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Yet Another USA Coup Attempt Against Venezuela Underway Now!

The Coup in Venezuela Must Be Resisted

24 Jan, 2019 in Uncategorized by craig | View Comments
Venezuela has elections. Juan Guaido has never even been a Presidential candidate. Despite massive CIA opposition funding and interference over years as Big Oil tries to regain control of the World's largest oil reserves, Nicolas Maduro was democratically re-elected in 2018 as President of Venezuela.
The coup now under way is illegitimate. I opposed Maduro's move to replace the elected National Assembly. Sometimes I read back things I wrote in the past and decide I was wrong. Sometimes I think the article was right, but a bit of a potboiler. Occasionally I am proud, and I am proud of my analysis on Venezuela written on 3 August 2017. I believe it is still valid.
Hugo Chavez' revolutionary politics were founded on two very simple tenets:
1) People ought not to be starving in dreadful slums in the world's most oil rich state
2) The CIA ought not to control Venezuela
Over the years, Chavez racked up real achievements in improving living standards for the poor and in providing health and education facilities. He was widely popular and both he and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, also racked up very genuine election victories. Maduro remains the democratically elected President.
But the dream went sour. In particular it fell foul of the tendency of centrally planned economies to fail to get the commodities people want onto shop shelves, and to the corruption that goes with centralisation. The latter was certainly not worse than the right wing corruption it replaced, but that does not diminish its existence.
Every revolution will always displace an existing elite who are by definition the best educated and most articulate section of the population, with most access to resources including media and to CIA secret backing, which has continued throughout at an increasing rate. Chavez did not solve this problem in the way Robespierre, Stalin, Trotsky or Mao would have done. He embraced democracy, let them be and largely left their private offshore billions, and thus their power, untouched.
Inevitably the day came when economic and administrative failings cracked the solidity of support from the poor for the revolution. The right then stepped up their opposition with a campaign led by corrupt billionaires, which the western media has failed to acknowledge has been throughout murderously violent.
The problem with revolutionary millenarianism is that its failure to achieve utopia is viewed as disaster by its proponents. Maduro ought to have accepted that it is the nature of life that political tides ebb and flow, ceded power to the opposition gains in parliament, maintained the principles of democracy, and waited for the tide to turn back his way taking the risk that the CIA might not give him the chance. Instead he has resorted to a constitutional fix which dilutes democracy, a precedent which will delight the right who in the long term have most to fear from the populace. Given the extreme violence of the opposition, I am less inclined to view arrests as unquestionably a straightforward human rights matter, than are some pro-western alleged human rights groups. But that Maduro has stepped off the democratic path I fear is true. He has, bluntly, gone wrong, however difficult the circumstances. I condemn both the departures from human rights best practice and the attempt to use a part indirectly elected body to subvert the elected parliament.
But, even today, Venezuela is still vastly more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia, and a far greater respecter of human rights than Israel in its dreadful repression of the Palestinians. Yet support for Israel and for Saudi Arabia are keystones of the foreign policy of those who today are incessant in their demands that we on the "left" condemn Venezuela. The BBC has given massively more news coverage to human rights abuse in Venezuela this last month than in a score of much worse countries I could name than a score put together.
Human rights abuse should be condemned everywhere. But it only hits the headlines when practised by a country which is on the wrong side of the neo-con agenda.
Anybody who believes that a country's internal democracy is the determining factor in whether the West decides to move for violent regime change in that country, is a complete idiot. Any journalist or politician who makes that claim is more likely to be a complete charlatan than a complete idiot. In recent years, possession of hydrocarbon reserves is very obviously a major factor in western regime change actions.
In Latin America over the last century, the presence of internal democracy has been much more likely to lead to external regime change than its absence, as maintenance of US imperialist hegemony has been the defining factor. That combines with oil reserves to make the current move a double whammy.
It is disheartening to see the Western "democracies" so universally supporting the coup in Venezuela. The EU in particular has leapt in to support Donald Trump in the quite ludicrous act of recognising corrupt Big Oil puppet Guaido as "President". The change of the EU into full neo-con mode -so starkly represented in its bold support for Francoist violence in Catalonia is what led me to reconcile with Brexit and a Norway style relationship.
When I was in the FCO, the rule on recognition was very plain and very openly stated the UK recognised the government which had "effective control of the territory", whatever the attributes of that government. This is a very well established principle of international law. There were very rare exceptions involving continuing to support ousted governments. The pre-1939 Polish government in exile was the most obvious example, though once Nazism was defeated Britain moved to recognise the Communist government actually in charge, to the fury of exiled Poles. I was involved in the question of the continued recognition of President Kabbah of Sierra Leone during the period in which he was ousted by military coup.
But I can think of no precedent at all for recognising a President who does not have and has never had control of the country and has never been a candidate for President. This idea of the West simply trying to impose a suitably corrupt and biddable leader is really a very startling development. It is astonishing the MSM commentariat and political class appear to see no problem with it. It is a quite extraordinary precedent, and doubtless will lead to many new imperialist adventures.
One final thought. The right wing Government of Ecuador has been one of the first and most vocal in doing the West's bidding. The Ecuadorean government has been colluding with the United States over the efforts to imprison Julian Assange, and at this very time has arranged for FBI and CIA personnel in Quito to take false and malicious statements manufactured by the Ecuador government in collaboration with the CIA, about Julian Assange's activities in the Embassy in London.
Ecuadorean government documents had already been produced out of Quito, and shown to MI6 and CIA outlets like the Guardian and New York Times, purporting to show the diplomatic appointment of Julian Assange to Moscow in December 2017. I have believed throughout that these fake documents were most likely produced by Ecuador's new CIA influenced government itself.
Today Ecuador, once a key part of the Bolivarian revolution, is simply a puppet of the CIA, voicing support for a US coup in Venezuela and working to produce fake testimony against Assange. I warn you firmly against giving credence to Luke Harding's next "scoop" which will doubtless shortly emerge from this process.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
I want to turn to Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela's foreign minister, Venezuela's former vice president, as well, and Chávez's son-in-law, the former president of Venezuela. I spoke to him last week and want to turn to an unaired excerpt of that interview. I asked him about the increasing pressure on the Maduro government from the U.S. and other countries.
JORGE ARREAZA: No, this has been happening since 1999. Our late president, 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 Statesnot 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 wantthey 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. And it's not going to happen.
But this is a difficult struggle, Amy. And we are really looking, and President Maduro has looked, for all the paths, all the way for dialogue. We had a dialogue process last year with the opposition in the Dominican Republic, hosted by the president of the Dominican Republic and the former president of Spain, Rodríguez Zapatero. And when we reached the agreement and we were there to sign the agreement, the opposition received orders from the State Department here, and they didn't sign. And then they didn'tsome of the parties didn't register for the elections. And now they say that the elections were a fraud. And now they say that Maduro is not our president. That is all part of a coup d'état in progress, encouraged and funded by the United States government.
AMY GOODMAN: And what does it mean to you that AMLO, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obradorthe stance he has taken in support of Venezuela?
JORGE ARREAZA: AMLO, the president of Mexico, is very important for Latin America at the moment. It's one of the most important countries. It has borders with the United States. And they arewith this new government, they are, again, a sovereign country. And they are trying to help not only Venezuela. They're trying to help Nicaragua. They're trying to help Cuba. They're trying to help the other countries. They want to have good relations with all the countries in Latin America. But they want to solve the Latin American issues in Latin America, and no interventionism from the United States in our countries.
AMY GOODMAN: AMLO, President López Obrador, refused to back the Lima Group stance questioning Maduro's legitimacy. He said, "We've said with a lot of clarity that we're going to respect the constitutional principles of nonintervention … in foreign policy matters. We don't interfere in internal matters of other countries, and we don't want the governments of other countries to meddle in matters that correspond only to Mexicans."
JORGE ARREAZA: Mm-hmm, yes. That's what every country has to do. We cannot be interfering. I mean, you say here in the United States that Russia interfered in the campaign of Trump and the elections, and that's not good. It shouldn't have happened, if it happened. I believe it didn't happen. But the United States interferes every singlenot day, every single hour, in the Venezuelan issues, in the Cuban issues, in Nicaraguan and all over Latin America. So, it's bad for Russia to interfere here, but it's good for Washington to interfere in Latin America? Of course, that's not fair.
And I believe that the president of Mexico is right. We have to respect each other. We have to respect the principles of international law. I mean, if you join the United Nations, it's because you respect the internal affairs of the other states. It's because you respect the equality of states. It's because you don't have the right to interfere in other nations. That's not what the United States does. They have done wars in Iraq. President Trump said that he regrettedwe regretted that the United States invaded Iraq, because now the situation is worse than it was with Saddam Hussein. And the same in Libya.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Venezuela remains in a state of crisis as opposition forceswith the backing of the United Statesattempt to unseat the government of President Nicolás Maduro. On Thursday, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said the military continues to stand by Maduro.
VLADIMIR PADRINO LÓPEZ: [translated] I alert the people of Venezuela that a coup is being carried out against our institutions, against our democracy, against our constitution, against our President Nicolás Madurothe legitimate president of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
AMY GOODMAN: The Venezuelan Defense Minister's comment came one day after President Trump announced the U.S. would recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's new president. Guaidó, the new head of Venezuela's National Assembly, declared himself president on Wednesday during a large opposition protest.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to send $20 million to the Venezuelan opposition in the form of humanitarian aid to address the shortages of food and medicine, caused in part by harsh U.S. sanctions. Pompeo made the announcement while speaking at the OAS, the Organization of American States.
SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO: The time for debate is done. The regime of former President Nicolás Maduro is illegitimate. His regime is morally bankrupt. It's economically incompetent. And it is profoundly corrupt. It is undemocratic to the core. I repeat: The regime of former President Nicolás Maduro is illegitimate. We therefore consider all of its declarations and actions illegitimate and invalid.
AMY GOODMAN: Secretary of State Pompeo's speech was interrupted by CodePink founder Medea Benjamin, who will join us later in the broadcast.
In other developments, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the U.S. to remove all of its diplomats from Venezuela, but Washington is ignoring the request, claiming Maduro no longer has authority to take such action. While the U.S. Embassy in Caracas is staying open, the State Department has ordered non-essential diplomats and embassy staff to leave Venezuela. Meanwhile, Maduro has ordered all of Venezuela's diplomatic staff in the United States to return home.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The crisis is happening just weeks after Maduro was sworn in to a second 6-year term following his victory in an election last May that was boycotted by several of the opposition groups. The international community remains split on the situation in Venezuela. On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged all actors to, quote, "lower tensions and pursue every effort to prevent violence and avoid any escalation." Mexico and Uruguay have urged all sides to hold negotiations. On Thursday, Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, spoke out against foreign intervention in Venezuela.
PRESIDENT ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR: [translated] We should conduct foreign relations with the principles of nonintervention, of the self-determination of peoples, of peaceful solutions to disputes.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But many other countries in the hemisphere have joined with the United States in supporting the attempted coup. This includes Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Argentina and Chile. Here in the United States, the leaders of the Democratic Party have also largely supported Trump's actions.
Meanwhile, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet is warning the situation, quote, "may rapidly spiral out of control with catastrophic consequences." She also called for an independent investigation into recent violence. At least 26 people have died since anti-Maduro protests broke out earlier this week.
AMY GOODMAN: We're joined now by two guests. Alejandro Velasco is associate professor at New York University, where he's a historian of modern Latin America. He's executive editor for NACLA Report on the Americas and the author of the book Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela. Velasco was born and raised in Venezuela. He just returned from Venezuela Tuesday. He's joining us from Chicopee, Massachusetts.
And in Washington, Steve Ellner is with us, former professor at the Universidad de Oriente in Venezuela, where he taught from 1977 until he retired in 2002, currently associate managing editor of the journal Latin American Perspectives. He is editor of Latin America's Radical Leftand the forthcoming book The Pink Tide Experiences: Breakthroughs and Shortcomings in Twenty-First Century Latin America. Ellner lives in Venezuela but is currently visiting the United States.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Alejandro Velasco, let's begin with you. Your assessment of what's taken place so far? Are we seeing a coup in the making?
ALEJANDRO VELASCO: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. There's no question, on the other hand, that the Maduro government lacks significant amount of popular support and, to a significant extent, also legal legitimacy. And as you just mentioned, I returned from a couple of weeks there just on Tuesday, and the level of discontent, especially among popular sectors that had previously strongly supported Maduro and, certainly, before him, Chávez, is palpable. And it has to do with prices. It has to do with public services. However, that does not translateand it hasn't in the past, and it's unclear whether it does nowto support for the opposition, which, on its own terms, has advancedcertainly with these last few moves, has advanced an agenda that is plunging Venezuela into a tremendous degree of political and social uncertainty.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I'd like to ask Steve Ellner, this whole issue of the economic situation in Venezuela, to what degree the United States government has played a role. 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. Could you talk about those sanctions and the impact on the economy there?
STEVE ELLNER: Certainly, Juan. The sanction that prohibits Citgo from remitting profits to Venezuela is a very important measure. It 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.
But, Juan, 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. There is a list of 70approximately 70 Venezuelan officials who are being sanctioned. And that translates into a situation in which the U.S. government, and specifically Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the treasury, has undertaken different investigations, workshops with representatives of Japan, Europe, Latin America, in order to find out where the shell companies are. In other words, he has created a situation in which commercial interests throughout the world are afraid to have anything to do with Venezuela. That amounts to virtually a blockan economic blockade.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
[FONT=&amp]Dr. Jill Stein ‏Verified account @DrJillStein Jan 25More


[FONT=&amp]Trump's Venezuela point man [/FONT]Elliott Abrams[FONT=&amp]:
-Backed death squads in Latin America that murdered 1000s for right-wing dictators
-Lied to Congress to cover up treasonous Iran-Contra affair
-Led 2002 US coup attempt in Venezuela

Still think this is about democracy & human rights?
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

The Making of Juan Guaidó: US Regime-Change Laboratory Created Venezuela's Coup Leader

January 29, 2019 124 Comments
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The Washington favorite has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization, write Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal of Grayzone.

By Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal
[Image: VenRepubDan-cohen-100x100.jpg][Image: Max-Headshot-130x130.jpg]Before the fateful date of Jan. 22, fewer than 1-in-5 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. Even in his own party, Guaidó had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela's constitution. But after a single phone call from from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself as 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 U.S.-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 President Nicolás 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.[Image: juan-guaido-us-regime-change-training-700x394.jpg]While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the U.S. government's elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela's socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country and one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrating his worthiness in Washington's halls of power."Juan Guaidó is a character that has been created for this circumstance," Marco Teruggi, an Argentinian sociologist and leading chronicler of Venezuelan politics, told the Grayzone. "It's the logic of a laboratory Guaidó is like a mixture of several elements that create a character who, in all honesty, oscillates between laughable and worrying." Diego Sequera, a Venezuelan journalist and writer for the investigative outlet, Mision Verdad, agreed: "Guaidó is more popular outside Venezuela than inside, especially in the elite Ivy League and Washington circles," Sequera remarked to the Grayzone. "He's a known character there, is predictably right-wing, and is considered loyal to the program."While Guaidó is today sold as the face of democratic restoration, he spent his career in the most violent faction of Venezuela's most radical opposition party, positioning himself at the forefront of one destabilization campaign after another. His party has been widely discredited inside Venezuela, and is held partly responsible for fragmenting a badly weakened opposition. "These radical leaders have no more than 20 percent in opinion polls," wrote Luis Vicente León, Venezuela's leading pollster. According to Leon, Guaidó's party remains isolated because the majority of the population does not want war. "What they want is a solution.'"But this is precisely why Guaidó was selected by Washington: he is not expected to lead Venezuela towards democracy, but to collapse a country that for the past two decades has been a bulwark of resistance to U.S. hegemony. His unlikely rise signals the culmination of a two decades-long project to destroy a robust socialist experiment.Targeting Troika of Tyranny'Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, the United States has fought to restore control over Venezuela and is vast oil reserves. Chavez's socialist programs may have redistributed the country's wealth and helped lift millions out of poverty, but they also earned him a target on his back. In 2002, Venezuela's right-wing opposition briefly ousted him with U.S. support and recognition, before the military restored his presidency following a mass popular mobilization. Throughout the administrations of U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Chavez survived numerous assassination plots before succumbing to cancer in 2013. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has survived three attempts on his life.
[Image: VenRepub-Political_cartoon_Venezuela_201...251188.jpg]Maduro is shown as a puppet of Fidel Castro in anti-government protest in March 2014. (Wikimedia)
The Trump administration immediately elevated Venezuela to the top of Washington's regime change target list, branding it the leader of a "troika of tyranny." Last year, Trump's national security team attempted to recruit members of the military brass to mount a military junta, but that effort failed. According to the Venezuelan government, the U.S. was also involved in a plot codenamed Operation Constitution to capture Maduro at the Miraflores presidential palace, and another called Operation Armageddon to assassinate him at a military parade in July 2017. Just over a year later, exiled opposition leaders tried and failed to kill Maduro with drone bombs during a military parade in Caracas.More than a decade before these intrigues, a group of right-wing opposition students were hand selected and groomed by an elite, U.S.-funded regime change training academy to topple Venezuela's government and restore the neoliberal order.Training for Insurrection On Oct. 5, 2005, with Chavez's popularity at its peak and his government planning sweeping socialist programs, five Venezuelan "student leaders" arrived in Belgrade, Serbia to begin training for an insurrection. The students had arrived from Venezuela courtesy of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies, or CANVAS. This group is funded largely through the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA cut-out that functions as the U.S. government's main arm of promoting regime change; and offshoots like the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. According to leaked internal emails from Stratfor, an intelligence firm known as the "shadow CIA," "[CANVAS] may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle."CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means "resistance" in Serbian, was the student group that gained international fame and Hollywood-level promotion by mobilizing the protests that eventually toppled Slobodan Milosevic. This small cell of regime change specialists was operating according to the theories of the late Gene Sharp, the "Clausewitz of non-violent struggle." Sharp had worked with a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, Col. Robert Helvey, to conceive a strategic blueprint that weaponized protest as a form of hybrid warfare, aiming it at states that resisted Washington's unipolar domination.
[Image: VenRepub5a2ba7b3-b1c4-4302-ae6c-1a2f0b9a0e05-2-2.jpg]Otpor at the 1998 MTV Europe Music Awards. (Brian Rasic)
Otpor was supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID and Sharp's Albert Einstein Institute. Sinisa Sikman, one of Otpor's main trainers, once said the group even received direct CIA funding. According to a leaked email from a Stratfor staffer, after running Milosevic out of power, "the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits and designed CANVAS… or in other words an export-a-revolution' group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions. They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like)."Stratfor revealed that CANVAS "turned its attention to Venezuela" in 2005 after training opposition movements that led pro-NATO regime change operations across Eastern Europe.While monitoring the CANVAS training program, Stratfor outlined its insurrectionist agenda in strikingly blunt language: "Success is by no means guaranteed, and student movements are only at the beginning of what could be a years-long effort to trigger a revolution in Venezuela, but the trainers themselves are the people who cut their teeth on the Butcher of the Balkans.' They've got mad skills. When you see students at five Venezuelan universities hold simultaneous demonstrations, you will know that the training is over and the real work has begun."Generation 2007The "real work" began two years later, in 2007, when Guaidó graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas. He moved to Washington, D.C., to enroll in the governance and political management program at George Washington University under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists. Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund who spent more than a decade working in the Venezuelan energy sector under the oligarchic old regime that was ousted by Chavez.That year, Guaidó helped lead anti-government rallies after the Venezuelan government declined to renew the license of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV). This privately-owned station played a leading role in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez. RCTV helped mobilize anti-government demonstrators, falsified information blaming government supporters for acts of violence carried out by opposition members, and banned pro-government reporting amid the coup. The role of RCTV and other oligarch-owned stations in driving the failed coup attempt was chronicled in the acclaimed documentary, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."That same year, the students claimed credit for stymying Chavez's constitutional referendum for a "21st century socialism" that promised "to set the legal framework for the political and social reorganization of the country, giving direct power to organized communities as a prerequisite for the development of a new economic system." From the protests around RCTV and the referendum, a specialized cadre of U.S.-backed class of regime change activists was born. They called themselves "Generation 2007."
[Image: Screen-Shot-2019-01-28-at-3.04.05-AM.png]Yon Goicoechea wins 2008 Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.
The Stratfor and CANVAS trainers of this cell identified Guaidó's ally a street organizer named Yon Goicoechea as a "key factor" in defeating the constitutional referendum. The following year, Goicochea was rewarded for his efforts with the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, along with a $500,000 prize, which he promptly invested into building his own Liberty First (Primero Justicia) political network.Friedman, of course, was the godfather of the notorious neoliberal Chicago Boys who were imported into Chile by dictatorial junta leader Augusto Pinochet to implement policies of radical "shock doctrine"-style fiscal austerity. And the Cato Institute is the libertarian Washington, D.C.-based think tank founded by the Koch brothers, two top Republican Party donors who have become aggressive supporters of the right-wing across Latin America. WikiLeaks published a 2007 email that American ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield sent to the State Department, National Security Council and Department of Defense Southern Command praising "Generation of '07" for having "forced the Venezuelan president, accustomed to setting the political agenda, to (over)react." Among the "emerging leaders" Brownfield identified were Freddy Guevara and Yon Goicoechea. He applauded the latter figure as "one of the students' most articulate defenders of civil liberties."Flush with cash from libertarian oligarchs and U.S. government soft power outfits, the radical Venezuelan cadre took their Otpor tactics to the streets, along with a version of the group's logo, as seen below:[Image: VenRepubFistsScreen-Shot-2019-01-29-at-2...00x433.png]Spinning Anti-Chavez Unrest In 2009, the Generation 2007 youth activists staged their most provocative demonstration yet, dropping their pants on public roads and aping the outrageous guerrilla theater tactics outlined by Gene Sharp in his regime change manuals. The protesters had mobilized against the arrest of an ally from another newfangled youth group called JAVU. This far-right group "gathered funds from a variety of U.S. government sources, which allowed it to gain notoriety quickly as the hardline wing of opposition street movements," according to academic George Ciccariello-Maher's book, "Building the Commune."While video of the protest is not available, many Venezuelans have identified Guaidó as one of its key participants. While the allegation is unconfirmed, it is certainly plausible; the bare-buttocks protesters were members of the Generation 2007 inner core that Guaidó belonged to, and were clad in their trademark Resistencia! Venezuela t-shirts, as seen below:[Image: VenRepub-GUAIDOass-400x248.jpg]That year, Guaidó exposed himself to the public in another way, founding a political party to capture the anti-Chavez energy his Generation 2007 had cultivated. Called Popular Will, it was led by Leopoldo López,a Princeton-educated right-wing firebrand heavily involved in National Endowment for Democracy programs and elected as the mayor of a district in Caracas that was one of the wealthiest in the country. Lopez was a portrait of Venezuelan aristocracy, directly descended from his country's first president. He was also the first cousin of Thor Halvorssen,founder of the U.S.-based Human Rights Foundation that functions as a de facto publicity shop for U.S.-backed anti-government activists in countries targeted by Washington for regime change. Though Lopez's interests aligned neatly with Washington's, U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks highlighted the fanatical tendencies that would ultimately lead to Popular Will's marginalization. One cable identified Lopez as "a divisive figure within the opposition… often described as arrogant, vindictive, and power-hungry." Others highlighted his obsession with street confrontations and his "uncompromising approach" as a source of tension with other opposition leaders who prioritized unity and participation in the country's democratic institutions.
[Image: VenRepubMotorcycleScreen-Shot-2019-01-29....13-AM.png]Popular Will founder Leopoldo Lopez and wife, Lilian Tinter.
By 2010, Popular Will and its foreign backers moved to exploit the worst drought to hit Venezuela in decades. Massive electricity shortages had struck the country due the dearth of water, which was needed to power hydroelectric plants. A global economic recession and declining oil prices compounded the crisis, driving public discontentment. Stratfor and CANVAS key advisors of Guaidó and his anti-government cadre devised a shockingly cynical plan to drive a dagger through the heart of the Bolivarian revolution. The scheme hinged on a 70 percent collapse of the country's electrical system by as early as April 2010. "This could be the watershed event, as there is little that Chavez can do to protect the poor from the failure of that system," the Stratfor internal memo declared. "This would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate. At that point in time, an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs." By this point, the Venezuelan opposition was receiving a staggering $40-50 million a year from U.S. government organizations like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, according to a report by the Spanish think tank, the FRIDE Institute. It also had massive wealth to draw on from its own accounts, which were mostly outside the country.While the scenario envisioned by Statfor did not come to fruition, the Popular Will party activists and their allies cast aside any pretense of non-violence and joined a radical plan to destabilize the country. Violent DestabilizationIn November 2010, according to emails obtained by Venezuelan security services and presented by former Justice Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, Guaidó, Goicoechea, and several other student activists attended a secret five-day training at the Fiesta Mexicana hotel in Mexico City. The sessions were run by Otpor, the Belgrade-based regime change trainers backed by the U.S. government. The meeting had reportedly received the blessing of Otto Reich, a fanatically anti-Castro Cuban exile working in George W. Bush's Department of State, and the right-wing former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. At the Fiesta Mexicana hotel, the emails stated, Guaidó and his fellow activists hatched a plan to overthrow President Hugo Chavez by generating chaos through protracted spasms of street violence. Three petroleum industry figureheads Gustavo Torrar, Eligio Cedeño and Pedro Burelli allegedly covered the $52,000 tab to hold the meeting. Torrar is a self-described "human rights activist" and "intellectual" whose younger brother Reynaldo Tovar Arroyo is the representative in Venezuela of the private Mexican oil and gas company Petroquimica del Golfo, which holds a contract with the Venezuelan state. Cedeño, for his part, is a fugitive Venezuelan businessman who claimed asylum in the United States, and Pedro Burelli a former JP Morgan executive and the former director of Venezuela's national oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA). He left PDVSA in 1998 as Hugo Chavez took power and is on the advisory committee of Georgetown University's Latin America leadership program. Burelli insisted that the emails detailing his participation had been fabricated and even hired a private investigator to prove it. The investigator declared that Google's records showed the emails alleged to be his were never transmitted.Yet today Burelli makes no secret of his desire to see Venezuela's current president, Nicolás Maduro, deposed and even dragged through the streets and sodomized with a bayonet, as Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi was by NATO-backed militiamen. [Image: DxF4MubWwAEJxoY?format=jpg&name=small][Image: DxF4MudXcAAXs7h?format=jpg&name=small]

[Image: 3Pxc34dP_bigger.jpg][URL=""]Pedro Mario Burelli@pburelli

.@NicolasMaduro, jamas me has hecho caso. Me has fustigado/perseguido como @chavezcandanga jamás osó. Óyeme, tienes sólo dos opciones en las próximas 24 horas:

1. Como Noriega: pagar pena por narcotráfico y luego a @IntlCrimCourt La Haya por DDHH.

2. O a la Gaddafi.

Escoge ya!

7:09 AM - Jan 17, 2019


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The alleged Fiesta Mexicana plot flowed into another destabilization plan revealed in a series of documents produced by the Venezuelan government. In May 2014, Caracas released documents detailing an assassination plot against President Nicolás Maduro. The leaks identified the Miami-based Maria Corina Machado as a leader of the scheme. A hardliner with a penchant for extreme rhetoric, Machado has functioned as an international liaison for the opposition, visiting President George W. Bush in 2005.
[Image: VenRebpuMariaMachadoScreen-Shot-2019-01-....21-AM.png]Machado and George W. Bush, 2005.
"I think it is time to gather efforts; make the necessary calls, and obtain financing to annihilate Maduro and the rest will fall apart," Machado wrote in an email to former Venezuelan diplomat Diego Arria in 2014.In another email, Machado claimed that the violent plot had the blessing of U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker. "I have already made up my mind and this fight will continue until this regime is overthrown and we deliver to our friends in the world. If I went to San Cristobal and exposed myself before the OAS, I fear nothing. Kevin Whitaker has already reconfirmed his support and he pointed out the new steps. We have a checkbook stronger than the regime's to break the international security ring." Guaidó Heads to BarricadesThat February, student demonstrators acting as shock troops for the exiled oligarchy erected violent barricades across the country, turning opposition-controlled quarters into violent fortresses known as guarimbas. While international media portrayed the upheaval as a spontaneous protest against Maduro's iron-fisted rule, there was ample evidence that Popular Will was orchestrating the show. "None of the protesters at the universities wore their university t-shirts, they all wore Popular Will or Justice First t-shirts," a guarimba participant said at the time. "They might have been student groups, but the student councils are affiliated to the political opposition parties and they are accountable to them." Asked who the ringleaders were, the guarimba participant said, "Well if I am totally honest, those guys are legislators now." Around 43 were killed during the 2014 guarimbas. Three years later, they erupted again, causing mass destruction of public infrastructure, the murder of government supporters, and the deaths of 126 people, many of whom were Chavistas. In several cases, supporters of the government were burned alive by armed gangs.Guaidó was directly involved in the 2014 guarimbas. In fact, he tweeted video showing himself clad in a helmet and gas mask, surrounded by masked and armed elements that had shut down a highway that were engaging in a violent clash with the police. Alluding to his participation in Generation 2007, he proclaimed, "I remember in 2007, we proclaimed, Students!' Now, we shout, Resistance! Resistance!'" Guaidó has deleted the tweet, demonstrating apparent concern for his image as a champion of democracy.
On Feb. 12, 2014, during the height of that year's guarimbas, Guaidó joined Lopez on stage at a rally of Popular Will and Justice First. During a lengthy diatribe against the government, Lopez urged the crowd to march to the office of Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz. Soon after, Diaz's office came under attack by armed gangs who attempted to burn it to the ground. She denounced what she called "planned and premeditated violence."
[Image: VenRepubMicScreen-Shot-2019-01-29-at-2.13.51-AM.png]Guaidó alongside Lopez at fateful Feb. 12, 2014 rally.
In a televised appearance in 2016, Guaidó dismissed deaths resulting from guayas a guarimba tactic involving stretching steel wire across a roadway in order to injure or kill motorcyclists as a "myth." His comments whitewashed a deadly tactic that had killed unarmed civilians like Santiago Pedroza and decapitated a man named Elvis Durán, among many others. This callous disregard for human life would define his Popular Will party in the eyes of much of the public, including many opponents of Maduro.Cracking Down on Popular Will As violence and political polarization escalated across the country, the government began to act against the Popular Will leaders who helped stoke it.Freddy Guevara, the National Assembly vice-president and second in command of Popular Will, was a principal leader in the 2017 street riots. Facing a trial for his role in the violence, Guevara took shelter in the Chilean embassy, where he remains.Lester Toledo, a Popular Will legislator from the state of Zulia, was wanted by the Venezuelan government in September 2016 on charges of financing terrorism and plotting assassinations. The plans were said to be made with former Colombian President Álavaro Uribe. Toledo escaped Venezuela and went on several speaking tours with Human Rights Watch, the U.S. government-backed Freedom House, the Spanish Congress and European Parliament.Carlos Graffe, another Otpor-trained Generation 2007 member who led Popular Will, was arrested in July 2017. According to police, he was in possession of a bag filled with nails, C4 explosives and a detonator. He was released on Dec. 27, 2017. Leopoldo Lopez, the longtime Popular Will leader, is today under house arrest, accused of a key role in the deaths of 13 people during the guarimbas in 2014. Amnesty International lauded Lopez as a "prisoner of conscience" and slammed his transfer from prison to house as "not good enough." Meanwhile, family members of guarimba victims introduced a petition for more charges against Lopez.Goicoechea, the Koch Brothers' poster boy and U.S.-backed founder of Justice First, was arrested in 2016 by security forces who claimed they found found a kilo of explosives in his vehicle. In a New York Times op-ed, Goicoechea protested the charges as "trumped-up" and claimed he had been imprisoned simply for his "dream of a democratic society, free of Communism." He was freed in November 2017.View image on Twitter[Image: DxUQirzWkAAzFH2?format=jpg&name=medium]

[Image: MoSgLaMr_bigger.jpg][URL=""]Yon Goicoechea

Hoy, en Caricuao. Llevo 15 años trabajando con @jguaido. Confío en él. Conozco la constancia y la inteligencia con la que se ha construido a sí mismo. Está haciendo las cosas con bondad, pero sin ingenuidad. Hay una posibilidad abierta hacia la libertad.

2:10 AM - Jan 20, 2019


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David Smolansky, also a member of the original Otpor-trained Generation 2007, became Venezuela's youngest-ever mayor when he was elected in 2013 in the affluent suburb of El Hatillo. But he was stripped of his position and sentenced to 15 months in prison by the Supreme Court after it found him culpable of stirring the violent guarimbas. Facing arrest, Smolansky shaved his beard, donned sunglasses and slipped into Brazil disguised as a priest with a Bible in hand and rosary around his neck. He now lives in Washington, D.C., where he was hand picked by Secretary of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro to lead the working group on the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis.This July 26, Smolansky held what he called a "cordial reunion" with Elliot Abrams, the convicted Iran-Contra felon installed by Trump as special U.S. envoy to Venezuela. Abrams is notorious for overseeing the U.S. covert policy of arming right-wing death squads during the 1980s in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. His lead role in the Venezuelan coup has stoked fears that another blood-drenched proxy war might be on the way.View image on Twitter[Image: Dx27tNBW0AAm4iq?format=jpg&name=medium]

[Image: CDaWr-1p_bigger.jpg][URL=""]David Smolansky

Cordial reunión en la ONU con Elliott Abrams, enviado especial del gobierno de EEUU para Venezuela. Reiteramos que la prioridad para el gobierno interino que preside @jguaido es la asistencia humanitaria para millones de venezolanos que sufren de la falta de comida y medicinas.

7:46 PM - Jan 26, 2019


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Four days earlier, Machado rumbled another violent threat against Maduro, declaring that if he "wants to save his life, he should understand that his time is up."Pawn in Their GameThe collapse of Popular Will under the weight of the violent campaign of destabilization it ran alienated large sectors of the public and wound much of its leadership up in exile or in custody. Guaidó had remained a relatively minor figure, having spent most of his nine-year career in the National Assembly as an alternate deputy. Hailing from one of Venezuela's least populous states, Guaidó came in second place during the 2015 parliamentary elections, winning just 26 percent of votes cast in order to secure his place in the National Assembly. Indeed, his bottom may have been better known than his face.Guaidó is known as the president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, but he was never elected to the position. The four opposition parties that comprised the Assembly's Democratic Unity Table had decided to establish a rotating presidency. Popular Will's turn was on the way, but its founder, Lopez, was under house arrest. Meanwhile, his second-in-charge, Guevara, had taken refuge in the Chilean embassy. A figure named Juan Andrés Mejía would have been next in line but for reasons that are only now clear, Juan Guaido was selected. "There is a class reasoning that explains Guaidó's rise," Sequera, the Venezuelan analyst, observed. "Mejía is high class, studied at one of the most expensive private universities in Venezuela, and could not be easily marketed to the public the way Guaidó could. For one, Guaidó has common mestizo features like most Venezuelans do, and seems more like a man of the people. Also, he had not been overexposed in the media, so he could be built up into pretty much anything."In December 2018, Guaidó sneaked across the border and junketed to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to coordinate the plan to hold mass demonstrations during the inauguration of President Maduro. The night before Maduro's swearing-in ceremony, both Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called Guaidó to affirm their support. A week later, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart all lawmakers from the Florida base of the right-wing Cuban exile lobby joined President Trump and Vice President Pence at the White House. At their request, Trump agreed that if Guaidó declared himself president, he would back him.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met personally with Guaidó on Jan. 10, according to The Wall Street Journal. However, Pompeo could not pronounce Guaidó's name when he mentioned him in a press briefing on Jan. 25, referring to him as "Juan Guido." [URL=""]

[Image: yw8CorIcvAGQZxe8?format=jpg&name=medium][/URL]

[Image: XaASY98b_bigger.jpg][URL=""]Dan Cohen

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just called the figure Washington is attempting to install as Venezuelan President "Juan *Guido*" - as in the racist term for Italians. America's top diplomat didn't even bother to learn how to pronounce his puppet's name.

10:58 PM - Jan 25, 2019


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By Jan. 11, Guaidó's Wikipedia page had been edited 37 times, highlighting the struggle to shape the image of a previously anonymous figure who was now a tableau for Washington's regime change ambitions. In the end, editorial oversight of his page was handed over toWikipedia's elite council of "librarians," who pronounced him the "contested" president of Venezuela.Guaidó might have been an obscure figure, but his combination of radicalism and opportunism satisfied Washington's needs. "That internal piece was missing," a Trump administration official said of Guaidó. "He was the piece we needed for our strategy to be coherent and complete.""For the first time," Brownfield, the former American ambassador to Venezuela, gushed to The New York Times, "you have an opposition leader who is clearly signaling to the armed forces and to law enforcement that he wants to keep them on the side of the angels and with the good guys."But Guaidó's Popular Will party formed the shock troops of the guarimbas that caused the deaths of police officers and common citizens alike. He had even boasted of his own participation in street riots. And now, to win the hearts and minds of the military and police, Guaido had to erase this blood-soaked history. On Jan. 21, a day before the coup began in earnest, Guaidó's wife delivered a video address calling on the military to rise up against Maduro. Her performance was wooden and uninspiring, underscoring her husband's limited political prospects. At a press conference before supporters four days later, Guaidó announced his solution to the crisis: "Authorize a humanitarian intervention!"While he waits on direct assistance, Guaidó remains what he has always been a pet project of cynical outside forces. "It doesn't matter if he crashes and burns after all these misadventures," Sequera said of the coup figurehead. "To the Americans, he is expendable."[/FONT][/COLOR]
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

FEB 01, 2019[Image: print.svg][URL=""]
Overthrowing Democratic Governments Is Practically an American Tradition


[Image: Screen-Shot-2019-02-01-at-5.54.08-PM.png]President George H.W. Bush, right, shakes hands with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. (Wikimedia Commons)
On September 15, 1970, U.S. President Richard Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger authorized the U.S. government to do everything possible to undermine the incoming government of the socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. Nixon and Kissinger, according to the notes kept by CIA Director Richard Helms, wanted to "make the economy scream" in Chile; they were "not concerned [about the] risks involved." War was acceptable to them as long as Allende's government was removed from power. The CIA started Project FUBELT, with $10 million as a first installment to begin the covert destabilization of the country.
[Image: Vijay-Prashad_Image01_Caption_CIA-memora...6-1970.png]
U.S. business firms, such as the telecommunication giant ITT, the soft drink maker Pepsi and copper monopolies such as Anaconda and Kennecott, put pressure on the U.S. government once Allende nationalized the copper sector on July 11, 1971. Chileans celebrated this day as the Day of National Dignity (Dia de la Dignidad Nacional). The CIA began to make contact with sections of the military seen to be against Allende. Three years later, on September 11, 1973, these military men moved against Allende, who died in the regime change operation. The United States "created the conditions," as U.S. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger put it, to which U.S. President Richard Nixon answered, "that is the way it is going to be played." Such is the mood of international gangsterism.
[Image: Vijay-Prashad_Image02_Caption_Phone-call...6-1973.png]
Chile entered the dark night of a military dictatorship that turned over the country to U.S. monopoly firms. U.S. advisers rushed in to strengthen the nerve of General Augusto Pinochet's cabinet.
What happened to Chile in 1973 is precisely what the United States has attempted to do in many other countries of the Global South. The most recent target for the U.S. governmentand Western big businessis Venezuela. But what is happening to Venezuela is nothing unique. It faces an onslaught from the United States and its allies that is familiar to countries as far afield as Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The formula is clichéd. It is commonplace, a twelve-step plan to produce a coup climate, to create a world under the heel of the West and of Western big business.
Step One: Colonialism's Traps. Most of the Global South remains trapped by the structures put in place by colonialism. Colonial boundaries encircled states that had the misfortune of being single-commodity producerseither sugar for Cuba or oil for Venezuela. The inability to diversify their economies meant that these countries earned the bulk of their export revenues from their singular commodities (98 percent of Venezuela's export revenues come from oil). As long as the prices of the commodities remained high, the export revenues were secure. When the prices fell, revenue suffered. This was a legacy of colonialism. Oil prices dropped from $160.72 per barrel (June 2008) to $51.99 per barrel (January 2019). Venezuela's export revenues collapsed in this decade.
Step Two: The Defeat of the New International Economic Order. In 1974, the countries of the Global South attempted to redo the architecture of the world economy. They called for the creation of a New International Economic Order(NIEO) that would allow them to pivot away from the colonial reliance upon one commodity and diversify their economies. Cartels of raw materialssuch as oil and bauxitewere to be built so that the one-commodity country could have some control over prices of the products that they relied upon. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), founded in 1960, was a pioneer of these commodity cartels. Others were not permitted to be formed. With the defeat of OPEC over the past three decades, its memberssuch as Venezuela (which has the world's largest proven oil reserves)have not been able to control oil prices. They are at the mercy of the powerful countries of the world.
Step Three: The Death of Southern Agriculture. In November 2001, there were about 3 billion small farmers and landless peasants in the world. That month, the World Trade Organization met in Doha, Qatar, to unleash the productivity of Northern agri-business against the billions of small farmers and landless peasants of the Global South. Mechanization and large, industrial-scale farms in North America and Europe had raised productivity to about 1 to 2 million kilograms of cereals per farmer. The small farmers and landless peasants in the rest of the world struggled to grow 1,000 kilograms of cereals per farmer. They were nowhere near as productive. The Doha decision, as Samir Amin wrote, presages the annihilation of the small farmer and landless peasant. What are these men and women to do? The production per hectare is higher in the West, but the corporate takeover of agriculture (as Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research Senior Fellow P. Sainathshows) leads to increased hunger as it pushes peasants off their land and leaves them to starve.
Step Four: Culture of Plunder. Emboldened by Western domination, monopoly firms act with disregard for the law. As Kambale Musavuli and I write of the Democratic Republic of Congo, its annual budget of $6 billion is routinely robbed of at least $500 million by monopoly mining firms, mostly from Canadathe country now leading the charge against Venezuela. Mispricing and tax avoidance schemes allow these large firms (Canada's Agrium, Barrick and Suncor) to routinely steal billions of dollars from impoverished states.
Step Five: Debt as a Way of Life. Unable to raise money from commodity sales, hemmed in by a broken world agricultural system and victim of a culture of plunder, countries of the Global South have been forced to go hat in hand to commercial lenders for finance. Over the past decade, debt held by the Global South states has increased, while debt payments have balloonedby 60 percent. When commodity prices rose between 2000 and 2010, debt in the Global South decreased. As commodity prices began to fall from 2010, debts have risen. The IMF points out that of the 67 impoverished countries that they follow, 30 are in debt distress, a number that has doubled since 2013. More than 55.4 percent of Angola's export revenue is paid to service its debt. And Angola, like Venezuela, is an oil exporter. Other oil exporters such as Ghana, Chad, Gabon and Venezuela suffer high debt to GDP ratios. Two out of five low-income countries are in deep financial distress.
Step Six: Public Finances Go to Hell. With little incoming revenue and low tax collection rates, public finances in the Global South have gone into crisis. As the UN Conference on Trade and Development points out, "public finances have continued to be suffocated." States simply cannot put together the funds needed to maintain basic state functions. Balanced budget rules make borrowing difficult, which is compounded by the fact that banks charge high rates for money, citing the risks of lending to indebted countries.
Step Seven: Deep Cuts in Social Spending. Impossible to raise funds, trapped by the fickleness of international finance, governments are forced to make deep cuts in social spending. Education and health, food sovereignty and economic diversificationall this goes by the wayside. International agencies such as the IMF force countries to conduct "reforms," a word that means the extermination of independence. Those countries that hold out face immense international pressure to submit under pain of extinction, as the Communist Manifesto (1848) put it.
Step Eight: Social Distress Leads to Migration. The total number of migrants in the world is now at least 68.5 million. That makes the country called Migration the 21st-largest country in the world, after Thailand and ahead of the United Kingdom. Migration has become a global reaction to the collapse of countries from one end of the planet to the other. The migration out of Venezuela is not unique to that country but is now merely the normal reaction to the global crisis. Migrants from Honduras who go northward to the United States or migrants from West Africa who go toward Europe through Libya are part of this global exodus.
Step Nine: Who Controls the Narrative? The monopoly corporate media take their orders from the elite. There is no sympathy for the structural crisis faced by governments from Afghanistan to Venezuela. Those leaders who cave to Western pressure are given a free pass by the media. As long as they conduct "reforms," they are safe. Those countries that argue against the "reforms" are vulnerable to being attacked. Their leaders become "dictators," their people hostages. A contested election in Bangladesh or in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in the United States is not cause for regime change. That special treatment is left for Venezuela.
Step Ten: Who's the Real President? Regime change operations begin when the imperialists question the legitimacy of the government in power: by putting the weight of the United States behind an unelected person, calling him the new president and creating a situation where the elected leader's authority is undermined. The coup takes place when a powerful country decideswithout an electionto anoint its own proxy. That personin Venezuela's case Juan Guaidórapidly has to make it clear that he will bend to the authority of the United States. His kitchen cabinetmade up of former government officials with intimate ties to the United States (such as Harvard University's Ricardo Hausmann and Carnegie's Moisés Naím)will make it clear that they want to privatize everything and sell out the Venezuelan people in the name of the Venezuelan people.
Step Eleven: Make the Economy Scream. Venezuela has faced harsh U.S. sanctions since 2014, when the U.S. Congress started down this road. The next year, U.S. President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a "threat to national security." The economy started to scream. In recent days, the United States and the United Kingdom brazenly stole billions of dollars of Venezuelan money, placed the shackles of sanctions on its only revenue-generating sector (oil) and watched the pain flood through the country. This is what the United States did to Iran and this is what they did to Cuba. The UN says that the U.S. sanctions on Cuba have cost the small island $130 billion. Venezuela lost $6 billion for the first year of Trump's sanctions, since they began in August 2017. More is to be lost as the days unfold. No wonder that the United Nations Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy says that "sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela." He said that sanctions are "not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes." Further, Jazairy said, "I am especially concerned to hear reports that these sanctions are aimed at changing the government of Venezuela." He called for "compassion" for the people of Venezuela.
Step Twelve: Go to War. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton held a yellow pad with the words "5,000 troops in Colombia" written on it. These are U.S. troops, already deployed in Venezuela's neighbor. The U.S. Southern Command is ready. They are egging on Colombia and Brazil to do their bit. As the coup climate is created, a nudge will be necessary. They will go to war.
None of this is inevitable. It was not inevitable to Titina Silá, a commander of the Partido Africano para a Independència da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC) who was murdered on January 30, 1973. She fought to free her country. It is not inevitable to the people of Venezuela, who continue to fight to defend their revolution. It is not inevitable to Tricontinental: Institute for Social Change's friends at CodePink: Women for Peace, whose Medea Benjamin walked into a meeting of the Organization of American States and said: No!
It is time to say No to regime change intervention. There is no middle ground.

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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