Aletho News


Venezuelan Government Denounces ‘Terrorist Attack’ Against Refinery

By Manuela Solé | Venezuelanalysis | October 29, 2020

Mérida – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro condemned a ‘terrorist attack’ against the country’s largest refinery.

During an international press conference in Miraflores Palace on Wednesday, Maduro detailed that “high potency weaponry” was used to blow up a tower in the Amuay refinery, in Falcon State, the day before.

He added that Venezuela faces permanent plots against its refineries and infrastructure “backed, financed and promoted by the US government.”

On Thursday, Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami reported that preliminary findings pointed towards a missile fired from a drone or a ship. He added that a commission was set up to further investigate.

“Investigations have determined a very strong explosion caused by a missile. We are investigating the source of this terrorist attack,” he told reporters. El Aissami denounced repeated attacks against the oil industry as well as electricity infrastructure in Falcon State.

Although the explosion caused no injuries it means yet another setback to the distillation unit which is currently inactive whilst workers try to restart output. Preliminary reports revealed that the exploded tower may be unrecoverable and may have to be completely rebuilt.

Amuay has a 645,000 barrel per day (bpd) processing capacity, and together with the 310,000 bpd Cardon refinery forms the Paraguana Refining Complex, the second largest in the world.

The South American nation has faced severe gasoline shortages in recent months and been forced to import fuel from Iran. With sanctions heavily affecting Venezuela’s oil sector, Tehran has also assisted Caracas in reactivating the refining industry. The El Palito and Cardon refineries have been working intermittently in recent months, with technical problems forcing repeated stoppages.

The Venezuelan president also informed that on October 26 two foreign men were apprehended in Zulia state. He claimed that they had links to “extremist groups” and “planned to kill leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution.” No further details, including their names, were revealed..

Maduro likewise recalled that in September Venezuelan security forces arrested Matthew John Heath, a former US marine, near the Paraguana Refining Complex, Heath and three Venezuelan men were captured with weapons and large amounts of US dollars.

Edited and with additional reporting by Ricardo Vaz from Merida.

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

Maduro Accuses Facebook of Censoring Publications on COVID-19 Medicine

Sputnik – 30.10.2020

CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has criticised Facebook for censoring several publications concerning the DR10 molecule which, according to Venezuelan scientists, eliminates the effects of COVID-19.

“I want to say that today (29 October) my account was censored on Facebook, they deleted three publications from my Facebook account, they deleted the complete transmission of Sunday’s programme where I scientifically explained this step that Venezuela has taken and two more publications about DR10”, Maduro said in a statement published by the channel Venezuela de Television.

According to Venezuelan Minister of Sciences and Technologies Gabriela Jimenez, the molecule DR10 was isolated from a medicinal plant that eliminates the COVID-19 virus with 100 percent efficacy without affecting healthy cells. This molecule can be used to produce medicines that will help to combat the coronavirus infection.

Earlier in October, the Venezuelan government reported that they had presented their research to both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

The government also expressed its intention to produce the medicine in collaboration with such countries as China, Cuba, Russia, and India after approval from the WHO. The drug is seen by authorities as a potentially complementary medicine to treat diseases caused by COVID-19.

Venezuela has registered over 90,000 positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 85,000 patients have recovered and 789 people have died from the virus in the Latin American nation.

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Maduro Says Venezuela Found 100% Effective Medicine Against COVID-19

Sputnik – 26.10.2020

CARACAS – The Venezuelan Scientific Research Institute (IVIC) discovered a medicine that contains molecule DR10 to combat COVID-19, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on national channel Venezolana de Television, stating that the medicine can eliminate 100 percent of the coronavirus infection.

“Venezuela has created a medicine that eliminates 100 percent of the coronavirus, as the six-month studies by the Venezuelan Scientific Research Institute have demonstrated, and this study has been consequently certified by the experts,” Maduro said on Sunday.

Maduro added that the molecule that eliminates COVID-19 is DR10, which is already used in the treatment of such diseases as hepatitis C, Ebola and human papilloma.

Maduro hopes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) will ratify the results obtained by the IVIC and Venezuela will be able to prepare the mass production of this molecule as a cure for COVID-19 and provide it worldwide with the necessary international collaboration.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Venezuela has registered 89,565 positive cases, including 83,947 patients who have recovered and 773 people who died.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Whoever wins the US presidency the pressure on Venezuela will continue: Scholar

Press TV | October 26, 2020

Whoever wins the presidency on November 3 election in the United States the pressure on Venezuela will continue, an American human rights expert and peace activist says.

Daniel Kovalik, who teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in the state of Pennsylvania, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday.

In Venezuela, many say US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden represent the same threat against peace in the world, especially in Latin America. They believe whoever the winner is, the South American country will go on fighting against illegal US sanctions.

“In terms of Venezuela they’re certainly correct that whoever wins the presidency whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump the pressure on Venezuela will continue in the form of sanctions and other provocations,” Kovalik told Press TV on Monday.

“You have to remember in fact that it was Obama that began the sanctions regime against Venezuela when Joe Biden was Vice President,” he said.

“And in terms of resisting, it’s critical that Venezuela continue to resist this pressure and hold firm. I think it gives courage to other countries around the world like Iran, North Korea, Nicaragua, Cuba that are also under pressure by the US – pressure to change their governments,” he added.

“We see what happened in Bolivia recently with the election, which voted out the coup government after a year. And I think that’s given a lot of hope to people. So I, you know, Venezuela has to hold on tight, regardless of who wins the US election,” he concluded.

Venezuelans claim that US presidential election will not improve the foreign policy of the United States toward other nations, including those in Latin America, as this region is regarded by Washington as its political backyard.

Whether Republican Trump is re-elected or his Democratic rival Biden emerges victorious, Venezuelans affirm that the meddlesome and aggressive US policy against the Bolivarian Republic will not cease as both politicians belong to a political system that characterizes US imperialism. Venezuelans say Trump and Biden are the same in political terms.

Regarding the US sanctions, experts believe they won’t be lifted if Biden wins the Presidency. In spite of the US savage policies against Venezuela, people seem to be hopeful about a better future.

Observers say Democrats and Republicans in Washington have both led hostile policies against Latin American, Venezuelans say no matter who wins the US Presidency, the hostility will go on but Venezuelans won’t surrender.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Bolivia election is a blow to Trudeau’s policy

By Yves Engler · October 21, 2020

Massive support for Bolivia’s Movimiento al Socialismo at the polls is a rejection of last year’s Canadian-backed coup against Evo Morales. The vote was also a blow to Trudeau’s policy of seeking to overthrow left-wing governments in the region.

On Sunday Morales’ former finance minister, Luis Acre, won 55% of the vote for president. His MAS party also took a large majority in the Congress.

The unexpectedly large victory is a decisive rebuke of Ottawa’s support for the ouster of Bolivia’s first indigenous president. Hours after the military command forced Evo Morales to resign on November 10, then foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland released a celebratory statement declaring, “Canada stands with Bolivia and the democratic will of its people.”

Ottawa provided significant support for the Organization of American States’ effort to discredit Bolivia’s 2019 vote, which fueled opposition protests and justified the coup. Ottawa promoted and financed the OAS’ effort to discredit the presidential poll and two Canadian technical advisers were part of the audit mission to Bolivia. “Canada commends the invaluable work of the OAS audit mission in ensuring a fair and transparent process, which we supported financially and through our expertise”, noted Freeland at the time.

But, the OAS audit mission was designed to precipitate Morales ouster. A slew of academic and corporate media studies have demonstrated the partisan nature of the OAS audit mission and the weekend’s election results confirm it. Still, Global Affairs promoted the organization’s involvement in Bolivia’s elections. On Saturday their Canada in Bolivia account tweeted, “Canada is pleased to support the Organization of American States (OAS) electoral observation mission to Bolivia.”

For a year Ottawa stayed silent while the unelected Jeanine Anez regime ramped up repression and anti-indigenous measures as well as drastically shifted the country’s foreign policy. Worse than silence, on Bolivia’s national day in August Global Affairs claimed Canada and Bolivia’s “strong bilateral relationship is founded on our shared values of democracy, human rights and a celebration of diversity.”

Global Affairs ignored the ‘caretaker’ government’s repeated postponement of elections. Even worse, when the country’s social movements launched a general strike in August to protest the ‘caretaker’ government’s repeated postponement of elections Global Affairs echoed the coup government’s claims that the protests undermined the fight against the pandemic. Canada in Bolivia tweeted, “Canada calls for humanitarian aid to be allowed to circulate freely in Bolivia to fight #COVID19 & calls on all social actors to support the country’s democratic institutions and to use those mechanisms to resolve any disputes.” (Protesters let ambulances and other medical vehicles circulate with little disruption.)

Looking at a year of the Canada in Bolivia Twitter account I did not find a single criticism of the coup government. But, there were more than 15 posts critical of the Venezuelan government. On October 14 Canada in Bolivia tweeted, “the conditions needed for free and fair elections do not exist in Venezuela” and linked to a Lima Group statement declaring renewed “support of President Juan Guaidó.” (After usurping power Anez joined the Lima Group of countries seeking to oust Nicolas Maduro’s government.) Two months earlier the account called for “concerted international actions in support of a peaceful return to democracy in Venezuela” and linked to a Lima Group statement reiterating their “firm commitment to interim president Juan Guaidó.”

Contrasting the Trudeau government’s response to an unelected, anti-indigenous, elitist government in Bolivia to that of Venezuela’s elected, pro-poor president is telling. So is their silence on the election results in Bolivia. Nearly 72 hours after the polls closed Ottawa has yet to release a statement congratulating Arce or the MAS on their massive victory.

The election results in Bolivia are a major blow to Canadian policy in that country and Ottawa’s bid to wipe out the remnants of the leftist pink tied in Latin America.

Further, the victory of MAS shows Canada for what it has always (unfortunately) been: an imperialist power seeking to maintain the world’s massively unfair status quo.

October 21, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Spain Rejects Extradition of Orlando Figuera’s Murderer – Black Chavista Burned Alive in 2017

Enzo Franchini Oliveros inside the red circle. File photo.
Orinoco Tribune | October 2, 2020

A Spanish Justice on Wednesday rejected the extradition of the Venezuelan Enzo Franchini Oliveros, who is requested in Venezuela for his participation, during the 2017 guarimbas, in the criminal action, where a group of people stabbed and burned alive 22-year-old Orlando Figuera, under the accusation of “being Chavista.”

The ruling issued by the Spanish National Court revokes the sentence adopted in June that ordered the extradition of Franchini on whom audiovisual evidence weighs that points at him as the material author of this action that resulted in the death of Figuera as a consequence of a cardiopulmonary arrest due to the collapse that registered his body after being stabbed six times and suffering for several days second and third degree burns in 54% of his body.

According to the EFE news agency, this judicial overturn, promoted by three magistrates, arises under the argument of understanding “the rational fear” of the accused, who alleged that in Venezuela his “fundamental rights” could be affected.

Contrary to this assertion, in the same ruling the rapporteur judges acknowledge that “the seriousness of the crime that motivates the extradition request (a hate crime) is undoubtedly considered,” while accepting the “lack of political connotations” in the extradition request on the part of the Venezuelan authorities.

They also acknowledge the absence of evidence that indicates a possible political persecution against Franchini by pointing out “the lack of data that allow us to conceive a special significance of the accused as an opposition political leader of the current Venezuelan government.”

Prior to this ruling, the first section of the Criminal Court of the National High Court agreed to extradite Franchini considering that all the requirements were met and after ruling out a motive of political persecution by not “glimpsing any element”, it stressed the importance of guaranteeing the application of justice against Franchini given “the connotation of the crime.”

(Ultimas Noticias)

October 9, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , | Leave a comment

US Southern Command Chief Admits Plans Against Venezuela

teleSUR- October 7, 2020

Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza Monday denounced that the U.S. Southern Command Admiral Craig Faller openly admitted his country’s plans to violently overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

On Monday, Faller commented at an online meeting organized by the business forum Council of the Americas that the international attempts to bring down Venezuela’s government have worked, although not quickly enough for the Venezuelan people.

He not only said that such efforts have not worked quick enough but also that it took an entire generation to get to this point and that it will take a while to unblock Venezuela’s democratic framework.

The Admiral also attributed certain external factors such as the help of Cuba, Russia, China and Iran to the alleged slow change within Venezuela.

Arreaza pointed out that this arrogant position of the members of the White House is unacceptable as they insist on violating the Charter of the United Nations and the most basic principles of international law through threats and blockades.

This statement shows Washington’s systematic and widespread attacks on Venezuela, which constitutes a crime against humanity.

Venezuela’s government will add Faller’s confessions to the criminal complaint it filed against the U.S. government on Feb. 13 before the Hague’s International Criminal Court.

In this complaint, President Maduro requests the White House to lift all coercive measures against his country since the U.S. government prevents Venezuela from acquiring food and medicines and from negotiating freely on the international market.

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

UN Human Rights Council Passes Dual Venezuela Resolutions

One resolution extends UN cooperation and has Caracas’ consent, while the other extends a controversial Washington-backed mission.

By Paul Dobson | Venezuelanalysis | October 7, 2020

Mérida – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed two resolutions concerning Venezuela on Tuesday.

The first was presented by Peru and endorsed by the right wing governments which make up the Lima Group. It granted a two year extension to a controversial fact finding mission which is investigating the human rights situation in the country. The resolution was passed by 22 votes in favour, three against (including Venezuela), and 22 abstentions.

Amongst those backing it was the center-left government of Argentina, which had previously called for non-intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Influential figures and popular movements from Argentina have since condemned the vote, with the country’s ambassador to Moscow resigning on Wednesday in protest.

The UN’s fact finding mission was constituted one year ago by the UNHRC, with its members Marta Valinas (Portugal), Francisco Cox (Chile) and Paul Seils (UK) presenting their first report at the previous council session in September. The report accused the Caracas government of crimes against humanity through carrying out extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture.

The Maduro government rejected these accusations, and claimed the mission to be“politicised,” “lacking in scientific scrutiny” and that the report was “written from afar.” Days after the report was published, Venezuela presented a counter-report titled “The Truth about Venezuela,” while Attorney General Tarek William Saab also defended the country’s record in matters of human rights.

Hours after the first resolution was passed, a second one presented by Syria, Iran and Turkey was also approved with 14 votes in favour, seven against and 26 abstentions. The second resolution, which was backed by Venezuela, extends the functions of the Venezuela-based office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, as well as promising to “continue UN technical cooperation” with the government.

It also denounced the human rights consequences of Washington’s blockade against the Caribbean country and urged a “constructive dialogue and cooperation with the state” in order to “strengthen its capacity to fulfil its obligations in the matter of human rights,” specifically mentioning efforts to strengthen the judicial system in the country.

Following the two votes, Caracas strongly condemned the Lima Group resolution, vowing that it will “not recognise parallel and unnecessary mechanisms” which express a “cynical concern” for human rights. For his part, Venezuela’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Jorge Valero, added that the resolution “seeks the imposition of monitoring mechanisms which do not have the consent of my country nor my people.”

On the other hand, Caracas celebrated the passing of the Syria-Iran-Turkey resolution, with a Foreign Ministry statement explaining that the resolution “demonstrates the commitment of the Venezuelan state to maintaining dialogue and respectful and constructive cooperation with the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza also backed the resolution personally, claiming that Venezuela’s commitment to human rights is “absolute.”

Following an inaugural visit to the country in July 2019, the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights set up a permanent two-person office in Caracas.

Since, UN reps have been granted access to prisons and other sites, and have reportedly worked to strengthen the legal system and “the institutional mechanisms for human rights protection.”

Subsequently, a number of detained right wing activists have been released by the government, and authorities have hinted at a shakeup of the contentious FAES special police forces. The High Commissioner’s office has previously called for the FAES to be dissolved. The special forces have also been denounced by many Venezuelan popular movements and leftwing parties.

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Guaidó creates a parallel consulate in Brazil

By Lucas Leiroz | October 8, 2020

A “parallel” Venezuelan Consulate in Brazil was condemned in a recent statement by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. In late September, supporters of the Venezuelan opposition leader, the self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, announced that they would form a new consulate in Brazil. Basically, the objective is to create a parallel Venezuelan diplomatic representation, which meets the interests of the opposition – which is supported by the Brazilian government. The decision has received strong criticism from the Venezuelan government, which considers it illegal. However, despite the criticism, the consulate is starting its operations this week in the Brazilian state of Roraima – a region strategically chosen because it borders Venezuela.

Jorge Arreaza, head of the Bolivarian government’s foreign relations, reinforced his criticism and published an official statement warning the international community against the activities of the opposition, which he classified as fraudulent. According to Arreaza, there is an attempt to usurp the legitimate consular power of the Venezuelan government – which, in legal terms, is correct, considering that Guaidó is not actually the president of Venezuela.

Guaidó’s initiative in Brazil continues a series of clashes between the government of Jair Bolsonaro and representatives of Nicolás Maduro. Last month, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared Venezuelan diplomats as “persona non grata” after setting a deadline in April for them to leave the country – which did not happen due to a later decision by the Supreme Court. Now, with the appointment of new “diplomats” by Juan Guaidó, the situation between both countries is even more tense, since the Brazilian government will publicly recognize the role of the opposition’s parallel diplomatic service, while denying maintaining relations with the Venezuelan official diplomacy.

No specific date has been set for the opening of the parallel consulate, and it has just been announced that from this week on the agency would be fully operational. In fact, Guaidó’s “diplomats” are already acting freely in Brazil and even distributing documents to Venezuelan citizens in Brazilian territory. The Maduro government has already stated that such documents have no validity, but the Brazilian government recognizes the actions and cooperates with the oppositionist Consulate. It is also important to emphasize that the employees of the parallel consulate have no diplomatic training, being political militants chosen by Guaidó to represent his interests in Brazil.

Brazil is making a serious mistake in accepting the formation of an illegal consulate in its territory. This represents a total violation of good customs in international relations. Although Brazil is directly opposed to the Venezuelan government, recognizing the legitimacy of an illegal “consulate” and allowing parallel diplomats to act in its territory sets an undesirable precedent in bilateral relations between these states. According to the Montevideo Convention, a State is constituted by the presence of territory, government and diplomatic relations. Therefore, when recognizing a new diplomacy, Brazil is, in practice, recognizing the existence of a Venezuelan State parallel to the Bolivarian Republic. The Venezuelan case, moreover, illustrates an absolutely inappropriate international behavior among the nations that oppose Maduro. To recognize a deputy as president for the simple fact that there was political opposition to the legitimate government had already been a serious violation of international customs. Now, with the creation of parallel consulates, the situation is likely to get even worse, mainly due to the fact that Brazil may not be the only country to receive “Guaidó’s diplomats”.

Interestingly, the inauguration of the parallel Consulate in Brazil takes place a few weeks after the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to four countries in South America. The head of American diplomacy met with Brazilians including Brazil’s minister of foreign affairs Ernesto Araújo and Venezuelan immigrants precisely in the state of Roraima. The secret talks between Pompeo and Araújo still remain obscure. When called by the Senate to clarify the content of the meeting, Araújo gave no details and mentioned only generic aspects of the conversations he had with Pompeo. The other countries visited by Pompeo were Colombia, Guyana and Suriname – countries strategically chosen to form a siege against Venezuela. Considering that Pompeo’s visit to Brazil was most likely decisive for the Brazilian government to agree to cooperate with Guaidó’s parallel diplomacy, it is possible to foresee that sometime soon some of the other countries visited by Pompeo will also announce a similar decision, receiving “diplomatic missions” coming from the self-proclaimed and illegitimate government of Juan Guaidó.

It remains to be seen what the consequences of these acts will be going forward. The parallel consulate is already acting freely in Brazil, consolidating an historic act of violation of Venezuelan state sovereignty perpetrated by the Brazilian government. However, the US – the world power that promotes the crusade against Maduro – has not yet made such a bold decision and does not publicly have “diplomats” in the service of Guaidó. In fact, Brazil is acting as the laboratory of a great experiment, where the limits of the violation of Venezuelan sovereignty are being tested. Depending on the reaction of Caracas and its allies, other countries will receive – or not – such “diplomats”.

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

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

UN Venezuela Report Omits US Human Rights Violations

By Leonardo Flores | MintPress News | October 2, 2020

On September 23, María Eugenia Russián, president of Fundalatin, Venezuela’s oldest human rights organization, testified to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and decried an attempt by a UNHRC fact-finding mission to erase people who were “lynched, burned alive, decapitated and murdered by extremist sectors of the Venezuelan opposition.” This fact-finding mission had published a report a week earlier that generated sensationalist headlines of “crimes against humanity” and painted a bleak picture of the situation in Venezuela.

However, the 400+ page report has been found to contain serious flaws and omissions, leading to charges that it politicizes human rights – a position backed by the Venezuelan government. But it’s not just Venezuela that has taken issue with the report: Argentina’s ambassador to the Organization of American States denounced it as “biased” and noted that “human rights are not an instrument for taking political positions.”

A parallel mission and attack on multilateralism

Moreover, even the formation of the fact-finding mission is suspect. Since 2017, Venezuela has been working with a different UN institution, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), to strengthen its capacity to guarantee human rights. This cooperation has led to technical agreements and to visits by the OHCHR to Venezuela.

Yet despite – or perhaps because – of this cooperation, the Lima Group, an ad hoc group of nations dedicated to regime change in Venezuela, maneuvered in the UN Human Rights Council to establish a parallel mission outside of the purview of the OHCHR. In the September 2019 debate prior to the founding of this mission, Russián said that it “seeks to thwart the advances between the Office of the High Commissioner and the Venezuelan state, hindering and duplicating its efforts.” She also made a prescient comment: “[the mission] will generate major headlines but will not contribute to resolving the situation.”

Several Venezuelan human rights organizations, including the Venezuelan Association of Jurists (AVJ), denounced the formation of the mission and the subsequent report as an attack on multilateralism. The AVJ notes that according to UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251, “the promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue and aimed at strengthening the capacity of Member States.”

Neither of these principles were adhered to in the report, which means that the fact-finding mission violated the United Nation’s own guidelines. This contrasts severely with the latest update on Venezuela from the OHCHR, which notes that technical cooperation between Venezuela and the UN has led to progress in investigating 93 alleged cases of extrajudicial killings or excessive use of force, as well as the pardoning of 110 prisoners.

Flawed methodology, biased sources and egregious omissions

The first thing to note about the report is that the authors are all from countries that support Guaidó. One of them, Francisco Cox, has close ties to the Chilean Foreign Minister (Chile is one of the Latin American countries leading the charge against Venezuela). In an interview with journalist Anya Parampil, Chilean analyst Esteban Silva noted that Cox “is part of an operation against the government of Venezuela.”

Venezuelan human rights organization Sures considers that the report “lacks academic rigor” as the mission did not step foot in Venezuela “and as such never had direct access to the sources it consulted, including the victims, government officials and official records.” Lending credence to the claim of a lack of rigor is the fact that more than 50% of the report’s sources were links to social and digital media, while just 5% were NGOs.

Misión Verdad, an independent group of Venezuelan investigative journalists and analysts, wrote an exposé of the sources used in the report and found that one of these NGOs, COFAVIC (Committee of Relatives of Victims of the Caracazo), receives USAID funds and has ties to Human Rights Watch, which supports regime change and the brutal US sanctions. None of the NGOs the fact-finding mission contacted even mentioned the case of Orlando Figuera, a young Black man burned alive by anti-government protestors, which has arguably been the most infamous violation of human rights in Venezuela in recent years.

If the report were interested in balance, it would have cited or contacted Venezuelan human rights groups that document right-wing violence at protests and the devastating effects of U.S. sanctions. Five such organizations were contacted for this article: Fundalatin, AJV, Sures, Género con Clase (Gender with Class), and the Committee of Victims of the Guarimba and Ongoing Coup (guarimba is the term used for violent opposition protests in 2013, 2014 and 2017). None of them ever heard from the “independent” mission.

While victims like Figuera are ignored, another detailed critique by Misión Verdad documents the repeated “whitewashing” of political actors linked to violence by presenting them as victims. As analyst Joe Emersberger notes, the report’s treatment of opposition figure Leopoldo López ignores the leading role he has played in destabilizing Venezuela since 2002. López’s regime change strategy in 2014, ‘La Salida’, sparked opposition violence that resulted in the decapitation of Elvis Durán; he was riding a motorcycle down a street booby trapped by protestors with barbed wire. López’s name appears 61 times in the report; Durán’s does not appear at all.

As tragic as it is that a UN mission would engage in the erasure of victims of human rights violations perpetrated by government opponents, these are not even the most glaring omissions in the report. There are two ongoing mass violations of the human rights of all Venezuelans: the violent destabilization of the country by foreign and domestic actors, and the brutal U.S. sanctions. For Gisela Jiménez of Género con Clase, an organization that focuses on the rights of women and sexual diversity, currently the biggest challenge to the rights of Venezuelans is “the threat to the right to live in peace.” Russián of Fundalatin dates the biggest violation of human rights to March 2015, when then-President Obama characterized Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. Since then, she notes, ”the Venezuelan people have been subjected to violations of their right to health and even the right to life, due to the embargo and the obstruction of imports of medicine, food and supplies.”

The report in the context of a hybrid war

Beyond the bias and politicization of the report, what perhaps damns it most is how it is being used. The omissions on the impact of coups and sanctions enable regime change operatives such as Elliott Abrams, U.S. special representative for Iran and Venezuela, to cite the report as evidence of crimes against humanity while, in the same breath, threatening to cut off Venezuela’s diesel supplies, which has drawn widespread condemnation from NGOs across the political spectrum for the devastating effect it would have on the Venezuelan people.

The report was similarly used by Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin, who referenced it in a letter to the European Union in which they expressed “deep concern” over EU talks with the Maduro government and urged the EU to not monitor Venezuela’s parliamentary elections. This blatant attempt at interfering in and attempting to delegitimize Venezuela’s elections went uncovered by mainstream media, which focused all of their attention on the UNHCR report.

Furthermore, the timing of the report was also suspect, coming just a week before the 2020 UN General Assembly. Its purpose in this regard is clear: to add fuel to the fire in Venezuela and to shift the spotlight from U.S. allies with their own human rights issues. The timely release allowed Colombian president Duque and Chilean president Piñera to cite it and Venezuela in their general assembly speeches. In Colombia, 64 massacres have taken place this year alone, while the Piñera government in Chile was almost brought down by his government’s excessive use of force against peaceful protestors. Yet it was Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaidó who made the headlines, invoking the report while calling on the international community to exercise its “responsibility to protect” in a YouTube webinar on the sidelines of the General Assembly. The responsibility to protect is a doctrine used as the justification for military aggressions against Libya and Syria, among others.

The fact-finding mission has produced a document that is currently being employed in the furtherance of sanctions, electoral interference and threats of war. To put it another way, the UNHCR report on the human rights of Venezuelans will likely lead to even more suffering for Venezuelans. In the words of Fundalatin President Russián, the threat to the human rights of Venezuelans “becomes graver because of the behavior by powerful states, who in the name of human rights, seek a foreign military intervention in Venezuela.”

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

US Sails Warship Off Venezuela’s Coastal Waters Citing Treaty Washington Itself Hasn’t Ratified

Sputnik – 02.10.2020

Last week, Caracas accused the United States of being “the greatest threat to world peace and stability” after Washington slapped Venezuela with additional sanctions on senior government officials for doing business with Iran. The US and its allies have been attempting to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically-elected government since early 2018.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has blasted the Pentagon over its decision to sail a guided missile destroyer to his country’s coast.

“Venezuela denounces the erratic and childish provocation by the US Southern Command to send the USS William P Lawrence (DDG-110) Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer to within 16.1 nautical miles of our shores,” the foreign minister tweeted, accompanying his post with a formal communique by the Foreign Ministry.

Appealing to the international community, the communique called on other nations to “denounce” the US’s efforts to “intimidate” Caracas via the warship’s deployment.

The communique added that the USS William P Lawrence recognized the authority of the Venezuelan state and responded to radio communications from Venezuelan Navy ships, while claiming that it was “carrying out patrol operations against drug trafficking.”

Calling the US deployment of a warship with long-range missile capability “deeply striking,” the ministry recalled the similar episode which took place in July, when the USS Pinckney destroyer attempted to make what Caracas said was a “stealth incursion” into Venezuelan waters.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that the Venezuelan military is engaged in “systematic and permanent” patrols in Venezuela’s waters as part of its fight “against the scourge of drug trafficking,” and warned that while Caracas would “not fall into absurd provocations that seek to disrupt the peace and security of the Venezuelan peoples and their fellow Caribbean peoples,” it would “guarantee the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, always in accordance with international law.”

The US Navy confirmed Thursday that the USS William P Lawrence had “successfully” carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” off Venezuela’s coast to challenge the country’s “excessive maritime claims in international waters.”

“The illegitimate Maduro regime improperly claims excessive controls over those international waters, which extend three nautical miles beyond the 12-nautical mile territorial sea, a claim that is inconsistent with international law,” the US Navy said, adding that it has similarly “contested Venezuela’s excessive claims” in July.

Venezuela is not a party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which outlines a 12 nautical mile limit to member states’ coastal waters. Nor, ironically, is the United States, which signed the agreement in 1994 but has failed to ratify it in the two and a half decades since then.

In June, the USS Nitze guided missile destroyer carried out a similar ‘freedom of navigation’ mission, prompting Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino to warn that if US warships ever attempted to carry out military operations in Venezuelan waters, they would “receive a forceful response from our armed forces.”

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | 4 Comments

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