The Coup against Maduro Gallops On…

‘Venezuelans take to streets in push to force Maduro from power; Demonstrators say they are close to achieving objective of forcing president to step down, via the Grauniad, groundhog day (note the photo)

Tens of thousands of Venezuelan protesters streamed on to the streets of the nation’s capital on Saturday for what they described as the final push to force Nicolás Maduro from power.
“I believe [the end] is coming very soon – this week,” said Barbara Angarita, 49, as she and thousands of other demonstrators poured down the Avenida Principal de las Mercedes in Caracas. “We must have a free country, free for all Venezuelans and for our descendants.”

“I feel we are on the verge of achieving our objective,” added Angarita, lifting aloft a placard that read: “We all have reasons to protest in peace.”

Around her demonstrators broke out in chants of: “It’s going to fall, it’s going to fall, the government is going to fall.”

from @amalsaad_lb  “This AFP tweet was written while it was 7 a.m. in Caracas, well before AFP could have an idea about the scale of protests. Yet it’s already reporting “tens of thousands” of pro-Guaido protestors are “set to pour onto the streets” so that we make the association no matter the numbers”

@maduro_en feb. 2  “The people have shown, during these # 20AñosEnBatallaYVictoria, a deep loyalty and infinite love for the Bolivarian Revolution, which fills us with strength to continue on the path of Commander Chavez. Thanks for so much love!” (his Tweet with photos)

@maduro_en  “I thank the people of Miranda, Carabobo, Portuguesa and Monagas for the extraordinary mobilizations today #01Feb. They are signs of love, commitment and dedication for the Homeland of our Liberators. Long live the Bolivarian Revolution!”  (Maduro’s Tweet w/ photos)

From telesurenglish Feb. 2:  ‘Trump Admin Pressured Spain Gov’t to Support US-Backed Coup in Venezuela: Report’

“The United States has exerted considerable pressure on the left-leaning government in Spain, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in order to come out against the Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro, recognize the opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido as the country “interim president,” and not to endorse or participate in any talks or dialogue between the opposition and the government, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Friday.

“We are under a lot of pressure – I won’t tell you from whom but you can figure it out –[ya think it might be Bolton?] to vote against the creation of this group,” Foreign Minister José Borrell told El Pais, alluding to an EU-sponsored international contact group meant to foster dialogue in Venezuela.

The newspaper reported that in several meetings ahead of Jan 23, the day Guaido proclaimed himself the interim president, and since, that U.S. diplomats and senior officials placed pressure on counterparts in the Spanish government and other in the European Union to follow the same position as that of the United States and its right-wing allies in Latin America.”

“The US diplomat made two demands: for Spain to immediately recognize Guaidó as the legitimate president, and to cut off all dialogue with Maduro,” the newspaper reported.

Spain’s secretary of state for Cooperation and Ibero-America Juan Pablo de Laiglesia was in Washington to meet with the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier where the U.S. officials told the Spanish official that “important events” were expected in Venezuela in the coming days.”

@dancohen3000  “Both Reuters (his Tweet w/ banner images) and The Economist have changed their header images to photos of Juan Guaidó, the US’s pawn in Venezuela. They’ve abandoned any pretense of non-bias and are serving as regime change propaganda outlets.

From Michael Hudson’s wide-ranging Feb. 1 Trump’s Brilliant Strategy to Dismember U.S. Dollar Hegemony’  at counterpunch (h/t mr. wd) narrating the history that’s led to the end of dollar hegemony sooner than he’d expected…

“The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world’s largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet.

Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines “democracy” to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy.

In the Devil’s Dictionary that U.S. diplomats are taught to use as their “Elements of Style” guidelines for Doublethink, a “democratic” country is one that follows U.S. leadership and opens its economy to U.S. investment, and IMF- and World Bank-sponsored privatization. The Ukraine is deemed democratic, along with Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries that act as U.S. financial and military protectorates and are willing to treat America’s enemies are theirs too.”

A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls “internationalism” (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest.”

It’s long, fascinating, easy to understand, and Hudson hits it out of the park again.

‘The Making of Juan Guaidó: US Regime-Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader’, Max Blumenthal and Dan  Cohen, consortiumnews.com, January 29, 2019.  It’s an exceptional in-depth piece of journalism, much I knew, but a hella lot I hadn’t, especially how deeply Otpor!, CANVAS, and Gene Sharpe was involved in Guaido’s rise from obscurity to Grabbing the Crown of Venezuela.  A couple outtakes:

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.”

“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).”

“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.”

This photo has been identified by ‘many Venezuelans’ as Juan Guaido:

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!’” 

A few items I’d added late to Jan. 28th’s ‘The Coup against Nicola Maduro Intensifies’:

In his ‘US escalates threats against Venezuela’ today, Bill Van Auken, wsws.org brings us up to date on military options, among other dark arts afoot.

“Among the schemes floated by US officials is the opening of a “humanitarian corridor” into Venezuela for the ostensible purpose of sending in food, medicine and medical supplies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that the US was appropriating a paltry $20 million for that purpose, but Washington is also attempting to shift all assets and bank accounts that it can lay hold of into the hands of Guaidó.

The Trump administration’s newly appointed special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, the veteran US war criminal who played a leading role in defending the near-genocidal repression by US-backed dictatorships in Central America and in organizing the illegal CIA “contra” terrorist war against Nicaragua, floated the “humanitarian corridor” proposal Wednesday, declaring that “it is something we are looking at.”

Mauricio Claver-Carone, the right-wing anti-Castro activist elevated to the position of senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, was somewhat more explicit, telling reporters that Washington was looking for “the best peaceful way” to deliver aid to Venezuela, but was “exploring many options” and would not rule out military intervention to open up a “corridor.”

But but telesur english is reporting today:

“Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, confirmed that Guterres responded to a letter, which was sent by Juan Guaido asking the agency to send humanitarian aid to Venezuela.
Guterres reiterated his concern about the impact of the current Venezuelan crisis on the people.
However, regarding Guaido’s request, the secretary-general requested to communicate with the Government of Venezuela, which is headed by President Nicolas Maduro.”

Now the Twittersphere seems to believe that the ‘humanitarian corridor’ will be by way of sea, not a Trumpeted ‘no-fly zone’, but from apnews.com: ‘Red Cross talks to US about risks of sending Venezuela aid’, Feb. 2:

“The International Committee of the Red Cross has talked to the United States about the risks of delivering humanitarian aid to Venezuela without the approval of security forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, an official with the agency said Friday.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido has said he will defy Maduro’s refusal to allow aid by asking neighboring nations to help send in large convoys of medicine and food. Guaido has declared himself interim president of the country.

The Trump administration has announced it is ready to deliver aid to Venezuela whenever and however is decided by Guaido.

Alexandra Boivin, ICRC delegation head for the United States and Canada, said the ICRC had told U.S. officials that whatever plans “they have to help the people of Venezuela, it has to be shielded from this political conversation.”

It’s not even clear to me if Guaido/Bolton had asked the ICRC to help; it’s sure hard to imagine…

@AmbJohnBolton  “Pursuant to the request of Interim President Juan Guaido, and in consultation with his officials the US will mobilize and transport humanitarian aid—medicine, surgical supplies, and nutritional supplements for the people of Venezuela. It’s time for Maduro to get out of the way.”

@VP  “As I told the crowd in Miami, this is no time for dialogue. This is time for action, & the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship! The National Assembly & Pres. @jguaido have our full support because we recognize the truth – Maduro’s dictatorship is destroying Venezuela.”

Twitter takes down hundreds of accounts linked to Venezuela amid US calls for regime change’, rt feb.1 (well, over 11 hundreds), via RT

“Host of the Empire Files, a documentary & interview series, Abby Martin lamented that amid Twitter censorship of pro-government supporters, “pro-coup Venezuelans & right-wing exiles dominate the media sphere.”

And as he’d promised when he’d stopped by c99%, Brett Wilkins’ Elliott Abrams: A Human Rights Horror Show in Three Acts’, Feb. 1, counterpunch.org  (an edifying in-depth, if not enjoyable exposé)

Act I: Dictators, Death Squads and Drug Dealers
Act II: Neoconned
(PNAC, approval of the 2002 coup against Chavez, and more)
Act III: Prelude to Regime Change?’

And h/t Café author/commenter Greyson Smythe: ‘Son of Brazil President Bolsonaro joins Steve Bannon group’, france24.com, Feb.2  (a chip off the Old Block)

“Bannon, who left as White House strategist in August 2017 and had a public falling-out with Trump, started The Movement in Europe to transmit far-right nationalist values and tactics he hopes will win sympathizers seats in the European parliament.

Bannon said enlisting Bolsonaro, a deputy in Brazil’s Congress, was part of the group’s “pursuit of a populist nationalist agenda for prosperity and sovereignty for citizens throughout the world.

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

17 responses to “The Coup against Maduro Gallops On…

  1. Mongo, A Free Dog

    Had I watched the Stupor Bowl, I would have expected to see a commercial about America’s need to ‘rescue’ Venezuela in our upcoming *public* ‘intervention’. The commercial would be scripted and produced by Stevie B. (aber natürlich), who was once called “the Leni Reifenstahl of the Tea Party” by no less than Breit Bart himself.

    • mornin’, mongo, a free dog. as in ‘stevie bannon’, ya cheeky devil?

      now i had to go and check, but this was ‘before’ the stoopid bowl:
      “In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” program that aired before the Super Bowl yesterday, Trump reiterated that military intervention “is an option.” Pence assured a crowd of far-right Venezuelan exiles in Miami on Friday that “this is no time for dialogue, it is the moment for action, and the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship once and for all… Those looking on should know this: all options are on the table.”

      eric london had a lot to say this a.m in his ‘US issues new threats of war for oil against Venezuela’ at wsws, but he doesn’t say where he’d scored some of what he’s claiming in regard to ‘colombian troops at the border’ and ‘maduro’s death squads against protestors at night’.

      but i did see this part at common dreams yesterday:

      “Bolton, who helped author the playbook that was used to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq, issued a blunt threat Friday that the US would kill or jail and torture Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro if he did not resign. Comparing Maduro to Nicolae Ceaușescu and Benito Mussolini—both of whom were killed—Bolton told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt: “The sooner he takes advantage of that [i.e., resignation], the sooner he’s likely to have a nice quiet retirement on a pretty beach rather than being in some other beach area like Guantanamo.”

      i did grab the video of hewitt’s show, but dinnae watch. moving on:

      “Self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, the US and their allies in South America and Europe are preparing a new provocation aimed at forcing the Venezuelan military to abandon Maduro, with Guaidó announcing that the US will deliver aid at three locations along the Venezuelan border in the coming days.

      While Maduro and the Venezuelan military leadership have said they will refuse the aid, the US hopes that images of crowds gathering to receive food and medication will either provoke the military to defect to the opposition and help distribute the aid or provide valuable propaganda footage justifying the need for a “humanitarian” intervention.

      Over the weekend, hundreds of armed Colombian soldiers dressed in battle fatigues deployed to one of the three “aid distribution” centers, Cúcuta, on the Venezuela-Colombia border. Colombia’s far-right President Iván Duque issued a statement proclaiming, “Few hours remain to the Venezuelan dictatorship.” At a press conference last week announcing Washington’s moves to topple Maduro, Bolton held under his arm a note pad with the words written in plain view: “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

      Guaidó also announced that one of the “aid” locations would be on the border with Brazil, which deployed troops to the border last year, while the third would be on an island in the Caribbean.

      The stepped-up pressure produced an initial crack in the Venezuelan military, which remains the backbone of the Maduro government. Over the weekend, one Air Force general and a small group of mid-level Air Force officials defected and issued public statements calling on their colleagues to join them.

      Germ án Ferrer, a sitting Venezuelan legislator and United Socialist Party member who opposes Maduro, told the CBC that Maduro has disabled combat aircraft for fear the Air Force will turn on the government.

      oh fie, i’ve been trying to narrate some of the rest, but i’ll paste in more:

      “The Brookings Institution explained that the present stage of the coup operation is aimed at “building an off-ramp for the Maduro regime.” In the parlance of US imperialism, countries whose leaders do not take the “off-ramp” are, like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria, subject to a hailstorm of bombs and missiles from the air and US troops or proxy armies on the ground.

      As the Council on Foreign Relations’ O’Neil told the corporate conference call, “If it [sanctions] doesn’t work in dislodging this regime, then there’s not a lot left in the toolkit besides things like military intervention.”

      A military intervention in Venezuela—population 30 million—could kill hundreds of thousands or millions of people and transform Latin America into an imperialist slaughterhouse.

      The geopolitical intelligence think tank Stratfor recently noted, “A military intervention could quickly snowball into one of the largest worldwide military operations since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

      Francisco Toro, a Washington Post columnist and anti-Maduro think tank analyst, told the Council on Foreign Relations gathering that a military intervention would lead to “a kind of Syrian civil war” and confrontation between nuclear-armed powers.

      He said: “There is this definite threat that if a military operation takes any amount of time in Venezuela, that other countries then start to move in too. And you can imagine, easily, Brazil moving into the southeast, Colombia into the southwest. You can imagine Russia trying to defend its oil interests, because Russia has big oil investments in Venezuela. You can imagine China doing I don’t know what. And Cuba has already intelligence penetration into the Venezuelan armed forces.”

      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/02/04/vene-f04.html

      but it sounds as though the parties want a greater war w/ china and russia. i can’t say if china would intercede save for diplomatically, nor if russia would be prepared to, but iirc (hardly likely) jorge martin at marxist.com upthread dinnae think so.
      https://www.marxist.com/us-tightens-the-noose-on-venezuela-will-the-coup-succeed.htm

      click to see cord’s subtweeted contentions:

      further assassination attempts on maduro *do* seem likely, though. and most of the western capitalist nations’ ruling class would weep crocodile tears…on twitter. if that.
      up

  2. Want a little distraction?

    Code Pink “indicts” John Bolton for war crimes:

    • lol. wish any of the USian war criminals ‘could’ see the inside of a court-room at the hague, but as we’ve seen, some of the judges are…mmmm…biased ahead of time, might not let damning nor exculpatory evidence be heard. (as w/ kagame and milosevic, exonerated of war crimes after he’d died in a cell at the hague).

  3. “Some observers fear that the aid convoys risk sparking – or may even be designed to spark – a confrontation with Venezuelan troops loyal to Maduro. On Monday, Guaidó urged members of the military to allow the aid into his economically-collapsed country.

    In Cúcuta, the busiest crossing on Colombia’s 1,378-mile (2,219 km) border with Venezuela, warehouses were filled with boxes of aid which began to arrive on Sunday evening. Photos shared on social media on Saturday by Mark Green, the head of USAid, showed boxes of food being prepared for delivery, emblazoned with a US flag.

    Though it is not yet known how the aid will be delivered to Venezuela, Colombian officials with knowledge of the process said it was an operation lead by Guaidó from Caracas in coordination with US aid workers and regional governments. On Monday, Canada pledged $40m (£31m) of aid destined for Venezuela, while the US last week promised $20m.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/05/maduro-veiled-threat-jail-venezuela-opposition-leader-juan-guaido

  4. Thanks, wendye! I only posted it here as the last appropriate place is a bit far back – but Waitangi Day is my favorite holiday, hands down, and they did a lovely dawn ceremony this year, with PM donning an apron and serving out the breakfast scrambled eggs.

    Also, though, more on topic, there are two articles over at thedailyblog.co.nz that address Venezuela – the first by Chris Trotter is rather inaccurate, but comments point out the facts better, (among further inaccurate comments, it must be said) – so it’s clear a lot of kiwis are paying attention. The second one, which takes apart the National Party [Labour is in now] spokesperson on the subject is much better, has few comments however. Between the two I think it’s a good measure of NZ’s awareness at present.

    • well, i love the waka and the haka, but knowing how much you and i value michael hudson, i’d hoped you’d take a gander. thanks fir the daily blog heads up, but i’m read out for now on VZ. over yonder it went to 98 comments, and i have a new one up…when something truly incendiary happens (soon?) i’ll post again. it’s all soooo messed up. ‘democracy in action’: R2P? we done got horizontal drifting snow in the night; seemed to be comin’ from your place on the planet.

  5. oh dear, sorry – my comment has gone away again – ’twas a good one too.

  6. Yes, I’d already done so but it didn’t hurt to read it through again. This time I got interested in the Pompeo speech to the EU – so spent additional time on that. It certainly connects to your new piece above – his blatant assertion: “America intends to lead – now and always” is the unsaid answer to all developments that are unfavorably referenced in the security document as far as arms race strategies. Also the ‘America first’ attitude being used by Pompeo as the reason for junking treaties and cooperative efforts of the past is totally in tune with Hudson’s observation that the imperialist order is being rapidly dismantled by Trump in ways no terrorist could have imagined.

    Putin makes it clear that his defense moves are in reaction to what the US has done in dismantling the treaties, and the timeline seems to corroborate that. As does Hudson’s opening point that once the old mechanisms are dismantled, in favor of US oriented technologies, there will be a concerted effort by other countries to protect themselves, economically as well as by forming new alliances.

    It’s like a kid’s game of marbles. As I remember, the goal was to get all the ‘aggies’ on your little patch of playground asphalt. – at least that was one version I remember. Trouble was, those big aggies weren’t half as pretty as all the little multicolored ones.No left-wing party, no socialist, anarchist or foreign nationalist leader anywhere in the world could have achieved what he is doing to break up the American Empire.

    • i should have indicated ‘the hudson piece IN the OP’, this part what was what medea and friends were reacting to (via greyson smythe):

      “Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations’ International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. “That investigation ultimately found ‘a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity.’”1

      Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton erupted in fury, warning in September that: “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” adding that the UN International Court must not be so bold as to investigate “Israel or other U.S. allies.”

      but yes, a lot of it was applicable, which is why i’d added a bit of it, and linked to it in the OP. more as i’m able.

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