Of Venezuela and Hypocrisy 267

Hugo Chavez’ revolutionary politics were founded on two very simple tenets:

1) People ought not to be starving in dreadful slums in the world’s most oil rich state
2) The CIA ought not to control Venezuela

Over the years, Chavez racked up real achievements in improving living standards for the poor and in providing health and education facilities. He was widely popular and both he and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, also racked up very genuine election victories. Maduro remains the democratically elected President.

But the dream went sour. In particular it fell foul of the tendency of centrally planned economies to fail to get the commodities people want onto shop shelves, and to the corruption that goes with centralisation. The latter was certainly not worse than the right wing corruption it replaced, but that does not diminish its existence.

Every revolution will always displace an existing elite who are by definition the best educated and most articulate section of the population, with most access to resources including media – and to CIA secret backing, which has continued throughout at an increasing rate. Chavez did not solve this problem in the way Robespierre, Stalin, Trotsky or Mao would have done. He embraced democracy, let them be – and largely left their private offshore billions, and thus their power, untouched.

Inevitably the day came when economic and administrative failings cracked the solidity of support from the poor for the revolution. The right then stepped up their opposition with a campaign led by corrupt billionaires, which the western media has failed to acknowledge has been throughout murderously violent.

The problem with revolutionary millenarianism is that its failure to achieve utopia is viewed as disaster by its proponents. Maduro ought to have accepted that it is the nature of life that political tides ebb and flow, ceded power to the opposition gains in parliament, maintained the principles of democracy, and waited for the tide to turn back his way – taking the risk that the CIA might not give him the chance. Instead he has resorted to a constitutional fix which dilutes democracy, a precedent which will delight the right who in the long term have most to fear from the populace. Given the extreme violence of the opposition, I am less inclined to view arrests as unquestionably a straightforward human rights matter, than are some pro-western alleged human rights groups. But that Maduro has stepped off the democratic path I fear is true. He has, bluntly, gone wrong, however difficult the circumstances. I condemn both the departures from human rights best practice and the attempt to use a part indirectly elected body to subvert the elected parliament.

But, even today, Venezuela is still vastly more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia, and a far greater respecter of human rights than Israel in its dreadful repression of the Palestinians. Yet support for Israel and for Saudi Arabia are keystones of the foreign policy of those who today are incessant in their demands that we on the “left” condemn Venezuela. The BBC has given massively more news coverage to human rights abuse in Venezuela this last month than in a score of much worse countries I could name – than a score put together.

Human rights abuse should be condemned everywhere. But it only hits the headlines when practised by a country which is on the wrong side of the neo-con agenda.

267 thoughts on “Of Venezuela and Hypocrisy

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  • Ishmael

    Well said. One assumes they are not invading the world either.

    I just dropped CPGB-ML after only a day. And after revising the history came back to what I think is important, not trying to grab state power. The state will bend, does bend, as a result of people power. We need look no further than here, where when labour get in (I’m assuming they will) they will even be the same people, but under a very alternate mandate.

    Occupy + student movement, 1% vs 99% – The many not the few. …We the people changed this from bottom up, and all the following work by many self organised groups.

    Iv absolutely no doubt that south America will once again shrug off it’s imperialist leaches.

    “Chavez did not solve this problem in the way Robespierre, Stalin, Trotsky or Mao would have done. He embraced democracy, let them be – and largely left their private offshore billions, and thus their power, untouched”

    I hardly associate that with embracing democracy, these riches are not attained by some “free market” nonsense. Obviously the social relations in the workplace must be altered, there is more than one way to skin a cat. While I think it fine to tax these people to death, thats not enough, we did that already in the 40s and they are back. The root must be cut, and this can be done by people organising there own work so it doesn’t serve them.

    Imo this sort of power will not come from above, that can help but it’s not what people need, to rely on state that ALWAYS becomes a self serving entity. This is where the now forgotten mainstream Marxists were correct, The idea of forming a vanguard to grab state power was considered a right wing deviation, e.g., using people discontent & popular struggle. The left should not seek state power, but if anything to help to organise the many to fight against the social forces that control us.

    And they work dam hard at it. They know we have the power.

    Shake your chains to earth like dew
    Which in sleep had fallen on you –
    Ye are many – they are few.’

      • Ishmael

        Further illustration, And iv no doubt this is why Craig is anti marx (though he follows the worst sorts who exploited that movement) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_jRd59qy0A

        He, like the SNP In my opinion (if I’m allowed one while I wait for my comments to be allowed to show) want to use discontent to whip society into one they want. But have no really solutions & don’t care because they are being well served leaching.

    • Adam Clifford

      The benefits of the market,a national resource,an outcome of meeting a population’s needs and wants,have to be redistributed by significantly greater public ownership.New models of co-ownership,collective ownership/ financing,national investment banks,NFP,cooperatives,group-funding, and new disciplines are the way forward.The markets are the source of all wealth and power and are not the divine right of the wealthy/capitalised.The way to get power back is for the public to own the markets where public ownership provides an incentive for consumers,instead of marketing.Public ownership,in whatever form,provides greater security and assurance for T&C’s and can be used to finance community/public services

      • Ishmael

        Agree, very much. Id also add we need to push for an unconditional basic income.

        Brick by brick.

        Imo we should take heart also that the crisis is overproduction, we’ve too much stuff. We need to socialise stuff and not be cowed by the “free stuff” narrative. All the stuff it taken from the earth, and made useful by immeasurable layers of historical work of humans in general, in ways that can’t be quantified. & not really worked on by those that take most the profits, centrally not to any degree that justices this current distribution.

        It’s acutely to the point of total absurdity, where they can essentially own governments to constantly bail them out. “Free money”… I hear it’s now just a few hundred individuals. Crazy.

  • Xavi

    A long piece on Venezuela in the LRB (Jun 29, 2017) concluded with this:
    “Chávez, in death as in life, continues to transcend the polarisation. According to a recent poll, 79 per cent of Venezuelans picked him as the best president the country has ever had. A slightly smaller but still large majority say he was Venezuela’s most democratic and efficient leader”.
    Doesn’t sound like a country hungry for the return of pitiless neoliberalism ..

  • GJ M

    Sad what’s happening to Venezuela. To digress a bit I have followed Al Jazeera’s coverage of the crisis and it has been one sided. Really disappointing coverage of the Scots Indyref, one sided reporting of war in Syria and now Venezuela. I have no idea why they are promoting the return of the old elite in Venezuela. Why not give a more balanced view of what is happening over there? For an organisation that has created some of the best documentaries I have ever seen there has been no critique of the opposition in Venezuela, no historical context to current events, just Maduro must go. I have no idea what is going on with the news channel but it would benefit Venezuela if audiences got some historical context to current events and an insight into the players in the game.

    • Adam Clifford

      I’m unfamiliar with Al Jazeera’s coverage,but from what you are saying,it demonstrates how lop-sided media bias can be,and shamelessly.There have to be intelligent people in Al Jazeera who know they are significantly biased.The idea of being an organ of a state,of broadcasting propaganda[mis/dis information] is disturbing.Nothing new,but it’s acceptance and practice suggests we’re not as advanced as we might like to think and undermines any such notions.

      • GJ M

        Adam Clifford, I have to say that some of their documentaries on the Arab world have been nothing short of amazing. Over the last 3 or 4 years I’ve lost a lot of confidence in their reporting. I don’t think i’m being unfair on them or pushing my views but have no idea what influences are being brought to bear or why they have stopped covering a lot of big stories in an even handed way.

  • John Goss

    An excellent summary Craig, not just of the problems faced by post-Chavez Venezuela, but also of the intrigues of western states to influence and undermine the workings of socialist democracies. Most culpable is the USA but its major puppet across the Atlantic is just as bad with new announcements of vastly increased profits from weapons sales to the Saudis.

  • Yossi

    US media refer to opposition helicopter dropping grenades on the Assembly as protesters.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Yossi August 3, 2017 at 18:37
      On a building, I don’t believe it was the Assembly (could you provide link?).
      But also an opposition figure was arrested with a bag of C4 US military explosive (wonder where that came from?) and shrapnel; others have admitted being paid by a prominent opposition figure to violently riot (Molotov Cocktails, firearms, arson, murder).
      Huge warehouses have been discovered hoarding baldly-needed commodities (in order to stoke the people’s disaffection).
      Wires have been strung across roads, decapitating some motorcyclists and injuring cyclists; snipers have been used to shoot both sides, and the government blamed (like Maidan).
      Schools, clinics, government buildings, and hospitals have been firebombed, some razed. And the EU says ‘disproportionate response’ by the police and military?
      This is what the CIA organised in Maidan, in Syria, in Libya and more covertly over much of Africa, in order to raise their clamour for ‘Regime Change’.
      There are some countries where Regime Change would be justified and extremely welcome, and come the next GE in the UK, let’s hope we see one – come on, Jeremy, get those skates on! Number 10, here you come!

      • giyane

        Moshe Dayan who was an infamous predator on IDF females was decapitated on a motorbike at the end of a Sabbath curfew on movement.

        Sniping at both sides is not considered much of a crime by Tory Britain. How else is one supposed to divide and rule?

  • Michael Elsmere

    The last two paras sum up the hypocrisy of much of Western Diplomacy, Politics and news.

  • Habbabkuk

    “Human rights abuse should be condemned everywhere”


    “. But it only hits the headlines when practised by a country which is on the wrong side of the neo-con agenda.”

    But Craig only writes about what he claims are human rights abuses by the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Israel

    Never a mention of anyone else.

  • Republicofscotland

    Not content with trying to install a puppet government in Venezuela. The Great Satan has imposed more sanctions on Russia, however this time European nations such as Germany are furious at the new sanctions, which hinders European companies that do business with Russia, especially in the fuel industry.

    Iran in my opinion a future target of the US, was also hit by more sanctions, as is North Korea.

    Back to Venezuela and there have been claims that the Great Satan put pressure on Smartmatic the international pollster, to blacken the recent Venezulan vote. I wouldn’t put it past them, the Great Satan is in my opinion capable of almost anything.


    • Paul Barbara

      @ Republicofscotland August 3, 2017 at 19:13

      ‘Voting Machines’: http://truedemocracyparty.net/voting-machines/
      ‘…Voting Machine Companies: Diebold and ES&S. They are both owned by two men who are brothers and staunch Republicans. They both have refused to tell anyone how votes are tabulated/counted. And there is an overwhelming mountain of evidence of fraud and manipulation of these machines.

      TDP and most Americans (when they learn the truth about the VM’s) want Paper Ballots Only, and Dedicated Voting Stations.
      How will we count the millions of votes? This is the most frequently asked question.
      We will count them like we used to, by hand. The computer is relatively new to the scene. We use to count ballots, not only by hand, but the count would almost always be finished between 1 or 2am, in time for newspaper final print and distribution.
      This always astounded me.

      Do we need to go back to Paper Ballots? TDP says YES!!! Though this is only one method used by Republicans to steal US Elections. We must address them all. The VOTE is one of our most Important Rights in a Democracy.

      There are dozens, if not hundreds of videos about these voting machines and fraud and corruption. This is only a small sampling.
      And it’s rarely talked about. That’s about to change!

      At the bottom there is a huff post article on Diebold selling it’s Voting Machine Unit to ES&S. Though the article totally omits any mention of; them being brothers,….’

      Yes, not only brothers, but Venezuelans, and one is a member of the British House of Lords (don’t ask me how that works; apparently he runs a British firm). Knowing the reputation of Diebold machines, I was very surprised, perplexed even, that Hugo Chavez had used the company. I can only hope he didn’t know their reputation, or perhaps they hadn’t bought Diebold at that time.

    • Stu

      The US will not invade Iran.

      They have been humiliated in Iraq and Afghanistan so there is no chance they would take on a much stronger opponent with a united population.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Stu August 3, 2017 at 22:01
        Let’s hope you’re right; but remember, the Congress and Senate have never resisted the Israeli lobby before…..

    • giyane

      I doubt Trump which advisor he’ll have next week, but this week Human Rights Watch were targeting the Shi’a in Mosul. I do like a Potus that kicks against the pricks. What a treasure God found in him.

  • Ishmael

    mmm, so im revising my own revision.

    Maybe there is a “parliamentary road” to communism in the uk as marx thought possible. But as noted, it’s the popular participation that is key. It certainly gives me hope anyway when I see us treading that road. It’s a very small country, and lots are more woke than before.

    I don’t mean to totally undermine those working in government, I know it can’t be simplified & I know many have good intensions just like the leftists groups, but I often think people mistake things. Namely direction. I don’t believe most want to be “somebody” but the drive to improve pushes one to (obviously in the current set up) strive for that.

    I think it’s important to be honest that actually we’d rather be free. & the goal is power pushed downward from the top, and pulled downward from below. Regarding the SNP I just see people wanting another state & it doesn’t touch the power relations within that state so I really don’t how it’s a significant step forward, e.g, devolving power down. But whatever, I’m gonna drop the mic on that subject now.

    IMO The things we really need are small messy disputes. Lots of them. No heroes, no big somebody’s. And speaking for myself I can’t do more than this anyway, I’m actually very happy with that now. It’s been such a burden.

    It certainly seems I’m being proved wrong & as Chelsea Manning likes to repeat, “we got this”..

    Now I’m going to take I good break & throw out a lot of old rubbish iv been hanging on to. Peace out.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Ishmael August 3, 2017 at 19:34
      God bless in your spring-clean; I’ve been trying to do it for yonks, so far with virtually no effect.
      I’ll try to take inspiration from your candor.

  • Richard Swain

    Totally agree with your summing up, but I would like to see how long democracy would last in the UK if the govt faced the same opposition as in Venezuela.

    • Loony

      If you open your eyes then you can see “how long democracy would last in the UK…”

      Some of the biggest issues impacting the nature of UK society in recent years are (i) A succession of foreign military interventions with no clearly stated purpose, (ii) An historically unprecedented wave of immigration with no stated limit and (iii) Debasement of the currency in order to bail out certain “protected” institutions.

      Ask where the democratic mandate for any of these policies was obtained.

      If you are interested in how the self appointed political elite regard democracy merely observe their frenetic and frantic efforts to sabotage the will of the people with regard to the UK exiting the EU.

      Once you have contemplated thee issues ask how it is possible for any informed person to postulate that the UK embraces democracy in any meaningful sense.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Loony August 3, 2017 at 21:28
        By golly, by Jingo, you ain’t ‘Loony’ after all!

  • FranzB

    Off Guardian has an analysis of the various lies put about by the media, in this case The Guardian:


    An extract:-

    “To anyone familiar with the recent history of Venezuela these announcements sound eerily like the events leading up to the failed 2002 coup. In fact, this would be the time to mention that many of the opposition leaders, including Henrique Capriles, Julio Borges, Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, were directly involved in the 2002 coup attempt. Why is there never a mention that the opposition leadership is full of protagonists from that US-backed military coup that ultimately failed? Quite simply because it would undermine the entire “democracy vs. dictatorship” propaganda narrative.”

    Having listened to Nick Robinson on Radio 4 this morning, it occurred to me that in part at least, the BBC is pushing the Venezuela story so that they can have a go at Jeremy Corbyn using Venezuela to show that Corbyn supports dictators because he hasn’t condemned Maduro. What the BBC fail to realise is that lots of us have access to alternative facts via the web.

    • giyane

      Ritula Shah on Radio 4’s 10 pm slot was interviewing an advisor to Chavez, who was calling for patience in Venezuala and less interference from outside. If I was in charge I’d rather have Ritula Sha as Foreign Secretary than Boris Bimbo any day. Does the stupid man ever do anything?

      • Paul Barbara

        @ giyane August 4, 2017 at 00:21
        ‘…Does the stupid man ever do anything?’
        I hesitate to think, given his fellow Bullingdon member’s piggy-fiddling.

  • Adrian Evitts

    I don’t think I could have put it better than Craig Murray.

    The US has done much to de-stabilise Venezuela. I strongly suspect that the real motivation for Saudi over-production of oil and its consequent effect on depressing oil prices has been the US desire to wage economic war against those big oil producers it considers adversaries – Russia, Iran, Venezuela. Why else would the Saudis do this … an act which has had very negative effects on its own domestic economy? And why would the US allow the Saudis to do something which undermines America’s own oil industry, unless there be some paramount reason for doing it?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Adrian Evitts August 4, 2017 at 00:26
      Absolutely. I have made the same point before.

    • Peter Beswick

      Trump on Twitter

      Paramount reason enough?

      Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!
      5:18 AM – 3 Aug 2017

  • Hieroglyph

    “In particular it fell foul of the tendency of centrally planned economies to fail to get the commodities people want onto shop shelves, and to the corruption that goes with centralisation.”

    I have argued many times that this is never the full picture. I’m not a hard-core socialist, but Venezuala, like Cuba, and every other socialist country ever, has to deal with non-stop political and economic interference from the USA. The amount of people who just airily dismiss this aspect is quite bizarre. “Lol, they need the Capitalists!” ( a topic covered by Lenin himself). They do need the capitalists, but mostly they would prefer if the capitalists didn’t employ sanctions on medicines, routinely infiltrate the socialist Governments, and avoided arming the various death squads that tend to crop up when the USA is displeased. How anyone can argue that the USA isn’t a factor mystifies me.

    This is not to argue that a socialist economy would be perfect, coz it has people in it, some of whom are corrupt. But a quick look at the absurd levels of corruption in the banking sector might make us query which system lends itself more to corruption …

  • Sharp Ears

    The twerp Owen Jones and the IEA’s Kate Andrews were putting the boot in on Venezuela last night on the Sky News ‘paper review’, Their venom went unchallenged.

    Mark Littlewood, the ex LD spin doctor and now the director of the neo liberal IEA outfit is quoting The Economist on his twitter. The horrors of socialism in Venezuela…. https://twitter.com/MarkJLittlewood/status/893130055748124672

    Unbelievably the Owen Jones/Kate Andrews pairing (access all channels!) get another go on tonight’s Any Questions. R4 8pm

  • Jan Pietrasik

    “Maduro ought to have accepted that it is the nature of life that political tides ebb and flow, ceded power to the opposition gains in parliament, maintained the principles of democracy, and waited for the tide to turn back his way – taking the risk that the CIA might not give him the chance.”

    What an extraordinary statement. You seem to be telling the poor of Venezuela to wait until the time is right, when the Venezuelan opposition and the CIA may be willing to allow them to have access to healthcare, education, a decent job and a home to live in? You suggest that it’s ’the nature of life that political tides ebb and flow” and that perhaps there may come a time when the tide turns and the US, the CIA, Global corporations and Venezuela’s wealthy elite will be willing to abide by democratic rules and allow all their fellow citizens to share in their country’s wealth.

    Maduro has not acted undemocratically, he is the elected head of Government and has acted perfectly legally and can be removed from office in the coming 2018 election. In contrast, the opposition have demonstrated their contempt for the rule of law and democracy. They have taken up arms, as they have done before, and are working with a foreign power, the US, to overthrow Venezuela’s legitimate, democratically elected government. Venezuela’s wealthy elites are not democrats, they have acted with extreme violence to protect their privlege, wealth and power just as the ruling class did in Chile which Allende who played by the democratic rule book found to his cost, as did Arbenz in Guatemala. Generations later the people of Guatamala and Chile, many suffering in abject poverty, are still waiting for the “tide to turn back ( their) way.”

    Your argument for waiting for ‘the tide to turn’ brought to mind the US Civil Rights Movement of the1960s when liberals, alarmed by the brutality and intransigence of the opposition advised blacks to have patience and wait for a better time to press for their rights. MLK was outraged, he said, “The time is always right to do the right thing” and wrote in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”,

    “I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation….For years now I have heard the word ‘wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.'”

    • Kempe

      Maduro’s problem though is that having won the presidential election by a narrow margin the majority in the National Assembly is now held by a centre-left coalition that opposes his policies. What Maduro is doing is using the supreme court and now this new assembly to neutralise the elected representatives and hang on to power.

  • Habbabkuk

    Despite the hundred plus demonstrators killed on the streets by police and military goons over the last three months (what cries of anguish we would have heard had this happened in the UK or USA !), it is true that Messrs Chavez and Maduro Moron are not Hitlers, Maos or Stalins.

    Not that anyone is claiming that they are, of course, and therefore these are straw man “arguments”.

    That said, it is distressing to see all the usual, tired old arguments trotted out in order to defend tin-pot leaders : it’s the price of oil wot done it ! Or US / CIA manipulation and interference! Or the evil bourgeoisie !

    In fact, anything rather than to admit that Messrs Chavez and Maduro Moron – who have after all been in power for well over a decade – were/ are masters of gesture politics but were/are economically and financially illiterate.and incompetent.

    Left-wing govts, especially of the populist stripe, are ever thus…..

    • reel guid

      The Tories have brought about Brexit. So their governments are now neither financially literate or competent.

      • Habbabkuk

        What a strange comment. When I last looked, no one was queuing up for toilet paper in the UK.

        • fred

          I cut newspapers into squares and hang them on the toilet door.

          I got one with a picture of Nicola Sturgeon on this morning that really brightened up my day.

      • Loony

        Oh dear. The people brought about Brexit, and they did so via a referendum.

        Politicians of all main political parties are now seeking to frustrate Brexit via any and all means. Presumably they are doing so as a consequence of their contempt for the people. In the light of comments such as yours it is difficult to argue that politicians are in error in holding their electorate in contempt.

        I am aware of no examples in history where long term liberty or prosperity has been achieved via the strategy of willful ignorance and stupidity.

    • Matty

      “Despite the hundred plus demonstrators killed on the streets by police and military goons over the last three months”. This is untrue – many of the deaths are pro-Chavez/Maduro supporters killed by the opposition – one was even burned alive. See https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13081 for a more detailed analysis.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Scotland’s fishing industry was hit by a Brexit bombshell yesterday when Environment Secretary Michael Gove confirmed that European Union fishing boats will continue to catch fish in Scottish waters”


    Well, I can’t understand what Scottish fisherman were thinking about, when the majority of them voted to leave the EU.

    Surely they didn’t believe the British governments hype, that they’d have Scottish fishing waters to themselves. The Tories were always going to sell them out, in an attempt to soften the Brexit process, they are expendable.

    I can’t say I have much sympathy for them.

    • reel guid


      The fact too that the Westminster Government didn’t consult the Scottish Government on what is a devolved matter is the clearest signal yet that the Tories plan to end meaningful devolution. No raising of concerns on that from Labour and Lib Dem leaderships either. Which means they’re ready to go along with it.

      • reel guid

        A propos of Lib Dem leader indifference to Scotland’s plight. Willie Rennie has today tweeted a picture he took of an exhibit while he must have been visiting the Scottish Fisheries Museum. A old picture of a large sturgeon that had been landed. Cue some obvious joke from Rennie not worth repeating.

        So that’s all Rennie can tweet about regarding fishing after the announcement from Gove.

        Scottish Liberal Democrats should get themselves a proper leader who takes a serious interest in Scotland.

    • Paul Barbara

      Lots of harrowing tales coming out of Venezuela – but can we believe them, or is it predominantly propaganda? Do any of you remember the Kuwaiti Incubator Lie? Here’s a refresher: ‘Nayirah Kuwaiti girl testimony’:
      BUT the reality turned out to be: ”CTE Kuwaiti baby incubator lies Barry Zwicker’:
      I could go on – Gulf of Tonkin LIE; Syrian traumatised child in ambulance LIE (the family are now safe in government territory, and the father (with the child) explains that the whole thing was faked by the ‘White Helmets’); Iraqi WMD Lie, Qaddafi ‘Genocide Plans’ LIE.
      Have you ever heard any retractions and apologies for these now acknowledged lies from either governments or media?

  • Sharp Ears

    Washington Times. LOL.

    Trump Central

    Founded. by Moon’s Unification Church.

    Current editor – Charles Hurt

    Charles Hurt is an American journalist and political commentator. He is currently the opinion editor of The Washington Times, Fox News contributor, Breitbart News contributor, and a Drudge Report editor. He often appears as a guest on Newsmax TV. Previously, he was The New York Post’s D.C. Bureau Chief covering Washington politics.

    Hurt is the brother of US congressman Robert Hurt, and has been listed as a possible congressional candidate after his brother’s term ends in 2016.


  • Jan Pietrasik

    Some people posting comments here, seem to think Venezuela is a socialist country with a centralised economy, it is not, most businesses are in private hands. This has made it easy for the opposition to wage economic warfare with local producers and suppliers able to sabotage the economy, withholding food supplies and other important consumer items creating widespread dissatisfaction. Lack of toilet rolls is something that really irks apparently. To the Bolshevik slogan of Peace, bread, land we must now add toilet rolls!
    Listen to Abby Martin interview the Venezuelan Economic Minister who explains the Venezuelan economy and what the Government are aiming to achieve, their successes and failures.

    • Alex Westlake

      I wouldn’t like to try living without lavatory paper, although I suppose Venezuelans can always use banknotes. With inflation at over 800% it’s probably all you can realistically do with them

    • Kempe

      The real reason behind the shortages has been government price controls. Coupled with high inflation the cost of production or importation soon outstrips the price that can be charged so supply stops. This has been proved time and again since Roman times and a previous Venezuelan administration made the same mistake in the 1990s.

  • K Crosby

    “But the dream went sour. In particular it fell foul of the tendency of centrally planned economies to fail to get the commodities people want onto shop shelves, and to the corruption that goes with centralisation. The latter was certainly not worse than the right wing corruption it replaced, but that does not diminish its existence.”

    This isn’t Venezuela, it’s Britain.

  • Sharp Ears

    O/T but file under hypocrisy.

    The Royal arms salesman has just opened the World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium.
    He was accompanied by two arrivistes – one an ex Labour MP who became London Mayor and an ex athlete who became Nike’s Representative on Earth**.

    Prince Andrew officially opens the World Athletics Championships on behalf of The Queen

    Lycra rules. OK.



    et al on this site. Search Coe + Nike

    • Sharp Ears

      Of note, at the medal ceremonies, members of Her Maj’s armed forces are holding standards bearing the flags of the countries of the winning athletes.


  • FranzB

    Here’s a video from a Telesur reporter who explains that its the right wing thugs who are responsible for the majority of the deaths. Her source is the Venezuelan attorney general. Apparently the reason why so little is reported about these thugs is that reporters are being attacked by them. This video contains a disturbing scene of a Chavista who has been set on fire by these right wing thugs.


  • Temporarily Sane

    Human rights abuse should be condemned everywhere.

    Human rights have become a kind of secular religion for Western liberals and conservatives alike in that BELIEF in the righteousness of the West vis a vis the dark unenlightened savages in the rest of the world is more important than TRUTH. The West has no business telling any nation how to conduct its affairs. Would the UK, the US or any EU country accept the same treatment they mete out to nations like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Afghanistan? Not a chance.

    Perhaps socialism as envisioned by Chavez in Venezuela and similar projects in other countries would be more successful if the CIA and mainly US-based NGOs and “democracy foundations” (USAID, NED etc.) did not wage covert economic warfare on them. The US has stated many times it will not tolerate any nation that wishes to remain sovereign and free of US economic domination. That is the main geopolitical problem the world faces.

    The United States is not interested in trading peacefully, and fairly, with sovereign nations in a multi-polar world. It has set for itself the Third Reichian goal of ruling the world and designating itself as the one and only inherently “exceptional” and “indispensable” nation. All the waffle about “human rights” and “democracy” is just a distraction from reality. Does anyone really believe altruism is the principle driving US empire? That other, less enlightened empires fought wars to gain territory and economic power but the kind and gentle US spends blood and treasure…to bring “freedom and democracy” to the world?

    Every nation should have the right to develop and arrange its affairs as it sees fit. The West is not quite as “free and democratic” as it likes to believe and it took centuries of feudalism and warfare to reach the stable and relatively democratic point it is at now. (There are good arguments that suggest “peak democracy”, in the West, is already a thing of the past.) And last, but certainly not least, the lavish and wasteful consumer capitalist lifestyle the West “enjoys” requires an immense amount of resources that would be prohibitively expensive if acquired in a free and fair market. Perhaps this explains why the US and the West are so hell bent on controlling the world in the first place.

  • Paul Barbara

    This came out as a reply to someone by accident. It was meant to be a general comment:
    ‘Lots of harrowing tales coming out of Venezuela – but can we believe them, or is it predominantly propaganda? Do any of you remember the Kuwaiti Incubator Lie? Here’s a refresher: ‘Nayirah Kuwaiti girl testimony’:
    BUT the reality turned out to be: ”CTE Kuwaiti baby incubator lies Barry Zwicker’:
    I could go on – Gulf of Tonkin LIE; Syrian traumatised child in ambulance LIE (the family are now safe in government territory, and the father (with the child) explains that the whole thing was faked by the ‘White Helmets’; Iraqi WMD Lie, Qaddafi ‘Genocide Plans’ LIE.
    Have you ever heard any retractions and apologies for these now acknowledged lies from either governments or media?’

    • Kempe

      ” Do any of you remember the Kuwaiti Incubator Lie? etc etc…

      What has one word of that got to do with Venezuela?

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Kempe August 5, 2017 at 00:04
        It indicates how the West and it’s tame propaganda Corporate media LIE to get their ‘Regime Change’ or other military interventions backed by the sheeple who believe the lies.
        Just like the governments and media are lying about Venezuela.
        I would have thought it was obvious what I was getting at, especially as I headed my comment:
        ‘Lots of harrowing tales coming out of Venezuela – but can we believe them, or is it predominantly propaganda?….’
        You see, they keep getting away with their lies and War Crimes, so they just keep repeating the formula.
        ‘Why fix it when it ain’t broke?’
        By the way, I notice you don’t dispute my ‘Lie’ assertions, so may I take it you agree with me? And agree the vile War Criminals are lying, murderous whatsits of the worst kind?

        • Kempe

          Each case has to stand on it’s own merits. Just because something turned out to be false or you think it turned out to be false in the past isn’t evidence we’re being lied to over Venezuela. What about all the times the reports have turned out to be true?

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Kempe August 5, 2017 at 03:29
            Can you give some examples of when pro-Western ‘Regime Change’ propaganda has been true?
            Sure, each case stands on it’s merits, but given past Western ‘Regime Change’ or military intervention propaganda experience, it most assuredly has to be heavily questioned, and most certainly not taken as gospel. Anyone would have to be extremely gullible, or complicit, to avoid taking into consideration a State’s (or ‘Coalition’s’) ‘Modus Operandi’, or ‘MO’ as the Bill usually say.

          • Kempe

            Off the cuff the stories coming out of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia all turned out to be true and there doesn’t seem to be any doubt about what ISIS, Boko Haram etc do. You could add Zimbabwe to the list too.

            On the subject the Gulf of Tonkin wasn’t a lie or any kind of “false flag”. On the 2nd of August the USS Maddox exchanged fire with three North Vietnamese patrol boats which fired at least three torpedoes. One boat was sunk but the Maddox received very little damage. Two days later she and another destroyer spent a panic stricken afternoon dodging false torpedo trails and shooting at their own shadows. That much is clear from the after action reports.

            The Kuwaiti incubator story was quickly exposed by the MSM and anyway played no role the west’s decision to turf Saddam out of Kuwait.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Who fired first? And who did the US Government at the time claim had fired first? J

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Kempe August 5, 2017 at 16:19
            The second, ‘non-incident’ was the one that LBJ used to trigger the ‘Retaliation’ after the original ‘Maddox’ incident.
            The US had been assisting the South Vietnamese attack the North Vietnamese coast, and islands, so was certainly a hostile belligerent force.
            But the LIE that instigated massive US ‘retaliation’ was a non-event that did not occur:
            ’30-Year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War’:

            ‘…“American Planes Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression”, announced a Washington Post headline on Aug. 5, 1964.
            That same day, the front page of the New York Times reported: “President Johnson has ordered retaliatory action against gunboats and ‘certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam’ after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.”
            But there was no “second attack” by North Vietnam — no “renewed attacks against American destroyers.” By reporting official claims as absolute truths, American journalism opened the floodgates for the bloody Vietnam War.
            A pattern took hold: continuous government lies passed on by pliant mass media…leading to over 50,000 American deaths and millions of Vietnamese casualties…..’

            LBJ was fully aware of that – he was intent on hugely increasing US involvement in Vietnam (JFK had pledged to end the conflict), and when the North Vietnamese did not take the bait of the return of the ‘Maddox’ with the ‘Turner Joy’, simply lied (as was going to happen had the ‘USS Liberty’ sunk with no survivors as planned in 1967 – also under LBJ’s ‘watch’).

            The ‘Kuwaiti Incubator LIE’ was not ‘quickly exposed by the MSM..’. The War was fought from 2nd August 1990 to 28th February 1991, and the earliest I am aware it was exposed was by 1992; a CBC ’60 Minutes’ programme titled ‘Selling the War’, hardly ‘quickly’. And as for ‘…and anyway played no role the west’s decision to turf Saddam out of Kuwait’, it most assuredly DID swing public opinion behind the decision, which was split roughly in half before that ‘Big LIE’.
            In Rwanda, the PTB ‘sat on their hands’, leaving the French to their machinations.
            In Yugoslavia there was also a great deal of propaganda; the intervention by the West was not done for ‘Humanitarian’ purposes, but to split Yugoslavia as the dominant Serbs were too close to Russia; NATO wanted their territories in their ranks (I know that terrible atrocities were perpetrated, and in no way wish to ‘justify’ the Serbs atrocities).
            Anyhow, thanks for engaging in a civil manner – let’s hope we keep this up!

          • John Spencer-Davis

            Whether the Gulf of Tonkin was a false flag or not, if John Pilger’s interview with former CIA case officer Ralph McGehee (Heroes, 1986) is to be credited, a clear false flag initiated the bombing of North Vietnam.

            “On August 7,1964 Congress authorised President Johnson to take ‘all measures’ to protect US forces from ‘any armed attack’. American-planned sabotage attacks increased against the North. Six months later the State Department published a White Paper whose centrepiece was the ‘provocation’ of the ‘Gulf of Tonkin Incident’, together with seven pages of ‘conclusive proof’ of Hanoi’s preparations to invade the South. This ‘proof’ stemmed from the discovery of a cache of weapons found floating in a junk off the coast of central Vietnam. The White Paper, which would provide the legal justification for the American invasion, was, in the words of Ralph McGehee, a ‘master illusion’. McGehee told me:

            ” ‘Black propaganda was when the US Government spoke in the voice of the enemy, and there is a very famous example. In 1965 the CIA loaded up a junk, a North Vietnamese junk, with communist weapons … the Agency maintains communist arsenals in the United States and around the world. They floated this junk off the coast of Central Vietnam. Then they shot it up and made it look like a fire fight had taken place. Then they brought in the American press and the international press and said, ‘Here’s evidence that the North Vietnamese are invading South Vietnam.’ Based on this evidence two Marine battalion landing teams went into Danang and a week after that the American air force began regular bombing of North Vietnam.’

            “The bombing was code-named ‘Operation Rolling Thunder’ and was the longest campaign in the history of aerial bombardment. Few outsiders saw its effects on the civilian population of the North. I was one who did. Against straw and flesh was sent an entirely new range of bombs, from white phosphorus (1966) to ‘anti-personnel’ devices which discharged thousands of small needles (1971). North Vietnam then had no air force with which to defend itself. The scale of the American bombing in the mid-1960s, both in the North and South, together with the American-directed terror of the South, eventually persuaded Ho Chi Minh to send regular army units south in support of those South Vietnamese opposing the American invasion.”

            The original “dodgy dossier”. Perhaps that is where Blair and Campbell got the idea. J


          • Kempe

            Well a non incident is not a false flag.

            The Gulf War started on 2nd August but the incubator story wasn’t presented until October and doesn’t feature in the Amnesty report issued in December. Iraqi forces carried out numerous acts of brutality during and after the invasion of Kuwait including summary executions, torture and rape; just not this one although they did steal equipment from Kuwaiti hospitals. To claim that this story was in any way pivotal in the decision to go to war against Saddam is just farcical.

            Now, how about some evidence that the Syrian boy in the ambulance was faked.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ John Spencer-Davis August 5, 2017 at 18:42
          Thanks for that; I hadn’t heard about it.

  • Paul Barbara

    Who does America talk to to try to influence the situation in Venezuela?
    Why, those bastions of ‘Democracy and Human and Civil Rights, Mexico and Columbia!
    Let’s take Colombia: ‘Colombia: Ethnocide and Political Violence on the Rise’:
    I realise HuffPost is not the best source, but it will do to give readers an idea of the situation.
    Many Colombian mercenaries cross the long, unprotectable border to kill, engage in drugs and smuggling, and to do paid assassinations on behalf of the Venezuelan ‘Opposition’.
    And Mexico? ‘Mexico violence peaks with over 2,200 murders in June’:

    So the Empire has chosen some very strange ‘helpmates’ to sort out Venezuela; wonder they didn’t call in ‘Al-CIAdah’ and the ‘head choppers’.

    Ask yourselves, what would the US do if it’s government supporters, police and military were being shot and firebombed?
    Would they arrest one of the main instigators who had already broken ‘House Arrest’ terms, and then free him back to ‘House Arrest’ hours later?
    Would they pussy-foot around with tear gas when faced with live rounds and Molotov cocktails? With gross arson against the community and State facilities like clinics, hospitals, schools and government buildings?
    Face the facts, instead of trotting out patently lying propaganda for yet another ‘Regime Change’, based on lies and armed provocations.

    • Paul Barbara

      I meant to include the UK in that sentence: ‘…Ask yourselves, what would the US or UK do if it’s government supporters, police and military were being shot and firebombed?….’

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