It’s a bit of a tome, but you can look at individual headlines and decide which ones to read. I’ll start with today, then work backwards in time, or try to, as the word doc for this diary is in serious disarray by now.
‘Venezuela crisis: Russian military planes land near Caracas’, bbc.com, March 25, 2019
“Two Russian military planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday, reportedly carrying dozens of troops and large amounts of equipment.
The planes were sent to “fulfill technical military contracts”, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported.
Javier Mayorca, a Venezuelan journalist, wrote on Twitter that he saw about 100 troops and 35 tonnes of equipment offloaded from the planes.
It comes three months after the two nations held joint military exercises.
Russia has long been an ally of Venezuela, lending the South American nation billions of dollars and backing its oil industry and military.
Russia has also vocally opposed moves from the US to impose sanctions on the government of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.”
Well, never mind, it’s up again on the BBC agitprop story, only inside this Tweet:
@steve_hanke “More Russian soldiers unload in #Venezuela to help prop up Pres. #Maduro. The Ilyushin IL-62M is used to carry military personnel and frequently flies troops from #Russia to Syria — indeed it stopped in #Syria on its way from Russia to #Caracas.”
Hanke’s CV on his Twitt account: ‘Applied Economist @JohnsHopkins | Sr. Fellow & Director #TroubledCurrencies Project @CatoInstitute | @Forbes| FX & Commodities Trader | Reagan White House Alum
‘Venezuela Presents Evidence of Anti-Bolivarian Terrorism’, telesurenglish, March 23
“The Venezuelan Minister of Culture unveiled telephone conversations between leaders of the right planning violence against the country.
The government of Venezuela announced the dismantling of a series of violent operations that were intended to be carried out in the country by mercenaries and assassins who entered the Venezuelan territory within the last few weeks.
The Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez, denounced that among these operations included the selective assassination of social and political leaders, through lists of names, sabotage against the metro system and the Caracas cable car, fake news through media and social networks, a conspiracy of general strikes in the labor sector, an assault on Miraflores Palace (the seat of Government), and false flag terrorist actions.
The Venezuelan politician also said that Central American and Colombian mercenaries and assassins who managed to enter the country, some of whom the government has identified, are being sought and will be arrested “wherever they are.”
Rodriguez also revealed a series of tests and detailed telephone conversations involving leaders of the Venezuelan right, such as the lawmaker of the National Assembly — in contempt since 2016 — the self-proclaimed Juan Guaido, Leopoldo Lopez, and Freddy Guevara among others, in preparation of terrorist operations against the Venezuelan state.
“The government of Nicolas Maduro accused local and international right-wing objectives to move from a strategy of siege through financial asphyxia, to an assault strategy, with the aim of taking power in its entirety or divide the country into two territories.”
And right on cue & in lockstep with the Guaidoistas, from the Guardian, March 24: ‘Venezuela opposition fears crackdown after Maduro threatens arrests; Embattled president hints that Juan Guaidó and allies are in his sights’
“Venezuela’s opposition is bracing for a severe political crackdown after Nicolás Maduro lashed out at the “diabolical pro-imperialist puppets” he claimed were trying to remove him from the presidency and vowed to imprison them all.”
“Any move against Guaidó could provoke a strong reaction from Washington. Donald Trump has thrown his weight behind efforts to unseat Maduro and the White House has warned of “significant” pushback if Guaidó is arrested or harmed.”
[wd here: could the CIA decide Guaido’s expndable, and carry out a false flag op against him? Inquiring minds and all that…]
“In an interview with Reuters, Guaidó, who is recognised by most western governments but wields little concrete power within Venezuela, claimed it was Maduro’s regime that was crumbling. “They are isolated, alone,” he said. “They are falling apart day by day.”
Speaking to the Guardian last month, Guaidó conceded he could be jailed or forced into exile. “Doing politics in Venezuela is a risk and you can pay with your life … Obviously, there is a latent risk.”
Gunson said the fact that the threat of US military intervention appeared to have receded meant Maduro’s government now felt it had regained the initiative. “And if its default position before was to wait for this opposition phenomenon to deflate, they are now willing to take more direct action and to challenge the international community to do its worst.”
[wd here: i don’t believe for a moment that ‘threat of US military intervention appears to have receded’ no matter the protestations of the LEAP nations and Bolsonaro having claimed so.]
“Gunson said Maduro’s inner circle would now be weighing the pros and cons of imprisoning Guaidó himself. “To lose him would be a really severe blow [to the opposition] – and both the government and the opposition know that. On the other hand, if Guaidó is put in jail then really the US and its key allies in the hemisphere would be obliged to do something severe.”
‘Maduro: US Withholding $5bn of Medical Supplies in ‘Criminal’ Measure; Maduro’s accusations came at a government re-launch of the pharmaceutical sector’, March 21, venezuelanalysis.com.
“The US government is withholding US $5 billion which was meant for the purchase of medicines and raw materials used in medical production, President Nicolas Maduro claimed Wednesday.
Speaking from Miranda State, Maduro denounced that US authorities “have ‘kidnapped’ US $5 billion [in] one of the most criminal, brutal, fascist economic measures which has been seen in the economic history of the world.” “Trump is the person responsible,” he added.
US and European governments have been working on freezing Venezuelan assets in recent months, including CITGO, the US-based subsidiary of state oil firm PDVSA, as well as US $1.2 billion worth of gold held in the Bank of England. According to Washington, these assets are being held to finance a “future government” led by self-declared “Interim President” Juan Guaido and to avoid alleged corruption on the part of the current government. US Vice President Mike Pence recently urged other countries to apply similar measures against Venezuelan assets.
“Maduro’s accusations coincided with a visit by a delegation from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The delegation is in Venezuela doing preliminary investigative work and meeting with pro- and anti-government actors in preparation for a possible future visit by UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet.”
‘US sanctions Venezuelan development bank in response to arrest of Guaido’s ‘terrorist’ aide’, 22 March, 2019 RT.com
“The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s Economic and Social Development Bank and on four other institutions affiliated with it, calling in its statement for the release of Juan Guaido’s Chief of Staff Roberto Marrero.
While the move came as official US retaliation for Caracas’ targeting the associates of the wannabe president, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin painted the Bank – known under its Spanish acronym BANDES – as the most vile organization and definitely worth sanctioning.
“The willingness of Maduro’s inner-circle to exploit Venezuela’s institutions knows no bounds. Regime insiders have transformed BANDES and its subsidiaries into vehicles to move funds abroad in an attempt to prop up Maduro,” Mnuchin said in a statement.
On top of that, the official accused Venezuelan authorities of the “kidnapping, torture, and murder of Venezuelan citizens” and urged Caracas to release all “political prisoners,” including Marrero aide to the self-proclaimed president Guaido.
Venezuelan authorities arrested the chief of staff to ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido on Thursday during a raid on a “terrorist cell” that planned attacks on the country’s officials. The government also released images of two rifles allegedly seized by the Venezuelan Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) during the raid on Marrero’s house. Guaido had earlier accused the security forces of ‘planting’ the weapons.”
Continuing that story from venezuelanaysis.com (all content at the site is CC):
“Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol gave a press conference on Thursday afternoon in which he claimed Marrero led a “terrorist cell” that was planning attacks against public institutions using foreign mercenaries.
“Marrero was the person responsible for organizing these criminal groups,” Reverol told reporters, adding that a number of weapons as well as foreign currency had been seized. He added that the operation was done in coordination with the Attorney General’s office, and had a court-ordered arrest warrant.
Marrero’s bodyguard, Luis Alberto Paez, was also detained in the operation, according to reports. According to local witnesses at the time of the arrest, Marrero claimed that the weapons had been planted in his apartment.
The arrest drew a swift response from opposition leaders and US officials.
“As they cannot take the interim president prisoner, so they seek out people closest to him,” Guaido said in a press conference, adding that “Operation Freedom” continues around the country. When pressed about calling for a foreign intervention, the opposition leader said he would “demand whatever is required” to “put an end to the usurpation.”
“Trump’s Special Envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, had likewise vowed “consequences” for those involved in Marrero’s detention. Abrams is known for his leading role in the Reagan administration’s Central America policy, including the Iran-Contra scandal, and later for advising George W. Bush in the lead up to the war in Iraq.”
‘Trump, Bolsonaro and the danger of fascism’, 20 March 2019, wsws.org, a few snippets:
“The three-day visit to Washington by the president of Brazil brought together two of the most right-wing figures in the world: Jair Bolsonaro, a former military officer and fervent admirer of the blood-soaked military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985, and Donald Trump, who has become the pole of attraction for authoritarians and fascists the world over, including the gunman who slaughtered 50 Muslims at two New Zealand mosques last week.”
During their joint press conference at the White House Tuesday afternoon, Trump repeated his declaration, delivered to an audience of right-wing Cuban and Venezuelan exiles in Florida, that “The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere.” He emphasized, as he did in his State of the Union speech, that this also involved putting an end to the threat of socialism within the United States itself.”
“At the press conference, both Jair Bolsonaro and Trump pledged their support to a fascistic litany of “god, family and nation,” as Trump put it. Bolsonaro declared, “Brazil and the United States stand side-by-side in their efforts to share liberties and respect to traditional and family lifestyles, respect to God, our creator, against the gender ideology of the politically correct attitudes, and fake news.”
“Trump reiterated the mantra that “all options are on the table” against Venezuela. Bolsonaro was asked if he would permit US soldiers to use Brazilian soil as a base for military operations against Venezuela. Rather than dismissing that prospect as a violation of both Brazilian and Venezuelan sovereignty, he declined to answer, citing the need for maintaining operational secrecy and the element of surprise.
One of the bilateral agreements that Trump and Bolsonaro signed would allow the United States to use Brazil’s Alcantara Aerospace Launch Base for its satellites. Brazil also announced an end to visa requirements for US visitors. Both actions provide avenues for the integration of Brazil into Pentagon operations, particularly drone-missile warfare and the deployment of special operations forces.”
You may also remember that NATO had also admitted Colombia as a partner to the shining repurposed Cold Was 2.0 organization.
‘Diaz-Canel Defends Cuban Doctors’ Work in Venezuela After NYT Report’, telesur english, march 19, telesurenglish:
“According to an article published by the New York Times on March 17, Cuban doctors allegedly pressured their patients to vote in favor of Nicolas Maduro in exchange for medical attention, professional misconduct which allegedly was performed just a few days before the 2018 presidential elections.
“Cuban doctors can never be defamed. Their extraordinary human work carried out those lands which the Empire calls ‘the world’s dark corners’ belies the NYT and its reporter Casey,” President Diaz-Canel said on Twitter and pointed out that “feeding Marco Rubio’s hatred war against Cuba and Venezuela is a crime. We are Cuba.”
Concerning the U.S. media accusations, the Cuban Public Health Minister Jose Angel Portal recalled what Fidel Castro, Cuban former president and revolutionary leader, said about the Cuban doctors’ work:
“The [Cuban] medical personnel, who departs to save lives anywhere, even at the risk of losing theirs, is the greatest example of solidarity that humankind can offer.”
Yeah, I dug it up: ‘It Is Unspeakable’: How Maduro Used Cuban Doctors to Coerce Venezuela Voters’, nicholas casey, NYTSlimes, march 17, 2019
@johnsteppling ‘me on press tv discussing venezuela’
And last, but certainly not least is from the most ubiquitous online presence after Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Ilhan Omar: We must apply our universal values to all nations. Only then will we achieve peace’, washingtonpost.com, March 17, 2019
“Valuing human rights also means applying the same standards to our friends and our enemies. We do not have the credibility to support those fighting for human rights in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua if we do not also support those fighting for human rights in Honduras, Guatemala and Brazil. Our criticisms of oppression and regional instability caused by Iran are not legitimate if we do not hold Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to the same standards.”
Mass Mobilization: Oppose NATO, War & Racism!
Demand: No US war on Venezuela!
Protest Washington, DC, Lafayette Park (across from the White House)
1 PM Saturday, March 30, 2019.
(cross-posted at caucus99percentcom)