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“I Am Open”: 50,000 Italian Restaurant Owners Plan to Ignore Lockdown

Huge act of civil disobedience plans to conduct business as usual inspite of “anti-Covid” measures

OffGuardian | January 15, 2021

Today – Friday 15th January – over 50,000 restaurants are planning to open, an act of mass civil disobedience against “anti-Covid” lockdown measures which have massively hurt the restaurant business, especially small family-owned businesses.

Spreading through social media under the hashtag #IoOpro (“I am opening”), the movement is largest country-wide act of civil disobedience since lockdowns began.

Italain opposition MP Vittorio Sgarbi has backed the movement, saying in an interview:

Open up, & don’t worry, in the end we will make them eat their fines”.

Italy’s government is already facing internal conflict and crisis, an early election is a possibility.

A similar movement already started in Mexico on January 12th, when hundreds of restaurant owners gathered to protest the lockdowns.

The “I am Open” protest is spreading across Europe as well, with variants already taking hold in German-speaking Switzerland (#Wirmachenauf) and Poland (#OtwieraMY).

It’s good to be reminded that, no matter how much it looks like the new normal is spreading unopposed, it’s not. People all over the world are resisting where they can. That’s what “Covid Positive” is all about.

To follow the progress of this movement we recommended following Robin Monotti and the It’s Time to Rise accounts on twitter and other platforms.

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Mexico’s President Blasts Twitter & Facebook For Acting Like “Holy Inquisition” In Censoring Trump

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | January 8, 2021

In a rare instance of a Left-wing Latin American leader siding with Trump, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has condemned controversial actions taken by major US social media platforms to block Trump messages. He’s long had warm relations with the US president even as other regional leaders have remained cold.

Recognizing the extreme dangers and abuse of big tech censorship for political speech, especially statements by elected government officials, Mexico’s president underscored that it’s an egregious violation and alarming precedent-setting severe abuse of power by Twitter and Facebook – both of which have blocked President Trump’s official accounts this week.

“I don’t like anybody being censored or taking away from the the right to post a message on Twitter or Facebook. I don’t agree with that, I don’t accept that,” López Obrador said.

He further compared the extreme action to the infamous episode of the Inquisition in medieval Europe under the Catholic monarchs:

“How can you censor someone: ‘Let’s see, I, as the judge of the Holy Inquisition, will punish you because I think what you’re saying is harmful,'” López Obrador said in an extensive, unprompted discourse on the subject. “Where is the law, where is the regulation, what are the norms? This is an issue of government, this is not an issue for private companies.”

He branded Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as “arrogant” in the comments. “I felt he was very self-important and very arrogant,” Lopez Obrador said.

He was also pressed by reporters as to his thoughts on Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol and brief occupation of Congress by pro-Trump supporters who were intent on blocking the election certification, to which he made no comment.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez reaffirmed the official condemnation of the social media giants’ actions saying in a follow-up Twitter message, “Facebook’s decision to silence the current leader of the United States calls for a debate on freedom of expression, the free exchange of information on the web, democracy and the role of the companies that administer (social) networks.”

The blockages of Trump’s accounts, which further includes Instagram, are expected to be in effect until at least after Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan.20.

López Obrador indicated he was not planning on traveling to D.C. to attend Biden’s inauguration, for which there’s also likely to be further mayhem – or at the very least on the peripheries of the event amid tightened security.

January 8, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Key Military Official Arrested in Mexico Over Ayotzinapa Case

teleSUR – November 14, 2020

Captain José Martínez Crespo, accused of organized crime, homicide, and forced disappearance, is the first detainee in a military prison for the case of the 43 education students of Ayotzinapa, who disappeared in 2014 in Mexico.

According to the Mexican press, the Federal Military Judicial Police this week filled out an arrest warrant against Crespo. So far, the information about his case has not been officially communicated.

Martínez Crespo was one of the commanders of the 27th Infantry Battalion that participated in the events of the night of September 26 and the morning of September 27, 2014, in Iguala, Guerrero.

Captain Crespo” was identified by Sidronio Casarrubias, the alleged criminal leader of the region where the 43 young men of Ayotzinapa disappeared.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured on September 26, the sixth anniversary of the students’ disappearance, that arrest warrants had already been issued for military personnel who participated in the disappearances in the Ayotzinapa case.

November 14, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Mexico finally orders arrest of soldiers in mysterious case of 43 missing students

Press TV – September 27, 2020

On the sixth anniversary of the mysterious disappearance of 43 Mexican college students, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has issued dozens of arrest warrants for soldiers, who are suspected of involvement in their still un-resolved abduction from a teacher’s college in the state of Guerrero.

Lopez Obrador announced the arrest warrants at an event with parents of the missing students on Saturday.

“Orders have been issued for the arrest of the military personnel,” he said. “Zero impunity —those proven to have participated will be judged.”

Gomez Trejo, the prosecutor leading the investigation into the case, said in a separate statement that 25 arrest warrants had been issued for the “material and intellectual authors” of the crime, including military members, and federal and municipal police.

They are accused of carrying out or knowing about the students’ disappearance that had happened on September 26, 2014, near a large army base in the city of Iguala, Guerrero.

The highest-ranking official in the case, Tomas Zeron who at the time of the incident was the head of the federal investigation agency, is accused of torture and covering up forced disappearances.

The students who had commandeered public busses to travel to a protest, disappeared in the state of Guerrero.

The former administration had concluded that authorities took the students for members of a rival gang and killed them before incinerating their bodies at a garbage dump and tossing the remains in a river.

The remains of only two of the students have been identified so far.

Current Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero, however, said he believed there had been a “generalized cover-up” that led to further arbitrary arrests and torture.

Relatives of the students as well as independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights also rejected the report as faulty.

They have continued to demand answers as independent investigations have shown the military was aware of what happened to the victims.

The kidnapping of the students, who were training to be teachers, sent shockwaves across Mexico and became a symbol of police violence and corruption that has plague the North American country.

September 27, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Why Immunity for the CIA?

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 11, 2020

Amidst the controversy over the doctrine of qualified immunity for cops, no one is talking about the full immunity accorded to the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency within the national-security establishment that wields omnipotent power.

Among the most interesting lines in the new Amazon Prime series The Last Narc is what a CIA official says to DEA investigator Hector Berrellez, who was charged with leading the investigation into the kidnapping, torture, and murder of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. The official tells Berrellez that the CIA is not a law-enforcement agency and, therefore, doesn’t have to comply with the Constitution. Its mission, he said, is to protect the United States. Therefore, the implication is that the Constitution cannot be permitted to serve as a barrier to that end.

That’s the way it’s been since the beginning. The CIA has had omnipotent power to do whatever it deems necessary to protect “national security.” That includes, of course, the power of assassination, a power that the CIA assumed practically since its inception. In fact, as early as 1952, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual for its assassins.

The CIA also wields the power of torture, the power to record its torture sessions, and the power to destroy such recordings to prevent Congress or the public from listening to them or viewing them.

The CIA also wields the power to lie, at least if it’s in the interest of “national security.”

No one jacks with the CIA. Not the Justice Department, including every U.S. Attorney in the land. Not the Congress. Not the president. Not the military. Who is going to mess with an organization that wields the omnipotent power to destroy or kill people and is more than willing to exercise that power in the name of protecting “national security”?

The kidnapping, torture, and execution of Kiki Camarena

A good example of this phenomenon is found in The Last Narc, which I wrote about in a blog post last week.

In 1985, 37-year-old DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped on the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico, and brutally tortured for 36 hours before finally being executed.

It was commonly believed that the crime had been committed by the Guadalajara drug cartel, which was headed by Rafael Caro Quintana, Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, all of whom are featured in Netflix’s series Narcos: Mexico. But Mexican officials steadfastly refused to extradite the three drug lords to the United States for trial.

The DEA assigned Berrellez to take charge of the investigation. Berrellez, who felt as comfortable operating in Mexico as he did in the United States, found three former members of the Jalisco State Police who were willing to talk. They came to the United States and told Berrellez that back in 1985, they had been working double jobs — as state policemen and also as bodyguards for Caro, Fonseca, and Gallardo.

Berrellez interviewed them separately to ensure the integrity of their statements. They each pointed toward complicity of high Mexican officials with the cartel in the distribution of drugs into the United States, which I don’t think would surprise anyone.

The three former cops and bodyguards told Berrellez that they were in the room while Camarena was being tortured. Each of them stated that there were several high Mexican officials present in the house in which Camarena was being tortured while he was being tortured.

The heroism of Hector Berrellez

But then Berrellez discovered something else. According to the three former Mexican state policemen, a man named Max Gomez, also known as Felix Rodriguez, was inside the torture room and taking an active role in the brutal interrogation of Camarena. Berrellez investigated and determined that Rodriguez was a “retired” CIA agent.

Among the principal questions that was being addressed to Camarena was the extent to which he had discovered, in the course of his investigation, the nexus between the drug cartel, the CIA, and the Mexican government in the drug trade.

It was later learned that the interrogation was being recorded, which is something that one would not expect drug lords to do but that one would expect a CIA agent to do.

At that point, Berrellez was in trouble. It’s one thing to conduct an investigation that leads to the Mexican government’s involvement in Camarena’s torture and murder. It’s another thing to conduct an investigation that leads to the U.S. government’s involvement in the torture and murder of a DEA agent who is also an American citizen.

As Berrellez states in The Last Narc, he was warned to back off and let sleeping dogs lie. He was warned that if he didn’t, his life would be in jeopardy. If he didn’t back off, U.S. officials even threatened to forcibly return him to Mexico to face criminal charges that the Mexican government had leveled against him.

But Berrellez refused to back off, and so U.S. officials removed him from the investigation. Even though he could have remained silent, he instead decided to go public with his findings and cooperated in the making of The Last Narc. He comes across as a heroic figure in the series.

For his part, Rodriguez denies that he was in the torture room or that he has had anything to do with Guadalajara cartel and with drug dealing. The problem, however, is that CIA agents will lie if they believe that it is in the interest of “national security.” And they all know that they have immunity when it comes to lying and anything else that touches on “national security.”

Full immunity for the CIA

Here you have a prima facie case of U.S. governmental involvement in the torture and assassination of a U.S citizen, one who was an agent of the DEA. The alleged purpose of the torture was to determine if Camarena had uncovered evidence of CIA complicity with the Guadalajara Cartel and the Mexican government in the drug trade. Three witnesses, all giving their testimony separately, identified Rodriquez as one of Camarena’s interrogators.

That’s clearly enough evidence to launch a formal investigation into the matter. Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that Camarena’s murder took place during Iran Contra, when U.S. officials were breaking the law to raise the money to give to the Nicaraguan contras.

Has any of this caused any U.S. Attorney or the U.S. Congress to launch an aggressive investigation into the matter?

Don’t make me laugh. This is the CIA we are talking about. No one investigates the CIA, which makes the U.S. government as crooked and corrupt as the Mexican government. If you want to get a good sense of how both governments operate, I highly recommend watching The Last Narc.

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.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Film Review | , , , , | 4 Comments

Drug War Disappearances and Murders

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | July 29, 2020

How anyone can defend drug laws is beyond me. Consider the following:

During the past 15 years or so of drug warfare in Mexico, there have been around 200,000 deaths resulting from drug war violence. 200,000 people, dead. Not because of drugs, but because of the drug war.

That’s not all. There are also more than 70,000 people, including Americans, who have simply disappeared in Mexico. Here one day, and gone the next. Their bodies have never been found. That’s not because of drugs. It’s because of the drug war.

Some of the deaths and disappearances were brought about by drug gangs. Others were brought about by drug enforcement personnel. Either way, it’s the drug war that caused those deaths and disappearances. If there had been no drug war, those people would not have had their lives snuffed out or disappeared by the drug war.

The deaths and disappearances, of course, have not come to an end. The drug war continues to produce more deaths and disappearances on a continuous basis.

How can anyone actually defend the drug war knowing this? How do they sleep at night knowing that they are supporting a program that brings death and disappearance to multitudes of innocent people? How do they go to church every Sunday and not be wracked by a crisis of conscience for supporting a program that wreaks so much death and so many disappearances? How do they live with themselves?

Of course, many drug-war supporters respond, “Jacob, we mean well. When we support the drug war, we don’t want it to kill or disappear people. We just want to rid society of drugs.”

But who cares about their good intentions? Why should their good intentions matter? Why shouldn’t their drug war be judged by its actual consequences, year after year, rather than by the good intentions of its supporters?

Meanwhile, a modern-day hero of the drug war crowd, Philippine dictator Rodrigo Duterte has had his drug-war goons killing suspected drug violators for the the last 5 years. He is the poster child for U.S. drug war proponents who have, for the past several decades, maintained that the secret for “winning” the drug war has been simply for the government to really “crack down” on the drug violators.

Well, Duterte has been “cracking down,” with his goons serving as judge, jury, and executioner. They don’t bother with arrests, prosecutions, trials, and incarcerations. They simply kill the people who they believe are violating the government’s drug laws. That includes 60 children, according to an article in Business Insider. If what Duterte has been doing to “win” the war on drugs isn’t “cracking down,” then I don’t know what “cracking down” is.

But here is the kicker: Despite and these deaths — along with immunity granted to the police — Duarte and his drug war goons have still not “won” their drug war. The killings go on.

The same holds true in Mexico. Following the suggestion of many U.S. drug warriors, some 15 years ago the Mexican government began “cracking down” in the drug war by employing the Mexican military. That should have done the trick, right?

Wrong! The drug war violence only escalated, along with the massive human-rights abuses that came with military involvement in enforcing drug laws.

Did I mention that more than 100 journalists have also been killed in Mexico’s drug war?

What is so perverse about all this death, suffering, and mayhem is how utterly unnecessary it all is. If drugs were legalized, the drug war violence would disappear, immediately. That’s because there would be no more drug gangs, drug lords, or gang warfare. All of those groups would be out of business overnight.

Note the supreme irony: The state wages war on the drug dealers and, in the process, tens of thousands of people are dead or disappeared as a result. Meanwhile, no matter how many drug busts are made, new drug dealers and drug gangs quickly replaced the old ones. Yet, if drugs were legalized, all those violent drug dealers and drug gangs would be gone immediately given that they can only compete in an illegal market, not a legal one.

Add to all the deaths and disappearances such things as asset forfeiture, police and judicial corruption, racial bigotry in drug war enforcement, mandatory minimum sentences, overcrowded prisons, evisceration of the Fourth Amendment, and the destruction of liberty that has come with the drug war.

The question naturally arises: Why do the American people — and, for that matter, the Mexican and Philippine people — permit this evil, immoral, and deadly disaster of a government program to continue?

July 29, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 1 Comment

The 1914 American Invasion of Mexico

Tales of the American Empire | April 12, 2019

In 1914 American President Woodrow Wilson lied to justify an American invasion of Vera Cruz, Mexico.

July 19, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Ayotzinapa Case: Attorney General Orders Capture of 46 Public Officials

teleSUR | July 1, 2020

Mexico’s Attorney General Alejandro Gertz issued 46 arrest warrants against municipal officials for their participation in the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, the State of Guerrero, on September 26, 2014.

“The Attorney General’s Office imputes to 46 officials from various Guerrero municipalities the crimes of forced disappearance and organized crime,” local outlet La Jornada reported and explained that the Office of the Attorney General had neither investigated nor prosecuted certain events when this case’s proceedings were carried out between 2014 and 2018.

Gertz also ordered the capture of the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC), Tomas Zeron, who was in charge of this case during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration (2012-2018).

According to local outlets, however, he reportedly fled to Canada in March, escaping accusations of torture, disappearance of people, and obstruction of justice against him.

Zeron “already has an arrest warrant and an Interpol red card, for his international location and his extradition,” Gertz said.

Federal authorities are also seeking Carlos Arrieta, Michoacan’s former Security undersecretary, and Julio Contreras, a former member of the Ministerial Police.

During the Peña Nieto administration, Mexican authorities claimed that the criminal group Guerreros Unidos murdered the 43 missing students and cremated them in a garbage dump.

This version of events was known as “the historical truth”, a phrase that the former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam used to describe the investigations’ conclusion.

July 1, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Mexico makes its biggest oil discovery in more than three decades

RT | December 7, 2019

Mexican state oil company Pemex has announced the biggest oil discovery in the country since 1987. The deposit in the southeast of the country may have reserves of 500 million barrels of crude.

The giant Quesqui site in the Gulf Coast state of Tabasco was discovered several months ago, with the first well, which is now producing 4,500 barrels per day, drilled in June. However, after studying the potential of the field, the company announced that the deposit is one of the most important discoveries in 30 years.

“With the analysis of information provided by this well and seismic data in the area, we can confirm today the existence of a giant deposit equivalent to 500 million barrels of crude oil in a 3P reserve,” Pemex Chief Executive Octavio Romero Oropeza said in a statement on Friday.

The so-called 3P reserve means that it has deposits considered proven, probable and possible.

The head of Pemex also revealed development plans for the 34-square-kilometer field. Up to 11 wells are set to be drilled at the site to reach daily production of 69,000 barrels of oil and 300 million cubic feet of gas next year. By 2021, output is set to reach 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 410 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

December 7, 2019 Posted by | Economics | | 1 Comment

Light oil set to flood global market

RT | August 3, 2019

According to the report, the US accounted for 88 percent of this growth in global oil production, while OPEC recorded a production decline overall, on the back of US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, which took off a combined 800,000 bpd from the cartel’s production in 2018.

While the US became the world’s largest oil producer last year thanks to shale and found a place among the top ten oil exporters in the world, it changed the blend mix on global markets, Eni said in its report. Thanks to shale, the portion of light sweet crudes on international markets increased to more than 20 percent. At the same time, because of sanctions against Venezuela and declining production in Mexico, the portion of medium sour crudes fell below 40 percent of the total for the first time ever.

This change in crude oil grade availability is changing the dynamics in prices, too. Earlier this year, the prices of some heavy crude grades touched a premium to lighter grades on concerns about a heavy crude supply crunch resulting from sanctions and OPEC cuts: most OPEC members reduced their heavier crude production in favor of light and sweet grades used to produce gasoline.

This supply crunch helped US exports: in early June, Reuters reported that as many as six Very Large Crude Carriers were waiting to load medium sour crude from the Gulf of Mexico for export markets. At the same time, Gulf Coast refiners struggled with an excess of light crude produced from the shale plays nearby: the Permian and the Eagle Ford.

Interestingly enough, despite the looming new emissions rules of the International Maritime Organization that will go into effect next January, Eni reported that the global production of medium sour crude, which has a higher sulfur content than light sweet crudes, increased last year to come to account for 11.8 percent of the total from 9.9 percent a year earlier. At the same time, total sweet crude production inched down to 35.6 percent of the total from 36.3 percent in 2017.

Amid these changing patterns of production, demand for crude oil last year continued to grow despite the flurry of climate emergency declarations prompted by protests and demands by environmental organizations for governments to do more about climate change. According to Eni, global oil demand rose by 1.4 million barrels daily, with Asia—and specifically China and India—unsurprisingly leading the way. The two largest economies on the continent accounted for half of that demand growth. At the same time, in increasingly renewable Europe, oil demand remained virtually unchanged from a year earlier.

Refining capacity also increased last year, with Asia once again leading the way: as much as 75 percent of the new global refining capacity of 1 million bpd was built there, the Italian supermajor said. This year, more new refining capacity is expected, especially in China: new additions of almost 900,000 bpd are expected this year from the current 15 million bpd.

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 4 Comments

From Madero to Maduro: Lessons of the Mexican Revolution for 21st Century Venezuela

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.02.2019

Just over 100 years ago, Mexico had a popular, much beloved democratically elected President determined to reduce foreign influence and obscene profits flowing out of the country and raise the standard of living for his people. The US financial interests on Wall Street orchestrated a military coup and made sure he was brutally murdered.

The president obviously was not Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, who has been set up to receive the same treatment this year, but his name was remarkably close – Madero not Maduro. The parallels and contrasts between the two men are thought-provoking.

Unfortunately poor Francisco Madero, an idealistic reformer who ruled as President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913 did not have the tough political street smarts and plain common sense that Venezuela’s Maduro has exhibited throughout his long, controversial but undeniably successful career.

Madero naively trusted in the army commander-in-chief he had inherited from his predecessor President Porfirio Diaz, General Victoriano Huerta. Huerta had prospered throughout the long 35-year rule of Diaz from 1876 to 1911 by carrying out genocidal campaigns for him against the Yaqui Indians and the Mayans.

In 1913, Wall Street interests enthusiastically supported Huerta when he carried out a coup against the innocent Madero. Woodrow Wilson, the US president of the day was an exceptionally ugly racist who despised the Mexican people and at first went along with Huerta’s coup.

The huge financial and mining interests in New York were eager to continue plundering Mexico’s resources while more than 90 percent of its people lived virtually as slaves in appalling poverty under Diaz.

In the last decade of Diaz’s rule – securely supported by the Wall Street financial robber barons, as historian Matthew Josephson called them and by the complacent administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft – at least 600,000 people were worked to death as real slaves on the estates of Diaz’s supporters. Not a whisper of disapproval was heard from Washington.

Huerta ruled with his usual mindless thuggish brutality for less than a year and a half before provoking such national revulsion that he was ousted in a brief and bloody civil war. He fled of course to the United States but then made the mistake of alienating US business and military leaders alike by openly embracing Imperial Germany to plot his militaristic comeback.

Huerta died in loose US military custody in 1916 after a night of dining out and carousing. Poisoning by the Americans was widely suspected but the cause may well just have been heavy drinking. His autopsy revealed extreme cirrhosis of the liver.

To this day Huerta is reviled as the murderous mass killer and cowardly murderer and tool of cynical foreign interests he was while the well-meaning, but tragically ineffectual Madero is genuinely loved by the people of Mexico. The days from the start of Huerta’s coup to the president’s murder – gunned down by an impromptu firing squad of assassins by night along with his own brother and vice president are remembered as La Decena Tragica, The Ten Tragic Days.

In the years that followed, Mexico endured all the horrors of a collapsed state with rival feuding bands slaughtering each other and everyone else they came across. The population of the country plummeted from 15 million in 1910 to 11.6 million a decade later. Factoring in how many deaths were masked by the high birth rate, well over four million people, or more than 25 percent of the total population died in the years of anarchic violence that Huerta’s murder of President Madero set in motion.

La Decena Tragica continues to reverberate in Mexico to this day. When current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador continues to withstand massive pressures from the Trump administration to recognize their preferred puppet, Juan Guaido as Washington’s preferred figurehead president of Venezuela, he is heeding his people’s reverence for martyred President Madero and remembering the bloodbaths and chaos that the hated Huerta unleashed in his place.

Madero naively trusted in the honor of his army commander, the murderous Huerta. By contrast, President Maduro in Venezuela, like his political mentor and predecessor Hugo Chavez, has taken care to always have an army high command loyal to the democratically elected national civilian leadership. Nevertheless, today, US leaders have openly called on Venezuela’s military leaders to scrap their own cherished constitution and political processes and violently topple President Maduro – All of course in the name of their usual mythical and never-defined “freedom.”

However, Bloomberg News pointedly noted in a recent report that in a Venezuelan military establishment of more than 2,000 generals and admirals, only a single officer who did not even command any troops has sworn allegiance to National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido, the farcical boy toy whom the Trump administration is trying to set up as “president” of Venezuela in Maduro’s place.

It is just as well. The precedent of Mexico more than a century ago teaches us that if the US plot to topple President Maduro were to succeed, as the one to remove and murder President Madero did so tragically 106 years ago, then civil war, chaos and the violent death of multiple millions of innocent people would rapidly follow.

In the seven years following the murder of Francisco Madero, more than a quarter of the population of Mexico were slaughtered or starved to death. The history of states where 21st century US administrations have successfully orchestrated “regime change” makes clear that Venezuela would suffer a similar fate.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan and Ukraine remain appalling object-lessons to the world in US criminal incompetence – at the very least – in “nation-building.” The consequences of the endless failed attempts to topple the government of Syria tell the same terrible story.

The bullets that slammed into gentle, naïve little President Madero more than a century ago continue to ricochet in our own bloodstained age.

February 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Against Intervention in Venezuela: The Case of the Caribbean Community

By Maximilian Forte | Zero Anthropology | February 6, 2019

As discussed in the previous article, the membership of the Organization of American States is in fact not at all united around support for foreign intervention and recognition of an alternative second “president” (Juán Guaidó). Standing opposed to the denial of recognition of Maduro’s legitimacy as the elected leader are not just Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and for now Mexico and Uruguay, but also Caribbean states such as Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Belize abstained from the OAS resolution—which, it turns out, does not mean the same as indifference. The action by the OAS implicitly threatened all governments in the region, which has already significantly damaged the organization’s integrity, as discussed below.

CARICOM Heads of Government

CARICOM

Caribbean states, including those that abstained from voting on the OAS resolution, stood firmly on anti-interventionist principles that respected Venezuela’s sovereignty. Leaders of the member states of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) held an emergency meeting to discuss Venezuela on January 24. The heads of government of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Foreign Ministers of Grenada and Suriname, participated in the meeting. Guyana, which has a long standing territorial dispute with Venezuela, nonetheless endorsed the CARICOM position the next day. The resulting statement “reaffirmed” the members’ “principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy”. In addition, they insisted that the crisis should only be “resolved peacefully through meaningful dialogue and diplomacy”. Without naming the US and the Trump administration, CARICOM heads explicitly rejected foreign intervention in Venezuela’s affairs, and threats of violence against the country:

“Reaffirming their commitment to the tenets of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which calls for Members States to refrain from the threat or the use of force and Article 21 of the Charter of the Organization of American States which refers to territorial inviolability, the Heads of Government emphasized the importance of the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace”.

Taking aim again at US policy, CARICOM,

“called on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilize the situation and…called on all actors, internal and external, to avoid actions which would escalate an already explosive situation to the detriment of the people of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and which could have far-reaching negative consequences for the wider region”.

Trinidad & Tobago and CARICOM vs. the OAS

Within CARICOM, the case of Trinidad & Tobago deserves special mention. First, Trinidad, mere miles from Venezuela with which it has long historical and demographic ties, is now home to a growing number of Venezuelan refugees. Recent events have triggered fears of an even larger refugee crisis in the making. The media make it clear that many locals neither like nor trust the Venezuelans entering their country, and resent their presence. In addition, Venezuelans protesting in the capital, Port of Spain, against Maduro and demanding that the government of Prime Minister Keith Rowley recognize Guaidó instead, faced a mixed reaction at best. Aside from being denounced by Trinidadian commenters, the protesters drew a sharp rebuke from the leader of one of the parties in parliament, David Abdulah:

“Citizens of Venezuela can appeal to the Government of Venezuela and the parties in Venezuela but Venezuelans here in Trinidad and Tobago cannot determine what the foreign policy of Trinidad and Tobago ought to be. It is the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago ultimately and the governments of Caricom and the citizens of Caricom who must determine the foreign policy of Trinidad and Tobago and of Caricom”.

Abdulah also took exception with the protesters claim that Guaidó had popular support, while Maduro was isolated as a dictator. Abdulah said Maduro got significant support at the February 2nd  demonstration in Venezuela, which was much bigger than Guaidó’s rally:

“So it is not as if President Maduro is clinging on to power by himself and so on and the vast majority of the Venezuelans are against him. That is not the case”.

Moreover, Abdulah condemned the opposition:

Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago

“Very regrettably, but not surprising, Guaido has taken the consistent right-wing line of the opposition rejecting any talks, rejecting any mediation and simply wanting for [sic] resolve the thing by force backed, of course, by the United States and some other coun­tries”.

Squaring off against his domestic opposition, Prime Minister Keith Rowley took direct aim at the United National Congress in parliament, which is pro-US and pro-interventionist. Rowley openly called them “traitors” for trying to undermine CARICOM’s mission of mediation.

Luís Almagro, Secretary-General of the OAS

Prime Minister Rowley has also clashed with the leadership of the OAS, precisely on the question of Venezuela, well before this latest crisis erupted. Back in 2017, Rowley called for the dismissal of OAS secretary-general Luís Almagro. Prime Minister Rowley’s point, which was correct, is that the OAS was compromised by taking an interventionist stance towards Venezuela, and delegitimizing its duly elected leader. Rowley further accused the OAS leadership saying that the result was that, “the OAS has now removed itself from any meaningful participation and has deteriorated now into partisan attacks”.

The conflict between CARICOM, and Trinidad & Tobago in particular, and the head of the OAS was reignited with the latest crisis. CARICOM, and Trinidad’s Minister of National Security, expressed shock that Almagro would dare to speak for all OAS members in personally denouncing Maduro. In a January 31 letter to the OAS’ Almagro, CARICOM’s leadership instructed Almagro that the OAS does not speak for CARICOM members on this issue. The letter from CARICOM’s chairman, Prime Minister Timothy Harris of St Kitts and Nevis, stated:

“The Heads of Government consider it imperative that you publicly clarify that you did not speak on behalf of all the member states of the Organisation of American States….We are aware that this is not the only occasion on which you have made public utterances in the name of the organisation without authority”.

CARICOM described Almagro’s actions as a “clear departure of from normal practice and cause for great concern”. Almagro has gone as far as advocating a foreign military invasion of Venezuela. Journalists noted that, “the OAS website lists media and press releases for the month of January and there is nothing about the OAS’s support for Guaido”. Trinidad & Tobago joined a CARICOM team to meet in Uruguay on February 7, as part of a mediation effort led by Mexico and Uruguay. Calls for dialogue continue to be flatly rejected by Guaidó, echoing the same line taken by Trump and his team.

Meeting in Montevideo

The meeting of 15 Caribbean nations plus Mexico, Uruguay, and parties in Venezuela, taking place in Montevideo tomorrow, represents the formation of a bloc that can act as a significant counterweight to the so-called “Lima Group” of US dependents in Latin America and neocolonial states such as Canada. Unlike the Lima Group, no foreign media have been banned in advance— the Canadian government blocked Russian and Venezuelan media from covering the Lima Group meeting in Ottawa on February 4, an act of suppression of press freedoms that occasioned no outcry at all in Canada.

The largely right wing “Lima Group” that opposed Maduro itself consisted of a range of shady and extreme characters tarred by their involvement in corruption scandals and with ties to death squads, along with Canada with its liberal authoritarian tradition and its penchant for necolonial violence. Once again, none of the “decolonial” crowd, fashionable as they are in academia, has drawn any of the logical and historical connections between Canada’s internal colonialism and its external neocolonialism, which are united by the same principles and interests, even the very same parties and actors. This failure of intellect is not an accident either, but is a subject best explored at another time.

In the meantime, I strongly recommend that you listen carefully to the full interview of RT with Nicolás Maduro:

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment