Sunday, December 07, 2014

Obama v. Venezuela's Maduro

Obama v. Venezuela's Maduro

by Stephen Lendman

Washington considers Venezuela its main hemispheric adversary. Concerned about the threat of a good example. 

Shaming its northern neighbor. A sham democracy. Repressive. Hugely unequal. Belligerent. Waging war on freedom. Threatening world peace. Venezuela is polar opposite.

In an April 2014 New York Times op-ed, President Nicolas Maduro explained forthrightly. Saying "Venezuelans are proud of our democracy."

"We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people."

Income inequality is the region's lowest. Poverty reduction efforts extremely successful. From 49% in 1998 to 25.4% in 2012.

Extreme poverty from 21% to 6%. "We have created flagship universal health care and education programs, free to our citizens nationwide," said Maduro.

"Since 1998, the movement founded by Hugo Chávez has won more than a dozen presidential, parliamentary and local elections through an electoral process that former American President Jimmy Carter has called 'the best in the world.' "

"The American government supported the 2002 coup and recognized the coup government despite its anti-democratic behavior." 

"Today the Obama administration spends at least $5 million annually to support opposition movements in Venezuela." 

Congress may "impose sanctions." More on this below.

Washington targeted Venezuela for regime change since Hugo Chavez's 1998 election. Taking issue with his saying "(t)he resurrection of Venezuela has begun, and nothing and no one can stop it."

Venezuelans deplore the bad old days. The 1958 - 1998 Fourth Republic period included repression. Extreme poverty. Deprivation. Despair. 

Thousands of state-sponsored murders. Targeted assassinations. Disappearances. Torture. Other human rights abuses.

According to researcher Aldemaro Barrios:

"(D)uring the guerrilla struggle, the military used aerial bombardment over the Falcon mountain range." 

"The policy they adopted was to bomb on site, and bomb anything that moved. We have no idea how many people died this way."

Bolivarianism changed things. Transforming Venezuela from state-sponsored repression to real democracy.

An ongoing process. In October 2011, National Assembly members passing the Law for Punishing Crimes, Disappearances, Torture and Violations of Human Rights for Political Reasons during the 1958-1998 period.

Known as the Law against Forgetting. Establishing a commission to investigate Fourth Republic crimes. Resolve them.

Obama is Venezuela's greatest threat. Continuing Bush administration policies. Lying in New York last September.

Telling General Assembly members "big countries should not do actions to intimidate small" ones. Targeting one independent country after another for regime change.

Through state-sponsored coups, assassinations and naked aggression. Violating core international, constitutional and US statute laws.

Wanting Venezuela looking like Ukraine. With fascists replacing democrats. Washington dictating policy.

MIndless of what most Venezuelans cherish. Bolivarian fairness is too precious to lose. Polar opposite neoliberal contempt for social justice.

Washington's dirty hands manipulated violent street violence months earlier. Despite the vast majority of Venezuelans deploring them.

Aiming to oust Maduro disruptively. In January, opposition right-wing figures Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado launching a La Salida (the Exit) campaign.

Involving "chaos in the streets." In February, Lopez was arrested, detained and prosecuted.

On charges of murder, terrorism, conspiracy, incitement to crime, setting fire to a public building, damaging public property, public intimidation, and inflicting serious injuries.

Maduro compared him to 2002 coup plotters. "There you have the face of fascism," he said. "They should go behind bars."

Lopez is part of an "ultra-rightwing group." Together with Maria Corina Machado. A former legislator. Sumate founder. 

A US funded fascist group. Involved in the aborted two-day April 2002 coup. A so-called Carmona Decree signatory. 

Suspending National Assembly governance. Attorney general authority. The comptroller general's office. Dissolving the Supreme Court.

Installing Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecamaras) president Pedro Carmona head of state.

US-sponsored regime change plans continuing. Using street violence. Killing dozens earlier this year. Maduro promising justice, saying:

"For us, what's important is to govern and to make sure that groups like these don't do any more damage to the country."

On December 3, Venezuela's state prosecutor's office indicted Machado. Charging her with conspiracy. In a plot to assassinate Maduro.

Email evidence was damning. Machado saying "I believe the time has come to join forces, make the necessary calls, and obtain the financing to annihilate Maduro…and the rest will come falling down."

Venezuela's public prosecutor's office saying:

"Whoever, from inside or outside the national territory, conspires to destroy the nation's republican political style will be punished by eight to 16 years in prison."

Last year, Venezuelan journalist Eva Golinger said:

"Foreign interests, from Colombia and the US, are working with opposition groups inside Venezuela to destabilize (Maduro's) government, aiming towards sabotaging" year ago municipal elections.

Street violence followed. Dozens died. Machado lost her National Assembly seat. For violating Venezuelan law. For representing Panama. In an Organization of American States address.

Washington repeatedly interferes lawlessly in the internal affairs of other countries. Chavez objected vehemently. So does Maduro.

Most recently on December 7, saying:

"Interference of the US Embassy in Venezuela is intolerable. It is a shame that Obama allows the US government in Venezuela to act in such a dangerous way."

Citing hard evidence of US meddling, he said he's "currently investigating the actions of the US embassy in Venezuela…We have a lot of information," he explained.

Longstanding strained relations continue. Maduro knows what he's up against. Washington's longstanding regime change plans. 

Spending millions of dollars annually. Aiming to reinstitute fascist governance. It bears repeating. 

Wanting Venezuela looking like Ukraine. America regaining its former hemispheric colony.

Deputy National Security Advisor Anthony Blinken is Obama's choice to replace William Burns. As Deputy Secretary of State.

In Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings last week, he expressed support for additional sanctions on Venezuela.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio introduced legislation to freeze financial assets of 27 Venezuelan government officials. Including:

Aref Eduardo Richany Jimenez: General Director Directorate of Armaments and Explosives (DAEX)

Julio Cesar Morales Prieto: General Director Directorate of Armaments and Explosives (DAEX)

Hugo Carvajal: Director Directorate of Military Intelligence

Ivan Hernandez Dala: Director General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence

Luisa Ortega Diaz: General Prosecutor Office of the General Prosecutor

Luis Alberto Arrayago Coronel: Chief of the Regional Command Number 8, National Bolivarian Armed Forces

Miguel Vivas Landino: Chief Strategic Region of Integral Defense of the Andes National Bolivarian Armed Forces

Francisco Rangel Gómez: Bolívar State governor

Alexis Ramírez: Merida State governor

Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora: Tachira State governor

Henry Rangel Silva: Trujillo State governor

Aquíles Rojas Patino: Guardia del Pueblo Regiment commander, Bolivarian National Guard

Justo Jose Noguera Pietri: Bolivarian National Guard commander general

Sergio Rivero Marcano: Guardia del Pueblo national commander, Bolivarian National Guard

Antonio Benavides Torres: Bolivarian National Guard director of operations

Franklin Garcia Duque: Regional Command Number 1 chief, Bolivarian National Guard

Arquímedes Herrera Ruso: Regional Command Number 2 chief, Bolivarian National Guard

Manuel Jose Graterol Colmenarez: Regional Command Number 3 chief, Bolivarian National Guard

Octavio Chacon: Regional Command Number 4 chief, Bolivarian National Guard

Manuel Quevedo: Regional Command Number 5 chief, Bolivarian National Guard

Gustavo Colmenares: Operative Zone of Integral Defense chief, Venezuelan Navy

Miguel Rodriguez Torres: Minister Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace

Marcos Rojas Figueroa: Integral Police System Vice Minister, Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace

Hebert Garcia Plaza: Services Ministry of Defense Vice Minister

Manuel Eduardo Pérez Urdaneta: Bolivarian National Police Director

Gustavo Enrique González Lopez: General Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia (SEBIN) (Intelligence Services) Director

Manuel Gregorio Bernal Martínez: Director General - removed on Feb 18, Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia (SEBIN) (intelligence Services)

At the same time, US House members Joe Garcia (D. FL) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D. FL/Democrat National Committee chairwoman) requested Obama grant Venezuelans special "delayed enforced departure" consideration.

Similar to Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Shifting the status of Venezuelan immigrants. Reserved for those facing persecution.

Maduro calls US sanctions unacceptable foreign interference in Venezuela's internal affairs. Part of Washington's anti-Bolivarian agenda. Aiming for regime change.

On November 7, Washington's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) imposed license requirements for US exports to Venezuela.

Affecting products and technologies. Ones "complementing" a 2006 arms embargo.

Denying Venezuela access to so-called "sensitive goods and technologies." For civilian applications. Deemed potentially military, according to Washington.

Including computers with fingerprint reading capability. Like those Venezuela uses to verify registered voters.

Obama governs by diktat. Export Administration Act authority expired in 2001. No matter.

His executive order extended it unilaterally. Circumventing Congress. Excluding public debate.

At issue is wanting Maduro ousted. Instituting policies aimed toward doing so.

Including executive orders. Congressional legislation. Funding opposition figures. Street violence. Whatever else Washington intends. 

Lawless by any standard. Obama wants Bolivarianism eliminated. Democracy crushed. Fascist rule reinstituted.

Venezuela looking like Ukraine. America regaining colonial control. Ending governance of, by and for everyone equitably. 

What Americans can't imagine. What Venezuelans won't tolerate losing.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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