Protesters torch US Embassy Doors in Honduras.

Uploaded by Ruptly | Published on May 31, 2019.

Protesters torch US embassy doors in Honduras.
By Jorge Cabrera
RT News | 31 May, 2019 22:57

Several hooded demonstrators have set fire to the US Embassy in the capital of Honduras, as massive protests against education and healthcare privatization grip the Central American country.

Footage from the scene in Tegucigalpa showed pillars of thick black smoke rising above the American diplomatic mission, after several tires were set ablaze right in front of the embassy’s doors. The protesters chanted "American trash, American trash" as the entrance burned.
Firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene. Riots against government reforms seeking to privatize health and education services continued in the vicinity. The blaze has practically destroyed the entrance, without causing much damage to the solid concrete structure of the building.

Ahead of Friday’s protests against the the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, the US embassy issued a security alert instructing the family of American government employees to remain at home and monitor media updates.

While it is not immediately clear why the protesters, led by health and education professionals, decided to target the American embassy, bilateral relation between the US and Honduras has been on the decline recently. After approximately 96,000 Honduran asylum seekers were caught at the US-Mexico border in just four months this year, the US government cut aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala as a punishment for their failure to stop the so-called migrant caravans.

Firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene. Riots against government reforms seeking to privatize health and education services continued in the vicinity. The blaze has practically destroyed the entrance, without causing much damage to the solid concrete structure of the building.

Ahead of Friday’s protests against the the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, the US embassy issued a security alert instructing the family of American government employees to remain at home and monitor media updates.

Organizers of the protest blamed “infiltrators of the government” for the damage to the embassy, AFP reports. No casualties have been reported in the incident at the embassy. Police were absent from the vandalism scene and made no arrests.

The torching came just after news emerged that before his rise to power, Hernandez, an ally of the US government, had been the target of the US Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) probe which was examining the president's alleged “large-scale drug-trafficking and money laundering activities” related to cocaine smuggling operations into the United States. SOURCE

Sen. Graham's Call for Military Intervention in Venezuela: A Scare Tactic?

Uploaded by The Real News Network | Published on May 29, 2019.

Venezuela heads for mediated talks between Maduro, Guaido Officials.

Uploaded by RT | Published on May 29, 2019.

Venezuelan Gov't Continues Talks With Opposition in Norway.

Uploaded by TeleSUR English | Published on May 28, 2019.

Distorting 'Democracy' in Venezuela coverage.

By Gregory Shupak
FAIR | May 10, 2019.

Writing of the failed US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela on April 30, Uri Friedman of The Atlantic (5/1/19) referred to the Venezuelan branch of the coup as Juan “Guaidó’s pro-democracy movement.” The logical contradiction could scarcely be more pronounced: A wave of Friedman’s wand transforms a political force seeking the military overthrow of Venezuela’s elected government into a “pro-democracy movement.”

The Venezuelan government’s current mandate comes from winning an election on May 20, 2018 that was observed by more than 150 members of the International Electoral Accompaniment Mission. In a joint report, the observers said of the agency that organizes the country’s electoral process, “The technical and professional trustworthiness and independence of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela are uncontestable.” The Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America, one of the groups that participated in the observer mission, reported that the “results communicated by the National Electoral Council reflect the will of the voters who decided to participate in the electoral process.”

The Wall Street Journal (5/1/19) performed the same trick, writing that “Venezuela’s democratic leaders launched a revolt against Cuban-backed dictator Nicolas Maduro.” In the Journal’s universe, Maduro is a “dictator” despite heading a country with a legislative branch controlled by the opposition, where in October 2017 the opposition won five governorships, and which has thus far declined to arrest a politician agitating for a military putsch in open collaboration with hostile foreign powers, to the extent of entertaining the possibility of supporting a US invasion and supporting US-led sanctions that aredevastating  the country’s economy.

Imagine what the US would do with, say, someone acting in concert with a similarly energetic Iranian or Chinese effort to oust the US government. It’s not an exact analogy, since Iran and China have no history of ruthlessly dominating the region in which the US is located, but the point should be clear.

For the Journal, “Venezuela’s democratic leaders” are those who sat out the country’s election, claimed it was unfair and then declined to file an appeal with the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE). One is hard-pressed to imagine a more soundly democratic practice than Guaidó not running for president and then declaring himself president even as 80 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of him at the time. According to historian Tony Wood (London Review of Books2/21/19):

Maduro won 68 per cent of the vote, on a turnout of 46 percent—more or less par for the democratic course in the US, but low by Venezuelan standards.
Guaidó’s claim to power rests on the idea that, since this vote was invalid, not only is Maduro not the legitimate president but, according to a Transition Law the opposition released on 8 January, there is no president. Constitutionally, this is shaky ground. Article 233 of the 1999 Venezuelan constitution specifies the circumstances under which a president can be replaced: death, resignation, removal by the supreme court, physical or mental incapacity, abandonment of post. The National Assembly has a supervisory role to play in each of these scenarios, but nowhere does the constitution say that the legislature can claim executive power for itself. This is why the opposition instead cites Article 333, a provision that exhorts citizens to help re-establish constitutional order in the event that it is derogated by an act of force. In other words, the opposition is claiming the constitution no longer applies but that in the resulting “state of exception” the National Assembly is empowered to bring it into effect once more, as soon as Maduro—whom it calls a “usurper”—is removed. Another significant detail: Article 233 requires new elections within 30 days, but the opposition’s Transition Law makes no such specific commitment.

It’s hard to conceive of a case for considering such actions “democratic,” yet this is the record of those whom the Journal calls “Venezuela’s democratic leaders.”

In February, the Washington Post (2/26/19) ran an article headlined “How Venezuela’s Pro-Democracy Movement Has Learned From Past Mistakes.” It says that

since January 5, when Juan Guaidó was sworn in as [the National Assembly’s] president, he and its members have used the “Cabildo Abierto” (or open town meetings) to engage communities, communicating a message of inclusion for this new stage of the pro-democracy movement…. 
Many in the pro-democracy movement are successfully arguing that nonviolent discipline is a key to success. Guaidó, along with other political leaders and civil society organizations, has repeatedly called for the struggle to be assertive but peaceful.
This too mischaracterizes Guaidó as being part of a “pro-democracy movement.” The description is ill-fitting, considering that Guaidó’s movement has rejected the Venezuelan government’s proposal for dialogue, as well as Mexico and the Vatican’s offers to mediate talks, in favor of siding with the global empire that has unleashed widespread violence and poverty in the region and that, according to a study by two US economists, killed an estimated more than 40,000 Venezuelans between 2017–18 in the course of preventing the country’s economic recovery.

Perhaps even more absurd is when international attacks on Venezuela are cast as exercises in democracy. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times (2/6/19) described one of the countries involved in the aggression, Canada, as “a moral leader” of something called “the free world.” Evidently it wasn’t enough for Kristof to write the same article two years earlier, almost to the day (2/4/17), under the headline “Canada, Leading the Free World.” In the more recent piece, Kristof’s case rests not only on such matters of world historic importance as Canada’s “traffic safety laws,” but also on Venezuela:

Trump gets headlines with his periodic threats to invade Venezuela to topple President Nicolás Maduro, but Canada has been quietly working since 2017 to help organize the Lima Group of 14 nations pushing for democracy in Venezuela. When Canada recognized the opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president, he won credibility because nobody sees Ottawa as an imperialist conspirator.

Lost on Kristof was that that Canada’s “moral leader[ship]” and status as a member of whatever “the free world” is was exposed as smoke and mirrors not even a month earlier, when Canadian police armed with military-level assault gear invaded Unist’ot’en, an indigenous territory whose people never ceded control of their land to Canada in any treaty, and arrested 14 people who had set up a checkpoint to defend the land from construction of a natural gas pipeline. Far from “nobody see[ing] Ottawa as an imperialist conspirator,” many scholars have shown that Canada is an imperialist power in its own right, notably as an oppressive and exploitative force in countries in the same region as Venezuela, such as Honduras and Haiti.

Kristof, however, takes for granted that the Lima Group is committed to democracy in Venezuela, even though its members have subverted democracy in other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. Also in the Lima Group is Colombia, which, according to NACLA (3/7/19),

has the highest number of recorded assassinations of human rights defenders in the world. In the first 15 days of January 2019 alone, nine social leaders were murdered.

Honduras is a member too, and after its sham elections in November 2017, the Honduran government “used excessive force to suppress the wave of demonstrations that followed” (Amnesty International, 6/13/18),  detaining hundreds of people and denying the right of due process in several cases. Lima Group countries violate democratic principles at home, but Kristof assures us that they are “pushing for democracy in Venezuela.”

More to the point is the cognitive dissonance in describing an unelected organ of outside powers like the Lima Group, who are in no way accountable to Venezuelans, as “pushing for democracy in Venezuela.” In Kristof’s worldview, a non-democratic body forcing out Venezuela’s elected government in violation of international law will magically have a democratic outcome.

Maybe the most ridiculous article on this subject came from editor Katie Pavlich, writing in The Hill (4/30/19), who asserted that Maduro, who

has been able to maintain power throughout years of fraudulent “elections” in the country, is backed by Russia, China, Iran and personally protected by Cuban gangs. Guaidó is backed by US allies Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Israel, Canada and others. For the sake of democracy alone, the choice here is obvious.

The author went on to write:

The United States and much of the pro-democracy global community have backed Guaidó, but serious enemies looking to gain a stronger foothold in the hemisphere aren’t backing down from Maduro. What happens now will be definitive and will determine a free or tyrannical future for the country.

One can infer that the countries who are resisting the nonexistent “Cuban gangs” and backing Guaidó enumerated in the first paragraph of this middle-school essay are the ones that Pavlich considers “the pro-democracy global community”—a list that includes Brazil, another Lima Group freedom fighter, which is governed by a fascist who was only elected because the country’s most popular leader was a political prisoner; Israel, which governs nearly 5 million Palestinians who have no right to vote on who rules them or how; the colonial Canadian state that oppresses indigenous peoples as brutally as the US does African-Americans; and the US itself, which imprisons people at a higher rate than any other country, and is less a democracy than an oligarchy.

At every turn, Guaidó and his backers have taken steps that have nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with what Oscar Guardiola-Rivera (Independent5/1/19), who teaches human rights and philosophy at the University of London, aptly labeled “a white supremacist foreign intervention.” That corporate media manage to portray this as a “pro-democracy movement” is both a tragedy and a farce.

Greg Shupak is the author of the book, The Wrong Story:  Palestine, Israel, and the Media.

The ‘Battle for Venezuela — a modern fairy tale.

The ‘Battle for Venezuela — a modern fairy tale. [Republished]
Like all fairy tales, this article is based on typecast characters who bear little resemblance to reality, writes Gerrard Bonello.By Gerrard Bonello
Hamilton Spectator. OPINION | May 12, 2019 by Gerrard Bonello

By publishing The Battle for Venezuela, the Hamilton Spectator has presented a gripping fairy tale.

The "hero" is self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido, who assumes the guise of a mild mannered United States agent. He battles to "restore" democracy from the clutches of demonized elected President Maduro. True to his heroic character, Guaido fights a battle for the "American Way," by peacefully seeking an assumption of power. His brilliant plan is contingent on persuading the ruling President Nicolas Maduro to fly to Cuba. Along the way, Guaido convinces some top military and civilian aides to join him.

His plan is validated with a blessing from his benefactor, the Trump administration. It monitors his efforts closely, and shows restraint while considering military intervention as an option. Instead, it imposes sanctions and helps "run back-end logistics for aid deliveries to Colombia for the Venezuelan people, and a U.S. navy hospital ship sailed to neighbouring Colombia to aid Venezuelan refugees."

Throughout the story, Guaido's claim to the presidency is never disputed. How could it be? He is a heroic champion for democracy. As proof, the story points out that he has the backing of the National Assembly and more than 50 nations.

Had his plan succeeded, the story would have had a happy ending. Big bad Maduro would have been allowed to leave in peace. Our hero, Juan, would have led a successful coup and thereby restored democracy. Venezuela would have once again had the United States as its friend, and everyone would have lived happily ever after.

Alas, the dream of an American Venezuela was not to be. Juan's enthusiasm got the better of him. He prematurely attempted his coup for democracy and his plan was a failure. Instead of supporting heroic Juan, the Venezuelan military rallied behind their constitutionally-elected president.

Sadly, the story ends with the allegation that Maduro would have abandoned ship had he not been talked out of it. Who could be blamed for undermining such an otherwise flawless plan? The Russians, of course.

This fairy tale teaches some important lessons: 1. To restore democracy, a coup is needed to overthrow an existing democracy. 2. A hero is someone who seeks the help of outside forces, with the expectation that they use military force against his country, to assure his ascent to power. 3. Before providing humanitarian assistance, impose crippling economic sanctions to necessitate the need for aid. 4. Recognition of a self-proclaimed president by more than 50 nations is more important than the plebiscite of the majority of a country's constituents and/or the recognition by a majority of United Nations members. 5. If all else fails, blame the Russians.

Like all fairy tales, this article is based on typecast characters who bear little resemblance to reality. What would have given this account credibility as fact, rather than fiction, would have been the inclusion of several facts reported in the mainstream news that would have given it a balanced perspective.

As was repeatedly aired on TV news networks, Juan Guaido swore himself in as president. Is this the type of democratic process that is worthy of endorsement?

There is no evidence that Maduro ever considered abandoning his post or engaged in secret negotiations with Guiado. Maduro denied this. Moreover, the possibility that his efforts to remain in power could be interpreted as patriotism is never considered. This is in stark contrast with Guiado who has had several photo-ops with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, and is quite open about plotting the overthrow of his government through consultation with the U.S.

Given Venezuela's economic hardships and vocal opposition, why does Maduro still have a loyal military, as well as large supportive public demonstrations? To answer these questions would require another article detailing the numerous programs that he and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, implemented to prioritize the needs of the poor.

In most Western democracies, if anyone were to plot a coup, as Guaido openly professes, he would probably be deemed guilty of treason and terrorism. This indictment is never pointed out. Nor is it asked why Guaido still roams the streets and speaks freely, especially if Maduro is a dictator?

The aims of the U.S. are presented as humanitarian. Why weren't these "humanitarian" efforts of the U.S. endorsed by the Red Cross? Conveniently, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton's statement about how beneficial it would be for the U.S. to have U.S. companies controlling Venezuelan oil was also omitted.

Fact or fiction, Venezuela is a sovereign nation struggling to resolve its internal disputes. If international law prevails, it would be allowed to do so without outside interference. If that happens, then it might not have the "happy ending" that the mainstream media are rooting for. Nevertheless, it would be a resolution that would have been decided by the Venezuelan people.

Gerrard Bonello is a retired educator who lives in Mississauga but is also active in Hamilton.

China sends fourth humanitarian aid shipment to Venezuela.

Uploaded by New China TV | Published on May 27, 2019.

"The newest shipment of humanitarian aid from China arrived in Venezuela on Monday. This fourth shipment contains 68 tons of medicine and medical supplies.

Venezuelan officials received the aid at Simon Bolivar International Airport and thanked China for their help in circumventing the US blockade on medicine and medical supplies.

Venezuela is currently suffering through a severe political and economic crisis, which includes a number of international sanctions. To ease the effects of these crises, China has so far sent almost 270 tons of medical aid to the country." SOURCE

William Cardona visits Caracas, Venezuela. Seeing is believing.

Colombian William Cardona is visiting Caracas and he makes the comment that he is not encountering the isolation, misery and sadness that has been depicted by the news reports. He says it feels normal like any other Latin American city. In the first video he is standing with his companions in front of Don Coco, one of the many businesses in Venezuela which offer different products from green and dry coconuts - water, pulp, oil, ice cream, drinks, sweets. The other videos show an open air plaza where people are enjoying themselves, a visit to the Caracas Metro which provides free transport to commuters, a conversation with his companion Margarita, an exploration of the Centro Comercial Capitolio, the Plaza de Bolivar, an indoor market, a conversation with a fish vendor, a meeting with students, a visit to an open air market and a visit to a school which is participating in the Sistema Nacional de las Orquestas and we are shown the stock of musical instruments supplied free for the education of the children and treated to a wonderful performance by two students. One child gives a rousing rendition of "Imagen de Venezuela" while his companion accompanies him on the cuatro. I am reposting this entire series of videos because of this last video. The child's song says it all for me.

By Armando Martinez

Soy la voz que lleva el canto de mi llano señorial
Soy la risa del capacho que se escucha en el palmar.

 Soy la voz que lleva el canto de mi llano señorial
Soy la risa del capacho que se escucha en el palmar.

I am the voice that carries the song from my grand plain
I am the laughter of the capacho that is heard in the palm grove.

Son mis canciones para mi tierra por ser tan pura
por ser tan bella como el sol radiante cuando empieza amanecer,
como el sol radiante cuando empieza amanecer.

They are my songs for my land for being so pure,
for being so beautiful like the radiant sun when dawn breaks,
like the radiant sun when dawn breaks.

Siento la música recia que va metida en mis venas y esta tan unida a mi
como la playa a la arena, como las hojas al árbol
como la luz a las estrellas, como el amor a un te quiero
como el dolor a las penas.

I feel the strong music that goes into my veins and is so close to me
as the beach to the sand, as the leaves to the tree
as light to the stars, as love to an "I love you"
as pain to sorrows.

Los cuatros vientos del llano unidos a mi cantar
van regalándole al mundo de mi patria un postal.

Los cuatros vientos del llano unidos a mi cantar
van regalándole al mundo de mi patria un postal.

The four winds of the plain united to my singing
are giving to the world a postcard from my homeland.

Que van sabanas, un chaparral
playas y mares y un cocotal
y de la Guayana una selva tropical.
y de la Guayana una selva tropical.

Sending savannahs, a chaparral
beaches and seas and a cocotal
and from Guayana, a tropical jungle,
and from Guayana, a tropical jungle.

Que van nieves de los andes, de Margarita una perla
el oro negro zuliano que mil riquezas reflejan
que va un cantado donde digo, que mi patria es la mas bella
viva la música nuestra
y que viva Venezuela!

Sending snows of the Andes, from Margarita, a pearl
Zulian black gold that reflect a thousand riches
sending a song where I say that my country is the most beautiful
Long live our music!
and long live Venezuela!

Muchas gracias, William Cardona, por hacer esto y permitirnos acompañarte en esta viaje. ¡Que viva Venezuela!

Thank you, William Cardona, for making the effort to do this outreach and for allowing us to accompany you as you visit. Long live Venezuela!

If you are interested in the videos from William Cardona's ongoing tour, please visit his Youtube channel.

Which brings me to the question which has been on my mind. Have any individuals or groups from the Caribbean visited Venezuela this year to make their own assessments? 

Russia: US Warships Off Venezuela Only Worsen the Situation.

Russian Foreign Ministry: US Warships Off the Coast of Venezuela Only Worsen the Situation. [Republished]
Posted by Internationalist 360° | on May 24, 2019

Update on Venezuela

The current developments show that there is no alternative to the peaceful, civilised approaches to settling domestic differences by the Venezuelan citizens themselves. We welcome the willingness of the government and the opposition to establish contacts as a prelude to the start of a dialogue, in part, with international mediation. We support any initiatives that consider the interests of all sides to an equal extent. Only inclusive talks involving all the constructive political forces in Venezuela that favour a peaceful, diplomatic settlement of disagreements in line with the Constitution can lead to a sustainable settlement of the crisis.

Russia is open to discussions with all sides that are interested in the peaceful settlement of the domestic political situation in Venezuela. I would like to explain Russia’s position of principle once again. One of the key principles of Russian foreign policy is invariable respect for the sovereignty of other countries and non-interference in their internal affairs. Russia consistently deals with lawful governments that have received the mandate of trust from their people, and hence, enjoy legitimacy and full authority. This allows us to treat them as dialogue partners that are capable of pursuing their own independent line in the international arena, which we consider of value.

Statements about “Russia’s responsibility” for what is happening in Venezuela are absurd. They are simply untrue. It is the sanctions of the US and other Western states that have led to a noticeable degradation of the socio-economic situation in Venezuela this year. The ambassador of Venezuela spoke about this in detail at a meeting with the media in Moscow.

While all Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the overwhelming majority of states in other parts of the world, clearly oppose an armed invasion of Venezuela, the American military continues its overt provocations – on May 9, a US Coast Guard ship was located in Venezuelan territorial waters 20 km off the port of La Guaira. Such actions only escalate tensions and do not facilitate the building of trust.

In the process, the radical opposition initiated talks with the US Southern Command with a view to overthrowing the legitimate government. This is beyond common sense. We urge all responsible Venezuelan politicians to adhere to a strictly peaceful means of political struggle. We consider steps that provoke a civil war and attempts to topple the legitimate President by force unacceptable. This is the road to violence and bloodshed.

There are demands from outside the country that the Nicolas Maduro Government should stop what is called the political harassment of National Assembly deputies, which is beyond criticism. To begin with, this is yet another example of interference in internal affairs. The accomplices in the coup are being presented as “prisoners of conscience and victims of a dictatorship.” Participation in an armed rebellion is punishable by law in any civilised country. Why should an exception be made in the case of Venezuela and why should it abstain from investigating the crimes and punishing the criminals? Everyone must respect Venezuela’s statehood and its citizens.

A new and unprecedented excess in violation of international principles and norms took place last week (May 13). US police entered the territory of the Venezuelan diplomatic mission building in Washington D.C. This is a flagrant violation of articles 22 and 24 of the Vienna convention on the protection of diplomatic missions. Let me recall that in March the US police helped “the diplomats” of the self-proclaimed president seize the premises of the Consulate General in New York and the Military Attaché Office in Washington D.C. In this case it removed civil activists from the diplomatic mission building who were there with the consent of the Venezuelan government. This is yet another example of the blatant disregard for international law and double standards by US authorities.

In general, although we have become accustomed to blackmail, personal pressure and other illegal methods used by Washington on its opponents, it is still surprising with what ease the US political establishment applies them to its strategic partners, among others. After members of the Constitutional Court of Colombia refused to discuss amendments to the law on a special court for the transitional period with the US Ambassador in Bogota, the US Department of State cancelled the US visas of the judges involved. In effect, the high-ranking representatives of Colombia’s judiciary were put on the same level with the members of the Venezuelan Supreme Court that are under sanctions. What do you think of this mathematical equation?

For its part, Russia continues working with its Venezuelan partners on a constructive agenda that meets the interests of our two countries.

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, May 23, 2019.

Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution and Warmongering "Pacifists."

Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution and Warmongering "Pacifists." [Republished]
By Arnold August
Telesur English | 26 May 2019.

The U.S. does not learn from history.

Oh, I am against military intervention!” goes a “pacifist” narrative heard in the North that serves as a pretext for a statement on Venezuela. This prelude consoles the soul, clears the liberal conscience and strives to maintain the desired – but increasingly elusive – “progressive” academic, journalistic and political credentials.

However, the “pacifism” dealt with here has nothing to do with Norway’s recent gesture to seek a peaceful solution. The government of President Nicolás Maduro is of course fully involved in this latest attempt at negotiations. In fact, the Venezuelan government has been proposing this throughout the crisis.

For example, on May 1, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as one of the main architects of this “pacifist” narrative along with John Bolton and President Trump, said, “Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do…We’re trying to do everything we can to avoid violence… We’d prefer a peaceful transition of government….”

There is only one reason the U.S. has so far not been able to take the military option off the table and put it into action. It is not because it has any qualms about military invasion of other countries, but rather because it has failed miserably in its over-ambitious attempt to break up the civilian-military alliance, an explicit precondition for the military option, at least for the time being.

However, as far as Washington is concerned, the economic war option has not only always been on the table, but it has been ferociously applied. After the 2013 election of President Nicolás Maduro following the death of Hugo Chávez, the U.S. supported the all too often violent opposition protests against the legal election, resulting in a pretext for President Obama’s Venezuela legislation in 2014, designed to sanction individuals in the Bolivarian Republic as a lever of economic punishment with the goal of creating hurdles for Chavista political officials and a section of the state.

In March 2015, Obama extended this policy by declaring Venezuela a “threat to U.S. national security,” opening the door for additional individual sanctions. Trump expanded this further into collective economic sanctions and full-blown economic war. As the noted international writer/academic Vijay Prashad, influential in the U.S. left, has written, “Obama forged the spear; Trump has thrown it at the heart of Venezuela.

The Trump-led economic war against Venezuela especially hits the key petroleum industry.

According to an April 2019 study published in the U.S. by noted U.S. economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, these and other economic sanctions “reduced the public’s caloric intake, increased disease and mortality (for both adults and infants), and displaced millions of Venezuelans who fled the country as a result of the worsening economic depression and hyperinflation. They exacerbated Venezuela’s economic crisis and made it nearly impossible to stabilize the economy, contributing further to excess deaths."

They go on to argue that "All of these impacts disproportionately harmed the poorest and most vulnerable Venezuelans…. We find that the sanctions have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017–2018; and that these sanctions would fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the U.S. is a signatory.”

The Venezuelan government claims that the war also includes no fewer than three electrical grid sabotages in March 2019 (March 7–14, March 29 and March 30). Coupled with this were three coup attempts, on January 23, February 23 and April 30. All three were met with multiple and widespread opposition in the streets by Chavismo to defend the revolution. However, one can imagine how this mass mobilization affects the already-battered economy and the “normal” running of what has become a very difficult life.

Moreover, the U.S.-led media war against Maduro and Chavismo is one of the most ferocious against any revolutionary leader in recent history.

On May 16, after a one-month physical standoff, the Trump Administration ordered a police invasion of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC, arresting four members of the embassy protection collective who were there at the invitation of the government of Venezuela, all while the “pacifists” continued their silence on the war in the very city where many of them live and work.
What then remains of this “pacifist” narrative in opposition to an eventual military intervention and in favor of a “peaceful transition” while remaining silent on the current multi-faceted war?

The “pacifists” provide complicit apologetics for Washington’s rhetoric on “peaceful transition” by framing opposition to U.S. policy on Venezuela solely in terms of avoiding military intervention while failing to denounce U.S.-backed coup attempts and economic warfare.

This policy appears to be designed to provoke a social implosion in Venezuela so that the U.S. can set up a client government without ever having put one military boot on the ground. Is this the new war? If it is, then this type of war is not that new.

Was this not the goal of the U.S. in 1960 as the guiding line of the blockade against Cuba, that is, to create “disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardshipas indicated by the Department of State in 1960, so that people revolt against the government? And was this not the scenario that unfolded to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in 1973? This new regime change wine in old bottles is just as lethal today as it was yesterday. The U.S. does not learn from history.

Arnold August is a Canadian journalist and lecturer, the author of Democracy in Cuba and the 1997–98 Elections, Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion and Cuba–U.S. Relations: Obama and Beyond. He collaborates with many web sites, television and radio broadcasts based in Latin America, Cuba, Europe, North America and the Middle East including TeleSur.
Twitter   Facebook Website:

US Sanctions Leave Millions of Venezuelans Without Water.

Uploaded by The Real News Network | Published on May 26, 2019.

Diplomacy Under Siege.

Uploaded by Venezuelanalysis | Published on May 26, 2019.

"In spite of the silence of corporate media, the Embassy Protection Collective in Washington DC managed to shed light on yet another strategy of attack from United States, the Venezuelan opposition, and international right wing allies, against Venezuela's sovereignty, with no regard for international law. Tatuy TV explores the long history of attacks against Venezuelan diplomatic centers since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution and how recent acts of solidarity and resistance may just change the course of history." SOURCE

Government of Venezuela and Opposition will continue Dialogue in Norway.

Government of Venezuela and Opposition will continue Dialogue in Norway.
 Telesur | May 25, 2019
"Our delegation leaves for Oslo with a willingness to work on the agreed-upon comprehensive agenda and move forward in building good agreements," said President Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro confirmed on Saturday that a government delegation will travel next week to Oslo (capital), Norway, to continue the process of open dialogue with the opposition.

The official representation will be headed by Chancellor Jorge Arreaza, the Minister of Communication and Information, Jorge Rodríguez, and the Governor of the state Miranda, Héctor Rodríguez, informed the Head of State.

"I thank the Government of Norway for its efforts to advance the dialogues for peace and stability in Venezuela, and our delegation leaves for Oslo with a willingness to work on the agreed-upon comprehensive agenda and move forward in the construction of good agreements," the president said. Venezuelan through his account on the social network Twitter.

Agradezco al gobierno de Noruega por sus esfuerzos para avanzar en los diálogos
 por la Paz y la estabilidad de Venezuela. Sale hacia Oslo nuestra delegación con
 buena disposición para trabajar la agenda integral acordada y avanzar en la 
construcción de buenos acuerdos.
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) 26 de mayo de 2019

Earlier this Saturday the Norwegian Foreign Ministry also ratified the continuation of the talks and reiterated its commitment to "continue supporting the search for a solution agreed between the parties for Venezuela."

"Norway praises the parties for their efforts and appreciates their willingness," Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in an official statement.

On the other hand, in a new act of interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, the State Department of the United States Government (USA) issued a text during the day rejecting the Venezuelan dialogue process.

"Previous efforts to negotiate the end of the regime and free elections have failed because the regime has used them to divide the opposition and buy time, we believe that the only thing that can be negotiated with Nicolás Maduro are the conditions of his departure," says the American statement.

[And echoed by Marco Rubio:]

Past negotiations with #MaduroRegime failed because they used them 
to divide the opposition & gain time.
I hope #OsloTalks can help make progress towards the return of democracy 
to #Venezuela. But any election conducted with #Maduro in power will not 
be a free & fair one.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) 26 de mayo de 2019

The talks initiated in mid-May in Norway have received the support and congratulations of the United Nations (UN) and its secretary general, António Guterres, who has shown willingness to collaborate in the process.

The Venezuelan government has insisted on the path of dialogue as the alternative to resolve political differences in the country and reach an agreement on peace and reconciliation. However, in line with the White House some opposition sectors insist on the ignorance of the legitimate authorities and opt for a foreign military intervention. SOURCE

Laura Wells Reports: Venezuela Reality and US Options.

Uploaded by Green Vigilante Media | Published on May 24, 2019.

Canada's meddling in Venezuela.

Canada’s Meddling in Venezuela. [Republished]
By Yves Engler
Counterpunch | May 24, 2019

Why does the dominant media pay so much attention to Russian “meddling” in other countries, but little to Canada’s longstanding interference in the political affairs of nations thousands of kilometres from our borders?

The case of Ben Rowswell illustrates the double standard well.

The current Canadian International Council President has been the leading non-governmental advocate of Ottawa’s quest to overthrow Venezuela’s government. In dozens of interviews, op-eds, tweets and ongoing speaking tour the former ambassador has put a liberal gloss on four months of naked imperialism. But, Rowswell has been involved in efforts to oust Nicolas Maduro since 2014 despite repeatedly claiming the president’s violation of the constitution two years ago provoked Ottawa’s recent campaign.

A March 2014 Venezuela Analysis story suggested the early adopter of digital communications was dispatched to Caracas in the hopes of boosting opposition to a government weakened by an economic downturn, the death of its leader and violent protests. Titled “New Ambassador Modernizes Canada’s Hidden Agenda in Venezuela”, the story pointed out that Rowswell immediately set up a new embassy Twitter account, soon followed by another titled SeHablaDDHH (Let’s Talk Human Rights), to rally “the angry middle classes on Twitter.” The article noted that “Rowswell is the best man to encourage such a ‘democratic’ counterrevolution, given his pedigree” in digital and hotspot diplomacy. According to a March 2014 Embassy story titled “Canada dispatches digital diplomacy devotee to Caracas”, just before the Venezuela assignment “Ottawa’s top digital diplomat … helped to establish a communications platform for Iranians and Iranian emigrants to communicate with each other, and occasionally the Canadian government, beyond the reach of that country’s censors.” Previously, Rowswell was chargé d’affaires in Iraq after the 2003 US invasion and headed the NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar during the war there. An international strategy advisor in the Privy Council Office during Stephen Harper and Jean Chrétien’s tenure, Rowswell created Global Affairs Canada’ Democracy Unit. Rowswell also worked with the Washington based Center for Strategic and International Studies, whose board of trustees includes Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the National Democratic Institute, which is part of the US National Endowment for Democracy that performs work the CIA previously did covertly.

Believing he was sent to conspire with the opposition, Caracas refused to confirm Rowswell’s appointment as ambassador. Former vice president and foreign minister José Vicente Rangel twice accused Rowswell of seeking to overthrow the government. On a July 2014 episode of his weekly television program José Vicente Hoy Rangel said, “the Embassy of Canada appears more and more involved in weird activities against the Venezuelan constitutional government.” The former Vice President claimed Canada’s diplomatic mission helped more than two dozen individuals of an “important intelligence organization” enter the country. Three months later Rangel accused Canadian officials of trying to destabilize the country by making unfounded claims Maduro supported drug trafficking and gave passports to terrorists.

In early 2015 then president of the National Assembly (not to be confused with Venezuela’s president) Diosdado Cabello accused the Canadian embassy of complicity in a failed coup. According to Cabello, an RCMP official attached to the embassy, Nancy Birbeck, visited an airport in Valencia with a member of the UK diplomatic corps to investigate its capabilities as part of the plot.

The president of the National Assembly also criticized Rowswell for presenting a human rights award to anti-government groups. Cabello said the ambassador “offered these distinctions to people of proven conspiratorial activity and who violate the fundamental rights to life of all Venezuelans.” At the embassy during the award ceremony were the lawyers and wife (Lilian Tintori) of Leopoldo López who endorsed the military’s 2002 coup against President Hugo Chavez and was convicted of inciting violence during the 2014 “guarimbas” protests that sought to oust Maduro. Forty-three Venezuelans died, hundreds were hurt and a great deal of property was damaged during the “guarimbas” protests. Lopez was a key organizer of the recent plan to anoint Juan Guaidó interim president and Tintori met Donald Trump and other international officials, including the prime minister and many others in Ottawa, to build international support for the recent coup efforts.

Rowswell appears to have had significant contact with López and Guaidó’s Voluntad Popular party. He was photographed with Voluntad Popular’s leader in Yaracuy state, Gabriel Gallo, at the embassy’s 2017 human rights award ceremony. Gallo was a coordinator of NGO Foro Penal, which was runner-up for the embassy’s 2015 Human Rights Award. (The runner-up for the 2012 award, Tamara Adrián represents Voluntad Popular in the national assembly.)

The embassy’s “Human Rights Prize” is co-sponsored with the Centro para la Paz y los Derechos Humanos. The director of that organization, Raúl Herrera, repeatedly denounced the Venezuelan government, saying, “the Venezuelan state systematically and repeatedly violates the Human Rights of Venezuelans.”

The “Human Rights Prize” is designed to amplify and bestow legitimacy on anti-government voices. The winner gets a “tour of several cities in Venezuela to share his or her experiences with other organizations promoting of human rights” and a trip to Canada to meet with “human rights authorities and organizations.” They generally present to Canadian Parliamentary Committees and garner media attention. The Venezuelan NGOs most quoted in the Canadian media in recent months criticizing the country’s human rights situation — Provea, Foro Penal, CODEVIDA, Observatorio Venezolano de la Conflictividad, Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones, etc. — have been formally recognized by the Canadian embassy.

During Rowswell’s tenure at the embassy Canada financed NGOs with the expressed objective of embarrassing the government internationally. According to the government’s response to a July 2017 Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade report on Venezuela, “CFLI [Canadian Funding to Local Initiatives] programming includes support for a local NGO documenting the risks to journalists and freedom of expression in Venezuela, in order to provide important statistical evidence to the national and international community on the worsening condition of basic freedoms in the country.” Another CFLI initiative funded during Rowswell’s tenure in Caracas “enabled Venezuelan citizens to anonymously register and denounce corruption abuses by government officials and police through a mobile phone application.”

Just after resigning as ambassador, Rowswell told the Ottawa Citizen: “We established quite a significant internet presence inside Venezuela, so that we could then engage tens of thousands of Venezuelan citizens in a conversation on human rights. We became one of the most vocal embassies in speaking out on human rights issues and encouraging Venezuelans to speak out.”

Can you imagine the hue and cry if a Venezuelan ambassador said something similar about Canada? In recent months there have been a number of parliamentary committee and intelligence reports about Russian interference in Canada based on far less. Last month Justin Trudeau claimed, “countries like Russia are behind a lot of the divisive campaigns … that have turned our politics even more divisive and more anger-filled than they have been in the past.” That statement is 100 times more relevant to Canada/Rowswell’s interference in Venezuela than Russia’s role here.

Recently Rowswell has been speaking across the country on “How Democracy Dies: Lessons from Venezuela and the U.S.”

I wonder if the talk includes any discussion of Canadian diplomats deployed to interfere in other country’s political affairs?

More articles by:
Yves Engler’s latest book is ‪"Canada in Africa: 300 years of Aid and Exploitation."

US Economic War On Venezuela Targets CLAP Food Program....

Uploaded by The Last American Vagabond | Published on May 24, 2019.

1. Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela. By Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, April 2019
2. “Hunger, desperation, and overthrow of government”…US policy since 1960.
3. US Economic War on Venezuela Targets CLAP Food Program Relied on by Millions. By Alexander Rubinstein.

Sanctions ‘hurt the most vulnerable’ in Venezuela.

Uploaded by RT America | Published on May 24, 2019.

The Impact of Sanctions on Venezuela's Food Supplies.

Uploaded by TeleSUR English | Published on May 24, 2019.

US hospital ship will assist 11 countries in response to Venezuelan crisis.

By Jim Wyss
El Nuevo Herald | 24th May, 2019.

The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship of the US Navy, is floating near Riohacha, Colombia, where it cares for the most needy, including Venezuelan migrants. Among the crew there are 14 Venezuelan doctors.

Eleven countries, including Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Panama, will benefit from the medical assistance mission to be carried out by a Navy hospital ship to respond to the effects of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, the Southern Command said Thursday.

The USNS Comfort doctors will also provide their services on board or at local medical institutions in Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.

"This deployment responds directly to the crisis provoked by the regime of (Nicolás) Maduro," said Admiral Craig Faller, head of the Southern Command, in a statement released Thursday on the mission, which had been announced last week. may.

The Southern Command so far has not reported the countries in which this mission will be developed for five months and has not yet said the exact date of departure of the Comfort, which is based in Norfolk (Virginia), although it will be in the middle of June.

"The Comfort medical teams will work together with the medical professionals of the host nations who have absorbed thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees," Fuller said.

"The Venezuelan people flee desperately from their homeland in search of a better way of life. We are committed to finding ways to support the Venezuelan people and our regional partners who share the goal of seeing a legitimate and democratic government reinstated in Venezuela," said the head of the Southern Command.

This is the seventh deployment of the Comfort since 2007.

The previous mission took place between October and December 2018 in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Honduras, lasted 11 weeks and helped more than 26,700 patients in need.

According to the statement, 599 surgeries were carried out on board.

As with the last deployment, the plan is to send medical professionals from partner countries to join the effort to provide medical care to patients.

It seeks to help "relieve the pressure in the national health systems" of the countries that have hosted the millions of Venezuelans who have fled the political, social and economic crisis in their nation.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) this week, there are already 3.7 million Venezuelans who have left their country, due to an unprecedented political, social and economic crisis in the oil nation. SOURCE

Germany declines to recognize Juan Guaido's Berlin emissary.

Uploaded by antikriegTV | Published on May 22, 2019.

On April 28, 2019, the following resolution was passed by a large majority at the Aufstehen-Congress in Berlin:

"Nicolas Maduro is the legitimately elected president of Venezuela. Aufstehen-Berlin requires the federal government to cease all support for Juan Guaido. Our demand is based on international law, in particular the UN Charter." SOURCE

Daily Sabah | 09.02.2019

The international recognition of Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó could amount to interference in the country's internal affairs, experts at Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, have said.

There are "strong reasons" for this assumption, the experts said in a report which AFP news agency obtained Saturday.

"Thus, the question whether interference in internal affairs in the present case qualifies as an inadmissible intervention remains entirely justified."

The report, commissioned by the Left Party at Bundestag, emphasized whether this "early recognition" was admissible under international law.

This recognition issue arises "before a new state authority is enforced," the reports says, but adds that the verdict on whether a new state power is "decisively enforced" depends on political discretion.

Whether the "real prerequisites" for early recognition were present could not be established "with the available means," the experts admitted in the report.

Andrej Hunko, a lawmaker from the Left Party, said the report confirmed his views that the recognition of Guaido was contrary to international law.

"The German federal government could have mediated," explained Hunko, adding "Instead, it discredited itself with its one-sided partisanship."

Underlining that Guaido currently has no real power in Venezuela, Hunko warned that acknowledging him as president only further intensifies the conflict.

Similarly, a Venezuelan Supreme Court justice said Friday that National Assembly leader Juan Guaido's decision to declare himself interim president was "null and void".

In a statement, Justice Juan Mendoza said Guaido's interim government conflicts with the country's constitution and he is usurping presidential powers.

The court has already barred Guaido from leaving the country and frozen his bank accounts.

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycotted by the opposition.

Tensions rose when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president on Jan. 23, a move which was supported by the U.S., Germany and many other European and Latin American countries.

Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, Bolivia and Mexico have put their weight behind Maduro.

DW | 28.03.2019

As Venezuela's self-appointed interim president, Juan Guaido has named diplomats to 10 EU countries. The German government considers Guaido Venezuela's president, but it hasn't confirmed Otto Gebauer as ambassador.

In a video posted online dated March 16 and shot in Cologne, Otto Gebauer criticizes the government of acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, discusses the details of a recent conversation with Marian Schuegraf, the German Foreign Ministry's commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, and emphasizes the urgency of working with the industrial manufacturer Siemens to reduce power outages back in Venezuela. The on-screen text refers to Gebauer as "Venezuela's ambassador to Germany." He holds no such title.

The German government will not recognize Gebauer as ambassador. For the purposes of conducting official talks, on March 13 the government described him as the "personal representative of interim President Juan Guaido" and, in a request for clarification from the opposition Left party, added that "further steps are not currently planned."

"I believe that this decision is comprehensive, pragmatic and proportionate to the situation," said Helge Lindh, a Social Democrat and member of the Bundestag's parliamentary group for the Andean nations. "Given the difficult situation in Venezuela, there is simply no perfect solution. It is not something inconsequential, but rather diplomacy in the narrowest sense of the word."

Spain has lobbied its fellow European Union members to not grant Guaido's emissaries diplomatic status. "Recognizing Guaido was a political decision and a signal," Lindh said. "But, in the current situation, it doesn't make sense to confirm Guaido's shadow ambassadors, as that ignores the fact that the power remains with Maduro and his system."

The fact that interim presidents have a maximum term of 30 days under Venezuelan law has also become increasingly problematic for the German government and Guaido's other international supporters. That period expired in February. Elections are not yet an option. "In the view of the federal government, the political parameters have not been fulfilled," according to Germany's Foreign Ministry.

The situation has become paradoxical: Venezuela has simultaneous ambassadors in Germany, but the government will not carry out official talks with either of them. "This cannot be a long-term situation in which we continue like this for years," Lindh said.

At a minimum, the Left party has praised the decision not to recognize Gebauer as Venezuela's ambassador. "The government's decision is correct as dispatching of new representatives for Venezuela is based on the recognition of self-appointed President Juan Guaido in violation of international law," said Heike Hänsel, the member of the Bundestag's foreign affairs committee who lodged the official request for clarification on Gebauer's status. She had previously criticized the government's decision to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's president.

A Bundestag inquiry concluded that recognizing Guaido as Venezuela's president was questionable at best in the eyes of international law. The decision not to recognize Gebauer as ambassador could be seen as a matter of course correction. "This proves the absurdity of Germany's Venezuela policy," Hänsel said. "Recognizing Guaido maneuvered out of the bounds of international law and this rows it back again."

The shift in EU foreign policy "contrary to the line of the Trump administration, which had unfortunately been supported by the Foreign Ministry," is overall positive, Hänsel said. "Even the federal government is very slowly acknowledging that the contradictions are becoming ever larger and is now attempting damage control." She said the decision not to recognize Gebauer as ambassador was "a first step toward the observance of international law" and added that Germany's government must now reorient its policy toward finding a political solution in deeply split Venezuela.

'Unfortunate' foreign policy

Hans-Joachim Heintze, a jurist and professor at the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at the Ruhr University Bochum, describes the Foreign Ministry's policies toward Venezuela so far as "unfortunate." Heintze said Germany's government had recognized Guaido "prematurely and thereby robbed itself of certain possibilities."

The US' disastrous Venezuela policy ought to have served as a warning for Germany's government, Heintze said: "The United States has always very prematurely and very intensely interfered in Latin America. Ask yourself what kind of reputation the US has in Latin America nowadays. Germany should have operated more cautiously."

Heintze said the decision not to recognize Gebauer as ambassador represented a sort of caving by Germany's government. "External efforts to influence states' internal policies are always unfavorable," he said. Germany has only managed to cultivate relationships with and build channels to opposition figures, Heintze said, "and now Berlin sees that the situation in Venezuela will not be so quickly clarified."


Ultimately, Germany's government may have done Guaido a favor. Gebauer is an incendiary figure in Venezuela. He was imprisoned for six years, three months and 25 days for his direct role in the effort to overthrow Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's previously democratically elected president, in 2002.

Gebauer, a former military captain, was a member of the commando unit that took Chavez to La Orchila island and held him prisoner. "I Saw Him Cry" is the book Gebauer wrote after holding the president in custody.

You don't have to oppose Guaido to wonder whether he might not have been able to come up with a more diplomatic figure. "Gebauer doesn't conform to our ideal image of an unblemished democrat," Lindh said. Anyway, he added, "the federal government would not have recognized anyone else as Venezuela's ambassador either." SOURCE