Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 23, 2019

Venezuela - U.S. Again Tries Regime Change Which Is Again Likely To Fail

The U.S. has been intervening in oil-rich Venezuela since at least the early 2000. Several U.S. backed attempts to oust the elected socialist government, first under Chavez and then under Maduro, failed. But the economic sanctions by the U.S. and its lackeys have made the life for business and the people in Venezuela more difficult. With access to international financial markets cut off, the government did its best to work around the sanctions. It, for example, bartered gold for food from Turkey. But the Bank of England, which is custodian of some of Venezuela's gold, has now practically confiscated it.

The Trump administration is launching another attempt to kick the elected government led by President Maduro out of office. Today the usually hapless opposition in Venezuela is set to launch another period of street riots against the government. It calls on the military to take over:

Opposition leaders are also urging Venezuela's powerful armed forces to withdraw their support for Maduro. And they are taking their campaign abroad by lobbying foreign governments to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Caracas.

On Tuesday, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said that Washington would support any effort by the opposition to form a provisional government to replace Maduro. Addressing average Venezuelans, Pence added: "We stand with you and we will stay with you until democracy is restored."

President Trump is now expected to recognize the opposition leader in the National Congress Juan Guaidó, who does not have a majority in the country, as the nations president.


But the National Congress no longer has legal power. In 2017 that role was taken over by the elected Constitutional Assembly, which supports the Venezuelan government. The Venezuelan Supreme Court ratified the change. That Guaidó may be called president by Trump does not make him such.

Juan Guaidó, the self declared 'opposition leader', is just a telegenic stand in for the right wing leader Leopold Lopez, who in 2014 was jailed after inciting violent protests during which several people died. Lopez, now under house arrest, is a Princeton and Harvard educated son of the political and financial nobility of Venezuela, which lost its position when the people elected a socialist government. Lopez is the man the U.S. wants to put in charge even while he is much disliked. A U.S. diplomatic cable, published by Wikileaks, remarks that he "is often described as arrogant, vindictive, and power-hungry".

The poor were the winner of the socialist changes. The socialists, first under President Hugo Chavez and now under Nicolas Maduro, used the profits from oil exports to build housing for the poor and to generally lower their plight. These masses will be called upon to protect their government and gains.

The military, which the U.S. already secretly tried to instigate stage a coup, is unlikely to do so. It does well under the socialists and has no interest in changing that. The U.S. also tried to incite Brazil and Columbia to invade their neighbor. But neither country is capable of doing such. The U.S. itself is also unlikely to invade. At the United Nation Venezuela has Russia's and China's support.

Like in 2017 we can expect several weeks of violent protests in Caracas, during which tens or hundreds of police and protester may die. There will also be a lot of howling from the U.S. aligned media. But unless there is some massive change in the political and power configuration, the demonstrations are likely to petter out.

Has the Trump administration a consistent game plan to achieve such a change in the balance of power? I for one doubt that.

Posted by b on January 23, 2019 at 17:54 UTC | Permalink

next page »

. . .wiki list of world proven oil reserves (top ten in order):
Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Russia, Libya, Nigeria . .here
Which one is not like the others (X2)?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 23 2019 18:08 utc | 1

It's time for an emergency UNSC debate on a resolution, sponsored by Russia and China, for condemnation of the USA for its flagrant breach of the UN Charter by fomenting revolution against the constitutionally elected Government of a UN member state... I realize that the US will use its veto, but the MSM will be forced to take notice.

Posted by: chet380 | Jan 23 2019 18:15 utc | 2

As shown in this article, Donald Trump has already expressed an interest in deescalating military buildups with China and Russia:

Unfortunately, much of America's mainstream media will proclaim that, should Donald Trump try to negotiate reduced military spending by the three largest militaries in the world, he will have sold out his own military just to placate the Russians and the Chinese.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Jan 23 2019 18:16 utc | 3

thanks b.... how would trump feel if some leader of an undemocratic and unfree nation(mimicking the usa here) were to say that clinton is president? trump is an idiot sometimes.... usa foreign policy is an idiot all the time...

@1 don... canada is a good poodle, so they are the different one? good question.. i haven't looked at your link..

Posted by: james | Jan 23 2019 18:17 utc | 4

Up until' now Trump could at least claim that he hadn't attempted to start new conflicts. Letting Pence do the talking shouldn't disguise what a betrayal of Trump's 'base' this is.

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 23 2019 18:20 utc | 5

Guaido has declared himself president

Trump recognises Guaido as President of Venezuela
"US President Donald Trump has recognized Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president in a provocative move against the elected government of Nicolas Maduro.
"Today, I am officially recognizing the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela," Trump said in statement."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 23 2019 18:31 utc | 6

'Canada Rejects the Legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro' - FM Chrystia Freeland

Predictably the servile northern vassal agrees supports Uncle Sam.

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jan 23 2019 18:34 utc | 7

And if Maduro announces that he is recognizing Jill Stein as President of the United States . . ?

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jan 23 2019 18:36 utc | 8

Venezuela Analysis reports about the small revolt, less than 3 dozen, by some National Guard members in Caracas last Monday, which lasted just under 6 hours before they were arrested. A small, tandem protest by the far right also rose but was doused almost as quickly. Today is the "61st anniversary of the overthrow of the Marcos Perez Jimenez dictatorship on January 23, 1958. President Nicolas Maduro and AN President Juan Guaido have both called for marches this Wednesday, with the latter promising to install a transition government in an escalation of the political confrontation."

As for Pence's statement about Venezuela lacking democracy, Cheney said the same back in 2002, but the democracy in Venezuela proved itself to be robust beyond the assumptions of Outlaw US Empire planners and continues to resist. "US VP Pence Urges Venezuelans to Oust Maduro, Caracas Says ‘Yankee Go Home’".

It would be wise of those seeking to Impeach Trump to Impeach Pence first for his attempt to incite the overthrowing of another government, which is an act of terrorism and violation of numerous US and international laws.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 18:44 utc | 9

Welcome to Maidan II.

Posted by: chet380 | Jan 23 2019 18:48 utc | 10

AP - Venezuela’s Guaido declares himself president amid protests

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself interim president in a defiant speech before masses of anti-government demonstrators who took to the streets Wednesday to demand President Nicolas Maduro’s resignation.

He immediately drew recognition from the Trump administration, which said it would use the “full weight” of U.S. economic and diplomatic power to push for the restoration of Venezuela’s democracy.

Posted by: b | Jan 23 2019 18:52 utc | 11

As per Venezuela's Supreme Court, the National Assembly no longer exists as a constitutional entity and as such no longer has any officers. As I just wrote above about Pence, Trump is now guilty of committing those same crimes. Lets see if the Democrats pounce on this unique opportunity as Pelosi would become President upon the Impeachment and conviction of both Trump and Pence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 18:55 utc | 12

An invasion of Venezuela is consistent with Trump's multipolar view: in it, the USA would have all the Americas as its sphere of influence, while Russia and China would partition the Eurasia. They all would partition Africa, and Australia would probably fall to the USA.

That's why we shouldn't be obssessed with multipolarity or see multipolarity as simple redraw the maps exercise. Reality is much more complex. Venezuela is oil rich, lies between South America and the Caribbean, has almost 40 million inhabitants and, most importantly, is home to a socialist revolution. It is too valuable for China to lose. It would be a huge bridgehead to Russia. And there is Cuba.

We still don't know how exactly a multipolar world will be drawn. The USA certainly doesn't want it. Russia and China will certainly not play to lose, and will not even blink if an opportunity to have an ally in the American Backyard appears.

The people of Latin America must not give up its dignity just because of geography.

Posted by: vk | Jan 23 2019 18:56 utc | 13

@7 john.. our fascist crystia freeland would say that...

the whole thing looks like a coordinated staged event.. what comes in act 2?

Posted by: james | Jan 23 2019 18:56 utc | 14

Now that the intimidation/bribery/assassination and invasion techniques (Guatemala, Chile, Iraq, Syria) are no longer feasible, Trump takes us straight to the stupid part.

And now has the full support of the corporate/war monger politicos.

Hopefully this will be short-lived and nonviolent.

Posted by: financial matters | Jan 23 2019 18:58 utc | 15

gotta love that propaganda site wikipedia! they are fast!!

Interim President of Venezuela
Assumed office
23 January 2019

Posted by: james | Jan 23 2019 19:00 utc | 16

I don't think Maduro has been a good leader, but Venezuela has some major problems that go beyond him, and meddling in its affairs seems like a recipe for major disaster. USA could get swarmed by millions of refugees if things go south

Posted by: aaaa | Jan 23 2019 19:06 utc | 17

b @11--

Yes, the poor massively outnumber the rich rightists and will defend their government. What sort of repercussions might we see from this gross violation of the UN Charter? Kim axing 2nd meeting with Trump; further marginalization by China, Russia and actual International Community?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 19:07 utc | 18

Has the Trump administration a consistent game plan to achieve such a change in the balance of power? I for one doubt that.
Posted by b on January 23, 2019 at 12:54 PM

Me too!
Considering the 110% success of Trump's (meaningless) "recognition of Jerusalem" gambit, I'm confident that his Venezuela gambit will produce a similar result. i.e. It'll flush some bloodsucking morons and cretins out into the open.

The underlying beauty of the Trump gambit is its utter simplicity.

1. Identify some crooks posing as wannabe leaders who believe all their own bs.
2. Make them a grandiose and ludicrously irrational offer.
3. Stock up on popcorn and pretzels and wait for the fun to start.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 23 2019 19:08 utc | 19

Early this morning I opened up Reuters. "Oh, oh", I thought.

The reason for reading the MSM is to understand agendas.

Something was clearly afoot.

The Reuters headline was this:

"Caracas spring? Not so fast, armed forces say"

And the subtext under the headlines was this:

Buoyed by a telegenic new congressional chief, Venezuela's opposition is daring to hope that President Maduro's days in office could be numbered. But the unpopular leader's bedrock base - the armed forces - shows few signs of erosion.

The regime change is being served to the American public as a freedom-loving popular uprising, fighting against a military-supported leader.

As we now know, it didn't take but a few hours for the next shoe to drop."Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself interim president"

Posted by: librul | Jan 23 2019 19:14 utc | 20

"Democracy". Our so called Bettors and Elites don't know what the word means. I'll take Socialism over Capitalism (socialism for the Evil rich) any day of the week.

Posted by: so | Jan 23 2019 19:16 utc | 21

President Maduro's Twitter has numerous videos from today's marches nationwide that dwarf the opposition's. Click and take a look for yourself. Thanks to Trump and Pence's diktats, opposition leaders now fit the definition as agents of a foreign government and can be arrested as provocateurs. I omitted noting that today's anniversary is a national holiday.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 19:18 utc | 22

I listened to the Pence speech urging people to rise against Maduro.

The same country, USA, denies involvement in the failed Turkey coup.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 23 2019 19:22 utc | 23

Hopefully you' ll be right with your optimism, B. The danger is great that a civil war will break out. I sincerely hope that the legitimate Venezuelan government will get help from befriended countries. The reactionary wave, already fascist in Brazil, must not spill over Venezuela.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 23 2019 19:24 utc | 24

But the National Congress no longer has legal power. In 2017 that role was taken over by the elected Constitutional Assembly, which supports the Venezuelan government. The Venezuelan Supreme Court ratified the change.

It is important to clarify that the National Congress was not simply stripped of its powers out of the blue. A few elected congressmen had their offices terminated by the Supreme Court after they were found guilty of electoral fraud, but the Congress nonetheless held them empowered. After that the Supreme Court correctly declared the National Congress as being in contempt and therefore unfit for lawmaking - only after that a Constitutional Assembly was elected.

Posted by: Miranda | Jan 23 2019 19:24 utc | 25

Western media once again push for war, the propaganda is there as usual. That should tell us what might be coming.

Breaking: Trump recognizes US-backed head of Venezuela’s opposition Juan Guaido as country’s interim president

This will likely cause civil war!

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 23 2019 19:32 utc | 26

Posted by: b | Jan 23, 2019 1:52:33 PM | 11
(80Kb vs 3Mb)

Was Albert Einstein right when he said "Everything's relative"?

How big were the anti-Iraq Fake War street protests in 2003 London and elsewhere, relatively speaking? I recall that some Poms wanted to travel to Baghdad to act as human shields.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 23 2019 19:35 utc | 27

This is just insane interference, US interfere and call for a coup. Meanwhile alot of latin american nations recognize the coup!

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down and called on the country’s military to support efforts to restore “democracy” in a move which could be seen as encouraging an armed coup.

UNSC must step in now, China, Russia, where are you?!

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 23 2019 19:37 utc | 28

Maduro's tweet to his polity:

"Men and women of the Homeland, calm, conscience and maximum Popular Mobilization, to win the peace and stability of Venezuela. We defend our sovereignty, we condemn fascism and we raise the historic flags of struggle of Fabrizio Ojeda. The streets are from the village!"

Note his open defiance of the opposition by appearing with his wife openly without any protection, while on the resulting thread there're many suggestions that he be assassinated. And those of us residing within the Outlaw US Empire think our society is sicker than all others.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 19:37 utc | 29

Declaring yourself president must be an arrestable offence so "Lock him up, lock him up, lock him up"!

Meanwhile The Guardian is back with its usual regime change garbage, but it hasn't opened comments so you don't have to put up with the usual neo-liberal tosser-trolls that flock there to defend the Washington Deep State's foreign policy crap.

You'd think since Trump has recognized the "interim" government that the "Resistance" would be opposed to it on principle, but no, the so-called progressives in the United States never saw regime change they weren't hot for. Fuck'em!

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 23 2019 19:37 utc | 30


The terrible forthcoming destruction of the « Caribbean Basin »
by Thierry Meyssan

Posted by: republic | Jan 23 2019 19:43 utc | 31

Hopefully Maduro jail this western back agent scum but I sense there will be a violent clash and funding, arming of the scums by the western governments.

In some hours the pathetic european union will recognize him too.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 23 2019 19:44 utc | 32

#9 speaks truth when he says:

"It would be wise of those seeking to Impeach Trump to Impeach Pence first"

Posted by: S Brennan | Jan 23 2019 19:49 utc | 33

Am I the only person who suspects that this pile of Venezuela horseshit is intended to deflect attention from the emerging reality that Putin isn't going to back down on Russia's commitment to rescuing Syria from Christian Colonialism's liars, vampires and parasites?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 23 2019 19:56 utc | 34

Meanwhile, Trump faces growing insurrection of his own making. A good sized percentage of federal workers fit the criteria to be classified as Deplorables, which is to say Trump's backstabbing those constituting his base in what might be his worst political move yet since mid-term elections are often referendums of POTUS's first term. Indeed, when it comes to popular approval, Maduro outperforms Trump handily.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 19:59 utc | 35

It is high time for Russia to table a resolution at the UNSC condemning outside forces meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Russia would be in the majority for a change, even if US, UK and France veto it.

So MSM will accept american meddling in Venezuela but not so called "russian meddling"?

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 23 2019 20:03 utc | 36

Hoarsewhisperer @35--

No, although as my comment following yours implies, it's designed to deflect attention to the growing domestic crisis that's not just related to the government shutdown--as demonstrated by recent teacher's unions's victories, public resistance and pushback against neoliberalism and its contrived austerity is escalating nationally. Witness what just occurred in Los Angeles: The general public supported teachers in their strike, support which hasn't occurred in quite awhile. Damage control's being instituted already, but it'll prove to be too late and ineffective as the Sleeping Giant known as the Silent Majority has become aroused and is finally awakening.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 20:15 utc | 37

We hear a lot about a government having 'lost its legitimacy'. Leaving aside political ploys, is there any such concept in international law? Likewise, 'humanitarian intervention'?

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Jan 23 2019 20:40 utc | 38

Maybe now the Maduro government will do what Chavez should have done long ago; confiscate the wealth of the upper class and send them to Miami.

Posted by: Chas | Jan 23 2019 21:01 utc | 39

It's tricky - when to time an invasion - in order to get re-elected. G HW Bush got it wrong with the 1st Gulf War. Too soon and its over too soon before the election - the amazing short memory span of the American voting public. Also Venezuela would probably have a guerilla war following the invasion - an initial cakewalk for the American military. Venezuela is quite a bit larger than Grenada or Panama - and policing a country is real work. But Venezuela has very large oil reserves. Plus a willing elite class ready to be subservient to the US corporations. Recognizing Guiado as the legitimate President would sort of make it legal if he asked the US for military help. Columbia with its American bases already there and Brazil with its new military oriented leader would probably be glad to help. Most of the US foreign policy establishment probably prefers a military coup but Trump (with the powers granted to Bush and Obama) has the power to use the US military without Congress's consent.

Posted by: gepay | Jan 23 2019 21:01 utc | 40

I'll be happy if I'm wrong in my analysis.

Posted by: gepay | Jan 23 2019 21:06 utc | 41

Maduro has just announced that he cuts diplomatic relations with the US, and has given 72 hours for every meddler ( US embassy and consular personal ) to live the country.
Moving discourse from Miraflores Palace!
God bless them!
Salud y fuerza!

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 23 2019 21:08 utc | 42

The rising of Bolsonaro to power was all about preparation of this coup. He just was "coronated" that the coup was put in practice.
Two fascists allied to overthrow the legitimate Bolivarian government elected by the Venezuelan people.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 23 2019 21:13 utc | 43

Brothers and Sisters, these are perilous times we live in.
Brace for the following months and be prepared.

According to my research the full path for the long profesized and anticipated WWIII is now visible.

The current Venezouela US aided coop against local elected government in progress is a general rehearsal against Turkey/Erdogan.

A plethora of bankrupt political regimes in the Balkans conspired towards a Turkey Russia conflict and a paralel and analogous situation exists in the ME for an Israel Iranian conflict.

Trump regime in the US is last chance of Israel before their current geopolitical window of opportunity implodes for the Yinon project.

Take heed.

Posted by: Final warning | Jan 23 2019 21:13 utc | 44

Both Cristina Kuchner and Dilma Youssef were ousted using lawfaring tactics. Juges were bought and they
crucified the victims.

Now they are after the ex president of Ecuador Rafael Correa because he is still popular and shadows the new neocon

The powers of money are recuperating lost domains and subjugating those that dreamed of escaping slavery.

Now it is the turn of Maduro but the steps taken will lead to civil war and even may result in the extermination of the upper
classes so willing to bend over to get shafted by the US. There is no shortage of idiots blinded by the prospects of Power.

Libya demonstrates that no matter how good a leader, there is no scarcity of people that aspire to replace the leader. Ambition
blinds worst of these stooges that eventually will get their asses kicked by the very powers that selfishly
sustained their aspirations.

China is too far and Russia has too much to handle. Sigh...

Posted by: CarlD | Jan 23 2019 21:31 utc | 45

How much is this planned by US and other latin american nations? This happened way to quickly to make sense for them to act the way they do. Its like they recognized him too early.

Either way, now Venezuela have enemies all over the latin american continent, will we see troops going in?

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 23 2019 21:33 utc | 46

This is not meant to justify any coup attempts. But is "b" really trying to assert that Venezuela's current economic crisis is entirely due to sanctions?

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 23 2019 21:38 utc | 47

These brazen, shameless and bankrupt elites, their media, and their capitalist system seem to have a death wish. Contrary to the morality and standards of the world public including their own citizens, they are planning to overthrow an elected President in Latin America. This chorus of black-hearted zombie freaks have deliberately learned nothing. They were and amazingly still are in the tank for austerity and R2P, two sick and fraudulent doctrines long ago exposed. They supported to the man the lynching and martyrdom of Gadaffi, which they fail to regret. Their media, from CNN to the BBC, pushes discredited upholders of political impotence and "centrism." Emmanuel Macron said out loud yesterday that the monarchy was overthrown because it FAILED to reform, ie make life cuddly for big business. Such an out of touch statement is lunatic. They will go along with this intervention, and I believe they will succeed. Their karmic debt, however, has been piled high into the blood-mooned sky and when their end comes, it will be swift and brutal.

Posted by: Anne Jaclard | Jan 23 2019 21:52 utc | 48

Maybe the almost 2 million trained and armed Militias will diffuse the stupid invasion ideas.

Posted by: Victor J. | Jan 23 2019 21:55 utc | 49

Venezuela Cuts Relations with United States Over Coup Support

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 23 2019 22:02 utc | 50

Maduro Administration vs Trump & Pence Regime ?

Strange times! Is this what we call 'the clash of civilizations' ?

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 23 2019 22:10 utc | 51

@50; the point is not to absolve the Maduro government of all blame, of course that ought to go without saying. However the disingenuousness of the mainstream conversation about Venezuela is that it seldom if ever mentions the disastrous and pernicious effects of Western, especially US, economic sanctions. To ignore the effect of sanctions is to ignore the number one cause of the economic crisis in the country. See Mark Weisbrot's latest interview on the Real News, where he shows a graph detailing the oil production of Venezuela and another Latin American country, not under sanctions. Both countries are subject to the same pressures and fluctuations of the global market, but Venezuela suffered a far greater effect due to US sanctions. Also bear in mind that Citgo, Venezuela's state-owned oil company, has billions of dollars in frozen profits in the US that it can't access due to sancrions. Keep in mind also that Britain is essentially holding a huge amount of Venezuela's gold hostage. To not discuss any of these myriad pressures by Western governments and corporations, as most mainstream media and academic discussions do, is to a priori determine the bounds of the conversation in order to provide legitimacy to the Western narrative of one of its official enemies. Yes, we should criticize Maduro as anyone else, but we should also not legitimize the simplistic narrative presented by those who have an interest in seeing the Bolivarian government overthrown.p

Posted by: George Lane | Jan 23 2019 22:20 utc | 52

At the moment, Mexico, Bolivia, Russia, Turkey are recognized N.Maduro as the president of the country.
The Venezuelan army also remained loyal to Maduro and did not recognize J.Guaido the president.

On the other hand, the USA, Canada, Paraguay, Peru, and the EU sided with the impostor.
The organization of American states (OAS) also recognized Guaido as the president of Venezuela.

Posted by: alaff | Jan 23 2019 22:31 utc | 53

It is as ridiculous of Trump to recognize 'opposition leader' Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela, as it would be for Nicolás Maduro (the real president of Venezuela) to recognize a certain 'Kevin McCarthy' as real president of the United States.

That's because Kevin McCarthy is the current 'opposition leader' of the U.S. Congress. Or, better yet, Maduro should nominate Nancy Pelosi as President of the U.S. She at least is constitutionally 2nd in line to succeed to that office, after Vice-President Pence.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 23 2019 22:34 utc | 54

@Posted by: Sasha | Jan 23, 2019 5:34:12 PM | 60

This post is not mine,
Please, I ask the user to adopt another nick, this I have been using it here for some months already.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 23 2019 22:36 utc | 55

@Posted by: alaff | Jan 23, 2019 5:31:07 PM | 59

The EU has not pronounced itself yet. EU countries are waiting for the common posture of the EU to take a position.
Spanish government has not pronouced itself yet either
I can say that Spanish communists, Izquierda Unida, has just condemend the coup, while the far-right parties, PP, Cuidadanos and Vox, have recognized the impostor.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 23 2019 22:41 utc | 56

As I noted in one of my above comments, today in Venezuela is a National Holiday marking the anniversary of an extremely important event in Venezuelan history and its struggle to become an authentic democracy as it is today. It's what's known as Democracy Day that commemorates 23 January 1958 "when a civic-military rebellion brought an end to the dictatorship of general Marcos Perez Jimenez." I bring this up as it's most likely the worst possible day to attempt to delegitimize the legitimate government, further pointing to the utter ignorance of the Outlaw Empire and its blind vassals.

George Lane @57--

Thanks for providing that concise answer. What we're seeing proven once again is the utter fear induced into elites at the prospect of people becoming capable of governing themselves and limiting elite pretensions that such is somehow unnatural.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 22:46 utc | 57

@50 Inkan1969.. as @57 george lane articulates well, the sanctions are one of the very effective tools that the empire uses.. it doesn't absolve the local history of venezuala of responsibility here, but it sees the financial sanctions as a manipulative tool to further the exact opposite of freedom for a country to decide for itself what steps have to be taken... it really emphasizes a theme that psychohistorian has brought up at moa frequently - private finance, verses public - a long conversation..

@59 alaff/ 62 sasha.. thanks for the update..

Posted by: james | Jan 23 2019 22:48 utc | 58

But is "b" really trying to assert that Venezuela's current economic crisis is entirely due to sanctions?
I don't think so but the sanctions are incredibly damaging plus while the IMF is theoretically a UN agency its actions can easily be dictated by the USA. So, when Venezuela needed IMF help when oil prices tanked, the US vetoed any loans leaving the country in a very perilous situation.

Madero has made some bad mistakes but he has a US funded and coached opposition and the hostility of the major world and regional power attacking him.

Now we have the US inciting open rebellion and possibly threatening military intervention.

After Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria one would think that the US had at least learned to not gratuitously invade countries but I am reminded of the words of the distinguished military historian, Martin van Creveld

Even as preparations for the war in Iraq, went on, I refused to believe they were meant in earnest; no one, I thought, could be that stupid.

Posted by: jrkrideau | Jan 23 2019 22:49 utc | 59


The EU has not pronounced itself yet. EU countries are waiting for the common posture of the EU to take a position.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on latest developments in Venezuela:

The EU fully supports the national assembly as the democratically elected institution whose powers need to be restored and respected.

The civil rights, freedom and safety of all members of the National Assembly, including its President, Juan Guaidó, need to be observed and fully respected.

The head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, expressed the hope that Europe with one position would support the "democratic forces" in Venezuela. Tusk's reaction is the first official response of the EU leadership to events in Venezuela. Source

Posted by: alaff | Jan 23 2019 23:02 utc | 60

It has just become known that Cuba also supports N.Maduro as the president of Venezuela. This was reported by the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

Posted by: alaff | Jan 23 2019 23:09 utc | 61

Ah - so sorry! But after this article you just can't take MOA serious anymore. So sad.

Posted by: gomez | Jan 23 2019 23:10 utc | 62

Maduro may not be the best peacetime president, but this is now war. He's the man who must hold the country together against its foes. Plenty of time afterwards for the subtleties of corruption and economics. I suspect the hour has produced the man, well enough.


@56 Sasha

Giraldi and Saker are both completely aware of the Venezuela situation, and so are their readers. One must allow writers and publishers their own time to produce their articles.


@42 gepay - "I'll be happy if I'm wrong in my analysis [regarding military invasion of Venezuela]"

Be happy. Fort Russ quotes an analysis by Military Watch magazine to the effect that US air superiority - without which it can't effectively invade - would be practically impossible to achieve: With Russian Weapons, It Is IMPOSSIBLE for U.S. to invade Venezuela

I can't pull up the Military Watch website right now, so I can't study or cite the source. And I'm not any kind of expert, but doubtless others can speak to what I consistently hear, which is that invading Venezuela is not something the Pentagon wants to think about. Even cruise missiles might fail, which I suspect is a PR fail that the Pentagon will avoid if possible.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 23 2019 23:19 utc | 63


"Iranian-American journalist Marzieh Hashemi - apprehended by US authorities for no apparent reason - has finally been released from custody."

Grieved @69--

Venezuelan Military backs Maduro 100%.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 23:39 utc | 64

lol... a little hasbara will do the world a whole lot of something, lol..

Posted by: james | Jan 23 2019 23:39 utc | 65

james @73--

As I go through my Twitter list, I find numerous people declaring others to be POTUS, some even appointing themselves! Sort of like an inverted Mouse that Roared situation. What's good about these government endorsements of the usurper is we finally get a count of the Outlaw US Empire's vassals--particularly the newest ones in Latin America. And there are some other interesting developments, like the disclosure made by Putin during his presser with Erdogan today.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 23 2019 23:47 utc | 66

@ ConfusedPundit #23

The same country, USA, denies involvement in the failed Turkey coup.

Good one!

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jan 23 2019 23:51 utc | 67

b mentioned that the Venezuela Supreme Court voted to support Madura's constitutional reforms. I just noticed that the US State Dept sanctioned a number of those supreme court justices a few years ago. So according to the US that decision must be null and void.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 24 2019 0:03 utc | 68

Caitlin Johnstone gores "resistance":

"The so-called #Resistance completely absent from any discussion of Trump's #VenezuelaCoup, as usual. The only thing these dupes "resist" is the impotent stuffed doll of imaginary Russia collusion they were given to play with to keep them from focusing on anything meaningful."

Well, she isn't quite 100% correct as this item proves, although the number of resistors speaking out is low and those that are were predictable.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24 2019 0:05 utc | 69

Ben Norton asked AOC 5 hours ago:

"Trump is effectively declaring a coup in Venezuela, recognizing an unelected rightwing opposition figure as president. You have 2.6M followers and an enormous following on the left. You could have a very positive impact by speaking out against the Trump-led coup. Will you?"

So far, AOC's twitter's silent on this event, while her other newly elected colleagues have already made their views known as shown in the item I linked at 79. Frankly I'm happy this testing event has occurred so early in the term. We'll soon learn who had cred and who doesn't.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24 2019 0:22 utc | 70

It is reported that Argentina, Brazil, Chile also recognized the impostor Guaido as the president of Venezuela.

Posted by: alaff | Jan 24 2019 0:33 utc | 71

I suppose the way things stand at the moment, the true test comes after the 72 hours are up. US diplomats will either have left Venezuela, thus recognizing Maduro, or will remain, as voices in the US Congress are currently encouraging, to support the pretender.

If the diplomats remain, I'm not sure what the procedure is, but presumably they will be escorted to the airport and put on a plane. The US may this time be caught in its own braggadocio, finally, and will either suffer humiliation here, or when they back down, or even worse, when their stung pride forces them to act militarily, and fail.

(As US forces suffer casualties, Trump loses his election. Tulsi Gabbard advances to the lead, under the slogan, "It takes a soldier to stop the wars.")

In politics, as they say, 72 hours is a long time. Much to happen yet.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 24 2019 0:41 utc | 72

Grieved @83

I'm very disappointed that, so far, Tulsi Gabbard seems to be silent (like AOC & the rest) on the issue. Hopefully, you'll be able to tell me I'm mistaken?

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 24 2019 0:49 utc | 73

@74 karlof1.. thanks.. do you have a link to the putin comments with erdogan today? i am curious to know what he has said... i see this - US refuses to withdraw diplomats from Venezuela, vows ‘appropriate action’ if they’re harmed on the rt feed. and i did see the russian press spokeswomen - can't spell her name and her comments on this..

clearly the usa is intent on regime change where ever the leadership doesn't bow down to the great god of mammon like all the other vassal states... bow down, or regime change needs to be the new slogan of the usa at this point.. replace the bullshit about freedom and democracy..

Posted by: james | Jan 24 2019 0:50 utc | 74

canada is a good poodle, so they are the different one? good question.. i haven't looked at your link..

Posted by: james | Jan 23, 2019

Canada has a number of useful breeds, newfoundlander, labrador, and it is such a useful companion for USA that I proposed to rename it New Trumpland. However, Trump has a reputation of treating dogs badly. The only positive mention of Putin in NYT was to give a contrast to dog-hater Trump with other top politicians, and many photographs show Putin doting on his dog. As a result, he got a number of puppies as gifts but for 15 years he was a devoted owner of a Labrador Retriever. With Trump, Canada gets dog treatment in the pejorative sense.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 24 2019 0:56 utc | 75

james @85--

So far, there's no English translation of the presser but this tweet provides the gist of the revelation:

"During presser #Putin reveals #Russia got a hand on letter that reps of #France,#Germany,#UK sent to UN Sec General demanding de Mistura block decisions of Astana group on formation of Constitutional Committee on #Syria, says '#Moscow was shocked over the move, but will be patient.'"

This proves what many suspected about de Mistura and confirmed about France and UK, but the inclusion of Germany is probably what "shocked" Moscow as it appears Merkel misled Putin on this and now who knows on what else.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24 2019 1:11 utc | 76

I don't believe that the US can successfully invade and control Venezuela as Grieved and others have noted.

That said, it is a messy game table and it still favors the narrative controller with the most pieces in action...the US and "allies"

Will the EU bow to this gambit of empire?

I wonder what China and Russia are considering doing to derail this element of global brinksmanship?

We do live in interesting times.

I keep waiting for the game table to lock up in some manner and then see what transpires.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 24 2019 1:14 utc | 77

re: "US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to step down . . ."

You may know this already, but if you don't . . .
The US position on Venezuela has gone out "immediate-priority" to every US embassy in the world, stating the US position in detail and requiring (1) action to get the host country position equivalent to the US position and (2) reports on actions taken to accomplish (1) using every possible leverage/threat, along with (3) public relations actions to publicize the host country's position.
Every US embassy. Action required. Leverage and threats. Report. PR plans.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 24 2019 1:37 utc | 78

On the subject of Venezuela, I would like to point readers to the wonderful revolutionary songs of Ali Primera, especially Casas de Carton (Houses of Cardboard). Unfortunately, Ali was killed in a car accident in 1985 so could not live to celebrate Chavez. Other artists almost do the song better – Los Guaraguaos, for example. Ali’s original
I have translated it for this great website.
I also recommend Tania for b. by Ali about the incredible German woman who fought and died with Che in Bolivia. In the 106K version on you tube you will find my translation.

“How sad it is to hear the rain fall on roofs of cardboard/ How sadly my people live in houses made of cardboard.
The worker comes walking down, almost dragging his feet with the weight of suffering. Look how much he has suffered, look at the weight of suffering.
Up there he leaves a pregnant wife, below is the city and he gets lost in its vices.
Today is the same as yesterday. It’s a life without a tomorrow. Yes, the rain keeps falling and suffering comes. But if the rain stops when will the suffering stop, when will hope come?
Children the colour of my earth, with the same scars, you are millionaires… of worms. That’s why the children are so sad living in their houses of cardboard.
Happy are the dogs in the house of the exploiter. You will not believe it but there are schools of dogs where they are given training… not to bite the servants, but the boss, for years, has been biting the worker.
How sad it is to hear the rain fall on the houses of cardboard. How far hope passes by the roofs of cardboard.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 24 2019 1:48 utc | 79

@83 "If the diplomats remain, I'm not sure what the procedure is, but presumably they will be escorted to the airport and put on a plane."

And the Venezuelan military will be doing the escorting. Here comes Pompeo's response....

"“The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela,” Pompeo warned in a statement. “Accordingly the United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata.”"

Posted by: dh | Jan 24 2019 1:50 utc | 80

Numerous people have reported that the msm is reporting that the crowds out to celebrate Democracy Day and support the elected government are instead crowds supporting the Guaido coup. I have no doubt that these photo ops are the reason this day was chosen.

The proper stance for Americans (or Canadians or Brazilians) to take when their countries are engaged in blatantly illegal coup attempts is to oppose them, unconditionally, without genuflecting to the imperial propaganda.

People do the same damn thing when it comes to Russia or Syria, making sure that they preface all opposition to war and chaos with the dogma "I don't support _____(insert name of demonized leader here), but...…"

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jan 24 2019 1:54 utc | 81

wonder what the American people would say if there were consulted?

Posted by: snake | Jan 24 2019 1:54 utc | 82

Freedom broke out. . .

Vice President Mike Pence Opens a New Window -- speaking in an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Trish Regan, praised Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó for declaring himself the country's interim president. “Today, freedom broke out in Venezuela with the recognition of a new interim president in Juan Guaidó,” the vice president said on Wednesday. “A courageous man who stepped forward, the President of the National Assembly, who took the oath of office.” . .here

. . .from The CIA World Factbook on Saudi Arabia, a key US ally...
etymology: named after the ruling dynasty of the country, the House of Saud; the name "Arabia" can be traced back many centuries B.C., the ancient Egyptians referred to the region as "Ar Rabi"
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Saudi Arabia
18 years of age; restricted to males; universal for municipal elections
Political parties and leaders:
elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary; an Allegiance Council created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes for a voice in selecting future Saudi kings
Legislative branch:
description: unicameral Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 seats; members appointed by the monarch to serve 4-year terms); note - in early 2013, the monarch granted women 30 seats on the Council

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 24 2019 2:05 utc | 83

@snake | Jan 23, 2019 8:54:50 PM | 93
wonder what the American people would say if there were consulted?
Edward Abbey: "Democracy--rule by the people--sounds like a fine thing; we should try it sometime in America."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 24 2019 2:10 utc | 84

If you look at the pics of the Guaidó thing declaring he is president you will see they are all tight frame photos of Guaidó in front of two flags. There are no pictures of him surrounded by thousands of supporters because he doesn't have any supporters, no one in Venezuela has heard of the turd.
The kids kicking up are pissed off but they aren't so suicidal as to go for a rich whitey of the type that screwed them worse for a long time.
The rallies shown in the media weren't held in Caracas they were in B.A. Argentina, Brazil where right wing regimes have been installed by the US.r There was also a gathering of 'investors' held in Madrid. All of them are composed entirely of pale skinned people who are trying to steal back the resources which they ripped off of native Venezuelans who they rewarded with slavery.

This is the Venezuelan's government's biggest problem, that all the entitled white folks are as bad off as everyone else, so instead of trying to fix things the former middle class Venezuelans will toss their brief flirtation with socialism to one side and opt for a repressive right wing dictatorship as they know that if Guaidó or someone similar becomes a US puppet they will be ok and that only the 80% of the population who are native Venezuelans will get properly oppressed.

Posted by: sick_as_a_parrot | Jan 24 2019 2:36 utc | 85

Of course both parties (Russia, US) are involved in this quagmire but all of those blaming the dire situation Venezuela is in on the US sanctions alone should know that the inflation and economic distress, shortages were all present before the US launched any official sanctions that mainly targeted Regime officials in the military anyway. I have no time to go into all the accusations being thrown around in this thread. The people of Venezuela deserve better, they don't deserve what Chávez and Maduro and the crony army generals have caused to this nation and of course they also don't deserve to end up like neighbouring Colombia a mere, weak US satelite. I partly blame China and Russia too, they had the chance to really meaningfully work with their 'partner' in Caracas to help improve things for the people, improve governance and fight the entrenched corruption that only deteriorated in recent years but did not do so. They too are only interested in the natural wealth of Venezuela. As things stand the military command will eventually feel the pressure from underneath, as much as Padrino Lopez and others who have accumulated tremendous fortunes under Maduro will resist this. Their comfort will lie in some exile in Cuba or maybe even Iran where they empire can't reach them. Let us hope all of this passes with as little violence as possible en la patria de Simón Bolívar.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jan 24 2019 2:46 utc | 86

This coup attempt is hardly a surprise and has been telegraphed for months (really years) in advance. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru all flipped over within 24 hours to recognize the US appointed puppet, that type of rapid policy flip couldn't have happened without massive pre-planning, at least several months and Russian/Venezuela undoubtable were aware of it (it's just too big to hide. The visit by the Russian strategic bomber a few weeks ago was clearly a warning to Washington that Russia knew about these plans and would support (in someway) Venezuela's sovereignty.

What i'm really interested in is the dozen or so military officers who first attempted the coup 48 hours ago and were arrested within hours before the larger coup attempt happened. Did Venezuela security services try to disrupt the coup by grabbing the military supporters early, forcing an early coup attempt or did they jump the gun to early. in either event it appears that the Military is behind President Maduro with a very forceful message of support, without the support of the military the coup attempt will fail - Unless the US decides to escalate the situation, possibly by sending in US troops, but more likely the US could also ask Brazil, Colombia or Argentina to do their dirty work for them (it wouldn't be the first time). If the US is dumb enough to escalate the situation in this way ("sigh" we already know that they are), the US will effectively create a new Syria in South America - this will only encourage more illegal immigration into the US from people fleeing the war, which is absurdly damaging to US national interests (but imperial interests rarely synch up with national interests).

I suppose I would be remiss of me, not to point out that NONE of the supposed US "resistance" or Anti-war groups or liberals or progressive are standing up to say NO, don't do this horrible crime against international law - but oh well aside from Russia, who cares about that nowadays, just another example of the bipartisan foreign policy consensus. Damnit, I'm so left wing, I'm one step away from being a Bolshevik, but the only Western political figures I can agree with on foreign policy is Ron Paul & his son Rand. I guess Caitline Johnson is right,

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 24 2019 2:46 utc | 87

Venezuela has become a real irritant to the PTB's ambitions for the Americas. In 1999 Venezuela adopted a new Constitution via a national referendum and Constitutional assembly process, and this initiative resulted in some Constitutional innovations, including establishing as a new branch of government a citizens' branch. Another branch was set up to oversee elections. The thrust of Venezuela's policies for the last generation have been re-distributive and socialistic and populist. There have thus been ongoing tensions with pre-existing institutions and networks of power within and outside Venezuela. Economic war via sanctions has been policy of US vs Venezuela.

In light of Russia's rise from its near death experience to successfully stand up to American power projections, Russia became a designated prime enemy. Russia has given support over the last decade to Venezuela - military, diplomatic, food.

Also, China has in recent years become much more involved in Venezuelan economic development. And China is now of course on the designated big enemy list.

So Venezuela is seen as a growing Cuba type Hemispheric problem, festering, irritating, with geo-political significance, making friends with China and Russia and Iran. Time to nip Venezuelan independence in the bud, now, while there is lots of internal turmoil and difficulties, in case it strengthens itself.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 24 2019 2:46 utc | 88

The hypocrisy is unbelievable. From the Canadian government taking a break from continually braying about Russian interference in other countries politics to... interfere in another countries politics to President Macron stating ""Venezuelan people have right to freedom and he hopes Maduro doesn't use violence against opposition protestors, we shall consult our European partners on further steps regarding Venezuela", forgetting the violence he is committing against his own people. As everyone seems to be nominating someone for President, I nominate Christophe Dettinger (boxer)as President of France. I doubt he would allow Trump to treat him like Poodle Macron was paraded around the Whitehouse.

Posted by: Tom | Jan 24 2019 2:46 utc | 89

Grieved | Jan 23, 2019 6:19:28 PM | 69

There is no way that Venezuela could defeat US airpower if it came to that. I also read Fortruss but please do note that they do not have the best editorial standards and frequently get story's completely wrong. I wish it were not true but it a fact that the US could crush the military of any nation in South America in a matter of days.

Of course the problems begin after those matter of days (as the US painfully experienced in Iraq after that brilliant assault against the evilest of evil Sadam Hussein). The Chavas-Modura governments efforts to share the nation's wealth with all of its citizens has had its ups and downs but without doubt it has convinced many millions of Venezuelans that they have built a system that is good for them. Those people will easily give rise to guerilla armies that could be in the 100s of thousands should a US backed coup come to power.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 24 2019 3:00 utc | 90

@ 90

I forgot to say that Tania was really Tamara Bunke. Here is the beautiful song to this great woman:
My translation is under mingulay29. God bless you Tania.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 24 2019 3:03 utc | 91

It seems appropriate to look back on the coup attempt in 2002 against Hugo Chavez that was carried out by high military officers backed by extreme right wing business interests. This one came painfully close to being successful. If you recall Chavez spent 17 hours in detention by the coup plotters. A new government was announced with a president and prime-minister!! How was that stopped? Well it was by over a million Chavez supporters who took to the streets on April 11, 2002, seized government buildings and demanded the release of chavez and the heads of the coup plotters (the latter demand was dropped after the coup plotters thought it might be prudent course to release Chavez). Most of the lower ranked military backed the people who took to the streets.

The US role in that event remains extremely "controversial". For the most part US fingerprints have been obscured if not entirely erased. A few facts are undisputed: namely some CIA agents had discussions 6 months before the coup with the plotters and a US warship inside a 100 miles of the coast was in radio communication with the plotters during those critical 17 hours.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 24 2019 3:16 utc | 92

@#7: what a surprise that chrystia "i'm totes not the spawn of literal nazi collaborators no matter what all those documents say" freeland would get behind this nonsense. you'd think she would learn from the recent anti-canada saudi psychopathy or the chinese blowback for being a US foreign policy monkey...but nope. for her it's just ukraine with brown people.

as for trump, all i can think of reading the coverage is the anecdote leaked from an early meeting with several military bigshots; he supposedly flat out said "let's just invade" and stunned the room with his stupidity. again.

it's funny to see this unfold after russia's show of force and maduro taking the head chair at OPEC's table. i doubt "official" force will be used anytime soon but the "colour revolution" nonsense will of course continue and colombia will keep playing the "saudis" to the venezuelan "syrians": expect lots of cross-border hijinks and continued piracy of goods and such.

also another case where it's fun to watch "the resistance" reconcile years of bitching about chavez and maduro with trump taking said bitching closer to its logical conclusion. further proof that people most hate in others what they fail to see in themselves. also the product of a culture that has rehabilitated bush sr. and reagan.

Posted by: the pair | Jan 24 2019 3:17 utc | 93

Grieved 69

Re possible US invasion of Venezuela. I think most who think along the lines of customary US tactics will be somewhat shocked when Trump does kick off his first war.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 24 2019 3:22 utc | 94

@ lochearn with the music posts.. here is some music from edward simon - a venezualuan living in the usa, part of the international jazz community.. the song is called venezuala suite...

@86 ptior.. lol! i think a better name for canada at this point is corporitacistan.. and they have to change the name of the usa too at this point. walmartastan...

@87 karlof1.. thanks.. there is a lot of background movement and this latest development is as kadath @99 notes, it has been in the planning stages for some time... i did look up to see what the website has to say about this and man are they soft!
"There probably isn't a good guy.'s "line," such as it is, is that the US should let the Venezuelans sort out their own problems without interference (especially, but not only, military intervention) from the US." how is that for a weak, lame-ass response?

Posted by: james | Jan 24 2019 3:22 utc | 95

@98; all right, let's concede everything you say here, namely that "the Venezuelan people deserve better than Maduro's corrupt regime". Now this gets to a question that is raised every time a country is targeted for regime change by the US/global capitalist ruling class, that is: "yes, we should oppose US imperialism and foreign intervention, but nonetheless the brutal dictator (Maduro, Assad, Ortega, Saddam, Gaddafi, etc.) should be deposed by a popular internal uprising". The problem with this position is, there never is a wholly internal, popular uprising, the foreign (US, NATO, global capitalist interests) intervention is always a fundamental constituent, so this "beautiful soul" position of no position, of maintaining oneself morally pristine in complicated situations, this position necessarily does not give the necessary weight to the reality of US global capitalist hegemony that it should, even while acknowledging it.

Let's take the example of Saddam, without doubt a brutal dictator, one who, with chemical weapons given to him by the US, really did "gas his own people", namely Iraqi Kurds. No one today will argue that Iraq is better off now than in 2001, just as no one can argue that Libya is better off today without Gaddafi, or that Syria would be better off if jihadists or the FSA were in control of Damascus and Aleppo. Likewise is the case with Latin America.

So-called leftists in the US turned their backs on the Worker's Party in Brazil while the US-backed legislative coup against Dilma Rouseff and the lawfare policies against Lula were taking place, making their usual "nuanced, balanced" criticisms of the not-good-enough progressive governments in the Global South. The result now is that a neo-fascist president is undoing all the progressive gains of the PT and selling off Brasil's rainforests and water to Coca-Cola and Chevron.

The central point being: yes, let's criticize Maduro and let's be realistic about the failures of the Bolivarian project. But, let us also not be blinded to the very basic reality that it is either the Maduro government or a US-friendly, neoliberal regime that will hold power in Venezuela. There is no possibility for a more democratic, more "progressive", or more "authentically socialist" government to be in power. It is either the Bolivarian government or a return to unbridled capitalism under the boot of the US Empire, with all the disproportionate suffering of working and rural class, Black and Indigenous people, and women that such a government would entail.

Posted by: George Lane | Jan 24 2019 3:32 utc | 96

There were supposedly huge anti-Maduro protests in Venezuela today. Two videos of alleged anti-Maduro protests Caracas are doing rounds on Twitter. One of the videos is from 2016. The other one seems to be from the same event.

1) Are these protest for or against Maduro?
2) Did they actually happen today?

How do we know?

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jan 24 2019 3:37 utc | 97

Venezuela has some capability to defend its airspace . .from Military Watch (quote excerpts):

While Venezuela has negligible domestic military industries their military has invested heavily in anti access area denial (A2AD) weaponry to protect national airspace from advanced enemy air and missile attacks. The country is one of the few operators of the advanced S-300VM, the most capable Russian made specialised anti missile system relied on by Russian forces themselves as the best defence against enemy cruise missile attacks. This specialised S-300 variant was deployed to protect Russia's forces in Syria alongside the S-400, and exceeds the S-400 in its anti missile capabilities.
Venezuela also operates advanced air defences specialised in targeting aircraft. In 2013 the country recovered the first of its 20 ordered Buk-M2E SAM systems, some of the most advanced anti aircraft systems produced by Russia. These systems have a higher potency against aircraft than any other systems the U.S. Air Force has ever engaged, and though they have a short range relative to systems such as the S-300 they are even more lethal at short range.
The backbone of the Venezuelan Air Force and the true source of its potency lies in the 23 Su-30MK2 fighters it fields, the most potent Russian air superiority fighters other than the Su-35. Few countries in the world are able to field such capable aircraft - and the United States has yet to engage any air force with fourth generation air superiority fighters - much less those as advanced as the ones that comprise Venezuela's fleet.
While Venezuela's general military capabilities are negligible compared to those of the United States, it may well prove capable enough at defending its airspace to deter an American intervention - or else make such an intervention far more difficult that it was in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Panama, Yugoslavia or any other theatre the U.S. Air Force has operated in in decades. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 24 2019 3:42 utc | 98

@ George Lane | Jan 23, 2019 10:32:11 PM | 108
The central point being: yes, let's criticize Maduro and let's be realistic about the failures of the Bolivarian project.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 24 2019 3:47 utc | 99

@108 george... thanks... we had this conversation upstream earlier.. it is amazingly predictable the position of the alexander p's of the world.. they essentially condone regime change and the murder and mayhem of countless.. it will be under the guise of what another american political bozo said today - bringing freedom to the venezuala people - or some such pablum for the masses thanks vp pence...

Posted by: james | Jan 24 2019 3:48 utc | 100

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