Jun 282015
 
By Andre Vltchek, 99GetSmart
I-am-with-the-revolution

Do not take the Latin American revolutions for granted.

They inspired the entire Planet. They brought hope to every corner of our scarred Earth. But now they are themselves in need of our support.

If left alone, they would thrive for decades and centuries. But the Empire is once again on the offensive. It is shaking with fury. It is ready to invade, to smash, burn to ashes all the hopes, all that which had been achieved.

Don’t believe in the “common wisdom” which proclaims that the rulers of the world simply “closed their eyes” more than a decade ago; that George W. Bush was “too busy” ravishing the Middle East, therefore “allowing” most of the Latin American countries to “sneak away” from the iron grip of the Empire.

Such “analyses” are as patronizing as they are false. The Empire never sleeps! What Latin America now has was built on its daring, its sweat, its genius and its blood – it fought against the Empire, courageously, for decades, losing its best sons and daughters. It fought for freedom, for justice and socialism.

The Empire was not “looking the other way”. It was looking straight south, in fury, but for some time it was too confused, too astounded, too shocked at what it was witnessing. Its “slaves” had risen and taken power back into their own hands. They showed to the entire world what freedom really is.

For some time, the Empire was paralyzed by rage and unable to act.

The Empire’s undeniable property, Latin America, inhabited by “un-people” born only in order to supply cheap labor and raw materials to the rich part of the world, was suddenly, proudly and publicly, breaking its shackles, declaring itself free, demanding respect. Its natural resources were now used to feed its own people, to build social housing, create public transportation systems, construct hospitals, schools and public parks.

But after the first wave of panic, the Empire began to do what it does the best – it began the killings.

It attempted to overthrow Venezuelan government in 2002, but it failed. The Venezuelan people rose, and so did the Venezuelan military, defending then President Hugo Chavez. The Empire tried again and again, and it is trying until now. Trying and failing!

“We are at war”, I was told by one of the editors of Caracas-based television network, TeleSUR, for which I made several documentary films. “We are literally working under the barrel of cannon”.

***

Ms. Tamara Pearson, an Australian revolutionary journalist and activist, who recently moved from Venezuela to Ecuador, explained the difficult situation in Venezuela, a country that is under constant attack from both the US, and the local comprador elites:

“People are suffering a lot. Basic food prices are high, much medicine is unavailable, and various services aren’t working. On one level, people are used to this – the business owners would cause shortages and blame the government before each of the many elections. But usually it’s less intense and lasts just a few months. But this has been going on and getting worse, since Chavez died – over two years now. There is no doubt that the US, and more so, Venezuelan and Colombian elites and business owners are a huge or even the main factor…”

All of revolutionary Latin America is “screaming”.

As I described in two of my recent books, “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”, the Empire is using similar destabilization strategy against all countries that are resisting its deadly embrace.

Its propaganda is mighty and omnipresent. CNN and FOX TV are beamed into almost all major hotels and airports of Latin America, even in some revolutionary countries like Ecuador. Almost all major newspapers of the continent, including those in Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, are controlled by the right wing business elites. Almost all of the foreign news coverage comes from European and North American sources, making the Latin American public totally confused about Islam, China, Russia, South Africa, Iran, even about their own neighbors.

The local elites continue to serve foreign interests, their loyalties firmly with North America and Europe.

Every left wing Latin American government has been facing bizarre protests and subversion actions conducted by the elites. Destabilization tactics have been clearly designed in far away capitals. They were mass-produced and therefore almost identical to those the West has been using against China, Russia, South Africa, and other “rebellious” nations.

Propaganda, disinformation and spreading of confusion have been some of the mightiest tools of the fascist right wing.

“Economic uncertainty” is an extremely powerful weapon. It was used first in Chile, in the 1973 coup against socialist President Salvador Allende. Pro-Western Chilean elites and businessmen created food shortages, and then blamed it on the socialist government, using El Mercurio and other daily newspapers as their propaganda tools.

Peter Koenig, former World Bank economist and now prominent dissident and critic of the world neoliberal regime, wrote for this essay:

“Today Madame Bachelet, the socialist President of Chile has a hard time fighting against the Mercurio inspired Chilean oligarchs. They will not let go. Recently they invited the World Bank to assess the school reform package proposed by Bachelet, basically to return universities to the public sector. Of course, the ‘upper class’ of Chileans knew that the World Bank would come up with nothing less than predicting an economic disaster if the reform is approved. As a result, Bachelet made concessions – which on the other hand are not accepted by professors and teachers. It’s the first step towards chaos – and chaos is what the empire attempts to implant in every country where they strive for ‘regime change’.”

But one of the “dirtiest” of their weapons is the accusation of corruption. Corrupt pro-Western politicians and individuals who misused tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars of the peoples money and destroyed the economies of their countries by taking unserviceable loans that kept disappearing into their deep pockets, are now pointing their soiled fingers at relatively clean governments, in countries like Chile and Argentina. Everything in “Southern Cone” and in Brazil is now under scrutiny.

Peter Koenig (who co-authored a book “The World Order and Revolution!: Essays from the Resistance” with leading Canadian international lawyer Christopher Black and me) shows how important is, for the Empire, destabilization of Brazil, one of the key members of BRICS:

“Brazil being a member of the BRICS is particularly in the crosshairs of the empire – as the BRICS have to be destabilized, divided – they are becoming an economic threat to Washington. Brazil is key for the non-Asian part of the BRICS. A fall of Brazil would be a major blow to the cohesion of the BRICS.”

There are totally different standards for pro-Western fascist politicians and for those from the Left. The Left can get away with nothing, while the Right has been getting away literally with mass murder and with the disappearance of tens of billions of dollars.

It is, of course, the common strategy in all the client states of the West. For instance, one of the most corrupt countries on earth, Indonesia, tolerates absolute sleaze and graft from former generals, but when progressive socialist Muslim leader, Abdurrahman Wahid, became the President, he was smeared and removed in a short time, on “corruption” charges.

After centuries of the Monroe Doctrine, after mass murder committed in “Latin” America first by Europeans and then by North Americans and their rich local butlers, it will take long decades to fully eradicate the corruption, because corruption comes with the moral collapse of the colonial powers and the local elites. Financial greed is only its byproduct.

The great pre-colonial cultures of what are now Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia did not have corruption. Corruption was injected by Western colonialism.

And now, corruption under left wing, revolutionary governments still exists, since it is difficult to root out all the rats at once, but it is incomparably smaller than under the previous fascist right wing cliques!

***

The rich in Latin America are heartless, servile (to the Empire) and greedy in the extreme. Latin America has still the most unequal distribution of wealth on earth. True, it is much richer (and even its poor are richer, with some exceptions of Central America, Peru or Paraguay) than Africa or even in Southeast Asia, but this cannot be used as an excuse.

Even the most progressive socialist governments now in power would ever dare to touch, to slap the private enterprises too hard. From this angle, China with its central planning and controlled economy is much more socialist than Ecuador or Bolivia.

A few days ago, as I was flying from Ecuador to Peru, I read that the number of multimillionaires in Latin America was actually increasing, and so is the social gap between the rich and the rest of the societies. The article was using some anecdotal evidence, saying that, for instance, in Chile alone, now, more Porsche sports cars are sold than in entirety of Latin America few years ago. As if confirming it, I noticed a Porsche auto dealership next to my hotel in Asuncion, the capital of the second poorest country in South America. I asked for numbers, but Porsche manager refused to supply them, still proudly claiming that his company was “doing very well”.

So what do they – the elites” – really want? They have money, plenty of money. They have luxury cars, estates in their own countries, and condominiums abroad. What more?

As in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia or Kenya, and all over the West, they want power. They want to feel unique. They want to be admired.

The Socialist governments allow them to stay rich. But they force them to share their wealth and above all, they shame them. They are also trying to minimize the gap – through education, free medical care and countless social projects.

That is, of course, unacceptable to the elites. They want it all, as they always had it. And to have it all, they are ready to murder, to side with the darkest foreign interests, even to commit treason.

***

Increasingly, the interests of the local elites are very closely linked to foreign interests – those of the Empire and those of the private sector.

As I was told in Ecuador, by Ms. Paola Pabón, Assembly Member representing Pichincha area:

“Behind the involvement of the US, are some ex-bankers such as Isaiah brothers, who lost power here, escaped courts and went to live in the United States, but there are also huge economic powers such as Chevron. It means that there are not only political interests of the US, but also private, economic ones.”

Predominantly, the local elites are using their countries as milking cows, with very little or zero interest in the well being of their people.

That is why their protests against Latin American revolutions are thoroughly hypocritical. They are not fighting for improvements in their countries, but for their own, selfish personal interests. Those shouts and the pathetic hunger strikes of the “opposition” in Venezuela may appear patriotic, but only thanks to propaganda abilities to the Western mass media.

The elites would do anything to make all revolutions, all over Latin America, fail and collapse. They are even spending their own money to make it happen.

They know that if they manage to remove progressive forces from power, they could rule once again, totally unopposed, as their counterparts do in all other client states of the West – in the Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania.

The temptation is tremendous. Most of the elites in Latin America still remember well, how it feels, how it tastes – to control their countries unopposed, and with full support from the West.

***

Eduardo Galeano, the great Uruguayan writer and revolutionary thinker, once told me: “I keep repeating to all those new leaders of Latin America: “Comrades, do not play with poor people’s hopes! Hope is all they have.”

It appears that hope has finally been takes seriously, in Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

It was also taken seriously in Honduras, but hope was crushed by the US-orchestrated coup. In Paraguay, under a semi-progressive priest who preached liberation theology, hope was taken semi-seriously, but even that was too much in the country that had been ruled, for decades, by fascist cliques. In 2002, a constitutional coup followed by an appalling massacre of predominantly indigenous people, and fascism returned.

After these two setbacks, Latin America shook, but kept moving forward. Hugo Chavez died, or was murdered by the North, depending which theory you subscribe to. His demise was a tremendous blow to the entire continent, but still, the continent kept moving. “Here, nobody surrenders!” Chavez shouted, dying, but proud.

“President Correa of Ecuador is one of very few leaders of the “original project””, said Paola Pabón. “Lula in Brazil will not be able to stand for reelection, anymore, mainly due to corruption scandals. Mujica is not in power, anymore, and Cristina Fernandez will be retiring. Evo Morales does not have regional influence, and even Maduro does not have… For this reason, Ecuador is so important, strategically. If ‘they’ hit us, if there is a successful coup, it would be tremendous victory for them, to destroy a President with regional importance; who speaks for the region… and also, because Ecuador is one country where the government actually functions well.”

Walter Bustos, who used to work for this government, is alarmed by developments in Ecuador and the entirety of Latin America. Both he and Paula Pabón realize how fragile the Latin American revolutions are. While driving with me to an indigenous area of Riobamba, Walter lamented:

“In case there is a military coup in Ecuador, the difference between here and Venezuela would be enormous: while in Venezuela, Chavez incorporated the military into his revolution, in case of citizens revolution in Ecuador, we have no security; we cannot count on support of the military in case there is some armed, political or economic attack against us.”

Hugo Chavez was not only a great revolutionary, but also a tremendous strategist. He knew that any great revolution has to be fought, won, and then defended. Winning the battle is never enough. One has to consolidate forces, and uphold the victory. Chavez was first thinker, and then soldier.

Correa, Morales, Fernandez go forward, brave, proud but unprotected. Under their governments, the lives of ordinary people improve tremendously. That is what matters to them. They are decent and honest beings, unwilling to dirty themselves with intrigues, speculations and conspiracy theories.

But their great success will not gain them any recognition from the Empire, or from their own elites. The success of socialism is the worst nightmare for rulers of the world and their local butlers.

This is how President Salvador Allende died in 1973. He dismissed all rumors, and then all warnings that the coup was coming. “I am not going to arrest people just because of some suspicion that they may do something”, he used to say. After the coup took place, he died proudly, a true hero, committing suicide by marching towards the helicopter gunships and fighter jets that were bombarding the Presidential Palace of La Moneda. But he was not the only victim. As a result of the coup, thousands of Chilean people died, and tens of thousands were savagely tortured and raped. Chile did not die, but went to horrific coma, from which it only recently manages to recover.

Henry Kissinger summarized the moral corruption/collapse of his country’s regime when he uttered his memorable phrase:

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

Despite his great intentions, President Salvador Allende failed his people. He underestimated the bestiality of the Empire, and the result were millions of broken lives.

Since then, the Empire’s selfishness and brutality only evolved. The more successful leaders like Correa become, the more real is the danger of a coup – of a devastating, deadly attack from the North, and subversion from within.

The fragility of Latin American revolutions is obvious. The elites cannot be trusted. They showed on many occasions how far they are willing to go, committing treason, collaborating with the West against their own nations: in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia, to name just a few cases.

Appeasing both the elites and the Empire, while fighting for social justice and true independence, is impossible. The elites want to have full control of their countries, while the Empire demands full submission. No compromise could be reached. The history speaks clearly about that. And the Empire demonstrated on countless occasions that Latin American democracy would be respected only if the people vote the way that suits Washington.

Latin America has to learn how to defend itself, for the sake of its people.

Its closer and closer cooperation with China and Russia is essential. Coherent regional defense agreement should follow.

The next few years will be crucial. The revolutions have to be institutionalized; they cannot depend only on charisma of its leaders.

Constant sabotages and coup attempts, like those in Venezuela, should not be tolerated. They lead to chaos and to uncertainty. They break countries economically and socially.

It is clear what the Empire and its serves are doing: they are trying to push Latin American revolutionary countries against the wall, as they pushed, in the past, North Korea. They are trying to make them “react”, so they could say: “You see, this is true socialism, this defensive, hermitic and paranoid system.”

The path will not be easy. It will be dangerous and long.

Latin America can only survive through international cooperation and solidarity. It would also have to fight legally, at home and abroad. Those who are committing treason and those who are interrupting development of the country should face justice.

The left wing governments that are ruling South American countries won democratic elections: much more democratic than those in Europe and the United States. If the individuals and groups act against the expressed will of their own people, they should be taken to courts.

If a powerful country tortures other countries and shows total spite for their people, it should face an international legal system. The United States demonstrated, countless times, that it considers itself well above the law. It even forced several government in Latin America and elsewhere, to give its military personnel immunity. One of these countries is Paraguay, historically flooded with CIA, DEA and FBI agents.

In order to legally restrain the Empire, huge international pressure would have to be built. Like in the case of Managua, which legally sued the US for many acts of terror committed against Nicaragua. The Empire will most likely refuse to accept any guilty verdict. But the pressure has to be on!

All this would be meaningless without dedicated, constant coverage of the events by independent or opposition media, be they huge new state-funded networks like RT, TeleSur, CCTV or Press TV, of progressive independent media like Counterpunch, VNN, or ICH. It is essential that Latin Americans demand information from these sources, instead of consuming the toxic lies spread through CNN en Español, FOX, EFE and other right wing Western sources.

The battle for the Latin American people and for their freedom is on. Do not get fooled, it has been on for quite some time, and it is very tough fight.

Latin America is one of the fronts of the integrated fight for the survival of our Planet.

People who admire this part of the world, all those who have been inspired by Latin American revolutions, should participate in the struggle.

The best sons and daughters of this continent are now fighting in their own, quixotic way, as they always did: frontally, with exposed heart, totally unprotected. But their fight is just, and they are in this battle in order to defend the people.

Their opponents are rich, deceitful and brutal. But they are also selfish and they fight only for their own interests. They are not loved by their nations. If they lose, Latin America will win!

Those countries defending themselves against the Empire should unite, before it’s too late. Now as Latin America is rising from its knees, it becomes clear who are its foes and who are real friends, real brothers and sisters!

This scarred but stunning continent of courageous poets, of dreamers and revolutionaries should not be allowed to fall. In Caracas, Quito and La Paz, they are fighting for entire humanity.

Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book:Exposing Lies of the Empire, “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. ‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter, or at andre-wcn@usa.net  

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Mar 262014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

JJ44ibn

Introduction

Protest, dissent and the destructive terror of war are obviously very distinct forms of expressing opposition and bringing about change.  The Obama-Kerry regime support the opposition in Venezuela as a ‘protest movement’ composed of   ‘peaceful democratic opponents’ expressing their discontent with economic conditions, while they denounce the democratically-elected Maduro Administration as an ‘authoritarian regime’ violently repressing legitimate dissent.  Washington disingenuously claims to have played no part in the actions of the Venezuelan opposition and that its pronouncements are merely directed at promoting democratic freedoms.

The overwhelming evidence show that the Venezuelan opposition has engaged in prolonged and extensive violence, including terrorist acts, assassinations, arson, and destruction of public property.  Most recently this includes the murder of military officers and civilian supporters of the government.  Widely circulated photographs, even in Washington-controlled media outlets, show opposition activists throwing Molotov cocktails at police and counter-demonstrators and building barricades for bloody street confrontations.

The Obama-Kerry Administration denies any involvement in the ongoing violence while unconditionally defending the opposition gangs of thugs.  At the same time it demonizes every legitimate government action to defend its citizens, uphold the Constitution and enforce internationally recognized norms of law and order.  The Obama-Kerry regime’s political intervention and its escalating rhetoric is designed to incite the opposition to further violent activity in order to destabilize the country for ‘regime change’.

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s vitriolic rhetoric is timed to counter the recent ebb of opposition activity, assuring the opposition that Washington supports its campaign of ‘warfare in the streets’.   President Obama’s propaganda, the regime’s economic sanctions and the channeling of financial and military resources to the violent opposition groups is designed to reinvigorate the campaign of terror and sabotage against the Venezuelan government.  The Kerry- Obama sanctions and their war of words provide external support for violent terrorists operating inside Venezuela.

Kerry-Obama Rely on the Big Lie

Secretary of State Kerry’s accusation that the Venezuelan government is conducting a ‘campaign of terror’ against the peaceful opposition is a naked lie:  The Bolivarian government, which had been the target of two months of street violence sabotage, is itself accused of the crimes committed by the US-backed proxy opposition.  This is a favorite ploy of the empire in preparing the ground for ‘regime change’.    Washington is intent on the violent overthrow of a democratic government and the establishment of another satellite regime in Latin America.

Washington’s proxy terrorist power grab is evident everywhere.  The opposition is openly authoritarian in its demands.  It raises economic and social issues as pretexts to undermine of the democratic, constitutional government by force and violence.  They seek to weaken the government and have no interest in negotiations or signing any agreement on specific sets of issues.  Government offers to meet and establish dialog have been rejected outright.  Each government concession has been exploited as a sign of weakness.  When the government released dozens of thugs arrested for throwing Molotov fire-bombs, they returned to the streets to burn more property and attack the police.

The opposition has been given every chance to win over Venezuela’s voters in dozens of Presidential, state and local elections.  Refusing to accept the will of the majority in lawful elections, they have launched their violent assaults to undermine the people’s rule.  Opposition mayors have worked with street thugs who block normal commerce while assaulting individual supporters of the national government.

The opposition has accumulated vast stores of arms and munitions in preparation for an armed uprising.  It has trained snipers to assassinate military and police officers upholding the rule of law and have attacked municipal workers and citizen volunteers engaged in clearing streets of debris.

In terms of means, goals and ideology the opposition fits the description of an imperial-financed terrorist minority organized to seize power, destroy majority rule and impose an autocratic dictatorship which would serve as a proxy for US imperial power.

Democratic Politics or Terrorist Putsch ?

In the 8 weeks up to March 15, 2014, the terrorist opposition committed 500 violent actions throughout the country.  At least 68 members of the Venezuelan National Guard have been injured, shot, or killed by Secretary Kerry’s “democratic protestors”.  On May 13, government officials were attacked with high powered rifle fire and seven snipers were arrested with arms and explosives.  Paramilitary terrorists have been openly trained and housed at two or more elite universities (Carabobo University and UCV in Caracas). Phony claims of “autonomy” have been used to shield the fact that these privileged campuses are used to stockpile weapons, set up training bases and shelter for paramilitary gangs and snipers.

The economic impact is immense: Business revenues, salaries and wage losses run in the tens of millions.  Sniper fire has prevented civil servants, pro-government workers and ordinary citizens from shopping, going to work and participating in pro-government counter demonstrations.  The terrorists have sown fear and insecurity, primarily in middle class neighborhoods where they mostly operate – not daring to enter the militant poor and working class barrios.

The government is seen by the masses as extraordinarily tolerant (or excessively conciliatory) in their dealings with these violent opposition gangs, considering the scope and depth of mayhem: As of March 15, only 105 street thugs out the 1,529 violent demonstrators arrested remain in jail facing charges.

Many concerned Venezuelan and international democrats and experts on terrorism believe the Maduro government’s restraint has given the terrorists plenty of time and opportunity to arm, recruit and distribute US funds channeled through phony NGO’s, in preparation for even bigger and more destructive acts of terror, such as bombing bridges, power stations and clinics, as well as assassinating top civilian and military officials.  Their assessment of the Maduro government’s security policy is that it is too narrowly focused on the ‘lowest level’ of activists – those caught with Molotov cocktails or engaged in other acts of violence – rather than the political and financial networks which extend deep into the major opposition political parties and business elite who provide funding, political cover and ideological justifications for the growing war of terror against ordinary Venezuelan citizens.  Moreover, the ‘revolving door’ judicial system simply emboldens the thugs and saboteurs — since a day in jail is a very small price for having blown up a community health center or engulfed a National Guardsman in flames.

The government, in its efforts to secure agreements with a section of the opposition, appears to have tied the hands of its security forces:  small groups of National Guardsmen have become especially vulnerable to acts of terror from thugs protected by highly-placed opposition political leaders.

Conclusion

In the past two months over a thousand public buildings have been destroyed or damaged, mostly fire-bombed by what US Secretary of State John Kerry has called the “democratic and peaceful opposition”.  Most of the arson is directed at buildings closely associated with the government’s popular and effective social welfare programs.  These include neighborhood centers for adult education and training; free public medical and dental clinics; public banks providing low interest loans for micro-economic projects; primary and secondary public schools in poor neighborhoods; publicly-owned food-stores  providing subsidized food and groceries as well as the trucks carrying subsidized food and essential goods to working-class neighborhoods; public transportation, municipal sanitary workers, community radio stations, pro-government media centers and local Socialist Party headquarters.

Recently large scale caches of arms, including automatic rifles and mortars were discovered in the underground parking lot owned by an opposition-controlled municipality.   Another cache of 2,000 mortars and other weapons were found in the opposition stronghold, Táchira State, which borders Colombia, across which arms, drugs and mercenaries enter freely.  Many of the National Guardsmen injured were shot by opposition snipers.  On March 16, a National Guard captain was assassinated by a sniper shooting from a high rise apartment.  The assassin was captured and turned out to be a Chinese mercenary hired by the opposition and part of a para-military hit team

Kerry-Obama’s claim that the protestors are mostly peaceful students is refuted by the fact that nearly two-thirds (971) of the total arrestees (1,529) are not  students; many are self-styled street fighters receiving outside material support and funds.

Kerry’s claim that the US is ‘not involved’ and the State Department’s ludicrous effort to portray Venezuela’s charges of US intervention as “paranoia” have been refuted by official US documents showing a continuous annual flow of tens of millions of dollars to opposition organizations linked to the terror networks, including $15 million disbursed during the first two months of this year.  The even greater extent of ‘covert’ material aid, including weapons, is unknown.

Top security experts knowledgeable about the subject of external funding for destabilization and terrorism, have reviewed the scope and depth of the ongoing damage and casualties in Venezuela.  They have urged the Maduro government to allow the loyal Venezuelan armed forces to participate in quelling the violence.  Their recommendations include a declaration of martial law and  military sweeps into opposition strongholds to round-up and disarm the violent street thugs and terrorists; unlimited detention, pending trials, for suspected snipers and arsonists and military trials for those suspected of murdering soldiers, police and guardsmen.  Opposition mayors, governors and university officials who have provided sanctuaries, training bases, funds and arms to the mercenaries should no longer be immune from prosecution.  In recognition of the recent huge demonstrations by ordinary citizens and soldiers supporting a greater role for the Venezuelan Armed Forces and demanding firmer measures to end terror, President Maduro issued an ultimatum to the opposition to end their violence or face the full force of the state.

In addressing the Kerry-Obama regime, President Maduro, once again, demanded it stop aiding the violent opposition and denounced Washington’s threats to further undermine the Venezuelan economy with trade sanctions.   He has called on Washington to join a tri-partite commission, including top representatives from the US, Venezuela and the Union of South American states (UNASUR), to discuss peace and sovereignty.  While UNASUR is willing to support Maduro’s proposal for dialogue and his peace initiative, US Secretary of State Kerry is moving ahead with economic sanctions against Caracas in support of the US terror war by proxy.

The time for political conciliation is running out:  the Venezuelan Armed Forces  may finally be given their chance to end this imperial war by proxy.

Post-Script

Hopefully, the arm-chair revolutionaries and chattering classes in North America and Europe, who have been so quick to criticize the Venezuelan government, will set aside their ‘reservations’ and organize a solidarity movement to protest the Kerry- Obama imperial war by proxy against Venezuelan democracy.  To date they have spent too much time in internet chatter and not enough time in the streets.

Mar 182014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

crimea-map

“La respuestas que esperamos de Estados Unidos y de Europa, es de no reconocer las elecciones en Crimea” lo que “tiene una significación particularmente en la propaganda, pero lo importante es el reconocimiento que tienen las elecciones entre los pueblos de Ucrania” pues “ahora en la parte Este de Ucrania, en los grandes centros industriales, surgen grandes manifestaciones reclamando un referéndum, que permita mayor autonomía estas provincias y estados y vetar la intervención militar de la Junta en Kiev”, dijo el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras quién hizo un profundo análisis en CX36, Radio Centenario (*), del resultado del referéndum celebrado el domingo 16 de marzo en Crimea.  En la oportunidad dio las cinco razones por las que los crimeos apoyaron en forma aplastante la independencia de Ucrania y la unión con Rusia. Asimismo se refirió a los avances en Venezuela y en Siria en la lucha contra el terrorismo. Transcribimos a continuación el análisis de James Petras de este lunes 17 de marzo, que Usted puede volver a escuchar aquí: http://www.ivoox.com/james-petras-17-marzo-audios-mp3_rf_2930241_1.html

Efrain Chury Iribarne: Recibimos con mucho gusto a James Petras. Buenos días ¿Cómo estás?

James Petras: Estamos muy bien, a la espera de esta llamada.

EChI: Comencemos entonces y si estás de acuerdo, lo hacemos con lo que está pasando en Crimea.

JP: Si. Primero, es un gran triunfo del pueblo de Crimea, que votó en un 97% a favor de la independencia y tal vez un paso hacia la unión con Rusia.

Tenemos que analizar ese voto. El hecho es que todos los sectores en Crimea votaron por la independencia. Incluso los tártaros, que según la prensa occidental estaban en contra de Rusia, en contra de la independencia y a favor de continuar con Ucrania.

Obviamente los tártaros junto con los otros grupos y clases sociales, votaron a favor de la independencia de Crimea.

Ahora, debemos ver por qué.

En primera instancia es un voto contra los golpistas y la Junta pro occidental en Kiev (capital de Ucrania). En segundo lugar, es un rechazo al control y la sumisión a la Unión Europea, prefieren juntarse con Rusia en un sistema democrático, en vez de someterse a los dictados de los gobernantes oligarcas de Bruselas. En tercer lugar, es un rechazo al programa de austeridad del Fondo Monetario que están preparando e implementando hoy en día en Kiev.  En cuarto lugar, es una clara preferencia por un standard de vida más alta en Rusia que en Ucrania. Es que el ingreso promedio en Rusia es tres veces más alto que en Ucrania. Y en quinto lugar, es una declaración a favor de la libertad cultural y de respeto para sus tradiciones nacionales y culturales, favorable a la lengua rusa y contra el chauvinismo ucraniano que es dominante hoy en Kiev.

Estas son las cinco razones por la que los crimeos votaron así en le referéndum del domingo.

Hay que destacar también que los observadores internacionales declararon que no hubo ningún caso de corrupción ni manejo deshonesto del conteo de votos; dijeron que estuvieron libres de coerción, que fue un conteo honesto y tal vez lo más importante, que la participación fue  altísima, votaron cerca del 90% del electorado. Si comparamos esto con los países occidentales, donde se celebran elecciones como en Colombia donde se da el 70% de abstención y voto en blanco. La diferencia entre Crimea y Colombia es contundente.

La respuestas que esperamos de Estados Unidos y de Europa, es de no reconocer las elecciones,eso solo tiene una significación particularmente en la propaganda,  pero lo importante es el reconocimiento que tienen las elecciones entre los pueblos de Ucrania. Ahora en la parte Este de Ucrania, en los grandes centros industriales, surgen grandes manifestaciones reclamando un referéndum, que permita mayor autonomía estas provincias y estados y vetar la intervención militar de la Junta en Kiev.

Hay una división más allá de Crimea, que cada vez es más grande. Además hay indicios de un realismo en la parte occidental, que exigen que Kiev no trate de militarizar el país, que se permita mayor autonomía y autogobierno. Pero vamos a ver si la Junta de gobierno de Kiev va a permitir la coexistencia en Ucrania, sino podríamos pasar a una guerra civil donde la Junta trate de imponer por la fuerza su gobierno, ante la falta de legitimidad.

La respuesta occidental habla de sanciones, hasta ahora las sanciones son muy débiles; se habla de castigar las cuentas y evitar dar Visas a una o dos docenas de oficiales, pero eso no va a afectar el comercio ni las inversiones.

Porque saben que las sanciones contra Rusia puede afectar la economía europea.Es decir Europa depende de las importaciones de gas y de petróleo  ruso y si aplican sanciones, van a afectar sus propias economías, van a sufrir consecuencias por le retiro de inversiones rusas. Eso también ha ocurrido, pues más de cien mil millones de deuda norteamericana en Bonos del Tesoro han salido del país y ya empieza a tener un efecto negativo sobre los bonos del gobierno norteamericano.

En otras palabras, estamos en una situación de enfrentamiento entre la autodeterminación en Crimea y la independencia; contra el imperialismo occidental que utiliza un gobierno títere para tratar de extender su influencia y amenazar los intereses de seguridad nacional de Rusia. No hay ningún gobierno independiente en Kiev, fue un gobierno que se impuso por la fuerza simplemente como instrumento occidental. Y los izquierdistas y liberales que hablaban de una “Revolución”, son los mismos tontos que apoyaron la invasión de Libia y la invasión se Siria; son consistentes en su entrega a los intereses imperiales.

El impacto sobre Rusia va a ser positivo, porque Rusia va a tener mejor defensa de sus bases militares.Está permitiendo actualmente un debate en su Parlamento  sobre cómo tratar la unión con Crimea; anotan que Washington podría recibir golpe por golpe. No estamos en situación de triunfo del occidente. Hablan de la aislación de Rusia, pero Rusia sigue teniendo grandes posibilidades no sólo en relación con Asia, África y América Latina, pero también incluso en Europa. Es dudoso que Alemania vaya a romper relaciones y someterse a una crisis económica por la falta de energía. Entonces, es mucho lo que occidente puede perder si Rusia los castiga, los elementos son bastante limitados y debemos anotar eso.

EChI: “Uno de los mayores destructores lanza misiles de la armada norteamericana abandonó un puerto búlgaro y tomó rumbo desconocido en el Mar Negro. ¿Qué significa esto?

JP: Es una guerra de tensiones, es una guerra peligrosa, para poner presión militar sobre Rusia.

En este momento tienen miedo del impacto positivo que la votación en Crimea puede tener sobre otras regiones en Ucrania. Tienen miedo de que un movimiento por la independencia pueda extenderse por la zona Este de Ucrania y están utilizando  la Armada, para evitar que Rusia preste apoyo a los independentistas en esas zonas de Ucrania. Es un hecho consumado el de Crimea, pero no quieren ver a su títere dividido en un sector independentista y otro sector gobernado pro la Junta. En todo caso la Junta está movilizando al Ejército para aplastar a los manifestantes en las zonas orientales de Ucrania y por eso creo que las Fuerzas Armadas occidentales quieren prestar apoyo a la Junta para conquistar las partes disidentes de ese país.

EChI: Bien, Petras. ¿En qué otros temas vienes trabajando en estos días?

JP: Hay dos temas y uno extendido; sobre Venezuela.

El señor (John) Kerry (secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos), el canciller, ataca al gobierno venezolano como “autoritario” y apoya lo que él llama la ‘oposición democrática y pacífica’. Pero los datos hablan de otra situación. Hay más de mil edificios, incluyendo Centros Médicos, Educativos, Mercados, Autobuses, camiones con mercancías, que han sido incendiados. Eso no es una protesta democrática, están atacando lugares civiles que alimentan y educan al pueblo.

Hay más de 60 guardias hospitalarias que han recibido heridos la mayoría con balas, eso no es protesta democrática y pacífica.

Han descubierto francotiradores y morteros para destruir edificios y atacar lugares estratégicos.

Hablan de la autonomía universitaria en Carabobo y en la Universidad Central de Venezuela, mientras encuentran armas, ametralladoras y fusiles allí. Eso no es autonomía, es un refugio de terroristas.

Encuentran en Táchira, una provincia de la frontera con Colombia, armas y paramilitares; eso no es una protesta democrática.

En otras palabras, Kerry está defendiendo a los terroristas y tratando de presionar al gobierno para que deje a los terroristas seguir destruyendo el país.

Por fin, la respuesta de (el presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Nicolás) Maduro, fueron dos. Una fue presentar una propuesta a Kerry planteando la necesidad de abrir negociaciones para la paz, porque sabe que Kerry es el que controla a los terroristas. Y dice que negociamos la paz y la soberanía con la UNASUR, los países latinoamericanos, como mediadores.

Y la respuesta de Kerry a esa oferta de paz, fue pedir sanciones. Es una escalada a los ataques. Kerry está preocupado porque Maduro está defendiendo el país y los opositores están en declive; de sesenta municipalidades donde venían realizando acciones bajaron a tres y los tres últimos han sido limpiados por la Guardia Nacional en las últimas 12 horas.

Entonces, Kerry trata de sustituir sanciones por la ausencia y el declive de los terroristas internos.  Pero no es un problema entre gobierno y oposición, es el terrorismo contra la democracia, es el terrorismo violento que trata de desestabilizar al gobierno, dirigidos por los Estados Unidos.

Me parece que es un enfrentamiento muy importante y la victoria del gobierno que está avanzando, me parece con una decisión y una acción muy positiva. Es importante que por fin el gobierno ofrezca la paz y el diálogo, y a la vez aumente la presencia de la Guardia Nacional, para de un momento a otro terminar con los terroristas; porque los terroristas funcionan sólo en los barrios altos y medios altos, incluso ya está perjudicando el tránsito y los negocios de sus apoyantes políticos: las quejas entre la oligarquía contra los terroristas están aumentando. Por eso  no tiene ningún rechazo cuando Maduro manda tropas a sacar a los terroristas de las calles. Sólo quedan los políticos pro Washington, apoyando a los terroristas diciendo que son ‘disidentes democráticos’. Un chiste de mal gusto.

Finalmente, el otro tema, es la victoria en Siria, donde las fuerzas nacionales han atacado y destruido a los terroristas en una ciudad clave, en las fronteras de Siria y Líbano, en la ciudad de Yabrud.

Allí, las fuerzas nacionales liberaron la ciudad y terminaron con un lugar estratégico para la entrada de armas y el tránsito de terroristas  que vienen de afuera. Es otro indicio de que el gobierno de Bashar Al Assad está avanzando militarmente y también políticamente porque su propuesta de convocar a una eleccion multipartidaria han recibido alguna aprobación de la oposición dentro del país.

Los mercenarios occidentales que funcionan en Inglaterra, Francia, Turquía y Jordania, no han dado ninguna respuesta política y pierden capacidad militar –es cada vez más evidente- para tumbar al gobierno.

El tiempo marcha a favor del gobierno y la historia marcha hacia una resolución electoral y democrática.

EChI: Muchas gracias por todo este análisis. Un abrazo y nos reencontramos el lunes.

JP: Muchas gracias, hasta el lunes.

(*) Escuche en vivo los lunes a las 11:30 horas (hora local) la audición de James Petras por CX36, Radio Centenario desde Montevideo (Uruguay) para todo el mundo a través de  HYPERLINK “http://www.radio36.com.uy/” www.radio36.com.uy

Mar 122014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

In the biggest power grab since George Bush seized Eastern Europe and converted it into a NATO bastion confronting Russia, the Obama regime, together with the EU, financed and organized a violent putsch in the Ukraine which established a puppet regime in Kiev.[1]  In response the citizens of the autonomous Crimean region, fearing the onslaught of cultural and political repression, organized self-defense militia and pressured the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect them from armed incursions by the NATO-backed coup regime in Kiev.[2]    Russia responded to the Crimean appeal with promises of military assistance – effectively halting further Western absorption of the entire region.

Immediately following the proxy putsch the entire US-EU propaganda machine spun into high gear.[3]  The nature of the Western power grab of the Ukraine was ignored.   Russia’s defensive action in Crimea became the focus of media and Western government attacks.  Unconditional support for  the for the violent seizure of the Ukraine by the US and EU-backed coup was broadcast by the West’s entire stable of journalistic hacks and accompanied by screeds calling for measures to destabilize the Russian Federation itself through a full-scale economic and diplomatic war.  The US and EU convoked meetings and press conferences calling for trade and investment sanctions.  Threats emerged from the White House and Brussels calling for a “freeze of Russian assets” in Western banks, if Moscow did not hand over the Crimea to the coup regime in Kiev.  Russian capitulation became the price of mending East-West ties.

The Obama regime and a host of US Congress people, media pundits and policy advisers called for, or engaged in, imposing sanctions on strategic sectors of the Russian economy, including its financial assets in the West.  Opinions in Europe divided over this issue: England, France and the rabidly anti-Russian regimes of Central Europe (especially Poland and the Czech Republic) pushed for harsh sanctions, while Germany, Italy and the Netherlands were more measured in their response (Financial Times, 3/5/14, p. 2).

The Washington-based advocates for imposing sanctions against Russia view this as an opportunity to: (1) punish Russia for acceding to the Crimean autonomous government’s call for defense against the Kiev putsch by activating Russian troops stationed  in the region; (2) weaken Russia’s economy and isolate it politically from its major Western trading and investment partners; (3) legitimatize the violent seizure of power by neo-liberal and neo-Nazi clients of the US; and (4) promote destabilization within the borders of the Russian Federation.  At a minimum, economic sanctions have become an aggressive tool for energizing the corrupt pro-Western elites and oligarchs in Russia to influence the Putin government to accept the de-facto regime in Kiev and deliver the autonomous Crimean nation into their hands.

Sanctions” are seen by the White House advisers as:  (1) projecting US power, (2) securing the Ukraine as a strategic new base for NATO, (3) ethnically cleansing this diverse and complicated region of its Russian-speaking minority and (4) opening the Ukraine for the whole-sale plunder of its economic and natural resources by Western multinational corporations.

The Obama regime cites the “success” of the financial and economic sanctions against Iran as a ‘model’ for what can be achieved with Russia:  A weakened economy, diminution of its trade, destabilizing its currency and provoking consumer scarcities and mass unrest. (FT 03/05/2014 p.2)  Secretary of US State John Kerry is pushing for more extreme forms of economic reprisals:  trade and investment sanctions, which obviously could lead to a break in diplomatic relations.(FT 03/05/2014 p.1)

Impact of Sanctions on Russia, the US and EU

Energy and financial sanctions on Russia, assuming that they can be imposed, would have a severe impact on Russian energy companies, its oligarchs and bankers.  Trade and investment agreements would have to be abrogated.  As a result Europe, which relies on Russian oil and gas imports for 30% of its energy needs, would slip back into an economic  recession (FT  03/05/2014 p.2). The US is in no position to replace these energy shortfalls.  In other words, trade and investment sanctions against the Russian Federation would have a ‘boomerang effect’ – especially against Germany, the economic ‘locomotor’ of the European Union.

Financial sanctions would hurt the corrupt Russian oligarchs who have stashed away tens of billions of Euros and Pounds in European real estate, business investments, sport teams and financial institutions.  Sanctions and a real freeze on the overseas assets of the Russian billionaires would curtail all those profitable transactions for major Western financial institutions, such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan-Chase and other “giants of Wall Street” as well as in the ‘City of London’.  (FT 03/05/2014 p.2)  In “punishing” Putin, the EU would also be “spiting on itself”.  Sanctions might weaken Russia but they would also precipitate an economic crisis in the EU and end its fragile recovery.

Russia’s Response to Sanctions

Essentially the Putin Administration can take one of two polar responses to the US-EU sanctions:  It can capitulate and withdraw from Crimea, sign an agreement on its military base (knowing full well that NATO will not comply), and accepts its own international status as a quasi-vassal state incapable of defending its allies and borders; or the Putin Administration can prepare a reciprocal set of counter-sanctions, confiscate Western investments, freeze financial assets, renege on debt payments and re-nationalize major industries.  The Russian state would be strengthened at the expense of the neo-liberal and pro-Western oligarchical sectors of Russia’s policy elite. Russia could terminate its transport and base agreements with the US, cut off the Pentagon’s Central Asian supply routes to Afghanistan.  President Putin could end sanctions with Iran, weakening  Washington’s negotiating position.  Finally, Russia could actively support dissident anti-imperialist movements in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America while strengthening its support for the Syrian government as it defends itself from US-supported violent jihadists.

In other words, US-EU sanctions while attempting to undermine Russia could actually radicalize Moscow’s domestic and foreign policy and marginalize the currently pro-Western oligarchs who had influenced the heretofore conciliatory policies of the Putin and Medvedev Administrations.

The EU and Obama might consolidate their hold over the Ukraine but they have plenty to lose on a global scale.  Moreover, the Ukraine will likely turn into a highly unstable vassal state for the NATO planners.  EU, US and IMF loans for the bankrupt regime are conditional on (1) 40% cutbacks on energy and gas subsidies, (2) 50% cuts in public sector pension payments, (3) major increases in consumer prices and (4) the privatization (plunder) of public firms.  The result will be large-scale job loss and a huge jump in unemployment.  Neo-liberal austerity programs will further erode the living standards of most wage and salaried workers and likely antagonize the neo-Nazi ‘popular base’ provoking new rounds of violent mass protests.  The West would move forward with ‘agreements’ with their Ukraine clients ‘at the top’ but face bitter conflicts ‘below’.  The prospect of Brussels and the IMF dictating devastating economic policies as part of an austerity program on the masses of Ukrainian citizens will make a mockery of the puffed-up nationalist slogans of the far Right putschists.  Economic collapse, political chaos and a new round of social upheaval will erode the political gains assumed in the power grab of February 2014.

Conclusion

The unfolding of the US-EU-Russian conflict over the Ukraine has far-reaching consequences, which will define the global configuration of power and foster new ideological alignments

Western sanctions will directly hit Russian capitalists and strengthen a ‘collectivist turn’.  The Western power grab of the ‘soft underbelly of Russia’ could provoke greater Russian support for insurgent movements challenging Western hegemony.  Sanctions could hasten greater Sino-Russian trade and investment ties, as well as military cooperation agreement.

Much depends on Obama and the EU’s calculation of another weak and pusillanimous response from the Russian government.  They are confidant that the Russian Federation will once again, as in the past, ‘bluster and object’ to Western expansionist moves but will ultimately capitulate.  If these calculations are wrong,  if the West goes through with financial and energy sanctions and President Putin makes a robust riposte, we are heading into the eye of a new political storm in which a polarized world will witness new class, national and regional conflicts.

 

[1] The pro EU-US putsch regime in Kiev is a product of nearly 25 years of planning and enormous funding by political agencies of the US government.  According to William Blum (Anti-Empire Report#126, 03/07/2014), the self-styled National Endowment for Democracy bankrolled 65 projects involving political indoctrination and the formation of political action groups.  Under-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland boasted that the US government had spent over $5 billion dollars preparing the ground for the putsch in Kiev.

[2]  The Crimean people had excellent reasons for organizing self –defense militias and calling for Russian military aid.  According to analyst Brian Becker(“Who’s Who in Ukraine’s New Semi-Fascist Government”, Global Research 05/09/2014), prominent neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists occupy key positions in the Kiev junta.  Fascists hold the two top positions in the National Defense Council (controlling the army, police, intelligence and the judiciary); head the Ministry of Defense; control the Prosecutor General; and include one of the Vice Presidents.  The Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk (‘Yats’), was ‘hand-picked’ by Washington, (as revealed by a secretly recorded conversation between US Under-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Kiev).  He is the ‘front man’ of Ukrainian fascism and NATO penetration.

[3]  ’News’ reporting became indistinguishable from editorials in all the major media outlets.  The corporate and state media’s rabid support of the violent seizure of power in Kiev by US-funded clients was equaled by their hysterical claims of a Russian “take-over” of Crimea.  See the coverage from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times , Financial Times , Washington Post, BBC News and CNN from  03/01/014 to 03/10/2014.