The ‘protestor shield art work’ above comes from ‘Venezuela’s shield-bearing protesters – in pictures; Drawing inspiration from Ukraine’s 2013-14 revolt, young protesters in Venezuela carry Viking-like shields as they battle government security forces during protests against President Nicolás Maduro, the Guardian. (the shield below.)
In other words, ‘The Guardian pimps a fashion show of anti-Chavista violent protest art’. Aren’t they awesome and adorable? These, of course, are examples of good violence, not fascistic whatsoever.
As was, of course, the referenced oh-so-necessary violence depicted in the agitprop film Winter of Fire that the opposition MUD acolytes screened for protestors; those poor folks were just fighting for their freedom! (implies the Guardian.)
The Guardian had labeled the second one: ‘Miraflores on fire’ is written on the front of this shield. Miraflores Palace is the president’s official workplace
From the Trump administration, a Warning!
OTOH…some US oil refineries aren’t so happy about this threat of additional sanctions…
The background capsule on ‘Maduro’s evil power grab of the Constitutional Assembly’: ‘Venezuela’s Maduro Calls for National Constituent Assembly to End Political Impasse’, By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas, May 2, 2017, venezeulanalysis.com
“May 2, 2107 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro officially called for a National Constituent Assembly to be convened this May Day, in a bid to bring an end to the political crisis between the national government and the opposition-held parliament.
Speaking to the hundreds of thousands of government supporters that took to the streets of the nation’s capital for International Workers’ Day 2017, Maduro explained that he would invoke article 347 of the constitution to trigger the assembly, which will be responsible for re-drafting the 1999 Constitution.
“I convoke the original constituent power, a national constituent assembly with the people, with the working class! It is time and it is the path forward… They [the opposition] have left us with no alternatives,” he said.
“I invoke the original constituent power to achieve the peace necessary for the Republic, to defeat the fascist attempts at a coup, so that the sovereignty of the people may impose peace, harmony, and true national dialogue,” he continued.
The president explained that there are nine areas in which the assembly will work to reorient the current Constitution, such as incorporating the social programs of the Chavez and Maduro governments as well as the communal councils and communes as new expressions of local government into the Magna Carta. He also said that orientations towards building a “post-petroleum” economy in Venezuela and stopping climate change should be institutionalized. In statements to the crowd, the head of state promised that the assembly would be one of the “people, workers, feminists, communards, campesinos and young people”.
The MUD opposition party had called for continuous street demonstrations, street and highway closures for the two weeks ahead of the July 30 vote, and a nation-wide general strike to cripple life for Venezuelan citizens for today’s #Zero Hour.
“The 24-hour strike planned for Thursday, issued on Monday, was part of what the opposition called a “final offensive” aimed at forcing Maduro out through early elections, before his term ends in 2019.
“We are calling all the country to take part in a massive and violence-free protest through a nationwide civic strike for 24 hours,” said one leader in the opposition coalition, Freddy Guevara.
He said the stoppage was a “mechanism for pressure and to prepare for the definitive escalation to take place next week”.
In order to rally the international community against the Maduro government, the opposition held a plebiscite on July 16, no matter that the ‘hand-picked by Maduro’ Supreme Court called it illegal and non-binding. The opposition claims that 7.1 million citizens voted in the vote to prohibit the Constituent Assembly. On the same day, pro-government supporters engaged in a dry-run vote for elections of delegates to the Assembly; millions participated, no final counts given as far as I’ve read. This author explains the variances on journalism coverage of the two votes.
Flipping the bird at Trump and international pressure:
‘Venezuela Armed Forces Reject Interference in Internal Affairs’, The minister also denounced opposition street actions that set people on fire, attack medical and educational centers and attempt to destroy cities, telesur english, July 19
‘The FANB categorically rejects the alliance of governments operating against the nation and repudiates as firmly as possible the statements of (U.S. President Donald) Trump who, in an affront to Venezuela has dared to threaten the Venezuelan people with imposing economic sanctions on the government if it goes ahead with its Constituent Assembly. It is a shameless and vile statement that represents clear meddling in the internal affairs of the country.”
The minister also denounced the opposition that calls its supporters into the streets, leading to violence that “sets people on fire, attacks medical and educational centers, and attempts to destroy cities.”
Stating the firm anti-imperialist character of the armed forces, Padrino called on the military to close ranks against these interventionists’ attacks.
The military official also described how forces will be deployed starting Friday to distribute electoral equipment to the over 14,000 polling centers in the country ahead of the CNA vote on July 30.
Vice President Tareck El Aissami also denounced Trump’s interventionist plans, stating that the civic-military alliance will be activated on July 21 to ensure the safe and free participation of the Venezuelan people during the vote.”
Wsws.org has covered the new round of impending sanctions by Herr T against Venezuela, and somehow blithely reported:
“The private intelligence agency, Stratfor, also claims that Cuba is the nexus for indirect talks between Russia and the United States, in which former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been a key figure. Stratfor also noted that it “has received persistent reports that he [Maduro] has considered asking for refuge in Russia or Cuba.”
Cuba, Russia and China all have substantial economic interests in Venezuela and would be hurt significantly by being cut out entirely were the Maduro government to fall. By taking part in negotiations in which Maduro exits the scene, they hope to ingratiate themselves with the right-wing MUD and maintain their present relationships for as long as possible.”’
Curious, I used my single permissible click into Stratfor: global intelligence files to find: ‘The U.S. and Russia Almost See Eye to Eye on Venezuela’
“However, reports from Stratfor sources indicate that Maduro has also explored seeking political asylum. For more than a year, Stratfor has received persistent reports that he has considered asking for refuge in Russia or Cuba. He may have sweetened his request to Russia with offers of mineral concessions. But even if Maduro eventually secures an exile deal with Russia or Cuba, other military and political officials at risk of arrest in Venezuela or extradition to the United States will rely on the constitutional rewrite to improve their chances of political survival.
The talks on asylum appear to be part of larger discussions in which the interests of the United States, Cuba, Russia and China converge. According to a Stratfor source, Cuba is a key part of indirect talks between Russia and the United States on Venezuela. The government of Raul Castro conveys Russian and Chinese positions (as well as Maduro’s) to the United States. And former Spanish prime minister and mediator Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero represents U.S. interests.”
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if that report isn’t a psyop that could completely flip out Maduro supporters, and cripes. the military (FANB) and suggest to the opposition that it’s all over but the shouting… I say ‘weird on ya’, wsws.
Oh, and after the Supreme Court made its decision, ‘Protesters Attack Venezuela’s Supreme Court Office; Venezuela’s Supreme Court rejected a motion that would prohibit the altering of the country’s constitution. Protestors reacted by attacking a branch of the court in Caracas., thedailybeast.com
Oh, those peaceful protestors of the opposition party; they seem to have borrowed a lot of wood to create more of their fire blockades (guarimbas) to stop traffic and create chaos.
‘Empire Files: Abby Martin Meets the Venezuelan Opposition’, July 3, 2017 (the transcript)
In case this diary wasn’t quite long enough, arrgh, I’ll offer a few other tangential links…
‘Why can’t the left get Venezuela right?’, Shamus Cooke, Counterpunch, July 13, 2017 Cooke nails the cool fake left kids on the block ina long explanatory essay of what’s really afoot in VZ.
“As Venezuela’s fascist-minded oligarchy conspires with U.S. imperialism to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro, few in the U.S. seem to care.
Instead of denouncing rightwing violence that aims at regime change, many on the U.S. left have stayed silent, or opted to give an evenhanded analysis that supports neither the Maduro government nor the oligarchy trying to violently overthrow it. Rather, the left prioritizes its energy on lecturing on Maduro’s “authoritarianism” and the failures of “Chavismo.”
This approach allows leftists a cool emotional detachment to the fate of the poor in Venezuela, and clean hands that would otherwise be soiled by engaging with the messy, real life class struggle that is the Venezuelan revolution.
A “pox on both houses” analysis omits the U.S. government’s role in collaborating with Venezuela’s oligarchs. The decades-long crimes of imperialism against Venezuela is aided and abetted by the silence of the left, or by its murky analysis that minimizes the perpetrator’s actions, focusing negative attention on the victim precisely at the moment of attack.” (the rest is here.)
‘Time for the “International Left” to Take a Stand on Venezuela’, Gregory Wilpert, counterpunch, July 17, 2017
Perhaps partially in answer to this? ‘Jacobin magazine attacks Venezuela, Cuba and TeleSUR’ lierationnews.org, Jordan Woll, Jul 12, 2017
Sure, Telesur is biased, but not, I repeat not, like the New York Slimes and the Guardian, WaPo, truth-tellers to the world.
‘U.S. blocking food shipments to Venezuela, says minister’, Xinhua
“The United States is blocking food shipments to Venezuela, a country struggling with shortages of staple goods, Venezuelan Minister of Urban Agriculture Freddy Bernal said on Wednesday.
Bernal said U.S. threats of sanctions against companies doing business with Venezuela was interfering with the country’s supply of imported foodstuffs.
“The United States pressures shipping companies that if they make purchases, sales or transactions with Venezuela, they will be sanctioned,” Bernal said in an interview with Caracas-based Union Radio.
Bernal has coordinated a government program to deliver basic goods to families, which was put in place after Venezuela’s political and economic crises led to shortages. That aid includes both domestic products and tons of grains and meats imported from Nicaragua, Panama and Mexico, said Bernal, adding U.S. interference was impeding the national distribution of the foodstuffs.” and so on. Only too believable.
Zo; how is today’s general strike progressing?
So far the only coverage I’ve found in close to real time is from the Guardian: ‘Venezuela crises set to escalate as general strike begins’
“Venezuela is bracing for an escalation of the confrontation between the government and the opposition as the country awoke to near paralysis on Thursday at the beginning of a general strike.
Caracas, the capital, was littered with roadblocks of burning rubbish and tyres, and wires stretched from lamppost to lamppost to stop traffic, as opponents of the president, Nicolás Maduro, try to block his plan to consolidate power.
Near Plaza Altamira, in the upscale eastern part of the city, young men manning the barricades turned away any cars that tried to pass, including a bus stamped with the logo of the government tax agency.
“We are seeing empty streets and most shops closed,” said opposition leader Henrique Capriles while touring the city on foot.”
Oopsie; they forgot to mention that Capriles has a long history of arranging violent coups against the Bolivarians, especially…Chavez. But why would a wealthy aristocrat want to put up with a socialist government, even a mixed economic one?
Stay tuned, as they say…
Just in: ‘Caracas: A Tale of Two Cities as Opposition ‘Strike’ Begins’, telesur
“Opposition supporters in the more affluent east side of Caracas set up road blocks, while normal life goes on in the working class west. In the working class areas in west Caracas, Venezuela, where the large percentage of the population lives, public services have not stopped, buses and public transportation are still running as people rejected the opposition call for a 24-hour “strike” Thursday.
Meanwhile, in some parts of the mainly affluent east side of the city, right-wing opposition supporters proceeded to block some of the main roads, preventing transportation from moving normally.
Pensioners were forced to walk for miles from Petare to stand in line to collect their checks. “This has to be fixed, we can’t live our lives this way, blocking here, blocking there, they’re blocking the streets to their same people,” an elderly man told teleSUR.
Right-wing violence continued as there were reports of a man being set on fire by an explosive thrown from a rooftop, suffering burns over 27 percent of his body, along with another man suffering injuries to his neck when caught on an opposition wire blocking the road as he rode his motorcycle. Both men were transferred to hospitals.”, etc.