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Simon

Megathread on the crisis in Venezuela: Trump endorses Venezuela regime change

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Simon

I'm sure there will be a lot of news in regards to the crisis, specifically, US President Donald Trump endorsing regime change in Venezuela, so let's try and keep these discussions in this thread. Share and post news, articles, and op-eds that you find interesting and relevant to this subject, and please do post your comments on the crisis in Venezuela here as well. Thank you!

Here's what started the latest crisis in Venezuela:

2019-01-23t185716z-1327041096-rc17d812bb
WWW.CBSNEWS.COM

Large anti-government protests erupted across the South American nation on Wednesday

And here is the full statement from the White House where Trump recognizes Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the Interim President of Venezuela:

wh.gov-share-img_03-1024x538.png
WWW.WHITEHOUSE.GOV

Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela.  In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the...

 

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Simon

Following Trump's statement, Nicolas Maduro, the elected president of Venezuela, demanded that US diplomats were to leave Venezuela within 72 hours, which Business Insider reports.

In response to this, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a statement in which he labelled Nicolas Maduro as a "former president" saying Maduro doesn't have the legal authority to break diplomatic ties with the US or declare US diplomats "persona non grata." Pompeo also called on the Venezuelan military to protect US citizens in Venezuela.

4131621bf0a9725e66a99f9d0d35720a0ea3cba0
NEWS.YAHOO.COM

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro not to use force against mass demonstrations and urged further international support for the self-declared acting president. A day after the United States and major Latin American nations recognized...

The US literally threatened Maduro and Venezuela that they would use military force if the country expelled any US diplomats or harmed any US citizens. Obviously, Maduro shortly backed down on his demand that US diplomats were to leave the country, which the Financial Times reports.

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Simon

Here's a reminder for those of you who think this is a new threat from the Trump and the US: Trump has previously expressed a desire to "invade" Venezuela but he was, according to reports, dissuaded by Tillerson and McMaster, neither of whom are still with Trump’s administration. See this story from last year: Trump Pressed Aides on Venezuela Invasion, U.S. Official Says

Quote

As a meeting last August in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, President Donald Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can't the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country?

The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration.

But again, the US actively backing right-wing coups in Latin America is nothing new, the US has been doing that for 100+ years now. And they have all been to enrich US corporations and the global elite, not one of them was about safeguarding democracy. But somehow we are supposed to believe that this time in Venezuela - which just happens to have the world's largest oil reserves - is different? Ha ha, allow me to be sceptical! 🤔

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Sanjo

Im amazed there isnt more alarm around the world to the fact that Donald Trump is teaming up with far-right leaders to dictate who the real president of Venezuela is.

Edited by Sanjo
  • Like 1

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Simon

Agreed @Sanjo. It is also irritating seeing so many neocons and liberals that blame Venezuela's economic problems on socialism while they intentionally obscure and diminish the heavy and sustained economic warfare/sanctions against Venezuela from primarily the US.

Those same people also completely ignore the protest activities of Venezuela's US-sponsored opposition which involves systematic attacks on state-run social programs, brutal attacks and murders of those Venezuelans that they see as typical Chavistas (which are generally poor and brown-skinned people). See this quote (from this article The Politics of Food in Venezuela)

Quote

An array of demonstrations ensued, from peaceful resistance to acts of violence. Though portrayed in the media as nationwide, the actions were largely limited to the wealthiest areas of a few cities, and ranged from street barricades and vandalism to picnics and barbecues to candlelight vigils to physical assaults to the hurling of “poopootovs” of human feces. But among this seemingly disparate set of tactics, protesters took precise aim on certain fronts, including a systematic attack on state-run social programs, such as the burning of buses providing subsidized public transportation and vandalism of public health facilities. Especially hard hit was the state agrifood apparatus, as the National Institute of Nutrition was set ablaze, laboratories for the production of ecological farming inputs were vandalized, and supplies destined for government food programs were burned—including one on the order of 40 tons of food—along with vehicles associated with these programs. Also among the targets, tragically, were people, specifically those seen as typical chavistas—i.e., poor and brown-skinned. The most visible of these was the attack on Orlando Figuera, a young Afro-Venezuelan supermarket worker, whose gruesome burning alive, as countless onlookers did nothing to intervene, was captured on video. While Figuera did not survive his attack, another victim from a similar background, Carlos Ramirez, did, albeit with severe burns covering his body. Ramirez later recalled pleading for his life, shouting “Don’t kill me! I’m not chavista! Please don’t kill me!” as street protesters brutally beat him and set him ablaze.

Trump and his friends are literally calling the guy who won the election a dictator and they are calling the guy who simply declared himself president in front of his political companions and militia the democratically elected... And people just accept this, it's mindbogglingly stupid!

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Simon

Mike Pompeo has appointed Elliott Abrams as special envoy on Venezuela, Abrams will help lead the Trump administration's response to the crisis currently unfolding in Venezuela. So who is this Elliott Abrams guy then you might ask? Abrams is a prominent neocon and goes way back in Washington, for example, he helped right-wing dictatorships commit and cover up genocide in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador during the Reagan administration. Abrams is also linked to the US-sponsored and failed coup against Chávez back in 2002. And during the George W. Bush administration, Abrams helped lead the US efforts to stage a violent coup to overturn the results of the 2006 Palestinian elections.

Read more about Elliott Abrams here:

So that's a bit of a signal on how the Trump administration wants to handle this crisis...

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Simon

Here's some background information on the sanctions enforced by the US on Venezuela that I guess many are unaware of.

Trump's sanctions cost Venezuela’s economy more than $6 billion since August 2017 with the sole goal to make the economy and people suffer. In fact, even critics to the Maduro government says the US sanctions are "misguided" and have a damaging effect on the Venezuelan people in general (source: Trump’s Economic Sanctions Have Cost Venezuela About $6bn Since August 2017).

The US politicians who are now calling for an intervention in Venezuela knew full well that they would make people suffer by depriving them of food and medicine when they voted for crippling sanctions on Venezuela. If they were honest and really wanted to help the people of Venezuela, they'd start by lifting sanctions.

 

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Simon

Here is an excellent op-ed by George Ciccariello-Maher, academic and author, that explains why this is an attempted coup and regime change by right-wingers from both inside and outside Venezuela. Be sure to read it!

Quote

No matter how you slice it, an attempted coup is underway in Venezuela. Here are the basics: On Wednesday, Juan Guaidó, a relatively unknown second-string politician from the right-wing Popular Will party, simply declared himself acting president. Guaidó was not elected president—Nicolás Maduro was, in May of last year in a vote that the opposition might have won had they not boycotted it.

There is also this article, The US Should Stay out of Venezuela, and interview with Guillaume Long, former foreign minister and United Nations representative of Ecuador, from Jacobin that warns that Trump's attempts to stoke regime change in Venezuela risk plunging the country into civil war (similar to Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc).

Quote

In the wake of Guaidó’s announcement, the United States and Canada recognized his victory. The major European states have followed by saying they would recognize him if new elections were not called in eight days. How do you assess this response from the West?

GL: I think it is a serious mistake to further polarize the situation right now. To radicalize positions on either side of that political divide in Venezuela is to run the risk of increasing violence. There are already significant levels of political violence in the country — in 2017 a rogue pilot used a helicopter to attack the Supreme Court, last year there was a drone attack on a Maduro rally, security forces have cracked down on opposition demonstrations and killed people, there have been periodic outbreaks of guarimbas, the violent roadblocks set up by certain sectors of the opposition, and we have the deaths of the last few days. This situation could fast descend into civil conflict or even civil war if tensions are further exacerbated.

Another longer articles that try to explain what is happening in Venezuela is this one by Aaron Bastani from Novara Media that takes a closer look at the economy in Venezuela and how the falling price on oil and US sanctions have affected it.

Quote

There is therefore an intimate relationship between the country’s economic recession, massive deficits and hyperinflation. To a significant extent the depth of each has been profoundly deepened by US sanctions. This is no accident. Indeed the intention behind them is to starve the country of importing goods and its all important oil industry accessing the necessary credit to even maintain present production. [...] The US has pursued a similar strategy with another major oil producer it can not easily defeat through military means: Iran. [...] Indeed the strength of Washington’s sanctions against Venezuela and Tehran are reminiscent of those against Nicaragua in the 1980s. Then, as now, they had the desired effect as the central American economy went into recession and hyperinflation. Falling GDP, widening budget deficits, hyperinflation and a collapse in living standards is not a side effect – it is the strategic objective. As Richard Nixon put it ahead of placing sanctions on Chile prior to Salvador Allende coming to power in 1970, the aim is to “make the economy scream”.

 

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Simon

American neocons are not even bothering to hide the real reasons behind the coup in Venezuela. With Trump in office, they don't need to follow the old freedom and democracy script...

For example, here is US Senator Marco Rubio tweeting that a coup in Venezuela would result in economic gains for the oil industry in the US:

344146438_marcorubio1088414772163461120.jpg.3336c932d1084d86f9bab4cf832e6663.jpg

And White House national security adviser John Bolton has said that Venezuela regime change is a big business opportunity for the US and other Western business interests. In this video below, John Bolton states that regime change in Venezuela is about the country’s oil. "It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela."

Remember, John Bolton was a key architect behind the Iraq invasion, which also saw Iraq’s oil moved from an entirely state-run enterprise to US companies.

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Simon
15 hours ago, Simon said:

regime change in Venezuela is about the country’s oil.

Even Juan Guaidó has now said that he will open up oil deals to foreign private companies and sell state assets in the energy industry in Venezuela.

There is no mistake, the Trump administration is openly engaging in a blatant effort to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela in an effort to steal Venezuelan oil for the benefit of US corporations. They’re not even pretending its about freedom or democracy.

 

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Simon

Venezuela has about 31 tons of gold worth about $1.3 billion in the Bank of England, but now the bank is refusing to give the gold back to help the struggling nation. A UK foreign office minister is even trying to give that money to the US-backed Juan Guaidó - who has already written to Theresa May asking for the funds to be sent to him and his political opposition party instead of the elected and rightful government of Venezuela. Obviously, this has been met with protests, which France24 has reported on: UK protesters demand central bank return of Maduro gold

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Sanjo

Recent US coups/invasions in Latin America:

Guatemala, 1954
Cuba 59’
Bolivia, 63’
Brazil, 64’
Dominican Republic, 65’
Chile, 73’
Uruguay, 73’
Argentina, 76’
El Salvador, 80s
Nicaragua, 80s
Grenada, 83’
Panama, 89’
Haiti, 91’
Venezuela, 2002
Haiti, 04’
Honduras, 09’
Venezuela, 19

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Simon

Alfred de Zayas, a former U.N. independent expert, says the US is violating international law by attempting a coup in Venezuela and that "the mainstream media has been complicit in this attempted coup" that, according to him, resembles the run-up to the Iraq invasion of 2003.

On 2/2/2019 at 6:12 PM, Simon said:

Another longer articles that try to explain what is happening in Venezuela is this one by Aaron Bastani from Novara Media that takes a closer look at the economy in Venezuela and how the falling price on oil and US sanctions have affected it. 

Here is a video where Aaron Bastani explains that Venezuela's economy is in free fall because of falling oil prices and US sanctions, not socialism.

Meanwhile, the US has rejected international peace talks with Maduro and Venezuela, which AFP reports: US revokes Venezuela visas, rejects dialogue with Maduro  It seems the US is determined to "solve" this crisis in a more direct and violent approach, that's especially telling considering that they've appointed the war criminal Elliott Abrams as special envoy for Venezuela.

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Simon

Cuba has accused the US of engaging in a secret military build-up to prepare for a military intervention against Venezuela, which Reuters reports: Cuba says U.S. moving special forces, preparing Venezuelan intervention

Quote

Cuba said on Thursday the United States was moving special forces closer to Venezuela as part of a covert plan to intervene in the chaotic South American country using the pretext of a humanitarian crisis.

[...]“Between February 6 and 10 military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport of Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base, in the Dominican Republic and to other strategically located Caribbean islands, probably without knowledge of the governments of those nations,” the declaration said.

“These flights originated in American military installations from which units of Special Operations and Marine Corps operate, which are used for covert actions,” it said.

 

It's just downright shameful to use international aid as a cover for military intervention.

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