduled to coincide with anti-government demonstrations planned for the one-year anniversary of the start of violent, opposition-led demonstrations which began last Feb. 12, was uncovered after military officials who had been approached to participate reported the schemes to authorities.
Maduro called on the Venezuelan people to be on alert, and be prepared to maintain peace in the country in the face of continued attempts by sectors of the right-wing who seek to overthrow the democratically-elected government.
————————————–
Maduro: Venezuela has foiled coup directed ‘from Washington’

Published time: February 13, 2015 12:08
http://rt.com/news/232023-maduro-coup-us-defeat/

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.(Reuters / Miraflores Palace)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.(Reuters / Miraflores Palace)

 

Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro has announced that the country has defeated an alleged US-sponsored coup which was reportedly plotted by five Air Force officers.

“We have broken up and foiled a coup attempt against democracy and the stability of our country,” Maduro said, adding that the coup had been directed “from Washington.”

The coup plan involved an attack on the presidential palace or another top target, Maduro said.

READ MORE: Maduro accuses Joe Biden of ‘bloody coup’ in Venezuela

“This was an attempt to use a group of military aviation officers to provoke a violent event,” and one of the detained plotters was “an [Air Force] general called Hernandez, alias el Oso [the bear].”

READ MORE: US inciting civil war in Venezuela to get its oil – Bolivia’s Morales

“On these dates, February 12 and 13, during the commemoration events, [the plot was to] fly a ‘Tucano’ airplane, arm the Tucano and attack the Miraflores [Presidential] Palace, or whichever location I would have been when participating in any one of these events. And then later attack other targets which they had outlined before,” Maduro said, as quoted by AP.

READ MORE: Plot to kill Maduro: Venezuela demands US explain role in assassination plan

The alleged plot was uncovered by the Venezuelan intelligence agency, and one of the participating officers was connected to the right-wing forces allegedly planning to provoke a wave of violence.

According to Maduro, the military man was given financial aid, as well as a US visa, which permitted him to leave on February 3.

The president provided no concrete evidence of the alleged coup.

READ MORE: ‘West has no idea what a dictatorship is’ – Che Guevara’s daughter to RT

It is not the first time that Maduro has said there has been an attempted coup against his government. At the beginning of February, the president accused US Vice President Joe Biden of orchestrating a plot against Venezuela.

Last December, Maduro announced “recordings” disclosing the US plan to bribe and corrupt Venezuelan authorities.

Relations between Venezuela and the US have been hostile for a few years: they have not sent ambassadors to each other’s countries since 2010, and instead have chargé d’affaires running their embassies.

Venezuela: a Coup in Real Time
Venezuela: a Coup in Real Time

 

By Eva Golinger – Counterpunch, February 2nd 2015
There is a coup underway in Venezuela. The pieces are all falling into place like a bad CIA movie. At every turn a new traitor is revealed, a betrayal is born, full of promises to reveal the smoking gun that will justify the unjustifiable. Infiltrations are rampant, rumors spread like wildfire, and the panic mentality threatens to overcome logic. Headlines scream danger, crisis and imminent demise, while the usual suspects declare covert war on a people whose only crime is being gatekeeper to the largest pot of black gold in the world.
This week, as the New York Times showcased an editorial degrading and ridiculing Venezuelan President Maduro, labeling him “erratic and despotic” (“Mr. Maduro in his Labyrinth”, NYT January 26, 2015), another newspaper across the Atlantic headlined a hack piece accusing the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, and the most powerful political figure in the country after Maduro, of being a narcotics kingpin (“The head of security of the number two Chavista defects to the U.S. and accuses him of drug trafficking”, ABC, January 27, 2015). The accusations stem from a former Venezuelan presidential guard officer, Leasmy Salazar, who served under President Chavez and was recruited by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), now becoming the new “golden child” in Washington’s war on Venezuela.
Two days later, the New York Times ran a front-page piece shaming the Venezuelan economy and oil industry, and predicting its downfall (“Oil Cash Waning, Venezuelan Shelves Lie Bare”, Jan. 29, 2015, NYT). Blaring omissions from the article include mention of the hundreds of tons of food and other consumer products that have been hoarded or sold as contraband by private distributors and businesses in order to create shortages, panic, discontent with the government and justify outrageous price hikes. Further, multiple ongoing measures taken by the government to overcome the economic difficulties were barely mentioned and completed disregarded.
Simultaneously, an absurdly sensationalist and misleading headline ran in several U.S. papers, in print and online, linking Venezuela to nuclear weapons and a plan to bomb New York City (“U.S. Scientist Jailed for Trying to Help Venezuela Build Bombs”, Jan. 30, 2015, NPR). While the headline leads readers to believe Venezuela was directly involved in a terrorist plan against the U.S., the actual text of the article makes clear that no Venezuelans were involved at all. The whole charade was an entrapment set up by the FBI, whose officers posed as Venezuelan officials to capture a disgruntled nuclear physicist who once worked at Los Alamos and had no Venezuela connection.
That same day, State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki condemned the alleged “criminalization of political dissent” in Venezuela, when asked by a reporter about fugitive Venezuelan general Antonio Rivero’s arrival in New York to plea for support from the United Nations Working Committee on Arbitrary Detention. Rivero fled an arrest warrant in Venezuela after his involvement in violent anti-government protests that lead to the deaths of over 40 people, mainly government supporters and state security forces, last February. His arrival in the U.S. coincided with Salazar’s, evidencing a coordinated effort to debilitate Venezuela’s Armed Forces by publicly showcasing two high profile military officers – both former Chavez loyalists – that have been turned against their government and are actively seeking foreign intervention against their own country.
These examples are just a snapshot of increasing, systematic negative and distorted coverage of Venezuelan affairs in U.S. media, painting an exaggeratedly dismal picture of the country’s current situation and portraying the government as incompetent, dictatorial and criminal. While this type of coordinated media campaign against Venezuela is not new – media consistently portrayed former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, elected president four times by overwhelming majorities, as a tyrannical dictator destroying the country – it is clearly intensifying at a rapid, and concerning, pace.
The New York Times has a shameful history when it comes to Venezuela. The Editorial Board blissfully applauded the violent coup d’etat in April 2002 that ousted President Chavez and resulted in the death of over 100 civilians. When Chavez was returned to power by his millions of supporters and loyal Armed Forces two days later, the Times didn’t recant it’s previous blunder, rather it arrogantly implored Chavez to “govern responsibly”, claiming he had brought the coup on himself. But the fact that the Times has now begun a persistent, direct campaign against the Venezuelan government with one-sided, distorted and clearly aggressive articles – editorials, blogs, opinion, and news – indicates that Washington has placed Venezuela on the regime change fast track.
The timing of Leamsy Salazar’s arrival in Washington as an alleged DEA collaborator, and his public exposure, is not coincidental. This February marks one year since anti-government protests violently tried to force President Maduro’s resignation, and opposition groups are currently trying to gain momentum to reignite demonstrations. The leaders of the protests, Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado, have both been lauded by The New York Times and other ‘respected’ outlets as “freedom fighters”, “true democrats”, and as the Times recently referred to Machado, “an inspiring challenger”. Even President Obama called for Lopez’s release from prison (he was detained and is on trial for his role in the violent uprisings) during a speech last September at an event in the United Nations. These influential voices willfully omit Lopez’s and Machado’s involvement and leadership of violent, undemocratic and even criminal acts. Both were involved in the 2002 coup against Chavez. Both have illegally received foreign funding for political activities slated to overthrow their government, and both led the lethal protests against Maduro last year, publicly calling for his ouster through illegal means.
The utilization of a figure such as Salazar who was known to anyone close to Chavez as one of his loyal guards, as a force to discredit and attack the government and its leaders is an old-school intelligence tactic, and a very effective one. Infiltrate, recruit, and neutralize the adversary from within or by one of its own – a painful, shocking betrayal that creates distrust and fear amongst the ranks. While no evidence has surfaced to back Salazar’s outrageous claims against Diosdado Cabello, the headline makes for a sensational story and another mark against Venezuela in public opinion. It also caused a stir within the Venezuelan military and may result in further betrayals from officers who could support a coup against the government. Salazar’s unsubstantiated allegations also aim at neutralizing one of Venezuela’s most powerful political figures, and attempt to create internal divisions, intrigue and distrust.
The most effective tactics the FBI used against the Black Panther Party and other radical movements for change in the United States were infiltration, coercion and psychological warfare. By inserting agents into these organizations, or recruiting from within, that were able to gain access and trust at the highest levels, the FBI was able to destroy these movements from the inside, breaking them down psychologically and neutralizing them politically. These clandestine tactics and strategies are thoroughly documented and evidenced in FBI and other US government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and published in in Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall’s excellent book, “Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement” (South End Press, 1990).
Venezuela is suffering from the sudden and dramatic plummet in oil prices. The country’s oil-dependent economy has severely contracted and the government is taking measures to reorganize the budget and guarantee access to basic services and goods, but people are still experiencing difficulties. Unlike the dismal portrayal in The New York Times, Venezuelans are not starving, homeless or suffering from mass unemployment, as countries such as Greece and Spain have experienced under austerity policies. Despite certain shortages – some caused by currency controls and others by intentional hoarding, sabotage or contraband – 95% of Venezuelans consume three meals per day, an amount that has doubled since the 1990s. The unemployment rate is under 6% and housing is subsidized by the state.
Nevertheless, making Venezuela’s economy scream is without a doubt a rapidly intensifying strategy executed by foreign interests and their Venezuelan counterparts, and it’s very effective. As shortages continue and access to dollars becomes increasingly difficult, chaos and panic ensue. This social discontent is capitalized on by U.S. agencies and anti-government forces in Venezuela pushing for regime change. A very similar strategy was used in Chile to overthrow socialist President Salvador Allende. First the economy was destroyed, then mass discontent grew and the military moved to oust Allende, backed by Washington at every stage. Lest we forget the result: a brutal dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet that tortured, assassinated, disappeared and forced into exile tens of thousands of people. Not exactly a model to replicate.
This year President Obama approved a special State Department fund of $5 million to support anti-government groups in Venezuela. Additionally, the congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy is financing Venezuelan opposition groups with over $1.2 million and aiding efforts to undermine Maduro’s government. There is little doubt that millions more for regime change in Venezuela are being funneled through other channels that are not subject to public scrutiny.
President Maduro has denounced these ongoing attacks against his government and has directly called on President Obama to cease efforts to harm Venezuela. Recently, all 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations, members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), publicly expressed support for Maduro and condemned ongoing U.S. interference in Venezuela. Latin America firmly rejects any attempts to erode democracy in the region and will not stand for another US-backed coup. It’s time Washington listen to the hemisphere and stop employing the same dirty tactics against its neighbors.
Eva Golinger is the author of The Chavez Code. She can be reached through her blog.
Source: Counterpunch