US policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean continued in a seamless transition from Trump to Biden, but the terrain over which it operated shifted left. The balance between the US drive to dominate its “backyard” and its counterpart, the Bolivarian cause of regional independence and integration, continued to tip portside in 2021 with major popular electoral victories in Chile, Honduras, and Peru. These follow the previous year’s reversal of the coup in Bolivia.
Central has been the struggle of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) countries – particularly Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua – against the asphyxiating US blockade and other regime-change measures. Presidential candidate Biden pledged to review Trump’s policy of US sanctions against a third of humanity. The presumptive intention of the review was to ameliorate the human suffering caused by these unilateral coercive measures, considered illegal under international law. Following the review, Biden has instead tightened the screws, more effectively weaponizing the COVID crisis.
The unrelenting US regime-change campaign against Venezuela has had a corrosive effect on Venezuela’s attempt to build socialism. With the economy de facto dollarized, among those hardest hit are government workers, the informal sector, and those without access to dollar remittances from abroad.
Nonetheless, Venezuela’s resistance to the continued US “maximum pressure” hybrid warfare is a triumph in itself. Recent economic indicators have shown an upturn with significant growth in national food and oil production and an end to hyperinflation. Further, the government has built 3.7 million housing units, distributed food to 7 million through the CLAP program, and adroitly handled the COVID pandemic.
When Trump recognized Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela in 2019, the then 35-year-old US security asset had never run for a nationwide office and was unknown to over 80% of the Venezuelans. Back then some 50 of the US’s closest allies recognized Guaidó; now barely a dozen does so. Contrary to campaign trail inuendoes that Biden would enter into dialogue with the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, Biden has continued the embarrassing Guaidó charade.
The November 21 municipal and regional elections were a double triumph for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution: the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) won significantly while the extreme right opposition (including Guaidó’s party) was compelled to participate, implicitly recognizing the Maduro government.
Venezuelan special envoy Alex Saab was extradited – really kidnapped – to the US on October 16 on the vague and difficult to disprove charge of “conspiracy” to money launder. Swiss authorities, after an exhaustive 3-year investigation, had found no evidence of money laundering. Saab’s real “crime” was trying to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuela via legal international trade but circumventing the illegal US blockade. This egregious example of US extra-territorial judicial overreach is being contested by Saab’s legal defense because, as a diplomat, he has absolute immunity from arrest under the Vienna Convention. His case has become a major cause in Venezuela and internationally.
Meanwhile, Colombia, chief regional US client state, the biggest recipient of US military aid in the hemisphere, and the largest world source of cocaine, is a staging point for paramilitary attacks on Venezuela. President Iván Duque continues to disregard the 2016 peace agreement with the guerrilla FARC as Colombia endures a pandemic of rightwing violence especially against human rights defenders and former guerillas.
On April 28, Duque’s proposed neoliberal tax bill precipitated a national strike mobilizing a broad coalition of unions, members of indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, social activists, and campesinos. They carried out sustained actions across the country for nearly two months, followed by a renewed national strike wave, starting on August 26. The approaching 2022 presidential election could portend a sea change for the popular movement where leftist Senator Gustavo Petro is leading in the polls.
In Ecuador, Andrés Arauz won the first-round presidential election on February 7 with a 13-point lead over Guillermo Lasso, but short of the 40% or more needed to avoid the April 13 runoff, which he lost. A victim of a massive disinformation campaign, Arauz was a successor of former President Rafael Correa’s leftist Citizen Revolution, which still holds the largest bloc in the National Assembly. The “NGO left,” funded by the US and its European allies, contributed to the electoral reversal. Elements of the indigenous Pachakutik party have allied with the new president, a wealthy banker, to implement a neo-liberal agenda.
In Peru, Pedro Castillo, a rural school teacher and a Marxist, won the presidency in a June 6 runoff against hard-right Keiko Fujimori, daughter of now imprisoned and former president Alberto Fujimori. Castillo won by the slimmest of margins and now faces rightwing lawfare and the possibility of a coup. Just a few weeks into his presidency, he was forced to replace his leftist foreign Minister, Hector Béjar, with someone more favorable to the rightwing opposition and the military.
In Bolivia, a US-backed coup deposed leftist President Evo Morales in 2019 and temporarily installed a rightist. Evo’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party successor, Luis Arce, took back the presidency last year in a landslide election. With the rightwing still threatening, a massive weeklong March for the Homeland of Bolivian workers, campesinos, and indigenous rallied in support of the government in late November.
What awaits Venezuela in 2022? President Maduro explains in an exclusive interview with renowned journalist Ignacio Ramonet.
In what has become a tradition journalist Ignacio Ramonet sat down with Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro to touch on themes of importance to the nation
On Venezuela’s Covid situation
“Venezuela has had an exemplary control over the pandemic with the 7 plus 7 method, and when we started to make progress in vaccination and reached more than 40% of the vaccinated population, we restarted classes, we also allowed flexibility, this is how the country has been working… Venezuela has reached six cases per 100 thousand inhabitants… our vaccination goal is to reach 90%… the United States government has threatened all vaccine producers not to trade with us… by the end of the year, we have reached 89% vaccination rate.
On the last elections:
“They gave a sobering result, this election campaign was not easy. I said it several times to the campaign command. These elections are not easy because, well, the blockade has created problems of public services, problems in the daily life of the people, and part of the population does not understand that it is because of the sanctions. This has created dissatisfaction, discomfort in part of the population, and this is what US imperialism is looking for when it squeezes a country to crush it as it has done with Venezuela, it is looking for confusion, the protest of the people? the problem we have with public services such as water, the sabotage to the electrical system, there are problems that have remained… and they are real problems for the population… many of them are caused by the impossible access to spare parts, pieces, equipment, that any country in the world is renewing to maintain its public services… We have reached a moment in which we are persecuted worldwide… is this explained to the population? It is explained to them and a part of the people very heroic and stoic support the revolutionary process… but we won in spite of this, out of the 23 governorships the opposition won 3. In spite of these circumstances we won 80% of the governorships… This is victory number 27, we are for real…
And what is coming for the economy:
“Venezuela has its own engines to face its economic needs…capable of replacing the old capitalist economy dependent on oil, the old rentier economy…the economic sanctions undoubtedly hit the economic life of the country terribly…the 440 coercive measures and sanctions were like an atomic bomb…we have been progressively implementing measures to free the productive forces in a scheme of war economy…from suffering we went to resistance and now to growth. …tax reforms…we made progress in reducing the fiscal deficit…a banking market was created…oil production and the production of the country’s refineries gradually recovered…the Venezuelan economy at this moment is in a clear period of recovery, I can tell you that we have recovered economic growth, in the second semester of the year 2021 the economic growth is 7.5%…Venezuela has already had 4 consecutive months with single-digit inflation…
On foreign policy:
Donald trump left but the empire remained, the empire is intact, Joe Biden arrived as a great promise of change, in relation to Venezuela everything has remained the same, the financial, monetary, oil, economic and commercial persecution, there has not been a single sign of rectification… Let us expect nothing except from ourselves… Who knows when and with whom the possibility of a direct dialogue will be opened, hopefully with the government of Joe Biden, and if it does not happen we will continue with our battle, this is our way…
The Venezuelan government has called on the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA-TCP) to draw up “commercial, financial and monetary plans” to strengthen post-pandemic economic development.
The proposal came during ALBA’s XX Summit in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday. The gathering likewise commemorated seventeen years since Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro founded the multilateral organization in 2004. It followed the XIX Summit held earlier this year in Caracas.
The latest summit was attended by the presidents of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia, respectively, as well as by high-level delegations from ALBA members Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Granada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia, which returned to the body this year after a left victory in its July elections. Delegations from non-members Haiti, Syria and Surinam were present as well.
The economy was top on the meeting’s agenda, with a number of representatives focusing on both the reactivation of their productive apparatus and debt relief after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I request that we make a new and stronger effort to articulate comprehensive plans for economic, commercial, financial, and monetary development between ALBA nations,” said Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during the encounter. “We need to generate wealth in order to be able to distribute it,” he continued, encouraging “new investment to produce food, oil, gas, everything our peoples need.”
Equally, Bolivia’s president and economist Luis Arce, who brought 20 tons of humanitarian assistance to Havana, proposed creating two additional “gran-national” enterprises to produce food and medicine. Gran-national enterprises are mixed firms which operate under ALBA control across various countries. They are based on core values of solidarity and fair distribution instead of profit-making.
“It is time to push together, to sum up our forces. It is time to show solidarity, and Bolivia proposes and accepts the responsibility for drawing up a strategic plan to develop our economies,” Arce told those present, while also calling for the jumpstarting of ALBA financial arms such as the ALBA Bank and Sucre currency.
The summit’s final statement echoed the calls, as well as establishing “a more complete mechanism to alleviate foreign debt for developing countries, as well as the writing-off or refinancing of debt (and) the democratic transformation of international financial organizations.”
PetroCaribe distributed crude and fuel to Caribbean nations under long-term and low-interest payment agreements. The project was halted in 2018 as US sanctions severely hit Venezuela’s struggling oil sector. On Tuesday, the Venezuelan president stated that the flagship initiative will “return stronger-than-ever sooner rather than later.” Maduro had previously promised the project would be relaunched in the first half of 2020.
Counter-Intervention Observatory established
The ALBA Summit went on to take aim at US intervention in the region, blasting the “genocidal” blockade against Cuba and the “massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights” through unilateral coercive measures against a number of the alliance’s members.
“Not even a thousand sanctions will defeat the dignity of the Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and Cuban people,” said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel at the meeting.
From Cuba, ALBA Executive Secretary Sacha Llorenti unveiled a Counter-Intervention Observatory which will reportedly look to “periodically analyze the role of non-governmental organizations and funding in destabilizing efforts,” as well as study how the “neoliberal coercive measures” are being levied against member nations.
The observatory comes as a response to Washington’s Summit for Democracy last week, which unveiled over US $424 million of funding for the region. According to US President Joe Biden, the resources will be channeled into media projects, “defending free and fair elections and political processes,” fighting corruption, “bolstering democratic reformers” and “advancing technology for democracy.” Most ALBA nations were not invited to Washington’s virtual gathering, and Managua, Havana, La Paz and Caracas have all accused Washington of funding destabilization efforts in their countries of late.
ALBA fights the Covid-19 pandemic
The fight against the coronavirus pandemic was also high on the agenda in Havana, with member nations congratulating the island on developing its three vaccines, as well as recognizing the efforts of the ALBA Bank in creating a vaccine bank and Venezuela’s CONVIASA airline for setting up air-bridges between member states. Likewise, the summit saluted the region’s healthcare workers for their frontline work.
For his part, recently re-elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega used the opportunity to blast “US imperialism,” claiming that in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, “savage capitalism and imperialism is the worst pandemic the world has suffered.”
Other issues discussed included backing the Caribbean’s historic claims to compensation for the “genocide” and “horrors” of the slave trade; pushing for “more ambitious” commitments on climate change after a “disappointing” COP26 Summit in Glasgow; and congratulating recent leftwing electoral victories in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Venezuela and Honduras.
As a Canadian with family members that live in Cuba, who was in Cuba during the anti-government protests that occurred on July 11, I found myself in a unique and disturbing position where I could see and feel the disconnect between what was being reported by the mainstream media back home and what was really happening on the ground in Cuba.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations
Approximately two weeks after Father’s Day, the COVID-19 Delta variant began to take hold, particularly in the province of Matanzas. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are important social celebrations in Cuban culture and, coupled with the level of contagion of the Delta variant, this led to a rapid escalation in new COVID-19 cases. Cuba had recently fully vaccinated a large portion of the population in La Habana province with their first approved vaccine candidate, Abdala. From there, the Cuban Ministry of Health (MINSAP) began focusing on Matanzas because it is the most popular province for tourism and this puts the population there more at risk. Abdala has an efficacy rate of 92 percent, putting it in the same league as the most effective vaccines, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.
At the same time that the number of daily reported new COVID-19 cases was spiking, we began hearing from many friends in the city of Cárdenas, Matanzas (a current hotspot for COVID-19) that their vaccination appointments were being cancelled due to a lack of syringes and needles. The government responded swiftly with a lockdown, allowing stores to only be open in the mornings so that people would be at home for the rest of the day. At the same time, the number of hospital admissions was increasing and health care workers and the hospital infrastructure itself were becoming overwhelmed. A large electrical power plant in Matanzas was operating at reduced capacity due to outstanding maintenance (the US blockade affects Cuba’s ability to import parts and supplies) and the government had to resort to rationing electricity to households in order to keep people in the hospitals alive. This meant only a few hours per day to cook or turn on your fan or air conditioner in the July heat. No public pools were open and going to the beach was not permitted due to the lockdown.
So, nearly a year and a half into the pandemic and economic crisis, you can imagine the heightened level of frustration, fatigue and despair.
US sanctions lead to huge fall in exports and imports
Since the onset of the pandemic, Cuba’s GDP has rapidly fallen by over 11 percent. The economy was already struggling before the pandemic. Since the Donald Trump administration tightened sanctions from 2017 to 2020, Cuban exports fell by 82 percent and imports by 85 percent. Trump attacked Cuba’s sources of currency, cutting back commercial flights and eventually even banning charter flights in the summer of 2020. The US also imposed sanctions on tanker companies that delivered petroleum from Venezuela to Cuba which affected movement and logistics on the island.
With the huge losses to the tourism sector in 2020 because of the pandemic, the island has lost one of its most important sources of hard currency, plunging it into one of the worst food shortages since the Special Period in the 1990s. Basic hygiene products have become increasingly difficult for Cubans to find in stores – as have over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Advil and antibiotic ointments. Pharmacies now lack vital prescription medications for manageable conditions like hypertension, diabetes and cancer as well as treatable, but potentially harmful infections. A 250-tablet bottle of Acetaminophen costs $50 USD or more on the underground market.
With many medications currently unavailable, scarce and expensive personal hygiene products and 2 to 3-hour lineups for groceries with a 50/50 chance the store will run out that day before you make it inside, the Cuban people are suffering and generally exasperated and miserable under the current conditions. This is exactly what the sanctions are designed to do.
Social media manipulation and cyberattacks
At the beginning of July, in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Matanzas province, we started seeing the #SOSCuba hashtag coming from Cuban American celebrities living in South Florida. This was less than 3 weeks after the Abdala vaccine was found to contend with the top vaccines in the world (with Soberana, Cuba’s second candidate vaccine, not far behind) and right after 184 countries voted at the United Nations for the US to end the blockade. The #SOSCuba hashtag was an obvious smear campaign and meant to spread the idea that the Cuban government has “mismanaged” the pandemic.
Miami is home to 1.2 million people of Cuban heritage – many of whom are descendants of exiles that fled the Revolution. They have strong counterrevolutionary and anti-communist views and constitute a wealthy and politically powerful community. There is a multimillion-dollar counterrevolutionary industry based in South Florida with politicians, YouTubers, actors and artists whose entire careers are propped up by telling lies about the Cuban government and lobbying Washington to maintain and tighten its blockade. Tens of millions of dollars are spent every year by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and USAID to fund “democracy” projects in Cuba. This is code for funding political interference, fake journalism, dissenters and protestors – all to promote regime change.
After the anti-government protests, Spanish social media expert Julian Macias Tovar spoke on the Cuban television news show Mesa Redonda (“Roundtable”) and explained that the figures around the #SOSCuba hashtag are more than a little odd. Macias Tovar stated that between July 5, when the hashtag was first used, and July 8, there were just 5,000 tweets. This figure then exploded exponentially with 100,000 Tweets on July 9, 500,000 on July 10, 1.5 million the next day and two million on the July 12. Cuban TV journalists did an excellent job debunking the lies and fake photos and videos around the protests as they were being created and disseminated to keep Cubans correctly informed. Unfortunately, of course, this was not seen by anyone outside of Cuba. We now know that thousands of fake social media accounts were created in the days leading up to the protests and that bots were used to send out thousands of tweets per day and hundreds of retweets per minute on July 10 and 11. The purpose was to tarnish the Cuban government’s reputation and to prepare and encourage anti-government demonstrations.
Cubans offered money to create fake news
On July 11, there were not thousands of anti-government protestors in any Cuban city at any point in time. There were barely hundreds in a country of over 11 million people.
In Cárdenas, where I was, the participants were not working professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, lawyers, licensed business owners or workers in factories or the tourism sector. Most of the protesters were those who choose to be unemployed and live off remittances from family living abroad. Many are well-known delinquents and are not positive contributors to the community. We personally know of the woman and her husband who created a widely circulated and entirely fake video – using pig’s blood and tomato sauce – of a Cuban police officer shooting their child. The couple confessed to being offered “Moneda Libremente Convertible” (MLC, meaning freely convertible money rather than Cuban pesos) from someone in the United States to do this. Another individual, who was also offered money to participate in the Cárdenas protest, created a staged video and has a history in town of running an illegal, unlicensed business and not paying taxes.
Protest participants are generally not respected in the community and are not known for their civic engagement. Nor do they seem to be interested in peaceful dialogue with the government. Compensation appears to be their primary motivating factors. These anti-government protests were also not ongoing as mainstream media claimed in the days that followed.
Multiple false claims on social media
I want to note that most Cuban police officers do not have guns with bullets. They usually have blank guns, similar to starting pistols, that merely emit smoke and sound. There were multiple false claims on social media and in the Western mainstream media of police murdering Cuban adults and youth – especially people of colour. Many of these “deceased” people later went on Cuban public television to prove that they were in fact alive and well.
The Cárdenas protests were not characterized by police brutality and there are no missing people. There were however stores completely trashed by rioters who threw rocks through windows and at unarmed police officers, toppled police vehicles and stole things like kitchen stoves and electronics. To make matters worse, some individuals even went into the Cárdenas hospital and vandalized the pediatric ward. Health care workers reportedly needed police to provide security from these rioters who were threatening them.
Several protestors, after demolishing stores and the hospital ward, gathered at Cárdenas Bay where they expected boats from Florida that would take them to the United States. They themselves were victims of US lies and manipulation – no boats came to take them away and most have been arrested for clear-cut violations of the law. Many of them have already gone public with the communications they received from abroad that offered to transfer MLC to their bank account if they carried out destructive or deceptive tasks to create civil unrest, provoke law enforcement and fabricate videos or make false claims to foreign media and on social media. The Western mainstream media has not reported on this.
The obvious bias in the western media
The Western media has also not given enough attention to significant human rights violations by governments and paramilitary forces in countries like Colombia, Chile and Haiti where massive anti-government uprisings have occurred and hundreds of civilians have been abused, murdered or gone missing. But the same media was instantly ready to cover, exaggerate and downright lie about what happened in Cuba. Politicians in the US immediately called for “humanitarian” or military intervention in Cuba – including airstrikes. Media in the United States, Canada and other Western countries deceitfully published a photo of the Cuban May Day march photo in 2018, claiming it was of the anti-government protests. Facebook determined that their “community standards” were not violated by the countless comments calling for armed invasion and bloodshed, assassination of elected Cuban government officials, nuclear war against Cuba and gun running from Miami to Cuba.
In response to the July 11 protests, thousands – actual thousands – of Cubans came out in cities across the island to support their government and the Revolution. On July 17, pro-revolutionary and pro-government demonstrators, estimated in the hundreds of thousands, gathered at dawn in Havana. There was zero coverage of this on CNN or CBC. The huge pro-government turnout in Camagüey was described on social media as being anti-government protestors who had “liberated” Camagüey from the “dictatorship.” This was completely false.
Days after the protests, cyberattacks originating in the US targeted the websites of public institutions in Cuba such as MINSAP as well as Cuban news sites like Cubadebate through Denial-of-Service attacks. The foreign powers apparently did not want people being informed by the Cuban Ministry of Health during a health crisis or seeing on the news the disinformation that was being exposed and Cuban people describing how they had been offered money to cause civil unrest.
Most Cubans – even those who may be unhappy with the current administration – vehemently against violence, vandalism, looting and foreign interference
Most Cubans – even those who may be unhappy with the current administration – are vehemently against violence, vandalism, looting and foreign interference in their country. Almost everyone that we spoke with in Cárdenas was angry at the destruction in their town and ashamed of the behaviour of those who would sell out and smear their homeland and ask for humanitarian and military intervention from the United States. Many Cuban civilians took it upon themselves to observe, record and report to authorities those involved in the destructive July 11 protests. Cubans have long been resisting imperialism and most know that foreign intervention and neoliberalism would make them worse off and not improve their material conditions.
I do not know of any Cuban living in Cuba who does not want above all else an end to the repressive and dictatorial US blockade. This which would have an instant impact on every aspect of their wellbeing.
This situation has made it easy to see who the real allies of the Cuban people are. The majority of Latin Americans gave their support to Cubans and their government, affirming their right to sovereignty and self-determination. While US President Joe Biden chauvinistically offered to send vaccines to Cuba after the protests, knowing full well that Cuba has its own vaccines, Mexico’s president sent 800,000 syringes and needles to Cuba on a Mexican Air Force plane.
Before Henry Kissinger became a Clinton pal, liberals condemned him for saying: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” The 1973 US-backed coup and bloodbath in Chile followed. Now Uncle Sam has a problem in Nicaragua, where independent polls predict a landslide victory for Daniel Ortega’s leftist Sandinista slate in the November 7th presidential elections.
The US government and its sycophantic media are working to prevent Ortega’s reelection. On July 12, the US slapped visa restrictions on one hundred Nicaraguan elected legislative officials, members of the judiciary, and their families for “undermining democracy.” A month earlier, the Biden administration imposed sanctions on President Ortega’s daughter, along with a military general, the head of the central bank, and an elected legislator.
These and other recent illegal US sanctions on Nicaragua are designed to promote regime change and are based on the ridiculous charge that this poor and tiny nation is a “extraordinary and unusual threat to the US national security,” when the opposite is the case.
The NICA Act of 2018, under the Trump administration, imposed sanctions, including blocking loans from international financial institutions controlled by the US. In August 2020, the Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua (RAIN) plan was revealed, which is a multi-faceted coup strategy by which the US contracted corporations to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. RAIN calls for a “sudden, unanticipated transition” government to forestall what they admit would otherwise be a Sandinista victory in a free election. In a seamless handoff from the Trump to the Biden administration, the pending RENACER Act would further extended “targeted sanctions.”
US intervention in Nicaragua and, indeed, in all of Latin America under the 1823 Monroe Doctrine has a long history continuing to the present. Back in 1856, US citizen William Walker tried to impose himself as head of a slave state in Nicaragua, only to be assassinated four years later. In 1912, the US began an occupation of Nicaragua, forcing the country to become a US protectorate. The US was ousted in 1933 in a war led by national hero Augusto C. Sandino, after whom the present revolutionary party was named. In the 1980s, the US government proxies, the Contras, fought the new Sandinistas after they overthrew the US-backed Somoza dictatorship.
What’s going on right now in Venezuela? Come see for yourself how Venezuelans are coping with US economic sanctions designed to cause a social implosion. Sensationalized reports of Venezuelans eating zoo animals and rotten garbage present a distorted picture of what is happening in Venezuela. The media also omits serious analysis of the role of the food distribution program known as CLAPs run through a government-community partnership reaching millions of Venezuelans. There is no doubt, however, as indicated in a recent report by CEPR, that the US-imposed sanctions are indeed causing collective hardship and even death.
The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York, invites historians, artists, videographers, writers, political analysts, health professionals, agricultural production experts and other activists to join a delegation to Caracas, Venezuela this coming January 2020. Witness: communities organizing themselves in the face of manufactured food shortages to grow and distribute their own food; participatory democracy in action through community councils, ‘comunas’ and other forms of citizen organization; community-run art, media, education, health and nutrition efforts; alternative markets and fairs featuring homemade products and agroecologically produced foods; parks, natural areas, historic sites, and other reclaimed public spaces.
Come bear witness to the effects of the economic warfareandthe sanctions against the Venezuelan people imposed by Donald Trump’s administration as well as the inspiring resistance to these, as Venezuelans push for food sovereignty in response to crisis. Come see the real “threat” posed by Venezuela – as living proof that another world indeed is possible. As the Venezuelan people assert, “Venezuela is not a threat – we are hope!”
President Nicolas Maduro described the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela as “crazy” and “criminal.”
President Nicolas Maduro and his economic team during the speech addressing
new measures to improve the economy. November 2, 2018.
(@PresidencialVen / Twitter)
President Nicolas Maduro and his economic team during the speech addressing new measures to improve the economy. November 2, 2018. (@PresidencialVen / Twitter)
President Nicolas Maduro announced a new set of measures in the Venezuelan gold industry to combat the U.S. imposed sanctions, which he described as “crazy” and “criminal,” accusing the North American country of blocking, and raising the price of food and medicine imports into the country.
The U.S. government announced a new set of sanctions against the Latin American country last week, potentially limiting their gold exports, as announced by the national security senior advisor John Bolton. The sanctions already prohibited institutions, business and anyone from giving any kind of financial support to the Bolivarian Revolution.
Maduro answered Bolton’s comments during a televised speech, saying Venezuela is currently certifying 32 gold fields. “Everything suggests that Venezuela will be the second biggest gold reserve on planet Earth,” said the President, adding that the country will do what’s necessary to get around the restrictions that are preventing medicine and food to enter the country.
“If we go out to purchase the required food… we end up paying 50, 60 or 80 percent more,” said Maduro. “These are crazy, schizophrenic, criminal sanctions… but we will never bow down. Venezuela will never surrender to North American imperialism.”
Maduro, along with his economic team, announced that Venezuela is installing 54 gold processing plants with new technology to reportedly avoid the polluting use of mercury. According to their predictions, the plants will bring in about US $ 5 billion in 2019.
In a statement released this Thursday, members of the bloc rejected the renewal of the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014
The countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (Alba-TCP) released a statement this Thursday, May 5, in rejection of the renewal of the 2014 Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act, adopted by the United States to impose sanctions against the Bolivarian nation until 2019.
Below the full statement:
The countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (Alba-TCP) reject the renewal of the “Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act” of 2014, adopted by the United States Senate, which extends until 2019, and the unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions imposed by the United States of America against the Bolivarian people and government of Venezuela.
This Act is the legal framework that aims to sustain the illegal Executive Order of President Barack Obama Hussein, which considers Venezuela an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. security and foreign policy.
The countries of the Alba-TCP condemn these measures which violate public international law, go against the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and the sovereign equality of states and their self-determination, and aim to defeat the historic course of freedom and independence of our nations.