On Sunday, July 11, Cubans took to the streets for the first time in more than twenty years to express their dismay. It seemed like a spontaneous action, but on closer inspection there’s a bigger picture here. For sixty years the US has been trying to bring about regime change. In recent years, they have been using social media and mainstream media in a sophisticated way to do so. Recent events in Cuba are a textbook example of this.
“Washington’s hysterical dedication to crush Cuba from almost the first days of its independence in 1959 is one of the most extraordinary phenomena of modern history, but still, the level of petty sadism is a constant surprise.” Noam Chomsky
Photograph Source Detail of 1591 map of Florida and Cuba User: SEWilco • Public domain
Embarked upon overthrowing Venezuela’s socialist government, the U.S. government now renews efforts to squash Cuba. The U.S. record of implacable hostility features terror attacks, military invasion, germ warfare, internal subversion, and almost 60 years of U.S. economic blockade. Devoid of natural resources ready for U.S. plunder, Cuba offends by having defended socialism and national independence. Now Title III of the U.S. 1996 Helms Burton Act joins an arsenal of weapons employed in what Cubans regard as genocidal aggression.
Inflicting suffering and destabilization
Helms Burton is complex but centers on tightening the economic blockade; preparing for a transition government; and by means of Title III, inflicting suffering and destabilization. The latter is taking place now in Venezuela, by other means.
Title III opens the door for the former owners and the heirs of properties nationalized by Cuba’s revolutionary government to bring actions in U.S. courts to gain compensation for what they lost. Persons or companies presently occupying such properties, or profiting from them, and who are located in third countries, would be required by the courts to pay off the aggrieved parties. These live in exile, mainly in the United States. The courts would lack enforcement capabilities.
In 1966, when the law was introduced, the European Unionand other critics insisted that the U.S. government delay implementation of Title III. It did so and for the next 23 years, at six month intervals, the United States did announce one six-month delay after another. But a new era dawned on January 16 when the State Department declared that this time suspended implementation would end at 45 days. Something was up.
On March 4 the State Department indicated that in 30 more days Title III would be applied to the foreign and Cuban “traffickers” in nationalized properties. Also Title III would, as of March 19, be extended to 200 Cuban enterprises controlled by Cuban security forces or state agencies, many of them connected with Cuba’s tourist industry. The U.S. government in November, 2017 had already put those facilities off limits to U.S. tourists.
Violation of Cuban sovereignty
As of early April, international investors, aid agencies, and business-persons active or looking to be active in Cuba will be facing vast uncertainties. The former owners of nationalized properties may be suing them in U.S. courts. Concerned about a slippery slope of U.S. disfavor, they may cease involvement with Cuba. And what with unsettling news, foreign lenders may shy away from possibly risky loans for projects in Cuba.
Title III promises what Cubans call “extraterritorial” effects. It further universalizes application of the U.S. blockade which, potentially involving all countries, violates their sovereignty.
But in a Machiavelliantwist, the State Department will apparently wield the “trafficking” charge selectively. Cuban analyst Reinaldo Taladrid Herrero explains:“The road to Havana passes through Caracas.” Specifically, “They are going to exempt all businesses of countries allied with the United States, above all Canada and the European countries …. Implementation will be centered on adversary countries like Russia, China, and Venezuela.” Othersshare his views.
Violation of International Law
Title III violates international law, according to Russia; Cuba solidarity groups have protested. A few business-oriented U.S.groups oppose Title III out of concern that future U.S. commercial ventures in Cuba would be vulnerable.
Cuba’s government argues that nationalization was and is legal according to international norms and court decisionsin the United States. Cuba has sought satisfaction from the United States for deaths and destruction due to U.S. assaults. Negotiations taking place briefly during the Obama era looked at balancing Cuba’s claims with U.S demands stemming from nationalization.
Title III means major trouble for Cuba. The government there is presently mounting an effort to bolster the nation’s economy. Foreign investors will asume a major role in the project. They would provide $2.5 billion annuallytoward building or refurbishing Cuban institutions, companies, and infrastructure. But any good will on their part may well evaporate once threats loom as to court actions in the United States.
The availability to the Cuban people of food, health care, schools, building supplies, medicines, and transportation rests on loans and export income from abroad and on income from joint ventures with foreign entities. By 2014 Cuba needed $2.5 billionannually in direct foreign investment. The fact that food imports alone currently require an annual outlay of $2 billionsuggests that current requirements are greater.
Title III contains the seeds for havoc in the event that Cuba’s government is no more and the United States takes charge. According to Cuba’s Granma newspaper, Cubans “would be forced to return, reimburse or pay U.S. claimants for the house in which they live, the area on which their communities are built, the arable land where they cultivate produce, the school where their children are educated, the hospital or polyclinic where they receive medical assistance.”
Cuban Journalist Lázaro Barredo, formerly editor of Granma,summarizes: “Helms Burton literally has no precedents in the legal history of the United States. [It] constitutes an attack on sovereignty within the international community [and] represents political terrorism.” Helms Burton would “extend U.S. jurisdiction to other countries in an extraterritorial manner with the perverse intention of frightening, scaring, blackmailing, or dissuading persons interested in investing in Cuba.” We see a decision “to repossess the island, annex it, and move it toward total subordination to the United States.”
This report closes with a condemnation of the generalized cruelty and cynicism that is rooted in the strategic thinking of U.S. power brokers.For example, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, presiding at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on March 7, heard testimony from “Cynthia Arnsonof the US-funded Wilson Center.” She “agreed with Rubio that ‘widespread unrest’ is useful, but cautioned that … ‘starving people don’t get out in the streets.’” In other words, a little starving is OK, but not too much.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Venezuelan peer Jorge Arreaza,
Russia has made clear it supports the legitimate and constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro after the failed US-backed coup attempt of April 30.
After meeting on Sunday in Moscow with his Venezuelan peer, Jorge Arreaza, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underscored Moscow’s support for Maduro administration ‘principled, consistent and firm’.‘We now see an unprecedented campaign, led by the United States, to overthrow the legitimate authorities of Venezuela. We condemn this campaign for violating the principles of international law,’ Lavrov stressed.
Lavrov further said Russia never meddles in the domestic affairs of other states, ‘and we urge all others to act precisely like this’, he added.
Attempts at a forced change of power in Venezuela undermine the crisis settlement process and carry a risk of catastrophe, the Russian minister warned.
Attempts to forcibly change the government in Caracas, of course, have nothing to do with the democratic process, but only hamper the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis, and the continuation of this line is fraught with the most serious consequences’, Lavrov added.
He stressed that Moscow condemns the unprecedented US campaign aimed at overthrowing the legitimate Venezuelan government.
The minister went on to say that Moscow and Caracas are set to strengthen their strategic cooperation.
Venezuela has been trapped in a political crisis since January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, challenging the outcome of the country’s last presidential election.
The move was promptly backed by the United States, which vowed to support Guaido and imposed a row of sanctions against the Latin American country, seizing billions of dollars’ worth of the country’s oil assets, Sputnik News recalled.
Moreover, a number of senior US officials, including President Donald Trump, have repeatedly stated that all options remain on the table with regard to the Venezuelan crisis, including military action.
On April 17ththe United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the activation for the first time ever of a measure that will allow the filing of lawsuits before United States courts under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, a decision that will take effect on May 2. Same day, the United States National Security Adviser John Bolton also announced additional restrictions on Cuba, including visas and travel.
By virtue of the very Helms-Burton Act, all United States presidents since 1996, including Trump in 2017 and 2018, have consistently made use of the executive power to suspend the implementation of Title III every six months. They have recognized that it is the most gross and unacceptable aspect of the Act, contrary to International Law and the sovereignty of other States. They have also realized that Title III implementation will bring about insurmountable obstacles to any prospective solution to claims and compensations to legitimate United States owners.
Title III authorizes United States nationals to bring action before United States courts against any foreign citizen that is “trafficking” in United States properties that were nationalized in Cuba in the 1960’s by means of a legitimate process, as was recognized by the United States Supreme Court, that was carried out by the Cuban government, in full adherence to its national legislation and in conformity with International Law. All nationalizations included processes of fair and appropriate compensation. Cuba reached and honoured global compensation agreements with other nations which are today investing in Cuba, such as Spain, Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and France.
The Helms Burton Act was conceived to codify and tighten the economic, commercial and financial blockade policy officially imposed in 1962 with the purpose of subverting and overthrowing the Cuban government. It is intended to suffocate the Cuban economy and generate or increase shortages among the population with the purpose of imposing in Cuba a government that serves the interests of the United States.
It consists of four titles and has been implemented since its enactment. It is characterized by having an extreme extraterritorial scope, violating the rules and principles of International Law, contravening the rules of trade and international economic relations and being harmful to the sovereignty of other States, particularly because of the implementation of its provisions against companies and individuals established in their territories.
The declaration of the Cuban Government issued on April 17th “rejects, in the strongest terms possible, the decision that now allow actions to be taken in United States courts against Cuban and foreign entities, and to aggravate impediments to entering the United States faced by leaders and families of companies that legitimately invest in Cuba, in properties that were nationalized.” The statement also repudiates “the decision to reinstate limits on remittances that Cuban residents in the United States send to their families and friends, to further restrict travel by United States citizens to Cuba, and impose additional financial sanctions.”
The aggressive escalation of the Trump administration and the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act have been rejected by the Governments of Canada, Russia, China, Mexico, as well as by the European Union.
On April 17th, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini; the Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom; and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, issued a Joint Statement criticizing the US decision to implement Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. The statement expresses that “The decision by the United States to renege on its longstanding commitment to waive Title III of the Helms-Burton is regrettable, and will have an important impact on legitimate EU and Canadian economic operators in Cuba. The EU and Canada consider the extraterritorial application of unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law.”
On the other hand, a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico states “The Government of Mexico regrets the decision of the United States to apply Title III of the Helms-Burton Act for the first time ever… As it has done historically, Mexico rejects the unilateral application of extraterritorial trade legislation, as it violates the norms of international law.”
For almost three decades the Helms-Burton Act and the blockade have aroused universal rejection at the most important regional and international fora given the illegitimate character of the goals they pursue. The most recent example of that was the United Nations General Assembly meeting held on November 1st, 2018, when said policy was rejected through 10 consecutive votes, thus leaving the US in complete isolation.
Specialized international bodies and regional organizations, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the African Union have also rejected unanimously the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against the people of Cuba for 60 years.
In our long battle to end the U.S. blockade, Jamaica’s solidarity has been shown. The Cuban people deeply treasure the fact that the Parliament of Jamaica has adopted Motions against this cruel policy for ten consecutive years.
The recent United States Government´s decision imposes additional obstacles to Cuba economic development and progress goals, but the United States will keep on failing to achieve its main purpose of submitting by force the sovereign will of Cubans. The principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace should prevail, for the benefit of all. The feelings of the peoples of Cuba and the United States in favour of improving relations and establishing a civilized and respectful coexistence shall prevail.
The US-Funded CANVAS Organization That Trained Juan Guaido And His Allies Produced A 2010 Memo On Exploiting Electricity Outages And Urged The Opposition “To Take Advantage Of The Situation…Towards Their Needs”
A September 2010 memo by a US-funded soft power organization that helped train Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido and his allies identifies the potential collapse of the country’s electrical sector as “a watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”
The memo has special relevance today as Guaido moves to exploit nationwide blackouts caused by a major failure at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri dam – a crisis that Venezuela’s government blames on US sabotage.
It was authored by Srdja Popovic of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), a Belgrade-based “democracy promotion” organization funded by the US government that has trained thousands of US-aligned youth activists in countries where the West seeks regime change.
This group reportedly hosted Guaido and the key leaders of his Popular Will party for a series of training sessions, fashioning them into a “Generation 2007” determined to foment resistance to then-President Hugo Chavez and sabotage his plans to implement “21st century socialism” in Venezuela.
In the 2010 memo, CANVAS’s Popovic declared, “A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector.” Popovic explicitly identified the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant as a friction point, emphasizing that “water levels at the Guri dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry.”
Speculating on a “grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010,” the CANVAS leader stated that “an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs.”
Flash forward to March 2019, and the scenario outlined by Popovic is playing out almost exactly as he had imagined.
On March 7, just days after Guaido’s return from Colombia, where he participated in the failed and demonstrably violent February 23 attempt to ram a shipment of US aid across the Venezuelan border, the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant experienced a major and still unexplained collapse.
Days later, electricity remains sporadic across the country. Meanwhile, Guaido has done everything he can “to take advantage of the situation and spin it” against President Nicolas Maduro – just as his allies were urged to do over eight years before by CANVAS.
Rubio Vows “A Period Of Suffering” For Venezuela Hours Before The Blackout
The Venezuelan government has placed the blame squarely on Washington, accusing it of sabotage through a cyber-attack on its electrical infrastructure. Key players in the US-directed coup attempt have done little to dispel the accusation.
In a tweet on March 8, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo framed the electricity outage as a pivotal stage in US plans for regime change:
At noon on March 7, during a hearing on Venezuela at the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, Sen. Marco Rubio explicitly called for the US to stir “widespread unrest,” declaring that it “needs to happen” in order to achieve regime change.
“Venezuela is going to enter a period of suffering no nation in our hemisphere has confronted in modern history,” Rubio proclaimed.
At 5:18 PM, a clearly excited Rubio took to Twitter to announce the blackout and claim that “backup generators have failed.” It was unclear how Rubio had obtained such specific information so soon after the outage occurred. According to Jorge Rodriguez, the communications minister of Venezuela, local authorities did not know if backup generators had failed at the time of Rubio’s tweet.
Back in Caracas, Guaido immediately set out to exploit the situation, just as his CANVAS trainers had advised over eight years before. Taking to Twitter just over an hour after Rubio, Guaido declared, “the light will return when the usurpation [of Maduro] ends.” Like Pompeo, the self-declared president framed the blackouts as part of a regime change strategy, not an accident or error.
Two days later, Guaido was at the center of opposition rally he convened in affluent eastern Caracas, bellowing into a megaphone: “Article 187 when the time comes. We need to be in the streets, mobilized. It depends on us, not on anybody else.”
Article 187 establishes the right of the National Assembly “to authorize the use of Venezuelan military missions abroad or foreign in the country.”
Upon his mention of the constitutional article, Guaido’s supporters responded “Inteervention! Intervention!”
Exploiting Crisis To “Get Back Into A Position Of Power”
As Dan Cohen and I reported here at the Grayzone, Guaido’s rise to prominence – and the coup plot that he has been appointed to oversee – is the product of a decade-long project overseen by the Belgrade-based CANVAS outfit.
CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means “resistance” in Serbian, was the student group that worked alongside US soft power organizations to mobilize the protests that eventually toppled the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
CANVAS has been funded largely through the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA cut-out that functions as the US government’s main arm of promoting regime change. According to leaked internal emails from Stratfor, an intelligence firm known as the “shadow CIA,” CANVAS “may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.”
A leaked email from a Stratfor staffer noted that after they ousted Milosevic, “the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits and designed CANVAS… or in other words a ‘export-a-revolution’ group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions. They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;).”
Stratfor subsequently revealed that CANVAS “turned its attention to Venezuela” in 2005, after training opposition movements that led pro-NATO regime change operations across Eastern Europe.
In September 2010, as Venezuela headed for a parliamentary election, CANVAS produced a series of memos outlining the plans they had hatched with “non-formal actors” like Guaido and his cadre of student activists to bring down Chavez. “This is the first opportunity for the opposition to get back into a position of power,” Popovic wrote at the time.
In his memo on electricity outages, Popovic highlighted the importance of the Venezuelan military in achieving regime change. “Alliances with the military could be critical because in such a situation of massive public unrest and rejection of the presidency,” the CANVAS founder wrote, “malcontent sectors of the military will likely decide to intervene, but only if they believe they have sufficient support.”
While the scenario Popovic envisioned failed to materialize in 2010, it perfectly describes the situation gripping Venezuela today as an opposition leader cultivated by CANVAS seeks to spin the crisis against Maduro while calling on the military to break ranks.
Since the Grayzone exposed the deep ties between CANVAS and Guaido’s Popular Will party, Popovic has attempted to publicly distance himself from his record of training Venezuela’s opposition.
Today, however, Popovic’s 2010 memo on exploiting electricity outages reads like a blueprint for the strategy that Guaido and his patrons in Washington have actively implemented. Whether or not the blackout is the result of external sabotage, it represents the “watershed event” that CANVAS has prepared its Venezuelan cadres for.
“Let us not be deceived, or deceive others. A provocation, including with casualties, is being prepared under the guise of a humanitarian convoy. And it is needed as a pretext for a forceful action from outside. And everyone should clearly understand this. We consider it urgently necessary to refrain from steps and statements that could provoke an escalation of tension in Venezuela, in particular, any appeals to the Venezuelan armed forces fraught with their involvement in an internal civil confrontation,” Zakharova said.
According to the spokeswoman, the United States has already chosen a “scenario of acute confrontation” in Venezuela, which has as its main objective to try to influence the Venezuelan Army.
“The U.S. is weaponizing humanitarian aid in an effort to sell its regime change campaign against Venezuela
“In general, all suggest that the White House has chosen a scenario of acute confrontation with the use of force in Venezuela. I believe that [Washington] even does not try to hide that. All means of information and psychological pressure are being used: from manipulation and provocative media speculations to direct blackmailing and incitement to hatred. The main target is the Bolivarian Republic Armed Forces”, she said, according to Sputnik.
For its part, Russia is ready to join the intermediaries in the dialogue in the Latin American country, but only if this is carried out in a maximally broad format.
“Venezuelan servicemen are openly being incited to a rebellion. High-ranking officials in Washington are calling on the armed forces of a sovereign state to side with new political leadership. What right does the United States have to talk about democracy and legal framework both within a separate state and on the global stage after that?” Zakharova questioned.
“People Of The U.S., I Ask For Your Support To Reject The Interference Of Donald Trump’s Government In Making My Homeland A Vietnam In Latin America. Don’t Allow It!” President Nicolas Maduro, January 31, 2017.
On Saturday, March 16, thousands of people will march in Washington, D.C. against the Trump administration’s effort to engineer a coup in Venezuela and a new devastating war there. The aggressive policy against Venezuela repeats the ugly pattern of wars for regime change in the oil-rich countries of Iraq and Libya. National Security Advisor John Bolton is reading from the same script, declaring a “troika of tyranny” in Latin America (like the “axis of evil”) as a precursor for regime change first in Venezuela, and then Cuba and Nicaragua. Trump has always said that the “mistake” of the Middle East wars was that the U.S. didn’t “take the oil.”
It is time to stand up and with a clear voice say NO to the newest example of the “Monroe Doctrine,” which the U.S. government has used for over two centuries to repeatedly invade Latin America and Caribbean, control its politics and extract its resources.
The White House aims to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro and replace him with Juan Guaidó. Guaidó is a U.S.-trained operative who was unknown to the vast majority of Venezuelans before he proclaimed himself president — at Vice President Mike Pence’s urging. Although Guaidó has the backing of Trump, the CIA, and the Republican and Democratic Party leaderships alike, huge numbers of Venezuelans have marched to reject this coup and defend their independence.
On March 16, the people of the United States will come together to say:
U.S. hands off Venezuela!
NO to the coup — the U.S. does not have the right to select other country’s leaders!
NO to the sanctions, oil embargo and economic war on Venezuela that aims to cause suffering for ordinary people in the country.
NO to intervention and war from the U.S. and their proxies in the region.
Black Alliance for Peace
Alliance for Global Justice
Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee
International Support Haiti Network
Popular Education Project
Abby Martin, journalist, The Empire Files
Dr. Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidate
Dr. Jared Ball, Prof. of Communication Studies, Morgan State Univ., imixwhatilike
Medea Benjamin, activist and author, CodePink
Cindy Sheehan, activist and author, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
Berthony Dupont, Director, Haïti Liberté
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, constitutional rights attorney
Max Blumenthal, journalist
Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace
Mike Prysner, Iraq War veteran, producer, The Empire files
Dr. George Ciccariello-Maher, author
Dr. Anthony Monteiro, Saturday Free School
Dr. Jodi Dean, author, Prof. of Political Science, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Gloria La Riva, National Coordinator, Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee
Kim Ives, journalist
Anoa Changa, host, The Way With Anoa
Dan Cohen, journalist and filmmaker
Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice
Eugene Puryear, Stop Police Terror Project
Jeanette Charles, International Solidarity Liaison, Venezuela Analysis
Lucas Koerner, Editor and Analyst, Venezuela Analysis
Margaret Flowers, Co-Coordinator, Popular Resistance
Kevin Zeese, Co-Coordinator, Popular Resistance
Dan Kovalik, author and human rights lawyer
Mahdi Bray, National Director, American Muslim Alliance (AMA)
While the United States is making a scandal about the supposed Russian intervention in social networks to influence the 2016 elections won by Donald Trump, today evidence has been uncovered that the US government is using Facebook to spread fake news about Cuba and clandestinely foment dissidence on the island.
The Florida weekly Miami New Times revealed Wednesday that it had access to documents from the government’s Office of Broadcasting to Cuba (OCB), run by Radio and TV Martí. It reveals that the Trump administration has been using Facebook accounts for two years that appear “native” (from real people on the island) to spread propaganda without informing Cuban Facebook users that it is government advertising.
the OCB’s strategy has focused on an offensive through social networks, based on metrics that place YouTube, Google and Facebook among the most visited sites in Cuba. With the use of AVRA (Audio and Video for Radio) technology, Radio Martí’s programs began to be broadcast through Facebook Live along with TV Marti’s programming. This provides OCB with additional efficient and cost-effective distribution output for both its radio (now visual radio) and TV content.
In fiscal year 2018, OCB has been establishing itself with digital island equipment (read “dissidents” paid for by the US) that creates native and “unbranded” Facebook accounts to disseminate information. Native “pages increase the chances of appearing in the news for Cuban Facebook users. The same strategy will be replicated in other preferred social networks.
Miami New Times says that the documents do not explain what federal agents mean by “unbranded” or “native” Facebook pages, but it is clear that they must resemble the pages of regular social network users to persuade Cubans to read propaganda from Radio and TV Martí
$ 800 million from the US taxpayer spent
According to the weekly, both governments broadcasters have spent more than $ 800 million from the US taxpayer over the years in their unsuccessful effort to influence Cuban public opinion.
This plan fits to a long history of attempting to use technology to fit propaganda against Cuba, says University of Pennsylvania professor John S. Nichols.
“There are certainly warning signs here,” says Nichols, co-author of Clandestine Radio Broadcasting: A Study of Revolutionary and Counterrevolutionary Electronic Communication (1987), about OCB’s efforts. “It is the latest plan in a long list of efforts by Radio and TV Martí and their predecessors to try to overcome the laws of physics …. Every time they fail to get their message to Cuba, they say there is a technological solution.
Instead, he adds, Congress “seems to fail to recognize that both stations are a colossal failure. It’s sad because they’re spending taxpayers’ money. But what’s really being wasted is our credibility as a great nation doing this kind of thing, dumb and stupid.
Prominent figures from both sides of the US political spectrum, including Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, have described these OCB programs as counter-productive and a waste of money. Democratic representative Betty McCollum liquidated the AeroMartí platform in 2015 (to transmit to Cuba the broadcasts of Radio and TV Martí) and said that the OCB was an “unnecessary” office.
Cold War artifacts
“Radio and television Martí are old-fashioned Cold War artifacts,” McCollum said in a statement in 2015. “Our taxpayers should not be funding propaganda broadcasts.”
But the programs continue to exist thanks to a handful of anti-Cuban lawmakers, including Miami representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a longtime promoter of Radio and TV Marti, says the Miami New Times.
Earlier this year, Senator Marco Rubio helped install Tomás Regalado, an old friend, as head of the Radio and TV Martí programs. Since then, Regalado has made great promises about how both stations have new plans to reach “5 million” Cuban citizens in the coming years. Regalado appeared last week on the Spanish-speaking MegaTV network to brag about the use of mysterious new technologies that the Cuban government supposedly can not block. He said that 200 Cubans had received receivers that would help in this new attempt.
“It’s a technology that did not exist, and since the government does not know about it, it will be almost impossible to block it,” Regalado told the cameras.
Nichols argued to the Florida weekly that this type of social media propaganda is damaging the US position in the world.
Here comes America again
“Third countries see what we are doing and say, ‘Here comes America again doing this nonsense,’ ‘and he adds,’ It’s low, petty and not worthy of great power. Other countries will say, ‘If the US is willing to violate international law, why should we obey our contract? And given what Radio Martí and TV Martí might be doing right now, we have a hard time complaining about what other countries might be doing against us.
The report that Miami New Times had access to is OCB’s budget request for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. It does not reveal the identities of fake “native” and “unbranded” accounts created on the social network, but Facebook administrators do know what they are . By these extravagant quirks in life, this information coincides with the decision of the social network founded by Marc Zuckerberg to eliminate hundreds of alleged false accounts of Russians and Iranians allegedly involved in several disinformation campaigns.
Will Facebook also eliminate the false accounts created by the US government for regime change in Cuba and will the US Attorney’s Office appoint Robert Mueller or another one of his ilk to investigate these abuses, as it has done to determine alleged Russian interference through Facebook in the 2016 elections?
Failed saga of Radio and TV Martí
1985: Radio Martí began broadcasting, and five years later, the television aggression began when a television transmitter was put into service on board a captive aerostat at an altitude of 3,000 meters in one of the keys in the south of the state of Florida.
2005: Hurricane Dennis disappeared the captive balloon located at 10,000 feet above sea level in Cudjoe Key, from where Television Martí was broadcast. The OCB replaced it with the AeroMartí platform.
2014: OCB created the unwanted text messaging service Pyramid, which failed. Then it tried to smuggle small satellite devices into the island, but the project was aborted because in addition to being expensive, the “dissidents” used the terminals to view pornography.
2015: Deactivation of “AeroMartí”.
2018: President Trump created the Internet Task Force for Cuba, which according to the State Department “will examine the technological challenges and opportunities for expanding access to the Internet and independent media in Cuba. Clearly, this Task Force has promoted OCB’s digital fantasy.
Several investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have acknowledged that there is strong evidence that Radio and Television Martí is not heard or seen in Cuba. According to the Miami New Times, this saga has cost the American taxpayer more than $ 800 million.
The intense focus on the “ills” of Nicaragua completely misses the deep issues of continued US intervention – imperial neocolonialism – into the sovereign lives of other countries, as here with Nicaragua. Whether you love or hate Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, their personalities and personal lives are not the issue, whatsoever.
For US Americans to be so closely scrutinizing clearly the most progressive government in Central America, ignoring the new US friendly but unpopular president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; the systematic violence in the streets of El Salvador which is directly related to the US funded death squad governments of the 1980s; the repressive and illegal President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez; and the repressive and corrupt government of Guatemala under President Jimmy Morales, is very interesting, and disturbing.
US-orchestrated coup attempt
The elaborate, well-planned conspiracy behind the April-July 2018 US-orchestrated coup attempt against Nicaragua, included most of the church hierarchy, many wealthy ex-Somocistas, many NGOs including the European-funded CENIDH, the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID, and a couple thousand young Nicaraguans trained over 4 years in the use of social media to blitzkrieg an agenda-loaded propaganda campaign when the right opportunity arose. It had been in the works since at least 2011 when Nicaraguan Felix Maradiaga teamed up with Colombian narco-trafficker Julio Cesar Paz Varela to develop a drug distribution network in Nicaragua, many of the proceeds of which were to be devoted to overthrow the Sandinista government.
The facts are that the few NGOs (of over 4,000 NGOs in the country) who have recently been curtailed by the Nicaraguan government, are in this position because of their support of various criminal activities designed to overthrow the government. Their accountability to the law was long overdue. The same goes for several TV stations (funded largely by NED), the internet news outlet Confidencial (funded by the NED), and La Prensa (funded by NED) which have openly supported opposition “terrorist” activities (yes, that is correct), something that would never be tolerated in the US or in virtually any country. Many of the hundreds participating in dozens of murders, arsons, destruction of buildings, tortures, and destruction of equipment (including over 50 ambulances), etc., committed by Opposition members, are fortunately now on trial or in jail. Over 200 fugitives remain in Costa Rica.
US has no moral authority with 80000 prisoners in solitary confinement
It is also ironical, that those people in the US who are so condemnatory of the Nicaraguan government, remain comfortably removed from the terror campaign, April-July, which was awful as I can attest as a resident, while I was forced to read and view, with rage and anger, the spew of scripted lies days after day on social media, and major media outlets, not based on any actual investigative reporting. Ironic, because the US is one of the most oligarchic, non-democratic countries on the planet, and its citizens possess no legal or moral authority to judge others. The US possesses the largest prison per capita population in the world, with 80,000 of prisoners in solitary confinement; it produces the most waste and pollution; it has military troops in 150 countries, and war planes and ships everywhere; it is the wholesale terrorist force on the Planet; it has on average 3 citizens a day murdered by US police; it has a president who has been accused by over 15 women of sexual misconduct/assault, a president who lies multiple times each day; it is a country where student debt keeps graduates in a kind of servitude for life to the banks; it has thousands of homeless living in tents and abandoned cars in virtually every city; it is a country without accessible health care for millions of its citizens; etc. It has a political election process unreliable due to systematic voter suppression, gerrymandered Congressional districts every ten years, privatization of the voter counting process, while the process itself is literally owned by the millions and billions of dollars of the rich and mighty, headed by the military industrial complex that makes obscene profits on intervening everywhere.
So, Nicaragua is an easy center of focus. If any one of us, or any other Central American government, was subjected to the intense efforts to destroy us, or any country, then one can predict the likely consequences. Neighboring Honduras has not yet recovered from the 2009 US sanctioned coup of President Zelaya. The fear and the repression there is horrendous, but it seems that with those in the US, including in the government, nobody gives a shit? The NICA Act should be the HICA Act for Honduras instead of Nicaragua. But Honduras is a safe Cry Uncle government, despite the fact that the people live in constant fear.
And the idea of name calling people as usual is not helpful in the discussion. Catherine Cusic, who has called Camilo Mejia a liar, has called me several times as an idiot – then, in the past, and now. Not too constructive for healthy debate.
Lies, lies, more lies
When will the issue of US imperialism be taken seriously, and a recognition that the US political economy is so destructive it is on a path to destroy the planet? And, yet, the most progressive country in Central America (where there really is NOT repression) – Nicaragua – with no friends in the Senate or House of Representatives, very little support in the solidarity community, and only supported by the ALBA countries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia, is targeted for destruction. Lies, lies, more lies. Disgusting beyond disgusting. The truth as I have documented is virtually the exact opposite of what most social media and major media organs spew as if reading from a script.
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, is famous for saying that a lie told enough times becomes the truth. Goebbels principle has come once again to haunt Nicaragua. And the US govt. has spent millions of dollars through NED, US AID, NGOs, etc., at least since 2014, getting ready for the overthrow of a progressive government, primarily because it IS progressive compared to the other Central American governments. It is not a Cry Uncle government. And despite the lies, the Sandinista government remains popular with a majority of the people, similar to Assad in Syria despite intense western media propaganda against him.
Preposterous yet it is official US policy
So, Libya, The Ivory Coast, the Ukraine, Venezuela, Russia, and on and on, are touted as enemies, subject to the “exceptional” US to seek their overthrow to “correct” matters, if they haven’t already succeeded. It is interesting that Trump’s fanatical security adviser, John Bolton, has identified the Troika of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua (and soon Bolivia) to be targets as threats to the national security of the US. So preposterous yet it is official US policy.
Astonishing, absurd, and criminal. So continue, folks, focusing on the issues you have with Ortega-Murillo, while the US continues on an uncontrolled imperial savagery. Meanwhile, feel smug with your support of “humanitarian intervention” by the most dangerous country on Earth.
By the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity, U.S. Chapter
The sixth presidential election in the contemporary history of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela took place on May 20. Nicolás Maduro Moros was elected Constitutional President of Venezuela who according to the Venezuelan Constitution will take office for a new presidential term on January 10, 2019.
The election took place in a climate of peace and tranquility with a participation of 46.02% of the total electoral voters, very similar to percentage in the US elections.
Candidates of different political party participated in the electoral contest, such as Henry Falcón, leader of the Advanced Progressive Party, and Javier Bertucci, leader of the El Cambio party, both opponents of the currently constituted government. It should be noted that of the total turnout 67.84% of voters cast their ballots for Frente Amplio de la Patria and its elected candidate Nicolás Maduro. This represents 6,245,862 valid votes. The opposition party with the next most votes was Henry Falcón who received only 20.93% of the votes, which represented 1,927,387 votes.
The electoral result and the democratic response of the Venezuelan people resulted in their decision to continue a path of democratic construction as their destiny.
During the last 5 years, different U.S. administrations have been implementing a sophisticated destabilization plan against Venezuela to overthrow a democratic elected government through an electoral system that even former U.S. President Jimmy Carter described as the best in the world.
The U.S. government’s attitude of regime change systematically violates the sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people.
In March 2015, under an Executive Order the U.S. Government declared Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” declaring a “national emergency in order to confront that threat. Another Executive Order in August 2017 requires the Treasury Department to implement “irreversible” sanctions against the Venezuelan economy and financial system, a set of unilateral coercive measures unacceptable under international law.
With these legal frameworks, the economic siege has been activated against the recovery plans of the Venezuelan economy, affected by the collapse in oil price beginning summer 2014.
Compounded by the economic blockade of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the backbone of the Venezuelan economy, the commercial and financial blockade is hitting hard the quality of life of the Venezuelan people. William Brownfield, former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela referring to the South America Country declared in October of this year that… “At this moment perhaps the best solution would be to accelerate the collapse, even if it produces a period of suffering to the population of months or perhaps years”.
Using the monopoly of media power, the United States is manipulating world public opinion by imposing the narrative matrix of a “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela, thereby seeking to justify a military intervention disguised as “humanitarian intervention”. In September of this year, Trump openly told the media at the United Nations that when it comes to Venezuela, “all options are on the table….”
In 2016, the document “Venezuela Freedom-2 Operation” of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) signed by Commanding officer Admiral Kurt W. Tidd was published, where the plan for the implosion-collapse with a set of policies aimed at overthrowing the Venezuelan Government was outlined, using a broad-spectrum strategy where simultaneous, combined and continuous operations were developed in the period 2016-2018.
The United States and a group of governments obedient to the orders of the White House are preparing to ignore the legitimacy of the mandate conferred on President Nicolás Maduro Moros as of January 10.
Given this fact we call upon the people of the United States and the international community not to intervene, and to recognize and respect the sovereign will of the Venezuelan people, who continue to chart their own path of peace, guided by their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.