the updates a the end of the comments reflect the alt-trioka of tyrrany (bolton, pompeo (w/ elliott abram’s able assists), trump threats to let the ‘humanitarian aid’ in or face the consequences’.
First up: ‘Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt’, Joyce Nelson Feb. 19, counterpunch
“On February 15th Sir Richard Branson (whose net worth is estimated at about $4 billion) announced plans for a “Venezuela Aid Live” concert to be held on February 22 in the Colombian city of Cucuta and also live-streamed on the Internet, to raise $100 million for food aid.
Founder of the Virgin Group (400+ companies), Sir Branson is setting up the concert “at the request of” Juan Guaido (who declared himself interim president on Jan. 23) “and jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to draw attention to the crisis in Venezuela. ‘Our goal is to raise $100 million dollars in 60 days and reopen Venezuela’s border so humanitarian aid can finally reach those millions who need it the most,’ said Branson.”
Juan Guaido has frequently pledged that the aid piling up in Colombia, Brazil and Curacao will enter Venezuela on Feb. 23. So Sir Branson’s concert is scheduled the day before Guaido’s deadline. Guaido has frequently taunted the Venezuelan military, trying to entice them into abandoning President Nicolas Maduro and opening a Trojan Horse aid corridor (operated by the U.S. and Guaido) that would allow direct foreign intervention in Venezuela.”
And given that the scurrilous, Eliott Abrams, appointed by ‘point man’ on VZ, Maduro knows full well what will likely really be on those planes.
But let’s check with Southern Command on Twitter Feb. 16: You can tell there are no rifles, rocket-launchers, just yanno: humanitarian aid can’t you?
CNN on the border (“A US military plane with humanitarian aid for Venezuela has landed in Colombia amid political crisis. (A previous tweet incorrectly stated the plane landed in Venezuela. It has been removed”) (Oopsie) had reported by way of the Southern Command twit account that:
“In addition to Colombia, the government of the Netherlands announced Wednesday that the Caribbean island of Curaçao would also be used as a “hub” to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid bound for Venezuela “in close coordination” with Guaido and the US. Both the US and Dutch militaries have used facilities on Curaçao.”
Back to Joyce Nelson:
“At the Saturday news conference in Cucuta, a representative for Juan Guaido told Reuters that “millions of Venezuelans” will be traveling to Cucuta by Feb. 23 to “safeguard arriving aid”. He said: “We are going to have the accompaniment of people, of hundreds of thousands, of millions of Venezuelans that our president, Juan Guaido, has called upon, who we have asked to go to the border dressed in white as a sign of peace.”
Rumor has it that Daddy Warbucks Billionaire Branson will air freight 10,000 white doves with olive branches in their beaks to be released at the same time.
Nelson then spends a lot of ink unmasking Leopoldo Lopez, who’d been jailed in 2015 for inciting the attempted coup and related violence against Maduro, but was release to house arrest by the Supreme Court as a ‘humanitarian gesture,’ citing unexplained health issues.’ She reports that Lopez is also the Chairman of the Board for Empresas Polar, the private company that controls the majority of the flour production and distribution in Venezuela, as in: why the long breadlines, Leopoldo?
But of course Lopez is free to communicate with the likes of Branson and Guaido, and just as likely Elliott Abrams. Nelson writes that as of Feb. 15, the musicians slated to perform are: Peter Gabriel, Nacho, Alejandro Sanz, Carolos Vives and Juanes, Luis Fonsi, and Miguel Bose.
Here’s the list of groups who’ve been invited, and I sure hope Maná stays away.
Roger Waters is not amused: ‘Nothing to do with aid or democracy’: Roger Waters slams ‘humanitarian’ concert for Venezuela’ Rt.com, 20 Feb, 2019
“Pink Floyd ex-frontman Roger Waters is slamming Virgin tycoon Richard Branson’s aid concert for Venezuela as a sham, warning fans and performers not to be “led down a garden path that ends in regime change.”
Branson’s “Venezuela Aid Live” concert “has nothing to do with the needs of the Venezuelan people, it has nothing to do with democracy, it has nothing to do with freedom, and it has nothing to do with aid,” Waters declared in a video released on Tuesday.
The musician and political activist tore into the western media narrative depicting Venezuela as the victim of a humanitarian crisis created by socialism. “There is no civil war, no mayhem, no murder, no apparent dictatorship, no mass imprisonment of opposition, no suppression of the press” under President Nicolas Maduro, he said, citing friends “on the ground” in Caracas who could confirm this.
Waters reserved special scorn for Branson himself, “with his bleeding heart worn openly upon his Virgin Airways t-shirt,” claiming the magnate has bought into US propaganda. A spokesperson for Branson told the National Post that the US was “not involved in any aspect of this” and that the concert was “not a political statement.”
Waters finished his speech with a warning to friend and fellow musician Peter Gabriel not to fall for the US line, reminding him how US-backed regime changes have turned out in the past.
“Do we really want Venezuela to turn into another Iraq or Syria or Libya? I don’t, and neither do the Venezuelan people.”
Reuters is reporting:
“Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Monday that the government was also planning concerts on Feb. 22 and 23, on the Simon Bolivar bridge connecting the country with Cucuta, with the slogan “nothing for war, hands off Venezuela”.
The government would also hand out food to poor residents of Cucuta this weekend, he said in televised statements – a “cynical” move, according to opposition leader Juan Guaido, given shortages of food in Venezuela.”
No news yet on the VZ bands, but I sure do hope a lot of them are salsa bands like this one covering Santana’s Oye Como VA!. Okay, it gets a bit jumbled toward the end, but at least you can dance to it, como no?
Let’s rewind to Feb. 18: Venezuela kicks out ‘interventionist’ team of European MPs coming to meet with Guaido’, Rt
“A six-member European delegation that sought to meet with self-proclaimed Venezuelan ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido is being expelled from Venezuela after being accused by Caracas of coming with “conspiratorial purposes.”
European MPs arrived in Venezuela on Sunday and were supposed to stay until Tuesday to carry out a series of meetings, including with Guaido, the leader of the opposition recognized by a number of European governments as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
These plans, however, went awry shortly after they landed, when the MPs received a cold welcome from the Venezuelan authorities, who are now deporting them back to Europe, according to delegation member Esteban González Pons.
Pons tweeted that upon arrival their passports were seized and deportation procedures was launched. The politician, who hails from Spain’s liberal conservative Peoples’ Party, said that he was part of the “first international delegation invited by president Guaido.”
And from telesurenglish Feb. 19, ‘Venezuelan Military Head ‘Amazed’ by Trump ‘Celebrating Terrorism’ (with video)
“The Venenzuelan Armed Forces contested Trump’s Tuesday speech at Miami’s Florida International University where Trump reaffirmed his administration’s support for Juan Guaido who declared himself interim president of Venezuela Jan. 23. The U.S. head of state went on to attack socialism in Latin America.
“A new day is coming to Latin America. … The end of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere and in all parts of the world, not only in Venezuela but also in Nicaragua and Cuba,” Trump said Tuesday during his 35-minute speech at the campus.
In direct response, Padrino said during his speech from Caracas, “Donald Trump believes he can order around Venezuelan soldiers, but his political advisors should check their facts because to be a commander of the FANB (Bolivarian National Armed Forces), he must be Venezuelan by birth, be of this country.”
“Congress already rejected Trump’s proposal to intervene militarily in Venezuela, however the president has continued his attempts to violate international law and to send unsolicited “humanitarian aid” to the “poor Venezuelan boys and girls,” which he once again proposed Tuesday in Miami.
For his part, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro once again criticized the humanitarian aid that many are calling a ‘Trojan Horse’ to intervene in Venezuela.
“What is it that Trump loves from Venezuela? Oil, coltan, diamonds … The (international) humanitarian aid is a show. (U.S. sanctions) rob us of US$30 billion and they offer us US$20 million in rotten food,” Maduro said during a Monday televised response just after Trump concluded his Florida speech.”
Now the only reference to ‘Congress already rejected Trump’s proposal to intervene militarily in Venezuela’ was this quote from Eliot Engel at global research:
“US Congress Rejects Trump’s Warmongering, Won’t Support Military Intervention in Venezuela; Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel made the comments at the opening of a hearing on Venezuela”, and it links back to Telesur.
I had been aware of the growing number of signatures to this ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to Pompeo: ‘Support a Peaceful Political Solution to Avoid a Violent Conflict that Venezuelans Oppose’ which of course contains this by now boilerplate formulae of condemnation of Maduro, then boilerplate virtue-signaling:
“The letter condemns the Maduro government’s anti-democratic actions, human rights abuses and destructive economic policies, while expressing concerns that the Trump Administration’s misguided policy could make the situation even worse for the Venezuelan people.” and “The Trump Administration has also threatened military action, which would be illegal under domestic and international law without Congressional and United Nations approval.”
Are all the names on the right sidebar signatories? I sure can’t tell. Guess they would have objected to Obomba’s R2Ps and other wars of choice, right? Would they mind if other nations and coalitions took military actions against Maduro?
In his ‘Trump declares global war on socialism’, 19 February 2019 wsws.org, Bill
Van Auken writes about DT’s speech in Florida:
“Mimicking the fascist dictators, the president’s hysterical antisocialism was combined with imperialist warmongering. Trump delivered an ultimatum to the Venezuelan military to either capitulate to US regime-change or be slaughtered. He made it clear that Washington views the coup against the government of Nicolas Maduro as only the first step in a hemisphere-wide war to overthrow the governments of Nicaragua and Cuba and eradicate the growing influence of the United States’ geopolitical rivals—China and Russia—in Latin America.”
“Trump’s speech, replete with vows of a global crusade against “communism and socialism,” reflected growing fears within the US ruling oligarchy—not of the insipid politics of the likes of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—but rather of a dangerous challenge from below to their power and wealth. This ruling layer is rattled by a steady growth of strikes, including those breaking out in opposition to the existing unions, as well a widespread radicalization of both workers and youth. Recent polls have increasingly expressed the preference of the younger generation for socialism over capitalism. This fear among America’s billionaires and multimillionaires provides a core constituency for the fascistic agenda being promulgated by Donald Trump.”
‘Trump’s Venezuela gamble is turning out to be a beaten docket’, Finian Cunningham, Feb. 19, RT.com
“US President Donald Trump was asked by reporters at the weekend if he had a “plan B” for Venezuela if President Nicolas Maduro does not stand down soon, as Washington is demanding. With his typical bluster, Trump said he had several backup options.
But, despite his bravado, it looks like Trump’s bet on effecting regime change in Venezuela is a losing venture. The US seems to be increasingly desperate to salvage its plan to topple the government in Caracas.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has been doing much of the bidding for Trump’s White House on Venezuela, flew down to the border crossing with Colombia where US military transport planes have been delivering food and medical aid.
The PR stunt resembled scenes from another US-backed regime change operation in Ukraine back in 2014, when the late Senator John McCain and State Department official Victoria Nuland handed out cookies to protesters.
Rubio was dangling food aid cargoes like a bribe. Speaking in Spanish, he cloyingly attempted emotional blackmail, directing his remarks at the Venezuelan military for allegedly denying food and other essentials to their “families.” Rubio also claimed if Venezuelan soldiers prevented distribution of aid supplies they would be liable to be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.”
Fat fooking laugh, he writes (or close to that).
“But what Washington – through its arrogance and ignorance – did not count on was the resilience of the Venezuelan people. Many of them do not support a treasonous, marginal opposition which is evidently taking marching orders from “Yankee imperialists.” Washington also did not anticipate that the country’s military is professional and committed to defending the nation’s sovereignty. The Trump White House seems to think everyone can be bought for a price.
Significantly, too, Washington’s hegemonic conceit has totally misread today’s global politics. Russia, China, Mexico, Iran, Cuba, Turkey – and most other nations– have refused to kowtow to Washington’s dictate for regime change in Venezuela. The preponderant majority of nations continue to recognize President Maduro and his government as the legitimate authorities.”
“Meanwhile, Venezuela is also exposing the rogue states and instigators of international conflict – primarily Washington.”
I’ll close (finally!) with this from nowaronvenezuela.org: ‘An international call for coordinated actions to oppose U.S. war on Venezuela has been issued for the weekend of Saturday, February 23 – the 1 month anniversary of the U.S. attempted right-wing coup on Venezuela.’ It contains a list and map of participating global and US cities.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)