Obama Declares Cuba and Venezuela National Security Threats

The executive order allows the president to use national emergency resources to fight the threat, such as enforcing sanctions against the country.

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In March, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years. | Photo: Reuters

Consistent with their new strategy of planning and working for regime change in Cuba through indirect and covert means,  the US government, through President Obama, has extended for another year economic sanctions against Cuba despite abstaining recently in the vote to end the blockade at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

A national emergency

The United States declared a national emergency to deal with perceived “threats” in Cuba and Venezuela on Friday, along with Iran, Libya, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and countries Washington claims “support terrorism.” The declarations effectively extend for another year economic sanctions already in place.

RELATEDObama Declares Venezuela a Threat to National Security

President Barack Obama warned that one of the main national security threats to the U.S. is mass undocumented immigration from Cuba, days after he ended the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy, which granted residency to Cubans who arrived in the U.S. without visas, reported Sputnik.

Obama used an executive order in March 2015 to declare that the situation in Venezuela has “not improved.” He cited human rights violations, persecution of political dissenters and restrictions on the freedom of the press.

When a national emergency was declared against Venezuela in 2015, Obama also ordered sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, saying they would be banned from traveling to the United States and any and all assets and properties belonging to them would be frozen.

Under the National Emergencies Act sanctions must be renewed every year, however, the executive orders Obama signed Friday are not set to expire until two months into the Trump administration. The move appears to suggest that the Obama administration is concerned that the renewals could get overlooked in the expected chaos of Trump’s White House. If he chooses to, Trump could rescind the sanctions by executive order.

OPINIONThe Audacity of Obama’s Farewell Address

The extension of U.S. sanctions against Iran come despite the historic agreement reached last year between the two countries. The extension of sanctions against Russia, imposed in response to their actions in Ukraine and Crimea, come amidst recent hysteria about suspected interference in the U.S. election by the Putin regime. Some have speculated that Trump’s pick for foreign secretary, Rex Tillerson, may soon move to remove the sanctions given they block a multi-billion dollar project he negotiated with Russia while CEO of ExxonMobile.

The United States currently has 31 officially declared national emergencies.

Sources:  TeleSUR, Curacao Chronicle

Raúl bids farewell to President Maduro

Source:  Granma

December 16 2016

On the afternoon of December 15, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, bid farewell to Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at Havana’s José Martí International Airport

by: Granma | internet@granma.cu

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Photo: Estudio Revolución

On the afternoon of December 15, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, bid farewell to Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.

Also returning to Venezuela with Maduro were First Combatant Cilia Flores; Ricardo Menéndez, vice president of the Councils of Ministers for Planning and Knowledge, and Minister of Planning; Eríka Farías, vice president and minister for Social Participation; Admiral Carmen Meléndez, minister of Defense; Eulogio del Pino, minister for Oil; and Wilmar Castro Sotelo, minister of Agriculture, who also participated in the solidarity event supporting the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held at the Havana International Convention Center, to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the creation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) and 22 years since the first encounter between Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.

Venezuela’s Maduro Announces Next Steps to Combat Currency War

Source:  TeleSUR
December 13 2016

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President Nicolas Maduro. | Photo: AVN

According to authorities, the objective of the currency war is to leave the country with no liquidity in order to cause chaos in daily transactions.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday that security forces have been deployed to banking facilities in the private and public sector in order to monitor the inventory of available bills of 100 bolivars.

RELATED: Why Are Venezuela 100-Bolivar Bills Accumulating in Colombia?

In a communique, the president thanked the central bank for cooperating and ordered banks to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for Venezuelan individuals.

He also ordered the reduction of the value-added tax of 2 percent for transactions online.

Criminal and right-wing elements

Maduro signed a decree Sunday establishing the end of the circulation of the 100 bolivars bill with the aim of stopping the extraction of the Venezuelan currency by criminal and right-wing elements that carry out illicit activities.

According to Venezuelan authorities, the money is withdrawn through various NGOs — contracted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury — to stifle Venezuela’s financial system.

NGOs hired organized crime groups

Through this operation, NGOs hired organized crime groups to extract tickets for which they paid between US$0.80 cents and US$1.30.

Venezuelans who have 100 bolivars bills can continue to use them in all their payments until they are out of circulation and will also have the possibility to exchange them at the public bank or deposit them in their accounts of any banking entity for 72 hours, beginning Tuesday.

Presidential legal adviser, Elvis Amoroso, explained that at the end of the 72-hour period for the exchange, the Central Bank of Venezuela will open a period of 10 days to continue the exchange.

Venezuela’s Dialogue: A Win for Maduro and the Revolution

Source:  TeleSUR
November 13 2016

Recently there have been a handful of moments where Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution looked like it was on the brink of being defeated. Vilified in the media and under attack from right-wing forces and their imperialist allies, even the staunchest supporters of the process initiated by Hugo Chavez over a decade-and-half ago wondered aloud if there would be a coup or a foreign military intervention.

RELATED:  Venezuelan Government and Opposition Hold ‘Successful’ Talks

maduro viviendo.jpgPresident Nicolas Maduro was dealt a very difficult hand after the sudden and tragic death of Chavez and the collapse of the price of oil which hit Venezuela hard — despite efforts to diversify the economy — the country was highly dependent on the income and cash that came from the sale of oil on the international market.

But the Bolivarian Revolution has endured and with the recent talks between the government and the opposition, it looks like things have taken a turn for the better, giving the government some breathing room.

Right wing  obsession

Of course, the right wing — with its history of sabotage and its obsession to overthrow the progressive government — cannot be trusted and can renege on any and all agreements at any moment or come up with new efforts at sabotage, aided and abetted by U.S. imperialism, which has also been relentless in its battle to destroy Venezuela’s 21st century socialism.

This, however, does not negate the fact that the talks have far exceeded expectations and should be seen as a victory for the Maduro government and the Bolivarian Revolution.

Dialogue –  a victory

While the government has certainly offered its share of concessions to the opposition, the fact that the talks are even happening at all should be seen as a victory for the revolution. For months the opposition refused to heed Maduro’s call to participate in dialogue.

Though the opposition insisted that talks be limited to political questions, with polls showing Venezuelans wanted politicians of all stripes to get on with fixing the country’s economic problems and leave the political games aside, they accepted that economic issues would form part of the talks.

RELATED:  Media Deliberately Omits Critical Info to Demonize Venezuela

This too was a big win for the revolution, as the number one element undermining support for the government are the shortages of food, medicine, and basic products.

Sabotage against the Venezuelan economy

In the last round of talks, the government and the opposition coalition agreed to work together to “combat sabotage, boycott and aggression against the Venezuelan economy,” or what President Maduro has called an “economic war.”

By signing on to this agreement, the opposition has acknowledged that there is indeed an economic war afoot. Key leaders of the opposition consistently denied there was sabotage taking place, alleging instead that the shortages were entirely the fault of the government and their economic policy.

There should be no illusions that the right wing will suddenly end their economic sabotage, but the dialogue process has made it much more difficult for them to continue and justify their destructive course.

The two sides also agreed on a roadmap to “normalize the constitutional relations between the different powers of the state.”

National Electoral Council

The parties agreed to jointly name two new representatives to the National Electoral Council when the terms of two sitting members expire in December. With this, the right-wing coalition and their friends in the private media will no longer be able to claim that elections are rigged.

The deal also says that both parties will work to bring the National Assembly into compliance with a ruling by the Supreme Court.

The opposition-controlled parliament has been operating without legitimacy for months after they defied the Supreme Court, but the leadership steadfastly refused to acknowledge the ruling.

RELATED:  Why Venezuela Suspended the Recall Referendum Against Maduro

The opposition overplayed its hand, believing itself to be the new dominant political force, they failed to act on their campaign commitments to address the economic crisis in the country, though now they deny they ever promised anything of the sort.

Playing political games

In the year that they’ve been in control of the legislative branch, they’ve done little actual legislating. Instead of proposing solutions, they set out to play political games, like the recall referendum to oust Maduro and the attempt at an amnesty to free what they call “political prisoners,” but in reality are people who were jailed for fomenting violence that led to real-life murders of Chavistas.

As a result of the talks, the opposition has now been forced to retreat from its game of brinkmanship.

Together these steps completely undermine accusations that the Maduro government is a “dictatorship.”

Right-wing division

Perhaps most importantly, however, the talks have once again served to expose the deep divisions that exist in the right-wing opposition coalition.

They released a statement that the talks were going in “the right direction,” but parties within the coalition, such as the party of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, have come out against the talks.

Lopez’s party, Popular Will, slammed the dialogue process as “futile” and called for the National Assembly to restart an impeachment bid against Maduro.

Fragile opposition

It was the launch of the talks that led the parliament to abandon its bid to try to impeach the president and it is unlikely the parties that make up the coalition will be able to agree to relaunch this effort as long as the talks are ongoing.

The truth is the opposition, known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable, is united in name only. The coalition is made up of a dozen or so parties, many of which fiercely dislike and disagree with each other, limiting their ability to actually operate in concert and dramatically weakening their power.

Private media outlets have gone to great lengths to portray an image of a besieged but resilient opposition. But the situation the opposition finds itself in is a monster of their own creation.

If the opposition could have, they would have already ousted Maduro. But their ineptitude led them to pursue a number of failed strategies, including demanding the president’s resignation and later trying to reduce Maduro’s term in a flagrant violation of the constitution.

President Maduro

Even the constitutional mechanism to remove a sitting president appears to be off the table now with Henry Ramos Allup, head of the National Assembly, recently admitting that the effort to oust President Maduro via a recall referendum was effectively dead.

There are voices within the opposition, such as Maria Cornia Machado, that still want to try to hold the recall. Her frustration was palpable in a recent series of tweets, where she appeared to lament the fact that the moment to oust Maduro had escaped them.

Machado has threatened to call for more street protests if a date for the referendum isn’t set, as has opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

OPINION:  Venezuela Re-Declared a Dictatorship by US Media

However, the talks have also served to marginalize these elements of the opposition. There is widespread support for the ongoing dialogue, including from the United States government, which puts people like Lopez, Machado and Capriles out of step with their masters in Washington.

No widespread appetite for violent protests

More importantly, Venezuelans simply do not have the stomach for another round of violent protests like those seen in early 2014 that saw 43 people killed. Though some elements of the opposition’s base will heed the call for violence, there is no widespread appetite for the kinds of social clashes some elements of the opposition would like to see, including their failed attempts at the “taking of” Caracas and Venezuela in the past months.

Despite the ongoing economic challenges, a large segment of the Venezuelan population recalls life under right-wing governments and have no desire to go back to those days. They are hoping these talks will produce results so that the revolution can continue to move forward.

Within less than a month, the Maduro government has gone from being under attack to having the strategic advantage, that too should be understood as a clear victory for the Bolivarian Revolution.

In essence, the right wing and imperialist efforts to defeat the revolution in 2016 have failed.

Maduro: Coup in Brazil, Killing of Bolivia Minister ‘Imperialist Attack’ Against All

Source:  TeleSUR
August 27 2016

President Maduro said the recent events in Bolivia and Brazil are part of a new plan to destabilize progressive governments in the region.

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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a rally in Caracas | Photo: Reuters

Following the murder of the Bolivian vice minister by miners and as the impeachment against President Dilma Rousseff reaches its final stage, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro warned Saturday of “imperialist” attacks on the region’s left and compared the situation to a new Plan Condor.

RELATED:  Venezuelan Workers Rally to Support Maduro, Bolivarian Movement

“It’s an imperialist attack against all,” said Maduro. “From Venezuela we will fight the coup of the oligarchy.”

Plan Condor was a U.S.-backed military and intelligence operation in the 1970s that saw Washington tacitly support state-sponsored terror to eliminate subversive, left-wing sectors of society and control the perceived threat of communism.

On Saturday, the Venezuelan leader said he will fight for sovereignty alongside the Latin American people and with the support of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, President Evo Morales in Bolivia, President Rafael Correa in Ecuador and President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

RELATED: Despite Crisis, Venezuelan Social Missions Continue

Peace and democracy

Maduro made the comments as he spoke to workers and supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution at a rally outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. He called on Venezuelans to defend peace, the future and democracy against what he termed a planned coup by the opposition in the country.

“Venezuela has lived hours of anguish and pain that we can’t afford to live again,” said Maduro. “In order to maintain and build our freedom and our independence, to not be slaves any more of the Yankee empire”.

On Monday, national television channels will broadcast a documentary in Venezuela on the coup d’etat against former president Hugo Chavez on April 11, 2002, called “Keys of a Massacre” from director Angel Palacios.

Massive Turnout in Defense of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution

Source:  TeleSUR
September 1 2016

As opposition supporters protested in the streets of Caracas, pro-government Chavistas came out to show their support for President Maduro and to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.

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Thousands of pro-government supporters staged a counter rally to defend President Nicolas Maduro after the right-wing opposition called for a “taking of Caracas” march to demand Maduro’s ouster.

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The Chavistas gathered in front of the presidential palace Miraflores in Caracas Wednesday where President Maduro gave a speech on the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution and the importance of defending it.

See more photos here

Barbados: Bajans Support Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution

Source:  TeleSUR
September 2 2016

Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee at the Venezuelan Embassy in Barbados issued this statement on Sept. 1, 2016

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Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee at the Venezuelan Embassy in Barbados. | Photo: Venezuelan Embassy in Barbados

The Bolivarian Revolution, legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez and led by Nicolas Maduro Moros, Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is an ethical, political, social and cultural reference in the “Nuestroamericana” Region.

IN PHOTOS:  Massive Turnout in Defense of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution

The Bolivarian Government, in its principle of peace, solidarity and Latin American and Caribbean integration, has developed different policies that have favored the Venezuelan people and also the people of the world.

In recent months, the Venezuelan people have been subjected to an economic and political war (shortages, hoarding, murder of revolutionary leaders) directed and financed by the U.S. empire and executed by the Venezuelan opposition, with the sole purpose of demoralizing and inciting Coups; as it has occurred in Latin American countries in recent years, and thus realize their destabilizing action to remove Nicolas Maduro from the Presidency of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

From this complex and difficult scenario, the Bolivarian government has developed policies to protect the people, creating some strategies from grassroots organization to advance the dignity of the Venezuelan people and meet the needs in the area of food and the development of socio-productive projects that strengthen the construction of communal and socialist state.

RELATED:Che the Cuban, Argentine, Barbadian and French

In this context, political leaders, artists, Pan-Africanists and movements of solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela strongly express our support in solidarity with the children of Bolivar and Chavez in defense of national sovereignty and peace of the Bolivarian people.

Long live Chavez!
Long live Bolivarian Revolution!

David Denny
General Secretary
Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee (Barbados)