Era of US Domination of Latin America Coming to an End

Source:  Popular Resistance
August 9 2020
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance.

us dominatiuon in la over 2

Above photo: Marcha en Venezuela contra las sanciones de Trump – Reuters.

Despite its failings at home, the United States intervenes in countries across multiple continents seeking to control their governments and resources.

This week, we look at the US’ latest efforts in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia to undermine their independence and force them to serve the interests of the US government and transnational corporations.

In all three countries, the US has displayed a lack of understanding of the people and their support for their revolutionary processes, and as a result, is failing. As US empire fades, so might the Monroe Doctrine come to an end.

Sandanista- FSLN rally in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua: USAID Multi-Year Destabilization Plan Exposed

A US Agency for International Development (USAID) document revealed by reporter William Grigsby describes covert plans to overthrow the democratically-elected Nicaraguan government in the next two years. USAID seeks to hire mercenaries “to take charge of the plan . . . to disrupt public order and carry out other [violent] actions before, during, and/or after the 2021 elections.”

USAID is creating Responsive Assistance In Nicaragua (RAIN), allotting $540,000 in grants to remove the Sandinista government in what it calls “Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” Daniel Ortega won the 2016 election with 72 percent of the vote in what election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS), a US tool, described as taking “place in a calm, smooth and pacific manner, with no large incidents.”

Brian Willson, who has opposed US efforts to dominate Nicaragua since the 1980s Contra war, concludes the US realizes Ortega will win the 2021 election. In fact, this week, a poll showed support for Ortega’s party, FSLN, at 50% and for the opposition at 10%. One of USAID plans, as they tried in Venezuela in 2018, is for the opposition to boycott the election since they know they will lose, then call it illegitimate and create a political and economic crisis.

The real goal is not a democracy but domination so US transnational corporations can profit from the second poorest country in the hemisphere by putting in place a neoliberal economy to privatize public services, cut social services, and purge all traces of the Sandinistas. USAID also plans to “reestablish” the police and military to enforce their rule. Another goal is to stop Nicaragua from being the “threat of a good example” for its economic growth, reduction of inequality, poverty, illiteracy and crime.

Ben Norton points out in the Grayzone that “the 14-page USAID document employed the word ‘transition’ 102 times” making clear the intent is regime change.  A “sudden transition without elections,” a euphemism for a coup, is one of three possible regime change scenarios.

John Perry writes about “US interference in Nicaragua, going back at least as far as William Walker’s assault on its capital and usurpation of the presidency in 1856.” Since the 1979 Sandinista Revolution, the US has sought to take back control of Nicaragua.

USAID and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have been funding the opposition. NED financed 54 projects from 2014-17 to lay the groundwork for a 2018 coup attempt, which  also involved USAIDWiston Lopez writes the US has provided “more than 31 million dollars between the end of 2017 and May 1, 2020.” When the attempted coup in 2018 failed, the US also put in place illegal unilateral coercive measures, known as economic sanctions, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to try to weaken the country.

The USAID’s RAIN program outlines the usual regime change steps, e.g. remake the police and military as enforcers of the new neoliberal order, move “quickly to dismantle parallel institutions,”  i.e. the Sandinista Front, the Sandinista Youth, and other grassroots institutions, and implement “transitional justice measures,” i.e., the prosecution of current government officials and movement leaders.

A new area of attack is a disinformation campaign against Nicaragua’s handling of COVID-19. The opposition misrepresents the government’s response and puts forward false death statistics in an attempt to create chaos. As Wiston López points out, “Since March the US-directed opposition has focused 95% of their actions on attempting to discredit Nicaragua’s prevention, contention, and Covid treatment. However, this only had some success in the international media and is now backfiring since Nicaragua is the country with one of the lowest mortality rates in the continent.”

The US media fails to report on the success of Nicaragua in combating the virus using a community-based health system. Nicaragua has been building its health system for the last 12 years and took rapid action to prepare for the virus. Nicaragua did not impose a lock down because it is a poor country where 80 percent of people are in the informal economy and 40 percent live in rural areas. People must work in order to eat.

Stephen Sefton puts the failure of the United States so far in context. At its root, the US does not understand the people of Nicaragua, their history of fighting US domination, and their ability to overcome right-wing puppets. It also misunderstands what the Sandinista government is doing to better the lives of the people in every sector of the economy. Sefton concludes, “The US government has failed notoriously to meet the needs of its own people during the current pandemic but can still find money to try and destroy a small country whose success makes US social, economic and environmental policy look arbitrary, negligent and criminal.”

Nicolas Maduro kicks out Donald Trump. Photo by Ben Norton.

Venezuela: Bipartisan Failed Regime Change

Ever since the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, successive US administrations have tried and failed to dominate Venezuela. The bipartisan nature of this policy was on display on August 4, when Elliot Abrams, the notorious coup-monger for multiple presidents, testified in Congress. Not a single Senator criticized the attempt to illegally overthrow a democratically-elected government.

Abrams was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for his inability to remove President Maduro from power. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) was most open about the coup attempt describing it as “a case study in diplomatic malpractice” and claiming Trump botched a winning play in a comedy of errors that strengthened Maduro. After the hearing, Murphy posted a series of Tweets admitting the coup and how it could have been done better.

clip from Murphy’s embarrassing comments was shared widely including by the Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. When Vijay Prashad asked Arreaza his reaction, he described the US openly admitting crimes and said the “confessions” of Murphy, Gen. John Kelly, John Bolton, and Elliot Abrams “are priceless evidence for the complaint we raised at the International Criminal Court.”

Elliot Abrams testified that he would continue to work very hard to remove Maduro hopefully by the end of the year.  This echoed a statement by President Trump at SouthCom headquarters in Florida. Sen. Murphy’s comments are consistent with those made by Joe Biden who says he would be more effective at removing Maduro than Trump. Biden described Trump as soft on Maduro because he considered talking to him.

Elliot Abrams announced the US will be starting a media war against Venezuela. The reality is the US has been conducting a media war against Venezuela for more than 20 years.

Venezuela is moving ahead with elections for the National Assembly on December 6, 2020. Unlike 2018, more parties are agreeing to participate including the larger Democratic Action and Justice First parties, as well as a new Communist Party alliance and the hard-right Popular Will party, which was US puppet Juan Guaidó’s former party. There will be 105 political parties contesting for 277 National Assembly seats, 110 more than the current term. Venezuela uses a combination of majority winners and proportional representation. Venezuela also requires half the candidates to be female, and they use electronic voting confirmed by paper ballots with a public citizen audit on Election Day.

Juan Guaidó and others allied with the United States said they would boycott the election. Guaidó cannot risk running because he is likely to be defeated. The US is encouraging a boycott and then will claim the election was not legitimate as it did in the last presidential election. After December, Guaidó will not hold any elected office making his fraudulent claim to the presidency even weaker.

These events come after two major embarrassments for the US in Venezuela. Operation Gideonan attempt by mercenaries to invade Venezuela was foiled on May 4, leading to their arrests and the arrests of their co-conspirators. The State Department abandoned the mercenaries, and this week two former Green Berets were sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting their guilt. It was evident that Guaidó was heavily involved in this failure adding to his failed presidential takeover and tainting him beyond repair.

The second defeat was Iran and Venezuela working together to deliver oil and equipment for Venezuelan refineries. Five Iranian oil tankers passed by the largest US armada in the Caribbean since the invasion of Panama. Southcom has been repeatedly sending warships into Venezuelan waters. The solidarity of Iran and Venezuela overcame the naval blockade, undermined US sanctions, and sent a shudder through the US by showing other nations they can defy the United States.

Venezuela has a strong history of struggle against imperialism but the US’ economic war is costing their economy hundreds of billions of dollars and leading to the premature death of Venezuelans. In addition, the United Kingdom is refusing to release more than a billion dollars of Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England that was to be used for food and medicine. The UK court ruled against Venezuela but they are appealing the decision.

Bolivians protest the postponement of the election.

Bolivia: US Dictator Fears Democratic Vote

On November 12 2019, a US-backed coup in Bolivia removed President Evo Morales who had just won re-election. The self-proclaimed President Jeanine Añez, a right-wing Christian, leads a de facto government involved in massacres, persecution and imprisonment of political leaders. It is destroying the social and economic model and achievements of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS Party) led by Morales.

The OAS played a crucial role in the coup with their false analysis of Morales’ re-election. The western media reported the false OAS analysis without criticism. Now, studies by MIT and the Center for Economic and Policy Analysis have shown that Morales clearly won the election and should have remained in power. For months the Washington Post claimed Morales’ re-election was a fraud, but finally, in March, it acknowledged the election was legitimate. Similarly, the New York Times admitted in July that Morales won the election.

Many have called this a lithium coup because the element is plentiful in Bolivia and critical for batteries. This was made evident when Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, said on Twitter “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” Tesla would benefit from cheap and plentiful lithium for electric car batteries.

The people of Bolivia are struggling to restore democracy. The fraudulent report by the OAS led to a three-week conflict between right-wing Bolivians protesting alleged fraud and pro-government, mostly indigenous, demonstrators defending Morales. The military and police sided with the right-wing coup. The coup government threatened legislators and their families while repressing the people. There were racist attacks against the majority Indigenous population and the Wiphala, the indigenous flag, was burned in the streets. When she took power, Áñez, surrounded by right-wing legislators, held up a large leather bible and declared, “The Bible has returned to the palace.”

The US recognized the coup government, similar to its recognition of the failed coup leader, Juan Guaidó in Venezuela. Añez claimed she’d be transitory until the next election, but at the direction of the US, she is putting in place deep roots and has delayed elections.

The repression has galvanized the MAS party, as well as peasant unions and grassroots organizations who continue their struggle to restore Bolivian democracy. The pressure led to elections being scheduled. Initially, Áñez said she would not run but reversed herself and is now a candidate while she is trying to outlaw the MAS party and its candidates.

Elections were scheduled for May 3, but have been postponed twice allegedly due to the pandemic, but really because this is an ongoing coup.

It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Bolivia hard with horror stories about people unable to get medical treatment. Immediately after the coup, the Añez government expelled the Cuban doctors. The coup-government is unable to manage the health system. Corruption is rampant in the purchase of medical equipment. The health ministry has had three ministers during the crisis. The situation is dire with overcrowded hospitals, lack of basic supplies, and corpses in the streets and in their homes with nowhere to be buried.

The coup-government is using the virus to try to delay elections because polls show the MAS candidate, Luis Arce, is far ahead and likely to win in the first round of elections with Áñez coming in a distant third. Áñez has sought to prosecute Arce to keep him from running, so far unsuccessfully.  On July 6, the Attorney General of Bolivia charged Evo Morales with terrorism and financing of terrorism from exile and is seeking preventive detention.

Since mid-July, thousands of Bolivians have been protesting the postponement of elections. They are holding sustained protests throughout the country and blocking many roads. Indigenous and peasant groups, agricultural groups, along with women and unions are joining together calling for elections.  Morales, Arce, and the MAS Party have denounced the delay.

Domination Will Not Reverse Decline

Evo Morales said in a recent interview “The United States is trying to make Latin America its backyard forever. We know about the hard resistance of the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua. The struggle of our peoples is very important. The United States wants to divide us in order to plunder our natural resources. The peoples no longer accept domination and plunder. The United States is in decline, and yet it lashes out.”

The US is weakening as a global power and its failures in Latin America are both a symptom of this and are causing further decline. The US’ violations of international law are obvious and are being challenged. But the US is an empire and it will not give up the Monroe Doctrine easily.

As citizens of Empire, we have a particular responsibility to demand the US stop its sanctions and illegal interference in Latin America and elsewhere around the world. In this time of multiple global crises, we must demand the US become a cooperative member of the world community and work peacefully to address the pandemic, recession and climate crisis.

Structures to do this exist to help with this such as the global ceasefire and the Paris Climate agreement. And on the anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, we must add the Nuclear Ban Treaty as another effort the US must join.

Anti-imperialist unity is the tactic and strategy of victory

Source:  Granma

Full text of remarks delivered by Cuban President Díaz-Canel during the videoconference Meeting of Leaders, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Sao Paulo Forum’s founding

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Cuban President Díaz-Canel participated in the online leaders’ meeting commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Sao Paulo Forum. 
Photo: Estudio Revolución

Remarks by Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, via videoconference, at the Meeting of Leaders, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Sao Paulo Forum’s founding, July 28, 2020, Year 62 of the Revolution

(Transcript: Presidencia.gob.cu /Translation: GI)

Dear Nicolas, Daniel, Rosario and Monica

Brothers and sisters of the political forces following this videoconference with interest:

I am accompanied by compañero José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of our Party Central Committee, and compañero Bruno Rodríguez, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba and member of our Political Bureau.

Thank you, Daniel, for your words; thank you, Maduro, for your words, for the book and the beautiful video about Chávez.

Thirty years ago, doomsayers of despair, enthusiasts of the market, advocates of a single thought, would have the world believe that history had ended.

And here we are, the intransigent defenders of hope and another possible world, celebrating 30 years of an embrace that is now history.

Today we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sao Paulo Forum, an idea born from the political genius of Fidel and an exceptional protagonist of this unifying accomplishment: Brother Lula, former President and leader of the Brazilian and Latin American left.

When the Soviet Union and the socialist camp in Eastern Europe collapsed and their gravediggers set out to bury the emancipatory ideas of the left on this side of the world, the creation of the Sao Paolo Forum provided a sharp shove to a ship that seemed to be drifting.

The revolutionary, progressive and democratic political forces of Latin America and the Caribbean converged in this organization of legitimate consensus to construct unity of the left for the emancipation and integration of our peoples, challenging the Monroe Doctrine and its allies on the continent.

The march of history could not be stopped. Socialist ideals have reared their heads in the empire’s backyard with their own personality and strength, and today it is only right to recognize compañero Lula and the leaders of Brazil’s Workers Party for their performance leading the Executive Secretariat of the Sao Paulo Forum.

This celebration also allows us to thank the Sao Paulo Forum for their unwavering support to the Cuban people and especially the solidarity campaign, undertaken this year, calling for an end to the blockade against Cuba.

This virtual meeting is taking place on the 66th birthday of a dear friend of Cuba, who Fidel described as the best friend of Cuba and of all peoples who struggle, Comandante Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, who at the Sao Paulo Forum in 2012 invited us to lay “the cornerstone of South American, Latin American, Caribbean and world liberation, without fear.”

The invincible example of Chavez now summons us to continue the struggle, with firmness and optimism, convinced that there are no obstacles, however difficult they may seem, that our peoples, united, cannot overcome, as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba demonstrate today.

“Doctors, not bombs”, Fidel said one day, responding to the ridiculous imperial pretension of subjugating peoples with wars and threats of intervention against 60 or more “dark corners of the world.”

And today we are witnessing the confirmation of his words, amidst the most complex human drama on the planet in real time.

Not even the most powerful and sophisticated weapons have been able to stop the new coronavirus pandemic. On the contrary, now the true, anti-human essence of capital has become more visible and more terrifying, with its insistence on the market and its uncontrolled rise under ruthless neoliberal policies: governments that are helplessly witnessing the collapse of their health systems, unable to save millions of lives, even those that were thought to be out of danger in the chaotic, brutal northern empire that despises us.

The region of the Americas is today sadly the epicenter of the pandemic. The neoliberal policies of many governments, bent on placing the market above human lives, make it impossible to predict the moment when a definitive control of the disease will be possible. The spread of the virus is a fact, if we consider that the first million cases were confirmed over 96 days, but the latest million were counted within only 16. Neoliberal paradigms have fallen into absolute disrepute. Whether their credulous followers like it or not, the history of their economic experiment is about to end, or human existence will be further compromised.

Despite the indisputable emergency the pandemic has created for everyone, the United States government has not desisted in its hegemonic plans for the region, reactivating the Monroe Doctrine and McCarthyism, escalating interference, threatening the use of force, and promoting a policy of legal attacks on leftist and progressive leaders and organizations.

While thousands die every day within the empire’s territory, the current tenant of the White House maintains continuous pressure on governments that are not to their liking, while receiving support from regional lackeys who operate in their interests.

Of particular concern, within this deplorable scenario, are imperialism’s interventionist actions in violation of international law against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which we condemn and reject with the same vehemence with which we reaffirm our solidarity with legitimate President brother Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civic-military union that sustains the country’s sovereignty.

We also reiterate our solidarity with the Sandinista government and people, led by Comandante Daniel Ortega, and reject unilateral coercive measures that threaten the peace, well-being, justice and development of the Nicaraguan people.

We reaffirm, once again, our strict adherence to the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Latin American and Caribbean heads of state and government in January of 2014, in Havana, and confirm our unwavering commitment to the eradication of colonialism until the debt to the peoples still living under colonial status is settled.

Dear brothers and sisters:

I speak on behalf of a sovereign, revolutionary and solidary Cuba, which will never allow itself to be subjugated, either by seduction or by force: the homeland of Martí, Fidel and Raúl.

I am speaking on behalf of a heroic and noble people who for 60 years have resisted the most cruel and genocidal of blockades, an economic, commercial and financial siege by the world’s greatest power, intensified as we battle the pandemic, with relentless, perverse persecution, insisting on a plan to force us to surrender with hunger and hardship.

Under the leadership of the Party, the government of our small, blockaded nation, along with political, mass and social organizations and our people, has controlled and is defeating COVID-19, without over-confidence.

This victory, which includes our commitment to make it sustainable over time, is the fruit of the will of a socialist state that places human beings at the center of our policies, with a free, universal health care system and the coordinated and dedicated intelligence of professionals and workers in the arenas of health, science, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

After more than four months actively confronting the pandemic, Cuba regrets the loss of 87 lives, but we are consoled and encouraged by the fact that not a single child, no pregnant woman, doctor or health worker has died.

Unquestionable successes were achieved thanks to the coordinated action of our public health system and the country’s network of scientific institutions, incorporating the accumulated experience of 60 years of revolutionary science and medicine in measures adopted by the government.

For the post-Covid-19 stage, a strategy was approved that should allow us to return gradually, step by step, in a differentiated fashion, to a new normality in our productive and social activities.

The Party Political Bureau, in a meeting led by its first secretary, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, approved an economic strategy to address the negative effects of the pandemic, recover and reach adequate levels of development and well-being for our entire people, without leaving any citizen abandoned to fate.

As I expressed recently, those results seem to have made our adversaries very uncomfortable. The aggressiveness of the United States government against the island is growing, as are its plans for political and ideological subversion with actions meant to discredit Cuban leaders and the work of our government, along with constant attempts to provoke a social explosion and opposition within our institutions.

We are facing very well designed and heavily financed plans to act with unprecedented ferocity and impunity on multiple platforms within the complex contemporary media scene. We are not surprised. The strategies of manipulation, distortion of reality and deceit that are used daily to confuse and demobilize social movements and the peoples of our region are no different.

But we are a people raised by Fidel, who eliminated the word surrender from our political dictionary, very early on.

We know and face the openly aggressive enemy, without losing focus on our political and social priorities, without moving even one millimeter away from the vocation of solidarity, cultivated by Fidel and the Revolution, with the help of other sister peoples who, as Che said, clamor for the concurrence of our modest efforts.

A total of 45 Henry Reeve brigades specialized in disasters and major epidemics are now working in 38 countries and territories, with 3,772 members – including 2,399 women – who have assisted more than 250,000 covid-19 patients and saved more than 8,000 lives. In addition, 28,000 health collaborators in 58 countries have joined national and local efforts to combat the disease, caring for more than 83,268 covid-19 patients and saving 13,636 lives, to date.

The altruism of our health professionals irritates the empire which, instead of attending to the serious situation of its own infected citizens, has unleashed a campaign to discredit Cuban medical collaboration.

This useless war will not destroy or bury in oblivion the human work to protect life carried out by our professionals, earning the admiration, recognition and gratitude of millions around the world, which has led to a movement across the planet advocating the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Henry Reeve contingent.

Worthy of note, in this battle, is the fraternal collaboration of the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua and the Cuban Revolution, three revolutions with governments fully dedicated to saving lives and providing well-being to their respective peoples; three revolutions that, facing the brutal onslaught of the empire and its allies in the neoliberal right on the continent, have, with integration and firmness, defended themselves and preserved, under very difficult conditions, the independence, sovereignty and dignity of the homeland of Bolivar and Chavez, of Sandino and Carlos Fonseca, of Marti and Fidel.

This experience confirms that only cooperation and international solidarity will save humanity from this crisis, unprecedented in world history.

The preamble of the “Consensus of Our America,” a document that emerged from the Sao Paolo Forum’s experience in struggle, is dedicated to the leader of the Cuban Revolution and states: “Among the innumerable examples Fidel bequeathed to Latin America and the Caribbean revolutionaries, two stand out as decisive in the struggles of our peoples, our parties and movements. These are unity and consistent internationalism.”

Faithful to his legacy, and given the challenging reality that we are facing, the Cuban people continue the construction of a prosperous and sustainable socialism, with the premise of what Army General Raul Castro Ruz has stated: “Fidel’s enduring teaching is that it is possible, that human beings are capable of overcoming the most difficult conditions, if they do not lose their will to triumph, correctly evaluate every situation, and do not renounce their just, noble principles.”

Dear brothers and sisters:

Cuba we will continue on the independent and sovereign path, with the people leading the way. There will be no pandemic, no blockade, no imperial pressure that will change our course.

To political forces in the Sao Paulo Forum, we call on you to mobilize in unity to face the new challenges, along with social and popular movements and intellectuals of the left.

The true, definitive independence of Our America depends on the character, strength and correctness for our current struggles.

We will continue, alongside the Sao Paulo Forum, to contribute to the unity and integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

History is made by the people, even if it is written by others. No empire can decree the end of history as long as there are chains to be broken, walls to be demolished, exclusions and abuses to be fought.

For the life and independence of our peoples; for the legacy of our founders, who taught us that even in the most difficult conditions it was always possible, it is always possible and will always be possible; for the new generations giving continuity to the struggle, as Maduro explained; for anti-imperialist unity that is the tactic and strategy of victory: We will struggle, we will live and triumph! (Applause).

Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration Blasts US Moves

Source:  TeleSUR
April 4 2020

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with Xinhua at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 27, 2019Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with
Xinhua at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela,
Aug. 27, 2019 | Photo: Xinhua

In a statement by its General Secretary David Denny, the organization blasted the continuous and escalating aggressions by the Trump administration towards Venezuela. 

The statement reads in full:

The Government of the USA has military ships in the Caribbean that have threatened the Government and People of Venezuela. This aggression is very serious and threatens our region with a war. War in our region will threaten the lives of all Caribbean People.

The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration wants to know tonight what is the position of the Caribbean Governments and CARICOM in relation to the USA Military Ships in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration called on all Caribbean People to protest against the USA Military Ships in the Caribbean at this time.

Tomorrow Caribbean Anti-imperialists will hold a meeting to plan solidarity action with the  Government and People of Venezuela and Cuba and against this USA military aggression.

David Denny
General Secretary
Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration

Nicolas Maduro: To the Peoples of the World

March 29 2020

To the peoples of the world,

 

Nicolas Maduro 2016

In greeting you with affection, I take the liberty of addressing you on the occasion of denouncing the severe events taking place against the peace and stability of Venezuela, at a time when the concern of the States and Governments should be focused on the protection of the life and health of their citizens, due to the acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As it is publicly known, last March 26, the government of the United States announced a very serious action against a group of high officials of the Venezuelan state, including the Constitutional President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro.

This action consisted in the presentation of a formal accusation before the American judicial system, which is not only illegal in itself, but also seeks to support a false accusation of drug trafficking and terrorism, with the sole objective of simulating the alleged prosecution of the Venezuelan authorities.

This American performance includes the unusual offer of an international reward to anyone who provides information about the President and the high Venezuelan officials, leading to a dangerous moment of tension in the continent. I therefore consider it necessary to make an account of the facts, which reveal the perverse plot behind the accusations of the Department of Justice.

Just one day before, on March 25, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounced before national and international public opinion the development in Colombian territory of an operation aimed at attempting against the life of President of the Republic Nicolás Maduro Moros, his family members and high State officials; as well as attacking civil and military objectives in our country, accusing Mr. Cliver Alcalá, a retired general of the Venezuelan armed forces, of being the military chief of that operation.

This denunciation was made with all responsibility, after a control operation in the road to the north of Colombia, near the border with Venezuela, was announced on March 24, in which the police of that country captured a batch of war weapons in a civilian vehicle.

The investigations revealed that it was a sophisticated arsenal aimed at a group of former Venezuelan and Colombian military and paramilitary personnel who were training in camps located in Colombian territory.

On March 26, the aforementioned Cliver Alcalá, gave a statement to a Colombian media outlet – from his residence in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia – in which he confirmed his participation in the reported events, confessing to being the military leader of the operation and revealing that the weapons were purchased by order of Mr. Juan Guaidó, national deputy, who calls himself interim President of Venezuela and serves as Washington’s operator in the country. He also confirmed that the weapons were intended to carry out a military operation to assassinate senior members of the Venezuelan State and Government and to produce a coup d´état in Venezuela.

Mr. Alcalá clarified that the weapons were purchased through a contract signed by himself, Mr. Juan Guaidó, U.S. advisors and Mr. Juan José Rendón, political advisor to President Iván Duque, and carried out with the knowledge of Colombian government authorities.

In the face of this confession, the unusual response of the United States government has been the publication of the accusations mentioned at the beginning of this letter, with the extravagant inclusion of the name of Mr. Alcalá, as if he were part of the Venezuelan authorities and not a mercenary hired by the United States to carry out a terrorist operation against the Venezuelan government.

As a demonstration of this statement, I need no more proof than to mention the alleged capture of Mr. Alcalá by Colombian security forces and his immediate surrender to U.S. DEA authorities, in a curious act in which the prisoner, without handcuffs, was shaking hands with his captors, right in front of the stairs of the plane that would take him on a special VIP flight to the United States, which shows that in reality this whole set-up is about the rescue of someone they consider a U.S. agent.

It must be stressed that the unsuccessful armed operation was originally designed to be executed at the end of this month, while all of Venezuela is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Actually, this is precisely the main battle that concerns humanity today.

A battle that our nation is successfully waging, having managed to stop the contagion curve, reinforcing health provisions and keeping the population in a massive quarantine, with a low number of positive cases and deaths.

For all these reasons, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela alerts our brothers and sisters of political organizations and social movements around the world about the reckless and criminal steps being taken by the administration of Donald Trump which, despite the frightening acceleration of the growth of COVID-19 affecting the American people, seems determined to deepen its policy of aggression against sovereign states in the region, and especially against the Venezuelan people.

During the pandemic, the U.S. government, instead of focusing on policies of global cooperation in health and prevention, has increased unilateral coercive measures, has rejected the requests from the international community to lift or make flexible medicines, medical equipment and food.

At the same time, it has banned humanitarian flights from the United States to Venezuela to repatriate hundreds of Venezuelans trapped in the economic and health crisis in the northern country.

By denouncing these serious facts, Venezuela ratifies its unwavering will to maintain a relationship of respect and cooperation with all nations, especially in this unprecedented circumstance that obliges responsible governments to work together and put aside their differences, as is the case with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under such serious circumstances, I request your invaluable support in the face of this unusual and arbitrary persecution, executed through a new version of that rancid McCarthyism unleashed after World War II. At that time, they willingly labeled their adversaries as Communists in order to persecute them; today they do so by means of the whimsical categories of terrorists or drug traffickers, without having any evidence whatsoever.

Condemning and neutralizing today these unjustifiable attacks against Venezuela will be very useful to prevent Washington from launching similar campaigns against other peoples and governments of the world tomorrow. We must adhere to the principles of the United Nations Charter, to prevent excessive unilateralism from leading to international chaos.

Brothers and sisters of the world, you can be absolutely sure that Venezuela will stand firm in its fight for peace and that, under any circumstances, it will prevail. No imperialist aggression, however ferocious it may be, will divert us from the sovereign and independent path that we have forged for 200 years, nor will it distance us from the sacred obligation to preserve the life and health of our people in the face of the frightening global pandemic of COVID-19.

I take this opportunity to express my solidarity and that of the people of Venezuela, to all the people who today also suffer consequences from the effects of the pandemic. If we are obliged to draw any lesson from all this difficult experience, it is precisely that only together we can move forward. The political and economic models that advocate selfishness and individualism have demonstrated their total failure to face this situation. Let us firmly advance towards a new World with Justice and social equality, in which the happiness and fulfillment of the human being is the center of our actions.

I appreciate the solidarity that you have permanently expressed towards my country and my people, denouncing the criminal blockade to which we and many other nations are subjected. I take this opportunity to reiterate my respect and affection, and to invite you to continue united, plowing a future of hope and dignity.

Nicolás Maduro Moros

Caracas, 29th March 2020

Maduro: Cuba is always in the vanguard

 

Related:  Cuban medicine used in China to cure coronavirus

Despite the economic, financial and commercial blockade that the United States maintains against the Caribbean island, the Cuban medical system has been recognized at the international level.

HAVANA (Notimex) – Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel highlighted the Chinese government’s use of ‘Interferon alpha 2B’ (IFNrec) to combat the 2019-nco virus in the treatment of the disease.

From his Twitter account, Diaz-Canel celebrated the day before the use of the Cuban medicine that has been manufactured since January 25 at the ChangHeber Chinese-Cuban plant, located in the town of Changchun, Jilin Province.

A drug that has cured 500 patients
So far it is known that it has managed to cure more than 1,500 patients and is one of the 30 drugs chosen by the Chinese National Health Commission to cure the respiratory condition.

“Interferon alpha 2B has the advantage that in situations such as these it is a mechanism to protect oneself, its use prevents patients with the possibility of getting worse and more complicated from reaching that stage, and eventually leading to death,” Luis Herrera Martínez, scientific and commercial advisor to the BioCubaFarma business group, explained to the Granma newspaper.

IFNrec is also applied against viral infections caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), respiratory papillomatosis caused by human papilloma, condyloma acuminatum and hepatitis types B and C, as well as in therapies against various types of cancer.

Despite the economic, financial and commercial blockade that the United States maintains against the Caribbean island, the Cuban medical system has been recognized at the international level.

Haiti Joins US-Backed Lima Group Against Venezuela

Source:  TeleSUR
January 29 2020

Haitian President Jovenel Moise has been facing more than a year-long mass demonstrations calling for his resignation.Haitian President Jovenel Moise has been facing more than a year-long mass demonstrations calling for his resignation. | Photo: Reuters

Haiti’s government move came as the Caribbean nation is facing one of the worst political, economic and social crises of its recent history. 

Haiti’s request to be incorporated as a member into the United States-led Lima Group has been accepted, Peru’s Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday on its Twitter account.

RELATED:  After the Earthquake: 10 Years of Domestic and International Failures in Haiti

“Following the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Haiti Bocchit Edmond and a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru Gustavo Meza-Cuadra in his capacity as coordinator of the Lima Group, Haiti has been officially accepted as a member of the Lima Group,” the Peruvian Government stated.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise has been facing more than a year-long mass demonstrations calling for his resignation. Unable to establish a stable government, under fire over corruption allegations, Moise has decided to align itself to the policy promoted by the U.S. and the right-wing governments of the region against Venezuela and the government of Nicolas Maduro.

The island’s government move came as the Caribbean nation is facing one of the worst political, economic and social crises of its recent history.

The nationwide protests that started in late 2018 were sparked by severe shortages of food and fuel and have been paralyzing the country for months now.

Moise, who has refused to step down, is facing widespread anger over inflation, rampant violence, allegations of corruption, particularly the embezzlement of the funds destined for social programs from the Venezuelan led Petrocaribe cooperation program.

The Lima Group was founded in 2017 by countries including Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Santa Lucia, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, with the support of the U.S., the Organization of the American States and the European Union.

The organization has worked to undermine the peace process in Venezuela by isolating the Bolivarian Republic economically and politically. They have encouraged asphyxiating  U.S. economic sanctions and supported the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido.

President Maduro Commemorates 21st Anniversary of Hugo Chavez’s Inauguration

Source:  TeleSUR
February 2 2020

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, accompanied by his wife Cilia Flores, waves from the balcony of the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2020.Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, accompanied by his wife Cilia Flores,
waves from the balcony of the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela
January 23, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

“On February 2 (1999), Comandante Chávez swore by the mandate of the people to transform Venezuela into a free and sovereign homeland,” Maduro tweeted on Sunday.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro commemorated on Sunday the 21st anniversary of the first inauguration of the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chávez, as president of the South American nation.

RELATED:  Venezuela, Jan. 2020: Hardship and Resistance

“On February 2 (1999), Comandante Chávez swore by the mandate of the people to transform Venezuela into a free and sovereign homeland,” Maduro tweeted on Sunday.

During the swearing in as head of state, Chavez said he would promote “the democratic transformations necessary for the new republic to have a Magna Carta adequate to the new times.”

“I swear before God, I swear before the fatherland, I swear before my people that on this dying constitution, I will promote the democratic transformations necessary for the new republic to have a Magna Carta adequate to the new times. I swear,” Chávez vowed to the people on his inauguration day.

These words would ring true as he helped transform the country through a constitutional process to reform the 1961 Constitution and lay the foundations for a new inclusive and leading social model, after winning the elections of December 6, 1998.

After convening a referendum for the creation of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), the consultation reflected 87 percent approval for the drafting of a new, more inclusive constitution .

With 71 percent of the votes, on December 15, 1999, the constitutional text that established a new social model of major transformations in the South American nation was approved.

“21 years later, we became an untamed force that will never stop the victorious march of the Bolivarian Revolution ,” President Nicolas Maduro said on this day.

Furthermore, the Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, recalled this Sunday the historical moment in which Hugo Chávez was sworn in as President of the Republic.

In a message posted on Twitter, Padrino said: “21 years after the oath of the commander Chavez as a leader of the Republic! Historical milestone that marked the beginning of a renewal process by retaking the ideals of Bolivar and Zamora in search of true independence and the dignity of a people that returned to be protagonist of their destiny”.

Chavez would go on to lead Venezuela for several years, paving the way for a new era in the Bolivarian Republic’s history.

Defense Team Challenged Trump Prosecutors’ Attempts to Fix Outcome of Trial: Judge Delays Key Decisions

Source: defendembassyprotectors.org

February 1 2020

By Ajamu Baraka and Bahman Azad
Co-Chairs of the Embassy Protectors Defense Committee

A pretrial hearing of the four Embassy Protectors facing federal prosecution took place before Judge Beryl A. Howell on January 29 in Washington, DC. The hearing, which was to define the parameters of the upcoming trial, became complicated as the judge learned more about the facts of the case.

When the hearing started, Judge Howell stated that she expected to rule on all the issues requiring decisions that day. She added that her previous ruling on discovery, where she denied all of the defendants’ discovery requests, ought to tell the defendants what to expect. However, after four hours, the judge decided to delay some of her decisions on critical elements such as what the jury will be allowed to hear and whether the Embassy Protectors will be able to present a meaningful defense.

Trying to manipulate the upcoming trial

During the course of the morning, it was also evident that the prosecutors were trying to manipulate the upcoming trial in a way that would guarantee a conviction. The first area of contention was whether the word “trespassing” or its equivalent should be included in the trial statement that would be read to the jurors. The Embassy Protectors were not charged with trespassing, yet the prosecution wanted to describe them as trespassing without allowing the four defendants to explain they were in the Venezuelan Embassy with the full permission of the Venezuelan government. This was left unresolved at the end of the day.

Related:  Venezuelan Embassy Protesters Need Support!  Black Agenda Report

The next hurdle for the defendants was whether photos and videos of people who are not on trial or of signs with political messages ought to be included in the exhibits. The defendants’ lawyers argued that people who are not being tried are not relevant to the case and that political messages should not be included, especially if the defendants will not be allowed to explain what they mean to the jury. This was also left unresolved at the end of the day.

Trying to limit what the jury should hear

The most important part of the hearing was the motion by the Trump prosecutors to prevent the four Embassy Protectors or their lawyers from being allowed to tell the jury anything that would explain the context of the case. The prosecutors sought to limit what the jury would hear to three things:  The Embassy Protectors were in the Venezuelan Embassy, they were ordered to leave, and they didn’t.

The judge was initially inclined to agree with the prosecutors, questioning the defense about why it mattered that the jury know about things such as who is the president of Venezuela, international law that governs the treatment of embassies and what happened during the time the four protectors were in the embassy.

As the hearing proceeded, it seemed the judge was hearing information that was new to her. She was not familiar with the Vienna Convention or with Protecting Power Agreements, which have been used in diplomatic relations for hundreds of years and are incorporated in the Vienna Convention. The US already has 20 such agreements with other nations. She did not seem to know that the four protectors were given permission to be in the Venezuelan Embassy by the elected government and were given the keys to the Embassy.

Judge seemed unaware of violent acts of the pro-coup mob

When one of the defense lawyers described the pro-coup mob as ‘hoodlums,’ she was perplexed. When he explained that the pro-coup mob outside the Embassy broke doors and windows, broke into the Embassy and damaged it, and cut off access to food, she seemed unaware of their violent actions and attacks on the embassy. The prosecutors failed to inform the court about the fact that the US Secret Service did nothing to stop the mob from physically attacking the embassy as it was their responsibility to protect the embassy. Nor did they mention that the power and water had been illegally shut off.

The judge said granting the prosecutor’s motion would be the equivalent of a directed verdict, i.e. the judge directing a guilty verdict. She asked what defense the protectors would have if she granted their motion. The prosecutors struggled to answer and then posited that the four protectors could say they didn’t understand the order. The judge quickly retorted that this was unlikely given the education levels of the defendants, a medical doctor, a nurse with a Master’s degree, a lawyer and a college professor with a Ph.D.

Will the court respect international law or will the four protectors become political prisoners of US Empire?

The prosecutors, who had entered the courtroom in the morning fully confident that their requests would be granted, squirmed uncomfortably and worked ineffectively to justify their requests as the day progressed. In the end, the judge decided to delay her decisions on these key issues saying she would take the motions under advisement. The hearing was adjourned at approximately 1:30 pm.

Now, the defendants will have to wait for the judge’s rulings on whether the process will be rigged against them or they will be allowed to present a defense. It likely helped that over two dozen supporters attended the hearing.

Attend the trial

The trial begins on February 11. We encourage supporters to attend the trial as the defendants face the full force of the Trump administration. The outcome of this trial impacts all who take bold actions to resist imperialism and respect the self-determination and sovereignty of people around the world.

If you choose to attend the trial, please heed the guidelines described here so your actions do not jeopardize the outcome for the defendants. Of particular importance is that supporters do not attempt to influence the jurors in any way such as approaching them, communicating with them or giving them information.

Guaido’s failed foreign tour ends with a flop

Source: Popular Resistance
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

| , NEWSLETTER
Guaido's Failed Foreign Tour Ends With A Flop ...

Above photo: President Maduro speaks to a massive crowd at Miraflores Palace on the anniversary of a failed Guaido coup. From Orinoco Tribune.

Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself the president of Venezuela a year ago but despite multiple coup attempts, he never took power and his support there rapidly disappeared. Now, with his foreign tour concluding, Guaidó’s support is shrinking around the world as well. Rather than looking presidential, he appears clownish. Rather than developing new plans to try to topple President Maduro, he is left without any concrete promises from European governments, which have been more resistant than the United States toward imposing more sanctions despite Guaidó‘s pleading for support.

Despite his failures, according to US law, as long as President Trump recognizes him as the President of Venezuela then the courts will go along with the charade. Such is the situation we will face when we go to trial on February 11 for the charge of “interfering with certain protective functions” by the Trump administration. In the courtroom, Guaido is the president even though outside the courtroom he has never been president. Learn more about the trial and what you can do to support us and our co-defendants at DefendEmbassyProtectors.org.

Guaidó Will Return Even Weaker Than When He Left

In his grand finale in the United States this weekend, Guaidó made clear his desire to meet President Trump. There were three opportunities — at Davos, Trump left before Guaidó arrived; in Miami, Trump skipped the Guaidó rally to play golf; and at Mar-a-Lago Guaido was not invited to the super bowl party. Guaidó was a short drive from Mar-a-Lago but President Trump never called him. The Washington Post reported, “the lack of an encounter — even a photo opportunity — could be taken as a sign of Trump’s lack of interest in Venezuela at a time when Guaidó is seeking to keep his crusade against Maduro alive…” The Post also noted that Trump did not show up for Guaidó’s event in Miami, although several politicians including Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Marco Rubio were there.

Read more at:  Guaido’s failed foreign tour ends with a flop

The United States changes its strategy on Venezuela

Source:  Chamosaur

January 13 2020

By Francisco Herranz

As a result of the strong support of Russia and Cuba for Nicolás Maduro, and the division of the opposition groups, the US has modified its strategy towards Venezuela. It no longer shuffles the use of force among his plans. Now it only demands a negotiating process between the two opposing parties with the aim of renewing the Presidency and Parliament.

Although it occupies only three paragraphs, the statement of the US Department of State, released on January 9, clearly indicates an important change of course, not because of what it says but because of what it omits. It doesn’t say it has all the options on the table. Nor does it require the immediate or prior departure of Maduro as an essential condition to address the necessary changes. That represents a very remarkable circumstance in diplomatic and political terms.

The document, signed by the US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, argues that “a rapid negotiated transition to democracy is the most effective and sustainable route to peace and prosperity in Venezuela.” Pompeo adds that “the negotiations could open the path of the crisis through a transitional government that will organize free and fair elections.”

The Pompeo project sets a road map for the two elections to be held later this year. For this, it demands a new and independent National Electoral Commission, elected by the National Assembly (Parliament), as stipulated in the Constitution, to control the electoral process.

Two other requirements cited by Washington would be the renewal of the Supreme Court of Justice, the highest body of the Venezuelan judicial system, as well as unlimited access to media, telecommunications, internet and radio and television spaces of all candidates, parties and electorate. .

Pompeo wants elections open to all parties and candidates, which would apparently include the chavistas of the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), but that is especially complicated because the four most important opposition formations are banned and their main leaders, disabled.
This is about:

First Unit, party of the former presidential candidate and former governor of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, sentenced to 15 years of disqualification for corruption by the Comptroller General of the Republic;
Voluntad Popular, the party led by Leopoldo López, currently host-refugee at the Spanish Embassy in Caracas;

  • A New Time;
  • Democratic Action

The first three are part of the main opposition coalition, Bureau of Democratic Unity (MUD).

The tactical change is very significant because for months the Trump administration insisted that “all options were on the table” in relation to the crisis in Venezuela. That meant that it included the military option, that is, a scenario with invasion of ground troops and special operations.

Does Venezuela have two National Assemblies?

At the beginning of last December, Pompeo himself showed that the US Executive no longer considered the possibility of sending the Marines, although he did not say so clearly. Instead of the military option, the Secretary of State then mentioned the economic sanctions decreed by the US against the Venezuelan oil industry.

The idea of ​​applying new sanctions is the one that takes more force and particularly against other politicians, for example, against Luis Parra, a First Justice deputy who went to the ruling party and proclaimed himself president of the National Assembly, unsuccessfully disallowing the leader of the Legislative, Juan Guaidó.

The United States had asked Maduro since January 2019 to leave the country, and in April of that year Pompeo had said, after a stifled military uprising, that the Venezuelan leader had a plane ready to flee to Cuba.

The sharp turn taken by the White House is the result of a serious failure of political calculation. The US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, acknowledged to the press that his country underestimated the support of Russia and Cuba for Maduro, which was ultimately a blunder. Moscow and Havana “are the two pillars of support for the regime and, without them, [Maduro] would not be in power,” said the veteran US diplomatic representative, who obviously feels “frustrated” by the current situation of the crisis that It crosses the Caribbean nation.

The United States sees what happened in 2019 and Maduro is still at the Miraflores Palace, and maybe it is looking to change his toolbox (sanctions, threats, blockades, diplomatic and political siege) for a new one that sets course towards a negotiated solution. Trump would like it to be this year to show it as an achievement for his re-election in November.

“Nor is it ruled out that he seeks to push Maduro toward the dilemma of making concessions or facing greater danger. Anyway, it seems that someone in Washington reread Kissinger, ”says an experienced Venezuelan journalist.

However, the negotiations that the State Department is talking about now sound like mere illusions, because the process of open dialogue through Norwegian mediators has been suspended for weeks. A couple of days ago, Guaido himself informed national and international public opinion that a commission from the Kingdom of Norway was arriving in Caracas, but added that they were not “going to participate in any meeting”, especially after the incidents occurred on January 5, when a group of soldiers and police prevented him from entering the National Assembly building to be re-elected one more year in office.

Who are the opponents of Guaidó and Maduro who are now key in Venezuela
After his vain attempt, Guaidó organized an unpublished session in the newspaper El Nacional, where he was ratified by 100 opposition deputies of the 167 that the Chamber has.

Another reason for the change of opinion of Pompeo would be the great political and personal differences between the Venezuelan opposition. They did not learn from the mistakes of yesteryear and their unity cracks. Guaidó, who has not achieved much in this last year as “president in charge” of Venezuela, is increasingly facing the radical sectors of the opposition that favor the use of military force to drive Maduro out of power.

The most famous clash against Guaidó has been starred by María Corina Machado. The media coordinator of the Vente Venezuela movement has already denounced that the leadership of the National Assembly is “infiltrated” and that it leads the country to “false dialogues” and “criminal cohabitations”. The uncompromising but popular María Corina Machado has declared, by active and passive, that Maduro “only yields to the force” and proposes an international joint action, while Guaidó considers, until now, that this path is meaningless, very dangerous and risky.