Category: Nicolas Maduro
Going Crackers Over Caracas: The War Party Demands We Fall in Line on Venezuela
A government supporter holds a heart-shaped placard decorated with an image of Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro during a rally in support of the Constitutional Assembly outside of the National Assembly building in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

Going Crackers Over Caracas: The War Party Demands We Fall in Line on Venezuela

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Neil Clark
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Repeat after me: (by orders of the NeoCon Thought Police): “I condemn the evil dictator Nicolas Maduro and support a US-led humanitarian intervention to save the people of oil rich Venezuela! I condemn the evil dictator Nicolas Maduro…”

You might have thought that in the so-called “Free World,” people would be free to support or praise whatever governments or political systems they want to, without any serious consequences to themselves or their livelihoods. But if the country or government you want to praise is an “Official Enemy” of the western elites, it’s a very different story. The War Party’s enemies have to be ours. Yes, siree.

Think of Orwell’s 1984, and the Two Minutes Hate. Right now, it’s the former bus driver Nicolas Maduro who is playing the role of Emmanuel Goldstein — the man who we are expected to shake our fists at when we watch the “telescreen” — giving those regular “bad guys” Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin a bit of a break.

Over the last week or so there’s been a hysterical campaign to get prominent figures in Britain, who in the past had expressed their solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela — like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — to issue public denunciations. Never mind if the individuals concerned were on their summer holiday — as Jezza was. That’s no excuse.

The “Labour silence” was tantamount to treachery, the War Party cried. Cycling around Croatia in your short-sleeved white shirt, shorts and socks and admiring the beauty of the old quarter of Dubrovnik is just not on, when there’s another leftist government sitting on huge reserves (and which has friendly relations with Syria), to urgently topple.

Interestingly there have been no such calls for Tories (or Blairite Labour MPs) to break off from their vacations to denounce the genuinely undemocratic leadership of Saudi Arabia or NATO ally Erdogan in Turkey, who’s has a right old crackdown since the attempt to topple him in a coup last year failed. And the people demanding condemnations of Venezuela for being a “dictatorship” have been very quiet about the eye-catching 98.63% vote achieved by Tony Blair’s friend Paul Kagame in Rwanda earlier in August.

The neocon Establishment — with onion slices concealed in their handkerchiefs — feign humanitarian concern for the plight of the masses in Venezuela, while, at the same time turn a blind eye to the devastating cholera epidemic currently spreading across war-torn Yemen. Any genuine humanitarian who cared about human suffering on this planet would put Yemen as the top of his/her concerns, but its the western bombs which are doing the damage in that country, so the War Party are very keen to divert our attention elsewhere.

Establishment-friendly media has played its full part in The Great Venezuela Inquisition. Earlier in August there was a ludicrous exchange on Newsnight, the BBC’s regime-change addicted “flagship” current affairs program, in which a Corbyn-supporting Labour MP Chris Williamson was asked by presenter Evan Davis if he was closer to Hugo Chavez or Tony Blair. That’s right. A choice between a man who worked tirelessly to help the poor and to make his country independent from the neo-colonialists and a snake oil salesman who invaded Iraq on a lie, and whose warmongering left over one million people dead.

To ask the question “Blair or Chavez?” is to answer it. No genuine socialist or progressive could possibly opt for the man who assured us Iraq had WMDs, which threatened the world and which could be activated within 45 minutes.
As part of the War Party’s propaganda campaign, the words of those who have committed the heinous “crime” of expressing support for “Chavism” have been shamefully distorted. Countering the blatant lie that multi-party Venezuela was a dictatorship, the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone pointed out that the late Hugo Chavez didn’t go around executing his enemies — the sort of thing genuine dictators do. That was twisted into headlines such as “Ken Livingstone: Venezuela Crisis due to Chavez’s failure to kill oligarchs.” Livingstone was forced to respond to the media representations of what he had actually said:

“I have not said that Hugo Chavez should have killed anyone and nor would I ever advocate it. I even dispelled this accusation in the very interview that is being extensively quoted.

“The point I was making is that, contrary to some misrepresentations, Hugo Chavez didn’t repress the former ruling elite in Venezuela.”

Even condemning “all violence” in Venezuela, as Jeremy Corbyn did after he returned from his holiday, won’t be enough to get the regime-change obsessives from snapping at your heels. Only violence carried out by government supporting forces counts. The violence carried out by opposition activists against United Socialist Party supporters, the police and the security services does not qualify. Those killed or injured in such attacks, like the young black man burned to death in early June are “un-people,” like the victims of terrorist attacks by CIA-backed “rebels” in Syria, those killed in the 2014 Odessa fire, and the 16 media workers who lost their lives when NATO bombed Serbian TV in 1999.

The double standards of the “You Must Condemn Maduro” Thought Police are truly breathtaking. Anti-government street protesters at home are routinely labeled “thugs and scum,” but violent ones, who go out on to the streets in “Official Enemy” countries to try and topple their governments are lauded. Establishment respect for “law and order” and condemnation of ”anarchy” and “mob rule” is not universal — it only applies in “approved” nations. Call for a riot in the UK, and you’ll be arrested before you have time to do your next weekly shop in Aldi, but call for one in Venezuela and you’ll probably get State Department/NED funding (that’s if you aren’t already on the CIA’s or MI6’s payroll).

If what’s playing out before our very eyes in Venezuela seems familiar then it’s not surprising. This is a movie we’ve seen many times before. Think of the “pro-democracy” US-backed anti-government protests in Yugoslavia in 2000, which toppled the Socialist-led administration there, and the “pro-democracy” US-backed-ones in Ukraine in 2014. On both occasions, the “target” governments — and their leadership — were placed in a very difficult position. If they responded to what were clear attempts to usurp power by force — by using force themselves — they knew they would be condemned by the War Party and its media stenographers as “dictators, human rights abusers, war criminals, Nazis, Stalinists” — take your pick. If they did nothing and allowed the protesters to act with total impunity, they’d lose power.

It’s important for the neocon regime changers that we don’t see the bigger picture. We’re not supposed to reflect on the millions of dollars which has poured into opposition coffers from the US —just imagine the outcry if the Venezuelan government bankrolled anti-government activists in western countries.

We’re not expected to focus either on the economic warfare that the US and the western financial/corporate elites have waged on Venezuela for the country’s refusal to toe the line. Of course, Maduro’s government has made mistakes, with the biggest being the failure to diversify the economy when oil prices were high — a point that Jeremy Corbyn made earlier. But acknowledging this is a very different thing from joining in with State Department calls for “regime change” against a legitimate and democratically elected government which still has sizable popular support.

The excellent media monitoring organization Media Lens has compared and contrasted the “deep concern” shown by War Party media propagandists for “human rights” in a “target” country, before a western-sponsored regime change takes place, and their lack of interest in the people’s plight afterwards, when things invariably get much worse. Neocon/liberal-imperialist hacks couldn’t stop writing about Iraq in late 2002 and early 2003, and the need to “liberate” its people and make the world safe from its non-existent WMDs, but after the invasion, when the country descended into total chaos and bombs were going off on a daily basis, Iraqis were of no interest to them. The papers were full of op-eds calling for “action” to save the people of Libya in early 2011, but after Gaddafi was toppled and Libya became a failed state and a jihadists playground, it all went very quiet.

The same will happen again if Maduro falls. The War Party are going crackers over Caracas only because they want Venezuela’s government forcibly removed from office. Nothing else matters to them.

If we are to issue public condemnations, then let it be of the serial warmongers and “regime-changers,” who caused so much devastation in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria — and who have the nerve to always point the finger of blame at others.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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US Whitewashes Armed Protests in Venezuela, Ignores Voters – Activist
Masked anti-government demonstrators stend to a burning barricade during a protest against the installation of a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017

US Whitewashes Armed Protests in Venezuela, Ignores Voters – Activist

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An armed right-wing opposition group in Venezuela attempted to carry out an attack on a military base on Monday that was thwarted by the government: the latest attempt by elements who oppose President Nicolas Maduro to destabilize the country following the recent constituent assembly vote in July 30, supporters of the country’s government say.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear speaks with Venezuela-based activist Lucas Koerner, a writer for VenezuelaAnalysis.com, about the attack and how the US government and media claim to want stability in Caracas but in reality seek the ouster of a democratically elected government.

​Days before Venezuela’s constituent assembly, US Vice President Mike Pence made a statement saying, “The United States stands with the Venezuelan people, and we call for the full and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Venezuela, free and fair elections, restoration of the national assembly, and respect for human rights in Venezuela. Our thoughts and prayers reside with all of those who have suffered during venezuela’s crisis. The United States urges the reestablishment of democracy in Venezuela and the restoration of the prosperity that Venezuelans have fought so hard to achieve.”

Koerner told Loud and Clear, “I think it’s interesting that these comments about ‘restoring constitutional order’ and ‘restoring democracy’ come right after Venezuela celebrated an extremely high turnout election on July 30 in which you had over eight million people throughout the country come out and vote in the national constituent assembly election in the midst of what can only be described as a campaign of opposition violence, destabilization and terror.”

He pointed out that people in different parts of the country crossed rivers and endured other difficult circumstances to cast their vote.

“This is clearly an exemplary exercise of democracy,” he said, “and the United States responds, of course, by slapping Nicolas Maduro with sanctions and adding him to the list of authoritarian leaders who are also being targeted for regime change.”

He said that mainstream media outlets have whitewashed violent right wing demonstrators as “peaceful protesters” because they identify with their upper-middle class sensibilities, and therefore paint the Maduro government as repressive and the recent vote as illegitimate.

“There’s no doubt that the constituent assembly has immense legitimacy … The vast majority of people participated in the elections, [and] they see the ball as in the government’s court right now,” Koerner explained, analyzing what Venezuelans will be looking for following the vote. “They came out and they supported their state in the midst of right-wing violence and terror, they’re now expecting this new body to take substantive economic measures to resolve the crisis,” of what he called “politically driven inflation.”

He suggested that the government must take “active measures to address this in terms of trying to fix the extremely broken system of exchange controls and currency regulations,” and work to democratize ownership of transnational corporations and transfer their unproductive assets of “land and factories to workers and communities.”

“This is what the grassroots are calling for,” he said.

The Reality About Venezuela: Five myths debunked

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-reality-about-venezuela-five-myths.html

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Reality About Venezuela: Five myths debunked

During the last months, the bourgeois mainstream media- as well as various sources throughout the internet- have circulated numerous lies and inaccuracies about the situation in Venezuela. Within this framework of half truths and counteless inaccurcies, someone can read the most outrageous things about the Latin American country. After all, the imperialist centers and their collaborators in the mass media are experts in how to mislead and manipulate public opinion, by sowing misinformation and distorting reality.

Here, we will refer to five major lies (really blatant ones) about Venezuela and the turbulent political situation in the country and we will try to restore the truth.
MYTH #1: “Venezuela is a socialist country” / “The Maduro government is a socialist one”.
This is the most outrageous of the lies that various anticommunists use when refering to Venezuela. The political and economic system of Venezuela has nothing to do with Socialism (with the marxist-leninist meaning). The means of production are not in the hands of the working class, as it would happen if the country had undergone a socialist revolution. There is a “mixed economy”, which means there are both privately-owned and state-owned businesses.
The private sector controls the overwhelming majority of economic activity. It is characteristic that between 1999 and 2011, the private sector’s share of economic activity increased, from 65% to 71%. Therefore, the economy of Venezuela is a capitalist, not a socialist one.
The coalition government of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), under Nicolas Maduro, is a government of social democratic characteristics. Following the path of the late Hugo Chavez, the current government is based on the theory of the so-called “21stcentury Socialism” which in fact consists a management form of the capitalist economy with “left-wing” characteristics.

ΜΥΤΗ #2:Venezuela is an example of Socialism’s failure”.
Based on the above lie (of the supposed socialist system in Venezuela), the apologists of capitalism use the economic turnoil in Venezuela in order to vilify socialism and communism. The reality is totally different. The crisis is a result of the capitalist way of production.
Indeed, Venezuela is passing a severe economic crisis which has many dimensions (oil crisis, food crisis, shortages crisis, inflation). More specifically, by the first quarter of 2014, the Venezuelan economy was already in recession, even though international oil prices were more than US$100 a barrel. By January 2015, prices had fallen to US$48 a barrel, and are about the same today. This depleted the government’s revenue by a similar percentage, and the government resorted to printing money to cover expenses. The money creation would not necessarily accelerate inflation but in the context of the inflation-depreciation spiral it certainly did. So inflation rose even faster.
The various mismanagements of Venezuela’s government in economy consist the one side of the coin. The other side is the existence of an economic war that the Venezuelan right-wing opposition (with the open support of the U.S.) has unleashed against Maduro’s administration. For example, food importing companies owned by the country’s wealthy right-wing elite are manipulating import figures to raise prices. Following the PSUV’s defeat in the December 2015 parliamentary elections, there were numerous reports on social media that products missing before the election had reappeared on grocery shelves.
On the above we must add the indirect effects that the diplomatic and political warfare of the U.S. (both by Obama and Trump administrations) has caused to Venezuela’s economy. The recent U.S actions have had a significant and highly detrimental impact on Venezuela’s economy at a time when the country is in a desperate need of dollars. Moreover, the diplomatic warfare of the U.S. and OAS against Venezuela has definitely discourages foreign financial institutions, inverstors and bankers from continuing business (swap for gold, loans, other economic agreements, etc) with the Venezuelan state.
Summarizing all the above, we say: Venezuela’s example shows that a pro-people management of capitalism is impossible. Any experiments to “humanize” the savage capitalist system lead to failure and mess.

MYTH #3: “The opposition in Venezuela is comprised by well-intentioned, independent leaders”.
The right-wing, reactionary opposition in Venezuela has been rooted in violence since the beginning of the Bolivarian process that began with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1999, having amped up their violence since Nicolas Maduro beat their candidate in elections in 2013.
From the 2002 coup attempt against Chavez to the oil lockout in 2003, the Venezuelan opposition has done everything to destabilize the country at the expense of the Venezuelan people. The so-called “guarimbas”– the street blockades- are not comprised by “peaceful protesters” as bourgeois mainstream media say. There is a number of well-documented instances where opposition “protesters” have burned black people alive, just because they thought they were “Chavistas”.
But, what about the leaders of the opposition? The truth is that the four prominent members of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition (Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma and Maria Corina Machado) are related to a number of U.S. governmental “institutions” which aim in overthrowing the legally elected Venezuelan government. There is solid proof (e.g. leaked telegrams and documents which have never been disputed) that the leadership of the Venezuelan opposition works closely with the U.S. governments. Since at least 2009 the U.S. Department of State has budgeted up to US$49 million in total to support right-wing opposition forces in Venezuela.
Independency” is therefore something that cannot be attributed to Venezuela’s right-wing opposition. Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opposition presidential candidate who lost two electoral battles against Chavez and Maduro, is known for his role in the 2002 failed coup against the Chavez government, while his party (Justice First) was created through USAID funds. Leopoldo López, a dark political figure and leader of the far-right “Popular Will” party, whose historical background includes corruption, promotion of violence and participation in coup attempts.
The political efforts of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition have been actively supported by U.S. institutions such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.
MYTH #4: “The majority of the Venezuelan people are against the government of Maduro”.
While the bourgeois mainstream media shows images of large crowds demonstrating against the government in Caracas, the vast majority of the Venezuelans seem to disapprove the violent tactics of the right-wing opposition and the “guarimbas”. More specifically, according to a nationwide survey conducted by polling organisation “Hinterlaces” last April, 76% of those surveyed disapprove of a possible international intervention which would overthrow Maduro from the presidency, and 87% rejected any military intervention in the country.
Even if President Maduro and his social democratic government has lost a significant portion of his popularity, Chavismo remains the most popular political platform within the population. It is characteristic that according to a survey conducted by the polling organisation Datanalisis (which has an anti-governmental orientation) last March, Maduro’s popularity was at 24.1%, which is higher compared to other Latin American leaders (e.g. Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, Brazil’s Michel Temer or Chile’s Michelle Bachelet).
Furthermore, according to the survey conducted by Hinterlaces, 35% of the people expressed support to political parties allied with Chavismo, 29% to those with the opposition, and 36% declined to support any political force.
Therefore, is there any solid evidence that the majority of the Venezuelan people want a political overthrow? The answer is “No”.

MYTH #5: “The Venezuelan dictatorial government controls the media and brainwashes the people”.
This is a tremendous lie. As a capitalist country, where the private sector is dominant, Venezuela has mostly privately-owned media. Most Venezuelans are getting informed from TV channels, the vast majority of which belong to anti-governmental private business groups. The largest TV network is Venevisión, owned by the Cisneros group, while there are 9 other privately-owned TV channels (5 regional ones) as well as a TV network owned by the Catholic Church. There are 3 state-owned TV channels (Venezolana de Television, Vision Venezuela, Televisora Venezolana Social).
According to the U.S. think-tank COHA (Council of Hemispheric Affairs), 9 in 10 of the largest newspapers in the country belong to the “anti-chavista” camp. Only in Caracas, someone can find 21 newspapers!
Taking the above into account, it becomes obvious who has the “upper hand” in the media sector and that is the Capital and the monopolies.

IN DEFENSE OF COMMUNISM ©

‘Shameful for US to call Venezuelan elections a sham’
| July 31, 2017 | 7:06 pm | Analysis, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela | No comments

‘Shameful for US to call Venezuelan elections a sham’

‘Shameful for US to call Venezuelan elections a sham’
Demonstrators run as clashes broke out with security forces while the Constituent Assembly election was being carried out in Caracas, Venezuela, July 30, 2017 © Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

The US has its election irregularities and sticks its nose into the Venezuelan election as it sees South America as its backyard. Destabilizing the Maduro regime is a primary interest, says Gerald Horne, professor of history at the University of Houston.
About ten people were killed in a weekend of rioting in Venezuela as opposition activists flooded the streets protesting against the election of a new assembly.
People were voting Sunday on a constituent assembly which will be tasked with rewriting the constitution. However, the opposition boycotted the vote, defied a ban on public protests and denounced the election as a power grab by President Maduro.
RT: President Maduro says this election, and the new Constituent Assembly, are vital to restoring stability. Do you think that’s likely to happen judging by what we’ve seen so far?
Gerald Horne: It is possible. But you have to keep in mind that there is a third player besides the Maduro regime and the opposition, I am speaking of Washington. It is no secret that Washington is very upset with the Maduro regime. Just today, US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley denounced this vote. Washington has promised that it will slap sanctions on Venezuela as a result of the vote. Washington is very upset with Venezuela’s relationship with Cuba, in the first place, but also upset with its relationship with Moscow and Beijing. You should also know that this election and the crisis in Venezuela should be seen in a wider context.
It is no secret that over the last decade Washington had been upset with a turn to the left in South America. But now you see that last year the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office. Her predecessor Lula Da Silva who was expected to run for the presidency of Brazil next year was just convicted. And in Argentina, the Peronist leader, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is now under investigation after serving a term in Buenos Aires. Fortunately, Evo Morales in Bolivia is still in power. But Washington sees South America as its backyard. And it sees as a primary interest destabilizing the Caracas-based regime of Mr. Maduro.
RT: The opposition defied a ban on protests ahead of this election. Are they simply making matters worse and is there any chance of them backing down and accepting the result?
GH: It is difficult to see them back down in the short term because as they see it, they have the wind in their sails. They are receiving significant external support not least from Washington but also from allies in Brazil where there has been a sharp turn to the right of late. I would not foresee stopping its protests any time soon.
RT: The US ambassador to the UN has said this election would push Venezuela towards dictatorship. Is that a fair accusation?
GH: That is quite rich coming from a US representative. As it is well-known elections in the US were studded with irregularities; voters oppression, particularly in the black community, it’s par for the course. And it takes a bit of gall and chutzpah for Nikki Haley to stick her nose into Venezuelan elections and charge that they’re sham when she should be attending to the shambolic elections that regularly take place in the US.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Corbyn told Venezuelan President Maduro that EU is ‘bad for the poor’
| July 27, 2017 | 8:00 pm | Jeremy Corbyn, Nicolas Maduro | No comments

https://www.rt.com/uk/397720-corbyn-maduro-eu-venezuela/

Maduro to Trump: ‘Stop aggression against Venezuela, stop meddling in Latin American affairs’
| July 27, 2017 | 7:52 pm | Donald Trump, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela | No comments

https://www.rt.com/news/397656-maduro-trump-stop-agression/

How Venezuelan Protests Demonstrate ‘Kiev-Style Maidan’
Anti-government protesters throw stones from a highway overpass at a passing police patrol in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, April 24, 2017

How Venezuelan Protests Demonstrate ‘Kiev-Style Maidan’

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In Venezuela, where most of the country’s residents voted against the convening of a constituent assembly in a popular referendum, a pattern similar to that of Maidan in Kiev back in 2014 was seen, according to the head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI) Center for Public Relations Igor Pshenichnikov.

On Sunday, the opposition organized the so-called popular referendum, in which over 98 percent of 7.2 million voters opposed Maduro’s decision to call the Constituent Assembly. The country’s government believes that results of the referendum do not have legal force as only the electoral authorities have the right to hold such events.

“We are seeing a classic Maidan in Venezuela in the same pattern that was conducted by the US in Kiev in 2014,” Pshenichnikov said in a video posted on the RISI website.The expert stressed that the United States is the main cause of unrest in Venezuela. “Due to certain circumstances, the current parliament — the opposition, is completely opposed to Maduro and its main goal is to remove him from power,” Pshenichnikov said.

By removing President Nicolas Maduro from power the United States wants to regain its positions in oil-rich Venezuela.

“This is the root of what is happening and this is the way to consider all the events that are taking place in Venezuela,” he said.

Pshenichnikov noted that since the beginning of April there have been mass protests in the country after the decision of the Supreme Court to severely restrict the power of the National Assembly.

“Had Maduro tried to ban the holding of a referendum, the situation could have gone completely out of control,” the expert said.

However, he noted that only the opposition forces participated in the voting.”We must understand that Venezuela is sliding slowly, but confidently to the brink of a civil war,” Pshenichnikov warned.

Venezuela has been experiencing a period of political instability amid the drastic economic situation in the country. The most recent protests erupted in April after the country’s Supreme Court tried to take over legislative powers from the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The top court reversed the ruling but the step did not stop mass demonstrations.

In May, Maduro announced his decision to call the National Constituent Assembly, which was regarded by the opposition as an attempted coup and resulted in further escalation of tensions that resulted in the deaths of over 90 people.

Venezuela will hold voting on July 30 to elect the Constitutional Assembly, set to rewrite the constitution as a way out of the political turmoil, which started in January 2016, when a new legislature was elected and relations between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the parliament became strained.