Palm Sunday Meditation.

Uploaded by Agape Sisters | Published on Apr 13, 2019.

Uploaded by Sounds Like Reign | Published on Aug 31, 2017

Written by C. S. Brown
Performed by Sounds Like Reign

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have this whole world
Give me Jesus.

When I am alone
Oh, and when I am alone
And when I am alone
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have this whole world
Give me Jesus.

When I come to die
Oh, and when I come to die
And when I come to die
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have this whole world
Just give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have this whole world
Give me Jesus.

Not-so-Fond Farewells: Venezuela Leaves the OAS.

Uploaded by TeleSUR English | Published on Jun 23, 2017.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez Gómez: "If countries like Peru are part of the litter of lapdogs for the U.S. Empire, Venezuela is not. Venezuela will not accept such unacceptable interference that violates international norms."

Thank you Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez Gómez for calling out the bull caca. These exchanges took place in 2017, when Venezuela announced its decision to leave the OAS but the hectoring and intentional destructive interference have only amplified. These minions may eventually seek forgiveness from the Highest and Only court that matters but for now they are bound for reasons of expediency to stick to the sordid scripts that they have been handed.  Two years later Honduras is still eating the bread that the Devil kneaded and I cannot say if that representative who was bristling with righteous indignation, also supported and applauded the oligarchy that was behind the coup that was carried out in her country ten years ago, but I appreciate that even more now there is plenty grovelling to be done to ensure that the recent US threats to withhold their handouts do not become a reality. As we are all aware, the migrant caravans storming the southern border of the United States are supplied mainly by an exodus from the Northern Triangle of Central America. These are the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The push factors they describe are poverty, persecution and violence.

Uploaded by The Grayzone | Published on Apr 2, 2019.

Ambassador Samuel Moncada at UN Security Council 4/10/2019

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Address by Ambassador Samuel Moncada Permanent Representative to the United Nations
“The Situation in Venezuela”

Briefing in the United Nations Security Council

New York, April 10, 2019

Mr. President,
1. Mr. Pence is misleading the United Nations. Yesterday the Organization of American States (OAS) did not accept the designation of a new representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. What happened yesterday was that they accepted the designation of a representative of the National Assembly, but it is not clear what that person can do, as the OAS is an Organization of States, represented by National Government, and not of National Assemblies. This legal absurdity took place as a result of the desires of Mr. Pence’s government to carry out a coup d’état in the OAS and another in Venezuela. As such, we suggested that all parties become well-informed over what was adopted yesterday in Washington. We warn that Mr. Pence’s government will try the same trick here, within the General Assembly, and we trust that it will fail.

Mr. President,
2. The humanitarian situation in Venezuela needs to be resolved, but if we err in the diagnosis, we will also err in the treatment. The situation, as has been affirmed here, is the result of human actions. But what has not been said is that these actions are part of a plan for economic destruction designed by the government of the United States and its ally, the United Kingdom, with the goal of strangling the national economy, causing maximum social suffering, eroding the capabilities of our nation to sustain itself and, ultimately, to spark an implosion that will allow for a foreign military intervention based on the nefarious notion of the responsibility to protect, which has been used as an excuse for colonial invasions of countries that have oil.

3. This is a gigantic, inhumane experiment of unconventional warfare. A policy of calculated cruelty that violates human rights on a massive scale, reaching the point of committing crimes against humanity, all with the goal of justifying pillaging and looting, imposing a local, subordinate government and, in our case, using a racist ideology that arose over 200 years ago, when the United States was a slave-owning nation, which today they promote in violation of international law. We refer to the infamous Monroe Doctrine. Listen to their own words.

a. On January 9, 2018, spokespersons from the State Department declared “the pressure campaign is working... And what we are seeing ... is a total economic collapse in Venezuela. So our policy is working, our strategy is working and we’re going to keep it.

b. On October 12, 2018, Ambassador William Brownfield said: “We must treat this as an agony, a tragedy that will continue until it finally reaches an end (...) and if we can do it something to accelerate it, we must do it, but we must do it understanding that this is going to have an impact on millions of people who are already having difficulties in finding food and medicines (...) We cannot do this and pretend that it will not have an impact, we have that to make a hard decision, the desired end justifies this severe punishment."

c. On March 7, 2019, Senator Marco Rubio stated that “Over the next few weeks, Venezuela is going to enter a period of suffering no nation in our hemisphere has confronted in modern history.”

d. On March 22, 2019, John Bolton noted “It's sort of like in Star Wars when Darth Vader constricts somebody's throat, that's what we are doing to the regime economically.”

4. This is about deliberate economic destruction; it is the systematic application of aggression with the use of financial instrument, undue pressure, and the use of dominant market positions to influence the banking sector, private businesses and other nations that engage in legal trade with Venezuela, including even U.N. agencies. All with the goal of isolating the country from international trade and financing systems. If it were true that the Venezuelan government is killing its people, why would they need a massive wave of extortion to increase suffering? The interest in a social implosion is not ours; it is of those who wish to invade us.

5. It is a plan in which banks, insurance agencies and ships are used with a destructive power comparable to weapons of mass destruction, but without having those responsible face justice and without them suffering the moral sanctions they deserve. On January 30, 2019, John Bolton said “My advice to bankers, brokers, traders, facilitators, and other businesses: don’t deal in gold, oil, or other Venezuelan commodities,” while on March 29, 2019, Elliott Abrams said “We impose our sanctions. What does the regime do? The regime tries to figure out other ways to get around them. It tries to find new customers. It tries to find new sources of imports. So, what do we do? We watch carefully, and we can see ships moving and we can see new contracts with new companies, and when we do, we talk to shippers or we talk to refiners or we talk to governments and we say you should not be doing that. That’s what we’re doing.”

6. A repugnant aspect of this criminal policy of mass destruction is that it is accompanied by theft and pillaging that has cost our nation over $137 billion. While they deprive our people of essential goods, provoking maximum suffering, they rob the Venezuelan people of over one hundred billion dollars. The profits from our refineries are used to pay debts to oil companies friendly to the Trump administration. Its friends with Venezuelan sovereign debt bonds receive special licenses to collect their profits from money stolen from our people. They announced a plan to put the country into debt by $70 billion and to use that money to pay for non-certified debts in suspicious financial dealings. We cannot forget that the Bank of England, which stole $1.2 billion in gold from our people using the excuses that they do not recognize President Nicolás Maduro and that they are complying with the Trump sanctions. The Bank of England is not an independent institution, as its government affirms; rather it acts as the enforcement arm of policies of conquest and pillage of the governments of Trump and Theresa May. It is the same colonial policy of the British Empire of over 200 years ago.

Mr. President,
7. This is the true cause of the Venezuelan situation; there is no other. Certainly, our people our suffering and our government, as the Secretary General can certify, working intensely with the United Nations system to increase both the number of cooperation projects as well as the volume and capacities of those projects, particularly in the health, food, education, electricity and transportation sectors. The same is happening with regards to cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose president met yesterday in Caracas with our Head of State to move forward in a direct mechanism that facilitates true neutral, impartial and independent aid. The same can be said of friendly countries who have provided assistance in peace and in respect for our sovereignty.

8. An element that can not be underestimated by those who wage war on Venezuela is the strength of our national spirit, which grows in the midst of these difficulties. The macabre experiment of destruction is aiming to prove that economic crime does work, that peoples can be broken and will surrender in the face of an oppressive foreign power. However, they got it wrong in Venezuela. The induced collective suffering is being resisted with the growing organization of our people. Our National Bolivarian Armed Force has not fractured and is more united than ever. Our workers are reacting to the attacks against our vital infrastructure with a discipline that the aggressors had never seen. Yes, there are trouble, but they are not leading to a civil war. Today, our people are setting an example for the world on how to fight for peace.

9. It would be logical to think that the efforts of our government to overcome the difficulties caused by aggression would be recognized and supported by the international community interested in alleviating suffering. However, what we are witnessing is a new wave of economic extortion that severs our country’s financial flows abroad and impedes action by the United Nation’s own agencies, which at this time have not found a way to receive our money and process the purchases required to meet the needs of our population. Do you know why? Because the Trump administration is waging a terror campaign against commercial and financial agents that touch Venezuelan money. What the United States has attempted to do so far is not humanitarian aid, but a covert operation without the consent of Venezuela, violating our territorial integrity, with a continuous threat of use of force, and openly inciting a military uprising and civil war. This is Mr. Abrams’ specialty.

Mr. President,
10. This Security Council, according to the provisions of Articles 24, 34 and 39 of the Charter, has the responsibility to maintain international peace and security and to determine the existence of threats to peace or acts of aggression. As such, we request that it determine:

a. The legal basis on which the United States and United Kingdom apply a program of
economic destruction on Venezuela, without the express authorization of this Council.

b. The legal authority to apply the so-called secondary sanctions on countries that legally
trade with Venezuela.

c. The legal basis on which the United States threatens Venezuela with the use of force.

d. The legal authority on which the United States and United Kingdom can appropriate our riches, making profits through extortion with the mass violation of the human rights of our people.

e. The legal basis on which the United States can intervene in affairs that are essentially
under the internal jurisdiction of Venezuela.

11. To conclude, the diagnosis for the current situation is the result of a campaign of aggression by the United States and United Kingdom. The treatment cannot be a new dose of aggressive interventionism with a humanitarian façade. The solution is not found in donations from those criminals who wish to portray themselves as saviors; it is not in channels of humanitarian aid designed to provoke armed conflicts; it is not in Donor Conferences that obscure the looting of our nation. The treatment is in returning the money stolen from Venezuela; in the end of the commercial and financial blockade of our people; in the end of the sabotage to our infrastructure through covert operations; in the end of threats of military intervention; and in the end of threats against Venezuelans who wish to engage in dialogue. We must stop Trump’s war. This Security Council must fulfill its mission, guaranteeing Venezuela its right to peace.

Thank you.


1. Even when they are surprisingly ignored by reports referred to here in this session, including those drafted by U.N. agencies, the criminal, unilateral sanctions have also resulted in an irrefutable increase in the migratory flow of Venezuelans, although we differ on the number mentioned here, considering that there has been a lack of due rigorousness in the methods to acquire such information, nor the timely and verifiable provision of migration data by receiving country.

2. We should note, fortunately, that Venezuela has not been a recent victim of either a natural catastrophe or an armed conflict. The migration that we see today in the region, which is encouraged by extremist statements and by a psychological war that instills terror regarding the certainty of the future in Venezuela with the goal of weakening the morale of our people, is of an economic kind and is the direct result of a plan for the programmatic destruction of our economy.

3. We cannot allow a human right like freedom of movement to be securitized or politicized. On the contrary, this very Security Council would be engaging in a double standard in not promptly convening a session on the humanitarian and security crisis on the border, as declared by Trump on March 15, 2019.

The Situation in Venezuela - Press Conference (10/04/2019)

Uploaded by United Nations | Published on Apr 10, 2019.
Press conference by Ambassador Samuel Moncada, Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations, on the Situation in Venezuela. (10/04/2019)

Russia on the Situation in Venezuela - Press Conference (11/4/2019)

Uploaded by United Nations |Published on Apr 11, 2019

Press Conference by Mr. Dmitry Polyanskiy, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations (11/4/2019)

Pence asks UN to recognize Guaido in Venezuela.

Uploaded by RT America | Published on Apr 10, 2019.

More Sanctions on Venezuela: Operation Florida 2020 (Pts 1 & 2)

Uploaded by The Real News Network | Published on Apr 10, 2019.

OAS on Vexit: "Ah wish ah could quit you, Maduro!"

Well, you can't. He quit you....two years ago to be exact. The headlines today about this OAS vote should more accurately read, "Venezuela finalises its two-year amputation process from the OAS while OAS votes to name the phantom limb, Tarre Briceño." This vote was no blow to the Venezuelan government as many of the headlines are suggesting. That country had announced its decision to leave the Organization of American States since April 27th 2017.  Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez had explained then that the exit process under OAS rules would take two years and it was initiated on Friday April 28th 2017 with a formal letter of complaint renouncing the charter. Just last year and roughly around this time in the year too, Mike Pence also tried to pretend that Venezuela had not already turned its back on the OAS when he called for that organisation to suspend Venezuela's membership. By that time Venezuela was already into the first year of its Vexit from the OAS. For those who are not familiar with some of the reasons why Venezuela made this decision to exit two years ago, this article will inform.

Caracas to Quit Organization of American States - Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.  [Republished]
Sputnik International | Latin America |23:28 09.04.2019

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - The Organization of American States (OAS) conducted on Tuesday a special meeting on Venezuela at the request of seven member states.

The meeting was requested by Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Paraguay and Peru, all of which had recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s president.

The Organization of American States’ Permanent Council voted Tuesday to recognize Venezuelan self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido’s nominee to the group, Tarre Briceno, as the national envoy. "With 18 votes in favor, 9 against, 6 abstentions, 1 absent, OAS Council agrees to ‘accept the appointment of Tarre Briceno as National Assembly’s designated permanent representative", it tweeted.

The council, which met in Washington for a special meeting on Venezuela, stressed that former legislator Briceno would serve in the role pending new elections in this South American country.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Caracas has decided to leave the OAS following the decision of the OAS Permanent Council to recognize the representative of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reaffirms its irrevocable decision to leave the Organization of American States on 27 April 2019 in accordance with the complaint filed two years ago and in the framework of the relevant procedures, given that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela cannot remain in the organization that stands on its knees before the imperial interests of the US administration", the ministry said in a statement.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro began the process of leaving OAS in 2017 but Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido said he wanted to keep the country in the organization.

Back in February, Venezuelan Envoy to the UN Samuel Moncada during a special council meeting at the OAS pushed back against demands by the United States and its allies to hold elections and the bloc’s plans to deliver so-called humanitarian assistance.

In January, the OAS voted no to recognize the legitimacy of constitutionally elected Nicolas Maduro. This decision was backed by 19 members of the organization, while six voted against and one was absent.

On 23 January, Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly, which all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016, declared himself the country's "interim president". Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, qualified Guaido's move as an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

The United States immediately recognized Guaido, after which around 50 other countries followed suit. Russia, Bolivia, Turkey, China, Cuba and a number of other states have, in the meantime, voiced their support for the legitimate government of Maduro. Mexico and Uruguay have refused to recognize Guaido, declaring themselves neutral and promoting crisis settlement through dialogue.

OAS Press Release - Reference: E-019/19

Permanent Council Accepts Appointment of Designated Permanent Representative of Venezuela’s National Assembly to the OAS.
OAS Press Release | April 9, 2019

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today approved a resolution on the situation in Venezuela in which it resolves "to accept the appointment of Mr. Gustavo Tarre as the National Assembly’s designated permanent representative, pending new elections and the appointment of a democratically elected government," and instructs the Secretary General "to transmit the text of this resolution to the Secretary General of the United Nations.”

The resolution was approved with 18 votes in favor (Argentina, The Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Saint Lucia), 9 votes against (Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Grenada, Mexico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela), 6 abstentions (Barbados, El Salvador, Guyana, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago) and one absent country (Belize).

Reference: E-019/19

Note: The countries which I have highlighted are full members of CARICOM.

What is a "Guaidó"? A Cowboy in Caracas (Pts 1 & 2)

Uploaded by The Real News Network | Published on Apr 7, 2019.

NY TIMES Publishes CIA Propaganda On Venezuela.

Uploaded by The Jimmy Dore Show | Published on Apr 7, 2019.

Max Blumenthal on "The Management of Savagery".

Uploaded by The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow | Published on Apr 4, 2019.

Pro-Maduro rally in Venezuela draws thousands.

Uploaded by PressTV | Published on Apr 6, 2019

Pence announces new Sanction against Venezuela-flagged Oil Tankers.

Uploaded by PressTV | Published on Apr 5, 2019.

Russian-Venezuelan Intergovernmental Commission meeting held in Moscow.

Uploaded by Ruptly | Published on 5 Apr 2019, 12:18

"A meeting of the Russian-Venezuelan intergovernmental commission was held in Moscow on Friday, attended by Russian Vice Prime Minister Yuri Borisov and Venezuelan Vice President for Planning Ricardo Menendez.

The two officials discussed “cooperation not only in traditional spheres but also in new, high-tech areas, which are some of the key elements for the further stable development of Venezuela, reducing tensions in the socio-economic field,” according to Borisov.

The Russian official also confirmed Russia’s support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, adding “we are convinced that Venezuela's foreign partners should promote its return to the path of sustainable development and prosperity in this way, not through threats, sanctions and ultimate.[ultimatums]”" SOURCE

Russia, Venezuela Sign Agreements, Strengthen Cooperation.

Russia, Venezuela Sign Agreements, Strengthen Cooperation. [Republished]
By Antonio Rondon Garcia [Moscow]
Prensa Latina | Apr 5 2019

Russia and Venezuela signed bilateral agreements Friday and confirmed the strengthening the basis for future cooperation, with a business forum determining business intentions for about 3.2 billion euros.

During the 14th session of the High-Level Intergovernmental Commission (CIAN) we referred to the very specific requirements to face the attacks perpetrated against the Venezuelan power system, declared the sectoral Vice President of Planning, Ricardo Menendez.

President Nicolas Maduro ordered to create as much protection as possible from the point of view of the requirements demanded by the Venezuelan electrical system to stabilize it and defend it from any sabotage action that could be registered, Menendez told Prensa Latina.

We also worked in the logistics and financial areas, as well as in agreements related to the aerospace sector, education and culture which are part of the integral relationship outlined in relation to our countries, commented the Venezuelan Vice President.

Menendez said that in the meeting held this day with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, he received the Government of this country's ratification of its firm position and its conviction of the need for a peace and diplomacy, based on respect for nations and peoples.

The memorandum of understanding between the L.M. Gubrin Oil and Gas University and the Venezuelan Hydrocarbons University is also included in the list of agreements signed.

The agreement in the educational and scientific field between the Russian University of Friendship with Peoples and the Bolivarian University of Venezuela and another between the two nations' governments on cooperation in the audiovisual field joined the previous project.

Both State governments also signed a cultural exchange program.

Venezuela, Russia Discuss Cooperation To Protect Venezuelan Power Grid.

Sólo le pido a Dios. [Song]

By Mercedes Sosa | Uploaded by Adamfulgence | Published on Jul 13, 2010

Venezuela: Defending the Revolution.

Uploaded by redfish | Published on Apr 3, 2019

The Origins of Venezuela's Economic Crisis.

Uploaded by The Real News Network | Published on Apr 2, 2019

In the US, a Guaido-like figure would have been locked up long ago.

In the US, a Guaido-like figure would have been locked up long ago. [Republished]
The Canary | 3rd April 2019

The Venezuelan government has just barred the leader of the US-backed coup from holding public office. As would be expected, Western governments have been crowing about how this ‘proves’ the inherent authoritarianism of President Nicolás Maduro.

But this is nonsense. After all, these Western governments would hardly tolerate such behavior in their own countries. Clearly, anyone who attempted to overthrow a Western government would be punished immediately – and much more severely. A simple hypothetical comparison reveals the West’s extreme self-interested hypocrisy when it comes to foreign intervention.

Barred for 15 years following arrest of 'chief of staff". 

On 28 March, Venezuela’s financial comptroller barred self-declared ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido from holding public office for 15 years. The official said that the ban is based on financial irregularities, such as not accounting for the origin of the $94,000 spent on 90 international trips he has taken. He added that Guaido’s interactions with foreign governments that support the coup have harmed Venezuela. Guaido will be ineligible to stand for office again at the end of his current term but can keep his seat in the National Assembly until then.

The ban follows the arrest of Guaido’s ‘chief of staff’, Roberto Marrero. Marrero was detained on suspicion of conspiring to commit acts of sabotage against the Venezuelan government. The Venezuelan Interior Minister said that intelligence services seized weapons and foreign currency from his home.

International condemnation 

Both developments have unsurprisingly been met with strong condemnation from the Western coup-backers. A spokesperson for the US State Department, for example, described the ban as “ridiculous”. The International Contact Group on Venezuela, a coalition of European and Latin American countries, stated:
"Such a political decision without regard to due process is yet another demonstration of the arbitrary nature of judicial procedures in the country"
They have also demanded Marrero’s immediate release. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for example, tweeted:
"The United States condemns raids by Maduro’s security services and detention of Roberto Marrero… We call for his immediate release. We will hold accountable those involved."

Brazen hypocrisy

To be sure, the Venezuelan government should be condemned if either of these moves has violated domestic or international law. But the posturing of these Western countries is outrageously hypocritical. After all, each of them demands respect for their national sovereignty and non-interference into their internal affairs.

To illustrate the point, imagine what would happen if an opposition politician in the West were to do what Juan Guaido has done in Venezuela. Imagine, for example, if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared herself the ‘interim president’ of the US and demanded that Donald Trump step down.

Imagine if...
Imagine, furthermore, that in support of this move, she cited the illegitimacy of the 2016 presidential election. “Donald Trump lost the popular vote”, she might point out. “And in any case”, she might add, “the entire US electoral system has been corrupted by the influence of money and extensive voter suppression“. (Note here that she would have a strong case.) She might also allude to: his authoritarian tendencies; his attacks against the press; his advocacy of violence against journalists; his trampling over human rights both at home and abroad; his business connections to brutal dictatorships; his intimate connections to the world of organized crime; and his reckless and incompetent manner of governing.

Now imagine that she sought support for this manoeuvre from powerful countries with whom the US has rocky relations – say, Russia and China. Imagine that these countries then issued crippling sanctions against the US – which violated international law and compounded the suffering of those worst off in US society. Imagine that they demanded Trump step down from power under threat of all means of intervention – up to and including the use of military force. And then imagine (if you can) that one of these countries had a decades-long record of intervening in US affairs; supporting (and even helping orchestrate) violent insurrections against state governors it didn’t like and propping up brutal dictatorships in neighboring countries (as the US has done in Latin America for decades).

Zero tolerance for even the slightest dissent

In this above imaginary scenario, does anyone seriously think that all that would happen to Ocasio-Cortez would be a 15 year ban on running for office and the arrest of her chief of staff? There can be no doubt that she would be spending the rest of her life in prison, if not executed for treason – which is a capital crime under US federal law. After all, the US does not accept even the most minor threat to its world dominance, let alone its national sovereignty and internal affairs. Whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, for instance, face lengthy stints in prison simply for releasing some of the US government’s secrets.

Binding the public and manufacturing consent

The powers that be hope the global public is so used to the flagrantly pro-Western framing of these issues that they fail to sense the inherent hypocrisy. And the mainstream media has played a central role in trying to blind people to the West’s crimes and duplicity.

We need the whole world to wake up to the US-led Western imperialism and the media’s manufacturing of consent for its agenda.

The coup failed. Venezuelans brace themselves for economic warfare..

The coup failed. Venezuelans now brace themselves for slow, punishing economic warfare. [Republished]

The Canary is currently in Venezuela. This is the latest in our series of on-the-ground articles.

Like in 2002, Washington’s attempted coup has failed to topple Venezuela´s democratically-elected government. On 23 February, as the US attempted to force unwanted ´humanitarian aid´ trucks onto Venezuelan territory, Venezuelan officers kept their composure and almost comprehensively refused to defect.

Now, Venezuelans brace themselves for more slow, punishing economic warfare.

Failed Coup
The US-backed coup in Venezuela – which began on 23 January when US president Donald Trump recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó – has plainly failed. Today, few people in Venezuela are under any illusions about who the country’s acting president is and, ironically, Guaidó is now reportedly relying on the security forces of a ‘dictatorship‘ for protection.

On the ground, The Canary has tried to cover opposition rallies, but with little success. Guaidó’s supporters either come out in small numbers and finish protesting before lunchtime or don’t turn up at all. These attempted protests become more embarrassing when, not far down the road, thousands of anti-imperialist protesters assembled to tell Guaidó’s Western backers: “Hands off Venezuela”.

Guaidó, meanwhile, has lost considerable legitimacy in the (generally pro-imperialist) corporate media. In a matter of weeks, he’s gone from Venezuela’s ‘interim president’, to ‘self-declared president’, to simply ‘a 35-year-old engineer‘.

Economic Warfare
Since the failed coup attempt, the US government has stepped up its campaign of economic warfare in Venezuela. It has intensified economic sanctions, which are costing the Venezuelan economy billions of dollars and reducing its ability to provide basic services to the country’s population. While the US was once Venezuela’s largest purchaser of oil, the US imported zero barrels during March.

It’s also likely that US-backed sabotage is behind the country’s recent blackouts, which have crippled the economy and resulted in water-shortages in major cities. Also, US sanctions are partially responsible for the recent electrical failures, since they have reduced the country’s ability to maintain and repair their main electrical plant, El Guri.

Callous Disdain

The US government is applying sanctions with a callous disdain for Venezuelan lives. On 22 March, a Trump official described them:
It’s sort of like in Star Wars when Darth Vader constricts somebody’s throat, that’s what we are doing to the regime economically.
Elsewhere, US special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams gloated over Washington’s “wide, broad” net of sanctions, adding: “be careful not to get caught”.
In no uncertain terms, Washington’s economic measures are killing ordinary Venezuelans. As former UN independent expert Alfred de Zayas told The Canary:
To the extent that the sanctions are the direct cause of death – maternal mortality, infant mortality, malnutrition, death through lack of access to medicines, insulin, dialysis equipment, etc – they constitute a crime against humanity under article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Lessons from Nicaragua

To understand Washington’s strategy in Venezuela, it’s valuable to look to Nicaragua during the 1980s. After the Sandinista revolution in 1979, the Nicaraguan government implemented various socio-economic reforms aimed at redistributing wealth among the country’s population. Like in Venezuela during the 2000s, these reforms were highly popular and successful. As Oxfam said of Nicaragua:
Nicaragua was…exceptional in the strength of that government’s commitment…to improving the condition of the people and encouraging their active participation in the development process.
In 1983, the Inter-American Development Bank similarly noted that:
Nicaragua has made noteworthy progress in the social sector, which is laying the basis for long-term socio-economic development.
As Noam Chomsky documented, the US responded to Nicaragua’s reforms by sponsoring an armed and economic campaign of terror. In the words of US policy planner George Shultz, the Sandinistas were a “cancer, right here on our land mass”, that needed to be destroyed. Vitally, US politician Alan Cranston said that if the US failed to destroy the Sandinistas, they should be left to “fester in [their] own juices”.

In other words, collective punishment would be exacted upon Nicaraguans for daring to pursue the ‘wrong’ economic model. Today, Venezuelans are experiencing a strikingly similar treatment, with the involvement again of characters like Abrams.

Given Washington’s consistent failure to bully ordinary Venezuelans into toppling their own government, the US government seems determined to make them suffer.

Fears from Venezuela 

After an electrical blackout on 29 March, a youth leader in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, asked:
Do you know what tilapia is? It’s a fish that can survive in a stressful environment. They’re like Venezuelans: we’ll suffer through anything.
Another organiser told The Canary, with a wry smile on his face:
This is a message to Trump: your threats are futile, we will win.
Many Venezuelans are aware of US foreign policy history and understand the mechanisms of US imperialism. With this political consciousness and community solidarity, it will be incredibly difficult to break them.

Two weeks inside one of Venezuela’s notorious ‘colectivos’.

Two weeks inside one of Venezuela’s notorious ‘colectivos'. [Republished]

The Canary is currently in Venezuela. This is the latest in our series of on-the-ground articles.

Most journalists who come to Caracas stay in the affluent east of the city, shielded from Venezuelan reality behind the walls of their expensive hotels; behind their imperialist analysis of the country. The Canary, meanwhile, has spent two weeks in Venezuela with one of the country’s notorious colectivos.
Anyone who’s been exposed to the corporate media’s horrendous coverage of Venezuela, might associate the word colectivo with pro-government militias, thugs, or gangs. Though ‘colectivo‘ directly translates as ‘collective’ and can apply to any social organisation, the corporate media has commandeered the word to negatively portray grassroots democratic movements across Venezuela.

 Guardians of the Liberator

The Guardians of the Liberator colectivo (GDL) operates in the La Brisa district of Caracas, overlooking Venezuela’s National Pantheon. Inside the pantheon lies Simón Bolívar, ‘liberator‘ of the Americas. Though the colectivo‘s name owes to its physical location, the colectivo sees itself more as ideological minders of Bolívar’s vision for the continent.

GDL leader Jaskeherry Rivas welcomed The Canary into his family home for two weeks, and spoke about the colectivo‘s vision:
"Our colectivo is about the continuation and defence of Bolívar’s historical process: of pan-Americanism, of anti-colonialism, of respect for indigenous communities. People try to consign our history to the past. Hugo Chávez helped us rescue this history."
During an initial tour of the house, Rivas signalled to a corner of his second-floor patio. “You heard we’re all armed groups, right?”, he said. “Here, I’ll show you our arms”. He bent down, and unearthed shovels, buckets, and children’s games, turning with a smile. “These are our arms. This is how we fight to sustain our revolution”.

Culture, music, and arts 

The GDL is a youth-orientated colectivo incorporating over 170 local families. It organises cultural, music, and arts events for local children, who are among the hardest hit by Venezuela’s economic crisis. As Robert and Emanuel – two young music producers who have opened their own modest home studio – told The Canary:
"When I was younger I could take a girl out to see a movie. Right now we’re getting used to seeing those things as luxuries. I try to give my nephews money to buy something, like my uncles would when I was younger, but they can’t buy what I could with that money. It’s sad."
On 23 March, for instance, various youth colectivos hosted a rolling street party through the streets of the west of Caracas. After the party, organisers set up a mobile street stage and performed a comedy and drama show.

Youth colectivos are trying to fill a void left by Venezuela’s economic crisis; to give young people a different life path to one of crime and delinquency. “A group of young people robbed me once as I was walking home from a bar”, Rivas recalled. “They took everything, my phone, wallet. But once they realised it was me, they gave everything back. One of them was crying”.

Social value of work

It’s no exaggeration that Rivas is known by the entire local community. Leaving the house becomes a strenuous affair, as people are constantly milling around, keen to discuss the week’s events. “I don’t formally work”, Rivas explained, “I do informal, unpaid work. This work is socially valuable, yet colectivos are vilified”.

His words recall George Orwell, who wrote about capitalist society’s perverted understanding of labour value in Down and Out in Paris and London:
"In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modern talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except ‘Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it’?"
Indeed, the social value of the GDL’s work and the community’s strength is indisputable – and, at present, community solidarity in Venezuela represents a fundamental obstacle to Washington’s imperialist efforts. Some participants nonetheless lament that community events often become politicised, since the organisers are predominately revolutionaries.

War on language 

The demonisation of Venezuela’s colectivos forms part of a wider and ongoing war of information on Venezuela – and central to any war of information is a war on language. Indeed, the term ‘colectivo’ can describe armed groups, which do exist in Venezuela. The corporate media has nonetheless used the most extreme examples to tar all colectivos with the same brush.

After the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, colectivos mushroomed across Venezuela with the widescale devolution of power to local communities. Their demonisation in the corporate media serves a distinct purpose: to delegitimise Venezuela’s grassroots democratic movements. As a social activist from Petare – which has been namedthe most dangerous slum in the world” in a characteristic case of poverty porn in Venezuela – told The Canary:
"Popular neighbourhoods are marginalised. We’re spoken about in terms of ‘savagery’ and ‘uncivilised violence’ – the same discourse as past imperialism. That’s the only image the media paints: that’s exactly what they want to show."
As across Latin America, social organisations in Venezuela are deemed incompatible with the opposition’s US-backed neoliberal project. They are consequently dehumanised, delegitimised, and attacked by a compliant media that categorically ignore their roots, popularity, and social value.

The Bolívarian Revolution marches on 

Venezuela’s social movements appear far from indoctrinated and violent pro-government loyalists. Most organisers carry a dark humour about their government’s shortcomings and desire further devolution of power to local communities.

They are, nonetheless, proud of the significant social progress made over recent decades – progress that the country’s opposition threatens to dismantle. Faced with such a choice, Venezuela’s popular classes appear ready to struggle for the Bolívar revolution’s survival.

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US is manufacturing crisis in Venezuela so that there is ... 'needed' intervention.

US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and 'needed' intervention. [Republished]
RT Op-ed | Published time: 29 Mar, 2019 15:15

Eva Bartlett is a freelance journalist and rights activist with extensive experience in the Gaza Strip and Syria. Her writings can be found on her blog, In Gaza.

A massive pro-government rally on March 16, Caracas. © Eva Bartlett

Venezuela is America's current target for mass destabilization in the hope of installing a puppet government.
America has for years been waging an economic war against Venezuela, including debilitating sanctions which have dramatically affected the state's ability to purchase medicines, and even mundane replacement parts needed in buses, ambulances, etc. Alongside the economic war there has been a steady propaganda war, but in recent months, the propaganda has escalated dramatically, from corporate media to US political figures.

Venezuela is described as “the country pilots are refusing to fly to,” as per a March 18, 2019, AP article on American Airlines cancelling all flights to Venezuela, containing scary phrases like “safety concerns” and “civil unrest.

On March 9, American cancelled my Miami-Caracas flight on the basis that there wasn't enough electricity to land at Caracas airport. Strangely enough, the Copa flight I took the following day after an overnight in Panama had no problem landing, nor did Copa flights on the day of my own cancelled flight, according to Copa staff.

The cancellation of flights to Venezuela then lends legitimacy to the shrill tweets of Marco Rubio, Mike Pence, John Bolton, and the previously unknown non-president, Juan Guaido.

I've been in various areas of Caracas since March 10, and I've seen none of this “civil unrest” that corporate media are talking about. I've walked around Caracas, usually on my own, and haven't experienced the worry for my safety corporate media is telling Westerners they should suddenly feel more than normal in Venezuela.

In fact, I see little difference from the Venezuela I knew in 2010 when I spent half a year here, except the hyperinflation is absurdly worse and in my absence I missed the years of extreme right-wing opposition supporters street violence – a benign term for the guarimbas which saw opposition supporters burning people alive, among other violence against people and security.

So it strikes me that the decision of American Airlines to stop flying to Venezuela is not about safety and security issues, but is political, in line with increasingly hollow rhetoric about a humanitarian crisis that does not exist, even according to former UN Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas.

I asked Paul Dobson, a journalist who has lived in Venezuela the last 14 years, if anything like this had happened before. Turns out it has, also at a very timely moment.

At the time of the National Constituent Assembly elections, July 30, 2017, the major airlines – including Air France, United, American, pretty much all of the European airlines – suspended their flights one day before the elections, citing “security reasons.” Most of the services were reopened about four days after the elections, some of them two weeks after the elections.

So were there 'security concerns? I asked Paul.

This was towards the end of street violence (guarimbas) that had been going on for six months in the country. Why didn't they suspend their activity six months before, two months before? They did it the day before the elections, clearly trying to influence votes and the way that people see their country internationally. There were no extra security concerns that day than any day over the last 6 months. So, there was really no justification for it. And it caused massive problems on the ground, around elections.”


America manufactures crises; Venezuelans respond with calm.

On February 23, a month after a previously largely-unknown, US-backed man named Juan Guaido claimed he was the president of Venezuela, there was a short-lived period of instability at the Venezuelan border with Colombia, when America insisted on forcing aid trucks into Venezuela.
Aid trucks that burned that day were the result of attacks of masked young men on the Colombian side, and not from the Venezuelan military as western corporate media and Marco Rubio would have you believe. Less-known is that the ‘aid trucks’ contained very odd humanitarian aid, including nails and wire.

Were their fake concerns genuine, the US could have done what Cuba, China, and Russia, among others, have done and send the aid through appropriate channels, like the UN and the Red Cross. America's attempt to ram trucks through Venezuela's border has been revealed as the cheap propaganda stunt that it was.

A couple of weeks later, suddenly there was a very timely country-wide power outage for six days, affecting most things in Venezuelan infrastructure and life, a reality that Palestinians in Gaza have been living since at least 2006 when Israel bombed their sole power plant, never since allowing them to import the parts needed to adequately repair it.

When I lived in Gaza, I grew accustomed to outages of 16-22 hours a day, for months on end. Near-daily sustained 18 plus hour power outages continue in Gaza, but that's not something the regime-change squad were or are outraged about.
Western media coverage of the blackout was tabloidesque, claiming without any proof whatsoever that 300 people had died due to the outage, portraying Venezuelans collecting water from a spring at the Guaire river in Caracas as collecting dirty sewage water, looting (which actually occurred in the Western border city of Maracaibo and not in Caracas, unless there were localized and unreported incidents), and in general blaming the Maduro government for everything under the moon.

Talking with journalists of Mision Verdad, an independent Venezuelan investigative news site, I learned that one of the targets of looting was a mall in Maracaibo, where electronics were the items of choice, not food. Another incident reportedly involved looting beer and soft drinks. Odd behaviour for a starving people in a humanitarian crisis.

When I arrived three days into the outage, aside from darkened buildings, empty streets, and in following days long lines at water dispensaries and ATMs, I saw no instability. Instead, I saw and learned of Venezuelans working together to get through the drastic effects of the power outage.
I learned at the Ministry of Urban Agriculture of how they took vegetables and crops to hospitals and schools during the electricity outage, but also of how urban agriculture has become an act of resistance in a climate of war and fake news. At a circular plot next to a social housing block I saw young men and women working the land, bursts of lettuces, herbs, beetroots, spinach, and peppers, as well as plots still being planted.
At the Fabricio Ojeda commune, in Catia—a western Caracas barrio of over 1 million people—residents spoke of the 17 tons of produce they generated a few years ago, then sold in the community at prices 30-50% lower than the average market price.

One of the commune leaders spoke of raising rabbits as an affordable, and easy to maintain, source of protein.

We're trying to achieve self sustainability of this produce, for the community. This is what we're doing against the economic war,” he said.

Two days ago, visiting the Caracas barrios of Las Brisas, I asked Jaskeherry, head of a colectivo (organized group of people) how the community had managed during the power outage.
We had a contingency plan with all the colectivos in the area to organize ourselves to help the people. My fridge is connected to a power bank. The community brought their meat here and I stored it. We brought a cistern here. Around 300 families were benefiting from this. Each community has their own colectivo that does things like this to help out.”

I've heard from several different people here that one reason for the lack of chaos is that Venezuelans have already dealt with US-instigated crises, and have learned to remain calm at such times, surely to the dismay of US pot-stirrers who hoped for scenes of chaos, the pretext to US intervention.


Manufactured poverty; Support from & for government.

I've gone into a number of smaller and large supermarkets in the lower middle-class areas of Caracas, and in it's upper middle-class regions of Chacao and Altimira. There is food, including luxury items, which Venezuela's poor can't afford.

And in some stores there are empty shelves. The policies of private companies—including the largest, Polar, whose CEO happens to be an anti-Maduro opposition leader—hoarding goods and creating false shortages is well known. That said, this theme that there is no food is one continually pumped by Western corporate media, along with the “humanitarian crisis” claim.

To help the poorest, the government initiated a food box delivery program known by its acronym, CLAP, wherein organized communities distribute government subsidized food to 6 million of Venezuela's poorest families.

The system is not perfect, and I've heard complaints of boxes being late in reaching some communities. However, I've been told—including by a woman I interviewed yesterday who herself works in CLAP distribution—that problems lie in corruption on a local level, individuals in communities not distributing fairly or evenly.

Hotheads like Marco Rubio, and script reading corporate media, try to maintain that President Maduro has little support. But massive rallies of support, and a notable absence of opposition rallies of recent, counter that propaganda.

On March 16, for two hours I walked with Venezuelans at their anti-Imperialist, pro-government march, filming them, speaking with them, hearing person after person insist on their support for their elected president, Maduro.

Many or most of those marching were from Caracas' poorest communities, the darker skinned, Afro-descendant Venezuelans that are scarcely given a voice by corporate media, almost certainly because they are ardent supporters of the government and Bolivarian revolution.

When I asked about their feelings of corporate media coverage of Venezuela, people told me it wasn't depicting the reality, “they make it up, it’s all lies, all lies. The only president we recognize is Nicolas Maduro. And we want this man, Juan Guaido, to be arrested immediately”.

A young tax lawyer told me:

We're here to support our (Bolivarian) project. We don't want any war. We want medicine for our people—we don't want sanctions from any government that prevent us from purchasing medicine. It's very difficult for us to bring what's needed for our people.”

Leaving the still crowded demonstration, I went towards Caracas' eastern districts, hoping to attend one of the three or four opposition actions that a local journalist told me they had been tweeting about. None panned out.

A few days later, I went to Bellas Artes metro, the same scenario transpired, I couldn't find the opposition protest that I'd heard was planned. Eventually, in front of the National Assembly, I did film between 15-20 well-dressed men and women not doing much other than standing around. Eventually, most passed by security and onto the premises. I didn't hear them issue, or attempt to issue, any opposition statement, nor was there any violence from or against them.

A mass of government supporters arrived on motorbikes. A nearby man told me that these women and men on bikes had come to preserve the peace. He said that opposition had said they would stage a provocation (his words match what the local journalist told me, based on tweets to that effect from opposition/supporters), and that the pro-government bikers were not going to allow that to happen.


Height of hypocrisy and irony; US to ensure ‘foreign influences are not controlling Venezuela’

The US has been forcibly exerting its foreign influence over Venezuela for years, to the detriment of the Venezuelan people it crocodile-tear purports to care about. Most Western corporate media do not mention the manifold adverse effects of the immoral sanctions imposed on Venezuela.

At the end of January, UN human rights expert Idriss Jazairy denounced the sanctions, clearly noting they are, “aimed at changing the government of Venezuela,” and that, “Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state.”

On top of this, America recently withheld US$5 billion intended for the purchase of medicines and raw materials used in medical production, Venezuelanalysis reported, after already freezing numerous Venezuelan assets, apparently holding them for their groomed puppet would-be president, Juan Guaido.

Unsurprisingly, John Bolton recently again menaced Venezuela, reiterating Trump's, “all options are on the table,” military intervention threat and as though hallucinating blathered on about foreign influence and Venezuela and keeping the Imperialist Monroe Doctrine alive.

In a meeting with the US Peace Council delegation in mid-March, Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, spoke of the openly-hostile US leadership.

When you have such an administration saying almost every single day, ‘all the options are on the table.’ And they say the military option is not discarded, then we have to be prepared for all of the options.

We told Mr.Elliott Abrams, ‘the coup has failed, so now what are you going to do?’ He kind of nodded and said, ‘Well, this is going to be a long term action, then, and we are looking forward to the collapse of your economy.’”

President Maduro, in a meeting with the delegation, told us:

We do not want foreign military intervention. Venezuelan people are very proud of the national independence. These people surrounding president Trump—John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Marco Rubio, Elliott Abrams —every single day on Twitter, these guys are tweeting about Venezuela. Not about the US, the American people...they have an obsession with Venezuela, like a fatal obsession with Venezuela. This is extremely dangerous, and we need to denounce it and make it stop.

©  Eva Bartlett

Having written extensively about the war propaganda and Imperialist rhetoric around Syria over the past eight years, this obsession is very familiar. As Alfred de Zayas, said in a recent interview:

If you call Maduro corrupt, people will gradually believe, he must be somewhat corrupt. But nobody reminds you that corruption in Venezuela in the 1980s and 90s – before Chavez, before Maduro – was rampant. The press is focusing only on Maduro, because the name of the game is to topple him.”

We're seeing Syria (and Libya, Iraq...) all over again. The demonization of the leadership of a country America wants to dominate. The absurd rhetoric steaming daily from corporate owned media, pretty much in chorus. The troll army ready to attack with an energetic vitriol on social media anyone who dares to present a non-Imperialist perspective. And most worrisome, the acts of terrorism intended to hurt the people and incriminate the government.

Sadly, it seems the United States is ready to stoop to the same dirty tactics it and allies used against Syria over the past eight years: backing and collaborating with terrorists to attack the state. Indeed, last night while trying to finish this article, the power cut and remains off in many areas of the country.

Earlier this week, Information and Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the cause of this recent outage was an attack at the Guri Hydro complex, Venezuela's central hydroelectric power plant and transmission area.

By today, electricity has been restored to Caracas.
I spent much of this afternoon riding on the back of a motorbike around Petare. The district is known as the largest “slum” in Latin America, an extended series of barrios, and is one of Caracas' poorest and most dangerous areas. Wherever we rode, I looked for the humanitarian crisis corporate media insists exists. Instead, I found vegetables, fruit, chicken and food basics sold wherever I went, from the main square to hillside barrio of 5 of July (5 Julio).

On the hillside of Avila, the mountain overlooking Caracas, I saw at intervals while riding lines of people collecting spring water in jugs since the power outage has affected water distribution. I also saw lines of tankers, being organized by the municipality and with the military, to distribute water around the city and country. A chart listed over twenty hospitals designated to receive water.

The Venezuelan government has accused America of being behind both the March 7 outage and this week's, stating the former was a combination of cyber, electromagnetic and physical attacks on the power grids (like the alleged secret US plan to do the same to Iran's grid), and the latter a direct physical attack on the Guri complex, causing a fire at three transformers.

Clearly, the goal of such attacks is to create so much suffering and frustration among the public that there is chaos, and a “needed” US intervention.

The chaos has not happened, the people have refused it.