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Paraguay Labels Hamas, Hezbollah ‘Terrorist Groups’; Israel Applauds

teleSUR | August 19, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Paraguay’s decision Monday to label Palestinian organization Hamas and Lebanese militant group and political party Hezbollah, as “international terrorist organizations,” a move that comes shortly after Argentina first blacklisted Hezbollah.

“I welcome the decision of Paraguayan President Mario Abdo to define Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations,” Netanyahu said in a statement  before he added that Israel is “working so that more countries will also take this important step.”

Paraguay announced its decision on Monday to designate the Lebanese group, along with the political faction of Hamas that governs Gaza in Palestine, as terrorist groups. The South American country’s presidency detailed that Hamas and Hezbollah will be ranked “international terrorist organizations” and al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group “global terrorist organizations”. The difference between the labels was not made clear.

With this resolution, the country “recognizes and reaffirms its commitment to redouble efforts to prevent and combat violent extremism”, the presidency stated.

Several states have already listed both groups as terrorists, among them Israel, the United States, and Canada. Washington designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997. However, the U.S. has been recently leading a fierce campaign in the backdrop of its warmongering against Iran and has been pushing more and more countries to designate the Hezbollah (which is backed by Iran) as a terrorist group.

Argentina was the first Latin American country to take the step, gaining recognition from Washington’s neoconservatives,  including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Following Argentina’s move, a group of Republican lawmakers called on Pompeo to pressure Brazil and Paraguay to act the same and to designate Hezbollah.

“Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay are in a unique position to take meaningful strides in the fight against terrorism at the hands of Hezbollah,” said Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn in a statement at the time.

“We must recommit to ensuring that Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies are denied the resources they need to escalate their campaign of global terrorism,” added Ted Cruz, another Republican senator and co-signatory of the letter to Pompeo.

Hezbollah and Hamas leaders say their movements are resistance movements. The Palestine Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) was created out of the military occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza, while the Lebanese Party of God (Hezbollah) rose to oppose the presence of Israel in the south of Lebanon.

The pressure exercised on Israel to leave the south of Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005) produced massive popular support which resulted in victories in both municipal and national elections. Both armed groups shifted since then towards increasingly passive policies, though at the same time they continue to be condemned to ostracism by Israel, the U.S. and Europe.

Last month, Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on Hezbollah political officials, including members of the Lebanese parliament, accusing the group of threatening the “economic stability and security of Lebanon and the wider region.”

RELATED: 

US Blames Hezbollah Leader for 1994 Buenos Aires Attack

August 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez & Cristina Kirchner crush President Macri in ‘preliminary elections’

Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez and his running mate former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner © Reuters / Agustin Marcarian
RT | August 12, 2019

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has conceded defeat in the primary elections after suffering a massive loss to the center-left nominee Alberto Fernandez and his running mate, former president Cristina Kirchner.

“We’ve suffered a bad election,” right-wing Macri said on Sunday night, but vowed to “redouble” his efforts to secure the ‘real’ elections in October.

The nationwide primary election, introduced in Argentina in 2011, is held simultaneously for all parties and serves as a good indication of how the presidential race would swing when people cast their vote in the general election on October 27. The Sunday vote landed the incumbent president with 32.36 percent of support, while Fernandez obtained 47.22 percent. Center-right Roberto Lavagna came in third with 8.39 percent.

Fernandez, who served as the chief of the Cabinet of Ministers during Nestor Kirchner’s presidency, vowed to create a “new” Argentina. “Argentinians realized we are the change, not them,” Fernandez said during his victory speech in Buenos Aires, promising “to end this time of lies and give a new horizon.”

Fernandez’s running mate, former head of state Cristina Kirchner, feels optimistic about their chances of winning the general election and their ability to improve the socioeconomic situation in Argentina.

“We know of the difficult moment that the country is going through, of millions of Argentines who have lost their jobs, we have talked with so many, we know what it is. This gives us the responsibility that we have to reach everyone to give them absolute peace of mind,” she said.

Argentina’s economy continues to sink, with inflation rising to 55 percent and poverty levels increasing to 32 percent, from around 26 percent the previous year. The massive $57 billion deal Macri secured last year with the International Monetary Fund has so far failed to improve the situation.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Food Shipment Destined For Venezuela Seized Due to US Blockade

teleSUR | August 7, 2019

Venezuela’s Vicepresident Delcy Rodriguez denounced Wednesday that a ship containing 25 thousand tonnes of Soya has been seized in the Panama Canal due to the U.S. blockade while calling on the United Nations to take action against the “serious aggression” that impede Venezuela “right to food”.

“Venezuela denounces before the world that a boat that holds 25 thousand tons of Soya, for food production in our country, has been seized in the Panama Canal, due to the criminal blockade imposed by Donald Trump,” the vice president said in a tweet.

“Venezuela calls on the UN to stop this serious aggression by Donald Trump’s govt against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food.”

In a subsequent tweet, the Venezuelan senior official explained that the owner of the vessel carrying the merchandise of food was informed by the insurance company that it was prevented from moving that cargo to Venezuela.

The shipment seizure comes just days after Trump signed an executive order Monday that imposes a near-total blockade on government assets in that country, which includes an embargo against food suppliers, among other basic inputs. This is the first time in 30 years that Washington has taken such an action against a sovereign country.

August 7, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

Give Guantanamo Back to Cuba

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 6, 2019

The U.S. Empire, which controls much of the world through hundreds of military bases in foreign countries, through foreign regimes run by domestic U.S. puppets, and through foreign dependency on U.S. foreign aid, got its start in 1898 during the Spanish American War. It was that war that enabled the Empire to acquire its imperialist domain in Cuba known as Guantanamo Bay, which is now the Empire’s premier international indefinite-detention prison, torture center, and kangaroo judicial system.

The late 1800s were a time of worldwide empires. Great Britain, France, Spain, and others were empires, possessing and oftentimes brutally controlling people in faraway colonies. Although the U.S. Constitution had called into existence a limited-government republic, by the time the latter part of the 19th century had arrived, many Americans had been swept up in the pro-empire fervor, owing largely to the Progressive movement, which was also influencing America toward embracing the worldwide move toward socialism and interventionism. The Progressive idea was that in order for the United States to become a great nation, it needed to become an empire, just like other empires.

In 1898, Cuba and other possessions of the Spanish Empire were fighting for their freedom and independence. Since this was a time in which U.S. officials were still following the Constitution’s declaration-of-war requirement, President William McKinley sought and secured a declaration of war against Spain, with the ostensible aim of helping the Spanish colonies win their freedom and independence.

It was a lie and a double cross of those who were fighting for their freedom and independence. In fact, the real aim was to replace the Spanish Empire by defeating it and taking possession and control over its colonies, with the aim of making America great by converting it into an empire.

Upon winning the war, the U.S. took control of Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The Filipinos kept fighting, this time against the world’s newest empire, the United States. For a good account of that war and what it did to American values, see “America’s Other Original Sin” by Andrew J. Bacevich, which appeared this week in the American Conservative.

The Cubans, on the other hand, surrendered to U.S. power. As part of its victory, the new U.S. Empire forced Cuban officials to enter into a lease that granted the empire a perpetual lease of the 45-square-mile property known as Guantanamo Bay.

The lease provided for payment of $2,000 per year in gold coin. After President Franklin Roosevelt nationalized gold in the United States, in 1934 U.S. officials forced Cubans to accept a modification of the lease that enabled the Empire to pay Cuba $4,000 in U.S. paper money, an amount that, needless to say, has significantly decreased in value over the decades owing to the Empire’s inflationary financial policies.

The Cubans don’t cash the checks the Empire sends them because their position is that the lease isn’t valid anyway.

From a legal standpoint, the Cubans are right. Since the lease agreements for Gitmo were made under conditions of force, fraud, and duress, they have been null and void from their inception. Moreover, since the leases provide for no fixed expiration date, that also makes them null and void under the law.

Of course though, the law is irrelevant. All that matters is force. Since the U.S. Empire is much more powerful than the Spanish Empire was, there is absolutely nothing the Cubans can do to regain their property.

Beyond the illegality of the U.S. Empire’s control of Gitmo, Americans need to ask a critically important question: What business does the U.S. government have owning and operating an imperialist military outpost in a foreign country? America was founded as a limited-government republic, not an empire.

Moreover, the Progressives have been proven wrong in the assertion that the way to national greatness lies in empire. It’s the exact opposite. An empire weakens, corrupts, and ultimately destroys a nation, not only through the out-of-control spending and debt required to sustain it but also through the moral degradation that comes with forcibly controlling and brutalizing people in faraway lands.

After all, look at the stain of immorality that the U.S. national security establishment — i.e., the Pentagon and the CIA — has brought to our nation because of Guantanamo Bay. How can a nation whose government establishes an indefinite detention prison, a torture center, and a kangaroo judicial system in an overseas imperialist outpost, with the express intention to avoid the Constitution and the Supreme Court, be considered a great nation? That’s the sort of thing that totalitarian nations, not great ones, do.

It’s time to dismantle the U.S. Empire and restore our founding principle of a limited-government republic to  the United States. A great place to start would be by giving Guantanamo Bay back to Cuba, followed by a termination of all foreign aid, a closure of all foreign military bases, and an end to regime-change operations around the world.

August 6, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

Mass Rally For Evo Morales in Opposition Stronghold

teleSUR – August 2, 2019

Bolivia’s leftist president, Evo Morales, was greeted by a huge rally in the eastern city of Santa Cruz. Hundreds of thousands of people attended despite the city normally being known as a stronghold of the right wing opposition. The rally was in support of Evo Morales’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, and to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s land reform.

President Morales addressed the crowd on Friday, saying, “We are rallied here so that Bolivia is never again in a state of dependency. So that the Bolivian people will never have to beg again. We are here sisters and brothers, so that neoliberalism nor U.S. military bases ever return.”

The MAS also presented their list of parliamentary candidates for the Santa Cruz region. Leading the list is Adriana Salvatierra, the 29-year-old President of the Senate, tipped by many as a possible successor to Morales.

The rally itself was organized by the local labor union federation, whose general secretary Rolando Borda, stood alongside Morales on stage. The day before Borda had laid out what he believes the mobilization represents.

“It is a ratification of our consciousness, and so that the economy of the country continues to grow and that the victory of October 20th is overwhelming,” he said.

Though the focus of the rally was the upcoming elections, the country was also celebrating the “Day of the Agrarian Revolution” falling on the anniversary of the Morales’ land reform, which redistributed millions of hectares to landless campesinos.

The main beneficiaries were the CSUTCB, the largest Indigenous campesino union. Their members were also in attendance at Friday’s rally, mostly Coca growers from the nearby Chapare region.

A buoyant economy has Morales well ahead of his rivals in opinion polls, however, none have indicated that a first round victory is certain. For that, Morales would need either 50 percent of the vote, or 40 percent if the second place candidate is behind by 10 points or more. Most polls have Morales just short of 40 percent, but leading his rivals by a comfortable margin of over 10.

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

“US Causes Instability Anywhere It Sets Foot”

Al-Manar | July 20, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday that the United States causes instability and insecurity everywhere in the world it sets foot, including the Persian Gulf and South America.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in the Venezuelan capital early Saturday after a six-day stay in New York.

Speaking to reporters upon arriving in Caracas, Zarif said that “anywhere the United States sets foot in, it causes instability there.”

“At the moment, the US is causing insecurity with its presence in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, and also the South American region,” said Zarif.

He went on to add that, “I don’t know any place in the world where the US’s presence has brought stability.”

“Anywhere the US has set foot on, it led to pressure on the people and caused extremism and terrorism,” stressed the Iranian top diplomat.

While in Caracas, Zarif is slated to take part in the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Coordinating Bureau (CoB) on 20-21 July under the theme: “Promotion and Consolidation of Peace through Respect for International Law.” He will also meet with a host of Venezuelan officials before making a visit to Nicaragua and Bolivia.

July 20, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bolivia’s Campesino Union Slams Opposition Protests as ‘Total Failure’

teleSUR | July 9, 2019

The head of Bolivia’s Indigenous Campesino union, the country’s largest social movement, has said opposition protests held Tuesday in the city of Santa Cruz have been a “total failure” after opposition parties mobilized in the eastern city against leftist President Evo Morales, attempting to block the region’s main roads, calling for the resignation of the country’s electoral council.

Teodoro Mamani of Bolivia’s Campesino union and Hugo Torres of the main Labor union federation have dismissed protests, supported by all the main opposition candidates standing at the upcoming elections. Speaking to state media, the two social movement leaders characterized the events as a “total failure”.

This comes after the largest pro-opposition media outlet in the city, El Deber, reporting that all public sector workers and services are operating normally without any staff absences.

The only difficulties reported have been of workers at the ministry of justice arriving by foot, and one person even arriving by horse, due to partial roadblocks near the building. However, workers at regional tax and migration offices were able to arrive normally, despite opposition attempts to block public transport.

State media reported that by midday Bolivian time, only one major road had been entirely blocked by protesters, the newly built freeway in Yapacani that connects Santa Cruz to the city of Cochabamba.

In La Paz, lawmakers from Morales’ ruling ‘Movement Towards Socialism’ (MAS) denounced the protests, David Ramos, former labor union leader, now legislator said: “It is not a mobilization for popular or social demands, it is a political mobilization whose aim is to destabilize, conspire and boycott the democratic system in our country”

Another MAS lawmaker, Edwin Muñoz, reported early in the morning on the roadblocks he saw, saying, “Right now, because of the route we took, we have seen luxury cars blocking some avenues and roundabouts, where four or five young people are there causing an inconvenience”

Protesters oppose the decision by the country’s electoral authorities to allow current Evo Morales to stand for a third term in elections being held in October 2019 despite term limits regulations in the country.

Morales hopes to continue the government’s current approach, that through state investment, nationalization of natural resources and strategic industries, has turned Bolivia into the fastest growing economy in the region.

RELATED:

Bolivia: Main Opposition Candidate Accused of Taking US Funds

July 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Norway, Bachelet, and the Twilight of Guaido’s Insurrection

By Ociel Lopez | Venezuelanalysis | July 10, 2010

Guaido’s uprising is going through its terminal phrase. He does not yet appear to have reached his end as leader, as he still produces and consolidates an important consensus among the opposition. What has decisively failed is his attempt to form a government without elections with the backing of the hawks in Washington. In almost six months since his self-swearing in as “interim president,” it has become palpable that his governing is truly impossible. The coup de grace was delivered by Michelle Bachelet when she visited the National Assembly, of which he is president and a deputy. The UN high commissioner for human rights did not recognize him as president of the republic, but she did propose a roadmap for pressuring the Maduro government, which Guaido accepted even though it represents a deviation from Washington’s strategy.

The Trump administration invested a large part of its political and diplomatic capital in overthrowing Maduro, especially in the first six months of 2019. And it didn’t achieve it. Pence, Pompeo, Bolton, and Abrams squandered a valuable amount of time with disastrous results. Since talks began in Norway, the hawks have opted to wash their hands of the matter and leave Guaido to his own fate.

The fracture in the opposition deepens with every defeat. The faction of the opposition favored by the US government is stronger online than it is in the streets, where it grows weaker every day. Voluntad Popular (VP), Leopoldo Lopez and Juan Guaido’s minoritarian radical party with only 14 seats in the 165-seat legislature, was chosen by the hawks to lead a new offensive that has not only been defeated on its own terms, but VP has been accused of “appeasement” by its own radical sectors after promoting dialogue with the Maduro government under the auspices of Norway. As the Venezuelan popular saying goes, “they were left without the goat and without the leash.” That is, the much-anticipated invasion never came and the actors that could maneuver in the national political sphere, namely the large opposition parties, were displaced by those who imposed a media-driven politics that looks to foreign powers for solutions. And now what?

The anti-government march on July 5 demonstrated that the opposition now does not even mobilize the bases of its own parties. Looking at the social media feeds of the most radical and mobilized opposition currents, it’s clear that they blame Guaido for failing in his attempt to govern and for his inefficient endeavor to secure foreign military intervention. Also weighing heavy are the allegations of corruption on the part of his team in the provision of humanitarian aid, exposed by opposition media outlets.

From January of this year, when Guaido swore himself in, it was foreseeable that street mobilizations would not be enough to oust Maduro, not even those of January 23, whose widespread support was even evident in hardcore protests in some Caracas barrios. What was anticipated was some kind of direct action by the US armed forces, or those of a neighboring country, so that the escalation of the conflict in the media actually reached the national territory. The climax, which took place on February 23 around the attempted forced entry of humanitarian aid, quickly petered out. The same thing happened on April 30 with the coup attempt. They were very weak movements that drew Maduro and the armed forces closer together – the opposite of what was sought.

But the decline of Guaido does not mean a definitive victory for Chavismo. It can even debilitate it as we will see.

Bachelet’s report

The three-day visit to Venezuela by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on June 19-21 and subsequent release of her report on July 5 can be read as a change of scene in the Venezuelan conflict.

During her stay, Bachelet met with President Maduro in the presidential palace and with Juan Guaido in the National Assembly. This may surprise us if we remember that since January over fifty foreign governments have recognized Guaido as “interim president,” although he has not been able to exercise any functions beyond naming “ambassadors.” Bachelet put an end to the farce and showed things as they really are, something which the international community has not dared to do: she removed the virtual throne from under Guaido and recognized Maduro as the only president.

Bachelet’s report effectively displaces the conflict to the political arena because it is accepted enthusiastically by the opposition, even though the document doesn’t repeat its mantra of the “end of the usurpation,” and is welcomed by Maduro, who made two important gestures: the release of 22 “political prisoners” and the rumored proposal for Bolivarian deputies to return to their seats in the National Assembly, which they had abandoned since the emergence of the National Constituent Assembly in August 2017. In this way, Maduro opens up the possibility of negotiation, in which the Norway experience can play a pivotal role.

The report presents interesting options for both parties in the conflict. For Maduro, it legitimates his refusal to recognize Guaido’s “interim presidency” and it sidelines Washington in the dispute for hegemony over the Venezuela question. For the opposition, which suffered another defeat and internal division following Bachelet’s recognition of Maduro, the report allows it to double down on its call for foreign military intervention. The radicals on either side have simultaneously launched a broadside of criticisms at the ex-president, but significant sectors in both camps have recognized the legitimacy of the report, which sets the table for Norway-mediated talks.

Chavismo in its trench

The elements of cohesion in Chavismo are more external than internal. Chavismo closes ranks when confronting an enemy force of the proportions of the governments of the US or Colombia, or when the opposition resorts to violence. Once the “Guaido effect” is exposed as an impotent act, the Maduro government is left standing without tangible opponents and begins to face a crisis situation in which it is itself completely helpless. That is when the seams in the institutional armor covering the government become visible, due to its inability to control an economy that is already liberalized.

What has also become apparent recently is the government’s lack of control over state security forces. Obviously, Chavismo resents having to confront situations like the death by alleged torture of Captain Acosta Arevalo on June 29, as well as the arrest of grassroots Bolivarian militant Jose Ramon Rodriguez on July 5. In the first case arrests have been made, and in the second, Ramon Rodriguez has been freed. However, the accusations of grave misconduct on the part of the security forces, detailed in the Bachelet Report, are a concern shared by some currents of Chavismo.

Other sectors, including the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, reject the Bachelet report. Even now Maduro has demonstrated – and Bachelet has recognized it – that he is making moves to set the stage for negotiations: is there movement towards a power-sharing agreement or rather tactical maneuvers to remain in power?

Regardless, it is undeniable that negotiations driven by Norway open the way for a scenario that can overcome the stalemate in the internal political game. A shift in political and diplomatic relations is needed in order to extricate Venezuela from its current economic quagmire, which is impacting the region.

Ociel Alí López is a Venezuelan researcher who has published numerous written and multimedia works. He is dedicated to analyzing Venezuelan society for several European and Latin American media outlets. He is a co-founder of alternative Venezuelan state television station Avila TV in 2006. He is the recipient of the CLACSO/ASDI researcher prize and the Britto Garcia literature award.

July 10, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Panama’s Open Wounds: Victims of US Invasion Demand Justice

Sputnik – July 9, 2019

Victims of the 1989 US invasion of Panama are calling for compliance with a ruling of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

In November 2018, the IACHR determined that the United States had violated the human rights of civilians during its invasion of Panama between December 1989 and January 1990.

The US Armed Forces conducted the military operation in order to overthrow governing General Manuel Antonio Noriega, who was accused by Washington of drug trafficking. According to the ruling, the United States should provide physical and psychological assistance to the victims, as well as provide them with material compensation.

According to Panamanian NGOs, about 5,000 people were killed. There have also been reports of disappearances and people buried in mass graves, in addition to the damage to property and forced displacement of families.

Gilma Camargo is a lawyer who represents the survivors and relatives of those who died during the US invasion of Panama.

“The IACHR has explained that the American Declaration of Human Rights is a fundamental document. The advantages we have in this matter imply an extraterritorial responsibility of the US”, Camargo said.

Prior to this international instance, the survivors have for years been appealing for justice for their country, albeit without success.

“Panama was occupied, and now thanks to declassification we know that because of ‘Operation Just Cause’ the country was under US occupation until 1994. There was no functioning judicial system”, the lawyer explained.

The “Frente Salas” was created in order to implement the recommendations and make the consequences of the invasion visible.

“We are working together with the survivors. They have accumulated some evidence; and now we are going to present it in the Frente Salas, which is supervised by the IACHR”, Camargo said.

“One of the most Machiavellian invasion plans was to displace the victims. There are 16 displaced communities in two parts of the country. But it seems that there are no victims here; the relatives of those missing don’t have any channels to present charges. The commission formed under the Varela government [Juan Carlos, the outgoing president] turned out to be a failure”, the lawyer concluded.

July 10, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Why the US Puppet President of Venezuela is Toast

Photograph Source: The White House – Public Domain
By Roger Harris | CounterPunch | July 5, 2019

Even the corporate media are losing enthusiasm for the US government’s ploy to replace the democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela with the US-anointed security asset Juan Guaidó. Reuters reports in a July 1 article, “Disappointed Venezuelans lose patience with Guaidó as Maduro hangs on,” that the US-backed “military uprising” has “unraveled.” A critical reading of the article explains why.

Reuters correctly notes that “the 35-year old (Guaidó) had risen to prominence three months before,” though a little more background information would have been helpful. For instance, Guaidó was unknown to 81% of Venezuelans a little more than a week before he got a telephone call from US Vice President Pence telling him to declare himself interim president of Venezuela, which Guaidó dutifully did the following morning at a street rally flanked with US and Israeli flags. A member of a marginal far-right Venezuelan political party, Guaidó was not even in the top leadership of his own grouplet.

For background, Reuters tells the reader that President Maduro “took office in 2013 following the death of his political mentor, Hugo Chávez,” but fails to mention that Maduro took office via a democratic national election. Guaidó has never stood in a national election. He was elected to the National Assembly but became head of that body through a mechanism where the political parties in the legislature rotate which party’s representative occupies the office.

Reuters continues that after Maduro took office, he “has overseen an economic collapse that has left swaths of the once-wealthy country without reliable access to power, water, food, and medicines.” Not mentioned by Reuters is the economic war being waged against Venezuela by the US and its allies that has employed unilateral coercive measures – sanctions – responsible for taking the lives of some 40,000 people.

This illegal collective punishment of the Venezuelan people by the US government has diverted legitimate funds of the Venezuelan government. Reuters obliquely mentions “Guaidó has gained control of some of the Venezuelan assets in the United States.” In fact, the US government seized those assets, which would have gone to preventing the “economic collapse” that Reuters supposedly laments.

Reuters reports: “The opposition’s momentum has slowed since the April 30 uprising. Attendance at Guaidó’s public rallies has dropped and the opposition has held no major protests since then.” Reuters hints why Guaidó’s fortunes are eclipsing: “the opposition says it is…seeking to build a grassroots organization.” That is, the US surrogate does not have a meaningful grassroots presence.

This is further confirmed by Reuters’ admission that Guaidó’s organization is now “focused on expanding a network of Help and Freedom Committees…to organize at the local level – something the ruling Socialist Party has done successfully.” Reuters continues, “so far the committees have gotten little traction.” That is, Guaidó lacks significant organized popular support outside of Washington and its allies.

Guaidó visited Washington shortly before his self-appointment and subsequently toured a number of Latin American countries but has “only traveled to 11 of Venezuela’s 23 states,” according to Reuters. Guaidó’s handlers have directed him to “travel to at least five more this month to motivate his supporters.”

Recent polls cited by Reuters show support for Guaidó is falling. Reuters quotes a paid political consultant for Guaidó: “We can expect Guaidó’s popularity to continue to erode the longer he is not exercising power.”

President Maduro, according to Reuters, had waged a “crackdown on the opposition.” That is, the Venezuelan government has defended itself against US-backed assets who have actively engaged in attempts to violently overthrow the democratically elected government and assassinate key government and social movement leaders.

In the alternative universe of corporate media, which ignores the economic war being waged against Venezuela, Reuters bemoans that the “crackdown” on Guaidó’s agents has failed to receive “significant retaliation from the international community.” In reality, Venezuela has massively suffered from the US-orchestrated punishments for resisting reverting to the status of a client state.

While not consulting anyone associated with the elected government of Venezuela, Reuters gives full voice to an anonymous “US administration” official as is the practice of the corporate media. The US official states: “The United States continues to execute the president’s strategy of maximum pressure to achieve a peaceful transition to democracy in Venezuela.” Not mentioned is that the “military option” is a prominent part of the “peaceful transition”; deposing a democratically elected president is part of the “transition to democracy”; and “maximum pressure” is preventing vital foods and medicines from reaching Venezuela.

The anonymous US government official further claims, “Only Maduro wishes for the US to give up now.” Reuters does not question how incredibly circumscribed is the universe occupied by that official, which renders invisible the two-decade-old Bolivarian grassroots movement in Venezuela in support of their elected government and its international allies. The Venezuelans most adversely hurt by the US sanctions are those most militantly in support of their government.

Nor does Reuters question why in the US, with the conceit of a supposedly free press, the government is allowed to hide behind a cloak of anonymity. Reuters cites the names of a Venezuelan taxi driver, doctor, former police student, and teacher to give a patina of authenticity to the article but can’t name an official US government functionary who is quoted authoritatively.

Reuters reports Guaidó’s supporters “have demanded that Guaidó shift strategy and request a US-led military intervention.” So much for democracy! “We can’t get rid of Maduro with votes. It will have to be a violent exit.” Meanwhile, the polling firm Datanalisis, according to Reuters, tells us that less than 10% of Venezuelans support such an action.

In short, a critical reading between the lines of the Reuters article confirms that Washington has failed to cobble together a united opposition in Venezuela that is popular enough to win in the polls, so the alternative is violent regime-change supposedly in the name of “democracy.” The lesson that the Venezuelans themselves are the best agents of history to address their own destiny has yet to be learned by the world’s hegemon and its media apologists.

More articles by:

Roger Harris is on the board of the Task Force on the Americas, a 32-year-old anti-imperialist human rights organization.

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

Revered Social Leader and Activist Killed in Colombia

teleSUR | July 5, 2019

Social leader Tatiana Paola Posso Espitia, 35, was shot twice in the head Wednesday morning in front of her house in El Copey located in the Department of Cesar when two men on motorcycles fired at the activist and fled the scene.

The assassination occurred just as Espitia’s taxi driver, Wilson Ortega Palomino, arrived at her home to take the social leader to work, according to local media reports. The bad timing resulted in Ortega also being shot four times by the hitmen. He is in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

The National Network for Democracy and Peace in Colombia published a communique on its Twitter account firmly condemning the murder.

“Posso Espitia was a social activist committed to humanitarian aid, helping vulnerable people and victims of the armed conflict that continue to affect Colombia,” said the report.

The organization added that the social activist, who was a candidate for the community council, was a beloved member of her community.

The document also explained how the city El Copey has had a long history marked by threats against social leaders, deaths and massive displacement of the population.

The tragic event comes as the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz) showed that since the signing of the peace agreement between the disarmed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government of former president, Juan Manuel Santos in November 2016, 727 social leaders or human rights advocates have been killed in Colombia.

The assassinations have so far mainly targeted Afro-Colombian and Indigenous rights activists, in addition to rural farmers advocating for land and political rights in their respective regions.

Colombia’s Ombudsman announced Wednesday that at least 983 social leaders have been threatened with death in Colombia, 50 percent of them are women.

Last week, the ‘We Defend Peace in Colombia’ human rights organization called for major peaceful protests in the country and abroad meant to pressure the President Ivan Duque administration into fully addressing the rampant murders.

The global march is set to take place July 26 and is meant to “pay tribute to the (assassinated) social leaders and to demand action to end these crimes,” said organizers.

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

Bolton hails sanctions for ‘severing ties’ between Cuba & Venezuela

RT | July 4, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s national security hawk John Bolton has vowed to “sever ties” between Havana and Caracas with sanctions on oil and other exports after an Italian oil shipping firm folded under pressure.

The US State Department has lifted sanctions from the Italy-based PB Tankers oil shipping company, commending it for taking steps to “ensure that its vessels no longer were complicit in supporting the former Maduro regime.”

The company was sanctioned in April along with three others, accused by the US of aiding Maduro government by transporting oil from Venezuela, including to Cuba. The inclusion on the list came like a bolt out of the blue to PB Tankers, which said it was “shocked and concerned” by the development, while pledging to comply with the demands.

While the Italian firm caved in to the US’ browbeating, Washington slapped sanctions on Cubametales, a Cuban state-run company. In a statement on Wednesday, the State Department called it a “prime facilitator of oil imports from Venezuela” for its attempt to breach the US economic blockade.

Bolton apparently took pride in having bullied businesses into denying services to Venezuela, tweeting that the US “will continue to take actions” to end what he called an “oil for repression” scheme.

“We will continue to sever the ties between Cuba and Venezuela that contribute to repression,” he wrote.

Cuba has denounced the new sanctions as an illegal meddling attempt.

“The US has no right to impose unilateral measures on entities of Cuba or any other country trading with Venezuela,” Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez tweeted.

The Trump administration has been hell-bent on stamping out the close cooperation between Venezuela and Cuba, which along with Russia, China, Turkey and several other Latin American nations, took Maduro’s side in the ongoing political turmoil.

Washington has accused Havana of playing a “destabilizing” role in Latin America, and in Venezuela, in particular, hitting it with rounds of sanctions for refusing to abandon its major ally.

Bolton went as far as claiming the Venezuelan military would defect from Maduro to self-declared ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido if Cubans “let them do it.”

Bolton has never been shy about the US’ true intentions in Venezuela, openly encouraging regime change while claiming that Guaido enjoys “overwhelming public support” after the failed coup attempt, an assertion that did not age well considering that the stalemate between the Maduro government and the opposition is still ongoing.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 2 Comments