Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 19, 2019

Venezuela - Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue

On February 23 the U.S. created a 'humanitarian aid' stunt at the border between Colombia and Venezuela. The stunt ended in a riot during which the supporters of the self declared 'president' Guaidó burned the trucks that where supposed to transport the 'aid'. Even the New York Times had to admit that.

The riots also marked the day that Guaidó lost the legal argument he had used to make himself 'interim president'.

Guaido also lost his original legal position. He claimed the presidency on January 23 under this paragraph of article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution:
When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.
That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with. But if article 233 would apply Guaido would have had 30 days to hold new elections. The 30 days are over and Guaido did not even call for elections to be held. He thereby defied the exact same paragraph of the constitution that his (false) claim to the presidency is based on.

The hapless coup plotters in Washington DC were finally put on notice that the issue creates a legal problem for them. During a March 15 press briefing Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, was asked about the issue:

QUESTION: [C]ould you explain to us the article under which Mr. Guaido declared himself president? It is said that it has expired last month. Could you explain that to us? What is the --
MR ABRAMS: As to the Venezuelan constitution, the National Assembly has passed a resolution that states that that 30-day period of interim presidency will not start ending or counting until the day Nicolas Maduro leaves power. So the 30 days doesn’t start now, it starts after Maduro. And they – that’s a resolution of the National Assembly.

A resolution of the National Assembly, which the Supreme Court of Venezuela holds in contempt over the seating illegally elected persons, can change the country's constitution? That does not sound convincing to me. The journalists in the briefing were equally curious of how the rules could be changed like that during the ongoing game:

Q: When did they – they did that after he --
A: They did that – this is roughly a month ago. We could try to find the date for you.
Q: When he was – when he was – took the mantle of interim president, that wasn’t there.
A: Yes, when – that’s correct. And so people --
Q: Can you do that ex post facto like that?
A: When people ask a question how do --
Q: That seems to be like saying I was elected for four years to be president, and then two years in you change the rules so that your term didn’t start – hasn’t even started yet. How does that happen?
A: Well, you don’t get a vote because you’re not in the National Assembly.
Q: Well, you don’t. You’re not in the National Assembly either.
Q: If it matters, does the U.S. view that as constitutional under their system?
A: Yes. I mean, we’re taking the – the National Assembly is the only legitimate democratic institution left in Venezuela, and their interpretation of the constitution, as you know, is that as of the date of this alleged term for Maduro, the presidency is vacant. But they have also said that that 30-day period starts when Maduro goes.
Q: So Juan Guaido is the interim president of an interim that doesn’t exist yet?
A: The 30-day end to his interim presidency starts counting. Because he’s not in power, that’s the problem. Maduro is still there. So they have decided that they will count that from when he actually is in power and Maduro’s gone. I think it’s logical.
Q: So then he really isn’t interim president, then?
A: He is interim president, but he’s not --
Q: With no power.
A: -- able to exercise the powers of the office because Maduro still is there.
Q: So their interpretation is that until and unless he actually has the power to run the country, he’s not actually the interim president?
A: No. Their interpretation is that the constitution requires a 30-day interim period, but it – those 30 days should not be counted while Maduro is still there exercising the powers of his former office.

Here is a video of the exchange. (Abrams seems to be lying about the alleged National Assembly resolution.)

The legal argument Abrams produced lacks logic and clearly contradicts the wording of the constitution quoted above.

  1. The elected president has not become unavailable. Maduro was sworn in for his second term on January 10. If the underlying argument is that Maduro was illegally elected to his second term, Guaidó should have declared himself 'interim president' on the day Maduro's first term ended, January 10, not some random 13 days later.
  2. The constitution says that an election shall be held within 30 days after the elected president becomes unavailable. If the argument is that Maduro was illegally elected to his second term, the 30 days started on January 10. If the National Assembly changed that "roughly a month ago" it must have been after the time had run out.
  3. In the constitution the election within 30 days is the precondition for the existence of the 'interim president', not the other way around: "Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge ..."

With no election pending within 30 days there can be no 'interim president' - with power or without.

The legal subterfuge Abrams is using would not convince any serious court. It is of course well known that Abram's has little regard for the law. He was convicted for lying to Congress in two cases. But the issue will matter.

The U.S. seized Venezuelan assets, especially the Citgo refineries which are in financial trouble. The U.S. is trying to move all the valuable assets towards Guaidó to finance the next phased of its 'regime change' plan. Bondholders of Citgo will likely contest these impoundments and transfers of assets in court. There the argument Abrams made is not going to be a winning one.

The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it:

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes funding to support democracy in Venezuela and provides the flexibility to make more funds available to support a democratic transition, including up to $500 million in transfer authority.

The CIA and the Pentagon will have made much larger budget requests even while an invasion of Venezuela continues to be unlikely.

In August last year so called Venezuelan army defectors attempted to kill Maduro with drones carrying explosives during a military ceremony. CNN talked with them. The men say they trained in Colombia and met at least three times with U.S. officials. It is likely that such assassination attempts, undoubtedly organized by the CIA, will continue.

In preparation of the 'humanitarian aid' stunt the U.S. had asked Brazil to use military force to bring in the 'aid' into Venezuela and to allow a U.S. presence at the border. The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it (in Portuguese).

Bosonaro is currently in Washington to meet President Trump. He also made an unusual visit to the CIA headquarter likely to review plans for future operations in Venezuela:

A senior U.S. administration official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, noted that Brazil has a close relationship with Venezuela’s military and may be able to serve as a go-between with the security forces that continue to support Maduro.
...
“We have to sort Venezuela out,” Bolsonaro said. “We cannot leave them the way they are. We have to free the nation of Venezuela.”

That a Brazilian President visits the CIA, the agency responsible for violent coups and brutal dictatorships in Latin American is disgusting. Many people in Brazil will dislike it. Supporting a CIA coup in a neighboring country is worse. It’s hard to sink any lower.

The government of Venezuela is preparing to resists the next phase of the U.S. regime change attempt. It will export more of its oil to Russia which continues to be willing to pay for it.

After the large electricity outage and other sabotage attempts the situation in Venezuela is back to normal. No one is starving even as prices are high.

President Maduro asked his cabinet to resign. The new government and its tasks will be re-configured to resist better to U.S. pressure and the upcoming additional sanctions.

This will be a long fight.

Posted by b on March 19, 2019 at 18:18 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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During Bosonaro's visit to the US Trump also announced his support for Brazil's entrance into the NATO alliance, if I was Germany I'd veto that idea outright, the last thing NATO needs is a basket case like Brazil. But I imagine the Pentagon is already counting all the additional arms they can sell to Brazil as a member of NATO without having to go through all the additional hoops they would while it's just an ally of NATO

Posted by: Kadath | Mar 19 2019 18:37 utc | 1

Random Guy also appointed an ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, to the US who just took over the Venezuela's diplomatic buildings (empty since Venezuela broke off relations with the US over the attempted coup), including the consular building in New York. So far it doesn't look like the US has succeed in replacing Venezuela's representative to the UN with a US stooge, but I imagine the US is working hard on that front as well. The US looks just ridiculous doing a stunt this, but B is right, the US always doubles down, especially on a losing plan.

Posted by: Kadath | Mar 19 2019 18:43 utc | 2

Half a BILLION dollars to be spent to overthrow Maduro, and they spent how much time making claims like Putin hacked the election.... Lies, More lies,Damn lies..... Same as it ever was.

Posted by: Masher1 | Mar 19 2019 18:43 utc | 3

Great article! Keep it up and thank you!

Posted by: El Samuel | Mar 19 2019 18:51 utc | 4

thanks b... some crazy talk in that daily press briefing with abrams...

"Q: So Juan Guaido is the interim president of an interim that doesn’t exist yet?
A: The 30-day end to his interim presidency starts counting. Because he’s not in power, that’s the problem. Maduro is still there. So they have decided that they will count that from when he actually is in power and Maduro’s gone. I think it’s logical.
Q: So then he really isn’t interim president, then?
A: He is interim president, but he’s not --
Q: With no power."

that sounds about par fe the course for the usa... as kadath says - they always double down on losing plans!

i am a bit mystified as to the plan of maduros to get the cabinet to resign.. what is the concept there? does he have a number of members that could be persuaded by the logic of abrams? with a little bribery money, no doubt..

i wonder how brazilians are looking at the stooge they have in power now, sucking up to the usa-cia..

Posted by: james | Mar 19 2019 19:08 utc | 5

Random Guiado, the President who wasn't There. The longer this goes on, the stronger the Bay of Pigs smell grows.

Posted by: worldblee | Mar 19 2019 19:20 utc | 6

Thank you b

Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana!!!

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 19 2019 19:31 utc | 7

The optics of groveling to the US and Israel, and military opposition, are not good for our friend Jair. It's only a matter of time until Bolsonaro starts hemorrhaging support and Brazilian nationalism abandons him.

Posted by: Cesare | Mar 19 2019 19:31 utc | 8

- If Maduro is in power, then the office is not vacant. Therefore, Guaidó cannot be interim president.
- If the office is vacant, then there is no president. Therefore, Guaidó either is or isn't the interim president (i.e. he can't be the interim president of the interim president, which in this case is nobody).

If you want to suspend the Constitution, declare a civil war. If you win the civil war, then you can do whatever you please (including obeying and/or reinterpreting the old Constitution). In the strict legal sense, Guaidó's position is untenable. Even the counting of days was wrong: January has 31 days, not 30, therefore his alleged 30-day mandate was over at the 21st of February, not at the 23rd.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19 2019 19:33 utc | 9

Re:#6 James, normally when you request that your own cabinet resigns it means that you've either lost faith in their ability to perform their jobs - OR - your making a drastic change in direction for your government and you need people with a different skill set to run the various government departments. I imagine Maduros's decision is a mixture of needing to create a "war government" to fight the economic war the US is waging against him and ensuring the loyalty of powerful political rivals by giving them cabinet posts. Maduro will probably announce some major new policies in the coming weeks aimed at 1) resisting US economic pressure 2) increase Maduro's support among the population (maybe some policies aimed at the urban middle class to split them off from Random Guy) and 3) announce some foreign relationship drive to hopefully block more countries from supporting random guy's pseudo-government and hopefully win some countries back. economic advisors from Russia, Cuba, China and maybe Iran & Syria will be providing vital support for any economic policies aimed at avoid US sanctions

Posted by: Kadath | Mar 19 2019 19:43 utc | 10

[The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it]

Too bad the federal military in the exceptional and indispensable democracy doesn't have the same common sense option.

Posted by: ken | Mar 19 2019 19:59 utc | 11

"The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it:

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes funding to support democracy in Venezuela and provides the flexibility to make more funds available to support a democratic transition, including up to $500 million in transfer authority."

Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for.

Posted by: lgfocus | Mar 19 2019 20:03 utc | 12

@ lgfocus who asked
"
Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for.
"

Keep asking those questions and maybe Americans will grow the sentiments necessary to stand up.

Where are the Bernie crowd that are going to make so much difference in the coming (s)election?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 19 2019 20:13 utc | 13

Even the counting of days was wrong: January has 31 days, not 30, therefore his alleged 30-day mandate was over at the 21st of February, not at the 23rd.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19, 2019 3:33:55 PM | 10

They made their general ops to produce public results specifically at 23 of this month or for several more months. They obviously wanted to make a point like they were doing at least since 2016 for almost each consequtive month, only for that period favorable date number was 11. Check events for every 11th of each month since 2016 and check what dominated US and EU news.
Yet in current Venezuela events there seem to be so much FAIL regarding the US clandestine strategies.

Posted by: so much fail | Mar 19 2019 20:15 utc | 14

There's also rising domestic pushback within the Outlaw US Empire while the hypocrisy of Russiagate rises like a massive iceberg on the horizon. This also puts additional pressure on Vassal EU governments whose publics see through the Empire's lies and thus further delegitimizes their national governments. French Yellow Vests will not surrender until Macron and his backing Establishment does, and they're motivating other nation's citizens. Will Poroshenko get reelected in 12 days or ? IMO, both Trump and Bolsonaro will be ousted before Maduro. It appears the Truth Brigades outnumber the liebots thanks to b and a host of other genuine journalists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2019 20:20 utc | 15

Merkel might say:

"There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO.

They can have ours."

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Mar 19 2019 20:22 utc | 16

psychohistorian so Bernie is a jewish guy that current Israeli gov would very much hate to see becoming a US president in 2020?

Posted by: testing | Mar 19 2019 20:22 utc | 17

Did anyone else wonder at the sudden pair of refinery fires in Houston?

Posted by: Peter VE | Mar 19 2019 20:22 utc | 18

@11 kadath.. thanks for the response to my question.. we will have to wait and see how this unfolds.. it reminds me a bit of the ukraine 2014 scenario, but different too... in ukraines case, they already had a split dynamic in the country itself.. here, i don't see it.. the split seems to be along economics - who are the upper class, with some middle class in tow, verses everyone else..

Posted by: james | Mar 19 2019 20:22 utc | 19

@13 lgfocus - that sounds suspiciously like something a COMMUNIST would say!!!!!!! During the 1797 XYZ scandal C.C. Pinckney reportedly said "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." which has been quoted by the Military Industrial Complex ad nauseam for the last 70 years to justify massive military budgets to fight the forever wars. Given the results of the last 70 years of US policies I would say that quote should now be updated to "Trillions for war, but not one cent for the people."

Posted by: Kadath | Mar 19 2019 20:26 utc | 20

@ testing that responded to my comment that wrote of Berniebots

I will support anyone who wants to take down global private banking and I don't think that includes Bernie

That said, there is a growing mass of young folks that just might try to take over the (s)election process this time around.....will they succeed? Not from what we see of protests against US meddling in Venezuela.....nothing

We will see what TPTB put forward for a circus this time around.....if we make it that far.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 19 2019 20:29 utc | 21

Thank you.
Yes indeed. So much candidates. Seems like fog of war. That can only mean they in reality sticking to their original plans.

Posted by: testing | Mar 19 2019 20:36 utc | 22

@ testing who wrote
"
Yes indeed. So much candidates. Seems like fog of war.
"

With more candidates early on, it takes all that energy and diffuses it for petty warfare instead of a firmly focused "machine" that would take over Congress through the Dem party.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 19 2019 20:50 utc | 23

"Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue"

Doubt?

What does it take?

Swore himself in. Likly over the sink as he shaved.

Didn't even run for the office in election.

From polling, virtually unknown to most of the country.

Someone else ran, and he won big.

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Mar 19 2019 21:02 utc | 24

psychohistorian @14

Actually Tulsi Gabbard made this point strongly in her last town hall.

Tulsi Gabbard Answers The Question, "How Are You Different From Bernie Sanders"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz_TwpA8awo

Posted by: lgfocus | Mar 19 2019 21:09 utc | 25

So if Elliott Abrams is correct, the Venezuelan National Assembly (a now illegitimate entity by the way) has passed a resolution that Juan Guaido's "interim presidency" only begins AFTER Nicolas Maduro leaves the presidency? Is that not admitting that Maduro is the legitimate president?

That Jair Bolsonaro is visiting the CIA to discuss overthrowing Maduro may alarm quite a few people even among the top tiers of the Brazilian military who otherwise support him. What's to stop Bolsonaro from discussing with the CIA how to get rid of more than a few top Brazilian generals who disagree with overthrowing the government of a neighbouring country?

Posted by: Jen | Mar 19 2019 21:14 utc | 26

Re#26 Jen

Now let's all imagine what would happen if Brazil was accepted into NATO like Trump & the MIC wants and the Brazilian Generals decided to continue their time-honoured tradition of toppling the current Brazilian President. NATO has no means of ejecting or even suspending a member so any such crisis in Brazilian leadership would immediately trigger a crisis within NATO itself on how to respond and accepting a coup government into NATO would kill the illusion that NATO is some sort of league of Democracies that Bolton hopes to promote as a replacement to the UN assembly.

Posted by: Kadath | Mar 19 2019 21:34 utc | 27

Well, Bolsonaro's complete and absolute submission to Donald Trump and the US is probably surprising even the most optmistic hawks in the White House. The golden shower president will probably accept anything the US tries to push to Brazil.

Posted by: Miranda | Mar 19 2019 21:34 utc | 28

Taking this to the logical conclusion:

All Venezuelan assets that were given to Guaidó were stolen.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2019 22:11 utc | 29

It strikes me that the futility of trying to stir up a revolution with an elite constituency seems completely lost on the coup planners. The Venezuelan elite might want the government overthrown but there is no way that they'll put their own blood on the line for it. It's really puzzling trying to understand how they see this playing out. And what will their elite supporters think if US sanctions mean they can't use their Visa or MasterCard? And the businesses that cater to the elite?

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 19 2019 22:13 utc | 30

Kadath @1: Brazil and NATO

The plan is probably for Brazil to become a NATO partner like Columbia.

A 'partner' has a lesser status than a 'member'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2019 22:18 utc | 31

The Brazil to NATO call sounds awfully like a forecast of significant cross-border provocations by Brazil which, if responded to by the Venezuelans, could trigger the old Article 5 musketeers to intervene militarily. Just as ludicrous (and dangerous) as the UK ‘s FCE attempt to confer diplomatic status on the BBC Farsi woman jailed in Iran. Student union politics.

Posted by: Cortes | Mar 19 2019 22:46 utc | 32

Abrams is attempting to claim that Random Guy is "interim President-in-waiting".

Q: What is that Interim President-in-waiting actually waiting for?
A: He's waiting for the position of President to become vacant.

THAT is the fatal flaw in all of Abrams legal mumbo-jumbo i.e. the articles of the Venezuelan Constitution that Random Guy invoked to claim the title of Interim President are only applicable when the office of President (and also Vice President) are VACANT.

Then and only then can the leader of the National Assembly take on the role of "interim President" until elections take place 30 days later.

Abrams is admitting that the office of President isn't vacant.

This is an important legal point, so it bears repeating: Abrams accepts that someone holds that position, albeit he is insisting that the current office-holder's claim to that chair is illegitimate (in Constitutional terms, Maduro is "unfit" to be President).

Again, that exposes Abrams argument as legal mumbo-jumbo, precisely because the leader of the National Assembly does not possess the authority to declare that a sitting President is "unfit" for the office. The Venezuelan Constitution is quite clear on that point: that authority rests with the supreme court, who are perfectly satisfied with Madura's fitness to be President.

Abrams argument is therefore fraught with danger for Random Guy.

The Constitution clearly states that he can not claim the "interim Presidency" unless the position is already vacant, which it clearly is not.

The Constitution also clearly states that he does not have the authority to declare the position to be vacant.

Yet Guaido has done both, and done so at the acknowledged urging of a foreign power.

At the very least that amounts to insurrection, if not treason.


Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 19 2019 23:00 utc | 33

1. Counterpunch
I want to add extra focus on the excellent interview b linked to over at Counterpunch which was also posted over at Zerohedge.

CG: There’s not the chaos US and Trump were expecting. (Opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan) Guaidó is the most hated guy in Venezuela. He has to stay in luxury hotel in La Mercedes, an expensive neighbourhood of Caracas. They have electricity there, as they were prepared, so bought generators. That is why Guaidó went there, and has a whole floor of a luxury hotel for him and his family. While people are suffering Guaidó is trying on suits for his upcoming trip to Europe. It is a parallel world.

AG: You think Guaidó will fail?

CG: Venezuelans are making so many jokes with his name, as there’s a word similar to stupid in Spanish – guevon. And look at the demonstration in La Mercedes the other day (12 March), the crowds didn’t manifest. It is becoming a joke in the country. The more the Europeans and the US make him a president, the more bizarre the situation becomes, as Guaidó is not president of Venezuela! Interestingly, Chavez predicted what is happening today, he wrote about it, so people are going back to his works and reading him again.

Links to both the original and the copy for convenience:
Counterpunch original
ZH copy


2. Military Times
It could well have been me making b's conclusion on the following as well but since it isn't it gives me an opportunity to warn about and completely disagree when it comes to the content at Military Times and the conclusions drawn from it: that content if anything is circumstantial proof that a decision has already been made in favor of a larger war (technically the US has already launched a war by its actions, or at least according to its own definitions as it applies it to others attacking them, if I remember correctly they would even allow themselves to respond with nuclear weapons in such a scenario).

It might not have been the intent of Military Times (I do not know them) but everything about their content at that link screams war is coming.

Notice how the US congress etc. portrays themselves as unwilling to go to war. We all know this is untrue.
Notice how "everyone" portray themselves as more or less being forced against their will to get involved. We all know this is untrue.

"They" love to do this, to wallow in "reluctance", to play innocent, to further the narrative of "the good guys", because doing so preys on those who still believe they are on the side of good (or in this case preys on anybody's remaining hope that they have some shred of sanity left or that they've run out of bloodlust) and more or less guarantees their support or silent acceptance in the general public. I recognize this all to well because I fell for it myself in the past. It is a large part of their cherished narrative and has self-reinforcing properties. They would say it even if no one listened but it is still completely untrue.

Notice how they constantly hint at what amounts to "if we had to we would".
Notice that despite how every US action mentioned (except for some nebulous bill that might as well be a unicorn fart) goes against avoiding a war they quote some ex-CIA person on all of it being the exact opposite and a way to avoid war (but still meet their objective consisting of unconditional demands).
Notice how at first they claim to believe it would be hard and thus something they obviously wouldn't want to choose and thus if given no choice then it can't be their fault.

Nevertheless, the crisis is deteriorating rapidly.

Yeah of course it is, as planned and as caused by themselves.

Notice the laundry list of "bad stuff happening".
Notice the appeal to military solutions.
Notice how they then claim it might not be so hard after all, or at least necessary or worth it.
Notice how they list military options to choose between.

It has already been decided and has already started.

3. Refinery fires

Did anyone else wonder at the sudden pair of refinery fires in Houston?

Posted by: Peter VE | Mar 19, 2019 4:22:48 PM | 19

Yes, since the second larger one went off because I didn't hear about the first one until then and don't know anything more than that there was one. These things do happen during normal operation of plants and refineries because every day it doesn't happen unavoidably breeds some false sense of security and familiarity with the potential energies involved.

And if that's not what happened then it will be a very hot US summer.

For those who didn't catch it here's all I've got (two measly links).
RT (2nd one)
ZH today (2nd one is now bigger):

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 19 2019 23:11 utc | 34

Como Brasileiro, sinto vergonha.
Bolsonaro decepciona muito.
O Barão do Rio Branco está remoendo no caixão.
Brasil vira um alvo.

Posted by: Proftel | Mar 19 2019 23:12 utc | 35

I'm guessing the links ate my comment and it will appear here later after b views it? I think it might be because I used the "A href" tags? Or because I had four links?

The comment was on Counterpunch, Military Times, and the refinery fires Peter VE mentioned.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 19 2019 23:14 utc | 36

I'm guessing the links ate my comment and it will appear here later after b views it? I think it might be because I used the "A href" tags? Or because I had four links?

The comment was on Counterpunch, Military Times, and the refinery fires Peter VE mentioned.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 19 2019 23:14 utc | 37

SRB @35&36--

4 links sometimes triggers the spam monitor. If legit, your comment with links will appear later.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2019 23:23 utc | 38

It's mildly amusing that The Great Satan's Special Representative for Venezuela looks like one of those popular Christian images of Satan.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 19 2019 23:27 utc | 39

This Moderate Rebels Transcript contains excellent revelatory points about Bolsonaro, the rise of Brazilian Fascism and its connections to the Outlaw US Empire and its ally Zionistan. I'm uncertain if b linked to it previously as I just stumbled across it.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 19 2019 23:33 utc | 40

@ Sunny Runny Burger #35

I'd say it was the four links. Three will cause one of my posts to disappear for a while. My usual compensation is to provide easily searchable headlines for any more than two stories.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 19 2019 23:39 utc | 41

worldblee | Mar 19, 2019 3:20:54 PM | 7:

In reference to your Bag of Pigs comment, I'm waiting for Trump to announce a new Space Race to Mars once they give up on their failed coup in Venezuela. LOL

Posted by: Ian | Mar 19 2019 23:45 utc | 42

After the people of Brazil got a taste of power with Lula, their social and national conscience has risen. A Brazilian military aggression in Venezuela on behalf of American Imperialism will be viciously opposed by the peoples of Latin America and Spain and Portugal. The Colombian ELN and Venezuela's Bolivarian militias will unite and begin to attack the US military in Colombia and fight the vassal state of Colombia. These militias will fight to the death. Ecuador will catch on fire as well since traitor Moreno backs the US invasion. This will get ugly.

Posted by: El Cid | Mar 20 2019 0:07 utc | 43

US will just make up another excuse. These guys don't follow any laws so there is no point interpreting them. Raw power and a good defense strategy is what it counts now for Venezuela. They need more S-300, Buk, coastal defense and allies. This is the key for survival of Venezuela. US will then back down or nuke Venezuela into democracy and freedom of press.

Posted by: Б | Mar 20 2019 0:18 utc | 44

@7 This time will be bay of rats.

Posted by: Ciso Tagori | Mar 20 2019 0:24 utc | 45

The always interesting Florida Maquis YT channel covers S. America extensively and mentioned today Trump is putting Brazil forward for OECD membership which may give leverage to their fascist leader.

Posted by: Don Task | Mar 20 2019 0:28 utc | 46


The news that Maduro is making a new cabinet could be very important. The current cabinet was chosen to implement policies designed to prevent a coup by compromising with moderate elements of the bourgeoisie. Such policies involved the watering down of the revolutionary policies of 21st Century Socialism, which has led to the erosion of political support for Maduro without making any perceptible difference the bourgeois commitment to coups and other antidemocratic measures.
If the revolution is to survive it must continue to deepen, bringing gains to the masses besides which the inconveniences of sanctions/sabotage are pinpricks which only serve to deepen popular support of national independence and socialist reform.
If the revolution deepens it will not only increase the strength of the popular movement but broaden the appeal of Venezuela's policies to the millions of Latin Americans currently watching in dismay as neo-liberalism cuts into their living standards and aspirations of security. Nowhere are there millions more sympathetic to revolutionary programmes than in Colombia, a byword for bad government and inequality and Brazil where the current Presidency is completely illegitimate.
It will be interesting to see whether Maduro's new cabinet is more attuned to the revolution and less interested in compromises with a comprador class whose alliance with the US is based as much on racism and hatred of its own countrymen as it is on greed. Anbd that is saying something.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 20 2019 0:34 utc | 47

Thank you Karlof1 and Zachary Smith, I'll do my best to remember not to go "link crazy" in the future :D

Aside from all that and on the comments here on Colombia it makes me reconsider if there was any positive value at all in the mediation by Norway (and others? I think the current "social democrat" secretary general of NATO was prime minister there at the time...) to curtail or end the civil war or if it was all a ploy in bad faith. I could be wrong about this.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 20 2019 1:25 utc | 48

I was wrong but I've found out where the confusion stems from; Norway was the second "guarantor country" after Cuba.

Once the negotiators had been agreed upon, the two sides moved to designate foreign guarantor countries. Cuba, host to previous encounters, was a logical choice, while Norway was chosen as the second guarantor country for its active role in international conflict mediation. Additionally, two facilitator or 'accompanying countries' were also designated. The FARC chose Venezuela, while the Colombian government chose Chile.[14] Exploratory meetings continued in Havana in February 2012, with limited [...]

From Wikipedia on Colombian peace process

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 20 2019 1:42 utc | 49

reply to: Peter VE 19
"Did anyone else wonder at the sudden pair of refinery fires in Houston?"
Birds coming home to roost was my first thought, I am waiting for a major US grid to go dark next..any guesses as to where, or possibly when?

Posted by: frances | Mar 20 2019 1:55 utc | 50

reply to:psychohistorian 23
"With more candidates early on, it takes all that energy and diffuses it for petty warfare instead of a firmly focused "machine" that would take over Congress through the Dem party."
Well, when your strategy is identity politics you do need a crowd; so all of your supporters can "identify" with their own special someone and be sad and upset when they lose.
Keep them divided, keep it about race/sexual identity/religion/favorite vegetable if need be, oh, and of course that favorite mantra; hatred of the "other(s)."
The Dem party is gone, what is left is a divisive machine whose sole purpose seems to be to separate people into separate boxes with separate identities only united by their hatred of "other" parties and always completely blind to what is being done in the world in their (US) name.

Posted by: frances | Mar 20 2019 2:09 utc | 51

Nowhere are there millions more sympathetic to revolutionary programmes than in Colombia, a byword for bad government and inequality ... bevin | Mar 19, 2019 8:34:12 PM

Current president was elected with rather thin majority -- not as thin as Trump -- and while economy is "thriving" according to some measures, the fruits of it are even less evenly distributed than in USA, and the resurgence of the left is fully possible. Importantly, Colombian society is still very divided in the aftermath of La Violencia of 1950-s, violence that never truly went away. Colombia and Venezuela are closely connected since colonial times and troubles easily cross the border. In turn, Venezuelans seems to be easy going bunglers.

Chavista have "the heart in right place", but even in easier times they had troubles with the economy. The opposition is all thumbs. The freedom fighters who defected into Colombia seem to be a bunch of loosers, correctly evicted from a homeless shelter once found useless. Their putative paymasters seem particularly egregious, good for them to manage to get rid of the traitors before the latter found a nerve to unionize, but what was the plan anyway?. Sic sempter traditoribus.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 20 2019 2:12 utc | 52

reply to El Cid 42
"The Colombian ELN and Venezuela's Bolivarian militias will unite and begin to attack the US military in Colombia and fight the vassal state of Colombia. These militias will fight to the death. Ecuador will catch on fire as well since traitor Moreno backs the US invasion. This will get ugly."
You left out the elephant or rather landmass in the room; Latin America is connected to the US by land. This US misadventure will come home to roost, it will explode everywhere and anywhere, finally and at long last IMO the US will reap what it has sown.

Posted by: frances | Mar 20 2019 2:25 utc | 53

lgfocus @ 13 said in part;"Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for."

This would be a excellent point for all the Dems chasing the POTUS, but, even if they did, it probably wouldn't get any play on the corporate MSM.

It makes too much sense!
kudos for the relevant mention......

Posted by: ben | Mar 20 2019 2:58 utc | 54

German foreign policy disaster. German freelancer journalist Billy Six jailed in Venezuela, now back in Germany after intervention by Russian foreign minister Lawrov. Press conference with Billy after his arrival in Germany. Must see (German) Germany is accused in the participation of the drone attack against Maduro.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsg5Jx5xzrU

Posted by: Nionde | Mar 20 2019 3:38 utc | 55

Abrams trying to explain Guano and Venezuelan law is a bit like trying to explain western democracy VS 'non democratic' Assad and Putin and Maduro. Doesn't matter the majority of people have voted for them. That's not 'democratic'. A lot of Guano in western so called democracy.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 20 2019 6:58 utc | 56

Russia ad Maduro should stir the rebels in Columbia. The destabilization of Columbia would create serious problem for the USA and could help Maduro.

https://www.voanews.com/a/as-venezuela-crisis-deepens-us-sharpens-focus-on-colombia-rebel-threat/4837258.html

Posted by: virgile | Mar 20 2019 7:57 utc | 57

virgile

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 20 2019 8:05 utc | 58

virgile

US will create its own problem. All Russia has to do is tread the straight and narrow keeping a big stick by their side.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 20 2019 8:07 utc | 59

"The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it..."

I would be willing to bet that one of the purposes of Bolsonaro's visit to the CIA and DC was to see how he could remedy that situation, perhaps by getting rid of just a few of these troublesome military generals who are opposed to his using the Brazilian military, overt and covert, against Venezuela....

not to mention of course the usual and disgusting CIA options of subversion and other covert operations agasint Venezuelan democracy

Posted by: michaelj72 | Mar 20 2019 8:55 utc | 60

Maybe Maduro is changing his cabinet to get people in who are not under US sanctions. The US claims most of it's sanctions are against bad guys but the reality is naming individuals is a propaganda ruse as the sanctions go far deeper than the individuals. People who don't look past the headlines believe it's only individuals so they fall for the US line it's Maduro and his polices not the US that's causing the economic problems in Venezuela. Thus a new cabinet could give Maduro some breathing room until the US can sanction the new guys.

If the US does shut off Mastercard and Visa it will be huge mistake as I doubt very few of the governments supporters have credit cards. Those the US claims to be hitting with this action can get a Russian credit card if it's possible. The upper class Gweedo lovers will be the ones hardest hit which doesn't bode well for Gweedo boy who spouts guano and promises he can't keep every time he opens his mouth.

Lots of blather of the citizens of the US should stand against the governments actions in Venezuela. The US government and it's lap dog press control the narrative thus it won't happen. But if it came to a military invasion the citizens will come out of cocoons and say hell no like they did with Syria when Obama wanted to bomb that country into the stone age when Assad, it was the rebels that used gas, crossed his red line. A military invasion and resulting guerilla warfare in Venezuela will send American boys and girls home in body bags and Trump can kiss his reelection goodbye and he knows it. Thus no invasion by the US but that doesn't rule out covert commando raids and sabotage by US personnel inside the country.

Posted by: snedly arkus | Mar 20 2019 9:43 utc | 61

This is another story that might be nothing at all despite the catchy headline.

Brazilian Uranium convoy attacked March 19th

The attack took place when vehicle traffic was stopped at a train crossing, but whether the raiders indeed had intended to steal the uranium shipment has yet to be determined. Civil Police are now trying to establish the motive behind the incident. The attackers have managed to flee the scene, but police have recovered a 9mm pistol which they are now trying to trace back to the armed group.

I don't speak Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese but those that do will likely find more information in the Globo article.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 20 2019 11:02 utc | 62

The Globo article says an enriched Uranium convoy, sent to the Angra dos Reis nuclear power plant, was attacked by local criminal gangs. The area of Angra dos Reis, renowned for its beautiful coastline and luxury resorts, is now roamed by criminal gangs that threaten the population and overtly defy law enforcement forces. Police forces and armed convoys moving along the highway are frequently ambushed.

Despite Bolsonaro's campaign promises, gangs seems to remain in charge, even in Angra dos Reis! From the Globo article:

"One of the most beautiful places of the State of Rio, the county of Angra dos Reis has experienced an increase in violence, with the presence of fire-armed drug dealers inside communities that were previously considered peaceful."

Posted by: joaopft | Mar 20 2019 11:39 utc | 63

@Nionde 54:

There is also an extended version of the press conference where Billy Six answers some more questions. One is particulary interesting as he points out the economic interests of the German government in Venezuela. He mentions explicitly SIEMENS, Linde, Lufthansa and DHL which are excluded from free-convertability into Dollar-reserves since Chavez established currency controls in 2003.
He also claims that the Federal Government in the person of the now expelled German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Kriener has met with the father of Juan Requesens who is/was member of the National Assembly, associated to the student protest newtwork of 'Generation 2007' to which Juan Guaido belongs, and whose party Primero Justicia is the party of Julio Borges - the former president of the National Assembly and co-plotter of the 2002 coup on Chavez. Juan Requesens is under arrest and accused to be part of the drone attack on Maduro in August last year along with 16 other conspirators. According to Six - who had contact with several of these plotters in prison - the coup in effect did happen and failed because the Maduro government was pre-informed about the plot and an anti-drone shield could prevent the assault.
What made it even worse for Six, according to what was told to him by SEBIN (political police force of Venezuela), was that the German government was aware of this drone in advance which is why the German embassy had taken such a stand for Juan Requesens to get him out of prison. This, however, is suppose to be one of the reasons why, of those foreign ambassadors of Venezuela who received Guaido at the airport two weeks ago, German ambassador Kriener was the only one who was to leave the country upon the advice of the Bolivarian Government.

There is certainly more to follow and it is perhaps not wrong to keep an eye on this

Posted by: vato | Mar 20 2019 11:51 utc | 64

I would not trust the Brazilian people or the Brazilian left to take care of the issue.

The non-Venezuelan Latin American left is one of the most innofensive, docile and innefective lefts of the Third World. This is specially the case of the Brazilian left, which is also deeply balkanized, torn down in inumerous factions -- from the social liberals to communists.

Besides, the far-right has genuine and huge popular support in Brazil. Bolsonaro's is not a political giant by any means, nor is he the novelty/outsider e.g. Trump is (he was a Congressman for 28 consecutive years before becoming president). The far-right is at least 25% of the voting adult population, most probably around 40%, and this mass will go until the end with their design. Bolsonaro is no Temer.

Posted by: vk | Mar 20 2019 12:19 utc | 65

@17 Guy Thornton wrote:

Merkel might say: "There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."

Forget it! Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for. She is doing everything her masters in Washington ask her to do. For example the German public is awaiting a mildly entertaining show of their government on how to work around yesterdays court decision:

International law is the yardstick for international politics. This has been clarified by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster in a spectacular ruling on lethal US drone missions in Yemen. Several relatives of victims who were killed in such attacks had sued. They hold the Federal Republic of Germany jointly responsible for this because the United States allegedly also uses the US airbase in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate for these fatal attacks.

There are important indications that the drone attacks in question violate international law and the fundamental right to life. The Federal Republic of Germany must protect these rights and stand up for them. Therefore the Federal Republic must clarify now in a first step whether the attacks offend against international right.

(Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator from Urteil über US-Airbase in Ramstein: Deutsche Richter fordern Überprüfung tödlicher US-Drohneneinsätze )

NOT! Aside from the fact, that the public press largely ignores this decision, our governments have a long record of doing actually nothing when formally independent judges even from the highest courts ask them to adhere to the law.
Speaking of embarrassing lackeys, when the empire was seeking a new nodal point to more efficiently drone bomb Northern Africa the most obvious/nearby European locations like Italy, France or Greece all said “Nah, better not”. But, don’t you worry, Missus Merkel was of course happy to offer Stuttgard in Southern Germany as base for AFRICOM!

Always at your service!

Posted by: Cemi | Mar 20 2019 12:50 utc | 66

Excellent post B. Thanks for keeping Venezuela front and center in your blogs.

From my perspective, it looks like Russia is effectively running Venezuela.

What are the indicators:
- Russia is handling Venezuelan oil sales
- Russia is handling Venezuelan international banking
- Maduro has made no strategic mistakes during the coup attempt. Every U.S. move has been effectively thwarted.
- With few exceptions, military discipline has been maintained.
- The new government realignment looks like something that Maduro would not have come up with on his own. It is probably a part of the economic plan the Russia prepared for Venezuela over the past couple of months.

Venezuela is starting to look a lot like Crimea. The U.S. wanted Crimea in order to take over the Russian naval base and effectively neutralize Russia's Black Sea Fleet. But Russia was there first, thwarted the U.S.' every move, and now the U.S., in the Black Sea, is in a much weaker position than before 2014.

In Venezuela, the U.S. wanted Venezuelan oil. But Russia was there first. So far every U.S. move has been thwarted and the U.S. is starting to suffer from a scarcity of heavy crudes. If past is prologue, the U.S. will have no more success in Venezuela than it did in Crimea. It will not dare to take on Venezuela militarily, as this would mean to take on Russia militarily.

Venezuela will represent another watershed moment in separating the world into those who are with the U.S., and those who are against. And the U.S. side will be somewhat smaller than it was before their Venezuelan adventure started.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Mar 20 2019 13:32 utc | 67


Canada disgrace IMO.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51289.htm

Posted by: arby | Mar 20 2019 13:50 utc | 68

@ frances | Mar 19, 2019 9:55:58 PM | 49

I am waiting for a major US grid to go dark next..any guesses as to where, or possibly when?”

Texas might, again, be a logical location. It is the only state that has its own, internal electrical power production and distribution grid, not connected to anything outside the state, so they'd be the only ones to suffer.

Can't wait to see little Marco's tweets about that . . .

Posted by: AntiSpin | Mar 20 2019 15:14 utc | 69

This is an excellent article based on an interview with a Trade Unionist and militant socialist in Venezuela:
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/03/19/a-venezuela-union-leaders-analysis-of-crisis/

Posted by: bevin | Mar 20 2019 15:32 utc | 70

There's a mind-boggling Extortiongate scandal going on in Argentina - with links throughout Latin America including Venezuela, and to Elliot Abrams:

Don’t Spy for Me Argentina

In fact, it connects with virtually everything!

Posted by: BM | Mar 20 2019 15:35 utc | 71

GG has article about bolsonaro at intercept.

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 20 2019 15:54 utc | 72

Abrams to media.....“Constitutional rules? We ain’t got no rules! We don’t need no rules!
I don’t have to show you any stinking rules!” The US cannot be serious, $500 million to take over Venezuela with the greatest oil reserves on the planet. Victoria Nuland said the US spent $5 Billion on regime change in Ukraine.. F-----g cheapskates. They will double down, wait for the secondary sanctions, it is so important that Venezuela keeps its oil markets, especially Russia and China.

Posted by: Harry Law | Mar 20 2019 16:14 utc | 73

Bolsonaro authorizes imports of 750,000 metric tons of American wheat:

Bolsonaro trai ruralistas e libera trigo dos EUA

Contrary to what the article states, Brazil has a negligible wheat production. However, Argentina has, and its main importer until now was Brazil. A huge blow to the Argentinian economy, whose trade balance will fall even more.

The situation in Brazil so calamitous that it produced an extremely rare Chinese manifestation about the country:

Brazil should seek industrial upgrade, not US approval

Posted by: vk | Mar 20 2019 16:35 utc | 74

to mourning dove at 30 and snedly at 60

It looks like the US is having to rescue some of the Venezuelan oligarchs from the effect of the sanctions. This being Fox, it blames socialism, which is utterly backwards, but the facts are there.
US lifts sanctions on wives of Venezuela TV magnates
Oh the poor dears. How they must have suffered.

Also, it looks like they (US) are thinking about cutting off credit cards, which as you've opined, would hurt the middle and upper classes much more than the typical Chavista.
Credit card sanctions?

Posted by: SteveInNC | Mar 20 2019 16:47 utc | 75

That whole press conference exchange has a faintly Mad Hatter Tea Party quality to it.

At one point Abrams says the interim presidency doesn't start counting until "after Maduro", but the whole raison d'etre of article 233 in the first place is to ensure a constitutional transition of power in the event that the president becomes unavailable. So that (the president becoming unavailable) would had to have happened FIRST -- prior to the implementation of (the relevant passage of) article 233. In other words, that would have to be the triggering event.

If this seems a bit like stating the obvious -- it is. As the article states,'That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with.' That's end of discussion right there. It never happened. And they have everybody talking in circles about whether or not the thirty day election requirement was fulfilled? It's absurd.

One thing I'll give the neo-cons credit for is their ability to take obvious lies/complete fabrications and somehow get people to discuss them as if there was any reality to it. Like in the case of Iraq they had the whole world discussing the threat of non-existent WMDs. All these "serious" pundits would prattle on endlessly about the pros and cons of an issue for which there was not a scintilla of evidence. I think even Goebbels would have to stand back in awe of what they do.

Posted by: quixotic1 | Mar 20 2019 17:12 utc | 76

Telling Rubio the truth:

"*Puerto Rico didn't have power for 11 months.

"The #TrumpRegime is not a government that can provide services. It is a transnational criminal organization which should be designated as a terrorist group."

Rubio needs to be bathed in Roundup.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 20 2019 17:13 utc | 77

@ BM | Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | 69

Holy crap on a cracker, Batman! Half of all the evil entities in the world are crawling about within this massive web of crime and treason.

I would beg to make one small change to the exposé; instead of --

The CIA, under 'extraordinary rendition' proponent Gina Haspel, has become a foot soldier army for Trump's whims and Bolton's and Pompeo's neo-con dark policies,

-- I would say that Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and Haspel have become foot-soldiers for the CIA's neo-con dark policies.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Mar 20 2019 17:20 utc | 78

Venezuela: Guaido loyalists seize diplomatic properties in US

Envoys loyal to Venezuela's interim president have taken control of diplomatic buildings and a consulate. Caracas has severed ties with the US, accusing it of staging a coup against acting President Maduro.

Posted by: arby | Mar 20 2019 17:36 utc | 79

Don’t Spy for Me Argentina

In fact, it connects with virtually everything!

Posted by: BM | Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | 69

The CIA, under “extraordinary rendition” proponent Gina Haspel, has become a foot soldier army for Trump's whims and Bolton's and Pompeo's neo-con dark policies. It is clear that Abrams, Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio, Bannon, and their cohorts, including Macri and Bolsonaro, are attempting to re-create OPERATION CONDOR, the 1960s, 70s, and 80s alliance of the intelligence services of the Latin American military dictatorships of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, which were full members, with Ecuador and Peru as associate partners. Tens of thousands of leftist dissidents were tracked down and executed during CONDOR, which operated with the full approval and involvement of the CIA.

They lost so many opportunities during the 70's. USSR was in their way in so many places. But now happy days are here again, with Russia, China containment strategies and Trump and other supremacist leaders being installed everywhere in the West and Americas.
It's about opening Pandora's Box though. 0 latency networks, even negative time ...with whatever that implicates and a space programe but not the one you see in plain view.

Posted by: Xolotl | Mar 20 2019 17:53 utc | 80

OT:
Reuters natch, are trying to pretend it's somehow the pilot's or airline's fault, but the their own reporters show it ain't

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-indonesia-crash-exclusive-idUKKCN1R10F7

Posted by: FFS | Mar 20 2019 18:26 utc | 81

There is a three part video of the UN conference featuring Anya Parampil, Alfred de Zayas and Max Blumenthal which has debunked the US propaganda on Venezuela at a United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva on March 19.
(1) The Grayzone testifies at the UN - 'Humanitarian crisis in Venezuela: Propaganda vs. reality'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak3eQwE9JxI
(2) Max Blumenthal debunks corporate media lies about Venezuela at United Nations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ1vFlX5jEw
(3) 'The mask of the US is off': At UN, Anya Parampil speaks on Venezuela regime change war
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9JRD_jCNp8

See also “The Visible Hand of the Market- Economic War in Venezuela” by Pasqualina Curcio.


Perhaps random guy Guaidó will join other collaborators with the US are just seen as throw-away pawns by the Empire:
“The Venezuelan military deserters who crossed over to Colombia on February 23, 2019, now find themselves abandoned both by Colombia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The UNCHR and the Colombian Government have given the soldiers 4 days to leave the refugee camp”
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/19/venezuela-beneath-the-skin-of-imperialism/

The good news is that the health of Venezuelans is improving due to a more healthy diet due to US led sanctions. Everyone has been forced to have a vegetarian diet substituting vegetables, lentils, and black beans for meat. Seems that lots of people are growing their own (organic) vegetables.

From a sociological point of view even the electrical blackouts are bringing the people together as they spend the time sharing:
“During blackouts, people told stories, played music, or went out and talked on the streets. It was a paradise, no TVs, smartphones, but real human contact. People cook together. During the day they’re playing board games, dominoes, and kids are having fun.”
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/18/on-the-ground-in-venezuela-vs-the-media-spectacle/

Posted by: Krollchem | Mar 20 2019 18:43 utc | 82

Krollchem @83--

Thanks for your report! The unintended consequences as you note can be powerful allies for those being attacked. The well stated case at the UN will also have consequences and generate more solidarity for Venezuela and condemnation of the Outlaw US Empire, Pompeo, Rubio, Abrams, Bolton, and Trump.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 20 2019 20:14 utc | 83

Forget it! Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for. Cemi | Mar 20, 2019 8:50:23 AM

Strangely enough, US wishes for Merkel to be even more servile, e.g. ditching purchases of Russian gas, increasing military expenditures by 50-100%, buying more American weapons. That would be the short list. On a longer list, actually paying "cost plus fee" for the use of American bases on German soil, thus actually subsidizing drone attacks and much more, perhaps joining Marshal Islands and Palau in opposing UN resolutions critical of Israel etc. etc. Alas, the mental constitution of Western liberals is that after they chalk several "good deeds" they are utterly exhausted and join USA establishment in all rapine activities as they have no remaining abilities to resist.

Thus there is a sliver of hope that AfD may properly articulate the case of Germany having interests of her own, like accessing export and import markets without being tied up with whimsical sanctions that have scant relationship with needs of Germany. Then left could pick up some themes, but at the moment, Linke and Greens seem to be acutely interested in ecological issues like wetland preservation (including "the Swamp").

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 20 2019 21:50 utc | 84

The good news is that the health of Venezuelans is improving due to a more healthy diet due to US led sanctions. Everyone has been forced to have a vegetarian diet substituting vegetables, lentils, and black beans for meat.
Posted by: Krollchem | Mar 20, 2019 2:43:45 PM | 83

It reminds me what I have read about Poland during the peak years of "shock therapy". Heart disease rates dropped as people could not afford meat, and they had to economize even on alcohol. For poor people that main staples became apples and potatoes that were ridiculously cheap. Conversely, authorities of Russian Federation started to worry about excessive domestic supply of meat, while fruits and vegetables are not as plentiful.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 20 2019 21:58 utc | 85

It reminds me what I have read about Poland during the peak years of "shock therapy". Heart disease rates dropped as people could not afford meat, and they had to economize even on alcohol. For poor people that main staples became apples and potatoes that were ridiculously cheap. Conversely, authorities of Russian Federation started to worry about excessive domestic supply of meat, while fruits and vegetables are not as plentiful.
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 20, 2019 5:58:48 PM | 86

Which period are you refering to Piotr?

Posted by: BM | Mar 21 2019 6:08 utc | 86

karlof1@84

I feel a little hopeful for the people of Venezuela as the coalition of the killing and looting appears to be losing members.

As Dr D states, the Western economy, the society, the debt based financial system have all been built around GROWTH, not efficiency; MORE, not less, until the systems themselves can no longer function with anything less than unceasing expansion, ever-increasing, forever. In effect, massive reduction in waste/landfilling would cause a comparable collapse in the economy leading to internal conflict and perhaps ultimately civil war.
https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2019/03/the-real-new-deal/

However, the US and its racist colonial vassel States are running out of time for their economies that rely on the wasteful use of energy. Even now, the US only has 39 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and is consuming those reserves at a rate of over 4 billion barrels/year. Some addition fracking light oil may come from new discoveries in the Permian basin, however the other US oil basins are in decline.

Ironically, the Russian developed pulse plasma technology as applied to SANDSTONE fracking zones will add to the US oil reserves.
http://energyfuse.org/plasma-pulse-offers-economical-enhanced-oil-recovery-during-the-low-price-environment/

In the end the US will burn through its known reserves in less than 15 years and will require the conquest of especially Venezuela and Iran to continue the growth of the Empire. Failing ever expanding energy use and waste the colonial powers will collapse on themselves. The other colonial powers such as France, UK, Netherlands, Italy, etc have much lower fossil fuel energy supplies and will collapse prior to the US, even with Norway oil and gas.

Perhaps we could meet some day at the Green Salmon for a more in-depth dialogue.

Posted by: Krollchem | Mar 21 2019 6:29 utc | 87

In other words, it is legal when I say so, and it is not unlegal, till I say so!

Posted by: padre | Mar 21 2019 11:33 utc | 88

Greetings from Venezuela! Great article! Thanks for the support! Abrams shamelessly lying shows just how desperate they are; Guaidó or how we call him here "white-dog" (they sound alike, guaido/white-dog) isn't presindent interim whatsoever but only a trained dispossable US puppet who's failed to accomplish his mission. About those desertors https://streetgate.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/venezuelan-soldiers-who-defected-denounce-feeling-unprotected/ We, the people of Venezuela will continue to support the revolution for it has created so much good and we won't let them take all these years of winnings away from us, not a chance! ¡Viva Venezuela! ¡Chavez vive, la lucha sigue!

Posted by: Moltke | Mar 21 2019 12:44 utc | 89

I figure that Putin should send out to caracas one or two small size oil refineries - retrofitted and able to refining also heavy
oil such as the venezuelan one. disassembled and packed, and that could give him a steady advantage he doesn t enjoy so far.
Also the military circle of venezuela is clearly impossible from the southeast side i.e. s the brazilian border. Which is jungle, waterways and open fields thousands of
miles distant from any military supplies... From there only a Maduro harassing purpose US basis could be built up.

Posted by: augusto | Mar 21 2019 14:13 utc | 90

Abrams shamelessly lying shows just how desperate they are;
Posted by: Moltke | Mar 21, 2019 8:44:35 AM | 90

An anal retentive aside, "they" are not desperate, they simply follow established routine that works after a fashion. The briefing promulgated what is true on March 19 (or whatever date was it), and the success or the lack of it is in the hands of the media managers.

Another anal retentive aside, Abrams may have some sense of shame. He kept looking around, no eye contact with the person asking the question, some nervous kind of smiles. Far from the master league of Colin Powell and Tony Blair, Blair was not that good with eye contact, but the diction, the passion etc. were impeccable. Furthermore, Abrams kept alternating between "millions barrels per month" and "millions barrels per day" as if it were the same thing. Seems that he felt some pressure and, who knows, a shame?

If I were a journalist, I would ask about his story about Venezuelan power line sagging because of tremendous strain under which they work, eventually caused fire among the vegetation growing underneath as it was not trimmed, an example of lax maintenance. Didn't he repeat verbatim the news about the causes of catastrophic fires in California (except there the power lines were "normal voltage")?. In general, super high voltage lines have very tall towers, and I did not see ANY news connecting Venezuelan blackout with a forest fire.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 21 2019 15:19 utc | 91

As to yet only Spanish, two excellent reports on the war on Venezuela by Misión Verdad...to complete the scheme...

The hidden faces of the financial blockade against Venezuela, in the US Treasury Department, dark figures who almost nobody know related to the financing of Trump and Marco Rubio election campaigns, lobbyists for large corporations, those in charge of financing of terrorism, and even heads of investment banks which collapsed during the 2008 global financial crisis who are being considered to be head of the WB...( God help us all...)

And,

Rebuilding the history of electric sabotage in Venezuela (special report), actors of the attack, the contingency during the blackout and the popular resistance...

Posted by: Sasha | Mar 21 2019 20:57 utc | 92

Electric sabotage explained by the NSA hacker Edward Snowden taken from the Oliver Stone movie ...

https://twitter.com/FBuenAbad/status/1107280756987084802

Posted by: Sasha | Mar 21 2019 21:53 utc | 93

On freedom of speech/press in the "indispensable nation"...

United States PROHIBITS entry to Canadian JOURNALIST @Arnold_August, who was on his way to Washington D.C. on behalf of more than 5 million trade unionists, to participate in the #HandsOffVenezuela national march convened for #16Mar in the White House.

https://twitter.com/OrlenysOV/status/1106959298163298305

#VIDEO | Moment in which three Chilean citizens are detained, who asked uncomfortable questions to Fabiana Rosales, wife of #Guaidó, at the Autonomous University of Chile. They wanted to express their opinion in support of the president @NicolasMaduro and evicted them from the place...

https://twitter.com/VTVcanal8/status/1108412944767991815

Posted by: Sasha | Mar 21 2019 22:04 utc | 94

Obrigado joaopft :D and for the local knowledge as well, as you see I have now learnt at least one word :)

To dh-mtl Mar 20, 2019 9:32:12 AM | 68
I would like that to be true in the sense that if the Russians (and the Chinese and let's not forget Cuba either, perhaps more) have found some political and administrative solutions or strategies to thwart or lessen the effects of US government interference then I am glad they are sharing it. Still nothing would be possible without the willpower and intent of the Venezuelans to follow any such lessons learnt by others.

As for war (dh-mtl, AntiSpin, everybody):
If they want to the US could easily bring down their own electric grid and blame it on some captured Venezuelans and go to war on that.
I'm guessing they will want to try to be a little bit more imaginative than that but I could see them thinking that this example would be viable enough.

Maybe putting their own refineries on fire? Having some old or new group launch an attack on US soil and having "them" claim responsibility and allegiance to any Venezuelan cause? Sinking some ships?

I doubt they'll win but I also don't want to assume that they want to win. Wanting the oil could easily be a lie too and in at least one sense it is sure to be because what they want is always more power and control in the games they play which in turn means they can do whatever suits them for whatever reason (oil and everything else comes later as a result).

A big thank you to everybody for their comments and links!

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 21 2019 22:27 utc | 95

Convicted criminal Elliot Abrams got stern treatment from Russia in Rome:

Russia Gives US Red Line on Venezuela

After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly: “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

...

The arrogance of the Americans is staggering. Abrams seems, according to US reporting, to have flown to Rome with the expectation of working out with Ryabkov a “transition” or “compromise” on who gets the “title of president” of Venezuela."

...

On Venezuela, Russia is having to remind the criminal American rulers – again – about international law and respect for national sovereignty, as Moscow earlier did with regard to Syria.

And in case Washington gets into a huff and tries the military option, Moscow this week told regime-change henchman Abrams that that’s a red line. If Washington has any sense of rationale left, it will know from its Syria fiasco that Russia has Venezuela’s back covered.

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

Now, the desperate Americans could still try more sabotage, cyber or financial. But their options are limited, contrary to what Trump thinks.

How the days of American imperialist swagger are numbered. There was a time when it could rampage all over Latin America. Not any more, evidently. Thanks in part to Russia’s global standing and military power.

My guess would be that any covert military action by the US using proxies/terrorists would be completely included under that red line. Maybe it might include also further cyber-terrorism such as the power blackouts. I would also tend to assume that Russia's response to any such military action might be asymmetric, and in addition to military support for Venezuela's defence might include immediate destruction of US bases in Syria. It would also almost certainly include demonstrations of new technology that would prove the devestating military superiority of specific Russian weapons and the inadequacy of US defences to them - both for deterrence and to undermine the image and international acceptance of US weapons manufacturers.

The assertion in such black and white terms that military action is a red line implies that Russia stated that it would be treated as an act of war against Russia, on the basis of alliances between Russia and Venezuela. That in turn implies that any Russian responses can include anything in the entire domain of outstanding military-national security issues between the US and Russia.

Posted by: BM | Mar 22 2019 15:27 utc | 96

Posted by: BM | Mar 22, 2019 11:27:24 AM | 97

My tentative reading is that this constitutes a very significant assertion by Russia on the world stage, and announces a change in the rules of the game. If so, potentially that could equally impact all other domains where the US is using criminal aggression to force its interests. In effect Russia is saying according to this reading "we have been patient up until now, but our patience is rapidly running out and if you exceed our red lines you will experience extremely painful consequences. We will not tolerate any further aggressive transgression of international law by the US."

If Russia directly demonstrates for the whole world to see the devestating superiority of certain critical Russian weapons by effortlessly destroying certain valuable US military assets, the US paper tiger will by massively cut down to size in a single stroke, with very deep and immediate impact on international affairs. The US is all bluff, and the Russians are calling that bluff now. The immediate effects on the international order cannot be underestimated.

US weapons are not only vastly overpriced due to massive corruption, but in many cases they do not work because of the dishonesty of the private contractors. By demonstrating their ineffectiveness, not only will the share price of the US weapons manufacturers instantly collapse, but potential buyers will turn to Russia instead; doubting US allies will switch their allegiance to Russia; and states in timid tension with the US will be emboldened to be more assertive of their interests relying on Russia for security. The geostrategic chessboard can change very quickly, just from one highly effective military action using the new Russian weapons, and the US reaction. If the US is seen to be afraid to respond, the world will draw their own conclusions about the US technology.

Posted by: BM | Mar 22 2019 16:18 utc | 97

@BM | Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | 72

There's a mind-boggling Extortiongate scandal going on in Argentina - with links throughout Latin America including Venezuela, and to Elliot Abrams:

Don’t Spy for Me Argentina

In fact, it connects with virtually everything!

Indeed, and worth propagating. If provable, this can be explosive.

Posted by: Cyril | Mar 22 2019 19:17 utc | 98

Here's a link to another story on the "corruption notebooks" story:

Argentina: Inquiry Threatens Judicial Independence | Human Rights Watch

And another from MercoPress -- though (FYI) it hasn't always loaded in easily for me -- noteworthy in part, as one commenter points out, for the fact that the father died just a few weeks ago:

Macri Admits His Father Was Part of an Extortion System During the Kirchner Years"

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Mar 22 2019 19:47 utc | 99

OTOH, there's also this protest from a South American press-freedom group that a journalist was mentioned in Judge Padilla's report -- though that report may be judicious in key spots.

Press freedom organizations defend Argentine journalists after allegations of involvement with espionage and extortion | Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Mar 22 2019 19:51 utc | 100

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