Protests Continue as Venezuela Goes on Vacation

Best and funniest headline all week, in my opinion. What happens when millions of everyday people use Carnival for vacations at the beach instead of either joining the opposition on the streets, or marching in support of the democratically elected government? Well, as for the MSM, the headlines announce: ‘thousands march despite holiday!’ (yes, even Raw Story).

Ewan Robertson has more from Mérida, including one protester saying ‘We want the street to remain active; if the protests are peaceful then people get tired.” Hmmm… and:

‘Also today, right-wing legislator Maria Corina Machado and Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, led a march to the Venezuela office of the Organisation of American States (OAS). Describing the situation in Venezuela as “the assassination of a democracy”, they demanded that the OAS debate events in Venezuela and support the opposition with a “firm reaction”.

“If the OAS turns its back on Venezuela in these hours it won’t just be betraying Venezuela, it will be burying the OAS,” argued Machado, who participated in the short-lived 2002 coup against former president Hugo Chavez.’

TRNN’s early coverage of the protests trying to force out Maduro (or stage a second coup against Chavismo) were framed in MSM-Imperium-speak, but they’ve apparently recalibrated. Kudos to them.

And yes, it seems that not only Leopoldo Lopez’s friends boycotted the peace talks that began Feb. 27, but so did Henrique Capriles and MUD. Right-wing Capriles had been attempting to recast himself as ‘the moderate’, vacillating between renouncing violence and attempting to find common ground with the government. And when Capriles is ‘the moderate’, look out for Lopez and friends.

Lopez, friend of the CIA and part of the insurrection that kidnapped and jailed Hugo Chavez for several days in 2002, is also good friends with Álvaro Uribe, former President of Colombia, alleged to have close ties to the Medellin Cartel. It was cohorts of Uribes’ who the Maduro government had charged had been looting warehouses of basic foods and necessities, and either dumping them or taking them to Colombia.

While proof of that would be hard to discover, it does jibe with the documents leaked to attorney Eva Gollinger concerning ways to ‘destabilize Venezuela and undermine the Mauro government.

“The suggested aims in the plan are especially geared towards the municipal elections on December 8,” writes the document. In the elections the Venezuelan population will choose 335 mayors, 2,435 municipal councilors, 69 local indigenous representatives, 2 mayors and 20 district councils.

The strategies to be employed include: “creating crisis on the streets, facilitating the intervention of North America and NATO forces with the Colombian army,” power cuts, food shortages, support and financing of the political opposition.”

Oopsie; Chavismo candidates won most elections handily, of course.

No doubt you’ll remember that Snowden’s SIGINT documents published at the NYT showed that VZ had been accorded a special status by the spooks:

‘The NSA’s objective with Venezuela in 2007 as an “enduring target” was to enable US “policymakers in [sic] preventing Venezuela from achieving its regional leadership objective and pursuing policies that negatively impact US global interests”. The NSA focused on providing “US decision makers with a holistic SIGINT perspective of regional trends and developments, assessing and/or predicting strategic direction, plans, intentions and capabilities that impact US interests”.

The NSA was, in general, focused on Venezuela’s regional power and “[Hugo] Chavez’s progress in his initiatives to pursue regional power objectives in the political, economic, energy, and ideological arenas”. The NSA that year also decided to focus on assessing Venezuela’s “regime stability, particularly in the energy sector” and the “depth and breadth” of its relations with Iran, Cuba, China, and Russia.

The other countries it decided were “enduring targets” were China, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Russia.”

Because Bolivarism is sincerely dangerous to the Oligarchs, and must be crushed before it can take deeper root among the people.  And: because oil.

In ‘Venezuela is not Ukraine’, Mark Weisbrot, frequent writer at the Guardian on VZ, debunks a number of the MSM hysterical claims against the current governments under Chavismo, including:

‘The New York Times had to run a correction last week for an article that began with a statement about “The only television station that regularly broadcast voices critical of the government …” As it turns out,all of the private TV stations “regularly broadcast voices critical of the government”. And private media has more than 90% of the TV-viewing audience in Venezuela. A study by the Carter Center of the presidential election campaign period last April showed a 57 to 34% advantage in TV coverage for President Maduro over challenger Henrique Capriles in the April election, but that advantage is greatly reduced or eliminated when audience shares are taken into account.’

Weisbrot chastises the government on some things that require criticism, as well, but this information is quite counter to the conventional reporting:

‘Opposition leaders currently aim to topple the democratically elected government – their stated goal – by portraying it as a repressive dictatorship that is cracking down on peaceful protest. This is a standard “regime change” strategy, which often includes violent demonstrations in order to provoke state violence.

The latest official numbers have eight confirmed deaths of opposition protesters, but no evidence that these were a result of efforts by the government to crush dissent. At least two pro-government people have also been killed, and two people on motorcycles were killed (one beheaded) by wires allegedly set up by protesters. Eleven of the 55 people currently detained for alleged crimes during protests are security officers.’

He also shines a light on class divisions at Counterpunch, and writes about what he saw when he went to VZ in 2002:

‘It was December of 2002, and I was struck by the images on U.S. television of what was reported as a “general strike,” with shops closed and streets empty. So I went there to see for myself, and it was one of the most Orwellian experiences of my life.

Only in the richer neighborhoods, in eastern Caracas, was there evidence of a strike, by business owners (not workers). In the western and poorer parts of the city, everything was normal and people were doing their Christmas shopping – images unseen in the U.S. media. I wrote an article about it for the Washington Post, and received hundreds of emails from right-wing Venezuelans horrified that the Post had printed a factual and analytical account that breathed air outside of their bubble. They didn’t have to worry about it happening again’.

You may be familiar with how much media attention #SOS Venezuela has gotten; the many photos would be quite alarming, if you didn’t know who was behind the movement propaganda and funding, including USAID, NED, and OTI and any other NGOs in whose interest it is to stamp out socialism in the global south. Oh, and how cleverly images have been doctored to look like something they are not. Dr. Dawg?

Last but not least, when I read Ewan Roberton’s piece: ‘Venezuela Marks 25 Years Since “Caracazo” Uprising Against Neoliberalism’, and watched the video, the history brought tears to my eyes. I had not known any of it, and had been quite slow to realize that I had reflexively bought into the conventional wisdom about Chavez in my abject ignorance.

‘On 27 February 1989 protests, riots and looting broke out in Caracas and other cities across Venezuela. Half of the population lived in poverty at the time, and some who lived in extreme poverty resorted to dog food or spaghetti water to fill their stomachs.

The spark that set off the protests was the announcement of an IMF “structural adjustment package” by the government of Carlos Andres Perez, which had recently assumed office. Transport, fuel, and utilities prices were all to increase, while price caps on some basic goods were to be lifted.

This was part of a plan which would also privatise utility companies, remove import tariffs, lift exchange controls, liberate interest rates, and attempt to reduce the fiscal deficit.

To control the uprising, Carlos Andres Perez declared a state of emergency and sent the army onto the streets to quell the riots. In the massacre that followed, estimates of those killed range from 300 to 3,000.

Many consider that the political and social impact of the uprising and repression led to the downfall of the reigning two-party system and the election of Hugo Chavez as Venezuelan president in 1998.

Looking back, looking forward

“The people who were massacred 25 years ago are the revolutionary people that today are constructing Bolivarian socialism, that is being consolidated this century,” wrote President Nicolas Maduro on Twitter yesterday. “The people broke their bindings and said “enough of neoliberalism”. They were massacred but not defeated, and there began this revolution of the 21st century,” he continued.

“The rebellion was the push that was needed so that a revolution like the Bolivarian one came along…to get to where we are now, many fought, many had to go out that 27 February and say an overwhelming ‘no’ to neoliberal impositions and ‘no’ to inequality,” he said to AVN.

Below is a video of images from the Caracazo in remembrance of the events 25 years ago:

(cross-posted at My.firedoglake.com)

28 responses to “Protests Continue as Venezuela Goes on Vacation

  1. Is IL DESPOTUS Barack Obama Hussein?

    Does he believe he’s immune from the Mussolini “final solution” as a result of his unleashing his halfascist furies around the globe?

  2. they not only *believe* they are immune, they *know they are, and shall remain so*. that’s the power of an indomitable super-ego, i reckon.

  3. I Am NOT a betting man, and I’ve no idea what caliber Sagan may’ve settled on, but at ~ 3 million to 1, if I were in the Obamanable 1%, I’d Step BACK, AWAY from the swastikas, stars and bars, and skinheads they’re employing! Even ‘Nuland’ ought know, the pursuit of “lebensraum” didn’t work out well for the Reich; nor ‘our’ “rich”.

  4. ahhhh. or: (metatphorically speaking, of course, general clapper…)

  5. Love ya Wendy- You are far too damed good four that place FDL. I have talked to others on places like TruthDig who are very aware of Jane hamster. the term i heard from them was FDL was nice Dem Parlour party Place.

    keep up the good work getting the truth out there.

  6. lol. hey, michael cavlan, good to see you. it’s gotten a little bit edgier recently (as in less enamored of the US Imperium), but i reckon come midterm elections…well, who knows? this post was certainly not a hit over yonder, but at least i’m gettin’ the bed quilt patched, so…there’s that. :)

    shoot, it’s a business, and miz hamsher’s already announced that there will be no endorsements (iirc, ‘ever’), but then site clicks are way down over this time a year ago. really, some days it seems like a ghost town, brrrrr.

    keep the faith, baby!

  7. Read your diary over at teh other ship, assuming you took it down. I appreciated going through a refresher of historical events that I didn’t pay enough attention to back in the day and your bringing forward.

    We are hourly being exposed to the worst of the present Walker regime here, as they throw everything against the wall to see what they can get to stick and it is getting sickening. Four more weeks or so of this special session. Just a bit distracted with calls and discussions with Con-gress critters. Bread sanity day today, anyway.

    All a the best,


  8. and so, the BERNANK$TER$ indeed deserve a haircut, Clapper needs belling and the putative Change Chump Obum, warrants Smokin’ OUT!

  9. apologies, darlin’s; i’m too depressed and underwater to even draw a full breath. i will resurface when i’m not unwittingly creating a psychic undertow to pull anyone else under with me.

    love, wd

  10. yes, i took this post down at my.fdl, nonquixote. seemed silly to keep it up with no comments after six hours or something. but i’ve learned a whole lot, too, since researching for posts on the zapatista movement and chavismo/bolivarian revolutions and democratic rule.

    watching the handmaidens-to-the-Empire ngo’s undermine the government is hard, including the brilliant move in the 90’s to begin funding college education for the upper-middle class kids; it worked out well to see they were fully indoctrinated in free market ideology. and if the elite class can’t win at the ballot box…try another coup!

    bread day here, too; hope i don’t blow it again with inattention. four loaves of sourdough dill are either such a waste, or so crap to eat, even as toast. :) every single thing i turned my hand to yesterday tanked, and even what came in from the outside world…sucked. today *may* be a new day, but i ain’t countin’ on it yet, lol.

  11. indeed, bruce. when you’re so out of harmony that you hate everyone and everything on the planet…you can bet your attitude i at the center of it. even my grandmother’s ancient sewing machine engaged me hand-to-hand combat when i tried to swing it up out of its cabinet…and it won. guess that mightta been a clue, eh?

    this administration refused to accept that maduro was elected fairly for a long time, but after so many other nations did, kerry was forced to, and maduro tried to make some overtures to the us. ha, not so much. but all they have to do now is stay behind the scenes and hope he goes down, and chavismo with him.

    was it ewan who said that the great danger, of course, is that it will spread further; elites don’t like the sounds of that. nor when a nation refuses IMF or world bank loans and goes to ‘our enemies’ for money.

    tip fwiw: these tiny comment boxes suck, but if you put you cursor in and press Enter ten times, it gets large enough to see what you’re typing. wish i’d figured it out sooner. :)

  12. I believe We ALL hate when the Company sew and sews rebel and the bread riots! I hate frauds (alias “elites”) and Fridays; time for a weekend bad News DUMP. Even failing that, it could be worse; run and find the one who loves ye :

  13. wot???? ya couldn’t find a ‘drought thursdays always nuke my whales’ one?

    the machine tore a strip on my arm, but good on big bandaids! part of the machine tried to commit sewercide, but only wounded itself, not altogether disabling itself, but…it warn’t good news.

    isn’t every day ‘out with the trash’ bad news fridays now?

    “Yesterday, Maduro came under renewed criticism from Washington, with the House of Representatives passing a non-binding resolution condemning his government’s handling of the disturbances.

    The resolution accuses the Venezuelan government of disregarding the “rule of law”, “inexcusable violence perpetrated against opposition leaders and protesters in Venezuela” and using “politically motivated criminal charges to intimidate the country’s political opposition”.

    The resolution expresses support for anti-government protesters, some of which have staged violent demonstrations in Venezuela’s major cities. On the same day the resolution was passed, opposition demonstrators in Caracas attacked a group of journalists.”

    Maduro broke off ties with panama for whining to the OAS to do something about the hideous way protestors are being treated; meanwhile, the Am, heritage institute is rousing the elites with calls to arms:

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/03/venezuela-us-leadership-needed

    took awhile to remember the moody blues i’d been playing recently… inda raucous for the message.

  14. New theory is that FDL is being attacked by having shit posts and diaries put up, and stupid comments dominating otherwise informative discussions. It’s a clever way to destroy a site.

  15. sorry if you can delete duplicate here is link to Henryk Gorecki music

  16. it’s a theory, i guess, but spam happens, especially if the site doesn’t have the best tech help, and from what those who say they know….the site
    doesn’t.

    wordpress itself has some spam blockers and comment verifiers, but some get through even at this negligible site. ijust happen to think that miz hamsher may have chosen the wrong business model during the past year, and the attempts to appeal to younger demographic with the arts and culture section…seems not to be working, so far at least.

    wonder what would happen if she chose to feature third party candidates, for interest? or grant a blanket amnesty to the many, many folks who have been rather capriciously banned over the past few years as a good will gesture? of course, tboggs fanboys think clicks are down since his leaving for raw story but that doesn’t t all fit the timing pattern.

    gorgeous music, mark. thank you.

  17. From perhaps the greatest ‘Blues’ concert (at Red Rocks); between the silence of your mountains and the crashing of my seas, I wish US ALL ” a miracle in our lives”.

  18. I don’t mean spam.

    Every thread has someone posting wacko remarks, persisting in arguing, ignoring facts, misleading, lying.

    The other day someone posted an article about nazis in the Ukraine, I missed the point, it was intended to mock anyone who thinks there are nazis in ukrainian government. now there are comments about zionists, it’s a haven for that crap.

    too bad.

    as for the culture people, they throw out their article, and that’s the last you see of them. I responded to a couple of them. no response to any of the responses. so I stopped.

    I’m sick of the whole thing anyway. I know enough about the way things are.

  19. Bubble-iscious, bruce. heh; i saw them in redrocks back when dinosaurs did the lindy hop…..1976 or so. a miracle?

  20. oh, you mean folks who actually register, then post stuff that’s contra the ordinary flavor or the place or even disinformation? hell, we have metamars, lol. what a corker, eh?

    but re: creepy zionist comments: dunno if you noticed, but i’d gone looking to see if aitchD had been around, and saw that his last comment was about the comments knut and others had made, said he might not pony up his membership money. now i do know that ordinarily he was not sensitive about remarks about jews. he used to tell the best jewish jokes ever and send funny videos.

    now that flag system can be used to get folks banned, but it also can be used to oust folks others simply disagree with, a very sticky wicket, imo.

    but i’ve never gone on a culture post since the time i got…(ahem) corrected by kit, kevin, and another mod, then moderated, a tough i’d said something scurrilous to the author for attacking lauryn hill.

    but then…we have visitors like this one, too. :)

    http://my.firedoglake.com/appmanga/2014/03/07/the-one-question-that-can-help-democrats-win-congressional-elections/

  21. Yes I mean people who are there to sabotage threads, lie, derail discussions, red herrings, straw men, slanders, personal attacks on the author or on another commenter, that kind of thing.

    Since, as with metamars, there is no limit of any kind on what a person can post, even if its an utter lie, no doubt there are people who get sick and tired of arguing and just pack it up.

    freedom of the press eh? some things are more important than that. like the world being destroyed.

    I have no problem with people criticizing Israel, They need to get out of The west bank, obviiously.

    But that site harbours a lot of people who are just plain jew haters. Those two groups have a lot in common, there’s a blurring of the line there.

    I called out one guy there on his constant blathering, he resorted to one liners in response. No facts, just smart ass remarks. Jews flourished under muslim rule.

    No, they didn’t. yellow star, spit on, massacred every once in a while, property confiscated, laws making them third class citizens.

    waste of time tracking down stuff in response to the trolls.

    I wasn’t aware of any things between you and someone there, but I’m not sure I understand that. Never known you to be anything other than polite.

    They need to pay attention to what’s going on at their site. There is a lot of good stuff there. Specially Kevin.

    you should listen to the music I posted

    see yah later. you must be about 1200 miles southwest from here. we have a lot of snow this year, just freaking heaps of the stuff.

    anyway,see you later…

    Mark

  22. Hope your day was better, oh, and appmanga, read that title this morning before anyone commented and just about spit my coffee. (just went back and chuckled through the comments, thanks.) Went on to chores around teh house. Shared some bread and garlic, back before the sleet storm.

    PBS pledge drive night playing Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert re-run. Testing my memory on the guests performing Bob songs. 4 for 6 so far. Missed two obscure backup vocalists, George Harrison I recognize. ;)

  23. whoosh, mark.

    let me say first that SS is not the third rail of ‘liberal politics’, israel, aipac, and cufi are. there is no way that anything i say might not offend you, but after a long hard day mainly still dealing with folks, including the sister, of the long-time blogging friend miguelith20 i held a wake for at my fdl, answering other (hmmmm interesting emails), and having had a couple shots of cheap scotch in an attempt to quell too much pain. please allow me to respond to this tomorrow? as for any confusion as to persons, aitchd was my penpal for a longtime, is jewish, but in another spate of irony decided that since i eat some animal flesh, decided that i could no longer post in objection to gmo’s, and i needed to hear the screams of 11 million penned animals, etc….but that how it goes sometimes with online friendships, lol. and i do seem to draw the ire of so many.

    in the meantime, please know that i can only begin to imagine how sensitive you are to any of it. i was raised with de facto jewish godparents who fled to this country from czechoslovakia, and was weaned early on post-holocaust literature. thus, i was very slow to acknowledge the worst deeds of israel. please find some measure of peace tonight, and let morpheus guide you…in the dreamworld.

  24. nice on the dylan for da pledge drive. but re: the manga person, i’m glad to have folks post contra the oft-asserted ‘fdl echo chamber’. in the marketplace of ideas, they should (even the assumedly youthful rkkkyyy person, lol.

    but otoh, we are at least semi-free to skewer some of those posts with humor, no. spit take or no? when i first posted at my.fdly years ago on the theme that US congresscritters were elites too, ‘then’ moderator rayne flipped her wig. when i called out richard trumka and big labor bosses (not knowing a quarter of their perfidy at the time) jane hamsher went…well..never mind. but at the time i dinnae now that he was living with andy stern prez of the IIEU. oopsie.

    but i hope you read ‘drone court advantage’ at the lilly ledbetter link. if only could write satire a tenth as well…

    hope your bread did well (mine may have), that the weather don’t getcha down, and that you dream of murdering scott walker (just kidding).

  25. no need to respond, don’t worry about…. listen to that music if you have the chance..

  26. i do see now that i should have not only listened more closely, but watched the soprano deliver the lament. i googled, and found:

    “A solo soprano sings a different Polish text in each of the three movements. The first is a 15th-century Polish lament of Mary, mother of Jesus, the second a message written on the wall of a Gestapo cell during World War II, and the third a Silesian folk song of a mother searching for her son killed by the Germans in the Silesian uprisings.[2] The first and third movements are written from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child, and the second movement from that of a child separated from a parent. The dominant themes of the symphony are motherhood and separation through war.”

    this is obviously the 2nd movement, and brought to mind ‘sophie’s choice’, an epic tragedy one never recovers from after reading. thank you for asking me to pay more attention, mark.

  27. the lyrics of the second section are stupendously sad.

    but the music is very beautiful and moving. she has an extraordinary voice.

    seems like he had different thoughts about what it meant to him from time to time.

    thanks for the info… very interesting.

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