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.
- Venezuela reaches the final stages of socialism: No toilet paper...
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
- Despite the Yankees, our gas is at the service of Venezuela first, and next to our brothers in the Caribbean.
- 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)
- 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
- 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.
- 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)
President Nicolás Maduro
(Excerpts from his 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
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.