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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    “Psychopath Capitalism”: US Economic Terrorism and Genocide Against the People of Venezuela

    By Carla Stea Global Research
    May 03, 2019


    April 25: Foreign Minister Arreaza Describes Excruciating Suffering of the Venezuelan People Resulting From US Sanctions;

    April 26: US Violates its Obligation as UN Host Country and Sanctions the Foreign Minister for Speaking Truth to Power
    “We are not only on the wrong side, we are the wrong side.”
    Pentagon Papers Expert Daniel Elllsberg
    “American sanctions are deliberately aiming to wreck Venezuela’s economy and thereby lead to regime change. It’s a fruitless, heartless, illegal, and failed policy, causing grave harm to the Venezuelan people.”
    Professor Jeffrey Sachs
    US Maneuvers at the United Nations
    The entire official schedule of meetings of the United Nations Commission on Disarmament – April 8 through April 29 – was forced to cancel because the United States, in violation of its obligations as host country, refused a visa to important Russian delegates.



    On April 25, Venezuela’s brilliant, charismatic Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza (above) detailed, in a United Nations press briefing, the horrific suffering the Venezuelan people are enduring as a result of the dictatorship of US sanctions against his country, and US terrorization of each and every global institution and nation which the US is demanding sever all economic and diplomatic ties with Venezuela.

    In a stealthy, deadly march to global dictatorship, and consistent with its attempt to subjugate the United Nations to the interests of US oligarchic power, the United States is abusing its membership in the United Nations, attempting to force regime change on Venezuela, using criminal methods in violation of the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention, the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the Organization of American States, the Venezuelan Constitution, and in violation of U.S. law itself.

    The U.S. maneuvers to destroy the Maduro government’s UN accreditation, and replace it with their puppet Guaido are horrifying and Machiavellian, and, quite realistically, since the US has absolutely no scruples, nor any respect for international law, there is an ominous possibility that they may succeed. Numerous diplomats of many countries, with whom I have spoken, are terrified by the sanctions the US just placed on the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, recognizing the threat to their own sovereignty, and sophisticated Iranian specialists delineated the dangerous possibilities the US has to use this method to force out the Venezuelan delegation to the UN, and de facto denude the Maduro government’s access to the UN. If the US succeeds in this criminal scheme, the credibility of the UN will be entirely and irreparably destroyed, as the many diplomats with whom I have spoken have confirmed. Many delegates are now saying that the UN would be better based in another more reliable and respectful country. Venezuela is Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, an organization of 120 member states. For the US to sanction her Foreign Minister is an unconscionable and intolerable abuse of the host country status.



    The US has, furthermore, forged another mafia-style organization of flunkey Latin American “governments” which give every indication of becoming a new Operation Condor, that systematically organized engine of murder arranged by Augusto Pinochet and Henry Kissinger, (image above) an international organized criminal plan to exterminate all progressive and humanitarian efforts throughout Latin America and beyond.

    Operation Condor orchestrated the slaughter of Chilean former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier in Sheridan Circle, Washington, DC in 1976. Letelier bled to death after a car bomb arranged by Anti-Castro Cuban terrorists tore off his legs. An American girl working for the Institute of Policy Studies, Ronni Moffett was also killed in that terrorist action. In Argentina, Chilean General Carlos Prats was murdered when his Buenos Aires home was bombed; in Rome, Chilean Senator Bernardo Leighton’s wife was crippled by an assassin’s bullet intended for him; Operation Condor arranged the murder of former progressive Bolivian President Torres in Argentina.

    Diabolic Methods Used by the US to Wreck Venezuela
    In a colossal report entitled: “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela,” and corroborating everything stated by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, economist Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot describe the diabolic methods used by the United States to wreck Venezuela and discredit socialism, resulting in the deliberate murder of at least 40,000 Venezuelan people, including children, the elderly, the infirm and other of the most vulnerable civilians. This is a systematic and deliberate policy of the US government, a heinous plan to exterminate socialism and massacre the Venezuelan people in order to steal their oil, a spectacular act of piracy brazenly conducted with the collusion of obedient puppets in Western Europe and Canada, and craven, obsequious Latin American states whose shameful obedience to Washington is breathtaking.

    Complete Blockade
    Washington is now threatening to completely blockade and sanction Cuba to force that country to sever relations with Venezuela. Nicaragua is, of course, also in the crosshairs.



    Yesterday there was a failed coup, provoked by the Quisling Juan Guaido, (image above with Lopez) who incited a military revolt to violently overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicholas Maduro. If Joseph Biden or Bernie Sanders, or any American citizen advocated the violent overthrow of the US government, they would be imprisoned and/or executed. It is astounding that the Manchurian candidate Juan Guaido, advocating the violent overthrow of the Venezuelan government, is allowed to roam free, throughout Venezuela. This is incontestable proof of the impeccably democratic character of the Maduro government. And perhaps it is proof of Maduro’s strength and trust in the Venezuelan people. But Maduro’s life is at risk for his country. During yesterday’s emergency, Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada convened a UN press conference, and skillfully replied to often slanted and biased questions for which Moncada was well prepared, and had no doubt anticipated.

    The US government is disintegrating, and has been for many years, with the current administration rife with internecine warfare. The French government is confronting an incipient popular revolution of the Yellow Jackets, the British government stymied by Brexit and separatist movements threatening the survival of the “United Kingdom.” It is only with the most flagrant arrogance that they criticize Venezuela.

    It is agonizing to witness the mass murder of a heroic and progressive Venezuelan people, by a psychopathic capitalism which has not one iota of human decency, and wallowing in its cannibalistic behavior, desecrates the very concept of human rights. But that is the essence of monopoly capitalism, whose “highest” stage is fascism. One can only hope that Russia and China will recognize the future menace to their own survival, and will not indulge in the wishful thinking of a “win-win” arrangement with Washington. One can only hope that the crucible of Venezuela will prove to be the Stalingrad of this de facto World War III, and it will be on the battlefield of Venezuela, with its transgenerational legacy of Simon Bolivar, that fascism is defeated, and the future progressive destiny of humanity will be forged.

    *
    Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.

    Related:
    The US Is Orchestrating a Coup in Venezuela


    ===============================================


    One may wonder why - if the economic state of Venezuela was indeed already so dire - would the US scavengers need to put all their might behind all possible sanctions to bring the Venezuelan population to its knees to trigger a revolution against their Bolivarian government? If the rumors of rampant corruption and criminal activities (the de-facto products of previous sanctions) of a bona fide dictatorship have any truth to it, the US scavengers would only need to wait a little while longer to scoop Venezuela into their pocket... instead, with their sanctions, embargoes and blockades, these scavengers are helping build an incredible united resistance of the remaining Venezuelan population.
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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  3. Link to Post #462
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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    MAJOR: Inside How the Coup was Foiled – Venezuela’s Army Chief Padrino TRICKED Trump & Abrams


    By Vladimir Dobrynin Guest Author
    May 5, 2019 @ 01:09
    Last updated May 5, 2019
    [Editors note – Head of Venezuela’s armed forces, Padrino, entirely conned Abrams, and the April 30th event was supposed to be major with Padrino backing it. This explanation below uses all the facts, including official statements, and puts them all together. It also is based on highly reputable Spanish sources. Moreover this conforms to how CSS already understands regime-change operations to have been foiled in various places, and significantly as we have written before, in 2002 in Venezuela itself. That is why it is necessary for the military intelligence to work on coup operations, so that they can reverse them. This story explains several others factors, such as the sporadic and pre-planned violence we saw on April 30th, such as a few armored cars fighting each other, as well as a likely fake situation where protesters were run over. In that scenario, its likely that the coup-involved personnel themselves ran over their own opposition protesters. We’ve seen it many times before, with the use of snipers, so why not with an armored car? FRN earlier today ran two stories which this amazing story below refer to, one that Trump talked to Putin after the failed coup attempt where Putin got to be extra firm, and second that Trump expressed distrust in US intelligence on Venezuela. This explains, of course, why.
    J. Flores]

    While Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro played cat and mouse on Wednesday in the streets of Caracas with protests caused by the first of the two politicians named, the Trump administration tried to find out why the impostor was abandoned by the country on Tuesday, April 30th, and gave up on the coup operation.

    According to confidential information obtained by the Spanish edition of ABC, the regime change plan arose from an agreement between US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino , which was concluded during several telephone conversations held in recent months. Padrino, and along with him, some other ministers and generals had to sign onto the agreement with the U.S president-appointed President Juan Guaido of the plan drawn up by opponents of Nicolas Maduro.

    These documents contained a “road map”, according to which a coup would end with the election of the head of Venezuela “30 days after the Chavista regime surrendered and recognized Guaido as the person legally acting as head of the Republic.”

    In parallel, the Supreme Court of Venezuela represented by its chairman, Michel Moreno , was to declare illegal the Constituent Assembly (National Constitutional Assembly), the branch of the legislative power created and controlled by Nicolas Maduro. And “with the observance of the necessary legal procedures and formalities to the head of the National Guard, General Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala was charged with the duty to inform Maduro that he had only two options in the current situation: either he would leave the country, fleeing to Cuba, or be arrested at the request of the court. After that, a “top secret document from the depths of American intelligence” was supposed to appear on the scene, that in Venezuela there are between 20 and 25 thousand armed Cuban mercenaries supporting Maduro and keeping the whole Bolivarian Republic in fear ” (the armed forces of which have 235 thousand active military and 200 thousand more – reservists – author’s note.) Thus, by joint efforts of the USA and the Venezuelan military “the country would have been spared by the U.S appointed president of the dictator Maduro and from his support by battalions of soldiers of fortune from Cuba” .

    But something went wrong. Maduro did not flee to Cuba, Padrino suddenly changed his mind about becoming the “godfather of the Venezuelan revolution” (by the way, Padrino translated from Spanish means “godfather”), and the vast majority of Venezuelan generals did not get in touch at the time appointed by the Americans. (There is an interesting moment during Guaido’s call to arms, with the 14 soldiers behind him, when a cell-phone goes off and distracts him – maybe that was the call, ‘it’s not happening’ – J. Flores)

    Elliott Abrams, the special envoy of the US administration for Venezuela, complained that “he could not get through to anyone to give the right signal, as if by agreement, they turned off their mobile phones.”

    ABC is a serious newspaper, not “jaundice” of any kind, operating with “phrases taken out of context and misinterpreted”. David Alandet , Lyudmila Vinogradoff and Imaru Rojas , three reporters of the publication, sharing information “received directly from a person at the US National Security Council”, never could be considered fans of Maduro (as is, incidentally, the leadership of Cuba and the Russian Federation), so to assert that their publication is fiction or fake, is baseless on those grounds.

    “Agreements between representatives of the Washington administration and Venezuelan generals in the presence of Juan Guaido were to be signed on Tuesday (May 1) at the location of the La Carlota military base near Caracas. Together with the self-styled president, another opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez , was supposed to put his signature on the document. But strangely, instead of La Carlota, Lopez entered the Spanish embassy in the Venezuelan capital and asked for political asylum there. (FRN previously, and in error, reported that he arrived at the Chilean embassy – now we are clear that Chilean consular vehicles escorted him to the Spanish embassy – J. Flores)

    “High-ranking sources” indicate a complete lack of information about what exactly went wrong with the American scenario. They know only the final result: Nicolas Maduro did not leave the presidential palace Miraflores on Tuesday. Some other unnamed experts say that “Vladimir Padrino [Defense Minister] is to blame for everything, at the last moment he made a total reversal”.

    Elliott, according to the authors, “expressed particular disappointment with the position of Vladimir Padrino, a key figure of both the Chavistas and the intended revolution, designed to overthrow it.”

    “They talked a lot, but they way it all came down, it was for nothing,” the special representative of the White House for Venezuela stated with frustration. But it was all a con-job by the Venezuelan military intelligence against the U.S coup plan. Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan even surprised many and canceled his visit to Europe – according to the Pentagon spokesman, he wanted to “personally coordinate the actions of the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security, taking into account what is happening in Venezuela and on the border of the States with Mexico. ” It is possible that champagne, in order to “raise the glasses and toast them all at once,” was also purchased and were kept in the refrigerator for the celebration.

    But the hour did not come. Not as expected. Nicolas Maduro, who, according to the calculations of American strategists, was to be already hiding somewhere in the suburbs of Havana, suddenly appeared on May Day in the evening on the Republic’s television screens and said that “for betraying the interests of the state, aiding the self-proclaiming Guaido and American imperialism, SEBIN’s Venezuelan intelligence officer Manuel Christopher Figuera is removed from his post and arrested. ”

    On Wednesday morning, a video clip went viral in social networks in which a group of Vladimir Padrino’s relatives, including his mother, appealed to the Minister of Defense with an appeal “to break with Maduro and make a courageous step towards the people.”

    But Padrino did not heed the requests of relatives.

    Guaido managed to raise his followers (in accordance with the plan) and organize crowds of protesters in as many as 14 areas in Caracas. The impostor arrived at one of them himself and delivered an inspired speech, from time to time choking on saliva and stating that “there is no way back, call everyone you know, we will win, the usurper will be removed from power, he has already lost”.

    Maduro’s supporters had a different opinion on this matter, but it still didn’t come to a collision with the opposition: National Guard units intervened, initially separating the opposing sides, and then surrounding the military rebels (they counted about 300) at La Carlota.

    John Bolton and Mike Pompeo called Padrino a traitor (to American interests, of course) and “a key figure guilty of Maduro remaining in power.” The Venezuelan defense minister was promised to “block the oxygen” by arresting all the assets and real estate he had in Canada and the United States if he did not give the order to the officers to take the army to the streets.
    “They want to drown Venezuela in blood,” said Defense Minister Padrino, addressing the country’s population in a video broadcast on the Internet. – That is why I ordered all the military to remain in the barracks. And deal with the unrest with the National Guard”.
    US President Donald Trump didn’t understand why the remarkably elaborated Elliott Abrams Plan for Venezuela didn’t work, it would seem, and on Friday called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, and the Russian President reminded the American during the hour and a half that “interference from outside to internal affairs, attempts by forceful change of power in Caracas that undermine the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis would not be acceptable. ” Did Trump get it? We’ll find out later.


    Vladimir Dobrynin, Madrid – translated by and for FRN –
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Here is a (long) summary of what has occurred in Venezuela in the past few months:

    Solidarity, Survival and Sabotage: Reconstructing the History of the Blackouts Tormenting Venezuela

    By Misión Verdad
    April 1, 2019


    While Venezuela’s government and the Chavista movement proclaimed victory over the worst blackouts to plague the country, Washington’s coup masters have promised more darkness until their goals are complete.
    [Editor’s note: Between March 7th and 10th of 2019, Venezuela experienced the longest interruption of its electric system in the country’s history. The government alleged that the blackout was the result of a sabotage directed against the central computer of the main hydroelectric power station at El Guri in Bolívar State.

    If the electrical collapse was indeed the result of an outside attack, it represented the most severe escalation of hostilities since the beginning of the latest regime change campaign. The blackout significantly disrupted Venezuelan society and showed that the war against the country targeted everyone, regardless of their political affiliations.

    What follows is a reconstruction of those moments of darkness, showing how the deluge of fake news and humanitarian propaganda, the interruption and recovery of the electrical services, the calls for violence and the organization of the people and their families transformed daily life into a struggle for peace and coexistence. As in the past, the Chavismo movement successfully resisted Washington’s attempts to foment a civil war.

    This analysis was originally published at the Venezuelan independent website Misión Verdad, and has been edited and adapted by The Grayzone]
    Threats of intervention and the failure of “Plan Guaidó”
    On January 23 of this year, the United States and its allies recognized Juan Guaidó as “President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”, completely ignoring the Venezuelan Constitution and the more than 6 million Venezuelans who voted for Nicolas Maduro in the elections of May 20, 2018.

    During the last two months, all mechanisms of economic suffocation against the country have been deployed. Everything from bank accounts to the assets of the Republic have been frozen by the U.S. government. Most glaring among these cases was the blockage of $1.2 billion in gold owned by Venezuela, located in the Bank of England, and the confiscation of CITGO, a subsidiary of PDVSA on US soil.



    The amount of Venezuelan assets that the United States have seized is calculated at approximately $30 billion. Washington has used the excuse that it is merely “protecting those resources” to justify funneling them to the faux government of Guaidó.

    Tactics of diplomatic and public relations harassment have also been escalated, with the intention of isolating the country internationally. But the plan has suffered multiple failures. The first occurred on February 23rd, the day when the “humanitarian aid” farce was used to generate an internal rupture in the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and remove President Nicolás Maduro from power.

    The hoopla of the ‘Aid Venezuela’ concert in Cúcuta, Colombia, and the supposed peaceful nature of the aid itself were exposed within a few hours as the violence on both international bridges and the failed attempt to ferry violent groups into Venezuela became impossible to ignore. When the opposition was exposed for burning trucks loaded with US aid, it suffered a powerful public relations blow.

    Meanwhile, the country maintained a state of relative calm while the military remained cohesive and composed, degrading the regime change agenda. The coup was losing momentum by the day.

    Bloomberg reported that while in Colombia, Juan Guaidó planned a European tour, but US officials ordered him to return to Venezuela to “take advantage of the momentum” and, in the process, “to seek his imprisonment.” In other words, the US was dangling Guaidó before the Venezuelan government, hoping to provoke them into arresting him and thereby generating the pretext for a military response. They knew that they were running against time and needed to stimulate military intervention.

    Bloomberg also highlighted the declining importance of Guaidó in Venezuela and abroad. With Venezuelan institutions maintaining loyalty to Maduro, Guaidó’s promises of the “end of the usurpation” became increasingly improbable.

    Meanwhile, in the UN Security Council, Venezuela’s diplomatic body pushed back in a meaningful way against the US agenda with the help of vetoes from the Russian and Chinese administrations against a US promoted draft resolution that aimed to further destabilize the country.


    The double veto of Russia and China prevented the approval of the resolution presented by Elliott Abrams in the Security Council (Foto: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

    The US had planned on a lightning coup through a combination of massive external pressure and internal destabilization. But they failed to dislodge Maduro, and were unable to trigger the fragmentation of Venezuelan society that would have justified intervention.

    On March 7, as the pressure mounted on the US to deliver losses to a government it had clearly underestimated, the electrical grid went dark.

    Just a week before the blackout, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned that the US would “take action” against anyone who obstructed entry of the humanitarian aid. When the blackout hit, it became increasingly clear what Pompeo was referring to.


    The attack on the electrical power grid and the case for sabotage
    Around 5pm on Thursday, March 7, there was a plunge in the essential electricity supply systems in more than 80% of the national territory. The blackout was immediate and comprehensive.

    Luis Motta Dominguez, the Minister of Electric Power, informed the government that the event was an act of sabotage to the main hydroelectric plant in the Guri Dam, Bolivar State, Venezuela. President Maduro, during his first appearance before the country, reported that the attack on the national electric system occurred in three stages.

    The first stage, according to Dominguez, was the hacking the main computer and control systems. These systems would have been electronically assaulted, “leaving all computer screens black,” said the President. On Monday the 11th, Maduro also indicated that the attacks were made from Houston and Chicago, reaffirming that the US government itself was responsible for the cyber attack.

    The second stage, Dominguez said, consisted of the use of electromagnetic pulse devices. Highly sophisticated devices of electronic warfare were aimed at the transmission systems and the control platform, disabling them and inducing the system to overload and fail.

    The third stage was a direct physical attack to the intermediate platforms of electric distribution. There were five attacks on four substations, with little time between each one them; they were carried out simultaneously to stabilize the general electricity supply.

    In the midst of the attack, Forbes published a piece by artificial intelligence and Big Data specialist Kalev Leetaru. While seeming to downplay the possibility of electrical sabotage, Leetaru made a remarkable concession.

    “In the case of Venezuela,” he wrote, “the idea of a government like the United States remotely interfering with its power grid is actually quite realistic. Remote cyber operations rarely require a significant ground presence, making them the ideal deniable influence operation. Given the U.S. government’s longstanding concern with Venezuela’s government, it is likely that the U.S. already maintains a deep presence within the country’s national infrastructure grid, making it relatively straightforward to interfere with grid operations.”

    Quote Ver imagen en Twitter

    MV English @MV_Eng

    It's not sci-fi: the blackout in Venezuela could have been US-made. Even Forbes magazine says so.

    4:58 - 13 mar. 2019
    Leetaru added that, “The idea of ​​a foreign state manipulating the electricity grid to force a transitional government, is very real.” He added that these methods of attacks “are increasingly being discussed in national (US) security communities as legitimate and legal tactics to undermine a foreign state.”

    The striking comments from a widely recognized tech expert reinforced the Venezuelan government’s assessment of the situation.

    Though it did not mention Venezuela, a recent analysis by the World Economic Forum warned that “hackers are causing blackouts” in countries across the world, and demanded new policies to build up “cyber resilience.”

    On March 26, less than three weeks after the blackout in Venezuela, the White House quietly issued an executive order warning that “an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the potential to disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems.” The order stated that EMP’s could “affect large geographic areas, disrupting elements critical to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity, and could adversely affect global commerce and stability.”

    The curiously timed assessment suggested that the US had no shortage of familiarity with the potential havoc that could be wreaked with EMP’s.

    As The Grayzone previously reported, Otpor – the US-funded soft power NGO that trained Guaido and other Voluntad Popular activists – composed a regime change strategy blueprint in 2010 that explicitly urged Venezuela’s opposition to exploit massive electricity blackouts.

    Authored by Otpor co-founder Srdja Popovic, the memo described the potential collapse of the country’s electrical sector as “a watershed event” that “would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate.”


    Prophecies of doom from Washington’s coup masters
    Just hours before the collapse of the Venezuelan electric system, the American lawmaker at the forefront of the campaign of destabilization issued a doomsday prophesy for the country.


    Senator Marco Rubio visited Cúcuta to capitalize politically on the arrival of “humanitarian aid” (Foto: Archive)

    At midday, March 7, during a hearing in the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Rubio warned that Venezuela was “going to enter a period of suffering that no nation has confronted in modern history.” He explicitly called for the US to stir “widespread unrest,” declaring that it “needs to happen” in order to achieve regime change. The blackout hit exactly five hours later.

    Even before Minister of Communication Jorge Rodríguez was able to inform the media about the scope of the attack on the electric system, Rubio declared through his Twitter account that “backup generators have failed,” barely concealing his excitement.

    On Friday 8th and Saturday 9th, the senator blamed the Maduro government for a “lack of diligence.”

    At the same time, Guaidó took to Twitter to declare that ”the light would return to Venezuela when the “usurpation is terminated,” suggesting that the blackouts would only end once Maduro was out of power.

    Rubio proceeded to publicize fake news about alleged newborn casualties at the University Hospital of Maracaibo, Zulia, and other hospitals of the national public health system. At the same time, several NGOs, such as Codevida, blasted out announcements of unconfirmed events regarding deaths, chaos and loss of public order in the national territory, creating a disproportionate and distorted perception of the events in order to market the theme of a supposed humanitarian crisis.

    NGOs such as Codevida and others echoed Rubio’s false claim that 80 neonatal deaths had occurred, along with more than 200 deaths. This figure was denied by the president of the Medical Association of Zulia, Dianela Parra.

    Meanwhile, Pompeo announced through social media platforms that Venezuela was, ”without medicine, without food, now without electricity and soon, without Maduro.”

    Quote
    Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo
    · Mar 8, 2019

    The power outage and the devastation hurting ordinary Venezuelans is not because of the USA. It’s not because of Colombia. It’s not Ecuador or Brazil, Europe or anywhere else. Power shortages and starvation are the result of the Maduro regime’s incompetence.
    Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo

    Maduro’s policies bring nothing but darkness.

    6:11 AM - Mar 8, 2019
    The statement sounded less like a prediction than a strategic blueprint for regime change. His comments were echoed by Eliot Abrams, who proclaimed in a radio interview that “pressure will increase, US pressure and internal pressure also. Especially this week, when there’s no light!”

    Meanwhile, John Bolton urged the Venezuelan military to accept the amnesty offer put forward by Guaidó. It was just the latest attempt to promote rifts in the army’s officer corps and promote rebellion in the army, which was working to protect the national electric system from further damage.

    Western media exploited the situation to amplify the narrative of a humanitarian crisis and portray a nation submerged in chaos. New York Times correspondent Anatoly Kurmanaev claimed hyperbolically that Venezuela had descended into the “law of the jungle,” and predicted a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” scenario just over the horizon. In this way, the international press reinforced the messaging of the Trump administration.

    (continued below)

    ...
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    ...

    ... continued:

    Life during the blackout
    The blackout coincided with the end of workday for the majority of the population. Traffic was interrupted by the non operational lights. In cities with underground public transportation, such as Caracas, Los Teques, Valencia and Maracaibo, overground traffic was overloaded with the population that could not use the tunnels. Similarly, the collapse of the rail system that connected Valles del Tuy with Caracas made the transportation situation even more difficult.


    The blackout interrupted all public services, including ground transportation that was replaced by Metrobus units (Foto: AFP)

    The telephone communication system was affected and only those who were within reach of radio repeaters with an alternative source of power could communicate by cell phone. Thanks to radio broadcasts, many knew that the blackout was nationwide. Those who owned cars used them as a source of power to recharge phones and listen to the radio.

    For many people, the first night consisted of staying home and waiting for news. Friday the 8th brought official confirmation that the blackout had done deep damage across the country. School and work activities were suspended, but news of a gradual and progressive recovery of the electric service soon arrived, starting with the eastern states of the country, communicated through official and extra-official means.

    Still for many, there was a second night with absolutely no power.

    On Saturday morning, after a significant recovery of the service, another widespread blackout hit the country. On top of the lack of electricity, there was the challenge to get basic goods like gasoline, food and drinking water.


    Caracas in the first hours of the blackout (Foto: Reuters)

    Getting gasoline was possible only if a station had its own generator. The banking system did not work or was working intermittently, affecting all commercial activities. In Caracas, businesses lacked staff and last but not least, the supply of potable water to most areas of the country was limited because its pumping system relied on electricity. Only those communities with water supply sources at above ground level could access the service.

    Instead of assuming a collaborative attitude and support to the community to overcome the crisis, the Venezuelan opposition led by Guaidó attempted to magnify the anxiety and anguish by attempting to ignite chaos in the streets and encouraging violent looting.

    The cyber attack against Corpoelec’s computerized system at the Guri hydroelectric plant and against the main operational ’brain’ in Caracas, was followed by attacks explained by President Maduro as electromagnetic operations and, simultaneously, a sabotage to other infrastructure which halted and reversed the recovery process, with the apparent intention to make a total collapse irreversible.

    President Nicolás Maduro placed special emphasis on one of the sabotages of this operation: the explosion of the electrical substations in Baruta and El Hatillo, which caused fires in the early hours of Monday morning. Much of Caracas suffered a power outage again.


    Explosion of two transformers of the electricity substation of Terrazas of the Club Hipico of Baruta (Foto: Gaby Oráa / RMTF)

    The Communications Minister, Rodríguez, added that the Tacoa thermoelectric plant in Vargas had been sabotaged as well. He said that the gas that supplied the station had been cut off, causing an explosion and depriving the capital, Caracas, of a backup supply of energy.

    It’s important to note that Venezuela has a mixed energy generation system. First, there is the hydroelectric power plant at Guri that supplies the majority of the country, and then there is a thermoelectric power plant at Tacoa. The capital, with the largest concentration of the population, feeds from both sources. Rodriguez explained that if the blackout happened under normal circumstances, “Greater Caracas could have easily been supplied on the Tacoa system.”

    Other explosions of transformers were reported in the interior of the country, affecting mainly the western region. In Zulia, the explosion was reported on Tuesday 12th in the afternoon, in the Las Cabillas sector of the Cabimas municipality. This state has also suffered from violent and irregular actions that have affected several businesses. Also in the Larense municipality of Cabudare, the explosion of another substation occurred on Monday 11th, causing greater delays in the restitution of energy in the area.

    The harsh consequences of the blackout and Guaidó’s destabilization plan
    The blackouts caused serious discomfort and inconvenience for most Venezuelans. But they also prompted a striking show of resilience, as citizens came together to defy the attempts to destabilize their society.

    National media outlets like El Universal and El Correo del Orinoco reported through their social media platforms that the traffic system of Caracas had collapsed due mainly to the interruption of electric power during peak hours. The operations of the Caracas Metro were stopped and the population had to travel by foot or by other means in order to get home on March 7.


    The interruption of the electricity system brought down telecommunications and banking platforms (Foto: Reuters)

    The loss of electricity led to the collapse of the electronic payment platforms and their systems, generating serious complications for consumers throughout the country soon after the blackout. This platform malfunctions would only worsen, as banking institutions saw their backup generating systems also collapse because of the excessive number of transactions made during those hours. Offline points of sale, combined with the deficiencies in cash flow, limited the purchasing capabilities of the Venezuelan population during the following Friday and Saturday.

    Sales and perishable goods such as meats and vegetables were also affected. The National Federation of Cattle Management reported a 2 million kg of beef loss during the blackout in slaughterhouses across the nation. In the majority of households, families chose to consume these foods as soon as possible.

    In cities with high temperatures, such as Maracaibo, where the use of air conditioners is common, the discomfort was even greater. The water service was affected in cities and towns that depend on hydraulic pumps for their supply.


    A Caracas resident collects water from the Waraira Repano Hill after the blackout that stopped water pumping in the city (Foto: Federico Parra / AFP)

    There was also a telephone and internet interruption throughout the country. The CANTV, ABA, Movilnet, Digitel and Movistar servers, which rely on battery powered transmitting antennas, experienced a progressive drop of their signals as the power of their antennas ran out. Cable service platforms were also affected, with the exception of satellite platforms such as DirectTv. Many families and businesses with power plants were able to access national and foreign TV services through these satellite signals.

    In many cities, the interruption of open radio and television signals was reported. Many stations don’t have power plants and those that did survived thanks to backup generators. This meant that besides the electrical blackout, there was also an information blackout, given that many of the few private broadcasters still on air were simply playing music, violating their obligation to keep the population informed about the events under development.

    The interference in communication systems and the radio-electric spectrum was the perfect recipe for a toxic broth of misinformation, especially in the Andean region, allowing fake news to overwhelm the reality of the situation.

    All these components – rumors, false information, distortions and half truths – pushed a noticeable percentage of the population into a frenzied and anxious state of mind.

    In the State of Zulia, violent groups looted deposits belonging to Empresas Polar: beer, soft drinks and other beverages. Guaidó justified the looting on the grounds that it was motivated by hunger.


    Juan Guaidó’s call for looting generated destruction and violence in shops in the state of Zulia (Foto: Reuters)

    Many service stations do not have a generator to support the supply of fuel. Lines for gasoline were seen in places throughout the country and the mobility of the population was seriously affected, while gas was redirected to supplying generators around the country. Rubio’s prophecy of the collapse of gasoline and food distribution had begun to to materialize. But the continuity of the PDVSA system of fuel distribution mitigated the impact, and the transportation of people and food was maintained, albeit at half throttle.

    In some cities, barricades and road closures appeared as an immediate response to Guaidó’s calls for violence. Other known figures from the Venezuelan political opposition tried to provoke reactions among the population and called for their followers to spread the chaos nationwide. But most rejected the appeals for chaos, ensuring that any eruptions of violence that did occur were isolated and insignificant. The ultimate effect of the blackout was keep most people in their homes.

    By Sunday the 10th, the government announced the partial restoration of electricity in several cities throughout the country. This helped restore calm while testifying to the resilience of a population that was able to manage the dire situation with support from their families and through communal solidarity.

    Information began circulating on cellular platforms and TV networks about the recovery of the electrical system as well as news of nationwide social stability and the noticeable absence of violent elements seeking destabilization.

    By Monday, Maduro had informed the nation about the army’s actions during the contingency plan, the deployment of its security mechanisms and declared victory over the electric sabotage. The president instructed the military corps to supply fuel to all health center plants in areas that were still affected and emphasized the return of communication platforms and other services dependent on the electrical system.

    From that point, Maduro made it clear that it was the Bolivarian Government and not any other political element that would use strategic management to assume the task of normalizing daily activities. The announcement was a substantial setback to the destabilization plans. The ultimate goals of Washington – social fragmentation and chaos – remained unmet thanks to the rapid government and society-wide response.

    By Tuesday, the electrical system appeared to be returning to normal and was overcoming its vulnerabilities. The reinstallation and start-up of the electric distribution was similar to the recovery of the main PDVSA system in 2003 during the oil industry sabotage enacted by the opposition, but this time, with a greater sense of commitment and a greater level of clarity about the severity of the scenario.


    March 7, Bellas Artes Metro station. Some people tried unsuccessfully to agitate against President Nicolas Maduro (Foto: Rosana Silva)

    Maduro declared victory over the assault on the electricity grid, framing the event as one of the most significant events in the protection of the country’s population.

    Solidarity and communal strength: the people pool together
    The magnitude of the electric attack would have resulted in a total collapse of Venezuela and its society, realizing the “failed state” label that Washington evokes constantly to justify direct military aggression.

    But throughout Venezuela, the population rejected impulses to surrender to anguish, relying on family and community structures to address their needs. Resistance and community are constant themes in the culture of Chavismo, however, it is notable that despite calls to turn to violent protest, most opposition supporters stayed home – a tactic rejection of Guaidó’s divisive appeals.

    In the barrios and countryside across the country, firewood was used to cook food, while neighbors scouted nearby areas for drinking water. Using cars only to make emergency trips and charge cellphones, communities were able to stay in touch and keep their members informed about the progress with respect to the restoration of the power supply.


    8th of March, Bolivar Square. Women gathered to commemorate women’s day and show support for the government in the face of the sabotage on the electricity system (Foto: Rosana Silva)

    The previous work of the Committees of Local Supply and Production (CLAP) was also a highlight. This organization was established to provide food at low cost to over six million citizens. In some states the distribution of food and domestic gas continued even with all communications cut off.

    The CLAP program has complete records of the populations they support. It has served as a support network with a comprehensive map of the strongest and weakest areas, allowing each community to act according to its needs. Thanks to CLAP, government was able to maximize its effectiveness during the blackout by targeting the communities with the greatest needs.

    Other organized groups accompanied the state with the smaller tasks to support the most vulnerable. One example took place at the JM de los Ríos Hospital, where in addition to guaranteeing medical attention to the hospitalized children. There, they were visited by artists who provided hours of healthy entertainment in the midst of the uncertainty and helping stave off fear.

    The civic-military union that forms the linchpin of the Bolivarian Revolution was also at the heart of the counterattack. Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino López highlighted the deployment of different elements of the Bolivarian National Armed Force to restore basic services and protect the Venezuelan population.

    Instead of intimidating citizens accustomed to being locked in their homes lit with televisions and computers, the blackout served as an opportunity to improvise community activities, exchange ideas to protect food, and share information about medical care locations, commercial options and functional pharmacies.


    The popular organization, CLAP, was key to meet the pressing needs left by the blackout (Foto: Archive)

    Each community’s story of persisting through the blackout paints a broader portrait of a society that has been shaped by the culture of Chavismo, where popular participation is seen as the most precious feature of the Venezuelan identity.

    It was this feature of Venezuelan society that enabled it to effectively resist the most prolonged and massive attack on its infrastructure since the dawn of the Bolivarian Revolution. And it contrasted sharply with the negative solutions spun out of the “entrepreneurship” sector, which chose to privatize services during such a critical time, exploiting citizens in need by selling ice, water, candles and electricity supply in foreign currency.

    Assessing the damage, charting a path back to normalcy
    72 hours after the attack, the city of Caracas had recovered energy in most of its neighborhoods. In the the following hours, the eastern, central and southern states also recovered their power. The Western region had delays, extending the power stabilization up to 24 hours more in Táchira, Mérida, Trujillo, Zulia and Lara.

    Five days after the continuous attacks to multiple substations and the parallel sabotage to the Guri dam, preventing the stabilization of the National Electric System, the entire country had managed to return to normal.

    Through social media, the opposition attempted to deceive outsiders with images purporting to show desperate Venezuelans collecting water from the Guaire River, which is filled with sewage. Western outlets like Reuters, which serve as faithful stenographers of the opposition’s narrative, fell for the lie. However, a report made by the Catia TV team debunked the bogus claims. In fact, those people were drinking from a natural well.

    What’s more, cistern trucks were set up to transport water to communities in need, a mechanism made possible by communal councils. Others supplied their homes by using buckets and wheelbarrows.

    Although the exhaustion of those days was felt across the country, the government’s array of social programs were resumed as soon as the communications were fully operational. The food assistance policy of the CLAPs was reinforced by orders of Maduro, softening the blow for those whose food spoiled during the blackout.

    The official balance on Wednesday presented by Minister Jorge Rodríguez was favorable, despite the fact that the cyberattack to the nation’s power grid caused losses of $877 million to the Venezuelan nation.

    The country’s business class, meanwhile, made a stunning admission: the ‘regime change’ plan they supported had caused them massive losses. For instance, the National Federation of Cattle Ranchers of Venezuela (Fedenaga) stated $1.4 million were lost in the course of the coup and subsequent blackout.

    One million kilograms of cheese and 900,000 kilograms of meat decomposed due to a lack of refrigeration. Another 6 million liters of milk were damaged while waiting for the electric power restitution.

    The firm Ecoanalítica put the losses for the country were $875 million – approximately $100 million of damage per day – which reduced the gross domestic product by 1%.

    Commercial establishments were also the target of vandalism, especially in the state of Zulia and, to a lesser degree, in Lara, Monagas, Miranda and Barinas. While the political opposition’s agenda was to whitewash these criminal acts, parading them internationally as consequences of the social crisis triggered by the blackout, they omitted the role that the national security forces played in protecting businesses
    Long hours of intensive effort from the majority of the Venezuelan population alongside the government ensured an effective response. One week after the attack, the public and private labor, trade, production and industrial activities were resumed.

    But just as life appeared to be returning to normal, the country was plunged into darkness again on March 29. From Washington, coup czar Elliot Abrams confidently stated, “The likelihood is the blackouts will continue.”

    Mision Verdad
    Mision Verdad is an independent Venezuelan website delivering news and analysis
    "La réalité est un rêve que l'on fait atterrir" San Antonio AKA F. Dard

    Troll-hood motto: Never, ever, however, whatsoever, to anyone, a point concede.

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Do take a look at the State Dept's PDF at the link below, it's very informative and disgusting.

    US State Department Publishes, Then Deletes Sadistic Venezuela Hit List Boasting of Economic Ruin

    The Grayzone obtained a list of “key outcomes” on Venezuela deleted out of apparent embarrassment by the State Department. It boasts of wrecking the nation’s economy, destabilizing its military, and puppeteering its political opposition.

    Grayzone — On April 24, six days before self-proclaimed Venezuelan “interim president” Juan Guaido’s attempt to violently overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected government alongside a handful of military defectors, the U.S. State Department published a fact sheet that boasted of Washington’s central role in the ongoing coup attempt. After realizing the incriminating nature of its error, the State Department quickly acted to remove the page.

    The Grayzone has obtained a full copy of the expunged report. The deleted page puts to bed any claims of Guaido’s independence from Washington, as the State Department emphasizes the fact that he “announced his interim presidency… in January” at the top of a section dedicated to breaking down “key outcomes” of U.S. efforts with regard to Venezuela.

    U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier recently took to Twitter to claim that “since he became acting president, Juan Guaido has given tangible results to the people of Venezuela.” Her tweet was accompanied with an infographic detailing alleged accomplishments of the powerless coup administration based on data compiled by the legally defunct National Assembly, the only governing body actually controlled by Guaido.

    But the Venezuela fact sheet posted and then deleted days earlier by the State Department told a dramatically different story.

    [Read the entire expunged fact sheet here [PDF]



    The State Department’s economic hit list

    Entitled “U.S. Actions on Venezuela,” the document boasted that U.S. policy had effectively prevented the Venezuelan government from participating in the international market and has led to the freezing of its overseas assets. It read like a sadistic celebration of Washington’s retribution against the Venezuelan population as a whole, the kind of collective punishment which is illegal according to Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions.

    The State Department gloated in the deleted fact sheet that its policy had ensured that the Maduro government “cannot rely on the U.S. financial system” to conduct business, noting “key outcomes” of U.S. actions include the fact that “roughly $3.2 billion of Venezuela’s overseas are frozen.” It went on to boast that “Venezuela’s oil production fell to 736,000 barrels per day in March… substantially reducing” government revenue.

    “If I were the State Department I wouldn’t brag about causing a cut in oil production to 763,000 barrels per day — which is a 36 percent drop, in just the two months of February and March this year,” Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director at the Center For Economic and Policy Research, told The Grayzone. “This means even more premature deaths than the tens of thousands that resulted from sanctions last year.”

    Weisbrot recently co-authored a bracing report which found that 40,000 Venezuelans died between 2017 and 2018 as a direct result of U.S. sanctions. The State Department patted itself on the back for announcing its preparedness “to provide an additional $20 million in initial humanitarian assistance” to Venezuela, however, the CEPR report concluded that Trump Administration sanctions implemented in August 2017 resulted in “a loss of $6 billion in oil revenue over the ensuing year” alone.

    While the State Department praised the opposition for “providing medical and hygiene attention to over 6,000” Venezuelans, those numbers dwarf in comparison to the 300,000 people CEPR “estimated to be at risk because of lack of access to medicines or treatment… [including] 80,000 people with HIV who have not had antiretroviral treatment since 2017, 16,000 people who need dialysis, 16,000 people with cancer, and 4 million with diabetes and hypertension.”

    In other words, the supposed “Venezuela Crisis Response Assistance” touted by the State Department is not even a band-aid over the gaping wound that US unilateral coercive measures have inflicted on the country.

    In Weisbrot’s view, the “policy” and “outcomes” promoted by the State Department in the disappeared document will merely lead to “more cuts in imports of medicine, food, medical equipment, and inputs necessary to maintain water, health, and sanitation infrastructure.”

    Having denied the Venezuelan government the ability to provide for its own population, the U.S. has essentially promised that thousands more deaths will occur.

    The State Department did not respond to The Grayzone’s request for a comment on the fact sheet it deleted.

    “A list of confessions”

    In a recent interview with The Grayzone, Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations Samuel Moncada characterized the deleted State Department fact sheet as “a list of confessions.”

    “Imagine if any other country says… it’s proud of saying that we are destroying the economy of our neighbor; we are proud that we destroyed the political system of our neighbor; we are proud that they are suffering. They are saying we are waging war against Venezuela,” Moncada emphasized.

    The ambassador went on to accuse the U.S. of engaging in “bullying” rather than international diplomacy.

    The State Department’s own fact sheet appears to support this accusation, as it asserts “diplomatic pressure resulted in fewer markets for Venezuelan gold.” The document further highlighted U.S. actions that have supposedly led “more than 1,000 members of the military [to recognize] Juan Guaido as interim President” and defect to Colombia, as well as stranding “an estimated 25 crude oil tankers with 12 million barrels” off Venezuela’s coast.

    “They [say] it’s our ‘key’ achievements,” Moncada commented. “They are saying that they are causing trouble in our military and inducing a military coup, [which] so far they haven’t achieved, but they are working towards.”

    “If any other person says that themselves,” the ambassador concluded, “and you take that confession to court, they would be in prison.”

    The State Department’s fact sheet even frames recent decisions by the Organization of American States, Lima Group, Inter-American Development Bank, and European Union to either recognize or support Guaido’s shadow administration as a U.S. achievement, highlighting Washington’s outsized influence within each of these supposedly international governing bodies. The decision to mention the E.U. and Lima Group is particularly noteworthy considering the United States is not a member of either organization.

    “They are so far out of any normal parameters of decency, morality, legality, reason, that really they are dangerous,” Moncada said of the Trump administration. “They are a real threat to international peace, and they are a real threat to my people.”

    Anya Parampil is a Washington, DC-based journalist. She previously hosted a daily progressive afternoon news program called In Question on RT America. She has produced and reported several documentaries, including on the ground reports from the Korean peninsula and Palestine.

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Abby Martin on Maduro. It's all so sickening.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii5MlQgGXyk

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Beside BigOil, let's have a peek at the other vested interests/vultures active in Venezuela's downfall... BigAgro and its Bigpharma backers:


    How GMO Seeds and Monsanto /Bayer’s “RoundUp” Are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

    By Whitney Webb Global Research,
    May 07, 2019
    MintPress News 6 May 2019



    With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

    ***

    As the political crisis in Venezuela has unfolded, much has been said about the Trump administration’s clear interest in the privatization and exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, by American oil giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil.

    Yet the influence of another notorious American company, Monsanto — now a subsidiary of Bayer — has gone largely unmentioned.

    While numerous other Latin American nations have become a “free for all” for the biotech company and its affiliates, Venezuela has been one of the few countries to fight Monsanto and other international agrochemical giants and win. However, since that victory — which was won under Chavista rule — the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition has been working to undo it.

    Now, with Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

    In recent months, Monsanto’s most controversial and notorious product — the pesticide glyphosate, branded as Roundup, and linked to cancer in recent U.S. court rulings — has threatened Bayer’s financial future as never before, with a litany of new court cases barking at Bayer’s door. It appears that many of the forces in the U.S. now seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government are hoping that a new Guaidó-led government will provide Bayer with a fresh, much-needed market for its agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, particularly those products that now face bans in countries all over the world, including once-defoliated and still-poisoned Vietnam.

    U.S.-Backed Venezuelan opposition seeks to reverse Chavista seed law and GMO ban
    In 2004, then-president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, surprised many when he announced the cancellation of Monsanto’s plans to plant 500,000 acres of Venezuelan agricultural land in genetically modified (GM) soybeans. The cancellation of Monsanto’s Venezuela contract led to what became an ad hoc ban on all GM seeds in the entire country, a move that was praised by local farmer groups and environmental activists. In contrast to anti-GM movements that have sprung up in other countries, Venezuela’s resistance to GM crops was based more on concerns about the country’s food sovereignty and protecting the livelihoods of farmers.

    Although the ban has failed to keep GM products out of Venezuela — as Venezuela has long imported a majority of its food, much of it originating in countries that are among the world’s largest producers of genetically modified foods — one clear effect has been preventing companies like Monsanto and other major agrochemical and seed companies from gaining any significant foothold in the Venezuelan market.

    In 2013, a new seed law was nearly passed that would have allowed GM seeds to be sold in Venezuela through a legal loophole. That law, which was authored by a member of the Chavista United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), was widely protested by farmers, indigenous activists, environmentalists, and eco-socialist groups, which led to the law’s transformation into what has been nicknamed the “People’s Seed Law.” That law, passed in 2015, went even farther than the original 2004 ban by banning not just GM seeds but several toxic agrochemicals, while also strengthening heirloom seed varieties through the creation of the National Seed Institute.

    Soon after the new seed law was passed in 2015, the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition led by the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) — a group comprised of numerous U.S.-funded political parties, including Guaidó’s Popular Will — took control of the country’s National Assembly. Until Venezuela’s Supreme Court dissolved the assembly in 2017, the MUD-legislature attempted to repeal the seed law on several occasions. Those in favor of the repeal called the seed bill “anti-scientific” and damaging to the economy.

    Despite the 2017 Supreme Court decision, the National Assembly has continued to meet, but the body holds no real power in the current Venezuelan government. However, if the current government is overthrown and Guaidó — the “interim president” who is also president of the dissolved National Assembly — comes to power, it seems almost certain that the “People’s Seed Law” will be one of the first pieces of legislation on the chopping block.

    The AEI axis
    Some of the key figures and loudest voices supporting the efforts of the Trump administration to overthrow the Venezuelan government in the United States are well-connected to one particular think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). For instance, John Bolton — now Trump’s national security advisor and a major player in the administration’s aggressive Venezuela policy — was a senior fellow at AEI until he became Trump’s top national security official. As national security adviser, Bolton advises the president on foreign policy and issues of national security while also advising both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. As of late, he has been pushing for military action in Venezuela, according to media reports.

    Another key figure in Trump’s Venezuela policy — Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s Special Representative for Venezuela — has been regularly featured at AEI summits and as a guest on its panels and podcasts. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Abrams’ current role gives him the “responsibility for all things related to our efforts to restore democracy” in Venezuela. Other top figures in the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, were featured guests at the AEI’s “secretive” gathering in early March. As MintPress and other outlets have reported, Guaidó declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela at Pence’s behest. Pompeo is also intimately involved in directing Trump’s Venezuela policy as the president’s main adviser on foreign affairs.

    Other connections to the Trump administration include Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who was previously on AEI’s board of trustees.

    AEI has long been a key part of the “neoconservative” establishment and employs well-known neoconservatives such as Fred Kagan — the architect of the Iraq “troop surge” — and Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of the Iraq War. Its connections to the George W. Bush administration were particularly notable and controversial, as more than 20 AEI employees were given top positions under Bush. Several of them, such as Bolton, have enjoyed new prominence in Trump’s administration.

    Other key Bush officials joined the AEI soon after leaving their posts in the administration. One such was Roger Noriega, who was the U.S. representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) during the failed, U.S.-backed 2002 coup and went on to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs from 2003 to 2005, where he was extremely influential in the administration’s policies towards Venezuela and Cuba.

    Since leaving the Bush administration and promptly joining the AEI, Noriega has been instrumental in pushing claims that lack evidence but aim to paint Venezuela’s current President Nicolas Maduro-led government as a national security threat, such as claiming that Venezuela is helping Iran acquire nuclear weapons and hosts soldiers from Lebanon’s Hezbollah. He also lobbied Congress to support Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, Guaidó’s political mentor and leader of his political party, Popular Will.

    Not only that, but Noreiga teamed up with Martin Rodil, a Venezuelan exile formerly employed by the IMF, and José Cardenas, who served in the Bush administration, to found Visión Américas, a private risk-assessment and lobbying firm that was hired to “support the efforts of the Honduran private sector to help consolidate the democratic transition in their country” after the U.S.-backed Honduran coup in 2009. In recent months, Noriega and his associates have been very focused on Venezuela, with Cardenas offering Trump public advice about how “to hasten Maduro’s exit,” while Rodil has publicly offered “to get you a deal” if you have dirt on Venezuela’s government.

    While the AEI is best known for its hawkishness, it is also a promoter of big agricultural interests. Since 2000, It has hosted several conferences on the promise of “biotechnology” and genetically modified seeds and has heavily promoted the work of former Monsanto lobbyist Jon Entine, who was an AEI visiting fellow for several years. The AEI also has long-time connections to Dow Chemical.

    The most likely reason for the AEI’s interest in promoting biotech, however, can be found in its links to Monsanto. In 2013, The Nation acquired a 2009 AEI document, obtained through a filing error and not intended for public disclosure, that revealed the think tank’s top donors. The form, known as the “schedule of contributors,” revealed that the AEI’s top two donors at the time were the Donors Capital Fund and billionaire Paul Singer.

    The Donors Capital Fund, which remains a major contributor to the AEI, is linked to Monsanto interests through the vice chairman of its board, Kimberly O. Dennis, who is also currently a member of the AEI’s National Council. According to AEI, the National Council is composed of “business and community leaders from across the country who are committed to AEI’s success and serve as ambassadors for AEI, providing us with advice, insight, and guidance.”

    Dennis is the long-time executive chairwoman of the Searle Freedom Trust, which was founded in 1988 by Daniel Searle after he oversaw the sale of his family pharmaceutical company — G.D. Searle and Company — to Monsanto in 1985 for $2.7 billion. The money Searle had made from that merger was used to fund the trust that now funds the AEI and other right-wing think tanks. Searle was also close to Donald Rumsfeld, who led G.D. Searle and Co. for years and was Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford and George W. Bush. Searle was also a trustee of the Hudson Institute, which once employed Elliott Abrams.

    After the family company — which gained notoriety for faking research about the safety of its sweetener, aspartame or NutraSweet — was sold to Monsanto, G.D. Searle executives close to Daniel Searle rose to prominence within the company. Robert Shapiro, who was G.D. Searle’s long-time attorney and head of its NutraSweet division, would go on to become Monsanto’s vice president, president and later CEO. Notably, Daniel Searle’s grandson, D. Gideon Searle, was an AEI trustee until relatively recently.

    Why is a top donor to Marco Rubio increasing his stake in Bayer while others flee?


    Yet, it is AEI’s top individual donor noted in the accidental “schedule of contributors” disclosure who is most telling about the private biotech interests guiding the Trump administration’s Venezuela policy. Paul Singer (image above), the controversial billionaire hedge fund manager, has long been a major donor to neoconservative and Zionist causes — helping fund the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC); and the neoconservative and islamophobic Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), in addition to the AEI.

    Singer is notably one of the top political donors to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and has been intimately involved in the recent chaos in Venezuela. He has been called one of the architects of the administration’s current regime-change policy, and was the top donor to Rubio’s presidential campaign, as well as a key figure behind the controversial “dossier” on Donald Trump that was compiled by Fusion GPS. Indeed, Singer had been the first person to hire Fusion GPS to do “opposition research” on Trump. However, Singer has largely since evaded much scrutiny for his role in the dossier’s creation, likely because he became a key donor to Trump following his election win in 2016, giving $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund.

    Singer has a storied history in South America, though he has been relatively quiet about Venezuela. However, a long-time manager of Singer’s hedge fund, Jay Newman, recently told Bloomberg that a Guaidó-led government would recognize that foreign creditors “aren’t the enemy,” and hinted that Newman himself was weighing whether to join a growing “list of bond veterans [that have] already begun staking out positions, anticipating a $60 billion debt restructuring once the U.S.-backed Guaidó manages to oust President Nicolas Maduro and take control.” In addition, the Washington Free Beacon, which is largely funded by Singer, has been a vocal advocate for the Trump administration’s regime-change policy in Venezuela.

    Beyond that, Singer’s Elliott Management Corporation gave Roger Noriega, the former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs under Bush, $60,000 in 2007 to lobby on the issue of sovereign debt and for “federal advocacy on behalf of U.S. investors in Latin America.” During the time Noriega was on Singer’s payroll, he wrote articles linking Argentina and Venezuela to Iran’s nonexistent nuclear program. At the time, Singer was aggressively pursuing the government of Argentina in an effort to obtain more money from the country’s prior default on its sovereign debt.

    While Singer has been mum himself on Venezuela, he has been making business decisions that have raised eyebrows, such as significantly increasing his stake in Bayer. This move seems at odds with Bayer’s financial troubles, a direct result of the slew of court cases regarding the link between Monsanto’s glyphosate and cancer. The first ruling that signaled trouble for Monsanto and its new parent company Bayer took place last August, but Singer increased his stake in the company starting last December, even though it was already clear by then that Bayer’s financial troubles in relation to the glyphosate court cases were only beginning.

    Since the year began, Bayer’s problems with the Monsanto merger have only worsened, with Bayer’s CEO recently stating that the lawsuits had “massively affected” the company’s stock prices and financial performance.

    Forcing open a new market for RoundUp
    Part of Singer’s interest in Bayer may relate to Venezuela, given that Juan Guaido’s “Plan País” to “rescue” the Venezuelan economy includes a focus on the country’s agricultural sector. Notably, prior to and under Chavismo, agricultural productivity and investment in the agricultural sector took a backseat to oil production, resulting in under 25 percent of Venezuelan land being used for agricultural purposes despite the fact that the nation has a wealth of arable land. The result has been that Venezuela needs to import much of its food from abroad, most of which originate in Colombia or the United States.

    Under Chávez and his successor, Maduro, there has been a renewed focus on small-scale farming, food sovereignty and organic agriculture. However, if Maduro is ousted and Guaidó moves to implement his “Plan País,” the opposition’s coziness with foreign corporations, the interests of U.S. coup architects in Bayer/Monsanto, and the opposition’s past efforts to overturn the GM seed ban all suggest that a new market for Bayer/Monsanto products — particularly glyphosate — will open up.

    South America has long been a key market for Monsanto and — as the company’s problems began to mount prior to the merger with Bayer — it became a lifeline for the company due to less stringent environmental and consumer regulations that many Western countries. In recent years, when South American governments have opened their countries to more “market-friendly” policies in their agricultural sectors, Monsanto has made millions.

    For instance, when Brazil sought to expand biotechnology (i.e. GM seed) investment in 2012, Monsanto saw a 21% increase in its sales of GM corn seed alone, generating an additional $1 billion in profits for the company. A similar comeback scenario is needed more than every by Bayer/Monsanto, as Monsanto’s legal troubles saw the company’s profits plunge late last year.

    With countries around the world now weighing glyphosate bans as a result of increased litigation over the chemical’s links to cancer, Bayer needs a new market for the chemical to avoid financial ruin. As Singer now has a significant stake in the company, he — along with the politicians and think tanks he funds — may see promise in the end of the anti-GM seed ban that a Guaidó-led government would bring.

    Furthermore, given that Guaidó’s top adviser wants the Trump administration to have a direct role in governing Venezuela if Maduro is ousted, it seems likely that Singer would leverage his connections to keep Bayer/Monsanto afloat amid the growing controversy surrounding glyphosate. Such behavior on the part of Singer would hardly be surprising in light of the fact that international financial media have characterized him as a “ruthless opportunist” and “overly aggressive.”

    Such an outcome would be in keeping with the increased profit margins for Monsanto and related companies that have followed its expansion into countries following U.S.-backed coups. For instance, after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014, the loans given to Ukraine by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank forced the country to open up and expand the use of “biotechnology” and GM crops in its agricultural sector, and Monsanto, in particular, made millions as the prior government’s ban on GM seeds and their associated agrochemicals was reversed. If Maduro is ousted, a similar scenario is likely to play out in Venezuela, given that the Guaidó-led government made known its intention to borrow heavily from these institutions just days after Guaidó declared himself “interim president.”

    *
    Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Quote Posted by Hervé (here)
    Beside BigOil, let's have a peek at the other vested interests/vultures active in Venezuela's downfall... BigAgro and its Bigpharma backers:


    How GMO Seeds and Monsanto /Bayer’s “RoundUp” Are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

    By Whitney Webb Global Research,
    May 07, 2019
    MintPress News 6 May 2019



    With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

    ***

    As the political crisis in Venezuela has unfolded, much has been said about the Trump administration’s clear interest in the privatization and exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, by American oil giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil.

    Yet the influence of another notorious American company, Monsanto — now a subsidiary of Bayer — has gone largely unmentioned.

    While numerous other Latin American nations have become a “free for all” for the biotech company and its affiliates, Venezuela has been one of the few countries to fight Monsanto and other international agrochemical giants and win. However, since that victory — which was won under Chavista rule — the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition has been working to undo it.
    Joseph P. Farrell presents this article, reading a few key portions of it and putting it context:
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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Venezuela isn't Syria... but America's war tactics are the same

    Eva Bartlett RT
    Wed, 15 May 2019 17:36 UTC


    © Getty Images/Anadolu Agency/Carlos Becerra; Global Look Press/ZUMAPRESS.com/Erik Mcgregor

    Since Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuela's interim president, rhetoric emanating from Washington has grown increasingly familiar.

    It echoes the bombastic & hollow humanitarian-crisis type of war propaganda which has been used repeatedly in resource-rich nations, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria. And now we're seeing it in Venezuela.

    The regime-change recipe is straightforward: demonize the leadership and those who defend the country; support an opposition that is inevitably violent and whitewash their crimes; sanction the country & attack the infrastructure to create unbearable conditions; create fake news about humanitarian issues; possibly wage false flag incidents to incriminate the government; control the narrative; and insist that intervention is necessary for the well-being of the people.

    In Libya, black Africans are being sold as slaves in a country devastated by Western fake humanitarianism and bombings.

    Venezuela has for years been defiantly resisting the economic and propaganda wars, led by the US and Canada, as well as coup d'état and assassination attempts, only to see the anti-Venezuela rhetoric once again ramped up in recent months.

    In spite of the wreckage trail that America's regime change efforts have left over the decades throughout Latin America and the world, when comparing tactics against these countries and now again against Venezuela, some people surprisingly insist that this time it is different.

    Venezuela isn't Syria, they say. This time, they argue, it really is about a 'corrupt regime,' and 'human rights' - or in the case of Venezuela, a 'humanitarian crisis'... as if the US has ever had the best interests of any people, including their own, at heart.

    They ignore the West's murderous sanctions against Venezuela and the propping up of the violent 'opposition' - an opposition that has burned civilians alive - as well as the millions of dollars spent supporting it.

    Then there's the more recent violent actions against Venezuela, like the February 23 attempt to ram aid trucks into Venezuela, and the April 30 US-backed coup attempt by Guaido and Leopoldo Lopez (a violent right-wing opposition leader) - an attempt clearly rejected bymasses of Venezuelans.

    Colectivos, the new 'Shabiha'
    Prior to 2011, the Western corporate media actually had many positive things to say about Syria's leadership, praising President Assad as an open-minded reformer. When the regime-change operation kicked off, Assad and allies were number one enemies. In both Venezuela and Syria, presidents Maduro and Assad were legitimately elected and retain wide support among the population.

    Yet, the Western corporate media and the politicians they echo routinely deem both countries to be "dictatorships" and the elected presidents illegitimate - while backing unpopular and undemocratic puppets they seek to put in place.

    But demonizing the government isn't enough; supporters of the government likewise are targeted, or simply disappeared. In Syria, supporters are called shabiha, inferring they - yes, millions of them! - are paid thugs of the government, and thus negating their voices.

    It is an utterly disingenuous tactic used to silence the voices of the masses - along the lines of Western corporate media calling those of us who actually question, let alone go to the places in question, 'conspiracy theorists.'

    Venezuela's shabiha are the colectivos, and are likewise depicted as government-backed thugs, and designated by the US' actual thugs as 'terrorists.'

    These collectives are organized, grassroots groups of people who come together as educators, feminists, pensioners, farmers, environmentalists, to provide healthcare in their communities, among other things, or in defense of their nation.

    While smearing collective grassroots groups, Western corporate media and barking politicians like Marco Rubio and John Bolton whitewash the actual crimes of armed opposition supporters. One such recent example was opposition members setting fire to a Caracas PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) headquarters, leaving a note cursing colectivos.

    In Venezuela, I spent time with the leader of a youth collective of 170 families. The collective helps the community's youth with their needs and organizes activities for them, as well as providing affordable produce to the local community. During the power outages, this same colectivo supported hundreds of families in obtaining drinking and washing water, and in storing perishable foods.

    On March 30, I joined hundreds of members of a motorcycle-taxi union colectivo driving their motorcycles through and around the capital in a show of support for their country and defiance against foreign intervention. These were women and men making a statement with their physical presence: they would not allow their country to be attacked, from within or without.

    One of the organizers, acutely aware of how colectivos are portrayed, told me, "We are not terrorists, the terrorists have come with that lackey opposition," and went on to say that governments bring terrorism to Venezuela.

    Another man at the motorcycle demonstration said, "We are suffering because of terrorism that has been implanted through a US puppet named Juan Guaidó. We say to you Guaidó and we say to you Trump: 'You took away our water, you took away the light, but you ignited our soul, and we are determined to defend the country with our lives if it is necessary.'"

    The same bikers later joined up with the tens of thousands of Venezuelan civilians who took to the streets in a festive show of support for President Maduro. Two weeks prior, on March 16, I'd walked for a few hours in another such mass demonstration, filming demonstrators, hearing their opinions on the non-president Guaido, on their support for Maduro, and on their refusal to see their Bolivarian project be destroyed.

    Earlier that day, circling around for an hour on the motorcycle-taxi I had flagged down, I searched for opposition supporters who were meant to have converged in multiple points across the city as per Guaido's calls to take to the streets. In one of the locations I instead found Maduro supporters, and finally in other locations found handfuls of supporters, then a couple dozen supporters in the opposition stronghold, Altimira.

    In Syria, mass demonstrations supporting President Assad occurred from the early months of 2011 and in years following.

    Sanction the country & attack its infrastructure
    The US and Canada have for years put Venezuela under crippling sanctions, a form of collective punishment.

    UN Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy on May 6 noted the hypocrisy of imposing devastating sanctions and related economic measures and yet it is claimed these help the Venezuelan people.

    UN expert Alfred de Zayas aptly calls sanctions a form of terrorism, "because they invariably impact, directly or indirectly, the poor and vulnerable."

    US talking heads downplay the drastic effects of sanctions, but the reality of their effect is staggering.

    A recent report estimated that sanctions caused 40,000 deaths in 2017-2018, with 300,000 more Venezuelans at risk. Recently, a six-year-old boy needing a bone marrow transplant and treatment (provided by an association in agreement with the PDVSA, Venezuela's oil and natural gas company), died as a result of his treatment being denied due to US sanctions on PDVSA.

    When I arrived in Caracas in March, it was three days into the first of two major power outages in Venezuela that month. Of the first, the Venezuelan government maintains that the US targeted Venezuela's power grid, through cyber attack, using electromagnetic pulse devices, and by physical attacks.

    Targeting electrical infrastructure isn't a foreign concept for the US, and during the first outage, even Forbes wrote that, "the idea of a government like the United States remotely interfering with its power grid is actually quite realistic."

    Hours before the power cut on March 7, Marco Rubio foresaw that Venezuela would "enter a period of suffering that no nation has confronted in modern history."

    In Syria, since 2011 terrorists have targeted electricity stations and power plants. Syrians in Aleppo lived for years without electricity, deprived of power after terrorists took control of the district housing the power plant. Those who could afford it bought generator electricity by the ampere.

    Following the 2006 Israeli bombing of Gaza's power plant, Palestinians suffered years of power outages for 18 or more hours a day. At present, Gaza has eight hours of electricity per day.

    Clearly, the concept of attacking infrastructure like electricity and water is one the US and allies are intimately familiar with, in order to creating hellish living conditions for the people of the country being targeted.

    Starvation & garbage eating crisis

    In Syria, every time an area occupied by Al-Qaeda and Co. is being liberated, corporate media screams en masse about starving civilians, thrusting the blame on the Syrian government when in fact every time hunger has been the result of terrorists hoarding and controlling food and aid.

    The starving civilians propaganda has resurfaced in Venezuela, with Western media claiming an epidemic of empty-shelved stores and people eating from garbage.

    Jorge Ramos, a Univision journalist, claimed to have filmed three men eating out of a dumpster very near - even minutes from - the Venezuelan presidential palace, Miraflores. In reality, Ramos filmed in Chacao, an opposition stronghold nearly 7km from the palace, more like half an hour away in Caracas traffic.

    In late March, I walked with a youth colectivo leader I'd gotten to know around the barrio below his Las Brisas district in western Caracas.

    To illustrate his point that the Western hype about mass starvation was nonsense, he knocked on doors in the lower-class district asking people we met if they were starving, and whether they'd eaten today. Most we met were confused by the odd question (clearly they haven't seen Rubio's Twitter feed).

    In the hilltop housing complex of Ciudad Mariche, locals likewise were adamant that there isn't a humanitarian crisis. One man told me: "We're not starving. We have many general problems, but not starving. This is not a humanitarian crisis. Say to your governments, this isn't a fight against Maduro, this is a fight against a people that are trying to be free."

    Any state other than the US in Syria, Venezuela, 'illegal'
    According to the bully of the world, only the US has the right to intervene in sovereign nations, in spite of the fact their uninvited intervention is illegal.

    The US has threatened Venezuela's allies, including Cuba and Russia, bizarrely claiming Russia was intervening in Venezuela without the government's consent, a claim which runs contrary to the bilateral agreement Russia and Venezuela have.

    The hypocritical posturing of the US hasn't dented Russia's alliance with Venezuela, with Moscow announcing the intent to create a "UN coalition of countries to 'counter' the eventual invasion of Venezuela by the US."

    In any case, like Syria, Venezuela will not be overtaken so easily, with its armed forces of 200,000 and its nearly 2 million militias preparing to defend their land.
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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Venezuelan army to keep PdV tankers on course

    Venezuelan army troops have been deployed aboard 15 oil tankers owned by state-owned PdV to fend off mutinies and ensure that cargoes destined mainly for Cuba are delivered, according to officials from PdV, the defense ministry and the presidential palace.

    The effective militarization of PdV's tankers reflects government concerns that dissident crew could thwart Venezuela's oil exports by sabotaging tankers or diverting cargoes, especially at a time of acute fuel shortages inside Venezuela. But the campaign could leave tankers vulnerable to search and seizure by warships patrolling the Caribbean, one expert warned.

    Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro ordered the defense ministry to launch Operation Sovereign Petroleum that seizes vessel control from officers following a 1 May incident in which the PdV-owned Manuela Saenz tried to defy oil ministry instructions to deliver a diesel cargo to Cuba.

    The captain of the Manuela Saenz and several crew members were immediately arrested by the government's intelligence agency Sebin and accused of treason. The arrested personnel have not yet been arraigned before a civilian court.

    A defense ministry official said they could be prosecuted in military courts if they are formally indicted on treason charges.

    The 15 tankers now under permanent army control include the Manuela Saenz, Icaro, Negra Hipolita, Eos, Luisa Caceres, Rio Orinoco, Rio Apure, Rio Caroni, Paramaconi, Proteo, Nereo, Zeus, Hero, Yare and Yavire. The Rio Arauca is also on the list, but the vessel is currently seized off the coast of Portugal.

    The tankers include eight Lakemax tankers built for PdV in the 1990s by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries to transport crude from Lake Maracaibo in Zulia state and Puerto La Cruz in Anzoátegui state to US clients.

    Since US sanctions were imposed on PdV on 28 January, these tankers have been used to transport oil to Cuba, and for floating storage and cabotage in Venezuelan waters. In the past the tankers were also used to transport cargoes to PdV´s storage facilities in the Dutch Caribbean, and some, such as the Icaro, have previously been seized by creditors.

    The merchant marine captains and crew currently aboard the tankers will continue to operate the vessels with up to four army troops per tanker acting as observers to ensure the tankers and cargoes are not sabotaged, and any dissidence among the crew is suppressed, the defense ministry official said.

    The army security teams placed aboard the tankers are equipped with side arms and Russian-made AK-103 automatic rifles, the official said. "The security personnel are prepared for any contingency that could arise aboard the tankers."

    The soldiers took position on the vessels without incident over 16-19 May, the defense official added.

    Eduardo González, chief executive of PdV´s shipping arm PdV Marina, was present at the army deployment aboard the Icaro and Teseo tankers anchored near the Amuay terminal at the 940,000 b/d CRP refining complex in Falcon state, a PdV Marina official tells Argus.

    Since US sanctions against PdV were imposed in January 2019, the company has sought to circumvent their impact on its export and import operations by engaging in offshore ship-to-ship cargo transfers, and instructing tankers to switch off their transponders.

    Venezuela's top civilian authority on the country's armed forces, Rocio San Miguel, said the Maduro government's decision to deploy army troops aboard PdV's tankers "turns them into military ships" potentially at risk of being intercepted, boarded and inspected by non-Venezuelan warships patrolling in Caribbean waters.

    The oil ministry and PdV declined to comment, referring inquiries to the defense ministry.

    Venezuela has a two-decade-old agreement with close ally Cuba to supply oil to the island in exchange for the deployment of Cuban specialists in security, healthcare and sports, among other fields. The country's political opposition has long argued that PdV is giving the oil away.

    The US government last month started sanctioning some tankers and shipping companies involved in transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba, which Washington blames for propping up the Maduro government.

    ---
    I am biting my tongue on this "organized, grassroots groups of people who come together as educators, feminists, pensioners, farmers, environmentalists, to provide healthcare in their communities, among other things, or in defense of their nation"

    Awwwww, how cute

    Operation Sovereign Petroleum is all about sending oil to Cuba... I think some white powder is going forward also -my personal opinion-

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Good to see that the people of the world are now aware of how this rogue government of the world operates. I read somewhere that Putin with the possible aid of China Iran India and many others are helping small nations that is targeted by this rogue government. Of course they should because if they dont, they will find out someday the vast part of the world had been converted into anti Rusian anti... . I think most of the world leaders are by now aware of this fact. We see all the copy pasted strategies like false flags or "lets go to war and save the world against this villain", miserably failed again and again. It seems that they can no longer come up with another idea that can work. Thus the copy pasting. The ship is sinking. god save the queen.

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    Might the following have something to do with why regime change is so badly needed in Venezuela? Besides who controls her natural resources?

    Quote This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not told in The New York Times or the rest of our establishment media. This year’s so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious backlash of the whiter (and wealthier) Venezuelans against their replacement by the larger Mestizo (mixed-race) poor. (Forty-four percent of the population that answered the 2014 census listed themselves as “white.”)

    Four centuries of white supremacy in Venezuela by those who identify their ancestors as European came to an end with the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, who won with the overwhelming support of the Mestizo majority. This turn away from white supremacy continues under Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor.
    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14318

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    Default Re: Turmoil in Venezuela

    It might have something to do with that, it might be about the oil.

    This is a quote of the last 2 paragraphs.

    Quote The putsch in Venezuela is run by the wealthy, internationally connected minority operating by a regime-change plan designed by neocon retread John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser — a plan to control Venezuela and its oil, as Bolton openly proclaims.
    Ah, yes, the oil. It’s always the oil. And Venezuela has plenty to seize: the world’s largest reserves.

    Quote Posted by Gracy May (here)
    Might the following have something to do with why regime change is so badly needed in Venezuela? Besides who controls her natural resources?

    Quote This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not told in The New York Times or the rest of our establishment media. This year’s so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious backlash of the whiter (and wealthier) Venezuelans against their replacement by the larger Mestizo (mixed-race) poor. (Forty-four percent of the population that answered the 2014 census listed themselves as “white.”)

    Four centuries of white supremacy in Venezuela by those who identify their ancestors as European came to an end with the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, who won with the overwhelming support of the Mestizo majority. This turn away from white supremacy continues under Maduro, Chavez’s chosen successor.
    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14318

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