All posts filed under: Latin America

Thinking about Venezuela

by Philip Roddis, from Steel City Scribblings One reason Maduro is despised by the opposition is he refuses to follow the neoliberal economic prescription of austerity, privatization, deregulation, etc. Such refusal makes Venezuela almost unique in Latin America now. As Brazilian professor Dawisson Belem Lopes has written, “Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru have proud neoliberals serving as presidents these days,” even though the “neoliberal experience of the 1990s was disastrous for Latin Americans.”CounterPunch, August 11, 2017 “We’re all over the world and have troops all over the world”, said Trump. “Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and dying. We have many options for Venezuela including a possible military option if necessary.” Guardian, August 12, 2017 It never happened. Nothing happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. The crimes of the United States have been systematic but few have talked about them. America has exercised a clinical manipulation of power while masquerading as force for universal good. It’s a brilliant act of hypnosis, language employed to keep …

Abby Martin Meets the Venezuelan Opposition

Empire Files, July 30, 2017 Abby Martin goes on the deadly front lines of the anti government protests in Venezuela and follows the evolution of a typical guarimba—or opposition barricade. She explains what the targets from the opposition reveal about the nature of the movement and breaks down the reality of the death toll that has rocked the nation since the unrest began, and how a lynch mob campaign came after her and the Empire Files team for reporting these facts. Hearing from peaceful opposition marchers, to Chavistas to violent protesters at the guarimbas, this must-watch episode exposes the dark reality on-the-ground that is completely obscured from Western media.

Venezuela elections: resurgent chavismo and “unrecognised” democracy

After weeks of imperialist threats and opposition violence, the elections for the Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Venezuela took place on July 30th. The result was a massive turnout of over 8 million voters, around 41% of the electorate, which gave chavismo a much-needed shot in the arm. The western media reacted by trying to dispute the number and sticking even closer to the narrative being pushed by the opposition and the US State Department. With the opposition scrambling and US authorities bringing more sanctions and threats, it is now chavismo that has the political initiative. The Constituent Assembly will not solve everything by itself, but it is a tremendous opportunity to push the Bolivarian Revolution forward.

The Guardian’s propaganda on Venezuela: all you need to know

With the Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented.

Venezuelan opposition “consultation”: playing alone and losing

by Ricardo Vaz from InvestigAction.net Sunday, July 16, was a significant day in Venezuela’s political history. The right-wing opposition MUD, backed by the United States, threw all its weight behind a “consultation” that they hoped would show that their (coup) attempts had a formidable public backing and trigger the “zero hour” of a new phase that would lead to the removal of the Bolivarian government. In the end the stunt backfired, leaving the opposition more or less stranded. The real surprise was the show of force from chavismo, which went out on the streets to rebuke the opposition’s stunt and take part in a dry-run for the July 30 Constituent Assembly elections. The opposition “plebiscite”, or “referendum”, which in reality was nothing more than a non-binding “consultation” without any legal status, was predicted as a major political earthquake that would instantly change the country’s landscape. Maria Corina Machado, one of the most extreme opposition leaders, likened it to the destruction of the Berlin wall, Mandela being elected or the toppling of Saddam Hussein (no subtlety …

US Policymakers Openly Plot Against Venezuela

by Tony Cartalucci, via Land Destroyer Report The US media has been paying increasing attention to the unfolding crisis in the South American nation of Venezuela. As the US media has done elsewhere, it is attempting to portray the unfolding crisis as a result of a corrupt dictatorship fighting against a “pro-democracy” opposition. In reality, it is simply a repeat of US-driven regime change aimed at toppling Venezuela’s independent state institutions and replacing them with institutions created by and for US special interests. The “opposition” is comprised of US-backed political parties and US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) many of which are listed on the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website. The UK Independent in a 2016 article titled, “Venezuela accuses US of plotting coup as Washington warns of ‘imminent collapse’,” would even admit: …observers of the region point out that the US has a long history of seeking to interfere in the politics of Venezuela, as well as elsewhere in Latin America. In addition to supporting those who ousted Mr Chavez …

The Guardian Takes Aim at Venezuela’s Democracy

by Joe Emersberger from TeleSUR The British newspaper recently published an editorial saying that President Nicolas Maduro’s government must be threatened with “pariah status.” From 2006 to 2012, The Guardian’s output on Venezuela was dominated by its Caracas-based reporter, Rory Carroll, who tirelessly demonized, ridiculed and lied about the government of former president Hugo Chavez as it made rapid progress on reducing poverty. The Guardian recently published an editorial saying that President Nicolas Maduro’s government must be threatened with “pariah status” by the “international community“ if it does not hold presidential elections by the end of 2018. This comes from a newspaper that continually attempts to rehabilitate former British prime minister Tony Blair, a man who played a key role in launching a war of aggression that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. But no pariah status for him. The imperial hypocrisy on display is stunning. The Guardian editors cited the New York Times editorial board to back up their stance on Venezuela. In 2002, the New York Times editorial applauded a U.S.-backed military coup …

Chile: Anger After Pinochet-Era Human Rights Violators Ask For Pardon

by Tihomir Gligorevic for InSerbia Anger has been stoked in Chile after ten people convicted of grave human rights abuses during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) asked for ‘pardon’ through an ecumenical act at the prison in which they are being held. The group of men, held at the military prison of Punta Peuco on the northern edge of Santiago, said their pleas for forgiveness are out of the goodness (and guilt) of their hearts. The family members of victims, however, suspect that the actions of the prisoners are simply maneuvers for special benefits in prison with an eye on eventual parole, complete pardons and releases. They point out that the action for forgiveness was only planned after several prominent convicted human rights abusers saw their pleas for release on grounds of old age or poor health denied. Among those that participated in the ‘pardon’ gesture include Raúl Iturriaga Neumann, the former second-in-command of the dictatorship-era secret police known as the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA). The notorious organization is thought to have ordered at least …

“Militarized neoliberalism” and the Canadian state in Latin America

by Jen Moore, via The Monitor Stories of bloody, degrading violence associated with Canadian mining operations abroad sporadically land on Canadian news pages. HudBay Minerals, Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, Nevsun and Tahoe Resources are some of the bigger corporate names associated with this activity. Sometimes our attention is held for a moment, sometimes at a stretch. It usually depends on what solidarity networks and under-resourced support groups can sustain in their attempts to raise the issues and amplify the voices of those affected by one of Canada’s most globalized industries. But even they only tell us part of the story, as Todd Gordon and Jeffery Webber make painfully clear in their new book, The Blood of Extraction: Canadian Imperialism in Latin America (Fernwood Publishing, November 2016). Rather than a series of isolated incidents carried out by a few bad apples,” they write, “the extraordinary violence and social injustice accompanying the activities of Canadian capital in Latin America are systemic features of Canadian imperialism in the twenty-first century.” While not completely focused on mining, The Blood of …

Monsanto, the Pentagon’s Soldier and the Colombian “Peace Process”

by Elena Sharoykina, from Global Research In a nationwide referendum on the 2nd October 2016 Colombian voters rejected the government’s peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the biggest extreme-left guerrilla movement (FARC-EP, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo, FARC). Negotiations, preceding the sign of the deal, took four years and were seen as a hope to end a half-a-century civil war, that took more than 250 thousands of human lives. The negative results of the referendum with a narrow margin of 0.5 % were completely unexpected and hit the position of the president – a peacemaker Juan Manuel Santos Calderón. In the course of the last few years he invested all his political capital in negotiations with rebels, despite the lukewarm attitude of the White House towards this peace agreement. For decades Colombia has been some kind of battlefield where the USA try to restrain anti-US tendencies in South America. Washington has been fighting the ideas of neo-marxism, guevarism and Liberation theology, which inspire FARC rebels, as well as …

Washington Tries to Break BRICS – Rape of Brazil Begins

by F. William Engdahl, from New Eastern Outlook Washington’s regime change machinery has for the time being succeeded in removing an important link in the alliance of large emerging nations by railroading through a Senate impeachment of the duly elected President, Dilma Rousseff. On August 31 her Vice President Michel Temer was sworn in as President. In his first speech as president, the cynical Temer called for a government of “national salvation,” asking for the trust of the Brazilian people. He indicated plans to reform, and has also signaled his intention to overhaul the pension system and labor laws, and cut public spending, all themes beloved of Wall Street banks, of the International Monetary Fund and their Washington Consensus. Now after less than three weeks at the job, Temer has unveiled plans for wholesale privatization of Brazil’s crown jewels, starting with oil. The planned Wall Street rape of Brazil is about to begin. It’s important to keep in mind that elected President Rousseff was not convicted or even formally charged with any concrete act of …

Behind the Bolivia Miner Cooperatives Protests and the killing of the Bolivian Vice-Minister

by Stansfield Smith The Bolivian cooperatives protests and their August 25 killing of the Bolivian Vice Minister of the Interior Rodolfo Illanes requires us to question our assumptions about cooperatives. What are the Bolivian mining cooperatives? Most began during the Great Depression as miners banded together to work a mine in common. However, like many cooperatives in the US that arose out of the 1960s, they have turned into small businesses. Regardless of their initial intentions, cooperatives existing in a surrounding capitalist environment must compete in business practices or go under. The Bolivian mining cooperatives themselves underwent this process, and have become businesses whose owners hire labor. Roughly 95% of the cooperative miners are workers, and 5% are owners. It is common for the employed workers to be temps, or contracted out employees as we refer to them here. They have no social security, no job security, no health or retirement benefits. The mining cooperatives made ten demands on the government, and during the second week of August, they announced an indefinite strike if the …

Washington’s ‘New Managers’ in Latin America: Oligarchs, Bankers and Swindlers

by James Petras, via 99GetSmart Introduction: Amid raging corruption, social pathologies and outright political thuggery, a new gang of vassal regimes has taken-over Latin America. The new rulers are strictly recruited as the protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions. Hence the financial press refers to them as the “new managers” – of Wall Street. The US financial media has once again provided a political cover for the vilest crimes committed by the ‘new managers’ as they launch their offensive against labor and in favor of the foreign and domestic financiers. To understand the dynamics of the empire’s new vassal managers, we will proceed by identifying (1) the illicit power grab (2) the neoliberal policies they have pursued (3) the impact of their program on the class structure (4) their economic performance and future socio-political perspectives. Vassals as Managers of Empire Latin America’s current vassalage elite is of longer and shorter duration. The regimes of longer duration with a historical legacy of submission, corruption and criminality include Mexico and Colombia where oligarchs, government officials and …

The Most Viable and Bloodless Option

by Peter Koenig, via DDP What happens when the accuser of terrorism are themselves the terrorists? – Namely the supra-national corporations and financial oligarchs acting in their own profit-driven interest, but under the direction of Washington and the protection of the US – NATO killer armies? Fear and confusion happens. Fear is the weapon of choice of the real terrorists, those who make us believe they are spreading and defending democracy. With fear they are subjugating the world to lick their feet – and worse. – But the people are waking up. All over the world. The linear Anglo-Zionist plans, like the PNAC – Plan for a New American Century – are imploding and their rubbles are becoming a dynamic, unpredictable mass-movement against this neoliberal, globalized One-World or New World Order tyranny. Protesters – in the tens of millions – are in the streets all over the so-called Western World, the western population, oppressed and enslaved by their own elite, the descendants of the past and present odiously nefarious colonialists. Latin America In Brazilian cities …

World War III Has Begun

by Paul Craig Roberts The Third World War is currently being fought. How long before it moves into its hot stage? Washington is currently conducting economic and propaganda warfare against four members of the five bloc group of countries known as BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Brazil and South Africa are being destabilized with fabricated political scandals. Both countries are rife with Washington-financed politicians and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Washington concocts a scandal, sends its political agents into action demanding action against the government and its NGOs into the streets in protests. Washington tried this against China with the orchestrated Hong Kong “student protest.” Washington hoped that the protest would spread into China, but the scheme failed. Washington tried this against Russia with the orchestrated protests against Putin’s reelection and failed again. To destablilze Russia, Washington needs a firmer hold inside Russia. In order to gain a firmer hold, Washington worked with the New York mega-banks and the Saudis to drive down the oil price from over $100 per barrel to $30. This has …

Propaganda as “News”: Ecuador Sells out Indigenous and the Environment to China

by Stansfield Smith The end of January a news article appeared, “Ecuador To Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies,” and has resurfaced again and again on the internet. Posted on progressive websites such as Reader Supported News, Daily Kos, “The PeoplesVoice.org,” “ThinkGlobalGreen.org,” the story often comes with maps of the affected area, and include pictures of indigenous peoples living peaceably with nature or protesting against oil drilling. Almost all these stories refer back to one article three years ago, in March 2013, in Australian online journal Business Insider: Ecuador is planning to auction off three million of the country’s 8.1 million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, Jonathan Kaiman of The Guardian reports.” And, “Ecuador owed China more than $7 billion — more than a tenth of its GDP — as of last summer. In 2009 China began loaning Ecuador billions of dollars in exchange for oil shipments. It also helped fund two of the country’s biggest hydroelectric infrastructure projects, and China National Petroleum Corp may soon have a 30 per cent stake in a …