The Coup in Venezuela Must Be Resisted 279


Venezuela has elections. Juan Guaido has never even been a Presidential candidate. Despite massive CIA opposition funding and interference over years as Big Oil tries to regain control of the World’s largest oil reserves, Nicolas Maduro was democratically re-elected in 2018 as President of Venezuela.

The coup now under way is illegitimate. I opposed Maduro’s move to replace the elected National Assembly. Sometimes I read back things I wrote in the past and decide I was wrong. Sometimes I think the article was right, but a bit of a potboiler. Occasionally I am proud, and I am proud of my analysis on Venezuela written on 3 August 2017. I believe it is still valid.

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.

Anybody who believes that a country’s internal democracy is the determining factor in whether the West decides to move for violent regime change in that country, is a complete idiot. Any journalist or politician who makes that claim is more likely to be a complete charlatan than a complete idiot. In recent years, possession of hydrocarbon reserves is very obviously a major factor in western regime change actions.

In Latin America over the last century, the presence of internal democracy has been much more likely to lead to external regime change than its absence, as maintenance of US imperialist hegemony has been the defining factor. That combines with oil reserves to make the current move a double whammy.

It is disheartening to see the Western “democracies” so universally supporting the coup in Venezuela. The EU in particular has leapt in to support Donald Trump in the quite ludicrous act of recognising corrupt Big Oil puppet Guaido as “President”. The change of the EU into full neo-con mode -so starkly represented in its bold support for Francoist violence in Catalonia – is what led me to reconcile with Brexit and a Norway style relationship.

When I was in the FCO, the rule on recognition was very plain and very openly stated – the UK recognised the government which had “effective control of the territory”, whatever the attributes of that government. This is a very well established principle of international law. There were very rare exceptions involving continuing to support ousted governments. The pre-1939 Polish government in exile was the most obvious example, though once Nazism was defeated Britain moved to recognise the Communist government actually in charge, to the fury of exiled Poles. I was involved in the question of the continued recognition of President Kabbah of Sierra Leone during the period in which he was ousted by military coup.

But I can think of no precedent at all for recognising a President who does not have and has never had control of the country – and has never been a candidate for President. This idea of the West simply trying to impose a suitably corrupt and biddable leader is really a very startling development. It is astonishing the MSM commentariat and political class appear to see no problem with it. It is a quite extraordinary precedent, and doubtless will lead to many new imperialist adventures.

One final thought. The right wing Government of Ecuador has been one of the first and most vocal in doing the West’s bidding. The Ecuadorean government has been colluding with the United States over the efforts to imprison Julian Assange, and at this very time has arranged for FBI and CIA personnel in Quito to take false and malicious statements manufactured by the Ecuador government in collaboration with the CIA, about Julian Assange’s activities in the Embassy in London.

Ecuadorean government documents had already been produced out of Quito, and shown to MI6 and CIA outlets like the Guardian and New York Times, purporting to show the diplomatic appointment of Julian Assange to Moscow in December 2017. I have believed throughout that these fake documents were most likely produced by Ecuador’s new CIA influenced government itself.

Today Ecuador, once a key part of the Bolivarian revolution, is simply a puppet of the CIA, voicing support for a US coup in Venezuela and working to produce fake testimony against Assange. I warn you firmly against giving credence to Luke Harding’s next “scoop” which will doubtless shortly emerge from this process.


279 thoughts on “The Coup in Venezuela Must Be Resisted

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  • Merkin Scot

    Not just Venezuela. The big coup is ongoing in this county with ERG headman asking for the Westminster parliament to be suspended to force through Brexit and the arrest of Salmond in this country.

    • Martinned

      Wait, arresting Alex Salmond was part of a coup? Huh?

      Apart from that: maybe a written constitution isn’t such a bad idea after all…

      • Tom Welsh

        “…maybe a written constitution isn’t such a bad idea after all…”

        Yes, indeed! Just look at the history of the USA, where no laws or regulations (or overt acts ignoring both) have ever been contemplated contrary to the spirit and the letter of the revered Constitution.

        • Baalbek

          I find the faith of American constitution enthusiasts in their oft trampled on document touching and not just a little bit naive. The powers that control the United States Of America have repeatedly shown they care not a jot about international law and when it comes to domestic law they conjure up the most transparent of fig leafs to convince those who want to be be convinced that they respect the constitution and “rule of law.”

          Of course, if the constitutionalists ever got the upper hand, there would likely soon be a civil war fought over what the constitution “really means”….but I will leave that one for another time.

  • Sarge

    We said Craig. As usual, the media is telling us this anti-democratic outrage is being perpetrated for “humanitarian” reasons. Because all of a sudden western elites and their media care as passionately about “the Venezuelan people” as they once did “the Iraqi people”, “the Libyan people”, “the Syrian people”…

    • Rod

      And well said Sarge … If those Venezuelan, Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian peoples grew carrots instead of producing oil and associated products one wouldn’t see any sign of western elites or their interference.

      • Martinned

        No. Then they’d be poor and still rotting in a corrupt dictatorship, like the paradise that is the Central African Republic. (Just to pick a random example out of my hat.)

        • Republicofscotland

          I’d wager Obama has as the POTUS at war from the beginning to the end if his tenure, caused more suffering than the DRC around the globe.

      • michael norton

        I am still confused why America does not topple the regime in Zimbabwe, half a century of misappropriation.
        They have Diamonds, Gold, Iron, Coal, Lithium, Copper, Tin, Chrome, sunshine, fresh water and good agricultural land, why not “help” the poor downtrodden Zimbabweans?

        • Tom Welsh

          Washington has still not got over the effects of decades of aversion therapy, rendering it hard to do anything that could look like repression of black people. That gives them a slight degree of protection, although it may not last much longer.

  • Harry Barracuda

    People are starving while Maduro and his cronies get rich, Craig.

    Populist presidents almost always want to be dictators, Craig.

    Chavez and Maduro have ruined the country and mortgaged it to the Chinese and Russians, Craig.

    Are you so blinded by bitterness that you can’t see it?

    • Sarge

      Harry, the US illegally blocking food and medical imports to Venezuela puts the lie to the claim that it is concerned about the well-being of the Venezuelan people.

        • Sarge

          The US sanctions – illegal under international law – interfere with Venezuela’s international trade, blocking access to medicines, food and other essential goods. They also block financial transactions, both payments and remittances, freeze Venezuela’s financial assets held externally and delay buying and selling operations, not only of the Venezuelan government and companies but also foreign business partners.

          • Sarge

            Plain fact, i’m afraid, same as its sanctions on Cuba. But go ahead and cheer Trump and Bolsonaro to your heart’s content.

          • N_

            “Blocking access to medicines” is usully Big Pharma propaganda.

            Funny how the US was fine with financial transactions between Venezuela and the outside world when the oily-banky oligarchy was stealing billions each year.

          • IchOdernicht

            Again, the US sanctions are not blocking any goods. Read the US sanctions.

            They are freezing assets and blocking visas for certain individuals and forbidding US-citizens from loaning money to the PDVSA. The latter sanctions are in place since 2017, so a long time after the shortages in Venezuela began. Educate yourself, people. The US-sanctions can be found online.

            They do not block any kind of food or medicine, that’s just Fake News.

        • Tsar Nicholas

          The US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela. They have been in place since 2015. Don’t let facts get in the way of your MI6 pay cheque.

          US sanctions – contrary to international law – have been imposed on so many countries that there is a noticeable drift away from the US dollar as reserve currency. You might think that Washington would be more alert to the risks of what they are doing, but all empires go mad towards the end.

          Talking of mad, doesn’t Trump think he might just be setting a precedent for his own country by recognising the chairman of the legislature as the legitimate head of the government? Maybe that’s why Mike Pence has been so much in evidence recently.

          • Borncynical

            @Martinned (11.45)

            In case you weren’t aware, the US ‘world dominance’ strategy is to sanction or boycott any other countries who institute a bilateral arrangement that they don’t agree with, even if it is nothing directly to do with the US. I’m afraid too many countries give way to this bullying behaviour or flatter themselves over a ‘special relationship’ that doesn’t exist in reality. To quote Samantha Power from 2016 “I can’t imagine a world where the US doesn’t take the lead”.

        • Mighty Drunken

          About 95% of Venezuelan exports are petroleum products.
          Oil prices fell from ~$90 in 2014 to ~$50 now.
          The Venezuelan currency value tanked in 2015 just as oil prices fell and American sanctions came into force.
          American sanction prevent America from buying up debt and other financial restrictions.

          Therefore Venezuela has no money (of any value) to buy medicines. This is due to sanctions and oil prices.

          P.S. Not much to do with failed socialist experiments. Other than socialists tend to get stamped on by America. Though for some reason this is how the media portray these events.

          • IchOdernicht

            It has everything to do with failed socialist experiments and nothing with sanctions. The oil price is the trigger, but not the driving force behind this. Oil prices were a lot lower in the 90´s than they are now, but there were no shortages of any goods. Shortages in Venezuela exist since 2014 and the first US-sanctions that did anything other than freezing individual assets and restricting visas came with Trump in 2017.

            The reason for the shortages is that Venezuela has fixed prices for goods and fixed exchange rates, which are not realistic. This creates a huge black market for money where the exchange rates are closer to what they would be like on the open market. It is almost impossible to get any hard currency the official way. The fixed prices are, using the market exchange rate, below the prices for food or medicine on the international markets. But those goods have to be imported, hence the government has to subsidize importing those goods. They did that by handing out hard currency at the ridiculous exchange rate of 10 Bs/Dollar for the import of certain products. It was called DIPRO exchange rate. Since neither Chavez nor Maduro ever invested anything into modernizing the oil industry, and because their policies created a huge brain drain, oil production steadily fell. Then the oil price also dropped, so the government did not have enough Dollars to subsidize food and medicine at a sufficient level at some point. That´s what is causing the shortages, hunger, starvation and the mass exodus of refugees.

            It has nothing to do with US sanctions. That´s just stupid propaganda.

    • Rowan Berkeley

      @”Harry Barracuda” Such childish trolling, please.

      Now I would like to observe that Craig’s argument is without a logical object. The missing object is called “socialism.”

    • Agent Green

      Regardless of whether this is true or not, Madura won free and fair elections. The US has no right whatsoever to interfere in any way.

      Hopefully the coup will be dealt with by the legitimate President as it surely must be – with the arrest of those involved in the conspiracy and their subsequent trial for treason.

        • J

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Venezuela is more democratic than the UK. It suffers from private billionaire media much as the UK but the election process has been scrutinised by international inspectors more thoroughly than ours ever has.

    • J

      Accusing others of being blinded by bitterness while reeling off US propaganda is an interesting look. Venezuela today is the creation of successive US backed coups, years of snaction and embargo, untiring proaganda mills and it’s privately owned corporations, not Chavez, not Maduro.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Harry Barracuda January 24, 2019 at 10:40
      Why is the economy in Venezuela in deep trouble?
      A) The Saudi oil price drop, at the behest (I firmly believe) of the US, in order to hit Russia, Iran and Venezuela.
      B) The sanctions on Venezuela, and deliberate encouragement of the rich merchants and landowners to screw up the economy, by diverting special rate dollars from the government for vital imports to other purposes, and/or hoarding imports and selling on the Black Market or illegally re-exporting the goods.
      The US is again doing what they did to Chile:
      “Make the Economy Scream”: Secret Documents Show Nixon, Kissinger Role Backing 1973 Chile Coup:
      https://www.democracynow.org/2013/9/10/40_years_after_chiles_9_11
      Are you in favour of the US assisting Coups and supporting the most evil, brutal military Dictatorships in Latin America since the 1950’s (from Guatemala 1954 onwards)?
      Is THAT what you want for Venezuela?
      Do you want another Bolsanaro, who openly praised the military officer who tortured Dilma Rousseff during the hell years of the dictatorship? And who says Leftists can either leave Brazil or die (or similar wording)?

  • Clark

    Fuck’s sake, we have to stop fighting over oil, our addiction to it is killing us!

    But the fighting will not stop until we can synthesize sufficient liquid fuel. We have no viable replacement for mobile power. Batteries may power cars, but they are inadequate for combine harvesters and tractors. Massive infrastructure investment is required immediately!

    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/10/the-energy-trap/

    • Rhys Jaggar

      If it is not oil, it will be something else. The alphas cannot do without their self-congratulatory dominance complexes.

      • Clark

        Liquid fuel is unique. There are indeed lesser conflicts over other things, but liquid fuel has no replacement. Notably, modern warfare would be impossible without it. This is Mad Max on a global scale; fighting over the means to fight.

        • michael norton

          What about Liquid Methane, some ships already run on it.
          Methane is essentially available in enormous/unlimited volumes, far exceeding oil/petrol.

          • Clark

            Its infrastructure needs to be developed, and I suppose it needs to be kept under pressure to keep it liquefied. It is also being released into the atmosphere due to global warming. It causes less global warming if it’s burned rather than permitted to evaporate, but deliberately extracting and burning it would hasten global warming.

      • Yr Hen Gof

        You’re right Rhys, plus there’s the malign and satanic influence of the arms industry and their whores in government.
        Ancient history is awash with kingdoms waging war on their neighbours, long, long before oil was even a thing.
        Ultimately the human species will kill itself off, we’ve been at war with one another pretty much since we stood on our hind legs and there is absolutely no chance that’s going to stop, indeed it seems to be gathering pace; armed now with weapons ever more deadly.

        • Clark

          Most missiles work without hydrocarbon liquid fuel. But aircraft, tanks, personnel carriers, armoured vehicles etc. all depend on it. Lots of it.

    • GFL

      Cark
      I agree with your comments, when the U.S. has secured a near to home oil supply, will they then attack Iran?

      • Clark

        They will continue to threaten Iran, on behalf their very strong Israel Lobby, and their mutual allies the Gulf Monarchies especially Saudi Arabia. But it is more likely Israel that would attack Iran (with cover from the US), or the other aforementioned US allies in the Gulf.

        • Clark

          And in any case all the oil reserves are dwindling; the less there is, the greater the threat. Economic growth of other countries also increases the demand, and hence the risk.

          We have to wean ourselves off the damn stuff as fast as we can.

    • deepgreenpuddock

      indeed Clark, the voice of reason- the problem is liquid fuel. it’s so convenient and well “cheap”( depending on the way you think about its price) and there are such fortunes to be made from moving it around and flogging it in bulk.
      Did you see the young Swedish woman making an appearance;l for decision makers and leaders to start taking realistic action to curb our voracious appetite for oil and to invest in solutions to the problem. I fear it fell on deaf ears.
      I am deeply sympathetic to her, but the situation in Venezuela and in Brexit UK illustrates the kind of small brained dinosaurs (trump and May et al)who are our leaders and ‘decision makers’. And on this blog, all the usual suspects are dividing up with smaller and smaller pinprickly points, the meanings of words ‘socialism’ and ‘imperialist hegemony’ (the US), and ‘democracy’,What we see here in Venezuela and on the pages here, are competing hypocrisies. In reality righteousness lies in an entirely different place altogether , not in this undignified, empty headed, unending squabbling about lesser and lesser meanings of sliced and diced words.(pins and dancing angels spring to mind here).

  • David G

    May the people of Venezuela prove more than a match for these ghouls.

    If Venezuela falls easily, the monsters already have Nicaragua in their sights to be smashed next.

  • Martinned

    Nicolas Maduro was democratically re-elected in 2018 as President of Venezuela

    Please, tell me. What are you smoking? And can I have some?

  • IchOdernicht

    Supporting Maduro is not reasonable. He is not democratically elected. In late 2017, when the opposition had boycotted local elections due to blatant irregularities in the regional elections, Maduro said that the big opposition parties, namely the alliance Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, could not participate in any further elections, including the upcoming presidential elections. They had won the parliamentary elections in an landslide and it was all but certain that the people were behind them. So they didn’t participate, which unsurprisingly led to Maduro winnig the “elections”.

    There is no way any reasonable person can recognize these elections as “democratic”. Maduro is not democratically elected, so when his first term ended a few days ago, Venezuela did not have an elected president. If you read article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution, it is stated there that in case of no president, the head of the parliament is supposed to act as president and call new elections within 30 days. This is exactly what Guaidó did, he is completely in line with the constitution. Calling this a coup is just wrong. The coup was Maduro ousting the parliament.

    • joel

      Not true, the election was conducted and complied with all the regulations of international election observers.
      In any case, if the US and EU were genuine sticklers for democratic probity they would be demanding coups in laughably undemocratic kingdoms like Saudi and the gulf states.

      • Martinned

        international election observers

        Which international election observers? As far as I can tell, none were allowed within 100 miles of this “election”.

      • Jack

        joel

        Just ignore these trolls, the IchOdernicht user, have never made a comment here before but now desperately spread psyops making one doubt whats going on. Best if Craig ban these provocateurs.

        • MaryLS

          You should not be calling for a ban on someone who offers relevant information. I have not posted here previously either, but found the site in looking for analysis of Venezuela. Clearly what is going is not straightforward. Regardless of the “observers” conclusions, many people think those elections were rigged.The people are starving. Something must be done. I don’t doubt that the US motivation is oil, but intervention may break the log jam. I am beginning to think that democracy is just a delusion — everywhere.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ MaryLS January 24, 2019 at 15:24
            ‘.. but intervention may break the log jam..’
            You mean like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria?
            Or all the coups Military Juntas assisted by the US in Latin America from the 1950’s onwards (including the ‘Lawyers Coups’ in Argentina and Brazil of late)?

      • IchOdernicht

        Again, the big opposition parties were banned. To quote Maduro:

        «Los partidos, Voluntad Popular (VP) y Primero Justicia (PJ) han desaparecido del mapa político venezolano y hoy desaparecen totalmente porque partido que no haya participado hoy y haya llamado al boicot de las elecciones no puede participar más»

        “The parties Voluntad Popular and Primero Justicia (the largest opposition parties which control the parliament) have dissappeared from the political map and today they are dissappearing completely, because a party that has not participated today and hast called for a boycott cannot participate any longer.”

        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.semana.com/amp/maduro-castiga-a-la-oposicion-y-le-prohibe-participar-en-las-elecciones-presidenciales/550213

        It is completely ridiculous to acknowledge this sham election, it was not democratic. It was a coup by Maduro. Guaidó is acting in line with the constitution.

    • Agent Green

      Election was verified by observers from numerous countries and the UN as being free and fair.

      • Martinned

        Still looking. Meanwhile, here is the UN Human Rights Council last year:

        In a resolution adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, seven against and 17 abstentions as orally revised, the Council called on the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to accept humanitarian assistance in order to address the scarcity of food, medicine and medical supplies, the rise of malnutrition, especially among children, and the outbreak of diseases that had been previously eradicated or kept under control in South America, and requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a comprehensive written report on the human rights situation in Venezuela and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-first session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue, and to present an oral update on the human rights situation to the Council at its fortieth and forty-second sessions.

        • Borncynical

          Please don’t tell me you have faith in anything that comes out of the UN. With regard to the veracity of the elections, you might wish to look at the links I provided below at 12.06.

        • Deb O'Nair

          So, still a minority of votes (23 out of 47) from a UNHRC which boasts Saudi Arabia and the UAE as members.

          • Martinned

            Don’t look at me, I’d be fine with the UNHRC being abolished. But as long as it exists, you can generally count on it to ignore just about all non-Israel related scandals. It takes quite a bit for the UNHRC to get excited.

        • Blue

          https://venezuelanalysis.com/tag/2018-presidential-elections

          The main reason Venezuelan, and other, elections are nor free and fair is US meddling in them. There is little serious evidence that these elections were less fair than others that were were considered fairer than most US elections by the Carter Center.
          By the way, the UN was pressured not to send monitors to the election by the usual suspects. The UN as usual caved in to the US protection racket.

    • N_

      Who gives a shit about democracy? What a stupid discourse this is.

      What is unique about the position in Venezuela is the length of time for which there has been dual power, which is why I recognise Hugo Chavez as a military genius. Rather than engage in civil war he undertook large-scale social reforms in the areas of life where he could, leaving large parts of the media under right-wing pro-US wannabe fingernail-puller fascist control (let’s call them the “freedom and democracy” guys), as well as e.g. the milieus of most schoolteachers, and so on. The approach was “go round them”. Absolutely brilliant and largely successful for a long period of time. Before him, nobody had done it.

      Can someone please save me from rightwing arseholes who say that what they love most of all is freedom and democracy? Yeah, sure you all do. That’s what you love most of all. You look up from your BMWs and see proles sitting on buses and you think “Those people there on public transport deserve just as much say as I do, and that’s one of the most important principles by which I live my life”. You lying fake bastards!

      Isn’t it bit late for leftwingers to give any credence to these scumbags’ forked-tongue “arguments”, 50 years after the height of the oh-so-freedomy US war in Vietnam? Just don’t bother! Mirror their hatred back. Don’t get trolled. It should be clear what the two sides are in Latin America. They are essentially the same two sides as in the 1970s. And oh look, the CIA and big business and the filthy rich bankers and medics and oilmen still support the same one they did then.

      • FFS

        Decent comment.

        Given North American actions in South America over the past 100 years, the Maduro government should be given a lot more latitude.

        FFS. Anyone complaining about democratic deficits or current govt excesses either

        a/ Doesn’t know the history and should be disregarded

        OR

        b/ Knows the history but is hoping you don’t.

    • Borncynical

      https://www.globalresearch.ca/venezuela-election-observer-the-majority-have-chosen-the-path-they-want-for-venezuela/5642050

      https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13899

      Extract from Dan Glazebrook’s book of 2013 ‘Divide and Ruin – The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis’:
      “A new global order is emerging. South America – seen by the US as their ‘backyard’ for almost 200 years – is finally breaking free of neo-colonial rule and electing independent and anti-Imperialist governments in one country after another,….”.

      Don’t you think this somehow all points to one conclusion?

      • Martinned

        Thanks, I hadn’t found that one yet. I have to say, though, that those observers don’t exactly seem “independent”. An observer testifying to the fairness of an election and, in the next sentence, saying how great it is that the winner won doesn’t exactly instill the greatest confidence in their independence. And the article mentions the Carter Centre set up by the former president, but on the website of the Carter Centre the 2018 presidential election is conspicuously absent among the Venezuelan elections it has monitored: https://www.cartercenter.org/countries/venezuela.html

        • Borncynical

          And the international observers’ letter to the EU? They have an ulterior motive as well?
          With regard to the Carter Centre website, you seem to be inferring that absence of a reference reflects somehow on the veracity of the 2018 election. Surely, if they had reached any damning conclusions these would have been published? My interpretation is that it, more likely, suggests that they have been ‘persuaded’ not to publish their observations on the 2018 election.

        • Ralph

          Martinned, Geopolitics 101, 1st lesson: If the USG – like that idiot pompeo – says something, by definition, the opposite is true. QED.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      If Maduro’s constitutional changes overturned the National Assembly, which is the basis of Guadio’s claim to rule, then the matter hinges on whether the Maduro promoted constitutional changes are legitemate in terms of the constitution which preceded them. It looks ok from this.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I would not worry about precedent, Mr Murray. Every time I see Mike Pompeo on TV, his whole attitude is ‘I am above the law, I do what I want, the rest of you are slaves.’ That man has complete disregard for anything but US elite interests.

    Donald Trump is clearly still under the thumbs of Pompeo and Bolton, both of whom are a ‘Clear and Present Danger’ to humanity. This is not America First, this is American Elites First.

    I doubt many people on here ever read Luke Harding, I personally gave up reading the Guardian four or five years ago. It simply has no future role in the UK and should be shut down due to insolvency.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      Doubtless in certain circles it’s felt that people who wouldn’t wipe their dog’s backside with the Sun, Mail, Times or Telegraph they might yet be influenced by the rag that is The Guardian.
      Unbelievably there are still people; admittedly a shrinking number who consider The Guardian a left leaning newspaper, as a result of which I’d imagine that no matter how little money the paper makes, they’ll be kept afloat by dubious back channel funding courtesy of the taxpayer.
      Desperate times and all that…

    • Tom Welsh

      “Every time I see Mike Pompeo on TV, his whole attitude is ‘I am above the law, I do what I want, the rest of you are slaves.’ That man has complete disregard for anything but US elite interests”.

      Rhys, that is precisely why I am such a fan of Mr Trump and his “administration”. He and his people do more or less exactly what Washington has been doing since the presidency of McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt – but he does it with lid off, so we can see exactly what is happening. Obama’s or Bush’s people would have said exactly what Pompeo has been saying – but only in private, to the leaders of other governments. In public they were often sweetness and light.

      What Trump has brought to Washington is to make it like that old educational toy, “The Visible Man” – with a transparent skin, so you could see all the lungs and guts and arteries working away inside.

      Or – my favourite comparison – the Jim Carrey movie “Liar, Liar” in which a crooked lawyer, who lies whenever he opens his mouth, is struck by a compulsion always to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The movie is side-splittingly funny, as you see all his carefully-designed deceptions come crashing to the ground.

  • Sharp Ears

    Guaido is an alumnus of George Washington University. Enough said.

    Warning of collapse.

    Trump’s move on Venezuela is ‘setting off possible civil war’ in oil-rich country, WikiLeaks warns
    https://www.rt.com/news/449541-wikileaks-venezuela-civil-war/

    I remember the wonderful concerts given by the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra in this country in Chávez’s time.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zibiCJPhWv8

    Venceremos! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT6Xnz2SaVA

      • N_

        By “everyone” do you mean everyone who grew up with servants clearing up after them, and whose fathers hold degrees from US business, law and medical schools and who enjoy socialising in exclusive clubs with their lawyers and bankers?

          • N_

            Some photos in the National Geographic, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, that an advertising company found for you when you sought confirmation of the line you’re lyingly spewing?

            That’s it. No more food from me for the trolls.

            Viva Maduro!

            We stopped the US-backed fascist coup in 2002 and we can stop this one in 2019. “Anon1” can rub his Netanyahu tattoo as he imagines that those in the army who support the Bolivarian revolution are just going to lie down or run helplessly hither and thither.

          • N_

            Nothing like a good percentage when it comes up on your hasbara screen. You convince practically nobody here in your concern for the poor and disadvantaged. But as I said, no more troll food for you. You’ll try to troll me some more now, as sure as white phosphorus is white phosphorus, but you won’t succeed.

      • N_

        Haha – that opening paragraph of far-right CIA shite in the Wikipedia article you link to, with so many lying right-wing premises smuggled in in the choice of substantives, followed of course by an oh so “balanced” reference to what the leftwing government says, conveyed in a tone reminiscent of that used by a BBC newsreader when he “reports” what some foreigner says who isn’t flavour of the month in London’s gentlemen’s clubs, in banking boardrooms, and at Vauxhall Cross, is a classic. No surprise that the foul Jimmy Wales, lord of Wikipedia, is such a fanatical supporter of Ayn Rand.

        Rightwingers, do your mouths burn when you say the words “people”, “freedom”, and “democracy”, and spout lines about “blockage of medicines”, as if you care oh so much?

    • Tom Welsh

      “Guaido is an alumnus of George Washington University. Enough said”.

      Indeed. But consider this, if you will:

      “…[N]othing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest”.

      – George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796.

  • Agent Green

    The US are just making themselves look very silly indeed (again).

    They essentially get this man in Venezuela to swear himself in and then they declare him the President while the legitimate President is still in power and won the position in free and fair elections (verified by the UN).

    Other nations are watching and taking note. This is just another example in the long list. The US is not to be trusted under any circumstances and countries will continue to seek to distance themselves from it (including in gradually lessening their use of the Dollar.

      • N_

        You’re such a truth and logic and evidence lover, @Martinned. Either that or a completely transparent right-wing troll.

          • Deb O'Nair

            “wild conspiracy theories”

            The behaviour of the US in Central and Latin America is a matter of record. Suggesting that current events in Venezuela conform to an established pattern is hardly a wild conspiracy theory – in fact it is a perfectly plausible political theory based on historical precedents and evidence.

          • Ralph

            You know, Martinned, I can try and educate the ignorant, but the stupid aren’t worth bothering about.
            If by now, you still trust what the USG says as truth, while not recognising its MO over say at least 120 years – especially in central/S America – then you are such a hopeless case you rightfully deserve the opprobrium you get.

        • kelly

          They are forum sliding, trying to reduce the signal to noise ratio.

          It’s a slippery slope, but harder moderation seems appropriate in this case – there are already a lot of comments here, would prefer to avoid having to read the shite ones.

  • Jack

    It is the 2002-coup all over again,

    2002 Venezuelan coup d’état attempt
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Venezuelan_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat_attempt

    Another western backed coup, another meddling done openly, western media spread their desinformation and propaganda.

    Western states are the biggest threat to this world, there can be no doubt.
    All deaths, destruction that will inevitable come out of this meddling is on their bloody hands, especially on Donald Trump and the lousy Donald Tusk.

  • Peter

    “The change of the EU into full neo-con mode – so starkly represented in its bold support for Francoist violence in Catalonia – is what led me to reconcile with Brexit and a Norway style relationship.”

    Indeed. It was the rape and pillage of Greece that first caught my attention and left me aghast and in disbelief.

    And don’t think for one minute that they would lay off a Corbyn government – even if we had already left the EU. I hate to think what they would have in store for such a government if we were still subject to their ‘penalties’.

  • John A

    I would not at all be surprised by a ‘Maidan’ style sniper shooting of protesters and police, that the US blames on Maduro and feels ‘obliged’ for ‘reasons to protect’ the people of Venezuela, to send in the troops, either US directly or from Colombia/Brazil to overthrow Maduro. Then a year or so down the line, to unsurprisingly discover, the snipers were paid for the the CIA.

    • Ken Kenn

      Someone had a crack with drone last year.

      I’m not ceratin about the status of maduro but my antennae goes up when any journalist or commentator
      uses the word/ people’

      When ‘ people’ are described unhappy about any government across the globe I have to ask which ‘people ‘ are
      we talking about?

      Journalist ‘ people’ – Middle Class people or everyone?

      No use the Yanks crying about Russian interference in US and British elections and barefacedly cheering on a coup or possibly
      in the future?

      So hopefully certain ‘ people ‘ who rail at Russian interference should keep quiet in future if the Russkies have few pops.

      Bets hope that it all calms down otherwise words will turn into nukes.

      Tell that to the ‘ people’

  • Willie

    “ In recent years, possession of hydrocarbon reserves is very obviously a major factor in western regime change actions. “

    Too right Craig. Scotland fits that bill exactly …….and with last night’s arrest of Alex Salmond the picture becomes ever more clear.

  • M.J.

    I’m no supporter of Trump, but Maduro has mismanaged Venezuela so much that Venezuelans are fleeing in droves. What’s more dictator Putin and undemocratic China are supporting Maduro. So I hope the coup succeeds.

    • tartanfever

      ‘I’m no supporter of Trump’ claims person supporting Trump actions.

      Want to try that again ?

    • Deb O'Nair

      Yes that Russian dictator who enjoys consistently high approval ratings, even when polled by independent Western pollsters, and his popularity is reflected in election results – unlike most Western leaders, who enjoy little domestic support but who behave in the most odious ways when it comes to destroying other nation states.

  • deepgreenpuddock

    isn’t it rather ironic that a president whose legitimacy is highly questionable, at so many levels, is the one who is the front runner in making this blatant attempt to unseat a legitimately elected president.

  • Prosdocimus de Beldemandis

    Perhaps the mickey mouse “Parliament” in Edinburgh could throw its weight behind Maduro. Then the farcical irrelevance of the SNP would have reached its zenith.

  • tartanfever

    It may be of interest Craig, I see Joe Emersberger has tweeted recent opinion polls (Oct ’18) that Juan Guaido only had 25% support within Venezuela. How that deems you to be the rightful elected leader requires according to Western Governments and press requires some explaining.

    More info on the Media Lens twitter feed.

  • James

    I dislike Maduro and would be pleased to see the end of his regime.

    He embodies all of Chavez’s faults without any of his strengths. And he brings some new faults of his own to the presidency.

    But it’s not up to Trump to call the shots in Caracas.

    And the idea that the US govt is motivated by concern for ordinary Venezuelans is a pipe smoker’s dream.

    • SB

      They don’t have to be controlled by the CIA because they are a willing white supremacist, environment destroying oligarchy.

  • Sharp Ears

    The very creepy Christian Evangelical, Pence, is readying for the rapture. What evil.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT6Xnz2SaVA

    US VP Pence Urges Venezuelans to Oust Maduro, Caracas Says ‘Yankee Go Home’
    The comments from Trump’s number two come as Venezuelans of both political bands are set to stage demonstrations on Wednesday, January 23
    https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/14243

    Trump, washed up like so much driftwood on the tide line, is consoling himself in his White House isolation with plans for his WALL and an intention to speak to the House of Representatives but denied from doing so by Ms Pelosi.

    Pence and Trump. What a pair!

  • Mazunga

    “failure to achieve utopia”

    That’s quite an understatement in the current economic circumstances. Price-fixing has turned the place into hell.

  • Republicofscotland

    A bit if a boost for Maduro.

    Venezuela’s Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, declared Wednesday that the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) refuses to accept the opposition leader Jorge Guaido as the interim president of the Latin American country.

    “The Homeland’s soldiers don’t accept a president imposed by obscure interests or self-proclaimed unlawfully,” said Padrino Lopez in his Twitter account, adding that the armed forces will defend the Venezuelan constitution and national sovereignty.

    Meanwhile Russia and China have issued a statement on US meddling in Venezuela. The Great Satan (US) is the greatest meddler of them all.

    Finally Maduro has cut ties with the US completely kicking out any CIA, sorry I meant US ambassadors, and US loyal puppet personnel from neighbouring countries.

  • Sarge

    What is MSM deliberately not telling us about this essential “humanitarian” coup?

    Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton speak with scholar Steve Elner about the economic war on Venezuela and the devastating impact of US sanctions.

    Moderate Rebels | Economic strangulation of Venezuela: Human toll of US sanctions and regime change w/ Steve Ellner (E34)
    https://www.podbean.com/media/share/dir-8f39s-57acb0c

  • John

    The timing is very interesting coming, as it does, just three weeks after Venezuela disrupted and closed down a seismic survey conducted by Exxonmobil in Guyanese waters. That action will have the effect of preventing Exxon from brining onstream some of its largest recent exploration discoveries.
    It is well know that the State Department is in many ways Exxon’s political wing, as most obviously demonstrated by Tillerson’s move from one to the other….
    It is inconceivable to me at least that Oil is not the primary motivator in this case.

  • Jack

    This is obviously coordinated with the US:

    1. Start protests
    2. Guy steps forward saying he is the real president
    3. Within the hour some 15 nations have recognized him.

    This is a US operation just like the 2002 coup.

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