Venezuela's Ambassador to Russia gives Press Briefing in Moscow.


Uploaded by Ruptly | 21 May, 2019.

The Venezuelan ambassador to the Russian Federation, Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa, gives a briefing to the media in Moscow on Tuesday, May 21.

Some Alternative Sources of News & Opinions on Venezuela.

Some Alternative Sources of News & Opinions on Venezuela.

While not suggesting that any source is to be accepted as always accurate and unbiased,  it is my hope that we can allow ourselves a fighting chance to retain [or regain] the option and the ability to come to our own well-informed conclusions.

BELGIUM
Go News
Website:  https://gonewsyt.com/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDMdPrXn8NKcLkS3OgQGYZA


CANADA
Canadian Dimension
Magazine: https://canadiandimension.com/

Global Research
Website: https://www.globalresearch.ca/

Zero Anthropology
Blogzine: https://zeroanthropology.net/


CUBA
GRANMA
Website: http://en.granma.cu/

Radio Havana
Website: www.rhc.cu


CYPRUS
The Duran [Cyprus]
Website: https://theduran.com/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdeMVChrumySxV9N1w0Au-w


GERMANY
redfish [Germany]
Website: https://redfish.media/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHgnQzZY7T9TxhI40BmKJwQ

Ruptly [Germany]
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RuptlyTV


INTERNATIONAL
Occupy.com
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKFyxRML4e78QPlFxOEYOIg

South Front
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaV101EM1QayFkP0E7zwXCg

United Nations
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5O114-PQNYkurlTg6hekZw


IRAN
PressTV [Iran]
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaFxVc4xHOea6s5CO0eBxIA


RUSSIA
RT America
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCczrL-2b-gYK3l4yDld4XlQ

Russia Good
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzFHWLAMQ2hWPc7fbssfSUg

Sputnik
Website:  https://sputniknews.com/
Radio: Sputnik News - Loud and Clear: https://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/

Vesti News
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa8MaD6gQscto_Nq1i49iew


UNITED KINGDOM
The Canary
Website: https://www.thecanary.co/


George Galloway
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf_HItERkRB3vnkWt2RSOLg

Moderate Rebels
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNiXhsI4QtmQaeICpT-k7BQ

Novara Media
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzMAa6IhV6uwYQATYG_2kg


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AfriSynergyNews
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCedePgTnisX8sAUhYtqfBEA

The Black Alliance for Peace 
Website: https://blackallianceforpeace.com


Citizen Truth
Website: https://citizentruth.org/latin-america/

CODEPINK
Website: https://www.codepink.org/

Democracy Now!
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzuqE7-t13O4NIDYJfakrhw

Empire Files
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG29FnXZm4F5U8xpqs1cs1Q

FAIR
Website: https://fair.org/

The Grayzone Project
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEXR8pRTkE2vFeJePNe9UcQ

The Jimmy Dore Show
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3M7l8ved_rYQ45AVzS0RGA

Liberation
Website: https://www.liberationnews.org

MintPressNews
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc9UUSOBWC6VCkJUqnh-CLw

Peace Works
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC07zaP9SczKR9SyXgPUGOoQ

The Real News Network
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrmm_7RDZJeQzq2-wvmjueg

Representative Press
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdUAI319whTmWI2D6hbMxBg

RonPaulLibertyReport
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkJ1N-7g9Q6n7KnriGit-Ig

Thom Hartmann Program
Website:  https://www.thomhartmann.com/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbjBOso0vpWgDht9dPIVwhQ

The Truth Unites
Website: http://www.thetruthunites.com/category/south-america/

The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcnNWp-tx3-FaCWV4pMFTAg


VENEZUELA
Con el Mazo Dando [Spanish]
Website: www.conelmazodando.com.ve

Correo del Orinoco [Spanish]
Website: www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve

Mision Verdad [Spanish]
Website: www.misionverdad.com

Orinico Tribune
Website: www.orinocotribune.com

Tatuy Television Comunistaria
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-a81RGsckjC8kxs_f_fOlQ

Telesur English
Website: https://www.telesurenglish.net/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmuTmpLY35O3csvhyA6vrkg

Telesurtv.net
Website: www.telesurtv.net

Venezuela Analysis
Website: https://venezuelanalysis.com/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEaCaY-ThaiIGzBEO84ljVQ/about


Recommended reading:

Bad News from Venezuela: Twenty years of fake news and misreporting.  By Alan MacLeod, Routledge Focus on Communication and Society, 2018.
"Since the election of President Hugo Chavez in 1998, Venezuela has become an important news item. Western coverage is shaped by the cultural milieu of its journalists, with news written from New York or London by non-specialists or by those staying inside wealthy guarded enclaves in an intensely segregated Caracas. Journalists mainly work with English-speaking elites and have little contact with the poor majority. Therefore, they reproduce ideas largely attuned to a Western, neoliberal understanding of Venezuela.

Through extensive analysis of media coverage from Chavez’s election to the present day, as well as detailed interviews with journalists and academics covering the country, Bad News from Venezuela highlights the factors contributing to reportage in Venezuela and why those factors exist in the first place. From this examination of a single Latin American country, the book furthers the discussion of contemporary media in the West, and how, with the rise of ‘fake news’, their operations have a significant impact on the wider representation of global affairs.

Bad News from Venezuela is comprehensive and enlightening for undergraduate students and research academics in media and Latin American studies." SOURCE

There’s Far More Diversity in Venezuela’s Media Than in US Corporate Press.


By Lucas Koerner and Ricardo Vaz
FAIR |  May 20, 2019

The international corporate media have long displayed a peculiar creativity with the facts in their Venezuela reporting, to the point that coverage of the nation’s crisis has become perhaps the world’s most lucrative fictional genre. Ciara Nugent’s recent piece for Time (4/16/19), headlined “‘Venezuelans Are Starving for Information’: The Battle to Get News in a Country in Chaos,” distinguished itself as a veritable masterpiece of this literary fad.

The article’s slant should come as no surprise, given Time’s (and Nugent’s) enthusiastic endorsement (2/1/19) of the ongoing coup led by self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó. Time’s report is based on a trope oft-repeated by corporate journalists for over a decade (Extra!, 11–12/06), namely that Venezuela’s elected Chavista government is an “authoritarian” regime that brutally suppresses freedom of expression. Corporate outlets frequently speak of “Chávez’s clampdown on press freedom” (New York Times, 4/30/19), “a country where critical newspapers and broadcast media already have been muzzled” and “much of Venezuela’s independent press has disappeared” (NBC, 2/3/19, 5/16/19), or the Maduro “regime” controlling “almost all the television and radio stations” (Bloomberg, 1/29/19).

However, the Time journalist’s nightmarish narrative of Orwellian state censorship flies in the face of basic empirical facts that are readily apparent to anyone who has spent any time in Venezuela. While Nugent claims that, for Venezuelans, “finding out what’s going on around them has become a struggle,” it’s in fact quite common to witness informed political debates in bars, shops and public plazas. The idea Nugent tries to sell that it takes some photogenic gimmick of someone standing on a bus with a cardboard “television” to inform the public is ridiculous.

Television

“Most television is state-run, and authorities ban the few independent TV and radio stations from covering Venezuela’s crisis as it unfolds,” Nugent assures readers. It is unclear whether Nugent has ever watched television in Venezuela, because few statements could be farther from the truth. In fact, Venezuela has three major private television stations (Venevision, Televen and Globovisión), each with millions of viewers.

As of 2013, when the last audience study was conducted by AGB Nielsen, billionaire media mogul Gustavo Cisneros’ Venevision dominated the national news market, with 36 percent of the total viewing public. Venevision was followed by state-run VTV, at 25 percent, with Televen and Globovision coming in third and fourth at 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively. While no new studies have been conducted since, evidence suggests private media’s dominance has strengthened, not weakened, over the last six years.

First, while coming in way behind Venevision and Televen in terms of overall ratings, for years VTV undoubtedly had its news viewership buoyed by the charismatic presence of the late President Hugo Chávez, who even had his own highly popular weekly talkshow, Aló Presidente, on the network. It’s a reasonable bet that VTV’s news ratings have taken a significant dip in the six years since Chávez’s death, with the gradual onset of a deep economic and political crisis that has sapped vital resources and political morale from the state channel.

Secondly, data from Venezuela’s telecommunications watchdog, CONATEL, shows a steady increase in private television subscribers, which rose from 17 percent in 2000 to a peak of 68 percent in 2015. As of last year, over 60 percent of Venezuelan households paid for a private cable or satellite subscription.

Subscriptions are highly affordable, with top satellite provider Direct TV offering packages beginning at the equivalent of just 70 cents per month on the parallel market rate, or about the price of a cold beer.

In the case of Direct TV, which controls 44 percent of the paid subscription market, plans include a host of international news channels, including Fox News, CNN, BBC and Univisión—none of which could be mistaken for pro-Chavista mouthpieces.

Contrary to Nugent’s story of a state-run media monopoly, the available data suggests that under Chavismo, Venezuelans have progressively expanded their access to private international news channels, most of which display a decidedly right-wing, anti-government slant in their coverage.

Even aside from US-based networks like Fox and CNN, Venezuela’s private TV news spectrum is dominated by pro-opposition perspectives. The only exception is Globovisión, which a 2015 American University study found to have “no significant bias in favor of the government or the opposition”—contrary to claims by the New York Times (2/21/19) that the private network “changed its editorial line to support Mr. Maduro” following its ownership change.

Despite opposition allegations that Venevision has likewise become a “pro-regime” outlet, the channel frequently interviews leaders of opposition parties; for example, it recently ran a sympathetic, 12-minute interview (5/2/19) with Sergio Vergara G., leader in the National Assembly of Guaidó’s ultra-militant right-wing Popular Will party. Needless to say, spotlighting the views of a party actively engaged in trying to overthrow the government is not a hallmark of “state-run” television.

Nugent’s claim is also false with regards to radio, with numerous opposition-aligned stations filling the airwaves, including most notably Radio Caracas Radio, while Union Radio is popular nationwide for its independent, even-handed coverage.

Print media

Nugent matter-of-factly talks about newspapers and magazines having “all but disappeared,” as if amidst a severe economic downturn, Venezuela was expected to buck the worldwide trend of declining print media.

Nonetheless, Venezuela does still have a number of national circulation papers, which Nugent could confirm with a visit to any Venezuelan newspaper kiosk. Moreover, as in other countries, newspapers that no longer circulate in print have continued their operations on digital platforms and social media.

Today, Venezuela has five nationwide dailies still in print, the majority of which are anti-government. While Últimas Noticias and of course state-run Correo del Orinoco take a pro-government line, any cursory glance at El Universal, Diario 2001 and La Voz will find them all to be staunchly anti-Chavista.

El Universal has a weekday circulation of 35,000, which relative to population is comparable to the Washington Post.  Considered the voice of the so-called “moderate” opposition, the paper has been grossly misrepresented by the New York Times’ Nick Casey (1/16/16), among others, as “toe[ing] a largely pro-government line.”

On February 17, the newspaper published an op-ed by one of its frequent contributors, Datanalisis pollster Luis Vicente León, who nonchalantly weighs the pros and cons of a military coup, a negotiated transition “pressured” by criminal US sanctions and military threats, and an outright invasion. Leon regards that last scenario favorably, so long as it takes the form of a “Panama-style intervention” that topples Maduro “without greater consequences” (translation: collateral damage limited to poor brown people, as in El Chorrillo).

More recently in the same paper, columnist Pedro Piñate (4/4/19) argues that Venezuela needs to be rid of “Castro-communist” ideas, Francisco Olivares (4/27/19) claims Maduro’s ouster is “vital for the Western democratic world,” while Antonio Herrera (4/25/19) sounds alarm bells about the presence of “Cubans, Russians, Iranians, Middle Eastern terrorists and guerrillas from Colombia.”

Not only do Venezuela’s anti-government newspapers exercise unfettered freedom to publish, including opinion articles explicitly calling for military coups, they have a long history of publishing explicitly racist cartoons caricaturing Chavez and other Chavista leaders that would scandalize liberals in any Western country.

Social media

Nugent’s allegations of draconian government censorship extend to the digital realm as well, as she writes:

Venezuela’s Internet freedom has been weakening for several years, with the country finally dropping from “partly free” to “not free” in annual reports by global democracy monitor Freedom House in 2017.

The Time reporter fails to disclose that Freedom House is almost entirely funded by the US government, which is currently spearheading a coup d’etat in Venezuela. Bracketing that minor detail, it must be asked, is the internet really any less free in Venezuela than in the Global North?

It is true that Venezuela’s state phone and internet provider, CANTV, does block some Venezuelan anti-government news sites, including El Nacional, La Patilla and El Universal, which can only be accessed via VPN, cable or cellular data.

While such a policy is indefensible and perhaps self-defeating, it must be placed in context. Would any Western government tolerate news outlets that openly serve as mouthpieces for a violent, foreign-backed opposition that is currently in the middle of its sixth major coup attempt (the 2002 Carmona coup, the 2002–o3 oil lockout, the 2013 post-election opposition violence, the 2014 and 2017 street blockades having failed) in the past 20 years?

Given the lengths the US and UK are going to prosecute Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks, without any of them posing a real national security threat, the short answer is “no.”

Although Venezuela is hardly immune from state censorship, it is a gross distortion to claim the country is “now subject to frequent information blackouts.” In addition to having a decisive, if not dominant, presence in television and print media, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition exerts considerable influence in social media, which has even allowed it to circulate fake news among the public. While Nugent disingenuously writes that “it’s not clear who is behind the false stories,” it is very obvious who stands to gain from baseless rumors of “the military conscripting minors” or “Russian troops arriving in Venezuela.”

Furthermore, an extensive independent investigation revealed the rampant use of “automation, coordinated inauthentic behavior and cyborgs” to position anti-government hashtags on Twitter, with some accounts tweeting hundreds of thousands of times per day and generating billions of daily impressions. The Venezuelan opposition has consistently looked to fire up social media ahead of potential flashpoints, while, on the other hand, official or pro-government accounts have routinely been shut down by Western social media giants, including seven Venezuelan government accounts being suspended by Twitter just recently.

A recent example of Washington and its opposition clients’ capacity to shape the corporate media narrative via social media is the February 23 “humanitarian aid showdown” on the Venezuelan/Colombian border (FAIR.org, 2/9/19). Following a controversial incident involving a USAID truck catching fire, top US officials and opposition leaders immediately took to Twitter to blame the Maduro government. The claim was repeated by corporate outlets, despite the existence of readily available evidence, which the New York Times only reported two weeks later, proving a Molotov cocktail–wielding opposition militant set fire to the truck. The Times’ (largely ignored) retraction notwithstanding, February 23 was a clear cut case of US/opposition social media dominance allowing a false narrative to be put in place unquestioned.

Press freedom via coup d’etat?

The narrative of a Venezuelan government crackdown on press freedom is by no means a recent invention, harkening back to the Chavez government’s 2007 decision not to renew RCTV’s (Radio Caracas Televisión) broadcasting concession. RCTV had played a crucial role in the 2002 coup, when the opposition removed Chávez from power for 47 hours—unleashing a wave of terror—and later in the 2002–03 oil lockout. RCTV was merely removed from the public spectrum, and continued broadcasting via cable and satellite.

Nevertheless, the episode opened the way for a fresh wave of anti-government protests, led by a new generation of middle-class right-wing student leaders, funded and trained by Washington. Among the new opposition cohort was George Washington University–educated Juan Guaidó, himself a veteran of the violent 2014 opposition street protests known as “the Exit,” which left 43 people dead.
The myth of a sustained assault on media freedom in Venezuela forms the ideological touchstone of Venezuela’s anti-Chavista opposition, for whom “freedom of expression” stands for unfettered private control over mass media. Given their own privileged position in a global media sphere monopolized by a tiny handful of conglomerates, corporate journalists like Nugent instinctively defend this viewpoint to absurd degrees.

The Time correspondent writes, “Venezuelan authorities regularly detain journalists, claiming that they have entered the country illegally or breached ‘security zones.” There are currently over 50 foreign news agencies with correspondents on the ground in Venezuela, where they need to get a special visa to report. As in the US, one cannot sneak around restricted security areas near Miraflores Presidential Palace in the middle of the night without proper identification and accreditation. The outrage over Venezuelan government efforts to regulate media amidst a foreign-backed coup effort is grossly hypocritical, given Western journalists’ failure to speak out against their own governments’ crackdown on whistleblowers.

FAIR (4/30/19) has previously reported that zero percent of elite US newspaper and talkshow pundits challenged the idea of regime change in Venezuela.  More than a considered or even clear-eyed view of Venezuela’s media landscape, fairy tales like Nugent’s about totalitarian state censorship in Venezuela reflect US corporate media regime’s own self-censorship, which is far more efficacious than any so-called “authoritarian” leader could imagine. Without deliberate constriction of the spectrum of “acceptable opinion,” after all, the Trump administration would never be able to get away with its brazenly illegal coup and an economic blockade that has already killed 40,000 Venezuelans in the past two years with total impunity. SOURCE

How Biased Western Reportage Has Harmed Venezuela.

How Biased Western Reportage Has Harmed Venezuela. [Republished]
Review of Alan MacLeod’s “Bad News From Venezuela.”
By Joe Emersberger
Truthdig | July 5, 2018

For almost 20 years, the US government has been trying to overthrow Venezuela’s government, and establishment media outlets (state, corporate and some nonprofit) throughout the Americas and Europe have been bending over backwards to help the US do it. Rare exceptions to this over the last two decades would be found in the state media in some countries that are not hostile to Venezuela, like the ALBA block. Small independent outlets like VenezuelAnalysis.com also offered alternatives. In the US and UK establishment media, you are way more likely to see a defense of Saudi Arabia’s dictatorship than of Venezuela’s democratically elected government. Any defense of Venezuela’s government will provoke vilification and ridicule, so both Alan MacLeod and his publisher (Routledge) deserve very high praise for producing the book  Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting. It took real political courage. (Disclosure: MacLeod is a contributor to FAIR.org, as am I.)

MacLeod’s approach was to assess 501 articles (news reports and opinion pieces) about Venezuela that appeared in the US and UK newspapers during key periods since Hugo Chávez was first elected Venezuelan president in 1998. Chávez died in March 2013, and his vice president, Nicolas Maduro, was elected president a month later. Maduro was just re-elected to a second six-year term on May 20. The periods of peak interest in Venezuela that MacLeod examined involved the first election of Chávez in 1998, the US-backed military coup that briefly ousted Chávez in April of 2002, the death of Chávez in 2013 and the violent opposition protests in 2014.

MacLeod notes that US government funding to the Venezuelan opposition spiked just before the 2002 coup, and then increased again afterwards. What would happen to a foreign government that conceded (as the US State Department’s Office of the Inspector General did regarding Venezuela) that it funded and trained groups involved with violently ousting the US government?

MacLeod shows that, in bold defiance of the facts, the US media usually treated US involvement in the coup as a conspiracy theory, on those rare occasions when US involvement was discussed at all. Only 10 percent of the articles MacLeod sampled in US media even mentioned potential US involvement in the coup. Thirty-nine percent did in UK media, but, according to MacLeod, “only the Guardian presented US involvement as a strong possibility.”

As somebody who regularly reads Venezuelan newspapers and watches its news and political programs, I thought the most powerful evidence MacLeod provided of Western media dishonesty was a chart showing how Venezuela’s media system has been depicted from 1998–2014. Of the 166 articles in MacLeod’s sample that described the state of Venezuela’s media, he classified 100 percent of them as spreading a “caged” characterization: the outlandish story that the Chávez and Maduro governments dominate the media, or have otherwise used coercion to practically silence aggressive criticism.

There is a bit of subjectivity involved in classifying articles in a sample like MacLeod’s. From my own very close reading of the US and UK’s Venezuela coverage over the years, I’m sure one could quibble that a few articles within MacLeod’s sample contradict the “caged” story; perhaps reducing the percentage to 95 percent, but that would hardly assail his conclusion. It is truly stunning that Western journalists can’t be relied on to accurately report the content of Venezuelan newspapers and TV. How hard is it to watch TV and read newspapers, and notice that the government is being constantly blasted by its opponents? No background in economics or any type of esoterica is required to do that much—simply a lack of extreme partisanship and a minimal level of honesty.

MacLeod acknowledges that the Carter Center has refuted a few big lies about the Venezuelan government, including the one about government critics being shut out of Venezuela’s media, but he also reminds us that a week after the perpetrators of the 2002 coup thanked Venezuela’s private media for their help installing a dictatorship, Jennifer McCoy (America director for the Carter Center at the time) wrote an op-ed for the New York Times (4/18/02) in which she said that the “Chávez regime” had been “threatening the country’s democratic system of checks and balances and freedom of expression of its citizens.” Venezuelan democracy deserved much better “allies.” The Carter Center may have sparkled at times compared to the rest of the US establishment, but it’s a very filthy establishment.

Drawing from the work of Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky, MacLeod provides a structural analysis of why coverage of Venezuela has been so terrible. Corporate journalists, with rare exceptions, reflexively dismiss common-sense analysis of their industry. Chomsky and Herman therefore resorted to proving various common-sense propositions, identifying “filters” that distort news coverage in ways that serve the rich and powerful. For example, it matters who pays the bills. (In other news, water is wet.) Corporate-owned, ad-dependent media will tend to serve the agenda of wealthy owners and corporate customers who provide the bulk of the ad dollars. Such media will usually hire and promote people whose worldview is compatible with the arrangement. That greatly reduces the need for heavy-handed bullying to enforce an editorial line.

Business pressures also drive media outlets to cuts costs, and therefore rely on governments and big corporate outfits as cheap and readily available sources. Losing “access” by alienating powerful sources therefore becomes expensive, even before you consider other forms of flak that powerful people can apply.

Beyond the general “filters” that Chomsky and Herman identified, MacLeod described others that are specific to Venezuela.  MacLeod pointed to
massive cuts to newsroom budgets, leading to reliance on local stringers. Local journalists recruited from highly adversarial Venezuelan opposition–aligned press, leading to a situation where Venezuelan opposition ideas and talking points have their amplitude magnified. Anti-government activists producing supposedly objective news content for Western media.
He also explained that
journalists are overwhelmingly housed in the wealthy Chacao district of Eastern Caracas…. This, combined with concerns over crime, creates a situation where journalists inordinately spend their work and leisure time in an opposition bastion. Hence, it can appear to a journalist that “everyone” has a negative opinion about the government.
I wish MacLeod had more forcefully stressed another factor explaining why Venezuela reporting is so bad: impunity. A structural analysis explains why biased coverage results even if journalists are usually honest, but being able to say anything you want about an adversary without having to worry about being refuted (and discredited) encourages dishonesty. Media bias in Venezuela’s case could more appropriately be called media corruption.

In 2015, one of MacLeod’s interviewees, the former Caracas-based journalist Girish Gupta, wrote (Reuters, 8/5/15) that 1.5 million Venezuelans had left the country since Hugo Chávez first took office in 1999, according to “Caracas-based sociologist Tomás Páez, who has published papers and books on migration.” According to UN population figures, about 320,000 had left over that period: about one fifth the number Páez estimated.

Paez is a fiercely anti-Chavista academic who signed a letter published in a Venezuelan newspaper (as a quarter-page ad) that welcomed the dictatorship that briefly replaced Chávez during the 2002 coup. Gupta’s response to my emails explaining why Páez’s figure was very far-fetched, and that he should not be presented as a neutral expert, was that he would no longer read my emails. Páez has since been cited as a neutral expert on migration by Reuters, the New York Times and Financial Times.

MacLeod notes that the Venezuelan government has become practically inaccessible as a source for corporate journalists, but the same is often true for independent journalists in Venezuela, and grassroots supporters of the government. I’ve personally tried to get some of them to meet a Caracas-based corporate journalist whose integrity I trusted, but they declined. The assumption was that even if the journalist didn’t set out to write a dishonest hit piece, the editors would make it one (or simply kill the piece)—an assumption that I can’t blame them for making.

While MacLeod could have been even harsher, his book makes a concise and well-argued case against media corruption that has succeeded in hanging the “dictatorship” label on Venezuela—and therefore allowed the country to be targeted for US-led economic strangulation, and even military threats by the Trump administration. SOURCE




Venezuela's Maduro calls 1st Round of Talks with Opposition Positive.


Uploaded by efeinternational | Published on May 20, 2019.

Good news! says President Maduro on advances through Dialogue.

Con el Mazo Dando | 18 de mayo de 2019

Translation:

The President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro, highlighted the advances that were obtained in the first rapprochement around the dialogue held in Oslo, Norway by a group of representatives of the Venezuelan opposition and delegates of the legitimate government over which he presides.

"The talks have started well to move towards agreements of peace, concord, harmony and I ask for the support of the people," he said, thanking the Kingdom of Norway for its role in facilitating this first meeting.

Via telephone communication with those attending the meeting of the youth political vanguard of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Jpsuv), the Head of State predicted that these talks will bring "good news" to the country and stressed that his biggest bet is on dialogue.

"I believe in the path of politics, of dialogue, of diplomacy, of reason, of truth," he said.

The President recalled that this Friday he had a meeting with representatives of the Contact Group of the European Union, to whom he explained the truth about Venezuela and reaffirmed his commitment to international respect and dialogue.

"It was a very fruitful meeting where I told them the truth of what is happening in the country so they do not continue to be deceived," he said. SOURCE

NOTE: The International Contact Group on Venezuela (ICG) was established at the beginning of 2019 at the European Union's initiative. Among members of the Contact Group are representatives of the UK, the EU countries of Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Sweden, and the Latin American countries of Bolivia, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ecuador. If I am not mistaken all of these countries' governments, with the exception of Bolivia and Portugal, had recognised the "self-appointed interim president" and in addition the E.U. has been participating in imposing sanctions against Venezuela. I had concluded therefore that they could play no unbiased role in any effort to assist. At the very least, I thought that this coalition should be ignored. My conviction was strengthened when I read their latest statement on Venezuela.  If I had been reading hard copy and had used a red pen to underline and write notes in the margins, it would have resembled a conflagration upon completion. I found their "advice" which, by the way, they would never take from anyone else if they were under similar circumstances, to be sticky-beaked, self-promoting, condescending, biased, injurious, interventionist and hypocritical. Obviously, I am not a diplomat. When I learned that they were going to visit Venezuela and would be meeting with President Maduro and others, I had to convince myself that that government had probably recognized in them competencies or uses which had probably escaped my justifiably over-protective eye. Reading President Maduro's recent statement above, I unwillingly accepted his satisfaction that at least they had given themselves the opportunity to witness and to hear other perspectives. It remains to be seen whether their approach will change.

I have included below the most recent statement of the International Contact Group on Venezuela which was presented in early May. Note that Bolivia is not included among those members that agreed to this declaration. Perhaps Bolivia turned away because of concerns similar to mine.

Following that statement you will find the most recent statement of another coalition of the willing - the Lima Group. It speaks for itself. Their agenda is blatant and not even diplomacy-speak could disguise it. These sharks like nothing better than a good chum party and in this statement the imperial Kool-Aid is on tap.

As always, I look forward to a good outcome for Venezuela and more than anything, I want the Venezuelan people to succeed without admitting any Trojan Horses or the usual suspects who happily exacerbate Venezuela's problems, create new ones in the process, and then show up down the line to add insult to the injury by peddling/imposing their proprietary snake oil with the long list of entrapping conditions on the label.

Venezuela: Statement from the Ministerial Meeting of the International Contact Group.

1. The International Contact Group (ICG) met on 6 and 7 May in San José, Costa Rica, at ministerial level. Concerned by the recent events in Venezuela, the ICG members renewed their commitment to a political, peaceful, democratic and Venezuelan-owned solution, through the holding of free and fair presidential elections as soon as possible.

2. The ICG reaffirms its strong rejection of the use of force against civilians and expresses its deep condolences to the families and friends of the victims. The Group urges the security forces to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life and suffering. Irregular armed groups must be disbanded. Those responsible for indiscriminate violence will be held accountable. The right to peaceful protest must be respected and demonstrations should remain non-violent. The Group firmly condemns acts of violence against journalists and underlines that media freedom must be respected.

3. The priority now is to avoid further escalation of an already extremely tense situation. For this it is imperative to reinstate democracy, rule of law and separation of powers. Current events confirm that the only sustainable way out of the current crisis is an inclusive, democratic and peaceful one, in the framework of the country’s constitution. No actions of a repressive, judicial or political nature should be taken that would make this possibility more remote.

4. The ICG firmly condemns flawed judicial processes aimed at criminalising protest and political opinions, such as the proceedings initiated against several representatives of the National Assembly. Party leaders and members need to be able to carry out their work peacefully without intimidation and reprisals. The democratically elected National Assembly, under its President Juan Guaidó, should remain in the centre of the political life in the country, its constitutional prerogatives should be respected and in accordance with its national legislation, the parliamentary immunity of its members should be fully guaranteed. In this regard, the Group also condemns the enforced disappearance of Representative Gilber Caro, whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. It holds the relevant authorities responsible for his safety and integrity.

5. Building on the work done since the Quito Ministerial Declaration, the ICG stresses that the best way forward lies in a credible negotiated political process, with the objective of bringing the country to democratic elections. This requires urgent meaningful confidence building measures, such as the release of political prisoners and changes in the respective branches of power in order to make them independent and accountable. The ICG will continue to support and facilitate efforts that can allow the country to move in this direction.

6. The ICG expresses its deep concern about the suffering of the Venezuelan people caused by increased insecurity and the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation, which has been further exacerbated by the lack of electricity and water supply in many areas of the country. In view of this, the ICG fully supports the ongoing efforts of the United Nations to establish an effective humanitarian response system and to deliver assistance to those most in need. In this regard, it also underlines the urgent need for a substantial humanitarian response that is commensurate with needs and in full compliance with the humanitarian principles and resolution 46/182 of UNGA. It is important and urgent that humanitarian organisations have unimpeded access and can effectively deliver and significantly scale up assistance swiftly, without constraints, free from any political interference.

7. The ICG commends the progress made since its last meeting in the functioning of the humanitarian response system working under the umbrella of ECCA (Equipo de coordinación de cooperacion y asistencia) and in the delivery of humanitarian support to people in need, and notes the important contribution of the ICG to these efforts.

8. However, the implementation capacity is still weak compared to the scale of need. The ICG therefore calls for further steps to facilitate the establishment of additional specialised national and international organisations –in particular INGO’s- in the country and to facilitate deployment of humanitarian operations on the ground, in accordance with commitments made by the relevant actors. To follow up on these commitments, and to step up work in support of ECCA, the ICG will set up a humanitarian working group in Caracas. The Group calls on donors to enhance contributions. The donor community should coordinate more effectively and the ICG welcomes the EU proposal to host a first meeting with this purpose.

9. While the solution to Venezuela’s crisis needs to come from Venezuelans, the international community has a duty and a responsibility to contribute to creating the conditions for peace, democracy, rule of law and human rights to prevail in Venezuela. In this respect, having reviewed its contribution so far, the ICG has decided to continue its work subject to periodical assessment of progress made. The ICG is ready to undertake a mission at political level to Caracas, to present and discuss concrete options for a peaceful and democratic solution to this crisis.

10. The International Contact Group will continue to engage with its regional and international partners towards a political, peaceful and democratic solution. It welcomes the participation of the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis -in its capacity of Chair of the CARICOM-, the Secretary General of the CARICOM and the representative from the Holy See in the outreach session of the meeting. It also welcomes and accepts the invitation extended by the Lima Group of countries to meet. It has decided to have similar exchanges with CARICOM countries and other relevant interlocutors. The group has also decided to convene again at ministerial level, in the near future, to assess developments and decide next steps.

This statement has been agreed by the following ICG members: the EU, eight of its Member States (France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) and three countries from Latin America (Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay). SOURCE


Statement of Lima Goup after Emergency Meeting in Lima, Peru - May 3, 2019.

Lima Group Declaration
May 3, 2019

"The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, faced with the beginning of the decisive phase of the process to recover democracy and put an end to the usurpation of the presidency:

1. Reaffirm their full support for the actions undertaken during the last few days by the Venezuelan people under the leadership of interim President Juan Guaidó to peacefully restore the rule of law in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in accordance with constitutional order, and encourage him to persevere in this effort.

2. Strongly condemn the repression of the illegitimate and dictatorial regime of Nicolás Maduro, which has again caused many deaths and hundreds of wounded and detainees; deplore the appointment of Gustavo González López as the Head of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), who symbolizes the systematic violation of human rights perpetrated by the regime, adding to the alleged crimes against humanity presented for consideration to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

3. Demand full respect for the life, physical integrity, and freedom of all Venezuelans, of interim President Juan Guaidó, as well as the re-establishment of the political and constitutional rights of the Vice President of the National Assembly, Edgar Zambrano, and all of its members, in addition to the immediate release of all political prisoners.

4. Call on the members of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces to comply with their constitutional mandate to serve their nation, and on the members of the Supreme Court of Justice to cease their complicit support for the illegitimate regime.

5. Agree to propose to the International Contact Group an urgent meeting of representatives of both groups to seek convergence on the common goal of achieving the return of democracy in Venezuela, and invite other members of the international community committed to that purpose to join efforts to achieve this objective.

6. Express their satisfaction with the decision to hold the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela, in Lima, in July, with the participation of all states that support democratic recovery in that country.

7. Highlight Chile’s holding of a seminar on democratic transitions in June, with the participation of Venezuelan democratic leaders.

8. Urge the international community, the United Nations system, and its Secretary-General to take unequivocal measures of protection aimed at alleviating the consequences of the humanitarian crisis suffered by Venezuelans, for which the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro is exclusively responsible.

9. Urge the international community and the United Nations system to increase cooperation with host countries to respond to the massive exodus of Venezuelans.

10. Reiterate their call to Russia, Turkey and all countries that continue to support the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro to support the process of democratic transition.

11. Agree to undertake all necessary actions in order for Cuba to participate in the search for a solution to the Venezuelan crisis.

12. Decide to cooperate with international mechanisms to fight corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, and other offences in order to combat the perpetration of these types of crimes by members of the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro, his family members and his supporters.

13. Condemn the threat posed by the protection offered by the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro to terrorist groups operating inside Colombian territory, as well as any attempt to destabilize Colombian institutions, to threaten the life and safety of President Iván Duque, or to undermine regional security.

14. Decide to remain in permanent session and to hold the next meeting in Guatemala City.

15. Encourage the Venezuelan people to persevere in their fight to recover democracy, and acknowledge the courage and patriotism of those members of the armed forces who have supported them in this decisive phase." SOURCE


Abby Martin: Manufacturing Consent for Venezuela Coup.


Uploaded by Media Roots | Published on May 20, 2019.
 
"On this week’s program, we hear a speech by Abby Martin, delivered as part of Sonoma State University Social Justice Week's activities. She explains US corporate media’s parroting of Trump Administration propaganda, as Trump works to topple Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro. She also asks why almost no Democratic Party officeholders are speaking out against the attempted coup." SOURCE

Western Conspiracy In Venezuela Ft Eva Bartlett on The Conspiracy Farm.


Published by ICIT Digital Library | May 20, 2019.

Ajamu Baraka on US Foreign Policy in Venezuela, North Korea and Iran.


Uploaded by RT America | May 17, 2019.

African/Black Internationalists March Against U.S. Intervention in Venezuela.


Uploaded by Black Alliance for Peace | May 19, 2019.

Black Alliance for Peace: Statement on Venezuela

Not satisfied with the orgy of violence successive U.S. administrations have imposed on the world over the last two decades in the Middle East and North Africa, the Trump administration—with the full support of a majority of Democrats and the liberal establishment—gave the green light to a coup action in Venezuela that promises to cause untold suffering to the Venezuelan people in the Americas.

In response to the news that a military coup was unfolding in Venezuela, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani welcomed the move as “a historic moment for the return to democracy and freedom in Venezuela.” Liberal defenders of democracy and human rights across Europe have given enthusiastic support to U.S. counterrevolutionary efforts, affirming why the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has identified the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination as the principal enemy of collective global humanity.

The real possibility of more death and destruction at the hands of the United States in Venezuela, and that significant sectors of the U.S. population supports it, reflects once again the moral hypocrisy of a society that pretends to be concerned about gun violence in the United States while giving full support to the ultimate expression of gun violence in the form of war. The hypocrisy continues with the bipartisan support for increasing the U.S. military budget by an astronomical $750 billion.

The people of the world want peace. But peace and global social cooperation to tackle and defeat the collective challenges of climate change, poverty, economic exploitation and oppression will be impossible as long as some nation-states have the ability to impose their destructive will on everyone else.

We are confident the Venezuelan people will prevail because after 20 years of dignity, of attempting to build a new society based on equality, cooperation, and empowerment of the oppressed, they will never allow themselves to be returned to the days when a rapacious oligarchy was able to deny them a democratic voice and steal the fruits of their labor and national resources.

In the spirit of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ella Baker, Claudia Jones, Malcolm X, Kwame Ture and Fannie Lou Hamer, BAP opposes the axis of domination and spreads the demand—Hands Off Venezuela!

April 20th 2019.

Media contact: info@blackallianceforpeace.com

Rev. Jesse Jackson Shows Solidarity With Venezuela.


Published by TeleSUR English | May 19, 2019.

The American People express their Solidarity to the Venezuelan People.


Uploaded by Nilda Carrero | Published on May 19, 2019.

"OUR SOLIDARITY WITH THE VENEZUELAN PEOPLE"


Uploaded by Nilda Carrero | May 19, 2019.

Embassy Protection Collective: Adrienne Pine.


Uploaded by TeleSUR English | May 19, 2019.

Venezuela & Russia negotiating swap of US $ for Ruble in bilateral Trade.

Adiós gringo? Venezuela & Russia negotiating Swap of US Dollar for Ruble in bilateral trade.
RT News | 17 May, 2019

Caracas is in talks with Moscow over the possibility of using the Russian ruble in mutual trade settlements and abandoning dollar transactions, according to Venezuela’s representative to the UN office in Geneva Jorge Valero.

The ambassador added that the countries are also discussing the use of Venezuelan state-sponsored oil-backed cryptocurrency El Petro, launched last year.

Caracas pegged the value of the petro to the price of one barrel of Venezuelan oil. The government also pegged Venezuela’s national currency, the bolivar, to El Petro last summer.

Numerous sanctions introduced against Venezuela by the US have forced the Bolivarian Republic to stop using the dollar for its international transactions. It switched to the euro last October. In addition, the country started swapping crude oil for imported products.

Venezuela is currently trying to get over one of the worst economic crises in history with hyperinflation heading for 10,000,000 percent this year, according to the forecast by the International Monetary Fund.

Valero added that Caracas counts on the Kremlin’s support in restructuring Venezuela’s foreign debt.

The diplomat stressed that the US penalties against the Venezuelan oil sector, along with freezing its dollar accounts, has had an enormous negative impact on the country’s economy. The measures deprived the Latin American nation of free access to international financial support and investments in its oil sector. SOURCE

Independent Journalist, John McEvoy on Venezuela's Grassroots Democracy.


Uploaded by Gordon Dimmack | Published on May 1, 2019.

US Sanctions against Venezuela are criminal!


Uploaded by PressTVUK Videos | Premiered 19 hours ago.
 
UK: An independent journalist John McEvoy pointed out online that British newspaper, the Guardian has published four stories about a Russian spy whale but has yet to mention the 40,000 deaths caused by US sanctions which reemphasises the point raised by the Venezuelan ambassador that the media is  hiding the truth when it comes to Venezuela. The Venezuelan  ambassador was clear, not only was there an economic blockade but a media blockade too and whilst it is up to the Venezuelan government to break the economic blockade, it is up to those on social media  and  alternative media to break  the media blockade. SOURCE
 
Venezuelan struggle is OUR struggle too.

Critical Moves: Continuous Siege Against Venezuela.


Uploaded by TeleSUR English | Published on May 14, 2019.

Critical Moves: Continuous Siege Against Venezuela (PartII)
 

Uploaded by TeleSUR English | Published on May 18, 2019.

Activists will go to the White House to protest the illegal Actions of the US


Uploaded by teleSUR tv | Published on May 18, 2019.

"American activist organizations continue to mobilize in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution and in repudiation of the administration of Donald Trump that seeks to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro. They plan to go from the outskirts of the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington D.C. towards the White House." SOURCE

Venezuela Will Protect US Embassy in Caracas.


Uploaded by TeleSUR English | Published on May 18, 2019.

Venezuelan Conflict Comes to DC in Embassy Fight.


Uploaded by i24NEWS English | Published on May 18, 2019.


Vijay Prashad: "The Plot to Kill Venezuela."

The Plot to Kill Venezuela. [Republished]

And who is caught between an economy reliant on oil revenues and a sanctions regime designed to create suffering? The people caught in the squeeze of factors beyond their control.
By Vijay Prashad
Common Dreams | Monday, May 13, 2019.

Hugo Chávez knew that Venezuela was very vulnerable. Its oil revenues account for 98 percent of its export earnings. Chávez was familiar with the thinking of Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, Venezuela’s minister of mines and hydrocarbons in the early 1960s and one of the architects of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). In 1976, Pérez Alfonzo wrote, “Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see, oil will bring us ruin.” He called Venezuela’s oil the “devil’s excrement.” If oil prices remained high, as they were when Chávez came to power in 1999, then oil revenue could be used to finance a project for the landless workers. If oil prices collapsed, then the country—laden with debt—would face severe challenges.

Venezuela’s economy had not been diversified by the oligarchy that ruled the country before Chávez took office. By 1929, it had become apparent to the oligarchy that the flood of oil revenues had damaged the agricultural sector—which shrank in the decades to come. There was neither an attempt to enhance agricultural production (and make Venezuela food sovereign) nor was there any attempt to use oil profits for a wider industrialization program. Occasionally, presidents—such as Carlos Andrés Pérez in the 1970s—would pledge to use the influx of oil revenues to diversify the economy, but when oil prices would fall—as they did periodically—Venezuela went into punishing debt.

It would have taken Chávez a generation to pivot the economy away from its reliance upon oil revenues. But Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution simply did not have the time. In the 2000s, when oil prices remained high, the revenues were used to enhance the social lives of the landless workers, most of whom suffered high rates of malnutrition and illiteracy. Gripped by the need to deal with the social blight amongst the landless workers, Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution simply did not have the capacity to tackle reliance upon imports of food and of most consumer goods.

In 2009, a U.S. State Department cable from Caracas noted that the decline in oil prices had placed the Venezuelan government in great peril. The government’s oil company—PDVSA—had provided the revenues to fund the social missions, the programs to lift the low standard of social life for the landless workers. “Unless oil prices rise significantly,” wrote John Caulfield from Caracas, “we are increasingly certain that the game will be up, from an economic standpoint, by early to mid 2010, as no one will be willing to continue to finance PDVSA and a vicious cycle will be inevitable.” The June 2008 price was $163.52; by January 2009, it had collapsed to $50.43. Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution was in peril.


Sanctions

The United States government and the Venezuelan oligarchy first tried to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution in 2002. Great hope in Chávez prevented a discredited oligarchy from victory. Oil revenues then allowed Chávez to build up pillars of support for the revolution. But the depletion of the oil prices from 2009 threatened the Bolivarian process. Chávez died in 2013. The combination of low oil prices and the death of Chávez changed the political calculations.

Egged on by the United States, opposition leaders Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado called for demonstrations against the newly elected president Nicolás Maduro in 2014. It was clear that the protests were intended as a provocation, drawing a crackdown from the government forces, which allowed U.S. President Barack Obama to sign the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014. This act allowed Obama to sanction individuals in the Venezuelan government. It was extended in 2016 and will expire—unless extended again—at the end of 2019. The sanctions policy was to be the new lever to pressure a vulnerable Venezuela.

In March 2015, Obama declared Venezuela a “threat” to U.S. “national security,” an extreme step, and sanctioned a handful of Venezuelan government officials. The administration of Donald Trump only sharpened and deepened the policy. Obama sanctioned seven individuals, while Trump has—thus far—sanctioned 75 individuals. Obama forged the spear; Trump has thrown it at the heart of Venezuela.


Sanctioned Economy

These early sanctions went after individuals, offering an inconvenience for some Venezuelan politicians and for sections of the state. The U.S. government would soon move the sanctions from individual inconvenience to social collapse. Trump’s policy, from 2017, was to hit Venezuela’s petroleum industry very hard. The U.S. government prevented Venezuelan government bonds from trading in U.S. financial markets, and then it prevented the state’s energy company—PDVSA—from receiving payments for its export of petroleum products. The U.S. Treasury Department froze $7 billion in PDVSA assets, and it did not allow U.S. firms to export naphtha into Venezuela (a crucial input for the extraction of heavy crude oil).

The country relied on oil revenues to import food and medicines. The theft of the $7 billion in PDVSA assets, the seizure of the $1.2 billion in Venezuelan gold in the Bank of England, the transfer of ownership of the PDVSA subsidiary CITGO in the United States to the opposition and the pressure on oil exports squeezed Venezuela very hard. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton estimated that the United States (and Canadian) sanctions had cost Venezuela about $11 billion.

When the United States began to put pressure on transportation firms to stop carrying Venezuelan oil, the schemes to export oil to the Caribbean (PetroCaribe) suffered, as did the fraternal delivery of oil to Cuba. This policy inflamed the situation in Haiti—which is in a long-term political crisis—and it has deepened the crisis in Cuba—which has now had to enforce rationing. The countries in the Caribbean, which relied upon Venezuelan oil, are now suffering deeply.


Impact of the Sanctions

Economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs calculate that the U.S. sanctions have resulted in the death of 40,000 Venezuelan civilians between 2017 and 2018. In their report—“Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela” (April 2019)—they point out that this death toll is merely the start of what is to come. An additional 300,000 Venezuelans are at risk “because of lack of access to medicines or treatment,” including 80,000 “with HIV who have not had antiretroviral treatment since 2017.” There are 4 million people with diabetes and hypertension, most of whom cannot access insulin or cardiovascular medicine. “These numbers,” they write, “by themselves virtually guarantee that the current sanctions, which are much more severe than those implemented before this year, are a death sentence for tens of thousands of Venezuelans.” If oil revenues drop by 67 percent in 2019—as has been projected—the death of tens of thousands of Venezuelans is guaranteed.

Venezuela has imported food goods worth only $2.46 billion in 2018 compared to $11.2 billion in 2013. If food imports remain low and Venezuela is unable to hastily grow enough food, then—as Weisbrot and Sachs argue—the situation will contribute to “malnutrition and stunting in children.”

In 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights—Michelle Bachelet—made the case that the cause of the deterioration of well-being in Venezuela predates the sanctions (a report from Human Rights Watch and Johns Hopkins University underlined this point). It is certainly true that the fall of oil prices had a marked impact on Venezuela’s external revenues and the reliance upon food imports—a century-old problem—had marked the country before Trump’s very harsh sanctions.

But, the next year, Bachelet told the UN Security Council that “although this pervasive and devastating economic and social crisis began before the imposition of the first economic sanctions in 2017, I am concerned that the recent sanctions on financial transfers related to the sale of Venezuelan oil within the United States may contribute to aggravating the economic crisis, with possible repercussions on people’s basic rights and wellbeing.” A debate over whether it is mismanagement and corruption by the Maduro government or the sanctions that are the author of the crisis is largely irrelevant. The point is that a combination of the reliance on oil revenues and the sanctions policy has crushed the policy space for any stability in the country.


Illegal Sanctions

Weisbrot and Sachs say that these sanctions “would fit the definition of collective punishment,” as laid out in the Hague Convention (1899) and in the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949). The United States is a signatory of both of these frameworks. “Collective penalties,” says the Fourth Geneva Convention, “are prohibited.” Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are dead. Tens of thousands more are under threat of death. Yet, no one has stood up against the grave breach of the convention in terms of collective punishment. There is not a whiff of interest in the UN Secretary General’s office to open a tribunal on the accusations of collective punishment against Venezuela. Allegations of this seriousness are brushed under the rug. SOURCE

The Latest on Iran, Venezuela, and China: What’s Next?


Uploaded by The Big Picture RT | Published on May 17, 2019.

Activists charged with ‘interfering’ in US raid on Venezuelan embassy.

Anti-coup activists charged with ‘interfering’ in US raid on Venezuelan embassy.
RT News | Published time: 17 May, 2019 23:08

Four protesters arrested inside the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC have been released pending hearing – but could face up to a year in jail for trying to prevent a takeover of the building by the US-backed opposition.

Members of the Embassy Protection Collective have been released on various conditions after their arrest Thursday afternoon by heavily armed US police. The misdemeanor charge of “interfering with a federal law enforcement agent engaged in protective functions” carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, even though the activists and the Venezuelan government alike insist the US police had no right to enter the building.

WATCH members of the Embassy Protection Collective speak following their release from jail: https://t.co/rDJ59CsoLn
— Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) May 17, 2019

The protesters are “looking forward to the trial,” Kevin Zeese told journalist Anya Parampil after his release, adding that they planned to “make the case that there is a legitimate government, that the Vienna convention was violated, that this was an inappropriate and unlawful arrest.”

Margaret Ann Flowers, Adrienne Pine, and David Vernon Paul were also released. They are due back in court on June 12.

The judge ordered the protesters to steer clear of 10 locations now controlled by representatives of the Venezuelan opposition and check in weekly with authorities as a condition of their release. While the US government asked for their passports to be confiscated, that request was denied, though they must notify authorities if they plan to travel abroad.

The collective had been living in the building for over a month with permission of the Venezuelan foreign ministry, hoping to prevent it from falling into the hands of US-backed “interim president” Juan Guaido, whose operatives have taken possession of other Venezuelan diplomatic buildings after diplomats loyal to President Nicolas Maduro were forced to leave the country.

US authorities had also shut off power and water to the embassy and tried to block food deliveries to the protesters living inside, in a pale echo of the blackouts and sanction-imposed scarcity Washington has inflicted on actual Venezuelans in its ongoing campaign to force regime change in Caracas.

Venezuelan Vice Minister for North American Relations Carlos Ron condemned the raid, calling it an “unlawful breach of the Vienna Convention” and confirming the Venezuelan government did not authorize any US authorities to enter the building, which under international law is considered Venezuelan diplomatic property. SOURCE

UK: Venezuela’s UK Ambassador holds Press Conference in London


Uploaded by Ruptly | Published on May 17, 2019.

Jorge Arreaza's Message To The US: This Is The Moment For Diplomacy.



The entire special interview [in Spanish] with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Areeaza, follows. The clip above begins at position 10:05 in the video below.


Uploaded by teleSUR tv | Published on May 17, 2019.

Telesur English | 17 May, 2019.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza hailed Norway's mediation efforts and stressed that "knowing how to listen, agree and comply is required."

During an exclusive interview with teleSUR, Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza addressed some of the the highlights of the current political, economic and diplomatic situation his country is going through.

With regard to the "exploratory phase" of dialogue taking place in Norway between representatives of the President Nicolas Maduro administration and delegates of the opposition Juan Guaido, Arreaza recalled that his government has always insisted that dialogue is a "must" and much more when Venezuela is under attack.

Representatives from the International Contact Group for Venezuela, which includes several Latin American and European countries have made five visits to the country in the last three months, informed Arreaza. The vice-ministers of foreign affairs from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden and Uruguay who all belong to the group made a special visit to Venezuela Thursday and met with Maduro where they were asked to understand the Bolivarian Revolution without outside biases.

Importante reunión con el Grupo Internacional de Contacto que visita Venezuela. Les expresé mi disposición de resolver las diferencias internas por la vía del diálogo y conversamos sobre las agresiones económicas del imperio de los EE.UU. en contra de nuestro Pueblo. pic.twitter.com/Z4zJQGJDXK
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) May 17, 2019

Important meeting with the International Contact Group visiting Venezuela. I expressed my willingness to resolve internal differences through dialogue and we talked about the economic aggressions of the US empire against our People.

It is important to "understand the Venezuelan reality by taking into account the historical struggle for the control of oil resources, which happens between, on the one hand, a local bourgeoisie wanting to appropriate oil revenues for its own benefit and, on the other hand, a government seeking to distribute oil wealth through housing, health and education for its people," emphasized the Venezuelan diplomat during the interview.

#FromTheSouth News Bits | Mara Verhayden-Hilliard, the attorney representing the Embassy Protection Activists who were arrested by #UnitedStates federal police, has said the invasion of the Venezuelan embassy in #WashingtonDC is an outrageous violation of the Vienna convention. pic.twitter.com/9nze1f1rUC
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) 17 de mayo de 2019

Minister Arreaza did not provide details about the dialogue's exploratory phase, however, he thanked Norway for its willingness to contribute to peace.

"We are very grateful to the kingdom of Norway for its efforts to bring parties together. ... Dialogue in democracy is always good news. ... There is a historical conflict that must be managed in peace (and) knowing how to listen, agree and comply is requiered."

Regarding the Lima Group meeting, which was scheduled for this week but suspended, the foreign minister said that such suspension reflects a change in the group's strategy, which was "surprised" by the recently publicized talks in Norway.

"It is the anti-dialogue group. ... It's a group of right-wing Latin American governments that reflect U.S. policy. ... However, Venezuela is willing to work with these governments," stressed the Venezuelan minister who explained that although the Lima Group rejected a military intervention in Venezuela, it has fostered political conditions that make the U.S. believe that such an intervention is feasible.

We will be gathering at the Venezuelan Embassy at noon and then marching to the White House to demand us hands off Venezuela, drop the charges against the embassy protectors and no war on Iran. Join us? https://t.co/ms6xafeYN9
— Phil Wilayto (@PhilWilayto1) 17 de mayo de 2019

Speaking about ​​recent foreign-driven actions against Venezuela, Arreaza highlighted the unfortunate events that took place at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington D.C. Thursday and thanked U.S. peace activists who defended that building for over a month.

On May 16, United States local and national security forces invaded Venezuela's sovereign embassy in D.C. to arrest the remaining Protection Collective members inside the building trying to keep it in the hands of the democratically elected Maduro adminstration.

"First of all a recognition to the activists who protected the embassy. ... Their moral strength and integrity were greater than all the police forces trying to evict them through the back door," said Arreaza and commented that "it was a sad spectacle and a violation of the Vienna Convention."

This multilateral agreement, he recalled, obliges any country to respect and protect other countries' embassy even when there is a rupture of diplomatic relations or armed conflicts.

"We do respect international law. ... The U.S. sits on the United Nations Security Council but threatens other countries with war," he said and pointed out that "the time for diplomacy is now, I hope they understand... all their strategies against Venezuela have failed. ... (Trumps') advisers have committed one awkward event after another," referring to the failed 'humanitarian aid' in February, massive electrical sabotages on Venezuela in March, and May's coup attempt against Maduro.

#LIVE | President @NicolasMaduro: "We call to respect the human rights of @codepink activists that defended our embassy after we broke diplomatic relations with the Trump government" pic.twitter.com/FqFLOwNM9V
— Global Analytica (@AnalyticaGlobal) 16 de mayo de 2019

Minister Arreaza indicated that similar actions against the U.S. embassy in Caracas could be undertaken, if his country followed the 'Principle of Reciprocity' tradition. However, Venezuela will not do so because the Bolivarian government does respect international law.

With respect to what could happen to the Venezuelan building in D.C., he said that it would be absurd for the Venezuelan opposition to occupy the Bolivarian embassy and perform administrative tasks from there.

"If any Venezuelan went to the embassy, ​​he could not process a visa, apostille a document or perform similar actions. It would be absurd."

Arreaza stressed again that the "brazen" disrespect for international law that took place at the Venezuelan embassy has become "a great triumph" for both his country and peace activists who demonstrated "seeds of change" that will benefit sooner than later the world and the United States.

As a message to all Venezuelans without distinction of political positions, Minister Arreaza said that violence will not be the means to solve domestic disputes.

"We have a Constitution which cost a lot and we must protect it. Venezuela needs a peaceful and democratic road. Within that, there is no intervention," he recalled and added that "we all have to reject war and blockades, and bet on dialogue, democracy and peace. ... Problems will not be solved with aggression, insult and violence," said the diplomat. SOURCE