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Amnesty International Is Weaponizing Human Rights For The U.S., NATO

TeleSUR

August 13, 2017

by Tortilla con Sal

 

Nicaragua’s current Sandinista government has been the most successful ever in reducing poverty and defending the right of all Nicaraguans to a dignified life.

Over the last year, in Latin America, Amnesty International has taken their collusion in support of NATO government foreign policy down to new depths of falsehood and bad faith, attacking Venezuela and, most recently, Nicaragua. The multi-million dollar Western NGO claims, “We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.”

That claim is extremely dishonest. Many of Amnesty International’s board and most of the senior staff in its secretariat, which produces the organization’s reports, are individuals with a deeply ideologically committed background in corporate dominated NGOs like PurposeOpen Society InstituteHuman Rights Watch, and many others.

Mexico has over 36,000 people disappeared and abuses by the security forces are constant. Colombia has over four million internally displaced people with over 53 community activists murdered just in 2017. Amnesty International generally puts that horrific reality in context by including criticism of forces challenging those countries’ authorities. By contrast, its reporting on Venezuela and Nicaragua, like those of other similar Western NGOs, reproduces the false claims of those countries’ minority political opposition forces, all supported one way or another by NATO country governments.

In Venezuela and Nicaragua, Western human rights organizations exaggerate alleged government violations while minimizing abuses and provocations by the opposition. This screenshot of Amnesty International’s three main news items on Venezuela from Aug. 9 gives a fair idea of the organization’s heavily politicized, bad faith coverage of recent events.

This is identical false coverage to that of Western mainstream corporate media and most Western alternative media outlets too. Amnesty International’s coverage minimizes opposition murders of ordinary Venezuelans, setting many people on fire, violent attacks on hospitals, universities and even preschools and innumerable acts of intimidation of the general population. That headline “Venezuela: Lethal violence, a state policy to strangle dissent” is a pernicious lie. President Nicolas Maduro explicitly banned the use of lethal force against opposition demonstrations from the start of the latest phase of the opposition’s long drawn out attempted coup back in early April this year.

Likewise, against Nicaragua, Amnesty’s latest report, kicking off their global campaign to stop Nicaragua’s proposed Interoceanic Canal, also begins with a demonstrable lie: “Nicaragua has pushed ahead with the approval and design of a mega-project that puts the human rights of hundreds of thousands of people at risk, without consultation and in a process shrouded in silence” That claim is completely false. Even prior to September 2015, the international consultants’ impact study found that the government and the HKND company in charge of building the canal had organized consultations with, among others, over 4,000 people from rural communities in addition to 475 people from Indigenous communities along the route of the canal and its subsidiary projects. There has been very extensive media discussion and coverage of the project ever since it was announced.

That extremely prestigious ERM consultants’ Environmental and Social Impact study, which together with associated studies cost well over US$100 million, is publicly available in Spanish and in English. Two years ago, it anticipated all the criticisms made by Amnesty International and was accepted by the Nicaraguan government, leading to a long period of analysis and revision that is still under way. Amnesty International excludes that information. Recently, government spokesperson Telemaco Talavera said the continuing process involves a total of 26 further studies. Until the studies are complete, the government is clearly right to avoid commenting on the proposed canal, because the new studies may radically change the overall project.

Amnesty International states, “According to independent studies of civil society organizations, along the announced route of the canal, approximately 24,100 households (some 119,200 people) in the area will be directly impacted.” But, the ERM study notes, “HKND conducted a census of the population living in the Project Affected Areas. The census determined that approximately 30,000 people (or 7,210 families) would need to be physically or economically displaced.” But Amnesty International’s report omits that contradictory detail, demonstrating how irrationally committed they are to the false propaganda of Nicaragua’s political opposition.

Amnesty International claim their research team interviewed “at least 190 people” concerned about the effects of the canal. By contrast, the Nicaraguan government and the HKND company have discussed the project with around 6,000 people in the areas along the route of the canal. In that regard, even the local church hierarchy has criticized the way the Nicaraguan opposition have manipulated rural families on the issue of the Canal. But that fact too, Amnesty International omits. Their whole report is tailor made to supplement the political opposition’s campaign for U.S. intervention via the notorious NICA Act.

The Nicaraguan government has made an express commitment to a fair and just resolution of the issue of expropriations. Its 2015 report on the canal in the context of its National Development Plan, states: “The Nicaraguan government and HKND will guarantee that persons and families on the route of the canal’s construction will have living conditions superior to those they currently have (without the canal). To that end, the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity, via the Project’s Commission, will guarantee not just a fair and transparent indemnification of their properties, via negotiations and direct agreements with each family affected, but furthermore will promote actions to improve their economic conditions, health care, education, housing and employment.”

But the Amnesty International report systematically excludes that and any other sources giving the government’s point of view, claiming it was unable to access primary sources either from the government itself or from among the canal’s numerous advocates. However, secondary sources abound that categorically contradict Amnesty’s advocacy against the canal. The report specifically and extensively attacks the Law 840, facilitating the construction of the canal and its sub-projects, but cynically omits a fundamental, crucial detail, while also failing completely to give relevant social and economic context.

The crucial detail is that Law 840’s Article 18 specifically states the canal project “cannot require any Government Entity to take any action that violates the Political Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua or the terms of any international treaty of which the State of the Republic of Nicaragua is a party.” Amnesty International completely omits that absolutely crucial part of Law 840 from their report because it makes redundant their advocacy of opposition claims attacking the equity and legality of the Canal’s legal framework. The same is true of the relevant political, social and economic context.

Nicaragua’s political culture is based on dialogue, consensus, and respect for international law. All the main business organizations in Nicaragua and all the main international financial and humanitarian institutions acknowledge that. President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo enjoy levels of approval of over 70 percent. There is a good reason for that massive majority approval. Among many other factors, the precedents of how the Nicaraguan authorities have resolved the relocation of populations affected by large projects, for example, the Tumarin hydroelectric project, completely contradict the scaremongering of the Nicaraguan opposition propaganda, so glibly recycled by Amnesty International.

Nicaragua’s current Sandinista government has been the most successful ever in reducing poverty and defending the right of all Nicaraguans to a dignified life. To do so, among many other initiatives, it has mobilized record levels of direct foreign investment. In that context, Law 840 explicitly protects the huge potential investments in the proposed canal, while at the same time implicitly guaranteeing constitutional protections. Similarly, ever since the announcement of the canal, Ortega has repeatedly, publicly reassured people in Nicaragua that any families who may eventually be relocated should the canal go ahead will get every necessary help and assistance from the government.

Just as it has done in the case of Venezuela, on Nicaragua, Amnesty International misrepresents the facts, cynically promoting the positions of the country’s right wing political opposition. In Latin America, under cover of phony concern for peoples’ basic rights, in practice Amnesty International, like almost all the big multi-millionaire Western NGOs, gives spurious humanitarian cover to the political agenda of the US and allied country corporate elites and their governments. The destructive, catastrophic effects of Amnesty International’s recent role in the crises affecting Syria, Ukraine and now Venezuela, are living proof of that.

 

[Tortilla con Sal is an anti-imperialist collective based in Nicaragua producing information in various media on national, regional and international affairs. In Nicaragua, we work closely with grass roots community organizations and cooperatives. We strongly support the policies of sovereign national development and regional integration based on peace and solidarity promoted by the member countries of ALBA.]

El Extravío Político de los “Progresistas” que llaman Dictador a Maduro

Mision Verdad

AGOSTO 2 2017

by Bruno Sgarzini

 

Venezuela hoy es un recipiente donde se ponen etiquetas como “dictadura”, “irrespeto a los derechos humanos”, “mal gobierno”, “falta de democracia”, “hambre”, “violencia” y “muerte”. Identificándolas todas con el nombre del Gobierno de Nicolás Maduro cuando no las endilgan al chavismo a secas.

Este recipiente por lo general se le tira a una fuerza política que sea fácilmente identificada con el chavismo para demonizarla. Como se vio en la elección de España con la aparición de Podemos y su mal manejo de esta situación con declaraciones lamentables, como las de Pablo Iglesias considerando a Leopoldo López un preso político por fomentar la destrucción del Ministerio Público en 2014.

Hoy este fenómeno se ha recrudecido debido a la celeridad con la que Estados Unidos necesita imponer que Maduro es un dictador para avanzar con su agenda en Venezuela. Ampliamente sabido es que cuando Barack Obama preparaba la invasión a Libia sucedió lo mismo con Gadafi, avalado por la izquierda y la derecha por igual. Y hoy ese país es un mercado de esclavos a cielo abierto.

Entonces se da la casualidad de que en América Latina comienza a suceder la misma maniobra en países como Brasil, Argentina y Ecuador, por citar los ejemplos más visibles donde el progresismo ha perdido completamente el poder y está en serios problemas para detener las reformas económicas neoliberales que se les vienen encima, como los recortes en programas sociales y la hipoteca del futuro de sus países vía deuda y privatizaciones.

Sin embargo, bastante demostrativo es el caso de lo que sucede en Argentina, en medio de una campaña electoral donde el principal activo del macrismo es desviar la atención con Venezuela, porque hay sectores de la progresía que, asediados por la derecha, se ven obligados a calificar a Maduro como un dictador, entre líneas, para ubicarse automáticamente en la cola de Trump, McMaster y el resto de personajes listos a quebrar a Venezuela en mil pedazos.

Sus argumentos, calcados a los de Eva Golinger, se resumen en que Venezuela se encuentra en una zona gris, donde ninguna de las partes respeta las reglas institucionales. Lo que según ellos es responsabilidad de Nicolás Maduro por no permitir elecciones abiertas y libres, en un momento donde la estrategia contra el país es utilizar este pretexto para vaciar de contenido las instituciones. Bajo el fin de transformar el Estado en una cáscara donde, al igual que Brasil y México, se permita la reconversión de la fuerza laboral de los venezolanos en trabajadores de maquila y sus recursos naturales en baratijas en el mercado mundial, violando todas las normas de la institucionalidad democrática que dicen defender.

Estos sectores progresistas, además, le exigen al chavismo que respete ser eliminado física, moral y simbólicamente con todos sus dirigentes presos. Pero claro está que por una vía democrática de todo o nada, donde no se discuta el modelo de sociedad de fondo, en un contexto en el que el mismo Consejo Nacional Electoral ha abierto dos vías electorales para definir el conflicto y la parálisis institucional: las elecciones a la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente y las regionales del 10 diciembre de este año.

Así es que al chavismo se le critica ser audaz por buscar reinventar el mismo Estado que pretende destruirse desde fuera con anuencia de la oposición local. Con una votación donde las postales son las de millones de personas yendo a sufragar amenazadas físicamente y secuestradas por sus propios vecinos, cuando no por los paramilitares colombianos de frontera, que pretenden iniciar un conflicto civil en ese área territorial, acorde a lo que dijera el jefe de la CIA, Mike Pompeo, sobre el trabajo con este país para una “transición democrática” en Venezuela.

Estos progresistas de clase media se refugian en sus mejores lugares cómodos, sus edificios con vistas panorámicas en grandes urbes, y desde ahí es que se suman al coro para decirle dictador a Maduro con estrambóticas explicaciones académicas para ni siquiera asumir su posición real. Según ellos, Leopoldo López y Antonio Ledezma son, además, presos políticos y en ningún momento se detienen a observar cómo dirigentes opositores han aupado a grupos que queman personas vivas y quieren iniciar una guerra. Porque, como decimos, el único culpable es Maduro y el chavismo, quienes se resisten a hacer una elección abierta como las regionales del 10 de diciembre, paradójicamente.

La cobardía tiene ese lugar común del que no se vuelveEsta crítica cómoda, para sentirse bien con uno mismo ante el pésimo momento regional, en realidad esconde un extravío político mucho más grande en esta matriz de pensamiento progresista, influenciada por institutos de la socialdemocracia europea. Hablamos de la imposibilidad de comprender y actuar sobre la transformación completa de los Estados en la región para evitar su total desguace, una vez que estos buscan ser asimilados en el mercado global para volver a “crecer económicamente” con acuerdos de libre comercio.

Por lo que Venezuela es una hermosa etiqueta de autoconsolación, y el chavismo es todo aquello que estos sectores no pueden idear ni hacer en sus propias realidades concretas, en un momento en el que se han retirado de la militancia activa hacia empleos para producir ideas y opiniones para la maquinaria de sentido común dominante, de izquierda y de derecha, cuando sus propios países son entregados a grandes bancos y pierden cualquier tipo de mínima soberanía.

No es para menos esta crisis de pensamiento, de comprensión real del momento regional, en la que para ellos sólo importan los dirigentes, no los millones de chavistas asediados de muerte, porque es lo que explica que, caído Correa en Ecuador, no haya ningún gobierno progresista en el hemisferio que tenga cuadros altos de conducción que sean de clase media, ni tributen directamente a este pensamiento, por más que los tengan alrededor como consejeros.

Una verdadera crisis de ideas, de construcción de poder, que busca en fórmulas de márketing electoral como Podemos un sustituto a estrategias concretas, en un mundo donde el poder global actúa sobre la política local y nacional para torpedearle cualquier acción que resuelva los problemas reales de la gente a partir de rediscutir su lugar en el mundo.

Justamente lo que hoy le sucede al chavismo en Venezuela, en su asedio, es esto mismo, a partir de utilizar sus puntos débiles en la administración, y las incongruencias en discurso y acción para destruirlo como fuerza política, con aval ahora de parte del progresismo que habla más de Leopoldo López que de las amenazas de Donald Trump.

Sin embargo, el chavismo debería tomar nota de estas posiciones porque parte de sus errores, en lo enunciativo y la aproximación al problema venezolano, parten de esta misma matriz progresista que hoy no puede actuar sobre la realidad, y ha quedado totalmente carcomida por el avance de la historia. Así lo muestran intelectuales, ideólogos y arribistas asesores de esta misma matriz, que viven de usar a Chávez como baratija, para generar influencia en un circuito cultural del chavismo, que si no se transforma ante la luz de estas posiciones, está solamente destinado a comer los recursos del Estado, sin generar las respuestas ni iniciativas para afrontar los embates contra Venezuela.

En ese sentido, la convocatoria a la ANC para reencausar el conflicto a la vía política es más propio del chavismo que las fantasías incumplibles de sectores, cuya única utopía actual es que sus empleados domésticos tengan seguro social para sentirse menos inseguros de sí mismos, como si fueran tutores de pobres por la vía positiva (eso que Diego Sequera llama secamente como la dictadura del bien).

Porque si a Venezuela la bloquean por ser una dictadura, ellos estarán lo suficientemente cómodos en sus edificios siguiendo las noticias por Twitter con un pote de helado en la mano y un Le Monde Diplomatic en la mesa para contrastar “fuentes”. La cobardía tiene ese lugar común del que no se vuelve.

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¿Por qué es necesario derribar a Venezuela?

http://misionverdad.com/columnistas/por-que-es-necesario-derribar-a-venezuela

 

Legitimacy and False Witness in a Multipolar World

by Tortilla con Sal

July 31, 2017

 

“The crumbling legitimacy of the US government and its allies in the European Union is reflected in the blatant false witness of Western news media and their NGOs.”

 

July 19, 2016: Cuba VP Leads Delegation To Nicaragua For Anniversary Of Sandinista Revolution. Source/Prensa Latina – Del Sur News

The United States government is currently applying sanctions to Cuba, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Last week, on July 27th the US Congress moved to include Nicaragua too. Apart from these sanctions, the US is also enforcing a variety of sanctions in relation to Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, former Ukraine and Yemen. Some of those sanctions are supported by the UN but, in any case, US allies cooperate applying sanctions in a selective way to suit their own interests.

At the highest level, Western strategic thinking in general and US policy making in particular is intellectually and morally corrupt, narcissistic and irrational. Corrupt, because it is so deliberately intellectually ingrown and materially self-serving; narcissistic because it cannot engage other legitimate rationalities; irrational because it operates on the basis of “with us or against us” paranoia. The recent US Department of Defense report At Our Own Peril is the clearest expression of that reality.

US planners really believe that following World War Two the US and its allies shaped and controlled a benign world order and that currently the US and its allies abide by and defend international law. They also assert they project a legitimate, truthful account of world events. Given these insane false beliefs underpinning Western strategic planning, actual and potential targets of Western aggression are bound to work out active measures and alliances based on realistic self-defense.

For the foreseeable future, demented Western foreign policy is in a stage of aggravated desperation as US policymakers adapt to what the DoD report says “can only be described as the early post-U.S. primacy epoch…..This new reality has far-reaching implications for American defense policy, strategy, planning, and risk calculation.” Among the factors contributing to the new risk environment, the report highlights “the weaponization of information, disinformation, and disaffection.” US military leaders now believe they are already losing their long taken for granted global ideological dominance.

Bringing together progressive and revolutionary movements from across Latin America and the Caribbean, the recent Sao Paulo Forum in Nicaragua also recognized the fundamental importance of the West’s global psychological warfare campaign against the majority world. The Forum’s final declaration notes,

“We should create an anti-hegemonic cultural and communications front incorporating the initiatives of progressive governments as well as the efforts of progressive political forces and social movements, a true revolution is impossible if not accompanied by a deep cultural and communications revolution.”

In this context, reality has definitely caught up and overtaken the wishful rhetoric of the Western corporate elites, their carefully groomed governments, their inept, dysfunctional financial system and, perhaps most clearly of all, their dishonest, counterfeit media. In all of these arenas, strategic analysis, economic policy, news reporting, financial dealings, across the West Gresham’s Law has operated relentlessly, with bad practice forcing out good, progressively exposing the falsity and corruption of Western society under corporate capitalism. That falsity is most immediately obvious in Western information culture including not just mainstream and alternative media, but also reporting by governments and non-governmental organizations.

The crumbling legitimacy of the US government and its allies in the European Union is reflected in the blatant false witness of Western news media and the non-governmental organizations which have now largely displaced legitimate foreign news reporting. Few dispute that Western monopoly corporate interests, control and shape government policy as well as mainstream and alternative news media. Less self-evident is the way those elites and their proxies in government promote “the weaponization of information, disinformation, and disaffection” via humanitarian and human rights NGOs.

A few writers have exposed the role of NGOs in promoting the psychological warfare agenda of the United States and allied governments. Cory Morningstar, for example, has exposed the pro-NATO global political agenda of organizations like Avaaz and Presence. She argues,

“the most vital purpose of the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) has not been to destroy the ecocidal economic system that enslaves us while perpetuating and ensuring infinite wars. Rather, the key purpose of the NPIC is and has always been to protect this very system it purports to oppose from being dismantled. Hence the trillions of dollars pumped into the NPIC by the establishment.”

The campaigns led by NATO powers in 2011 against Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria share the same psy-warfare characteristics used against all the countries targeted by US sanctions. Right now, Venezuela is the target at the most vulnerable stage where a shift could happen very abruptly from current low-intensity NATO country covert, diplomatic, economic and media warfare to outright military aggression either direct or by proxy. Ever since the 2002 coup, opposition non governmental organizations have been key players in destabilizing Venezuela falsely exploiting the motifs of human rights, corruption. They have done so with consistent support from Western NGOs like Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, Transparency International and many others.

“Alexander Soros and Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor attend The Alexander Soros Foundation’s Global Witness ‘Unmasked’ Gala on July 7, 2012 in Bridgehampton, New York.” Source: Getty Images [Further reading].

In Nicaragua’s case the decision to introduce the so called NICA Act applying economic sanctions against the country was preceded a month earlier by publication of a report from the Global Witness organization falsely alleging that Nicaragua is the most dangerous country in the world for environmental activists. In 2016, Global Witness had a budget of over US$13 million, receiving US$3.4 million from the George Soros Open Society Foundation, US$1.5 million from Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, US$840,000 from the Ford Foundation and over US$3 million from European NATO governments plus Sweden. The Global Witness Board and Advisory Board and CEO are all luminaries from the Western elite non governmental sector.

Despite these tremendous material and human resources, the Global Witness report in relation to Nicaragua is inept, poorly researched and downright inaccurate, as occasional Guardian columnist John Perry, among others, has explained. In 2016, Global Witness brought out a similarly false account of problems in Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean Coast. But traditional reporting methods, like cross-checking sources or comparing competing accounts of events, are irrelevant for weaponized NATO country news media and the disinformation NGOs they increasingly rely on for foreign news. Now a decision has been taken by the US elites to attack Nicaragua, the campaign may well unfold with sanctions steadily being ratcheted up, damaging the same Nicaraguan people these phony Western advocates of human rights claim they want to protect.

That is what has happened to Cuba for well over 50 years. More recently, those same Western elites and their advocates have supported the corrupt oligarchs and Nazi shock forces who destroyed Ukraine. They supported equipping, supplying and training the organized crime gangs and pseudo-Islamist terrorists that destroyed Libya and Syria. They give support covering up the crimes of fascist Venezuelan paramilitaries setting people on fire and attacking hospitals and preschools, just as they did the massacre in the labor union building in Odessa in May 2014. Morally, intellectually, ethically the Western elites are worthy successors to their genocidal colonialist forebears using the same bogus claims of moral and cultural superiority to justify their crimes. The false witness of their media and their NGOs is a clear signal they know they have no legitimacy.

 

Further reading:

Nicaragua:

https://libya360.wordpress.com/category/world/latin-america/nicaragua/

Global Witness:

BLOOD DIAMOND DOUBLETHINK & DECEPTION OVER THOSE WORTHLESS LITTLE ROCKS OF DESIRE | Rick Hines & Keith Harmon Snow, Part One (June 1, 2007).

DOWNLOAD:

Keith Harmon Snow Global Witness pdf-203BD Combd Final July 21, 2007

 

 

Nicaragua: Corporate Media Continues its Psychological Warfare Campaign Against the Sandinista Government

Libya 360 | Tortilla Con Sal | TeleSUR

August 9, 2016

The reposting in various progressive outlets of biased report confirms the convergence in reporting international affairs between alternative and corporate media.

A couple sits in front of a mural depicting Venezuela’s revolutionary Hugo Chavez (C), Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro (R) and Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega (L) in Managua January 3, 2013. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Most economists agree the rate of profit for corporations in the United States has been falling significantly for decades, roughly to one third of what it was in the early 1960s. For corporations to maintain or increase profits they seek higher productivity and sales and lower taxes. In the current depressed global economic environment, generally higher sales seem out of the question.

In most countries in North America and Europe, corporate taxation is already low while corporate tax avoidance is a very successful industry barely under control from regulation which, when it exists at all, lags far behind. The long term tendency to lower profits means corporations focus more sharply on productivity and correspondingly on more intense cuts in labor costs.

In economic terms, the result of this process has been long-term stagnant or even falling incomes for people in North America and Europe, compounded by debt but relieved to some extent by government benefits. Politically, the result is even greater and more obvious coherence between corporate economic power and government, which is the classic profile of fascism. That stark reality is clearer than ever before in the presidential candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But most Western news and information media persist in reporting as if the United States were a democracy, while domestic levels of poverty and inequality increase precisely because almost all the vestiges of democracy U.S. society may once have had are gone.

That domestic reality seems to have increased the desperation of Western media misrepresentation of international affairs. In Latin America and the Caribbean, governments successful in reducing poverty and inequality suffer enduringly fierce disinformation campaigns in almost all North American and European media. The levels of aggression vary over time but the underlying venal, gratuitous hostility is permanent. Right now, the media offensive against Venezuela is in relentless high gear because the NATO country corporate elites believe that with another big push they will finally inflict a lasting setback on the Bolivarian Revolution. In other countries, levels of media aggression vary depending on the political timetable of events.

Referendums or national elections almost invariably trigger redoubled, vicious campaigns in the general psychological warfare offensive. In Bolivia last year, the media disinformation campaign peaked ahead of the referendum on the possibility of Evo Morales being a candidate for the country’s next presidential election. All through 2015, national and international media piled one attack after another on the government of Cristina Fernandez in Argentina to discredit her party and its candidates in the country’s national elections that year. A similar prolonged media blitz facilitated the start of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. The attacks on Rafael Correa’s government in Ecuador are constant. On Cuba, Western media coverage remains extremely tendentious and hostile and the U.S. economic blockade continues as before. Here in Nicaragua, prior to this year’s national elections, the international disinformation attacks are once again as intense and false as they were in the previous election year 2011.

Back then, the main controversy was over a ruling by Nicaragua’s Supreme Court rendering inapplicable a spurious constitutional amendment passed by legislators without popular consultation prohibiting re-election. That ruling enabled Daniel Ortega to put forward his candidacy in the 2011 presidential elections which he won with 62 percent of the vote. This year the controversy is over another ruling by Nicaragua’s Supreme Court, but in relation to an internal conflict within one of Nicaragua’s opposition parties, the Independent Liberal Party, PLI. The most recent poll by the centrist M&R Consultants put total committed voter support for the five opposition parties contesting this year’s election at just over 10 percent. Respected, politically centrist Nicaraguan journalist Adolfo Pastran reports that leading opposition figures explicitly say their objective is “to totally discredit the electoral process and reject the election results.” Working towards that end, as Pastran notes, the opposition “have certainly achieved the objective of creating an international echo that in Nicaragua there’s been a coup against the legislature.”

Sure enough, in one news report after another, shameless misrepresentation in international media based on propaganda from Nicaragua’s otherwise dysfunctional political opposition have proliferated. One particularly egregious example appeared in the Fusion media web site by the anti-Sandinista ideologue Tim Rogers. In his latest disinformation report, Rogers misrepresents his decade-long record of anti-Sandinista propaganda at the Tico Times and Nicaragua Dispatch media outlets, suggesting falsely that he took an anti-Sandinista stance only after the 2011 election. Rogers faithfully copies Nicaragua’s opposition propaganda line, writing “Ortega put the final nail in the coffin of Nicaragua’s democratic pluralism on Friday, when his sycophants in the Supreme Electoral Council ordered the ouster of 28 opposition lawmakers and substitute lawmakers from the National Assembly.”

That claim is completely false on two counts. Firstly, the Supreme Electoral Council was bound by law to implement an earlier Supreme Court judgment resolving a fierce, five-year-old, internal conflict within the political opposition PLI party. Secondly, the sitting lawmakers forced the electoral and legislative authorities to act when they violated their own party’s internal rules. Of the 28 rebels, 21 were were replaced from within their own party while the other seven remained after finally agreeing to submit to their party’s internal statutes. So it is completely untrue to suggest, as Rogers does, that the opposition lost 28 lawmakers or that Daniel Ortega played a decisive role in what was yet another example of the chaos among Nicaragua’s hopelessly fragmented right-wing opposition.

The Fusion media web site states it is owned by Disney/ABC and Univision, now part of Media Broadcasting Partners, which is itself mainly owned by immensely wealthy investment companies Madison Dearborn PartnersProvidence Equity PartnersTPGThomas H. Lee Partners, and Saban Capital Group. These are major investors with a very clear, implacable corporate capitalist agenda focused relentlessly on maximizing profits. No surprise then that a lifestyle, pop culture, entertainment site like Fusion media should also serve up as bona fide news and comment what are in fact downright falsehoods attacking a progressive government very successfully focused on reducing poverty and inequality. While that example is typical of corporate media disinformation output, progressive Western alternative news and information outlets also engage in this kind of dishonest psychological warfare campaign.

Various progressive media recently published a disingenuous attack by the academic Courtney Parker on Sandinista government policy in Nicaragua’s Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region. Parker’s article recycles disinformation spread by the anti-Sandinista faction of the Yatama Miskito people’s political organization, which split in 2013 following disagreements between one faction led by Osorno Coleman and another led by Brooklyn Rivera. Osorno Coleman formed a party called Myatamaran, currently allied with the Sandinista FSLN party. In contrast to Parker, even the fiercely anti-Sandinista La Prensa newspaper had enough integrity in February this year to report on the schism in the Miskito people’s political representation quoting Coleman’s opinion that “Yatama used to be an indigenous organization, now it’s a political party kidnapped by Rivera.”

For his part, Brooklyn Rivera dismisses Osorno Coleman as being an ally of the FSLN, although Coleman is quite critical of government policy on the longstanding land conflicts in Nicaragua’s Northern Autonomous Caribbean Region. Courtney Parker omits all this vital information, giving the impression that the Yatama political party and its longstanding leader Brooklyn Rivera faithfully represent Miskito opinion. In fact, Osorno Coleman and his Miskito supporters reject Rivera’s leadership and accuse other Yatama leaders of having illegally sold large tracts of Indigenous people’s lands (that constitute in total around 30 percent of Nicaragua’s national territory) to non-Miskito farming families, who themselves have been killed or wounded in attacks by Miskitos. Omitting all that context, Parker reports selectively and inaccurately on incidents like the death last year of Mario Leman Muller a Miskito leader who, she alleges “was shot on September 15, 2015—a day otherwise marked in celebration of Miskitu independence. Sandinista youth raided YATAMA headquarters and shot Lehman in cold blood.”

In fact, the events leading to Muller’s shooting were confused and extremely heated. Muller died in a confrontation following violent attacks by Yatama militants on school children, parents and teachers attending celebrations for the anniversaries of the 1856 Battle of San Jacinto and of Nicaragua’s Independence in 1821. Following the violent reaction to the extremely violent provocations of Yatama activists, Muller died of a heart attack while being urgently transported for treatment in Managua on a plane sent specifically by the Nicaraguan government to evacuate people wounded in the disturbances. Parker and her editors completely misrepresent those events and other related incidents and their context. Instead, they recycle Yatama propaganda effectively covering up that political movement’s role in the disturbing events Parker fails to report fairly and honestly. The reposting in various progressive outlets of Courtney Parker’s report confirms the convergence in reporting international affairs between alternative and corporate media. Frequently—for example on Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Nicaragua, or Venezuela too—they are practically indistinguishable.

This convergence operates largely because alternative media in the West tend to adopt similar abysmal standards of credibility as those set by corporate media, targeting the political tastes of different segments of the same economic classes. Shocking murders like that of Berta Cáceres in Honduras get exploited to burnish progressive credentials while the broad, underlying reactionary psychological warfare offensive against the achievements of progressive governments continues unchanged. Clearly systemic human rights abuses in countries like Mexico, Guatemala or Honduras, now too in Argentina and Brazil, tend to get limited coverage or else go completely unreported. On the other hand, complex and intractable conflicts in countries with progressive governments like Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela get sensationalist coverage in caricature, with practically zero context. In this way, powerful corporate investors shape and define the international news and information agenda across the Western political spectrum as part of their endless war on the impoverished majority world.

“White Helmets” in Venezuela

May 3, 2017

Editorial Comment by Internationalist 360:

As the dirty war against the Venezuelan people unfolds at a swift and ruthless pace, the best accounts and analysis are not available in English. The report below is an example of critical information that we need today.  I am confident that readers can both understand what is said and make allowances for the fact this is run through a translator.

A.V.


A new star has been born on the scrawny firmament

Investigative Report by Misión Verdad
Approximate Translation from Original Spanish by Google

They say to be there, in the line of contact, risking the skin, fighting against so many adverse factors in a moment of adrenaline and high tension. You see them attending to the victims, you see when they say that they act disinterestedly, mystically, a question of vocation, of trade, and by custom the “noblest of all”: to guard life, health. Something universal.

They say that they were born in adversity, they impact, they move their people. They exalt feelings (without frontiers), stand on the side of the weak, assist them. But they would also come to the fort if they needed it, they say. They are untiring. They are gaining the applause of all. They receive centimetraje in the means. The awards and recognitions await in the near future.

They become untouchable, sacred, angelic.


Thus, without fault in the story, a squad of rescuers, doctors, medical students, but above all uuu-niversitarios: the “white / green cross helmets” emerge without fault, inserting themselves within the Venezuelan and international informative landscape, Of the current political context.

And the strong advertising campaign that promotes them will be anything but innocent. It contains all the symbolic elements, places all the necessary signs and stimulating data that draw a “noblisima” cause.

But the adage says: if it is a story, it sells. We think of images, emotions and stimuli in the first place; Then the brain shapes it in its rational scheme. And not the other way around. That is the tactic with which a product is placed in the market.

Apart from precipitating a priori judgments about the composition of the rescue group, which has become one of the central protagonists in the insurrectional actions of the coup plot, and assuming in advance that the same operative principle is reproduced in which many people Are incorporated and stimulated by what they conceive as nobility or goodwill, just as many people are lumpy in mobilizations whose main operators act with a different and different political intention.

And, in the context of the new information landscape that has developed in the actions of the last month, other signs and data seem to guide everything in another direction.

Of the political as “spot” advertising

“We have no political color, the medicine has no color and we are there to care for whoever is injured, because that is what the Hippocratic oath tells us, we are to care for whoever needs us,” said Daniella Liendo, for all Practical effects spokesman of the group, in an interview with Panampost , signed by Sabrina Martín.

“There are more than 50 volunteer medical students who risk their lives to save those who are constantly demanding democracy in their country,” he says in another point in the same interview. Of his words that even at this point could be admitted approximate to neutral. “We have been growing a lot, people have given us incredible support and now when the demonstrations started we wanted to take up that initiative.”

And at this point the contrast between an alleged objectivity and defined political positions begins:

“The first aid brigade UCV was born at the time of the protests for ‘La Salida’ in 2014, and revived on Tuesday April 4, when the opposition called the first mobilization after knowing the sentences of the Supreme Court of Justice Which officially annulled the competencies of the National Assembly, already caught up in fact, “Liendo says this time for a work with a clear profile of publicity for El Encouragement, in this case signed by Maria Emilia Jorge M.

Organized from another similar political operation, “The Exit” of 2014, can already be circumscribing the sphere of political and ideological identity. A context. “It is not the same to take care of an injured person in an emergency of a hospital that to attend to him in these manifestations in which we are basically in a war”, maintains Liendo in Panampost, with such turn of nut.

The works reviewed for this research coincide in the same “interpretative” traits: youth, freshness, presumed spontaneity, disinterested virtuosity, and unselfish courage. This (deliberately) generalized impression also contributes the projection that they have been having in social networks.

Bring in reputed figures for their experience in putting together dirty information operations, such as Braulio Jatar , the well-known astróloga and web star Venezuelan-Mayamera Mía Astral, or the new 2.0 organizations of the trendiest, such as the Facebook account Trending Tropic . In what is accused, too, an accusatory, elaborate work. More professional than usual.

donaldo_b

 

 In the image above, consecrated visually by Donaldo Barros, one of the influencers “of weight.” The image below speaks for itself.

 “Before they were 100 chamos who always stayed at the moment of repression, now they are the same 100 chamos, plus the student movement, the leaders of the opposition and the civil society. The departure of a political party of power, now the motives are different: we need people to stop starving, to get medicines to the country, people ask for social change, Liendo analyzes, “according to the note from El Encímulo.

Another disinformation, mystifying element, if you will, is in the number of activists who are assumed part of the grouping. The Stimulus (April 11) talks about 21 volunteers. Panampost, whose work is also on the same date (April 11), already speaks of “more than 50”. Effect Cocuyo puts them in “more than 80” on April 17 .

Reuters, replicated by La Patilla , already speaks of 120 for April 26, the same as the portal France 24 (in English). Both reports offer more than a coincidence: in addition to the voluntary figure, the respective reports come out the same day, with a very similar description of situation, between chaos and “objective” glorification.

Between the chaos and the violence, “the Green Cross arrived”, narrates the report of France24, signed by Esteban Rojas. “When a group of them walks through a protest, protesters stop their cries of ‘No more dictatorship!’ And they begin to cheer them up with cheers and cheers from ‘heroes!’ “Describes Alexandra Ulmer’s work for Reuters.

“The affection and warmth shown by Venezuelans is what gives us strength to continue,” sentence, prefabricated and swallowed Rojas, in France24. Common places, television glorification, political candor, alleged superior intentions that reinforce the “objective” character of the “Venezuelan crisis” and of “peaceful protests.” Epic consolidation attempt.

Not inconspicuous, but rather delicate inconsistencies, which could be assumed as traces of tender premature labor (or bad confessional praxis): “They began to save lives even before they had a license to practice medicine in a care center, and without But they have been formed to do it well “( The Stimulus ). Detailing, in addition, the incorporation of volunteers of the school of odontology of the University Santa Maria (?).

“In the western state of Táchira, bordering Colombia, doctors wear civilian clothing and use pseudonyms to avoid being arrested or attacked by government officials,” notes Reuters’ work, adding a more delicate element in many ways.

They are, as will be seen below, an expression “of the vanguard” of the “humanitarian channel” that Luis Almagro has obsessively advocated from the OAS and the National Assembly in contempt.

The group’s Instagram account was activated on April 7th .

In recent days (this note was published on May 2), in the account of the same network was added the option to receive financing via Amazon and other financing platforms 2.0 style crowd funding . For this, they had to add in their offer to be identified as a company the identification as Medical Company / Medical Company, according to the filter through which their account is visited.

War is also a matter of marketing.

And if one of the rules of marketing is to impact, it is not a good idea that in the first failed attempts at advertising (the image was removed from your account), it might be more effective to place the gas mask on the older lady instead of the sacrificial Rescuer And do not do it on the stairs of the San Ignacio Shopping Center.

Political ties will always reveal the agenda (and stakeholders)

All the works consulted also show the same closure and the general “humanitarian” conclusion: “To return to have inventory, First Aid UCV made this Tuesday a collection of supplies and medicines in the church Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Las Mercedes, Caracas; But also have points of collection in Miami, Houston, Washington DC and New York, the United States, Panama City, Panama, Madrid and Barcelona, Spain, Bogotá, Colombia, and Lima, Peru “(El Encímulo).

Small de facto channels, micro “humanitarian channels” via “direct diplomacy” and “solidarity action”. But everything remains surface. Behind the veil, the details speak more clearly.

Daniella Liendo is a member of the student center of the Medical School of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). It is also part of the NGO ” Doctors for Health “, a very active lobby in the accumulation (under what criteria?) Of figures, data and elements around the construction of the matrix of humanitarian crisis, lack of medicines (Product of “model failure”). The political connection always ends up revealing the usual suspects.

Behind all these formations is Deputy José Manuel Olivares (Vargas, Primero Justicia), president of the Health Sub-Commission and principal promoter of the ” Special Law to address the humanitarian crisis in health “, reverted by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), for its regressive character and its obvious opening of floodgates towards “humanitarian intervention”.

 Law from which species such as Article 16 can be extracted: “The National Executive must receive all the International Humanitarian Aid that they offer to the Venezuelan State, even if it comes from an organization or State to which it has not been requested.”

Or for example 17: “The rejection of International Humanitarian Aid, requires in any case the previous authorization by the National Assembly, for which the National Executive must communicate to the legislative body the reasons why it intends to reject International Assistance Humanitarian.

The National Assembly shall decide, by a simple majority of its members, within two days after receiving the communication sent by the National Executive. The ruling of the National Assembly on the acceptance or rejection of the International Humanitarian Aid will be binding for the National Executive. “

Transfer of powers of last word that corresponds to other powers of the State, “soft” suppression of sovereignty, opening of a “humanitarian front” that would hardly deal with the transfer of medicines or medical equipment, but as a point of circulation of logistics equipment, Military, intelligence operators, etc.

Oenegización of the society, dissolution of political borders of the nation-state (Libya, once again). How many humanitarian interventions did Kosovo have in 1998? How much round of sanctions for the same purpose does this seemingly legal certification offer? How much is guaranteed by international law?

From this perspective, and on the syntax in exercise in the immediate reality, in spite of those who participate under the innocent bait of voluntarism (and not of those who obviously fulfill another mission), it is another front of money laundering that has much To do with information war and little with genuine concerns.

Cruz Verde, as you may recall, is also a well-known brand of cleaning products. The irony appears alone.

Shaping the message, “humanitarianism”, precedents

The operation against Venezuela is regional, geopolitical, global. The same thing, we have insisted to the point of being tired from this rostrum. The methods by which contexts and ways to orientate the situation towards “regime change”, the undermining of the social, the resumption of political control that consolidates the financial economy and force the planet’s hot spots towards the expected objectives .

Thus, it is inevitable to bring in this point the Syrian case, and within that, to the already renamed “White Helmets”. These multipurpose operators that only act in territories controlled by the jihadist entities, which have carried out more than one false file and with a clear anti-State orientation, its integral defense and its way of representing.

Its dubious “humanitarian work”, in the foreground, is inserted and strengthened from the logic of spectacle and the usual perceptual banalization of the transmission belt of corporate media interested in the overthrow of the government chaired by Bashar Al-Assad, Which then comes with the same logic of realignment and geopolitical subordination to Western interests.

As it is known, they were created by a former British intelligence officer, have been recognized, supported and promoted by how much prize is in the talk of opinion, while receiving moral certification by figures of Western politics and global celebrity. The same ones that today are filing batteries against Venezuela, under similar method.

In the immediate past, the “White Helmets” were the main source for the “Syrian government” chemical attack on Jan Sheyjun’s population, which led to direct US intervention by the Trump Administration , By bombarding with Tomahawlk missiles at the Sharyat airbase.

His dubious “humanitarian work”, on the other hand, has been dissected by a considerable batch of serious investigations, revealing the publicity construct and shedding light on its true nature, purpose, and membership in the humanitarian industrial complex that complements and whitens the actions Pure and hard political intervention.

The researches of Vanessa Beeley , Moon of Alabama , Patrick Henningsen, and even Max Blumenthal (hardly recognizable as a “pro-Assad” figure), are a necessary consultation. Beyond the obvious, for the effects of this work will be emphasized in other subyascentes functions of this class of operations:

  • The “White Helmets” or Syrian Civil Defense is a complex network of public relations firms, such as the renowned Purpose, heavy investments, dark figures from the oil world (including the Rockefeller Foundation) and the Syrian “exile” . It was partially created by the Office of Transitional Initiatives of USAID (with a first donation of $ 23 million among other donations), has received training from MI6 – the British Foreign Intelligence Service -, is financed by the taxes of the citizen gringos And English. Within this media advertising brokerage, as a high-level “simultaneous news placement” in various media, taxed (or taxed) other global action operations, such as the one led by the Avaaz portal, responsible for gathering signatures that requested An “Air Exclusion Zone” over Syria (ie direct and heavy military intervention), which led to its heightened evidence in the huge campaign against the liberation of Aleppo at the end of 2016. This last operation Others resound in the “meeting of signatures” against the Ombudsman, Tarek William Saab.
  • In the same way, they act as a non-state actor that assigns state tasks in the area of assistance and rescatismo, since, for example, the Syrian government does have its own civil defense body, specialized in disaster and disaster relief (Active in almost all the territory) and strongly depauperada by the economic blockade product of the sanctions. Similarly, it displaces, hegemonizes and criminalizes the action of other truly humanitarian groups, including the Red Crescent and the International Red Cross, as it also campaigns against the same action by the United Nations on this field of action. A global power that tries to impose itself on local, national.

In summary, scenarios of situations oriented to the Western public, seeking to convey the idea of genuine and legitimate the process of intervention via false flag operations, promoters of disinformation via disaster propaganda, transmitters of the idea of neutrality to be beyond politics.

It is evident everything that could be claimed in contextual jumps, since in operational “phases”, the insurrectional operation in Venezuela is not at the tragic and violent point (and in resistance) in the case of the Syrian Arab Republic . But the precedent, the model, remains.

Situations planned in larval stage?

Finally, as Mission Truth has developed, the panorama of the Venezuelan information battlefield has experienced a dramatic jump in strategies, tactics and methods to produce (dis) information about what happens on the ground, where the battle is Matter, entails, and is intended to climb the same dangerous path.

How much prefiguration and projection into the future have these kinds of operations as here analyzed? To what extent will the procedures that control the narrative be extended in both sphere 2.0, the news, and on the administration of the territory as a privileged scenery? We already saw a test balloon and its results with the incident of April 10 in Las Mercedes.

In recent days, again from his Instagram account, First Aid UCV denounced the treatment that a journalist of Venezolana de Televisión granted them, disregarding any agenda , any war context and appealing to international legislation to certify their selfless work.

If so, they should then also consider all the positive, promotional and exacerbated propaganda that the media clearly added to the coup plot are developing at this time, since it would do the same poor favor.

As a closure, reminder and alert, we will not put the video in which the “White Helmets” perform that simulated antics of the manequin challenge, but a simulacrum of railway accident carried out in England in 2015, as a clear demonstration of how far Can be reached, if you want, in the elaboration and conduction of a message:

WATCH: Maduro – Indestructible Loyalty

teleSUR

May 4, 2017

 

Defend Venezuela

Nicolas Maduro raises his fist next to a painting of President Hugo Chavez during the commemoration of the 21st anniversary of Chavez’s attempted coup d’etat in Caracas February 4, 2013


Our introduction to the teleSUR documentary is from the article “Dear Gustavo, it is with Great Sorrow that I Write” published by Venezuelan Analysis:

Juan Manuel Parado responds to a statement released by internationally renowned Venezuelan orchestra conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, on May 4th, “raising his voice” against the alleged repression in Venezuela. 

I read your appeal, Gustavo, and I am deeply sorry that a person such as yourself, who so many of us have applauded and respected, is making use of their prestige as an international artist to call on President Maduro to rectify [the situation], but that you do not call for reflection from [opposition leaders] Freddy Guevara, the Capriles and their followers, who are calling for deaths every day.

It would have been of great help if you, like Pope Francis, had encouraged the Venezuelan opposition, which is rejecting dialogue, to partake in dialogue, in the full exercise of politics.

It would have been quite helpful had you demanded that [OAS Secretary General] Almagro not get involved in our domestic affairs and even less that he try to have the Inter-American Democratic Charter applied [against Venezuela].

It would have been extremely elegant had you called on the criminal, armed and violent groups to demobilise; the ones that are besieging the motorways of Barquisimeto and Valencia, preventing the transit of civilians, neighbors, their own people, even if they are on their way to hospital.

How well you would have been received by the Chavista youth that admires you, if you recognised that they also have dreams, liberty and a sovereign homeland, although they might be based on sacrifice.

We would have given you a standing ovation if, on the day that Tulio Hernandez called on people to throw flower pots [to neutralize] Chavistas, you had rejected him with the strength of your voice, and that echoed across the planet.

Gustavo, my friend, the country is not just that middle class which is protesting in the east of the cities, nor is it just the poor who are resisting with increasing strength the attacks of this crisis. The country is all of us, brother, and when you, a figure who should represent all of these people, intervenes on behalf of those minorities that are using violence and hatred, you are undermining yourself, dividing yourself and you are losing legitimacy.

The great majority of the media which are today giving coverage to your voice, are lying about Venezuela. You, a prestigious artist, could have made use of that tool at your disposal to raise a point of order against the conflict that the country is living, by calling for dialogue and peace. I am sure that you would have had a lot of influence.

In your reflection, you say that the only weapons that you can give a country are books, paintbrushes, and musical instruments, but you don’t recognize that it is only the Bolivarian Revolution that has fully provided the people with those tools. You are not the only person to have dedicated your life to art as a tool for transformation. There are tens of thousands of us who have had the opportunity to dedicate ourselves to creative professions, thanks to the creation of publishing houses, the public Villa del Cine film production company, theatres, and by the way, thanks to the million-dollar support for the “Sistema” orchestra program where you came from.

You say that democracy is based on respect and recognition, but you do not call on those sectors that have never recognized that the majority of Venezuela voted for Maduro, and that is also an expression of the democracy that you defend.

Gustavo, in the shantytowns, in the countryside, and working class areas, we are also “smothered by this unbearable crisis”, but we are not going out to burn, nor to kill, those who we hold responsible. We are also part of the country, that same country that admires your genius, but who right now see your behavior with great sorrow.

To conclude, I call on you to urgently rectify this erroneous vision that you have made public with the full weight of your international voice… This people asks you for respect, with the same firmness with which we have shown so much respect for you.

Yaritagua, May 4th 2017

Translated by Rachael Boothroyd Rojas for Venezuelanalysis. 

[Head over to venezuelanalysis.com for more details.]

teleSUR presents an original documentary, Maduro – Indestructible Loyalty

 

 

 

Hands Off! Russian Envoy Stands Against Imposing Color Revolution on Venezuela

Libya 360 | Internationalist News Agency

October 3, 2016

 

hands-off

© AFP 2016/ FEDERICO PARRA

Foreign Ministry statement on the situation in Venezuela

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

The recent political developments in Venezuela are evidence of attempts by the irreconcilable internal forces to escalate tensions using external support. Their goal is to remove the Venezuelan Government from power at all costs.

The pretext used for the latest attempt to fuel tensions was the National Electoral Council’s decision on a procedure for preparing a nationwide recall referendum, which is the equivalent of a popular no-confidence vote.

We must state in this connection that respect for the Constitution and the law is the only basis for dealing with internal political issues in Venezuela, or any other country. Sidestepping the legal framework or using external pressure to provoke this are unacceptable, no matter the pretext for justification. Only the Venezuelan people, as the holders of sovereignty, can determine their future based on constitutional processes.

As for the international community, including some of Venezuela’s neighbours, it would be good if their policies helped normalise the internal political situation in Venezuela. In turn, this would help bring about the Venezuelan people’s hopes for peace and stability, a settlement of their economic problems and the continued development of their country.

Venezuela Faces Down Rebuke at UN, Possible New Sanctions

Venezuelan Analysis

September 30, 2016

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

 

sanctions

Venezuela has clashed with Paraguay over human rights at the UNHRC forum in Geneva. (EFE)

A group of 29 countries called for the Venezuelan government and opposition to engage in renewed national dialogue Thursday, amid calls for more US sanctions against the South American country.

Led by the right-wing government of Paraguay, the international group including the US and UK called on President Nicolas Maduro to “ensure the full respect of human rights, due process, the separation of powers and the consolidation of a representative democracy”.

Issued during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, the statement also called for the Venezuelan government to ensure the organisation of a presidential recall referendum.

Venezuela condemned the declaration as “interventionist”, while its regional allies drew support outweighing the Paraguayan statement.

A call from Cuba for respect for state sovereignty drew the support of 88 countries.

Maduro described the outcome of the UNHRC meeting as a “great victory” for Venezuela.

“To their 29 votes, we got 88,” he said.

The fiery session Thursday was the latest in a series of jabs at Venezuela over the course of the meeting. When the UNHRC forum began on September 13, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein lashed out at Maduro’s government over “allegations of repression of opposition voices, arbitrary arrests and excessive use of force against peaceful protests”.

A major anti-government rally two days later drew thousands of opposition supporters to the streets of Caracas and other major Venezuelan cities, with no signs of widespread police crackdowns or repression. Another large rally is scheduled to take place on October 12.

More International Setbacks, Possible Sanctions

The controversy at the UNHRC followed weeks of bad news for Venezuela’s international relations. Earlier this month Venezuela was barred from its position as president of the South American trade bloc Mercosur, while Maduro’s hosting of a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement failed to draw more than a handful of international allies.

Then on Wednesday, US lawmakers issued renewed condemnation, and calls for new sanctions on Caracas.

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the release of “political prisoners” in Venezuela.

“This resolution states in no uncertain terms that President Maduro’s shameful and rampant corruption in Venezuela must end,” said Florida Representative and former chairperson of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Schultz herself faced allegations of corruption earlier this year, after whistle-blower website Wikileaks released documents that appeared to show Schultz and other leading party officials failed to maintain impartiality during the Democratic primaries.

CNE Head Targeted by Rubio

The day after the House issued its latest Venezuela resolution, long time anti-Venezuela campaigner Senator Marco Rubio called on President Barack Obama to authorise sanctions on government officials including the head of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena.

Rubio claimed Lucena and other top officials have “committed significant acts of violence or human rights abuses”.

Lucena herself has no oversight over Venezuela’s security forces, which have been accused of human rights abuses. Nor has she directly been involved in the arrest of opposition political figures such as Leopoldo Lopez, who was imprisoned in 2015 after a Venezuelan court found him guilty of inciting a wave of deadly violence.

As head of the CNE, Lucena has been criticised by opposition supporters, who say her organisation has dragged its feet on preparing for a presidential recall referendum, which could lead to Maduro being forced from power early. CNE officials have responded to the complaints by arguing the opposition itself has slowed the referendum by allegedly including bogus signatures in a preliminary petition that was required to prompt a recall vote.

Last week, the CNE confirmed the referendum would not be possible until next year, dashing opposition hopes of forcing new elections. The timing of the referendum is significant: if it takes place before January 10, 2017, Maduro could be forced from office, and snap elections held. If the referendum is held after this cut off point, Maduro will simply be replaced by his vice-president for the rest of the normal presidential term.

The CNE’s handling of the referendum has also been criticised by the US, prompting backlash from the Maduro administration.

In a bid to ease tensions, the US and Venezuela are expected to hold new diplomatic talks in the coming weeks.

According to a report from the Associated Press this week, the talks will include Venezuelan officials and a US Department of State official. The official was named as Thomas Shannon, the state department’s current undersecretary of state for political affairs.

No further details of the meeting have been released, though another recent meeting between Venezuelan officials and US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly focused on the detention of Joshua Holt.

A US national, Holt was detained by the Venezuelan military in June, under allegations of stockpiling firearms in the home of his wife in Venezuela. Holt’s relatives have denied the allegations.

 

[Ryan Mallett-Outtrim is an Australian activist currently living in Mérida, Venezuela.]

 

FURTHER READING:”What do You Mean 20 Percent?” And Other Questions About Venezuela’s Recall Process:

http://www.coha.org/what-do-you-mean-20-percent-and-other-questions-about-venezuelas-recall-process/

 

 

Bolivia VP Alvaro Garcia Linera on the ebbing Latin American tide

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

September 9, 2016

 

defending-the-revolution

Defending the Revolution, Venezuela, 2002 [Source]

 

Extracts of vive-president Garcia Linera’s address at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (May, 27, 2016).

 

We are facing a historical turning point in Latin America. Some are talking about a throwback, about restorers moving forward. The truth is that in the last twelve months, after ten years of intense progress, of territorial diffusion of the progressive and revolutionary governments in the continent, this progress has stalled, in some cases it has given ground, and in some other cases its continuity is in doubt. Wherever conservative forces have succeeded, an accelerated process of reconstitution of the old elites of the 80s and 90s, which seek to take control of the management of the state, is under way.

In cultural terms, there is a determined effort by the media, by NGOs, by organic right-wing intellectuals, to devalue, to call in question, and discredit the idea and the project of change and revolution.

They are targeting what can be considered the golden, virtuous Latin American decade.

It has been more than ten years. Since the decade of 2000, in a pluralistic and diverse way, some being more radical than others, some more urban, some more rural, with very different languages but in a very convergent way, Latin America has experienced the period of greatest autonomy and greatest construction of sovereignty that anyone can remember since the founding of the states in the nineteenth century.

The four characteristics of the Latin American virtuous decade

First, the political aspect: social promotion and popular forces taking over state power, overcoming the old turn-of-the-century debate on whether it is possible to change the world without taking power – the popular sectors, workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, women, the under-classes, have outstripped that theoretical and contemplative discussion in a practical way. They have assumed the tasks of controlling the state. They have become representatives, congresspersons, senators, they have taken office, mobilized themselves, pushed back neoliberal policies, they have taken charge of the management of the state, changed public policies, made amendments to budgets. In these ten years we have witnessed popular, plebeian presence in state management.

Second, the strengthening of civil society: trade unions, guilds, settlers, neighbours, students, associations, started to diversify and to multiply in different areas during this decade. The neoliberal night of apathy and democratic simulation was broken, giving way to the recreation of a strong civil society that assumed a set of tasks in conjunction with the new Latin American states.

As far as the social aspect is concerned, in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Nicaragua, El Salvador, we witnessed a substantial redistribution of social wealth. In opposition to the policies favouring the ultra-concentration of wealth which turned Latin America into one of the most unequal regions in the world, from the decade of 2000 onwards, driven by the progressive and revolutionary governments, a powerful wealth redistribution process got underway. This redistribution of wealth led to a widening of the middle classes, not in the sociological sense of the term, but in the sense of their consumption capacity. The consumption capacity of workers, peasants, indigenous peoples and subordinate social sectors expanded.

The differences between the richest 10% and the poorest 10%, which was 100, 150, 200 times in the 90s, had been reduced at the end of the first decade of the century to 80, 60, 40, in a way that broadened the contribution – and equality – of the different social sectors.

We have experienced post-neoliberal proposals, which have allowed the state to resume a strong role. Some countries carried out processes of nationalization of private companies or create new public enterprises, expanded state involvement in the economy in order to generate post-neoliberal ways of managing the economy, recovered the importance of the domestic market, recovered the importance of the state as a distributor of wealth, and recovered state participation in strategic areas of the economy.

In foreign affairs, we set up an informal, progressive and revolutionary international at continental level. This allowed for great strides in the constitution of our independence. In this decade, the Organisation of American States (OAS) has been offset by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). This represents the evolution of Latin American integration without the United States – without tutelage.

Overall, then, the continent, in this virtuous decade, has carried out political changes: the people’s participation in the construction of a new type of state. Social changes: the redistribution of wealth and the reduction of inequalities. Economy: active state involvement in the economy, the expansion of the domestic market, the creation of new middle classes. Internationally: the political integration of the continent. It is no small feat in only ten years, perhaps the most important years for integration, sovereignty, and independence in our continent since the nineteenth century.

However, we must acknowledge the fact that in recent months the process of diffusion and territorial expansion of the progressive and revolutionary governments has stalled. We are witnessing a comeback of right-wing sectors in some very important and decisive countries in the continent. Obviously, the Right will always try and seek to sabotage the progressive processes. For them, it is an issue of political survival, a question of control and dispute. It is important that we assess what we have done wrong, where we have encountered limits, where we have stumbled – what, in short, has allowed the Right to resume the initiative.

The five limits and the five contradictions of the Latin American virtuous decade

Contradictions within the economy: it is as though we had given little importance to the economic issues within the revolutionary processes. When you are in the opposition, the important things are politics, organization, ideas, and mobilization, along with more or less attractive, credible, structuring proposals. But when you are in government, when you become the state, the economy is crucial. And progressive governments and revolutionary leaders have not always assumed this crucial importance of the economy. Taking care of the economy, expanding redistribution processes, and boosting growth are the pillars of any revolution.

All of Lenin’s writings after War Communism are about the search for ways of restoring the popular sectors’ confidence through economic management, the development of production, distribution and wealth, the deployment of autonomous initiatives by peasants, workers, small and even big businesses, so as to ensure a sound economic foundation for the stability and welfare of the population, given that you cannot build Socialism or Communism in one country; given that economic relations are regulated by the world market, that markets and currencies do not disappear by decree, nor through the nationalisation of the means of production; given that the social and community economy may only arise in a context of global and continental progress. Meanwhile, it is up to each country to resist and create the basic conditions for survival, for the welfare for its people, keeping political power in the hands of the workers. You can make any concessions you want, you can talk to whomever if this helps with economic growth, but you must always guarantee that political power is in the hands of the workers and the revolutionaries.

The discourse must be effective, and create positive collective expectations on the basis of minimum material satisfaction of necessary conditions. If these conditions are not met, any speech, however seductive, however promising, gets diluted.

A second weakness in the economic area: some of the progressive and revolutionary governments have adopted measures that have affected the revolutionary bloc, thus strengthening the conservative one.

Obviously, a government must govern for all – this is the linchpin of the state. But how does one operate in that duality: governing for all, taking all into account, but, first of all, the citizens? No economic policy can obviate the people. When one does this, believing that it will win the support of the Right, or that it will neutralize it, one makes a big mistake, because the Right is never loyal. We can neutralize the business sectors, but they will never be on our side. Whenever they see that the popular side of things is faltering, or when they see weakness, business sectors will not hesitate for a minute to turn against the progressive and revolutionary governments.

You can issue a decree saying that there is no market, but the market will still be there. We can issue a decree putting an end to foreign companies, but the tools for cell phones and machinery will still require universal, planetary knowhow. A country cannot become autarchic. No revolution has endured or will survive in autarky and isolation. Revolution is to be global and continental or it will be a parody.

Obviously, the progressive and revolutionary governments prompted an empowerment of workers, peasants, workers, women, youth, which was more or less radical depending on the country. But political power will not last if it does not go together with the economic power of the popular sectors.

The state is no substitute for workers. It can collaborate, it can improve conditions, but sooner or later it will have to start devolving economic power to the subordinate sectors. Creating economic capacity, building associative productive capacity of the subordinate sectors, this is the key that will decide the possibility of moving from post-neoliberalism to post-capitalism in the future.

The second problem the progressive governments are facing is redistribution of wealth without social politicization. If the expansion of consumption capacity, if the expansion of social justice is not accompanied by social politicization, we are not making common sense. We will have created a new middle class, with consumption capacity, with capacity to satisfy their needs, but they will be carrying the old conservative common sense.

What do I mean by common sense? I mean the intimate, moral and logical precepts by which people organize their lives. It has to do with our intimate basics, with how we stand in the world.

In this regard, the cultural, ideological, spiritual aspects become crucial. There is no real revolution, nor is there consolidation of any revolutionary process, if there is not a profound cultural revolution.

When one is in government it is as important to be a good minister, or member of parliament, as to be a good union, student or local revolutionary leader, because this is where the battle for the common sense is fought.

A third weakness of the progressive and revolutionary governments is moral reform. Clearly, corruption is a cancer that corrodes society – not now, but 15, 20, 100 years ago. Neoliberals are an example of institutionalized corruption for the reason that they turned public affairs into private ones, and they amassed private fortunes by robbing the collective fortunes of the Latin American peoples. Privatizations have been the most outrageous, immoral, indecent, obscene example of widespread corruption. And this we have certainly fought against – but not enough. While restoring as common goods the res publica, public resources, and public goods, it is important that personally, individually, each comrade, President, Vice-President, ministers, directors, members of parliament, managers, in our daily behavior, in our way of being, we never relinquish humility, simplicity, austerity and transparency.

There is an insufflated moral campaign in the media lately. We can make a list of right-wing congressmen, senators, candidates, ministers, who had their companies registered in Panama to evade taxes. They are the corrupt ones, the scoundrels who have the nerve to accuse us of being corrupt, of being scoundrels, of having no morals. But we must insist on showing where we are and what we stand for through our behavior and daily life. We cannot separate what we think from what we do, what we are from what we say.

A fourth element that I would not say has anything to do with weakness, is the issue of the continuity of leadership in democratic regimes. In democratic revolutions, you have to live and put up with your opponents. You have defeated them, you have won in discursive, electoral, political, moral terms, but your opponents are still there. This is a fact that comes with democracy. And constitutions establish limits – 5, 10, 15 years – for the election of authorities. How can you give continuity to the revolutionary process when you have to abide by these limits?

They will say: “the populists, the socialists, believe in caudillos”. But what real revolution does not embody the spirit of the time? If everything depended on institutions, that is not revolution. There is no true revolution without leaders or caudillos. When the subjectivity of the people defines the destiny of a country, we are witnessing a true revolutionary process. The issue, however, is how we get on with the process given that there are constitutional limits for the continuity of the leader.

Perhaps collective leadership, building collective leaderships that allow the continuity of the processes, has greater possibilities in a democratic context. This is one of the concerns that must be resolved through political debate. How do we give subjective continuity to the revolutionary leaderships so that the processes are not truncated, nor limited, and can be sustained in historical perspective?

Finally, a fifth weakness that I would like to mention, in a self-critical but propositive way, has to do with economic and continental integration. We have made very good progress in political integration. But every government sees its geographic space, its economy, its market, and when we look at the other markets, limitations arise. Economic integration is no easy matter. You can talk a lot about it, but when you have to check the balance of payments, investment ratios, technological matters, things tend to slow down. This is the big issue. I am convinced that Latin America will only be able to become the master of its destiny in the twenty-first century if it can become a sort of continental, plurinational state that respects the local and national structures of the current states, with a second floor of continental institutions dealing with finance, economy, culture, politics and trade. Can you imagine if we were 450 million people? We would have the largest reserves of minerals, lithium, water, gas, oil, agriculture. We could drive the globalization processes of the continental economy. Alone, we are prey to the greed and abuse of companies and countries from the North. United, we in Latin America would be able to tread firmly in the twenty-first century and mark our destiny.

The tide is on the ebb

We should not be scared. Nor should we be pessimistic about the future, about the coming battles. When Marx, in 1848, analyzed the revolutionary processes, he always spoke of revolution as a process by waves. He never imagined revolution as an upward, continuous process. He said revolution moves in waves: a wave, another wave, and then the second wave advances beyond the first, and the third beyond the second.

Now the tide is ebbing. It will take weeks, months, years, but this being a process, it is clear that there will be a second wave, and what we have to do is prepare for it, debate what have we done wrong in the first wave, where we have failed, where errors have been made, what have we lacked, so that when the second wave happens, sooner rather than later, the continental revolutionary processes can go well beyond the first wave.

We are in for hard times, but hard times are oxygen for revolutionaries. Are we not coming from down below, are we not the ones who have been persecuted, tortured, marginalized in neoliberal times? The golden decade of the continent has not come free. It has been your struggle, from below, from the unions, the universities, the neighbourhoods, that has led to a revolutionary cycle. The first wave did not fall from the sky. We bear in our bodies the marks and wounds of the struggles of the 80s and 90s. And if today, provisionally, temporarily, we must go back to the struggles of the 80s, 90s, 2000s, let us welcome them. That is what a revolutionary is for.

Fighting, winning, falling down, getting up, fighting, winning, falling down, getting up – right up to the end of our life. That is our destiny.

But we have something important in our favour: historical time. Historical time is on our side. As Professor Emir Sader says, our opponents have no alternative, they do not carry a project that can overcome ours. They simply make their nest on the mistakes and envies of the past. They are restorers. We know what they did with the continent, in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador. We know what they did, because they ruled in the 80s and 90s. And they turned us into miserable, dependent countries, they drove us to extreme poverty situations and to collective shame. We already know what they want to do.

We are the future. We are the hope. We have done in ten years what dictators and governments over the last hundred years did not dare to do: we have recovered the homeland, dignity, hope, mobilization, and civil society. So, this is what they run up against. They are the past. They are the regression. We are the ones who move with the historical time.

But we must be very careful here. We must re-learn what we learned in the 80s and 90s, when everything was against us. We must gather strength. We must know that when we go into battle and lose, our strength goes to the enemy, boosting his own, while we are weakened. When it comes to it, we must know how to plan well, to gain legitimacy, to explain, to conquer again the people’s hopes, support, sensitivity and emotional spirit in each new fight. We must know that we have to go into battle again, the tiny and gigantic battle of ideas, in the mainstream media, in the newspapers, in the small pamphlets, at the universities, schools, and the unions. We must know that we have to rebuild a new common sense of hope, of mysticism. Ideas, organization, mobilization.

We do not know how long this battle will be. But let us get ready for it if it lasts one, two, three, four years. The continent is on the move and sooner rather than later it will no longer be a matter of just 8 or 10 countries: we will be 15, we will be 20, 30 countries celebrating this great International of revolutionary, progressive peoples.

 

Behind the Bolivia Miner Cooperatives’ Protests and the killing of the Bolivian Vice-Minister

 

The Bolivian cooperatives’ protests and their August 25 killing of the Bolivian Vice Minister of the Interior Rodolfo Illanes requires us to question our assumptions about cooperatives.  What are the Bolivian mining cooperatives? Most began during the Great Depression as miners banded together to work a mine in common.  However, like many cooperatives in the US that arose out of the 1960s, they have turned into small businesses. Regardless of their initial intentions, cooperatives existing in a surrounding capitalist environment must compete in business practices or go under.

The Bolivian mining cooperatives themselves underwent this process, and have become businesses whose owners hire labor.  Roughly 95% of the cooperative miners are workers, and 5% are owners.  It is common for the employed workers to be temps, or contracted out employees as we refer to them here. They have no social security, no job security, no health or retirement benefits.

The mining cooperatives made ten demands on the government, and during the second week of August, they announced an indefinite strike if the government did not meet their demands, later adding another 14 to the first 10.

The three most significant demands included rejection of the General Law of Cooperative Mines, which guaranteed cooperative employees the right to unionize, since they are not cooperative co-owners. The cooperatives owners did not want their workers represented by unions.

Reuters, and the corporate press, true to form, falsely claimed the opposite, that the cooperative miners were protesting against the government and demanded their right to form unions.

A second demand was loosening of environmental regulations for the mining cooperatives.

The third key demand was to revoke the law disallowing national or transnational businesses from partnering in cooperatives. At present cooperatives have 31 contracts with private businesses, most signed before the Evo Morales era.

The cooperatives want the right to form partnerships with multi-nationals and exploit the natural resources without the laws protecting the environment.  Opening the cooperatives to such privatization ran counter to what was voted on in the Constitution: “The natural resources are the property of the Bolivian people and will be administered by the State.”

The Evo Morales government nationalized Bolivia’s natural resources in 2006.  Because of this the government share of the profits with corporations from the sale of gas and other natural resources has risen from around 15% to 85%. Previously under neoliberal governments, about 85% of the profits went to corporations. As a result, the Bolivian state has gained an extra $31.5 billion through 2015, which it has used to develop industry, infrastructure, schools, health care and hospitals to the mostly Original Peoples population.  It has also provided many subsidies for the poor, benefiting 4.8 million Bolivians out of a population of just over 10 million. This has cut in half the number of Bolivians living in extreme poverty.

During the August cooperatives’ protests, the Evo Morales government had repeatedly stated it was open to dialogue, but pointed out it cannot violate the Constitution when faced with the demands of the cooperatives, which are thinking only of their personal profits.

Vice Minister Illanes went to meet with the miner cooperatives’ leaders of the FENCOMIN, Federacion de Cooperativas Mineras.  He was tortured and killed and so far 9 have been charged, including the President of FENCOMIN, who was a leader in the violent protests.

Before this, Bolivian TV broadcast news of rioting miners charging at police, hurling stones and even sticks of dynamite. The police responded with tear gas to disperse the protesters.  A number of police were injured during the protests. On August 24, two miners were shot at close range during the road blockades. If the police were responsible, it contravened the order of President Morales not only not to shoot, but to not bring firearms in the area of the road blockades.

Vice Minister of Coordination with Social Movements, Alfredo Rada, said after the murder that the issue of the mine cooperatives should be part of a national debate. He pointed out the cooperative workers are exploited by the owners, who have created a hierarchy inside the organizations for their private benefit. Rada added, “We respect true cooperativism, where all are equal, but these companies have been converted into semi-formal capitalist businesses.”

After the murder of Vice-Minister Illanes, Evo declared, “Once again, the national government has squashed an attempted coup.”  He added that the miners had planned to entrench themselves at the roadblocks they had established and that documents confiscated from the offices of the cooperative miners mention “overthrowing the government.”  He stated that some of the private business and cooperatives’ owners had deceived their workers.

The US has sought to undermine Evo Morales, going back to his first presidential election campaign.  Bolivia’s Cabinet Chief Juan Ramon Quintana stated over the past eight years the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has funded around 40 institutions in Bolivia including economic and social centers, foundations and non-governmental organizations, at a total amount of over $10 million.  US soft coup efforts reached their heights during the separatist movement by the rich white elite in the Media Luna, and during in the TIPNIS protests in 2011.

In the fall of 2015 the US developed the Strategic Plan for Bolivia to reverse the progressive popular changes in Bolivia and restore neoliberal-neocolonial rule. This was written by Carlos Alberto Montaner, a counter-revolutionary Cuban exile, US Congresspeople such as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in charge of USAID for Latin America, and chief leaders of the Bolivian opposition.  One early result was the defeat of the Bolivian referendum to allow Evo Morales to run for president for a third term.

Venezuelan President Maduro has pointed out that the Dilma coup, the killing of the Bolivian minister, are part of an imperialist attack on the progressive governments of Latin America.  “It is a continent-wide attack by the oligarchies and the pro-imperialist right wing against all the leaders, governments and popular movements, progressive and revolutionary left” said Maduro. “With Dilma in Brazil, with Evo in Bolivia, Correa in Ecuador, with Daniel in Nicaragua and with all the peoples and social movements of Latin America, Venezuela is going to struggle for a sovereign, independent, humane, and popular future.”

So far the US anti-war, anti-interventionist movements have not strongly responded to the escalating US coup attempts against progressive elected Latin American governments.

[Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity, is a long time Latin America solidarity activist, and presently puts out the AFGJ Venezuela Weekly.]