Venezuela, officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America. Venezuela's territory covers around 916,445 square kilometres (353,841 sq mi) with an estimated population of approximately 29,100,000. Oil was discovered in the early 20th century, and today, Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil.
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- This has been happening since 1999.... Comandante Chávez, was also seen as a dictator, as a socialist, a dictator, and the United States government was behind a coup d’état in 2002 and all the sabotage to our oil industry. So, this has been happening, because we have the objective, the goal, of changing the model, of building a new democratic society, which we call the socialism of this new century. And we have the right to do it. And we are an independent and sovereign country. And the thing is that here in the United States—not in the United States, I must say, not the people of the United States, but the elite that is in power, that is ruling the United States, they want—they believe that Latin America is their backyard. And they want to impose their model.
- And they want to have these presidents who are also businessmen and who follow the orders of the president of the United States. But we are not. So, we’re trying to build our own society and in new terms and with equality, with access to health, to education, to housing, to culture. And that is our struggle. And, of course, what happens is that in those terms, the U.S. elite and the other countries, satellite countries of the United States, they are trying to isolate Venezuelan government. They are trying to stop this from happening.
- The U.S. government has been opposed to Venezuela’s socialist revolution since Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998, and it supported the unsuccessful 2002 coup. Chavez was well loved by poor and working class Venezuelans for his extraordinary array of social programs that lifted millions out of poverty. Between 1996 and 2010, the level of extreme poverty plummeted from 40 percent to 7 percent. The government also substantially improved healthcare and education, cutting infant mortality by half, reducing the malnutrition rate from 21% to 5%, and eliminating illiteracy.
- Since Chavez’ death in 2013, Venezuela has fallen into a deep economic morass... U.S. economic sanctions have only added to that toxic mix... The freezing of the funds of Venezuela’s oil company in the U.S., CITGO, deprives Venezuela of billions of dollars in revenue that it previously received from the export, refining and retail sale of gasoline to American drivers.
- The U.S. government claims to be acting in the best interests of the Venezuelan people, but over 80 percent of Venezuelans, including many who do not support Maduro, are opposed to these crippling economic sanctions and to... military intervention.
- Medea Benjamin & Nicolas J S Davies, U.S. Brinksmanship in Venezuela Is Dangerous, The Progressive (19 February 2019)
- U.S. national security adviser John Bolton predicted that the latest sanctions will block $7 billion in the state oil company’s assets, plus over $11 billion in lost export proceeds over the next year....U.S. sanctions are designed to “make the economy scream” in Venezuela, exactly as President Nixon described the goal of U.S. sanctions against Chile before the CIA engineered the overthrow of democratically elected Salvador Allende in 1973.
- Venezuela’s economy... has shrunk by about half since 2014, the greatest contraction of a modern economy in peacetime. The World Health Organization estimated that the average Venezuelan lost an incredible 24 pounds in body weight in 2017...
- On January 31, U.N. Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy said that “sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela” and that “precipitating an economic and humanitarian crisis is not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes.”...
- Medea Benjamin & Nicolas J S Davies, U.S. Brinksmanship in Venezuela Is Dangerous, The Progressive (19 February 2019)
- Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization. Before the fateful day of January 22 (2019), fewer than one in five Venezuelans had heard of Juan Guaidó. Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence.
- But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves.
- Echoing the Washington consensus, the New York Times editorial board hailed Guaidó as a “credible rival” to Maduro with a “refreshing style and vision of taking the country forward.” The Bloomberg News editorial board applauded him for seeking “restoration of democracy” and the Wall Street Journal declared him “a new democratic leader.” Meanwhile, Canada, numerous European nations, Israel, and the bloc of right-wing Latin American governments known as the Lima Group recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
- Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal in How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader, MintPress News, (29 January 2019)
- In 1990 I went to a Cato Institute conference in what was then still the Soviet Union. We were told to bring our own toilet paper, which was in fact useful advice. Now, after only 16 years of Chavista rule, Venezuela has demonstrated that 'Socialism of the 21st Century' is pretty much like socialism in the 20th century.
- David Boaz, "Venezuela Reaches the Final Stage of Socialism: No Toilet Paper" (5 April 2015), The Cato Institute'
- Most Venezuelans didn’t know Guaidó until recently. Most Venezuelans still support Maduro... and... don’t want military intervention or U.S. sanctions. Yet CNN and NPR and Fox News and the BBC and every other corporate outlet will have you thinking everyone is starving to death, on their knees begging for America’s democracy bombs...
- For 20 years we’ve been trying to destroy Venezuela, and our government always gives the standard line: “We want to help the people. We care about their democracy. They have a lot of inflation, and that’s why we need to drop our freedom bombs on their heads.” They’ve trotted out that bullshit brigade under Bush, Obama and now Trump. The officials never just say, “Yeah, there’s like, tons of oil there, and we want it.”.....The Venezuelan people deserve self-determination, no matter how you feel about the current government. The absolute last thing they need is to be turned into a neocon / neoliberal parking lot in which America rips all their resources out from under them while calling it “freedom.” Luckily, there are already many signs this U.S.-created attempted coup is failing.
- Truthdig: Everyone Has Fallen for the Lies About Venezuela, Lee Camp (20 February 2019)
- Despite the Yankees, our gas is at the service of Venezuela first, and next to our brothers in the Caribbean.
- Before the fateful day of January 22 (2019), fewer than one in five Venezuelans had heard of Juan Guaidó. Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence. But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves. Echoing the Washington consensus, the New York Times editorial board hailed Guaidó as a “credible rival” to Maduro with a “refreshing style and vision of taking the country forward.”...
- Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen in How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader, MintPress News, (29 January 2019)
- The U.S.-led effort targeting the oil-rich nation of Venezuela dates back two decades, since the late Hugo Chávez became president in 1999. In November, John Bolton accused Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua of being part of a “troika of tyranny.” In September, The New York Times reported the Trump administration conducted secret meetings with rebellious military officers in Venezuela to discuss overthrowing Maduro.
- The sanction that prohibits Citgo from remitting profits to Venezuela... means that the Venezuelan government is being deprived of approximately $1 billion a year. But in addition to that, the sanctions also stipulate that Venezuela practically cannot refinance its foreign debt, which is something logical that any country facing a difficult economic situation would do. The sanctions prohibit U.S. financial institutions from having any transaction, any interaction with the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA...in addition to that, there is a major impact in terms of discouraging commercial and financial interests throughout the world from any kind of transaction with Venezuela.... And that translates into a situation in which the U.S. government, and specifically Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the treasury... has created a situation in which commercial interests throughout the world are afraid to have anything to do with Venezuela. That amounts to virtually... an economic blockade.
- Washington’s recognition of the shadow government headed by Venezuelan National Assembly president Juan Guaidó is one more demonstration of how the Trump administration has radicalized foreign policy positions and in doing so violates international law, including the OAS charter.
Never since the Cuban revolution, has the U.S. government played such an overtly activist role throughout the continent in favor of the isolation of a government that is not to its liking. In the process it has further polarized Venezuela and the continent as a whole. The moderates in the Venezuelan opposition, including two former presidential candidates of the two main traditional parties, Claudio Fermín and Eduardo Fernández, have favored electoral participation and recognition of the legitimacy of the Maduro government. Washington’s actions pull the rug from under the moderates and strengthen the hands of the extremists in the opposition.
- Steve Ellner in The Radicalization of U.S. Policy on Venezuela, Venezuela Analysis, (26 January 2019)
- The presence of Russian bombers in Venezuela last week and the possibility of future deployments are clear examples of the undesirable consequences of Washington’s unyielding hostility toward that nation.
- Steve Ellner in U.S. Reaction to Russian Bombers in Venezuela, Venezuela Analysis, (21 December 2018)
- Venezuela has as much right to call itself a democracy as does the United States. Until that is understood by enough people, the Trump administration will continue to devastate Venezuela’s economy with illegal sanctions and push it towards civil war. People can oppose President Donald Trump’s economic sanctions and incitement of a military coup without acknowledging President Nicolas Maduro’s democratic legitimacy, but by not acknowledging his legitimacy they needlessly weaken their position.
- On May 20 of last year, Maduro received the votes of 6.2 million people, about 31 percent of the eligible voters, about the same percentage that U.S. presidents generally receive (Obama received 31 percent in 2008 and 28 percent in 2012, while Trump received 26 percent in 2016). Four different groups of international observers... [validating links are on article web page] concluded that Maduro’s electoral victory was clean. If you look beyond vague appeals to the authority of establishment groupthink — statements that typically say the election was “widely dismissed as fraudulent” — you’ll find the arguments to support that claim appallingly thin.
- While thousands of people gathered around Miraflores Presidential Palace to greet the re-election of President Nicolás Maduro, opposition sectors, the United States, the European Union and the Latin American right launched a predictable destabilization plan against the most recent democratic electoral process undertaken on Sunday, May 20, in Venezuela.The Venezuelan people, victims of one of the most brutal economic wars of recent times, only comparable to the blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 50 years, re-elected Nicolás Maduro as their legitimate President with more than six million votes. Meanwhile, the “protectors of democracy” in the region and the world reactivated their hostile agenda against the homeland of Bolívar, and ignored the clear message emitted at the polls. The Venezuelan government, accustomed to this type of action since taking a different path to that dictated by Washington in 1998, once again faces a wave of interference in its internal affairs.
Granma outlines ten of the destabilizing actions made public in the last 48 hours against the legitimate government of Nicolás Maduro: 1- New Sanctions Imposed by the USA... 2- Refusing to Recognize the Popular Will... 3-Diplomatic Attacks... 10.-Media Manipulation...From the photos used in the international media, to the headlines chosen, the coverage of the elections in Venezuela was designed to try to undermine the participation of citizens and their majority support for the Bolivarian Revolution...most of the Western mass media continues to echo terms such as “political prisoners,” when the government has provided countless evidence that those who are being prosecuted have committed crimes or incited violence, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths.
- Iramsy Peraza Forte in Ten Attempts to Destabilize the Re-elected Venezuelan Government of President Maduro, Granma, (23 May 2018)
- The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don't want other countries to choose our leaders--so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.
- 2 million Venezuelans have left since 1999 when a socialist regime took power.
- Patrick Gillespie, "Thousands of Venezuelans fleeing to the US" (23 May 2017), CNN Money
- People elected... Nicolas Maduro...There’s a conspiracy to undermine the will of the people... that has happened, the will of the majority of the people. They delegitimized the elections when the Carter Institute said... “these are the best elections in the world.” ...We seem to redefine or define dictator in ways that are useful [to dishonest politicians]. So you drive it into people’s consciousness... This pathology, if you drive that into people’s consciousness, that a person is a dictator, then in some sense, they accept that in ways, subconsciously, unconsciously, because it’s been drummed into their memory. No matter all the information that refutes that... free elections... transparent elections, whatever...The question is always going to be what they hear...
- Danny Glover Danny Glover on the Conflict Over Venezuela, The Real News (12 February 2019)
- And so the confrontation begins, as I anticipated just hours ago. Maduro expels US diplomats, they refuse to leave. If he tries to force them out, US will respond, with 'all options on the table' (military intervention). This is a total reality show, invent a reason to invade.
- And so, Venezuela becomes a geopolitical battlefield. The country with the largest oil reserves on the planet.
- US hypocrisy in plain sight. The same democratic party outraged over alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election is now openly intervening in the affairs of Venezuela, supporting regime change and backing a self-proclaimed 'interim president'.
- No matter what you may think of Nicolas Maduro, this sets a dangerous precedent for every country around the world. It is an absolute violation of international law, sovereignty and self-determination for foreign leaders to determine the presidents of other nations.
- It’s a violation of international law. Not just OAS charter, but also UN Charter and basic, fundamental tenets of international law, rights to sovereignty, self determination and non intervention.
- This is a very unprecedented situation. Maduro has been the president of Venezuela. He's the one in control of government. He's the one in control of the country's institutions. He went through a presidential election, disputed as it may be, and won with the majority of votes. Juan Guaido was elected as a legislator in the National Assembly which is Venezuela's parliament and he also is a legitimately elected politician, a legislator, but for him to declare himself the executive — the head of government really is an unprecedented scenario... There is no logistical path for that unless it's done by force because as of this moment, at least, you know Nicolas Maduro and his government are not relinquishing power. They're not just going to walk out of the presidential palace and say, "Here's the key it's all yours." They're standing strong in their position saying, "Wait a minute, we are the legitimate representatives of this country." They're recognized by other powerful nations like Russia and China.
- We have to remember Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on the planet. It's sitting in Venezuelan territory. On top of that, it's a country very rich in other minerals and resources like gold, natural gas, I mean there's all kinds of strategic resources in Venezuela. It's a very geo-strategically located country. So, of course there are many powerful interests around the world — economic and political — that would like control of Venezuela. There's competing interests and now the doors have been opened over the past decade or so to Russia and China and Iran and, of course, that has not made the United States very happy. The United States considers this their sphere of influence and they want to keep it that way.
- It's not just Bolton. I think the person who's most got Trump's ear on Latin America is Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio who has a widespread constituency of expat Venezuelans who are very wealthy... they've been wanting to do whatever's possible to provoke regime change in both Venezuela and Cuba and, I think, Rubio probably made a deal with Trump saying essentially he would back Trump's policies and agenda if Trump lets him lead on Latin America...
- Most people are not aware of how the sanctions have had an impact on Venezuela, specifically, for instance, Citgo, the huge American-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil industry, which has not been allowed to remit back any of the money that it’s making here in the United States back to Venezuela.
- Corporate media in this country [USA] deliver a steady onslaught of anti-Venezuelan propaganda. The Washington Post fumes about Venezuelan “pirates ” while the New York Times reports that Ecuador is overwhelmed by desperate Venezuelan migrants. Unfortunately the propaganda has succeeded to a large degree. “Socialism doesn’t work, just look at Venezuela,” is an all too common trope. It is rare that anyone with a public platform reveals a simple truth. Venezuela’s problems were created by the United States government, first during the Obama administration and now continuing under Trump’s.
- Margaret Kimberley in Freedom Rider: The United States Destroys Venezuela’s Economy, Black Agenda Report, (15 Aug 2018)
- Nearly every day, we are bombarded with “news” about problems in Venezuela. And certainly, there are problems, such as food and medicine shortages and skyrocketing inflation. But there is something that is downplayed. What the press downplays, if it mentions it at all, is the very real and significant ways that US sanctions have contributed to these problems facing Venezuela and how these sanctions are making it nearly impossible for Venezuela to solve these problems. What the press also fails to mention is the even greater humanitarian issues confronting Venezuela’s next-door neighbor, Colombia – the US’ number one ally in the region and, quite bizarrely, the newest “global partner” of NATO from Latin America. And, the US is very much responsible for these issues as well, but in quite different ways. The fact is that, by a number of measures, Colombia has one of the worst human rights situations on earth, but you would never know this from watching the nightly news.
- We are concerned about what the US and its closest allies are doing with respect to Venezuela, brazenly violating all imaginable norms of international law and actually openly pursuing the policy aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government in that Latin American country... US companies operating in Venezuela are exempt from these sanctions. In other words, they wish to topple the government and derive material gains from this... According to our sources, the leaders of the opposition movement who have declared ‘dual power’ are in fact receiving instructions from Washington not to make any concessions until the authorities agree to abdicate in some way. Together with other responsible members of the international community, we will do everything to support President Maduro’s legitimate government in upholding the Venezuelan constitution and employing methods to resolve the crisis that are within the constitutional framework...
Given signals coming from the EU and... Caribbean countries, as well as...China and India... we would like to figure out what the international community could do to prevent another blatant violation of international law and violent regime change... This is what I discussed yesterday with the Iranian foreign minister, who - just like us - wants to find an opportunity for external players to prove themselves useful to the Venezuelan people.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in US policy aimed at toppling Venezuela’s government (29 January 2019)
President Nicolás Maduro
Excerpt from: An Open Letter To The People Of The U.S. From President Nicolás Maduro, (10 February 2019) [Full text online
- Your national representatives...want to invade and intervene in Venezuela – they say... in the name of democracy and freedom. But it’s not like that... is as false as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq... The political intolerance towards the Venezuelan Bolivarian model and the desires for our immense oil resources, minerals and other great riches, has prompted an international coalition headed by the US government...a criminal commercial and financial blockade, which has been aggravated by the dispossession and robbery of our financial resources and assets in countries aligned with this demented onslaught... this complex multiform aggression is carried out with total impunity and in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which expressly outlaws the threat or use of force, among other principles... for the sake of peace and the friendly relations between the Nations.... Like you, people of the United States, we Venezuelans are patriots. And we shall defend our homeland with all the pieces of our soul. Today Venezuela is united... we demand the cessation of the aggression that seeks to suffocate our economy and socially suffocate our people, as well as the cessation of the serious and dangerous threats of military intervention... We appeal to the good soul of the American society, victim of its own leaders, to join our call for peace, let us be all one people against warmongering and war.
Excerpt from: President Maduro's speech at the United Nations General Assembly, (26 September 2018)
Full text online
- Yesterday, the President of the United States announced, precisely on this same platform, new and alleged economic and financial sanctions against our country in the sanctuary of the law and international legality. Did the United Nations System know that the unilateral sanctions, using the dominion, the status of the currency and the financial persecution are considered illegal from the standpoint of international law?
- Venezuela is subjected to a permanent media aggression... to justify an international intervention. We know that it is an intended international intervention, a military intervention to control our country. At global level, a file has been forged through the media against our country to pretend a humanitarian crisis that uses the United Nations concepts to justify a coalition of countries led by the Government of the United States, and their satellite governments in Latin America, to get its hands on our country. A migration crisis, that goes without saying, has been forged by several means, aimed at diverting the attention from the real migration crises in the world..
- Yesterday, the President of the United States, in this very platform, threatened the governments of the world to submit to its designs, to its orders and to cooperate with its policies in the United Nations system, or he would act accordingly. Venezuela has been attacked with a fierce diplomatic offensive at all of the United Nations system bodies, supported by satellite kneeled governments blackening the honor of the peoples that they are called to represent.
- Venezuela has been subjected to permanent political aggression. On September 8th, the New York Times published an article evidencing the participation of officials of the White House and the government of the United States, in meetings to bring about a military coup and cause a change of government, a change of regime in Venezuela. The investigation published by the New York Times – replicated by the Times magazine, the Washington Post and the world press – simply confirmed the conspiracy, the permanent aggression by factors of the government of the United States against a constitutional and strengthened democracy; a democracy supported by the people, such as the Venezuelan democracy...
- Should Latin America and the Caribbean accept these methods that so hurt our region in the entire 20th century? How many military interventions? How many coup d’états? How many dictatorships were imposed during the long and dark 20th century in Latin America and the Caribbean, and who did it favor? Did it favor the Peoples? What interests did they represent? The interests of the transnational companies, the unpopular interests; long dictatorships, like Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile, were faced by our peoples due to the stubbornness of the American elites...
- We bring our homeland’s truth to this honorable UN General Assembly; after the failure published and announced by the New York Times of these illegal, unconstitutional and criminal attempts of regime change, after the democratic presidential election, last May 20th, when I, Nicolas Maduro Moros, obtained 68% of the popular votes through free elections – the 24th election in 19 years, of which 22 have been won by the revolutionary forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at different levels of approval, against the opposition forces of our country; after the failure of the attempted military coups, candidacies and electoral tactics supported by Washington...
- Last August 4th, I was a victim of a terrorist attack with drones that tried to kill me in a military event on one of the main avenues in Caracas. If it had been executed as planned, it would have been a massacre, an assassination of the institutional, political and military high command of our nation, Venezuela... the perpetrators, the terrorists, those who attacked me with drones...were captured by the security bodies and State police agencies. The 28 perpetrators were captured...are convicted and sentenced. As I informed to different governments of the world, all the investigations about that terrorist attack indicate that it was prepared, financed and planned in the territory of United States of America... I would like to ask the United Nations system to appoint a special delegate of the Secretariat of the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation internationally about the implications and responsibilities of this terrorist attack perpetrated in our country.
- We bring good news from a country that has not given up and shall not do so. Good news from a nation that is consolidating its democracy; good news from a country that is building its own social model, its own welfare state by means of new formulas to protect its elders, its pensioners, its children, its young people, its women, the neediest sectors, its working class.
- Venezuela is a country which advocates for and is committed to the construction of a pluripolar and multicentric world, where all the different regions (Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, and North America) can live together in balance and peace, respecting our cultures, religions, idiosyncrasies, identities and economic and political models.
- There is not a unique economic model; we must not allow the imposition of a single cultural model, a single political model; they intend to impose a single thought for humanity. I say no. We vindicate the cultural, religious and political diversity of humanity of this world. Therefore, in the Non-aligned Movement, we advocate for the emergence of such a world of justice. We assume and declare our solidarity with the Arab people of Palestine; justice shall arrive to Palestine so that their historic territories, established in 1967 by this United Nations Organization, are respected.
- 200 years ago, our region was plagued by colonies, slavery and injustice. 100 years ago, as peoples, we struggled for freedom. Today, in the 21st century... the opportunity has come. Undoubtedly, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with Simon Bolivar’s revolutionary ideas, with the example and legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez – whose voice still resonates here in this room demanding justice and justice for the world, demanding the cessation of the imperial practices of threats, coercion and extortion against peoples – we can say that in 20 years of revolution, the last 3 have been the hardest years: years of harassment, aggressions and attacks.
- Venezuela is a friendly country. Venezuelans do not hate the United States; on the contrary, we appreciate the United States, their culture, their arts, their society. We differ from the imperial concepts that took over the political power in Washington since the foundation of that nation. In 1826, our Liberator Simon Bolivar said prophetically: “The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with hunger and misery in the name of liberty”. It was a prophetic vision.... We believe in the political dialogue as a way to find solutions and solve conflicts.
- I welcome all those... who wish to help respecting the country’s sovereignty, without interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs so that they can support us, join us in a process of sovereign dialogue for Venezuela’s peace, democracy, justice, future and prosperity; a noble nation which deserves peace, a future and the best.
- The violent confrontations are happening.. are going on every single day and night... The opposition does not denounce the violence, and they also incite the violence and use the violence and the deaths. It’s like this theater of cruelty...to bolster international support... [Opposition activists] pulled out people from 18-wheelers, stole trucks on the highway, created giant barricades, doused the freeways in gasoline...
- As soon as it got dark, I’ve never felt like my life was more in danger... We had press jackets on, but at the same time, we knew that if we identified ourselves as Telesur journalists we could get lynched. Because that’s the climate right now. They just call you an infiltrator, and then you get killed. And they deemed many other people as infiltrators...they said, hey, black guy are you a Chavista? And they threw a Molotov cocktail on him. They also beat to death a national guardsmen, who was retired, just for being in the vicinity, thinking he was an infiltrator.
- We went into at least ten supermarkets. The shelves were fully stocked with every goddamn Nestle brand, every paper product—except toilet paper...And this is where you get into some weird territory, where there are some huge shortages of particular goods used and hoarded for propaganda purposes, to create this kind of international humiliation campaign.
- For doing my job –– for interviewing government officials, protesters at los guarimbas, average Venezuelans and peaceful marchers –– I am called a spy who should be killed by the same people called ‘peaceful freedom fighters’ by Western press...These unsuccessful attempts to intimidate us reveals how much they really fear accurate reporting that might undermine their narrative... The show [The Empire Files] is totally independent of TeleSUR...We merely sell them the content; they have zero control over anything we do.
- Americans have been trained by decades of Cold War propaganda to look for any confirmation that “socialism means poverty.”
- The problems plaguing the Venezuelan economy are not due to some inherent fault in socialism, but to artificially low oil prices and sabotage by forces hostile to the revolution.
- Starting in 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil. This is not a mere business decision, but a calculated move coordinated with U.S. and Israeli foreign policy goals... The result has been driving the price of oil down from $110 per barrel, to $28 in the early months of this year. The goal is to weaken these opponents of Wall Street, London, and Tel Aviv, whose economies are centered around oil and natural gas exports.... Saudi efforts to drive down oil prices have drastically reduced Venezuela’s state budget and led to enormous consequences for the Venezuelan economy.
- At the same time, private food processing and importing corporations have launched a coordinated campaign of sabotage. This, coupled with the weakening of a vitally important state sector of the economy, has resulted in inflation and food shortages. The artificially low oil prices have left the Venezuelan state cash-starved, prompting a crisis in the funding of the social programs that were key to strengthening the United Socialist Party.
- The global rise of fascism will change a landscape already on shaky ground. Trump’s National Security adviser, John Bolton, has already set the agenda and put in the neofascist crosshair Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, which he called the “troika of tyranny.” Naturally, Bolton counts on the new fascist regional helpers of US imperialism, Colombia and Brazil, to enforce a revived full-blown Monroe Doctrine. In Europe, neofascists have risen to power in Hungary and the coalition governments of Italy and Austria. Their ideological comrades in Germany, Poland, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands have not risen to power, but their political clout is quickly growing. This rise of the neofascists, combined with the UK’s Brexit, is jeopardizing the European Union. In these developments, Steve Bannon of the US is playing the part of a fascism ideologue and black-clad eminence grise.
- Gilbert Mercier inThe Global Rise of Fascism: Capitalism End Game? Global Research, (12 January 2019)
- This... concerted drive by the US elite to oust a democratically elected government which has been going on for at least 13 years... the US elite, is undermining Venezuelan democracy... The reason is simple. Since Hugo Chavez Frias became President through the ballot-box in 1998, he and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, have been determined to preserve and enhance the independence, sovereignty and integrity of their nation...
The Venezuelan people as a whole are not prepared to yield to US dominance and control... is not just because of the resistance of the Venezuelan people to US hegemony that they are being threatened and punished... The US elite knows that their resistance is part of an...ever-expanding resistance... a large number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
If the US realizes that it cannot throw its weight around anymore it is also because of the increasingly close ties that are developing between nations in the region and China, and to a lesser extent, Russia. In other words, the new scenarios that are unfolding are not to the US’s liking... Venezuela — one of the movers of change in Latin America and the Caribbean — is a “threat” to a declining hegemon.
- If anything represents a threat to peace and security, it is the shameless and aggressive actions of the United States and their allies to oust a legitimately elected president of Venezuela (Nicolas Maduro).
- Vasily Nebenzya quoted in US attempting to engineer coup d’etat in Venezuela: Russia, PressTV (26 January 2019)
- You have a very strange way of proposing to prevent this crisis by putting forward an absurd ultimatum. You completely disregard the sovereignty of Venezuela, imposing on it decisions that you prefer and rejecting its people the right to resolve their affairs. Germany’s delegate is calling the legitimate authorities of Venezuela to acknowledge defeat and transfer of power. What you are doing is not prevention, but incitement. How would you (Germany’s delegate) feel if the Russian Federation brought the situation and protests in France to the Council? The Russian Federation is proposing to help Venezuela resolve its own affairs.
- Vasily Nebenzya quoted in With Venezuela Buckling under Severe Shortages, Security Council Emergency Session Calls for Political Solution to End Crisis, as Divisions Emerge over Path Forward: Foreign Minister Rejects Pressure by Self-Proclaimed President, Decries United States Attempts to Meddle in Domestic Affairs, United Nations News, (26 January 2019)
- The US government, its right-wing allies, and an obeisant corporate media have repeatedly referred to Venezuela’s actual president, Nicolás Maduro, as an “authoritarian dictator.” What they have failed to mention is that Venezuela still has regular elections, but the US-backed right-wing opposition, which is notoriously disunited and incompetent, has chosen to boycott these elections, preferring to call for foreign-backed military coups instead.... Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves... has long been a target of US aggression. In 2002, the United States supported a military coup that briefly ousted democratically elected President Hugo Chávez and replaced him with the right-wing oligarch Pedro Carmona. US intervention, including crippling economic sanctions, has only continued since then. Elements of Venezeula’s opposition have portrayed themselves to credulous foreign observers as “social democratic,” but their real intentions are very clear: The opposition-controlled legislature has demanded mass privatization of state assets and a return to a capitalist oligarch-controlled economic system built on “property rights and freedom of enterprise.”
- Reporters Abby Martin and Mike Prysner, co-producers of the political television show The Empire Files, traveled to Venezuela in May to report on the ongoing violent protests, and to provide an independent perspective often ignored in Western corporate media outlets. In the midst of these bloody protests, several influential voices in the Venezuelan opposition have circulated lies about Martin and Prysner, accusing them of being “spies” for the country’s intelligence agencies, without presenting a modicum of evidence.
- Ben Norton in Venezuelan Opposition Spreads Lies About U.S. Journalists, Inciting Violence, Death Threats/ AlterNet (3 June 2017)
- Venezuela has become a failed state. According to the International Monetary Fund's latest projections, it has the world's worst economic growth, worst inflation and ninth-worst unemployment rate right now. It also has the second-worst murder rate, and an infant mortality rate at public hospitals that's gotten 100 times worse itself the past four years. And in case all that wasn't bad enough, its currency, going by black market rates, has lost 99 percent of its value since the start of 2012. It's what you call a complete social and economic collapse. And it has happened despite the fact that Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves. Never has a country that should have been so rich been so poor. There's no mystery here. Venezuela's government is to blame...
It's enough that Transparency International ranks Venezuela as the ninth-most corrupt country in the world. The only ones worse — Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Libya and Iraq — are a collection of rogue and war-torn nations. Venezuela is the answer to what would happen if an economically illiterate drug cartel took over a country. This corruption hasn't just enriched the few. It has also impoverished the many. That's because the government has tried to control the economy to the point of killing it — all, of course, in the name of 'socialism'...
Venezuela has gotten something worse than death. It has gotten hell. Its stores are empty, its hospitals don't have essential medicines, and it can't afford to keep the lights on.
- Matt O'Brien, "There has never been a country that should have been so rich but ended up this poor" (19 May 2016), The Washington Post
Open Letter by Over 70 Scholars and Experts Condemns US-Backed Coup Attempt in Venezuela: Stop Interfering in Venezuela’s Internal Politics,] (24 January 2019)
- The United States government must cease interfering in Venezuela’s internal politics, especially for the purpose of overthrowing the country’s government. Actions by the Trump administration and its allies in the hemisphere are almost certain to make the situation in Venezuela worse, leading to unnecessary human suffering, violence, and instability.Venezuela’s political polarization is not new; the country has long been divided along racial and socioeconomic lines. But the polarization has deepened in recent years. This is partly due to US support for an opposition strategy aimed at removing the government of Nicolás Maduro through extra-electoral means. While the opposition has been divided on this strategy, US support has backed hardline opposition sectors in their goal of ousting the Maduro government through often violent protests, a military coup d’etat, or other avenues that sidestep the ballot box.
- Under the Trump administration, aggressive rhetoric against the Venezuelan government has ratcheted up to a more extreme and threatening level, with Trump administration officials talking of “military action” and condemning Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, as part of a “troika of tyranny.” Problems resulting from Venezuelan government policy have been worsened by US economic sanctions, illegal under the Organization of American States and the United Nations ― as well as US law and other international treaties and conventions. These sanctions have cut off the means by which the Venezuelan government could escape from its economic recession, while causing a dramatic falloff in oil production and worsening the economic crisis, and causing many people to die because they can’t get access to life-saving medicines. Meanwhile, the US and other governments continue to blame the Venezuelan government ― solely ― for the economic damage, even that caused by the US sanctions.
- This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not told in The New York Times or the rest of our establishment media. This year’s so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious backlash of the whiter (and wealthier) Venezuelans against their replacement by the larger Mestizo (mixed-race) poor... Four centuries of white supremacy in Venezuela by those who identify their ancestors as European came to an end with the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, who won with the overwhelming support of the Mestizo majority. This turn away from white supremacy continues under Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor.... The putsch in Venezuela is run by the wealthy, internationally connected minority operating by a regime-change plan designed by neocon retread John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser — a plan to control Venezuela and its oil, as Bolton openly proclaims.
- Greg Palast in In Venezuela, White Supremacy Is a Key Driver of the Coup, Truthout (7 February 2019)
- The real crux...[Matt Taibbi’s Goldman Sachs-Venezuela Story For Rolling Stone] is the Venezuelan government is really trying to solve their economic crisis through getting foreign investment... The opposition is using their power in government to go around and sabotage every type of deal, international investment or loan deal, that the Venezuelan government is able to get. If they try to get a loan, if they try to get bonds, if they try to get foreign companies to come invest Venezuela, the opposition follows right behind them and says don’t do this. Cancel this deal. So, this Goldman Sachs deal is just Venezuela trying to bring money into the country, and then the opposition is turning it into something else because they want to bankrupt the country.
- It’s [Shortages, a campaign of humiliation] women’s tampons. It’s diapers for newborns. It’s toilet paper. It’s rice. So there are shortages of things that are basic staples...Some of the reason for economic problems like that is the legacy of underdevelopment and colonialism.”
- The opposition is pretty weak in the country. They won the national assembly election recently, but they hadn’t done that ever. And it’s under the most advantageous conditions for them, an incumbent administration under a severe economic crisis. The fact that they’re pushing things so far, escalating violence to such a high level, is because they believe they have the political support of the United States.”
- Venezuela's product shortages have become so severe that some hotels in that country are asking guests to bring their own toilet paper and soap...
Venezuelan officials have been stopping people from transporting essential goods across the country in an effort to stem the flow of contraband...
Product shortages are not the only challenge for tourists in Venezuela. The socialist-run country also has South America’s highest murder rate, and an archaic foreign exchange system that essentially forces tourists to carry big wads of U.S. dollars with them to avoid the expensive rates that are charged by banks if they pay for things with credit cards or take money from an ATM.
- Manuel Rueda, "Venezuelan hotels are asking tourists to bring their own toilet paper" (2 April 2015), Fusion
- The White House is openly plotting to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. It is being openly promoted as a campaign to steal Venezuelan oil for the benefit of U.S. corporations, and some powerful Democrats are cheering Trump on and joining the conspiracy. Elliott Abrams, one of the premiere butchers of the U.S. dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s, has been named the point man in the effort to bring regime change to Venezuela. Let’s be clear here, Elliott Abrams is an unrepentant war criminal. He played a central role in the mass-slaughter of tens of thousands of people across Central and Latin America in the dirty wars of the 1980s. He was a player in the Iran-Contra scandal. It’s sickening. This administration brought in Abrams because of his immorality and his willingness to support mass murder. It’s the only reason he is there and no one with even a flimsy grasp of morality should be welcoming his appointment as special envoy on Venezuela.
- In 2002, during the Bush-Cheney administration, Abrams was a major proponent of the coup against Hugo Chávez. But even some Democrats have praised the Abrams appointment. Among those was former Clinton ambassador to the UN and former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. He said the Trump administration was “Smart to bring in Abrams,” saying, and I’m quoting here: “This is good and they’re bringing sorta the moderate Republican Bush foreign policy advisers in.” Elliott Abrams a moderate? That’s just nuts. On Fox News, Bill Richardson also praised Trump for recognizing the Guaidó administration.
- Chickenhawks like John Bolton are saying the quiet part out loud on why the ruling class should support the Venezuela coup: “It will make a big difference to the US economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in & produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela."
- When you think back to the lead-up to the Iraq War, do you wish we had fought harder to stop the slaughter? Now's our chance to do that as Trump's gang pushes Venezuela towards a bloodbath. Expose & resist these warmongers NOW! #NoMoreWar
- They lied to you about Vietnam. They lied to you about Iraq. They lied to you about Syria. They lied to you about Honduras. They lied to you about Libya.
So why would you believe what they're saying about Venezuela?
- The same blowhard politicians talking about "bringing democracy" to Venezuela have aided & abetted the Saudi dictators executing dissidents, murdering journalists & starving millions of kids in Yemen. They don't give a damn about democracy or poor people's lives. It's about OIL.
- US has backed right-wing coups up and down Latin America for 100+ years. Not one was about democracy. All have been to enrich the global elite. But we’re supposed to believe this time in Venezuela - which has the world’s largest oil reserves - is different?
- It is part of a strategy of both the MUD and the Trump administration of dismissing the election in favor of extra-legal regime change.... Both the Bush and the Obama administrations pursued regime change... for the 15 years preceding Trump... the 2002 military coup, which Washington was involved in.... supporting the 2013 violent street demonstrations that rejected the presidential election results, which were not in doubt. The US has also poured many millions of dollars into Venezuela... to promote regime change....
There are actually four candidates opposing Maduro, and one of them is ahead of all the others, and according to the more reliable polls has a good chance of winning if people vote. That is Henri Falcón, a former Governor and military officer who is more of a centrist than the far-right-led MUD coalition. The US government threatened him with personal financial sanctions if he entered the race, because, as I noted, they don't want an election. And they don't want a centrist candidate who might try to make peace with the Chavistas if he were to win.
- Basically, Washington... believe that the government can be overthrown... the Trump administration has imposed a financial embargo on Venezuela, which makes it nearly impossible for the Venezuelan government to borrow internationally or restructure its foreign debt. So they are basically telling the Venezuelan people that their suffering will get worse so long as Maduro remains in power, and exacerbating the shortages of food, medicine, and many other goods, as well as hurting oil production, which the economy depends on. Despite the depression and hardships of daily life, the country remains politically polarized. If you look at the crowds of pro-government and anti-government demonstrators over the years, you can see the difference in class and also race -- since the two are highly correlated in Venezuela, as in most of the Americas...
Millions of Venezuelans got health care, college education, and pensions for the first time in the 21st century under Chavez and his party. ...The right doesn't offer any solutions to the problems of economic and social injustice that propelled the left, pro-self-determination movements and governments to power.
Hugo Chavez's economic miracle, by David Sirota, Salon (6 March 2013)
- Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism... delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.
- Chavez's first decade... saw Venezuelan GDP more than double... both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved... under Chavez's brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted... its "extreme poverty" rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent... left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America... college enrollment... more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time... the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.
- When... a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela's did... especially when said country has valuable oil resources... [Venezuela] came to be seen as a serious threat to the global system of corporate capitalism... a high crime prompting a special punishment.
- Are there any lessons to be learned from Venezuela's policies that so rapidly reduced poverty?...Are there any constructive lessons to be learned from Chavez's grand experiment with more aggressive redistribution? Such questions need to be asked. The problem is that...at the moment Chavez's name is invoked, the conversation is inevitably terminated, ending any possibility of discourse. That is by design - it is what the longtime caricaturing and marginalizing of Chavez was always supposed to do. But maybe now [that Hugo Chavez has passed away]...a more constructive, honest and critical economic conversation can finally begin.
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused officials at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas of conspiring to bribe people close to the Venezuelan government, including current and former ministers and military officials... for them to conspire against the Bolivarian government....The Venezuelan leader said Samper had been provided with proof of the activities of U.S. diplomatic staff in Venezuela....
[Maduro]..expressed hope that President Barack Obama is unaware of these activities, saying he is giving Obama “the benefit of the doubt.” He repeated his accusation that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was behind the plot, saying the U.S. politician told regional leaders that the Venezuelan government would be “overthrown.” Maduro said presidents of the region had told him this directly at the recent CELAC summit in Costa Rica. The U.S. applied new sanctions against Venezuela Monday...
The Venezuelan government has been the target of an increasingly aggressive media campaign, attacking the country’s leader’s and policies in order to justify foreign intervention. “All imperialist wars have been precipitated by media campaigns such as this one, giving false information that wishes to provide the world with the justification for an intervention,” said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez.
- US Embassy Bribing Venezuela Officials to Topple Maduro Government, Telesur (4 February 2015)
- Sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela, says UN human rights expert Idriss Jazairy. His comments follow the imposition of sanctions on Venezuela’s national oil company by the United States. “I am especially concerned to hear reports that these sanctions are aimed at changing the government of Venezuela... Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state. The use of sanctions by outside powers to overthrow an elected government is in violation of all norms of international law... His call echoed comments by the Spokesman for the UN Secretary General, underscoring “the urgent need for all relevant actors to engage in an inclusive and credible political dialogue to address the long crisis facing the country, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights”. The expert drew attention to the UN Declaration on the Principles of International Law concerning friendly relations and cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, which urges States to resolve their differences through dialogue and peaceful relations, and to avoid the use of economic, political or other measures to coerce another State in regard to the exercise of its sovereign rights.
- United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: Venezuela sanctions harm human rights of innocent people, UN expert warns, United Nations News (31 January 2019)
- Veterans For Peace is outraged at the unfolding coup d’etat in Venezuela, which is clearly being orchestrated by the U.S. government. Two hundred years of blatant U.S. intervention in Latin America must come to an end... Years of increasingly crippling U.S. sanctions have succeeded in destabilizing the Venezuelan economy and created great unrest, division and migration. The U.S. government encouraged Venezuelan opposition parties to boycott last year’s election. Now they are calling the election fraudulent, and attempting to install a little-known politician more to their liking. This is part of a dangerous game that the U.S. continues to play throughout Latin America.
- President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton has called Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba the “Troika of Tyranny,” and boasted that they have now “met their match.” Right-wing Cuban American Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, said to be deeply involved in orchestrating this coup, has implied that U.S. military intervention may be next.
- In our Statement of Purpose, Veterans For Peace promises to “restrain our governments from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations.” We call on our members in over 100 U.S. cities and internationally, to make their voices heard. We must do all we can to prevent a bloody civil war from taking a huge toll on the Venezuelan people, and the peace-loving people of the hemisphere.
- The U.S. government is not only seeking to punish the Venezuelan government with its increasingly draconian sanctions, but is seeking as well to cripple the teleSUR media network, despite the fact that it is funded by several other countries. Recent sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the Trump administration have forced the Empire Files program, hosted by American investigative journalist Abby Martin, to shut down. The decision to officially announce the show’s end came after blocks on wire transfers originating in Venezuela and sent to the U.S. were recently imposed, thereby cutting off the show’s primary source of funding. Issues with funding caused by the U.S.’ Venezuela policy had, however, been a problem for some time, leading Martin and her staff to halt production in late May. While Martin and her team had hoped conditions would improve, the recent sanctions make that such a distant possibility that the decision to shut down the show was made on Wednesday.
- When I come and I say the emigration is partly attributable to the economic war waged against Venezuela and is partly attributable to the sanctions, people don’t like to hear that. They just want the simple narrative that socialism failed and it failed the Venezuelan people... When I came back [the UN and media were] not interested. Because I am not singing the song I’m supposed to sing so I don’t exist … And my report, as I said, was formally presented but there has been no debate on the report. It has been filed away.
- Alfred de Zayas quoted in Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens, The Independent (27 January 2019)
- Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns....Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. The key to the solution of the crisis is dialogue and mediation… There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d’état and nothing more corrosive to the rule of law and to international stability when foreign governments meddle in the internal affairs of other states...
- Only the Venezuelans have a right to decide, not the United States, not the United Kingdom … We do not want a repetition of the Pinochet putsch in 1973 … What is urgent is to help the Venezuelan people through international solidarity – genuine humanitarian aid and a lifting of the financial blockade so that Venezuela can buy and sell like any other country in the world – the problems can be solved with good faith and common sense.
- Alfred de Zayas quoted in Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens, The Independent (27 January 2019)
- Bolivarian Revolution
- Hugo Chavez
- Nicolás Maduro
- Nineteen Eighty-Four
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