Tillerson threatens regime change in Venezuela: ‘tick, tock, nicolas’

From yesterday’s State Dept. briefing:

State.gov’s transcript:

“And finally, in the Western Hemisphere, Venezuela, which you know is very current on our mind, our approach to Venezuela has been to try to work through coalition partners, through the OAS as well as others who share our view of Venezuela’s future. Clearly, what we want to see is for Venezuela to return to its constitution, return to its scheduled elections, and allow the people of Venezuela to have the voice in their government they deserve.

We are very, very troubled by what we’re seeing unfold following the constituent assembly vote, which went about as we expected, but the re-arrest of opposition leaders last night is very alarming. This could lead to an outbreak of further violence in the country. The situation, from a humanitarian standpoint, is already becoming dire. We are evaluating all our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future and wants to leave of his own accord or we can return the government processes back to their constitution. But we are quite concerned about we’re seeing down there. It is a policy discussion that’s currently under development through the interagency process this week.

In that regard, in the Western Hemisphere, I do want to thank Paco Palmieri, the acting assistant secretary; Ambassador Bill Brownfield; Under Secretary Tom Shannon; and in policy planning Kim Breier, who have been really working on this almost nonstop in terms of both the Mexico, Latin America, but also this crisis in Venezuela. And I appreciate their efforts as well.”

The Chavistas seemingly  had just cause to take the two were under house arrest back into custody, but if they did in the dark of night as most media claim, that was a stupid and inflammatory way to do it, imo.  Sure, Rexxie, it’l lead to ‘an outbreak of further violence’, as if the opposition and the sppoks among them needed more provocation.  But did you just paint a target on Maduro?

Telesur notes that:

“While the U.S. top diplomat cited the Organization of American States as a “coalition partner” in anti-Venezuelan efforts, the regional body’s charter explicitly disallows the interventionist measures wielded against Caracas by Washington.

Article 19 of the OAS charter clearly prohibits any state having “the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State,” while Article 20 notes that “No State may use or encourage the use of coercive measures of an economic or political character in order to force the sovereign will of another State and obtain from it advantages of any kind.”

Tillerson’s comments come in the aftermath of unilateral sanctions imposed on Maduro on Monday. As with last week’s round of sanctions against 13 high-level government officials, all of Maduro’s assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now frozen and people from the U.S. are prohibited from dealing with the president.

Telesur also quotes from a Mark Weisbrot of CEPR in a column at the Hill,  Mark Weisbrot  of CEPR :

“Such sanctions have always been of dubious legitimacy and legality, to put it mildly.  Under U.S. law, the president’s executive order has to state an obvious falsehood, that there is ‘a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security’ of the United States caused by Venezuela,” Weisbrot continued. “And the sanctions clearly violate the Charter of the Organization of American States (Chapter 4, Article 19), as well as other international treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory.”

The U.S.’s junior partners in the governments of Panama and Mexico’s unpopular Peña Nieto administration have pledged to assist the sanctions efforts, which President Maduro has described as an “imperialist attack” against the country.’

22 responses to “Tillerson threatens regime change in Venezuela: ‘tick, tock, nicolas’

  1. of course Trump’s new chief-of-staff john f. kelly is ‘a retired United State Marine Corps general and the former commander of United States Southern Command, the Unified Combatant Command, responsible for American military operations in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

    and just before his senate confirmation hearing, CCRjustice had sent this letter of objection out:

    “General Kelly’s aggressive oversight of the illegal military prison at Guantánamo Bay disqualifies him to head the Department of Homeland Security. Presiding over a population of detainees not charged or convicted of crimes, over whom he had maximum custodial control, Kelly treated them with brutality. His response to the detainees’ peaceful hunger strike in 2013 was punitive force-feeding, solitary confinement, and rubber bullets.

    Furthermore, he sabotaged efforts by the Obama administration to resettle detainees, consistently undermining the will of his commander in chief. His temperament and actions make him unfit to lead an agency that currently holds tens of thousands of immigrants, including many fleeing violence and many in long-term indefinite detention.

    Kelly’s recent vow to end “political correctness” in U.S. national security policy is a thinly veiled endorsement of policies and practices that are illegal and immoral, including torture and racial and religious profiling. His statement is a clear warning sign, and the Senate must reject his nomination to preserve and protect the rule of law.”

  2. Yes, indeedy, on Kelly. Thanks for the update. So far it looks like the Maduro government has survived. The test will be when the constituent assembly convenes and puts the constitutional changes on the table. Of course, there will continue to be the US and Exxon strategies to disrupt the process.

    • welcome. it’s survived ‘so far’, but i’m not altogether sure it will last much longer. so many enemies within and without, including the trotskyites, the jacobin authors, and now the UK labour party, goddam. the current wsws hit on the ‘bourgeois chavistas’ at least got some good pushback in comments.

      but with increasing sanctions, the everyday food, meds, other commodities will get worse, and give even more ammunition for a putsch or ‘termination w/ prejudice’.

      a few things to add, cuz they’re part of the whole massive quiver of arrows to bring them down, as if all that above weren’t enough:

      Venezuela poll turnout figures ‘manipulated by at least 1m votes’; Election company Smartmatic casts doubt on outcome of vote for constituent assembly to write a new constitution’, the guardian

      Venezuela Election Head: Smartmatic Allegations Have ‘No Basis’, telesur

      Labour speaks out on Venezuela as pressure mounts on Corbyn’, Emily Thornberry describes Maduro’s presidency as ‘increasingly authoritarian’ and calls for rule of law to be respected’, also the guardian

      Corbyn’s spokeswoman said the party’s statements were clear. “The Labour party’s statement on Monday made clear our position on the importance of the respect for the rule of law and human rights,” she said. “We’re watching the situation and developments in Venezuela closely.” Pfffft.

      but reading cartalucci’s narrative on the many reports of forces allied against them (and chile back in the day) think tanks, etc. made me fear the worst. this extremely relevant history (ay yi yi) was new to me:

      “This includes a report titled, “Status of Capriles and Sumate Cases,” referring to the above mentioned Henrique Capriles Radonski and Sumate, a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded front posing as an election monitor.”

      on edit: from cartalucci: “In a world moving toward multipolarism and greater decentralization on all levels, Venezuela’s collapse and a victory for Washington would undo an increasingly balanced distribution of geopolitical power – both in South and Central America, as well as across the world.

      As a major oil producing nation, US control over its people and natural resources would further allow the US and its allies to manipulate energy prices toward achieving future goals – particularly in terms of encircling, isolating, and dismantling other centers of political power dependent on oil production for economic prosperity.”

      yay-uss. OTOH, this is good to see.

  3. Not to worry. The Democrats will beat back these war-mongering Republicans!

  4. ha! mein herr von davidly sees the open door! (i’ve been collecting things for a new diary, including ‘the better deal’ and ‘the resistance’.) enjoy! so glad to see you awake at…er…add 7 or 8 to…5:30 mdt… well, NOW, anyway! forgot to tell ya that yer clean livin’ and a clean conscience can equal good zzzleep, at least for…some. ;-)

    • Tnx for that meine wendlingly wendye. Man o’ man, does it look during the question to be all she can take just to be in a room with people (like she wants to cry out “Oh, puhleesee!”) — and even when they’re qualifying their “challenging questions” with gooey proud-itude of Their Highness’ Record on social issues. My. Friggin. Gott. How icky. I’m a steal that link maybe if ye don’t mind. Here’s a preview of what I got coming overt dvd:

      I do have the occasional issues with sleep. Especially in summer when the sun peeks out before the dawn ;-) and don’t go away ’til’n after whatever the equivalent to later than that ‘d be.

      • “…and we have won.” christ in a canary cage, mein herr. his toothy leer before he’d…considered needing to ‘be serious’ was despicable. thanks for it, and i do hope you’ll bring the diary to the café when it’s finished. you truly are an original thinker, if you don’t mind me saying so.

        this thought (among many others) that was in what i assume to be your twitter account knocked me out: “All along the hollow flat earth there are portals to the third dimension!” and not solely because i’m rewatching season one of ‘fringe’. ;-)

        but oh, yes, do take the pelosi yech clip. but see, the dems are creating ‘a better deal’ for the midterms; party of the people, yanno?

        two fawns are racin’ around outside as the sun comes over the mountain; ‘pell-mell’ might have been coined for their speeding w/ such joyous abandon.

        on edit: i like wendingly, esp. cuz i do wend. after my brain damage, our chirren used to quip: ‘mom’s zeroin’ in on it, and she’ll get there soon’, the dirty rats. ;-) and pelosi of the lip-lickin’ rictus smile, oy, why don’t peeps take true clues from body language?

        • Body language ‘ll figure into my finished thing, barely. Sure I’ll bring it round; I’m just always wary of diluting your place — especially if it ends up dropping (hint) right about when you enter one of yours. Cross-publishing I don’o’ have a prollem with, on the other hand.

      • that video says it all don’t it. I feel so small compared to him. but look, I can also push a button & make things disappear. bye bye true man. there’s an article up on wsws on militarism & video games. aren’t these games really in existence in order to provide the escapist fantasy those of us w/psychopathic inclinations (i.e., lots of us, certainly this not atypical presidential asshole) really, really need, in an environment in which no one gets hurt? video games & a rubber room is just what the doktor ordered. & a shower of monopoly money on occasion.

        not irrelevant for the scene in VZ since people will be driven into exile b/c of the machinations of the US & Co, this says it all about the Dems don’t it? How to Make your deportation go smoothly:

        “don’t resist! or it’ll affect your credit rating!” one of the torturers to the main character in Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.”

    • We’re capitalist, and I remember when we were a contender, eh?

      Painted themselves into a corner with “Russia, Russia, Russia” and their own memories of McCarthy-Cohn-Nixon did they?

      Next they’ll start flying Malcolm Forbes’s old flag.

  5. The haberdasher from Independendence MO and the Dixiecrat lawyer and future governor of South Carolina (and buddy of financier Bernard Baruch) pretty much created the foreign policy and national security framework we still live under. Truman, more than Reagan, set up regime change in Russia (not from his own strategy, mind you; that’s what the Ivy Leaguers were for).

    With Baruch, Harriman, and others in the Democratic 0.1% running the show, of course there would be a military-industrial-complex and with the political powers, of course it would have a major presence in the South. As majority leader, LBJ loaded up Texas; Richard Russell loaded up Georgia; Sam Ervin loaded up North Carolina; Strom Thurmond (still then a Democrat) loaded up South Carolina–and so on. Bechtel-TX, Flour-CA (and the small companies it swallowed up) made a bundle on building those 800 or so military bases and the infrastructure for NASA’s moon shot. Only the peace movement in the Vietnam War started to upset that momentum and finally allowed the Democratic FDR coalition to self-destruct in 1968. And the effects of the Civil Rights Act allowed conservatives to take over the Republican Party and the pork-barrel that Democrats started under Truman.

    Truman is a classic case of be careful what you wish for. You might get it….and the consequences.

    On Venezuela, the US can create chaos but it is too overextended to exert control that will benefit US interests (other than the interest in chaos). Venezuela is about the same population as Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything that benefits Exxon will avoid boots on the ground. And even US special operations resources are spread too thin now, given the action in Africa and other parts of Latin America.

    Cut Harry some slack. Politicians weren’t as self-conscious of their visual image then. The marketing boys and girls had not yet agonized over Nixon’s five-o’clock shadow.

    So interesting the scramble to sew up the oil market exactly at the point that demand is going to tank because of switching to other technology and, in the case of OBOR, other social means of organizing production of transportation services. The assumptions of China having the same demand for automobiles as the US for the indefinite future are likely seriously wrong when (if?) China gets OBOR in place. Other oil-consuming countries likely will also convert rapidly to renewables.

    Like developers in a housing bust, the oil industry will begin losing money just to keep its production organization able to deliver if/when the market changes. That’s not here yet, but OPEC is afraid to raise prices.

    • I wish I had your extensive knowledge/memory. I always have to look things up again.

      • Being a geezer helps. Bernard Baruch had a hunting plantation near Georgetown SC. We lived there until I was 6. My parents talked a lot about the local scuttlebutt that went on during the FDR, Barney Baruch, and Gen. Mark Clark years. That’s why that sticks. James (Jimmy) Byrnes was the first governor of my political memory because I was growing up in South Carolina. He had been FDR’s Secretary of State and who Truman looked to for guidance about the bomb. He was a warhawk, like a lot of Southern politicians. Those were easy fetches from the long-term storage.

        Truman sticks because 30 years ago I started to write a book about the architecture of the Cold War in 1947. Then the Wall fell. And kids were growing up and RL took precedence. Forrestal, Marshall, and the folks who put together the National Defense Act of 1947 created the world we live in yet, for good (and there is some) or ill (endless war and corrupt politics have to go in this column). From 1947 to 1953 is a fascinating time in which a President trying to make sense of what he landed in with FDR’s death put in place something that likely was not in keeping with FDR’s direction of foreign policy but definitely in keeping with the politics that World War II’s logistics of mobilization created. Members of Congress could see the gravy train. Even isolationist Republicans could see the gravy train and prompted a turn of more warlike than thou in 1946. By 1953, when Ike took office, all of the changes had been locked down, including secrecy of intelligence budgets from Congress. And secrecy of laws governing intelligence from members of Congress without a structural “need to know”. Orwell was too slow and not inventive enough.

  6. And then there’s Trevor Paglen’s Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World, which rolls together a whole lot of fascinating history.

  7. knackered here. O, life. and i put up a new diary, so ‘i shall return’ as newtie gingrich said so well. oh.

    davidly, sheeesh, just email me for timing, ya great idjit! gawd’s blood, i could use some diluting! just add a cuppa strong java and stir.

  8. We can take a little solace in the schadenfreude the VZ oligarchs must feel as they hunger for violent overthrow [prolly cant win presidential election], but potentially risk all of the almost everything that they own there.
    Seems that civil war is already taking place with the guarimbas serving as mobile mini-Maidans. Their real hope lies in a military coup. If it occurs and isn’t overcome then we can add some more choice stuff to your next post about ‘abject & absurd surrealism’ wendye… all of the establishment and the MSM joining the toothy TRex and the [literally] incredible Trump administration as they celebrate the violent overthrow of an elected government because… democracy!

    • ooof: ‘mobile mini-maidans’. excellent analogy. yeah, a military coup from the outside could/would, i reckon, use troops, military from any of those lovers of democracy at the OAS, and as far as i know, ‘special ops’ are often…mercenaries, as blackwater/xe. what.ev.er. now.

      but dayum, i love that cockburn, and most all of his others. he’s played in mancos twice, and mr. wd went and was blown away both times. ‘rocket launcher’ also is a fave. so honest a mind crime. ;-) i dunno, lemoyne, but the international crisis center’s involved now (via telesur english), although their ‘paper’ isn’t altogether inflammatory as to plans. but they are a creepy lot.

  9. bless you all for your stellar comments, photos, and music (ay yi yi, bruce cockburn). i’m up at 4, and am weary and worthless by this time of night; y’all with real lives during the day show up late for me. please know that i’ll answer tomorrow, and know that you’ll talk to one another in the meantime.

    this may seem and odd choice for a sign-off lullaby, but i’ve been hearing it in my head all week. yes, war is increasingly mechanized, and the all-volunteer military (a brilliant move by the masters of war) has been a de facto jobs program since at least 2008. but remember the old hippie question: ‘what if they gave a war…and no one came’? yes, conscientious objectors were those moral citizens back in the day, and fuck…i’m crying again already; i just can’t help it as i listen. yes richie, this song made rebels of sooo many of us, and peter dig dig deep, and said it right in ten directions.

    i know i would have sung it for my pop if he’d lived long enough. we broke up over the viet nam war and my quitting college some time or other; after kent state, maybe?

    sleep well, me hearties, and love and solidarity to all of you.

  10. now it’s the military turning against the maduro government; where will the psyops end? when he’s gone?

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