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US: Democrats, Rubio Ask EU to Not Observe Venezuela Elections

teleSUR | September 30, 2020

The U.S.-based peace organization CODEPINK, on Tuesday, condemned a bipartisan letter sent to the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, requesting that the European body neither recognize nor send an electoral observation mission to Venezuela’s legislative elections this December 6.

The organization is currently circulating a petition to tell Senator Cardin to stop undermining Venezuela’s democratic process and continue engaging the Venezuelan government in civic dialogue rather than through threats and sabotage.

Similar to what happened previous to the 2018 Venezuelan presidential elections, the United States has already claimed it will not recognize the upcoming December 6 elections and is trying to get the EU—which has established a dialogue with the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro—to follow suit.

Venezuela, suffering from brutal sanctions, repeated and violent coup attempts, and a deeply polarized electorate, has been preparing the conditions for these mid-pandemic elections for months now, with confirmed participation from opposition parties and leaders representing millions of Venezuelan voters.

In response to their confirmed participation—legitimizing the electoral path—the United States last week sanctioned four of these leaders for engaging the democratic process, with only the political factions dependent on U.S. funding and political backing boycotting the elections, their existence contingent upon it.

Noting that the U.S. denounces outside interference in its own elections, CODEPINK urges U.S. voters to hold their country to the same standard and lobby both Democrats and Republicans to respect Venezuela’s sovereignty by recognizing its democratic process.

September 30, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Peruvian president wins impeachment process, but opposition grows

By Lucas Leiroz | September 28, 2020

The political crisis in Peru is far from over. Despite the fact that President Martín Vizcarra won the first stage of his dispute against the Congress mainly formed by Fujimori’s supporters, the expectation is that his opponents will continue to try to overthrow him through an institutional coup that “respects” the limits of “legality” and “democracy”.

In September 2019, Vizcarra resorted to the Constitution to legitimately dissolve the National Congress, after a series of clashes between the Legislative and the Executive, with parliamentarians denying cooperation with the government in a boycott gesture. In response, Congress intensified its opposition to the government and, even though suspended, illegally “deposed” President Vizcarra, recognizing his former vice president, Mercedez Araóz, as the country’s leader. For one day, Peru had two presidents – similar to the Venezuelan case: one legitimate and one artificially chosen by the opposition. However, Araóz resigned the next day.

Martín Vizcarra was elected in 2018 with a speech based on “fighting corruption”, as it could not be otherwise: Peru was one of the countries most affected by the “Operation Car Wash “, which started in Brazil and spread to several countries in Latin America, dismembering billion-dollar corruption schemes between governments and private companies. In Peru, four former presidents were investigated in the Operation and the leader of the largest congressional party, Keiko Fujimori, was arrested. Keiko is the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, a former president who ruled the country for ten years. She, under her father’s command, leads the opposition against Vizcarra and has a majority of supporters in the Congress. In July last year, Vizcarra asked Congress to vote on a legal reform to change the process of choosing judges for the Constitutional Court. But, instead of carrying out the reform, parliamentarians chose the judges themselves, which is why Vizcarra chose to close the Congress.

Thus began the conflict between the Executive and the Legislative, which has remained since then. Opponents recently launched an impeachment process against Vizcarra alleging his “moral inability” to exercise the position of president. The reason for such “moral incapacity” would be an alleged irregular hiring made by the president for the Ministry of Culture, a topic of ​​extremely low political relevance for the country. But the reforms carried out by Vizcarra partially reversed the scenario in Congress after its restoration, increasing the number of parliamentarians who support the President (his supporters are still a minority, though). Thus the impeachment request was rejected this September.

The head of state denounced that the impeachment request is part of a plot against him, planned by sectors of Congress that wish to take control of the country. Such sectors are said to be reminiscent of opponents who led Vizcarra to close Congress last year and have the support of a large political wing outside the legislative branch. The party with the greatest influence in Congress is still the “Fuerza Popular” of Alberto Fujimori and his daughter, who is now back in politics.

Keiko Fujimori is the main name of the opposition at the moment. Prosecuted for integrating the corruption schemes investigated by Operation Car Wash, Keiko has been arrested twice in recent years and is currently under house arrest, which is not preventing her from acting politically. Days ago, the daughter of the former dictator (who is also in prison), announced in her account on a social network that she is back to politics in a “100% active” way and “under her father’s command”. Apparently, Keiko intends to run for the 2021 elections – if she is no longer under judicial penalty – or at least to support some strong opposition candidate. This will inevitably increase internal tensions and the political crisis until next year’s elections, considering that Keiko Fujimori is president of Fuerza Popular, which is the country’s strongest party.

The scenario is worrying for Vizcarra from all points of view. Despite increasing the number of his supporters in Congress, Fujimori’s party is still the strongest one and could mobilize parliamentarians to overthrow him if the reason for the impeachment request was a stronger accusation than mere “moral incapacity”. And, with the recent history of Latin America, we can see that events like this have occurred with great frequency. In 2016, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was overthrown in an impeachment process without any material evidence of her crimes being presented. Also, last year Bolivian President Evo Morales was the victim of an explicit coup d’état orchestrated by the opposition, which led to the presidency the then vice-president of the Senate, Jenine Áñez, who still leads the country. In fact, the fragility of the legal and democratic structure of the Latin countries is immense, since these countries are going through a moment of special political crisis, possibly influenced by external factors and agents.

Vizcarra’s victory does not have real political relevance, in practice, as the Peruvian president has not been strengthened with it. Most Likely, there will be more pressure and the opposition trying to get him out of office even though the elections are only six months away.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

September 28, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , | Leave a comment

Joe Biden isn’t a foreign policy guru. He’s a Stepford wife repeating ‘War Party’ talking points

By Rachel Marsden | RT | September 25, 2020

There’s a trope emerging that credits Biden with being a bona fide foreign policy expert. Alongside this delusion is the expectation that he will eat Trump’s lunch during the upcoming election debates. I wouldn’t bank on that.

When it comes to foreign policy, Biden is little more than a Stepford wife who has simply repeated the talking points of the faction that truly runs Washington and American foreign policy. If this faction had an actual name, it might be called the War Party, and it would consist of both Republican and Democratic Party members.

It’s hardly surprising, for example, that the wife of late Senator John McCain, who rarely if ever encountered a war that he didn’t support (despite being taken prisoner and tortured himself during the Vietnam War), said that she would back Biden. The fact that Biden is a Democrat and McCain was a Republican is beside the point when their worldview is virtually identical.

Like a wind-up doll constantly spewing whatever its makers programmed into it, Biden tweeted this week: “As Juan Guaidó speaks about the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Maduro, I reaffirm my commitment to stand with the Venezuelan people. A Biden-Harris administration will always champion democracy and human rights around the world.”

How about starting with championing democracy in Venezuela by allowing the Venezuelan people to choose their own opposition to President Nicolas Maduro? Juan Guaido was simply handpicked by the US to play President of Venezuela in the hope that they’d fool the rest of the world into believing that it was true. It doesn’t seem to be getting the traction they had hoped. So now Guaido is resorting to doing online Zoom chats, in which he delivers a speech pretending to address the United Nations Assembly in parallel to President Maduro’s actual UN speech.

It wasn’t the first time that Biden had violated the democratic values that he purports to uphold by attempting to impose his worldview on the people of a foreign country. During his Democratic National Convention address last month, Biden said: “We cannot elect a man who belittles our closest allies while embracing dictators like Vladimir Putin.”

Well, actually, Joe, America could indeed feasibly re-elect Trump, in the same way that the Russian people have repeatedly chosen Putin over the main Communist Party opposition in Russia. A voting result that delegitimizes the worldview of Biden and fellow neoconservative global master planners isn’t a dictatorship. What is dictatorial is trying to impose a foreign agenda on the citizens of nations that happen to be led by officials who refuse to prostrate themselves before US interests.

And it’s not just America’s foes who bear the brunt of Biden’s policy self-centeredness. He even appears oblivious to the interests of US allies when they fall out of step. In an op-ed earlier this month, Biden had the audacity to dictate how he’d offer Iran a “credible path back to diplomacy” – by unilaterally adding a series of pre-conditions for Iran to rejoin a multilateral agreement that was breached not by Tehran but by Washington. It was the US that let down its allied partners in the deal – Britain, Germany, and France – all of which have been keen to see US sanctions dropped so they can finally normalize relations with Iran via increased commercial ties.

To be fair, Trump’s foreign policy has also left a lot to be desired. Many of his failures can be summed up in five words: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In the heat of a presidential campaign, Pompeo spent last week smack-talking Cuban and Venezuelan leaders in Latin America in an attempt to drum up votes for Trump among the Venezuelan and Cuban diaspora in Florida. Pompeo’s comedy routine consists of visiting foreign countries and meddling in their domestic affairs by telling them who they shouldn’t be doing business with  – all the while playing the victim of alleged foreign meddling in American affairs.

And it was Trump who hired regime change aficionado John Bolton as National Security Advisor – before calling Bolton a “wacko”, a “dope”, and a “disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war.”

Trump’s no angel, but unlike Biden, at least he’s denigrated a warmonger. By contrast, Biden outright supported wars in Syria, Libya, Serbia, and Iraq. If history is any indication, he risks blindly stumbling into yet another one.

The fact that Trump is peddling the notion that Biden is a Trojan horse for progressive leftists – who tend to be knee-jerk anti-war about as much as neoconservatives are for it – is laughable. Perhaps someone could give Biden a sharp tap. The kind that you’d give to a stubborn old model television set to get it to work when the picture doesn’t display properly. Because he’s stuck spewing neoconservative talking points and refuses to change his tune.

Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her website can be found at rachelmarsden.com

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Under Federal Probe for Campaign Fund Theft

Former Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaks with EFE during an interview in Miami, Florida. November 2, 2018.

teleSUR | September 25, 2020

According to a Miami CBS affiliate, several one-time staffers have been subpoenaed to provide records or testify before a grand jury on Ros-Lehtinen’s alleged misuse of campaign funds for personal expenses, vacations, and ornate meals—part of an investigation by the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.

Announcing in April 2017 she would not be seeking re-election in 2018, Ros-Lehtinen transferred almost $180,000 from her re-election campaign fund to a political action committee (PAC) she ran, not an unusual move. However, personal use of these funds is illegal under federal law, even if transferred first to a PAC.

Expense reports from the PAC show Ros-Lehtinen indulged in a nearly $4,000 family trip to Walt Disney World in December 2017, a $3,100 dinner at Coral Gables restaurant Mesa Mar for New Years 2018, more than $10,000 in rooms at New York’s Lotte New York Palace and $28,000 at the W Hotel on South Beach, among many other expenditures.

Nonpartisan watchdog group Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint against Ros-Lehtinen with the FEC in October 2019, claiming her PAC violated federal law by “converting contributions for personal use…none of which have any apparent connections to Rep. Ros-Lehtinen candidacy or duties as an officeholder.” It remains unclear if the FEC referred the case to the DOJ or whether the DOJ began its own investigation independently.

In a statement to CBS Miami, Ros-Lehtinen’s attorney Jeffrey Weiner said: “She and her former staff members and volunteers are cooperating fully with the Federal Elections Commission and the Department of Justice. We are gathering the information requested by the Department of Justice and are confident that, if bookkeeping errors were committed, they were due to negligence and not willful or intentional misconduct by the former congresswoman or anyone on her staff or her accountants.”

Weiner added: “As my team and I have investigated and studied the facts in this matter, we have not found any evidence whatsoever of intentional wrongdoing by Ileana or anyone on her behalf.”

Ros-Lehtinen, who represented Miami-Dade county from 1989-2019 and was the first Latina and Cuban-American elected to Congress, served as the Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee from 2011-2013, widely known her punitive and interventionist positions towards Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 1 Comment

Coups and Neo-Coups in Latin America

By Juan Paz y Miño Cepeda |Venezuelanalysis | September 15, 2020

I recently received an article entitled “Coups and neo-coups in Latin America. Violence and political conflict in the twenty-first century” by Carlos Alberto Figueroa Ibarra, a long-time friend and academic at the University of Puebla, Mexico, and Octavio Humberto Moreno Velador, a professor at the same university.

The authors say that since the 1980s, democracy in Latin America has asserted itself across the continent, so much so that the topic has become recurrent in the political sciences. However, during the first seventeen years of the 21st century, new coups resurfaced, which they describe as “neo-coups.”

During the twentieth century, the authors identified 87 coups in South America and the Caribbean, with Bolivia and Ecuador being the most hit countries, while Mexico has only suffered once. The greatest concentration of coups occurred in four decades: 1930-1939 with 18; 1940-1949 with 12; 1960-1969 with 16 and 1970-1979 with 13. Between 1900-1909 and 1990-1999, the fewest coups occurred (3 and 1, respectively). Finally, 63 coups were deemed as military-led; 7 civilian; 8 civic-military; 6 presidential self-coups and three military self-coups. 77 percent of coups had a marked influence of right-wing ideology and party participation, and since the 1960s US intervention has been observed in several coups.

The neo-coups of the 21st century, however, are different from the coups of the twentieth century and with distinct characteristics. Of the seven studied, four have been carried out by the military/police (two which failed in Venezuela/2002 and Ecuador/2010 and two which were successful in Haiti/2004 and Honduras/2009). Likewise, two were parliamentary coups (Paraguay/2012 and Brazil/2016, both successful) and one was a civilian-state-led coup (Bolivia/2008, failed). In three of them, there is evidence of US intervention (Haiti, Bolivia and Honduras).

The intervention of the military or police took place in Venezuela, Haiti, Honduras and Ecuador. In Haiti, Bolivia and Brazil, large-scale concentrations of opposition citizen groups preceded the coups, exerting political pressure. There were also other cases of subsequent concentrations in support of Presidents Hugo Chávez and Rafael Correa, which prevented the success of the coups against them.

In three cases there was clear intervention by the judiciary (Honduras, against Manuel Zelaya; Paraguay, against Fernando Lugo; and Brazil, against Dilma Rousseff), and also of the legislative powers.

In addition, regional and supranational institutions have intervened in defence of democracy, specifically MERCOSUR, UNASUR, CELAC and even the Rio Group.

The authors conclude that “The new coups have sought to evade their cruder military expression in order to seek success. In this sense, the intervention of judicial and parliamentary institutions have represented a viable alternative to maintaining democratic continuity, despite the breakdown of constitutional and institutional pacts.”

To the analysis carried out by the two professors, and which I summarise without going into too many details, some considerations may be added.

All the coups of the 21st century have been directed against rulers of the Latin American progressive cycle: Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Manuel Zelaya, Rafael Correa, Fernando Lugo, Dilma Rousseff, and Haiti, where the case is particular because of the turbulence that the country has experienced where the military coup was against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had won the election with 91.69 percent of the vote.

Progressive governments aroused furious enemies: business elites, traditional oligarchies, military sectors of old “McCarthyism” anti-communism, the political right, “corporate” media, and, no doubt, imperialism.

There is not a single coup d’état led by “leftist” forces, which reveals an equally new phenomenon: the entire left has accepted democracy as a political system and elections as an instrument through which they may come to power. Historically speaking, this phenomenon represents a continuation of Salvador Allende’s and the Chilean Popular Unity’s thesis, which trusted in the possibility of building socialism through a peaceful path. It is the political and economic right, which have turned to neo-coup mongering, with their discourse of defending “democracy.”

Those same right-wing sectors have not only sponsored “soft coups,” but also promoted the use of two mechanisms that have been tremendously successful to them. Firstly, lawfare, or “legal war,” used to pursue, in appearance of legality, those who have served or identified with progressive governments. Secondly, the use of the most influential media (but also of social media and their “trolls”), which were put at the service of combating “populists” and “progressives,” and defend the interests of persecuting governments, business elites, rich sectors and transnational capital. These phenomena have been clearly expressed in Brazil against Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Roussef and the PT Workers’ Party, but also in Bolivia, against Evo Morales and the MAS Movement to Socialism and in Ecuador, where righting forces have achieved the prosecution of Rafael Correa, of figures of his government and of the “correístas.” In Argentina Alberto Fernández’s triumph stopped the legal persecution against Cristina Fernández and “Kirchnerismo”.

But there is, finally, a new element to be added to the neo-coup mongering of the 21st century, which is the anticipated coup d’état. This has been inaugurated in Bolivia and Ecuador.

In Bolivia, not only was the vote count suspended and Evo Morales forced to take refuge outside the country, but [he and his party] have been politically outlawed, and every effort has been made to marginalise them from future elections.

In Ecuador, all kinds of legal ruse have been used to prevent Rafael Correa’s vice-presidential candidacy (he was ultimately not admitted), to not recognise his party and other forces that could sponsor him, as well as to make it difficult for the [Correa-backed] Andrés Araúz team to run for the presidency.

It also has an equally unique characteristic of what happened in Chile. In Chile, despite the protests and social mobilisations, as well as domestic and international political pressure, the political plot was finally manipulated in such a way that the plebiscite convened for October/2020 will not be for a Constituent Assembly (which could dictate a new constitution), but for a Constitutional Convention, which allows traditional forces to preserve their hegemony, according to the analysis carried out by renowned researcher Manuel Cabieses Donoso.

As a result, neo-coup mongering has shown that, while institutional and representative democracy has become a commonplace value and a line of action for the social and progressive lefts, it has also become an instrument that allows access to government and, with it, the orientation of state policies for the popular benefit and not at the service of economic elites.

On the other hand, it has become an increasingly “dangerous” instrument for the same bourgeoisie and internal oligarchy, as well as imperialism, to such an extent that they no longer hold back from breaking with their own rules, legalities, institutions or constitutional principles, using new forms of carrying out coups.

It is, however, an otherwise obvious lesson in Latin American history: when popular processes advance, the forces willing to liquidate them are also prepared. And finally, for these forces, democracy doesn’t matter at all, only saving businesses, private accumulation, wealth and the social exclusiveness of the elites.

Juan J. Paz y Miño Cepeda is an Ecuadorian historian from the PUCE Catholic University of Quito. He is also the former vice-president of the Latin-American and Caribbean Historian’s Association (ADHILAC).

Translation by Paul Dobson for Venezuelanalysis.

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Political pardon given by Maduro may be a checkmate against Venezuelan opposition

By Lucas Leiroz | September 7, 2020

In Venezuela, Juan Guaidó no longer appears to be the leader of the opposition. The forgiveness of 110 opponents by President Nicolás Maduro completely fragmented the political wing opposing the regime, which, in practice, removes from Guaidó the “monopoly” of militancy against the government. Maduro’s decision to forgive as many opponents as possible seems particularly strategic in an election year. For the December 2020 parliamentary elections, Maduro’s allies represent the only unified and solidly based political wing in the country, while currently his opponents are fragmented into several factions.

Another oppositionist leader, Henrique Capriles has already announced that he will dispute the elections. In recent times, after a long period of silence and inactivity, Capriles has occupied an increasingly prominent place in Venezuelan politics, diminishing Guaidó’s influence on the opposition. Capriles seems to have a more interesting political alternative for some opposition groups than the proposal by Guaidó, who is a politician absolutely aligned with external interests and who openly defends Venezuela’s total subordination to Washington.

Perhaps this was the reason for the fall of Guaidó’s political strength. 2020 was for the opposition leader the year of his abrupt fall. On February 5, Guaidó attended a conference at the Capitol in Washington DC and was applauded by Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and everyone in attendance. At that time, the illusion that Guaidó was in fact the president of Venezuela was fully consolidated. Guaidó himself believed to be the country’s president, which was the starting point of his downfall.

It seemed inevitable that the invention of the “Guaidó’s presidency” would result in the opposition being closed to the Venezuelan political reality. The history of the opposition leader, since his recognition in January 2019 by Trump, is a succession of errors and deficiencies that denounce his total inability to lead the country. The most notable mistakes so far have been his explicit participation in the landing of Colombian mercenaries on the Venezuelan coast and the leakage of his connections with drug trafficking in South America, which has greatly weakened his public image inside and outside Venezuela.

Guaidó’s decline, at first, had little impact on the Venezuelan opposition, as there was his “recognition” as the country’s president. But this illusion could not last long. The proximity of the parliamentary elections in December aroused in the Venezuelan opposition a strong wave of political realism and led different factions to assume the obvious truth: Guaidó is not the president of the country. This fact becomes even more evident when Maduro pardons and legalizes more than one hundred opponents, creating ties of cordiality in internal disputes – something that Guaidó still refuses to accept. Then a scenario was created in which the opposition is divided between those who recognize the legitimacy of the government and oppose it politically in the elections and, on the other hand, Guaidó, who recognizes himself as president with American support. This new scenario will completely change the way in which political disputes in Venezuela will take place and may even destabilize the opposition’s international alliances.

How long will Washington invest in Guaidó as its ally in opposing Maduro? What makes Guaidó more interesting than, for example, the political figure of Capriles or any other politician who will announce his candidacy for the December elections? Guaidó will not run in the parliamentary elections because he believes he is the president of the country, while other politicians will run and will be able to make real and effective opposition against Maduro. Will international actors interested in the fall of the government really continue to fuel the illusion that Guaidó is the president rather than supporting opponents within Parliament? It is a question that remains unanswered, but we can predict the outcome.

Indeed, there is no future for the Venezuelan opposition as it is today. The entire political wing that opposes Maduro is absolutely fragmented, with no unity of thought among its representatives, much less a solid national project. The only thing in common that opponents want is to overthrow Maduro, but that will not happen so easily. The Venezuelan government remains strong and well-structured, with an effective political apparatus at its disposal, which cannot be seen in the opposition. Opponents’ political forgiveness was a checkmate for the next elections. The weakness of the opposition became clear and all of its representatives were disadvantaged: Guaidó lost political strength and will possibly be without international alliances; the other opponents have broken ties with Guaidó and are not strong enough to face the government, even though they may run for election.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

September 7, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela: Operation Gedeon Organizers Arrested in Colombia

By Ricardo Vaz | Venezuelanalysis | September 5, 2020

Mérida – Colombian security forces announced the arrest of four Venezuelan citizens on Thursday.

Rayder Alexander Russo Marquez, Juvenal Sequea Torres and Juven Jose Sequea Torres were captured in Bogota, while Yacsy Alexandra Alvarez Mirabal was detained in Barranquilla. The operation was jointly carried out by the Colombian attorney general’s office, police, army and migration services, with assistance from the FBI.

Colombian President Ivan Duque held a press conference after the arrests, claiming that the four were “criminals” paid by the Venezuelan government to “destabilize” the country.

The comments drew a sharp rebuke from Caracas, with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemning the “nerve” of the Colombian president.

“What nerve from Ivan Duque. Now it turns out that Venezuelan deserting mercenaries were going to destabilize Colombia,” he wrote ironically on Twitter. “We gave the Colombian government information about these terrorists and it chose to do nothing.”

According to Venezuelan authorities, Russo, the Sequea brothers and Alvarez participated in the “Operation Gedeon” failed paramilitary incursion. On May 3 and 4, two speed boats carrying armed men were intercepted by security forces. Search operations in the following days led to over 40 arrests.

The 60-man Operation Gedeon was orchestrated by former US Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, who was hired by the Juan Guaido-led Venezuelan opposition, and intended to take over strategic locations in the capital and capture several high-ranking figures, including President Nicolas Maduro.

Two other US citizens, fellow former Green Berets Airan Berry and Luke Denman, were arrested in the operation, as was a third Sequea brother, Antonio.

The Venezuelan government sustains that Russo, Juvenal and Juven Sequea took part in the Northern Colombia-based training camps where the coup attempt was prepared. The Sequea brothers took part in the April 30, 2019 failed coup attempt before deserting from the Bolivarian National Guard. Russo, aka “Teniente Pico” is accused of involvement in the August 2018 assassination attempt against Maduro.

For her part, Alvarez is said to have been behind the logistics of the operation as well as functioning as liaison between the Americans and retired Major General Cliver Alcala, another organizer behind Operation Gedeon. Alcala, who had been responsible for previous armed incursion attempts featuring Venezuelan deserters, surrendered to US authorities after being indicted on drug charges.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuelan Government Invites International Observers as Opposition Splits Over Elections

By Ricardo Vaz | Venezuelanalysis | September 4, 2020

Mérida – The Venezuelan government has invited the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) to monitor the December 6 National Assembly (AN) elections.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter that letters had been sent to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell explaining electoral guarantees and inviting the bodies to send observers.

“Your participation in this process will have a positive contribution to an atmosphere of democratic understanding between Venezuelans and support political, peaceful and negotiated solutions to existing issues,” the letter read.

At the time of writing there have been no reactions from either the UN or the EU. While both have previously voiced support for dialogue processes, the European bloc recently vowed not to recognize the parliamentary election, which will elect 277 deputies for the 2021-2026 term.

The appeal to the international instances comes on the heels of President Maduro granting pardons to 110 opposition figures. This includes a number of AN deputies and other leaders charged or convicted for taking part in activities such as the violent “guarimba” street protests, the 2018 assassination attempt against Maduro, or the April 30, 2019 failed putsch.

On Thursday, the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allies submitted their electoral candidates, with eight current cabinet members heading the list and subsequently replaced. Current state television VTV president Freddy Nanez replaced Jorge Rodriguez as communications minister, Noris Herrera replaced Blanca Eekhout as communes minister, Carolys Perez took over from Asia Villegas as minister for women, while there were also changes at the prisons, mining, youth, urban agriculture and indigenous peoples ministries.

The electoral scenario has also led to bitter infighting amongst the opposition ranks. On Wednesday, two-time former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles called on opposition leader Juan Guaido to stop “playing at government on the internet.”

“Either you’re the government, or you’re the opposition. You can’t be both,” he said during an online broadcast.

The comments came in response to criticism from Guaido after Capriles and fellow opposition member Stalin Gonzalez held a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu concerning electoral participation and guarantees.

“These negotiations were held without the knowledge and permission of the ‘Interim Government’ and our international allies,” read a statement published by Guaido’s office.

The opposition lawmaker proclaimed himself “interim president” in January 2019 and was immediately backed by Washington and its allies. He went on to lead several unsuccessful efforts to overthrow the government by force, but a host of scandals saw his position increasingly questioned by other high-ranking opposition figures.

Guaido has lobbied for a boycott of the December AN elections and called on opposition figures to join a “unitary path” to oust the Maduro government which would extend his “interim presidency” into 2021.

However, other anti-government politicians have refused to rally behind him, with some urging voters to take to the polls, and hardline figures such as Maria Corina Machado calling for a foreign intervention.

For its part, Washington downplayed talk of a possible military intervention, with the Trump administration’s Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams criticizing opposition leaders “who only think that the magic moment of a military intervention will arrive” in a recent interview.

However, the veteran official, who is known for his role in the Iraq war and the Reagan administration’s Central America policy, has reiterated that the US will continue supporting Guaido while tightening sanctions against the Venezuelan economy.

September 4, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Meddling in Chile’s 1964 Presidential Election

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 31, 2020

Given the U.S. government’s meddling in Chile’s 1964 presidential election, I can’t help but wonder whether that has contributed to the major obsession that U.S. officials have with supposed Russian meddling in U.S. presidential elections. When one does bad things to others, oftentimes this causes the malefactor to think that others are doing the same thing to him.

Americans didn’t learn about the full extent of the CIA’s meddling in the 1964 election until 2004, when U.S. officials decided to declassify records relating to what they had done.

Why that 40-year period of secrecy? Why, “national security” course. If the American people had found out what the CIA had done before that, the United States might have fallen into the ocean or maybe even been taken over by communists, Muslims, illegal immigrants, or drug dealers.

The purpose of the CIA’s intervention was to help presidential candidate Eduardo Frei defeat his opponent Salvador Allende, a Chilean physician.

Why the preoccupation with defeating Allende? Because Allende was more than just a doctor. He was also an avowed socialist. A democratically elected president with socialist proclivities was considered a grave threat to U.S. “national security.”

Keep in mind, after all, that this was 1964, during the period when the U.S. national-security establishment was convinced that the communists were coming to get us. The idea was that ever since the end of World War II, there supposedly existed a vast, worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia. (Yes, that Russia!) If Allende were to be democratically elected president, that could accelerate, the notion went, the communist conquest of the United States, especially given the continued existence of the communist regime in Cuba.

In the process of helping Frei win the election, the CIA became a major factor in the election, albeit secretly and surreptitiously. According to an article on the meddling on the website of the National Security Archive,

[C]overt support for Frei’s Christian Democrats began in April 1962, at the suggestion of Kennedy aide Richard Goodwin and the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, with a series of secret payments on “a non-attributable basis”–meaning that the source of the funds was kept a secret from Frei and his party officials. In preparation for the 1964 campaign, in December 1963 the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division proposed a concrete “political action program in Chile” to bolster the Christian Democrats chances of winning. The CIA’s Chief of Western Hemisphere Division, J.C. King, recommended that funds for the campaign “be provided in a fashion causing Frei to infer United States origin of funds and yet permitting plausible denial,” so that the CIA could “achieve a measure of influence over [the] Christian Democratic Party.”

The documents record that on March 26, 1964, Frei’s campaign managers met with U.S. embassy officials to go over their campaign budget of $1.5 million for which the party only had $500,000. A memorandum recording the meeting noted that “The Chileans suggested that the U.S. government make up this difference which amounts to one million dollars for the period from now to election time.” The “Special Group” which approved covert actions met on April 2 in the White House situation room and authorized CIA financing of the campaign and a compromise with the CIA in which the U.S. source of the secret funding “would be inferred” but with “no evidence of proof.”

On May 14, the Special Group approved an increase in covert spending to $1.25 million to allow the Christian Democrats to “campaign at its full potential.” On July 23, the Johnson administration approved another $500,000 for Frei to “maintain the pace and rhythm of his campaign effort.”

The CIA ended up spending $2.6 million to underwrite Frei’s campaign. Another $3 million was spent on an anti-Allende propaganda campaign.

Frei won  the election. It was also a grand victory for the CIA.

Six years later, however, the U.S. government’s meddling in the 1970 Chilean presidential election ended up in failure. This time, Allende ended up winning the election. That then motivated the CIA to engage in such sordid, dark-side practices as bribery, kidnapping, assassination, transportation strikes, and, finally, a military coup that succeeded in ousting Allende from office. Let’s just hope that Russia doesn’t go that far.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education.

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

The age of disputed presidencies – is democracy in crisis?

By Uriel Araujo | August 27, 2020

In 1378, it was not clear who the true Pope was. Depending on whom one asked, it was either Clement VII, nowadays listed as an Antipope in the Catholic Encyclopedia, or Urban VI. This was a time of crisis in Western Europe, often referred to as the “Western Schism”.

Likewise today, in the realm of secular politics, we currently have or recently had disputed or contested presidencies – in varying degrees – in many countries. In fact, Venezuela – where Guaidó and the country’s president Maduro are each recognized by a number of countries – is far from the being the only such case in Latin America.

For instance, in Peru, on October 2019, both Vizcarra and Araós claimed to be the legitimate president. In Honduras, Hernández election was contested, amid allegations of narco connections. Even in Colombia, Petro (2018 election runner up) and his party no longer recognize Duque’s presidency, who has also been accused of narco links and of tampering with ballots. In Brazil, Ms. Roussef’s 2016 deposition was perceived by many as an “institutional coup”. The current Brazilian president Bolsonaro, in his turn, also faces accusations of vote fraud through the use of Whatsapp “fake news”.

There are disputed presidencies or leaderships right now in Belarus, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mali (which is under a military coup) and other countries. In the US, Trump’s 2016 election was also hotly contested (there were even wild accusations of “Russian interference”) and many journalists and experts are now writing that the new US election – amid the coronavirus outbreak and other crisis – may not be “swiftly accepted”. Antifa demonstrations are spreading across the country and are becoming increasingly violent.

All such legitimacy disputes are not just narrative wars amongst political rivals – it rather seems that in many parts of the world, the election process itself and democracy are losing credibility. It could turn into a war of models. If the contemporary and rather globalized democratic model is in crisis – and it would appear so – then, what are the alternatives?

The very specific notion of “Democracy” as necessarily including free speech, a multi-party system, alternance in power, a secular state and a Montesquieu’s trias politica separation of powers – with an often bicameral legislature – is of course quite Western in terms of its history and the values underlying it. In Western discourse today, the notion of democracy sometimes gets even more exclusive, sometimes including only societies which recognize gay marriage and do not criminalize abortion.

The United States is often taken as an (unexamined) “standard-bearer” for the entire world. The truth is that political forms and models are not so clearly differentiable but actually are rather intermingled. Thus, the current British monarch, for example, is officially the Defender of the Church of England and, as such, appoints Bishops and Archbishops – and no one dares to call it a “theocracy”. The US president, in his turn, in his authority to conduct war, has the power to maintain anyone under indefinite detention (without due process of law) according to attorney John Yoo (of so called Torture Memos) – and no one calls it a dictatorship. Clearly, labeling one as “non-democratic” is also a weapon of political discourse.

As for alternative models, a few years ago, notions of “Bolivarian” direct democracy were on the rise in South America. Furthermore, Bolivia’s 2010 law acknowledged the rights of Pachamama (Mother Earth) as a collective subject of public interest. The current Bolivian de facto president, Ms. Jeanine Áñez (President Morales was deposed in what many described as a coup), is currently working to undermine such notions as well as the notion of Bolivia as a Plurinational State – as defined by its 2009 Constitution.

So, right now, the left too (and its Bolivarian and indigenist alternatives) has been largely discredited amongst a large part of the population in South America. This has opened the door for the rise of a new kind of right-wing “populism” – which has little regard for current institutions. For instance, according to recent polls, 34% of the Brazilian population would support closing down (abolishing) the Parliament and 32% support doing the same to the Supreme Court. The COVID-19 pandemic could also be paving the way for “authoritarianism” in Europe and the US, according to several political scientists. The new populism is on the rise in Europe too.

In many parts of the world, a large part of society seems to care more about employment and security than abstract notions of the rule of law. If current political regimes fail to provide safety and to economically include the people they rule, dissatisfaction is sure to follow. And in the economically fragile post-COVID-19 world, this could get ugly.

Is it about time to reinvent democracy? Some new forms of it could arise, better suited for their cultural and regional contexts. In the meantime, a lot of instability may ensue (with economic and security consequences), especially in Latin America but in other parts of the world too – perhaps in Europe and the US as well.

Uriel Araujo is a researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

COVID-19 economic decline brings IMF back to Latin America

By Paul Antonopoulos | August 26, 2020

The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic brought the International Monetary Fund (IMF) back to Latin America. In December 2005, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Argentine President Néstor Kirchner announced that they had paid the debts that South America’s two largest countries had with the IMF. At the time, Brazil paid $15.5 billion and Argentina about $9.81 billion, cancelling its debts. In addition to being historic, this transaction marked an era. The two South American powers freed themselves from the influence of the IMF and showed unprecedented political coordination, which was also complemented by political support from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

The bloc also gave impetus to its neighbors: Uruguay, for example, cancelled its debt of $1.08 billion in 2006, while Bolivia freed itself from the fund that same year after an agreement allowed a $250 million debt to be forgiven.

However, everything seems to have changed 15 years later. Latin America is one of the world’s most affected regions from the COVID-19 pandemic – medically and economically. The IMF’s director, Kristalina Georgieva, predicts a 9.3% contraction for the region in 2020, compared to a 4.9% decline worldwide. Georgieva said that as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic, the organization has doubled access to emergency financing, disbursing a total of $25 billion to help 70 countries. Of those, about $5.5 billion went to 17 countries in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The IMF director especially mentioned the cases of Chile, Peru and Colombia, which the IMF signed flexible credit line agreements totalling $107 billion.

An analysis by Teresa Morales, Nicolás Oliva and Guillermo Oglietti from the Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics (CELAG) shows that between April 17 and May 1, the IMF also helped Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Granada, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay and Saint Lucia with a total of $3.48 billion. CELAG researchers indicated at the end of May that “Latin American countries have started a new indebtedness process with the IMF.” In this sense, they warned that the IMF “will certainly mean short-term relief to face a very adverse external front, but that it certainly has its counterpart in the conditions of macroeconomic policies and their known consequences.”

However, we have not yet entered into a critical debt process. This is not so much because Latin American countries are not looking for it, but because of the very lukewarm response of multilateral organizations like the IMF to the pandemic. In this sense, the emergency financing lines provided by the organization have been of low magnitude and, for the time being, leave out the countries of the region with a low credit rating. Despite everything, this does not mean that the Fund has not returned to the region. The IMF has had a process of rapprochement with Latin America since the economic crisis of 2008 with loans of $57 billion to Argentina in 2018 and $4.5 billion to Ecuador.

It will depend on how much the countries in the region will need financing as a result of the pandemic to see if the IMF’s role as a financier in Latin America will be strengthened. One of the main changes is a nuance of the Washington Consensus, the traditional series of measures promoted by the IMF, the World Bank and the U.S. Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus pursues trade liberalization, fiscal adjustment, privatization policies and deregulation of the capital market, among others.

The Fund made a very strong self-criticism of the Washington Consensus. For example, now the reforms are not necessarily all implemented and, in some cases, the Fund recognized the importance of capital control by the State, the importance of counter-cyclical policies and the reduction of inequality through progressive fiscal policies. The organization is now more flexible and has started to allow government officials to participate in designing reform plans. It is likely this was allowed only after the IMF received massive criticism for choking Greece economically between 2008 and 2018 that tarnished the Fund’s image and reputation all around the world.

The Fund essentially has become more cunning and has learned that the same economic changes in all countries is counterproductive, not only in terms of economic results, but also in terms of the institution’s legitimacy. This change does not mean that it is a new institution, it still very much is the IMF with an orthodox bias, focused on liberalization policies. The IMF continues to have a preference for structural reforms, such as social security reform, tax reform, labor reform and, in some cases, trade reform.

In Georgieva’s address to the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean, the IMF will maintain its supposed solid commitment to the region in terms of capacity-building and economic policy advice. In this context, the IMF director asked Latin American countries to be able to reorient policies when the time comes to help workers get back to work and asked them to do so using fiscal stimulus with prudence. In her message, Georgieva said that as shocks dissipate, fiscal soundness and debt sustainability must become priorities for economic policy. However, it appears rather that Georgieva is attempting to prepare Latin America to once again be dominated by the IMF.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

August 26, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

USA’s Militarization of Latin America

By Yanis Iqbal | Dissident Voice | August 24, 2020

Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, the commander of 12th Air Force, wrote on 22 August: “I have seen an increasingly contested strategic space where Beijing and Moscow are aggressively investing time and resources in Latin America to support their authoritarian models of governance. The Air Force must reinforce the strength of our longstanding commitment to the Western Hemisphere. We lose ground when we are unable to commit to spending the time and resources to fly our aircraft south and train alongside our partners.”

Croft’s statement reflects the growing American hysteria against the presence of any extra-regional actors in the Latin American continent. For US policy-makers, Latin America is not an aggregation of sovereign nations but a large lump of subordinated states constituting “America’s backyard”. Consequently, this conceptualization of Latin America as a natural extension of the American empire has led to viewing the engagement of any South American country with China, Russia and Iran as a “threat” to peace and security.

On February 7, 2019, Admiral Craig S. Faller – the commander of the United States Southern Command – told the Congress that the Western Hemisphere is facing “a troubling array of challenges and threats”. These threats included alarmist assertions about the growing dominance of China, Russia and Iran and a general demonization of the socialist governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua:

“China has accelerated expansion of its Belt and Road Initiative at a pace that may one day overshadow its expansion in Southeast Asia and Africa. Russia supports multiple information outlets spreading its false narrative of world events and U.S. intentions. Iran has deepened its anti-U.S. Spanish language media coverage and has exported its state support for terrorism into our hemisphere. Russia and China also support the autocratic regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, which are counter to democracy and U.S. interests. We are monitoring the latest events in Venezuela and look forward to welcoming that country back into the hemisphere’s community of democracies.”

In response to the perceived threats posed by the China-Russia-Iran nexus, the Secretary of Defense has decided to conduct an assessment of the sufficiency of resources available to the U.S. Southern Command, the U.S. Northern Command, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out their respective missions in the Western Hemisphere. This assessment is required to include “a list of investments, programs, or partnerships in the Western Hemisphere by China, Iran, Russia, or other adversarial groups or countries that threaten the national security of the United States.”

In addition to warlike preparations, USA has also pursued a policy of increased militarization wherein it has tried to ensure “technological superiority” with regard to “anti-US actors”. In March, 2020, USA decided to send additional ships, aircraft and forces to South America and Central America in order to combat the influence of Russia and China. According to Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of Southern Command, “This really was born out of a recognition of the threats in the region,”. Along with the mobilization of the Southern Command, USA has substantially enlarged its security aid to Latin America: From $527,706,000 in 2019, US security aid to Latin America has increased by 10% to $581,270,000.

Chinese Footprint

The present-day US militarization of Latin America is rhetorically driven by an imperialist discourse framing the continent as a possession of the American empire which China, Russia and Iran are trying to appropriate. To take an example, R. Evan Ellis, a Latin America Research Professor at the US Army War College, stated before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that China’s engagement with Latin America “threatens the position of the United States, our security and prosperity, and the democratic values, rights, institutions and laws on which we depend.” To substantiate his statements, Ellis enunciated various strategies through which China is undermining USA’s dominance:

  • “Trade with, loans to, investment in, and other forms of economic and other support to anti-US regimes, indirectly enabling their criminal activities and contributions to regional instability”.
  • “Through providing an alternative to commerce, loans and investment from the West, making governments of the region less inclined to support the US on political, commercial, or security issues, or to stand up for rule of law, democracy or human rights, particularly where it might offend the PRC;”

In both these points, one can observe the imperialistic high-handedness with which Ellis is declaiming his pro-US rhetoric. While Beijing’s efforts to engage with sovereign nations and construct an alternative to the global American empire are regarded as enabling “regional instability”, no questions are asked about USA’s expansionist quest to imperialize the entire world through militaristic tactics.

In order to vilify China and smear its non-aggressive foreign policy, hawkish security experts have framed the country’s diplomatic involvement with various Latin American nations as a type of authoritarian tactic. Using this line of reasoning, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) writes: “Beijing has now officially established its own version of soft power… which emanates from its undemocratic system and rests on its ability to shape the viewpoints of others through co-optation and persuasion.” Not having any empirical evidence to prove its unconvincing statements, NED talks vaguely about the “hypnotic effects” exercised by “Chinese-style warm welcome”: “The Chinese-style warm welcome, the carefully selected tours that include visits to sites with symbolic historical and cultural significance, and ad hoc friendly discourse delivered by the Chinese hosts can have hypnotic effects on their foreign guests.” This is an indication of the extent to which America hysteria against China can reach.

In the same way as NED, the Brookings Institution has also tried to slander China’s diplomatic initiatives in Latin America to preserve the coercive dominance of USA in the continent. As per the think tank, “it would be fair to assume that China’s growing economic power and ambitions of global leadership, coupled with its inherently closed and repressive model of political control, will hurt the region’s prospects for strengthening its liberal democratic systems and respect for human rights.” While saying this, the Brooking Institution conveniently forgets that it the US, with its Western-styled liberal democracy, that has hurt the region most in the form of coups, violence and overt brutality against social movements. Most recently, a US-backed coup in Bolivia has resulted in two massacres and massive repression of social movements.

The Iranian Connection

Like China, Iran, too, experiences American hostility towards its engagement with Latin American countries. Lieutenant Andrew Kramer of the U.S. Navy terms Iranian support for the “economically backward governments” of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela as efforts “to maintain pockets of instability and hostility close to U.S. borders.” Echoing this perspective, William Preston McLaughlin, a Colonel (Ret.) of U.S. Marine Corps and Magdalena Defort, an Intern Analyst at the Foundation of Defense of Democracies, argue that “Iran’s presence in Latin America is an imminent threat to peace and political stability in the Western Hemisphere because its forces interact with Latin America’s deeply rooted revolutionary ideology and various well-intentioned but flawed “liberation theology” social movements.” Here, both of the analysts are merely parroting the imperialist “Monroe Doctrine” that subverted the sovereignty of Latin American nations and tethered the people of the continent to the whims of the American empire. Through the Monroe Doctrine, USA relegated the entire Latin American continent to the status of the empire’s handmaiden and constantly used its military muscles to overpower any regional initiatives challenging the dynamics of subjugation. Now, when Iran is lending support to the anti-imperialist administrations of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, it has come under the radar of USA for ostensibly destroying peace and political stability in the Western Hemisphere. In August 2020, for instance, USA confiscated four Iranian fuel shipments that had been bound for Venezuela, making it clear that it would not tolerate anti-imperialist opposition in Latin America.

In addition to portraying Iran as a threat to global peace, both the analysts also used a shrill, scaremongering rhetoric to over-exaggerate the strength of the country. According to the analysts, “Iran has used every agency within its borders to help extend Iranian tentacles into the political, cultural, economic, and military life of Latin America.” This bears striking resemblance to the traditional war-mongering US narrative that frames Hezbollah as a menace to justify the militarizary raising funds, seeking recruits, probing for our weaknesses and challenging our defenses,”. Through these discourses, USA seeks to unleash a new war against the anti-imperialist axis of Latin America which is standing up to militaristic predatoriness of the global hegemon.

Russian Presence

Besides Iran and China, Russia is another nation perceived as a “threat” to US security. General John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) noted in his Congressional testimony, “it has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian presence” in Latin America. In his command’s 2015 Posture Statement, Kelly added:

“Periodically since 2008, Russia has pursued an increased presence in Latin America through propaganda, military arms and equipment sales, counterdrug agreements, and trade. Under President Putin, however, we have seen a clear return to Cold War tactics. As part of its global strategy, Russia is using power projection in an attempt to erode U.S. leadership and challenge U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.”

John Kelly’s representation of Russia as a military threat has been repeated by the Commander of US Southern Command, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd who said in his February 2018 Posture Statement to the US Senate Armed Services Committee that:

“Russia’s increased role in our hemisphere is particularly concerning, given its intelligence and cyber capabilities, intent to upend international stability and order, and discredit democratic institutions… Left unchecked, Russian access and placement could eventually transition from a regional spoiler to a critical threat to the U.S. homeland.”

With the help this narrative, USA has aggressively pushed forward the agenda of greater militarism in Latin America as it strives to maintain “technological superiority” in relation to Russia and expand its already large military expenditure.

On top of depicting Russia as a military threat, US analysts have additionally portrayed the country’s support of socialist governments in Latin America as a danger to the economically empty liberal democracies of the West. According to IBI Consultants, a National Security consulting company specializing in Latin America, Russia’s growing presence in Latin America “is now an integral part of an alliance of state and nonstate actors that have shown their hostility toward the United States in their ideology, criminalized behavior, and anti-democratic nature.” Reiterating this point, on July 9, 2019, Admiral Faller declared before the Congress that “Russia seeks to sow disunity and distrust, propping up autocratic regimes in Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, which are counter to democracy and U.S. interests.” For Faller, those nations which don’t doggedly toe America’s imperialist line automatically become “threats” to democracy and if Russia shows solidarity with these anti-imperialist nations, it, too, classifies as a threat to US interests.

As the USA continues to militarize Latin America, it is increasingly becoming clear that it wants to protect its old, imperial structures from being challenged by anyone. It has been explicitly acknowledged even by pro-US analysts such as Ellis that US military assistance in Latin America “potentially serves U.S. strategic interests by helping to inoculate receiving states against radical or anti-democratic [read “socialist”] solutions which find receptivity when populations lose faith in the ability of a democratic political system and a free market economy to effectively address the corruption, inequality, injustice, and other dysfunctionalities plaguing their country [Emphasis mine].” US military assistance, therefore, is not apolitical and is ideologically tarnished with the objectives of stabilizing free market economies-bourgeoisie democracies and subverting socialist countries.

The United States Intelligence Community’s assessment of threats to US national security had stated in 2019 that “anti-US autocrats [in the Western Hemisphere]will present continuing challenges to US interests, as US adversaries and strategic competitors seek greater influence in the region.” Here, “anti-US autocrats” refers to the socialist administrations of three Latin American countries: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. These three countries have been facing strong US belligerence for their anti-imperialist stance. US sanctions against Cuba have tightened during the pandemic; USA’s hybrid war against Venezuela has intensified as Trump has decided to use frozen funds to topple Nicolas Maduro and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) has strengthened its regime change operations against the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Due to the support lent by China, Russia and Iran to the socialist governments of Latin America, USA has decided to eradicate these extra-regional actors from its “own” backyard and re-proclaim a complete American dominance in the region. In times like these, the international community needs to oppose the militarism of USA against new regional alliances in Latin America.

Yanis Iqbal is a student and freelance writer based in Aligarh, India.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment