May 102017
 

By CADTM ANYA, 99GetSmart

Resolution of the Continental Assembly of the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt - Abya Yala Nuestra América (CADTM AYNA / Latin America and Caribbean) on the situation in Venezuela

Resolution of the Continental Assembly of the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt – Abya Yala Nuestra América (CADTM AYNA / Latin America and Caribbean) on the situation in Venezuela

During its 2017 Continental Assembly, held in Bogotá, Colombia from 24 to 27 April the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt, in its South American, Latin American and Caribbean expression (CADTM / AYNA), discussed the situation in Venezuela, nationally and in the Latin America–Caribbean and worldwide context. This discussion stressed the themes and the goals which define the areas of activity of the CADTM, including the system of domination by government debt (internal and external), which is just one of the fundamental mechanisms used as an instrument of capitalist domination over the peoples of the world.

In this regard, in order to defend the sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its people and the progress made during the Bolivarian revolution, we hereby express our conviction that to guarantee Venezuela’s sovereignty and to preserve the social, economic and democratic advances made, it is paramount that priority be given to meeting the needs of the people over the repayment of government debt (external and internal) as the path to resolving the current crisis and that the greater part of available resources be allocated to ensuring the country’s recovery and the respect of its independence.

Consequently, we reiterate our proposal to accompany popular initiatives aimed at obtaining the suspension of debt repayments in order to free resources needed elsewhere given the country’s present urgent situation, which threatens its process of emancipation. We are putting at the disposal of Venezuela’s people, of its social and popular movements and its national government, our experience in struggles related to debt and our expertise in conducting public and citizen debt audits in several countries (including Ecuador, Greece, Brazil and municipal audits in Spain), in order to contribute to making such an audit a reality in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Its purpose will be to detect illegitimate elements of the debt so that the country’s financial resources can be used for the benefit of its people and to guarantee their rights. We view the perspective of this audit as including financial debt but also environmental debt, historical debt and social debt, on the example of the proposal made publicly by Hugo Chávez in 2006 at the World Social Forum in Caracas. We reaffirm the appeal made by CADTM / AYNA (http://www.cadtm.org/CADTM-AYNA-appeals-to-the), which offered its support to the people and government of Venezuela for conducting such an audit at the World Assembly of the CADTM network in Tunis in 2016.

The conducting of this audit, which the CADTM network present in Venezuela (Red Venezolana Contra las Deudas or Venezuelan Network Against Debt) has long called for and which is now supported by the Platform for Public and Citizen Auditing (Plataforma por la Auditoría Pública y Ciudadanahttps://auditoria.org.ve), is closely linked to the exercise of the right to information in public affairs and the obligation to guarantee that right that is incumbent on civil servants of the State in conformity with the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, anti-corruption legislation and the laws empowering the population and providing for citizen oversight. Information and social participation are essential to democracy and popular sovereignty.

In consideration of the foregoing, we propose the creation of an International Commission in support of those who promote a public and citizen audit of debt in Venezuela.

Further, in light of the current economic situation faced by the Venezuelan nation, threatened by interference and intervention by the OAS [Organisation of American States] and the USA, we hereby express our categorical refusal of all forms of interference and interventionism that violate the sovereignty of Venezuela as a people and as a nation. We condemn with equal firmness all the threats and manoeuvres attempted against Venezuela in the service of outside interests and capitalist appetites. It is our hope that the conflicts in Venezuela will be resolved by peaceful, democratic and constitutional means, and not through violence.

Finally, we recommend the opening of a public debate in Venezuela on the question of debt and a public and citizen audit and on the sensitive issue of seeking alternatives to the rentier-extractivist model, an example of which is the Orinoco Mining Arc, |1| a project which is closely linked to the debt system and which raises profound concerns over its environmental and social-cultural impacts as well as its reliance on transnational capital.

It is our hope that the institutions will fully facilitate the democratic process so that all concerns, grievances, warning signals, results of enquiries and liberating alternative proposals can be heard.

Translation: Maud Bailly, Snake Arbusto, Mike Krolikowski

 

Footnotes

|1| Translator’s note: The Arco Minero del Orinoco [https://news.mongabay.com/2016/10/t…] is a “new strategic national development zone” created by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro by presidential order on 24 February 2016. This project sets aside an area covering nearly 112,000 sq. km. (larger than the total land area of Portugal), or 12 % of the national territory, to the exploitation of gold, diamonds, coltan, iron and other minerals by large national and transnational mining companies. The project has generated strong criticism due to its rentier-extractivist nature, since its goal is to obtain currency revenues in the short term at the expense of the environmental destruction of a significant proportion of the national territory rich in biodiversity and water reserves, and of the rights of the Amerindian peoples who live in the region.

Nov 072016
 

By James Petras99GetSmart

bloody_us_empire30

Seven is a winning throw of the dice. But in our civil society, seven now signifies the multi-thong scourge, the whip used by the Western world as its instrument of punishment and, in response; seven signifies Nemesis and her sisters, the inescapable agents of the West’s downfall.

The seven scourges of the Western world are used against the people of Asia, Africa, Latin and North America. These whips are constructed, wielded and unleashed especially by the US and the UK.

The seven sisters of Nemesis, the Erinyes, are the Furies who pursue the injustices committed by the Western world against Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. Those holding the scourge detest and fear Nemesis and the Furies, but are incapable of destroying them. Try as they might, their whip is in corrupt and feeble hands and, of course, it can only follow their orders: Otherwise, it just twitches and remains immobile, while Nemesis pursues the scourgers of humanity.

The Seven-Tailed Scourge of the Western World

The ‘whip’ wielded by the Western world, is used to punish disobedient, ‘rebellious’ people, movements and states. Their multiple lashes have bloodied countless generations and buried millions.

The seven scourges against humanity are unrepentant in their promotion of ‘Western values’ – visible to the terrified world on the red raw backs of oppressed people, their wounds flayed open by the faceless drones proclaiming their gifts of freedom and democracy.

Let us go forward now and describe the pillars holding up the Western empire, the seven-tailed scourge of humanity.

1. Mexico: The Cartel, the Narco-State, US Bankers and Death Squads

Over the last two decades, over a quarter million Mexicans have been murdered by the joint forces of the drug cartels, the Mexican State and its death squads, presided over by the US state and backed by its rapacious financial sector. Cartels and complicit Mexican officials prosper because US banks launder their narco-dollars by the billions. On their part, US corporations grow even richer by relocating their plants to Mexico where terrorized workers can be exploited for 1/5 the cost. Amidst the terror and exploitation, over 11 million Mexican workers and family members have fled to the US running from their local scourges, only to confront the US scourge of deportation. Over 2 million have been imprisoned and expelled under Obama.

2. Honduras and Guatemala: Imperial Wars, Drug Gangs and Narco-Oligarchs

Destitution and state terror are direct products of US–installed regimes in Honduras and Guatemala. Guatemala’s indigenous majority was ravaged by US and Israeli-trained military battalions and death squads. In their wake, scores of narco-gangs, sponsored by local oligarchs and their own private death squads, have emerged. The Honduran people attempted to elect an enlightened liberal President, and were ‘rewarded’ for their peaceful democratic election with a military coup orchestrated by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. They further underscore the lesson of ‘Western values’: Scores of human rights activists and peasant leaders have been murdered and the scourges continue unabated.

3. Colombia: Nobel Prize for Death Squad President

For the past fifteen years, (2001-2016), the Clinton-Bush-Obama regimes launched the seven-billion-dollar ‘Plan Colombia’ terror campaign against the Colombian people. This scourge was so powerful that over two and a half million peasants, Indigenous peoples, and Afro-Colombians have been driven from their homes and villages while, tens of thousands of peasants, trade unionists, human rights activists and civic leaders have been killed. The notorious narco-President Alvaro Uribe and his Vice President Santos worked with the death squads and the Colombian military under the instruction of over one thousand US military advisers and contract mercenaries as they imposed a scorched earth policy – to consolidate a ‘reign of Western values’.

In Colombia, the three-tailed scourge of narco-presidents, death squads and the military decimated rural communities throughout that large and populous nation. They finally induced the FARC guerrillas to submit to a ‘peace’ agreement, which perpetuated the oligarchy. The US remains free to exploit Colombia for its military bases against the rest of Latin America, while foreign corporations exploit its mineral riches. For his part in promoting the ‘peace of the dead’, Colombian President Santos received the Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize.

4. Saudi Arabia: A Household Name Among the Middle East Scourges

No country in the Middle East has financed, organized and directed terrorism in the Middle East, South Asia, North and East Africa, the former Soviet Union and even North America, than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It currently scourges the tiny nation of Yemen. Using its ISIS mercenaries, backed by jets, missiles, and logistical support from the UK and the USA, the Saudi despots has invaded maimed and murdered tens of thousands of Yemenis, while hundreds of thousands face starvation in a Saudi-imposed blockade.

The Saudi billionaire regime bankrolled thousands of terrorists in Syria and Iraq, giving billions of dollars of business to US and UK arms manufacturers. Saudi monarchs and their extended clans form a parasitic rentier regime unique in the world. They rely on the skills and labor of imported professionals, workers, household servants, mercenary solders, financial managers and even their praetorian guards. They confine their women behind the veil and closed doors, under the absolute rule of male relatives. They chop off the hands, feet and heads of foreign workers and their own citizens for minor offenses, including ‘blasphemy’, criticism of the king or resisting an employer’s abuse. Saudi Arabia, which is totally dependent on Washington’s protection, has become a scourge especially against Muslim people throughout the Middle East and beyond.

5. Israel: The Scourge of Palestine and Free People Near and Far

The Israeli State is the head commanding the tentacles of a far-reaching Zionist Power Configuration operating in the US, Canada, England, France and, to a less degree, in satellite states and institutions. Israel was established on the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinians from their homes and villages since 1948. For almost 50 years, 600,000 ‘Israeli’ Jews (immigrants given automatic ‘citizenship’ and stolen property based solely on their ‘ethno-religious’ identity) have illegally moved into what remained of historical Palestine, building exclusive ‘Jews-only’ colonial towns on land ripped from its original inhabitants. The Palestinians are herded into apartheid militarized enclaves and squalid camps. Israel invaded and devastated large parts of Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. They have bombed other nations, like Jordan and Iraq, with impunity. The Israeli state uses a virtual fifth column of loyalist organizations and billionaire financiers in the US and EU who ultimately dictate Middle East policy to the ‘elected’ Western politicians. Presidents and Prime Ministers, Cabinet members and legislators must publicly bow to the increasing demands of the overseas Zionist power structure. This has undermined the will and interests of national electorates and democratic procedures. All public discourse on this vital issue has been censored because critics of Israel’s influence are subjected to unremitting campaigns of overt coercion, threats, jailing on trumped up charges, vilification and job loss – within their own countries in the ‘democratic’ West. Meanwhile, Israel has sold its much-vaunted expertise in surveillance, torture and counter-insurgency to its fellow scourgers in Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico and even Afghanistan.

6. Egypt: Modern Scourges of an Ancient People

For decades, Egyptian military dictators have served the Anglo-American Empire and Israel’s ruling colonists in the Middle East, North and East Africa. Generals-turned-‘Presidents’ Hosni Mubarak and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi specialized in murdering, torturing and jailing thousands of Egyptian trade unionists, dissident activists, peasant leaders and the restless urban poor. These violently installed Egyptian rulers are expected to collaborate with Israel and trap millions of desperate Palestinians in the world’s largest open air prison: Gaza. Cairo actively collaborates with the US and Israel in subverting the people and institutions of Gaza, Libya, Somalia and Sudan – guaranteeing that none will be functioning, independent modern states. Egypt’s first and only elected president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by General Sisi and sentenced to twenty years in a military torture dungeon (a virtual death sentence for a 65 year old) by a kangaroo court under the direction of Washington and Tel Aviv. Egypt, once the epicenter for civil democratic expression — ‘the Arab Spring’ — has become the a major staging area for US-backed jihadi terrorists entering Syria.

7. ISIS, NUSRA Front, Ukraine and Syria: Puppets, Kleptocrats, Fascists and Terrorists

In this very modern Western world, where democratic values are sold to the cheapest buyer, the US, the UK and the EU shop for mercenaries and puppet regimes in order to scourge their critics and adversaries.

The West, led by the Grand Scourger Hillary Clinton, bombed Libya and destroyed its entire modern state apparatus. They opened the floodgates to thousands of mercenaries and terrorist-thugs of all colors and stripes to feed off the carcass of what Mouammar Gaddafi and the modern Libyan state had built over the past 40 years. These criminals, draped in the banners of ‘humanitarian intervention’ or ‘mission civilisatice’, ran amok, killing and ravaging tens of thousands of Libyan citizens and contract workers of sub-Saharan African origin. The tens of thousands of Africans desperately fleeing each year into the Mediterranean are the result of this Western rampage against the Libyan state. The jihadis have moved on… by those who forgot to distinguish between terrorists who support our ‘democratic values’ and those who would attack the West. The West can’t be blamed: Mercenaries change sides so often.

The ethnic cleansing scourges of the past returned to the Ukraine: as (neo) fascists took power in Kiev, storming the Parliament and forcing the President to flee. Nazi-era banners decorated the streets of Kiev under the approving gaze of the US State Department. Neo-Nazi thugs massacred scores of unarmed ethnic Russian citizens in the port city of Odessa when they set fire to the main trade union hall where the trapped men, women and youths were burned alive or bludgeoned while fleeing the flames. The US State Department had spent a $5 billion dollars to replace an elected government with a pliant regime in Kiev while large parts of the country fell into civil war. The ethnic Russian populations of the industrialized Donbas region resisted and were invaded by an ethnically cleansed and neo-fascist putschist Ukrainian army – under US-EU supervision. The war has cost tens of thousands of lives, a million refugees fled to Russia and a divided failing state now festers in the heart of Europe. Kleptocrats and Fascists in Kiev oversee an utterly bankrupt economy. The destitute citizens abandon the towns and cities; some fleeing to Poland to pick potatoes as their serf ancestors did a century ago.

Syria has been ravaged by an immense army of mercenary scourges, financed and supplied by the US, EU, Turkey and, of course, Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda had merely to change its battle flags to NUSRA and receive the US benediction as ‘moderate pro-Western democrats’ resisting a Baathist dictatorship in Damascus. In the course of their ‘democratic’ mission they destroyed the ancient, critical cultural and economic center of Aleppo – scourging the Christians and non-jihadi Muslims and other ancient minorities. Over two million Syrians have died or fled the fiery scourge of Anglo-American and Saudi-Turkish terror.

The Seven Sisters: Nemesis and the Furies Confront the Western World

The scourges are falling on hard times: East and West, North and South they face their inescapable Nemesis. Their exposed injustices, crimes and grotesque failures herald their inevitable downfall. The seven furies are even emerging in unusual places:

1. The economic and trade power of China challenges the West throughout world, expanding even into the heartland of the empire. The West’s fear over China’s peaceful economic expansion has led Western political leaders to revive protectionist policies, claiming that barriers against Chinese investors must be raised to prevent takeovers by Beijing. From July 2015 to September 2016, the West blocked nearly $40 billion in productive Chinese investment. This comes after decades of preaching the virtues of foreign investment and the universal benefits of ‘globalization’. Suddenly Western leaders claim that Chinese investment is a ‘threat to national security’ and ‘profits Chinese businesses over Western-owned enterprises.’

Meanwhile, far from this Sino-phobic hysteria, the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America actively seek greater economic ties with China to the detriment of US-EU multinationals. Once servile Asian countries, like the Philippines, have declared unfettered US access to frontline imperial military bases in doubt, as they sign favorable multi-billion trade and investment agreements with China. Western imperial ideology about investment and globalization has boomeranged and met its Nemesis.

2. The Russian Furies: Vladimir Putin

During the 1990s, the US plundered Russia at will. Washington imposed a unipolar world, celebrated as the New World Order. They bombed and devastated former Russian allies like Yugoslavia and Iraq, setting up ethnically cleansed rump states like Kosovo for their huge military bases. Meanwhile, Washington reduced Russia, under the inebriate Yeltsin regime, to a backwater vassal stripped of its resources, its institutions, scientists, and research centers. In the absence of war, the Russian economy declined by 50% and life expectancy fell below that of Bangladesh. The US celebrated this ‘victory of democracy’ over a helpless, deteriorating state by welcoming the most obscene new gangster oligarchs and pillagers and laundering their bloodstained loot.

The door slammed shut on the pillage with the election of Vladimir Putin and the demise of the Yeltsin gangster-government. Russia was transformed. Putin reversed Russia’s demise: the economy recovered, living standards rose abruptly, employment in all sectors increased, and cultural, educational and scientific centers were restored. Vladimir Putin was elected and re-elected by overwhelming majorities of the Russian electorate despite huge sums of Western money going to his opponents. Russia systematically recovered many strategic sectors of the economy illegally seized by Western-backed Israeli-Russian oligarchs Even more important, Putin restored Russian statecraft and diplomacy – formulating a strategy for an independent, democratic foreign policy and restoring Russia’s defense capability. The loss of this critical vassal state under its dipsomaniacal Boris Yeltsin shook the US EU-NATO alliance to its very core.

In the beginning President Putin did not oppose the US-NATO military invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It went along with the economic sanctions imposed on Iran. It even maintained its cooperation despite a US-sponsored attack by the government of Georgia against South Ossetia killing scores of Russian peacekeepers. In the wake of those destabilizing disasters, what finally led the Russian government to reverse its complicity with the West was the horrific US-financed invasion of Syria where Russian jihadis from the Caucasus were playing an important role as mercenaries, threatening to return and undermine the stability of Russia. This was quickly followed by the US-sponsored putsch in Ukraine, fomenting a civil war on Russia’s frontiers, threatening is vital naval base in Crimea and repressing millions of ethnic Russian-Ukrainian citizens in the industrialized Donbas region. These blatant aggression finally pushed Putin to challenge the expansionist policies of Washington and the EU.

Putin backed a plebiscite in Crimea and won when its citizens voted overwhelmingly to re-join and preserve the Russian bases. Putin has backed the rebel defense of the Donbas against a NATO-neo-fascist Kiev invasion.

Putin accepted a request for aid from the Syrian government as it battled mercenaries and jihadis to preserve its national integrity. The Russians sent arms, troops and air support for the Syrian Arab Army, rolling back the Western and Saudi armed terrorists.

In response to the Washington-EU economic sanctions against Russia over the Crimean plebiscite, Putin signed multi-billion-dollar trade and investment agreements and joint defense pacts with China – mitigating the impact of the sanctions.

Wherever Washington seeks to seize and control territory and regimes in Eurasia, it now faces the Putin nemesis. In Russia and overseas, in the Middle East and the Caucuses, in the Persian Gulf and Asia, the US meets stalemates at best, and roll-back at worst.

The CIA-stooge Yeltsin and his cronies were evicted from the Kremlin to the indignation of Washington and the EU. Many of the kleptocrats, politicos, thugs and swindlers fled to their new homes in Langley, on Wall Street, in Washington or set up talk-shops at Harvard. Even the gruesome Chechens had their ‘color-coded’ support center (the CIA-American Committee for Peace in Chechnya) based in Boston. Never in modern history has a country so rapidly transformed from degraded vassalage to a dynamic global power as Russia. Never has the US seen its grand imperial design so successfully challenged in so many places at the same time.

The Putin Nemesis has become the inescapable agent of the downfall of the US Empire.

3. The Islamic Republic of Iran became a Muslim-nationalist alternative to the US-Israeli dominated Muslim dictatorships and monarchies in the Middle East. The Iranian Revolutions inspired citizens throughout Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq and Yemen. As a result of its growing influence, Iran was punished by the US and EU with crippling economic sanctions pushed especially by Tel Aviv and its Western agents. Fearful that the Iran’s example would destabilize its control, the US invaded Lebanon, promoted the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon and has backed the terrorist campaign to dismember Syria. The results have been dismal for Washington: Iran continues to support the powerful Hezbollah, a major political and military power in Lebanon. The Saudi’s war against Yemen is largely an ethno-religious campaign to destroy Yeminis who favor independence over Saudi-US control and have Iran’s support. Iraq’s Shia resistance forces are leading the attack against the Saudi-funded ISIS terrorists, with Iranian commanders playing a significant role.

Hezbollah, Iran’s ally in Lebanon, drove out the Israeli occupation forces and raised the cost of another invasion by Tel Aviv.

Against all the impotent, corrupt Arab puppets in the Middle East, only Iran has supported the Palestinians. It is the only force capable of retaliating against an Israeli sneak attack – which is why it is demonized.

Iran is the Nemesis against US plans to conquer and dismember Syria. It has provided arms and volunteers on the battlefield against terrorist mercenaries.

Iran effectively negotiated a partial lifting of Western sanctions, overcoming Israeli intransigence and securing billion-dollar trade agreements with Germany, Russia and China. It holds the prospects for productive trade and diplomatic deals in the near future – to the howling consternation of its enemies in Washington, Riyadh, London and Tel Aviv.

For all the efforts by the tentacles of Israel’s fifth column, Iran has survived and emerged as the Nemesis of Anglo-American and Israeli ambitions in the Middle East.

4. Venezuela became the leading proponent for an independent foreign policy in Latin America. For almost twenty years, US tried repeatedly to overthrow the government in Caracas. They failed. By ballot or by bullet, despite slapping economic sanctions on Venezuela, the US suffered humiliating defeats and failed coups and aborted uprisings. Venezuela remains Washington’s principal Nemesis, thwarting its efforts to make ‘free trade’ pacts and deepen military alliances in Latin America.

5. Upon taking office in June 2016, the Philippines new president Rodrigo Duterte assumed the lead role of Washington’s most colorful ‘Nemesis’ in Southeast Asia. Under his widely popular presidency, he pivoted to China, promising to sharply reduce joint Philippine-US military exercises in the South China Sea directed against Beijing and, in return, he secured the co-operation of several hundred leading Philippine entrepreneurs in winning an initial $13 billion dollar public-private Chinese investment package for critical infrastructure and trade development..

President Duterte has frequently denounced Washington’s interference in his domestic war on drug traffickers – citing the US hypocrisy in its criticism of his human rights record. He has personally held President Obama responsible for meddling in Philippine affairs. Drawing on the history of the bloody US colonial war against the Philippine people in 1898, he holds the US responsible for inciting ethno-religious conflicts in the southern island of Mindanao – Duterte’s home region.

President Duterte’s declaration of independence from Washington (“I am no one’s ‘tuta’ [puppy dog]”)and his foreign policy priority of ‘pivoting’ from US military domination to regional economic co-operation with Beijing has turned the Philippines into Washington’s prime Nemesis in Southeast Asia.

6. The resistance of the Yemeni people, mainly ethnic Houthi freedom fighters, against the onslaught of bombing and missile strikes by the Saudi-US-UK air force, has aroused widespread solidarity throughout the Middle East.

Despite the ongoing massacre of over 10,000 Yeminis, mostly civilians, the Saudi ‘alliance’ has failed to impose a puppet regime. US links with the Saudi dictatorship have undermined its claims of humanitarian concerns for the people of Yemen. The embattled Houthi rebels have secured the support of Iran, Iraq and the majority of people in the Persian Gulf countries. As the war continues, the Saudi’s increasingly rely on military trainers, fighter bombers and logistical experts from the US, UK and NATO to pick the targets and maintain the starvation blockade. Sooner or later the courageous and tenacious resistance of the free people of Yemen against the Saudi overlords will inspire a domestic Saudi uprising against its grotesque and decrepit theocratic-monarchist state. The fall of the Royal House of Saud will bury a major scourge in the Middle East. In a word, the battle for Yemen has become the Nemesis of US-Saudi domination.

7. Everywhere in the Western world the ruling classes and their media outlets fear and loath ‘populists’ – leaders, movements, electorates – who reject their austerity programs designed to deepen inequalities and further enrich the elite. Throughout the European Union and in North and South America, workers and middle class majorities are on the march to oust the ‘free market’ regimes and restore the ‘populist’ welfare state, with its emphasis on social services, living wages and humane working conditions.

From the UK to France, Poland to Portugal, China to North America, Mexico to Argentina, the Nemesis and Furies of populist rollbacks threaten to dislodge the scourge held by the bankers, conglomerates and billionaires. Scattered populists may hold diverse ideologies; some may be nationalists, leftists, workers, farmers, petit bourgeois and public employees, indebted students, ecologists or protectionists. All are both united and divided by disparate interests and beliefs. And all are preparing for the inevitable downfall of the empire of the free market and wars.

Conclusion

Today the world’s greatest global conflicts have lined up the Imperial West and its frontline scourging allies against the Furies and Nemesis emerging on all continents. These are the inescapable agents of the Empire’s downfall.

The scourges of the West have been free to plunder the wealth of subject peoples and launch wars, which ravage both ancient and modern states and cultures while slaughtering and dispossessing scores of millions. The West derives its lifeblood through its seven-tailed scourge. Western elites rule through a chain of scourging puppet states with their bloody accomplices, from narco-murderers, Islamists terrorists, death squads to ordinary ‘piecework’ torturers.

Without resorting too much to the wisdom of the ancient Greek myths, we have come to believe that states, regimes, movements and people finally will emerge to act as the inescapable agents of the justice leading to the downfall of the Western empire. Modern Nemesis and Furies have a dual existence: While bringing down the old order they seek to create alternatives.

The ‘scourgers’ are by their nature specialists in wanton crimes against humanity. Nemesis and her sisters challenge and oust the latter as they construct their own new centers of wealth and power. China, Russia and Iran have gone beyond the role of Nemesis to the West – they are poised to build a new civilization on its ruins.

It remains an open question whether they can avoid becoming the new scourge against the people and nations who have risen in revolt.

James Petras is author of  The End of the Republic and the Delusion of EmpireExtractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier (with Henry Veltmeyer), and The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle EastRead other articles by James, or visit James’s website.

Nov 022014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

open-up-democracys-coming

Introduction

The principal reason why Washington engages in military wars, sanctions and clandestine operations to secure power abroad is because its chosen clients cannot and do not win free and open elections.

A brief survey of recent election outcomes testify to the electoral unattractiveness of Washington backed clients. The majority of  democratic electorates rejects candidates and parties which back the US global agenda: neo-liberal economic policies; a highly militarized foreign policy; Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestine; the concentration of wealth in the financial sector; the military escalation against China and Russia. While the US policy attempts to re-impose the pillage and dominance of the 1990’s via recycled client regimes the democratic electorates want to move on toward less bellicose, more inclusive governments, which restore labor and welfare rights.

The US seeks to impose the unipolar world, of the Bush Sr. and Clinton era, failing to recognize the vast changes in the world economy, including the rise of China and Russia as world powers, the emergence of the BRIC and other regional organizations and above all the growth of popular democratic consciousness.

Failing to convince electorates by reason or manipulation, Washington has opted to intervene by force, and to finance organizations to subvert the democratic electoral process. The frequent resort to bullets and economic coercion when ballots fail to produce the “appropriate outcome testifies to the profoundly reactionary nature of US foreign policy. Reactionary in the double sense of ends and means. Progmatically, the imperial centered socio-economic policies deepen inequalities and depress living standards. The means to achieve power, the instruments of policy, include wars, intervention, covert operations, are more akin to extremists, quasi-fascist, far right regimes.

Free Elections and the Rejection of US Clients

US backed electoral parties and candidates have suffered defeats throughout most of the world, despite generous financial backing and international mass media propaganda campaigns. What is striking about the negative voting outcomes is the fact that the vast majority of adversaries are neither anti-capitalist nor ‘socialist’. What is equally striking is that all of the US clients are rightist or far-rightist parties and leaders. In other words the polarization is usually between center-left and rightist parties; the choice is between reform or reaction, between an independent or satellite foreign policy.

Washington and Latin America:  Masters of Defeats

Over the past decade, Washington has backed losing neo-liberal candidates throughout Latin America and then sought to subvert the democratic outcome.

Bolivia

Since 2005, Evo Morales the center left leader favoring social reforms and an independent foreign policy has won three Presidential elections against Washington backed rightist parties, each time by a greater margin. In 2008, he ousted the US ambassador for intervening, expelled the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2008, USAID in 2013 and the Military Mission after foiling an aborted coup in Santa Cruz.

Venezuela

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its predecessor have won every Presidential and Congressional election (over a dozen) except one over the past 15 years despite US multi-million dollar funding of neo-liberal opposition parties. Unable to defeat the Chavez led radical-reform government, Washington backed a violent coup (2002), a boss’s lockout (2002/3), and decade’s long paramilitary attacks of pro-democracy leaders and activists.

Ecuador

The US has opposed the center-left government of President Correa for ousting it from the military base in Manta, renegotiating and repudiating some of its foreign debt and backing regional pacts which exclude the US. As a result Washington backed an abortive police led coup in 2010 that was quickly defeated.

Honduras

During democratically elected President Manual Zelaya’s tenure in office, a center-left President, Honduras sought to pursue closer relations with Venezuela in order to receive greater economic aid and to shed its reputation as a US dominated “banana republic”. Washington unable to defeat him at the ballot box, responded by supporting a military coup (2009) which ousted Zelaya and returned Honduras to the US fold. Since the coup Honduras has experienced more killings of popular leaders -200- than any country in Latin America.

Brazil

The center-left Workers Party has won four straight elections against US backed neo-liberal candidates beginning in 2002 and continuing through the 2014 elections. The US propaganda machine, including NSA’s spying on President Rousseff and the strategic state petrol company, Petrobras, and the international financial press went all out to discredit the reformist center-left government. To no avail! The voters preferred an ‘inclusive’ social liberal regime pursuing an independent foreign policy to an opposition embedded in the discredited socially regressive neo-liberal politics of the Cardoso regime (1994-2002). In the run-up to the 2014 elections Brazilian and US financial speculators attempted to strike fear in the electorate by betting against the currency (real) and driving the stock market into a precipitous fall. To no avail. Rousseff won with 52% of the vote.

Argentina

In Argentina a massive popular revolt overthrew the US backed neo-liberal regime of De la Rua in 2001. Subsequently, the electorate elected the center-left Kirchner government over the rightist, US backed  Menem candidacy in 2003. Kirchner pursued a reformist agenda imposing a moratorium on the debt and combining high economic growth with large scale social expenditures and an independent foreign policy. US opposition escalated with the election of his wife Cristina Fernandez. Financial elites, Wall Street, the US judiciary and Treasury intervened to destabilize the government, after failing to defeat Fernandez’s re-election. Extra-parliamentary financial pressures were matched by political and economic support for rightist politicians in preparation for the 2015 elections.

Earlier, in 1976, the US backed the military coup and political terror that led to the murder of 30,000 activists and militants. In 2014 the US backed a “financial coup” as a federal judge sided with vulture funds, sowing financial terror in international markets against a democratically elected government.

Paraguay

President Fernando Lugo was a moderate former Bishop who pursued a watered-down center-left agenda. Nevertheless, he raised issues that conflicted with Washington’s extremist agenda, including Paraguay’s membership in regional organizations that excluded the US (MERCOSUR). He appealed to the landless rural workers and he retained ties to other Latin American center-left regimes. He was deposed by Congress in 2012 in a highly dubious ‘institutional coup’, quickly supported by the White House and replaced by a straight-line neo-liberal, Federico Franco with tight links to Washington and hostile to Venezuela.

Globalizing US Threats to Democracy

US subversion of democracy when center-left political formations compete for power is not confined to Latin America – it has gone ‘global’.

Ukraine

The most egregious example is the Ukraine, where the US spent over $6 billion in over a decade and a half. Washington financed, organized, and promoted pro NATO shock troops to seize power against an elected regime (President Yevtushenko) which tried to balance ties between the West and Russia. In February 2014, an armed uprising and mob action led to the overthrow of the elected government and the imposition of a puppet regime totally beholden to the US. The violent putschists met resistance from a large swathe of pro-democracy activists in the Eastern region. The Kiev junta led by oligarch Petro Poroshenko dispatched air and ground troops to repress the popular resistance with the unanimous backing of the US and EU. When the rightist regime in Kiev moved to impose its rule over the Crimea and to break its military base treaty with Russia, the Crimean citizens voted, by a large margin (85%), to separate and merge with Russia.

In both the Ukraine and Crimea, US policy was directed toward imposing by force, the subordination of democracy to NATO’s drive to encircle Russia and undermine its democratically elected government.

Russia

Following the election of Vladimir Putin to the Presidency, the US organized and financed a large number of opposition “think tanks”, and NGO’s, to destabilize the government. Large scale demonstrations by well-funded NGO’s were given wide play by all the Western mass media.

Failing to secure an electoral majority and after suffering electoral defeats in the executive and legislative elections, Washington and the EU, using the pretext of Russian “intervention” in the Ukraine, launched a full scale economic war on Russia. Economic sanctions were enforced in the hopes of provoking economic collapse and a popular upheaval. Nothing of the sort occurred. Putin gained greater popularity and stature in Russia and consolidated its ties with China and the other BRIC countries.

In sum in the Ukraine, Crimea and Russia, facing independent elected governments, Washington resorted to a mob uprising, military encirclement and an escalation of economic sanctions.

Iran

Iran has periodic elections in which pro and anti-western parties compete. Iran has drawn the wrath of Washington because of its support for Palestinian liberation from the Israeli yoke; its opposition to the Gulf absolutist states; and its ties to Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and post- Saddam Hussain Iraq. As a result, the US has imposed economic sanctions to cripple its economy and finances and has funded pro-Western neo-liberal opposition NGO’s and political factions. Unable to defeat the Islamist power elite electorally, it chooses to destabilize via sanctions in order to disrupt its economy and assassinations of scientists and cyber warfare.

Egypt

Washington backed the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship for over three decades. Following the popular uprising in 2011, which overthrew the regime, Washington retained and strengthened its ties to the Mubarak police, military and intelligence apparatus. While promoting an alliance between the military and the newly elected President Mohammed Morsi, Washington funded NGO’s, who acted to subvert the government through mass demonstrations. The military, under the leadership of US client General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, seized power, outlawed the Moslem Brotherhood and abolished democratic freedoms.

Washington quickly renewed military and economic aid to the Sisi dictatorship and stregthened its ties with the authoritarian regime. In line with US and Israeli policy, General Sisi tightened the blockade of Gaza, allied with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf despots, strengthened its ties with the IMF and implemented a regressive neo-liberal program by eliminating fuel and food subsidies and lowering taxes on big business. The US backed coup and restoration of dictatorship was the only way Washington could secure a loyal client relationship in North Africa.

Libya

The US and NATO and Gulf allies launched a war (2011) against the independent, nationalist Libyan government, as the only way to oust the popular, welfare government of Colonel Gadhafi. Unable to defeat him via internal subversion, unable to destabilize the economy, Washington and its NATO partners launched hundreds of bombing missions accompanied by arms transfers to local Islamic satraps, tribal, clan and other violent authoritarian groups. The subsequent ‘electoral process” lacking the most basic political guarantees, fraught by corruption, violence and chaos, led to several competing power centers. Washington’s decision to undermine democratic procedures led to a violent Hobbesian world, replacing a popular welfare regime with chaos and terrorism.

Palestine

Washington has pursued a policy of backing Israeli seizures and colonization of Palestinian territory, savage bombings and the mass destruction of Gaza. Israel determined to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government has received unconditional US backing. The Israeli colonial regime has imposed racist, armed colonies throughout the West Bank, financed by the US government, private investors and US Zionist donors. Faced with the choice between a democratically elected nationalist regime, Hamas, and a brutal militarist regime, Israel, US policymakers have never failed to back Israel in its quest to destroy the Palestinian mini-state.

Lebanon

The US, along with Saudi Arabia and Israel, has opposed the freely elected Hezbollah led coalition government formed in 2011. The US backed the Israeli invasion in 2006, which was defeated by the Hezbollah militias. Washington backed the rightwing Hariri led coalition (2008 – 2011) which was marginalized in 2011. It sought to destabilize the society by backing Sunni extremists especially in Northern Lebanon. Lacking popular electoral support to convert Lebanon into a US client state, Washington relies on Israeli military incursions and Syrian based terrorists to destabilize Lebanon’s democratically elected government.

Syria

Syria’s Bashar Assad regime has been the target of US, EU, Saudi and Israeli enmity because of its support for Palestine, its ties with Iraq, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah. Its opposition to the Gulf despotism and its refusal to become a US client state (like Jordan and Egypt) has been another source of NATO hostility. Under pressure from its internal democratic opposition and its external allies, Russia and Iran, the Bashar Assad regime convoked a conference of non-violent opposition parties, leaders and groups to find an electoral solution to the ongoing conflict. Washington and its NATO allies rejected a democratic electoral road to reconciliation. They and their Turkish and Gulf allies financed and armed thousands of Islamic extremists who invaded the country. Over a million refugees and 200,000 dead Syrians were a direct result of Washington’s decision to pursue “regime change” via armed conflict.

China

China has become the world’s largest economy. It has become a leading investment and trading country in the world. It has replaced the US and the EU in Asian, African and Latin American markets. Faced with peaceful economic competition and offers of mutually beneficial free trade agreements, Washington has chosen to pursue a policy of military encirclement, internal destabilization and Pan Pacific integration agreements that excludes China. The US has expanded military deployments and bases in Japan, Australia and the Philippines. It has heightened naval and air force surveillance just beyond China’s limits. It has fanned rival maritime claims of China’s neighbors, encroaching on vital Chinese waterways.

The US has supported violent Uighur separatists, Tibetan terrorists and protests in Hong Kong in order to fragment and discredit China’s rule over its sovereign territory. Fomenting separation via violent means results in harsh repression, which in turn can alienate a domestic constituency and provide grist for the Western media mills. The key to the US countering China’s economic ascent is political: fomenting domestic divisions and weakening central authority. The democratization which Chinese citizens favor has little resonance with US financed ‘democracy’ charades in Hong Kong or separatist violence in the provinces.

Washington’s effort to exclude China from major trade and investment agreements in Asia and elsewhere has been a laughable failure. The principle US “partners”, Japan and Australia are heavily dependent on the Chinese market. Washington’s (free trade) allies in Latin America, name Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico are eager to increase trade with China. India and Russia are signing off on multi-billion dollar trade and investment deals with China! Washington’s policy of economic exclusion miscarried in the first month!

In sum, Washington’s decision to pursue confrontation over conciliation and partnership; military encirclement over co-operation; exclusion over inclusion, goes counter to a democratic foreign policy designed to promote democracy in China and elsewhere. An authoritarian choice in pursuit of unachievable Asian supremacy is not a virtue; it is a sign of weakness and decay.

Conclusion

In our global survey of US policy toward democracy, center-left governments and free elections we find overwhelming evidence of systematic US hostility and opposition. The political essence of the “war on terrorism” is Washington’s world-wide long-term pernicious assault on independent governments, especially center-left democratic regimes engaged in serious efforts to reduce poverty and inequality.

Washington’s methods of choice range from financing rightist political parties via USAID and NGO’s, to supporting violent military coups; from backing street mobs engaged in destabilization campaigns to air and ground invasions. Washington’s animus to democratic processes is not confined to any region, religious, ethnic or racial group. The US has bombed black Africans in Libya; organized coups in Latin America against Indians and Christians in Bolivia; supported wars against Muslims in Iraq, Palestine and Syria; financed neo-fascist “battalions”and armed assaults against Orthodox Christians in the Eastern Ukraine; denounced atheists in China and Russia.

Washington subsidizes and backs elections only when neo-liberal client regimes win. It consistently destabilizes center-left governments which oppose US imperial policies.

None of the targets of US aggression are strictly speaking anti-capitalist. Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina are capitalist regimes which attempt to regulate, tax and reduce disparities of wealth via moderate welfare reforms.

Throughout the world, Washington always supports extremist political groups engaged in violent and unconstitutional activity that have victimized democratic leaders and supporters. The  coup regime in Honduras has murdered hundreds of rank and file democratic activists, farm workers, and poor peasants.

The US armed Islamic jihadist and ex-pat allies in Libya have fallen out with their NATO mentors and are at war among themselves, engaging in mutual bloodletting.

Throughout the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, Central America and the Caucuses wherever US intervention has taken place, extreme right-wing groups have served, at least for a time, as Washington and Brussels principal allies.

Pro EU-NATO allies in the Ukraine include a strong contingent of neo-Nazis, paramilitary thugs and “mainstream” military forces given to bombing civilian neighborhoods with cluster bombs.

In Venezuela, Washington bankrolls terrorist paramilitary forces and political extremists who murdered a socialist congressional leader and dozens of leftists.

In Mexico the US has advised, finances and backs rightist regimes whose military, paramilitary and nacro-terrorist forces recently murdered and burned alive 43 teachers’ college students and are deeply implicated in the killing of 100,000 “other” Mexicans, in less than a decade.

Over the past eleven years the US has pumped over $6 billion dollars in military aid to Colombia, funding its seven military bases and several thousand special operations forces and doubling the size of the Colombian military. As a result thousands of civil society and human rights activists, journalists, trade union leaders and peasants, have been murdered. Over 3 million small land -holders have been dispossessed.

The mass media cover-up the US option for right wing extremism by describing ruling mass murderers as “center-right regimes” or as “moderates”: linguistic perversions and grotesque euphemisms, are as bizarre as the barbarous activities, perpetrated by the White House.

In the drive for world power, no crime is left undone; no democracy that opposes it is tolerated. Countries as small and marginal as Honduran or Somalia or as great and powerful as Russia and China cannot escape the wrath and covert destabilization efforts of the White House.

The quest for world domination is driven by the subjective belief in the “triumph of the will”. Global supremacy depends entirely on force and violence: ravaging country after country, from carpet bombing of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya to proxy wars in Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine to mass killings in Colombia, Mexico and Syria.

Yet there are limits to the spread of the “killing fields”. Democratic processes are defended by robust citizens’ movements in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. The spread of imperial backed terrorist seizures of power are stymied by emergence of global powers, China in in the Far East and Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have taken bold steps to limit US imperial expansion.

In the United Nations, the President of the United States and his delegate Samantha Powers rant and rave, in a fit of pure insanity, against Russia as “the greatest world terrorist state” for resisting military encirclement and the violent annexation of the Ukraine.

Extremism, authoritarianism and political insanity know no frontiers. The massive growth of the secret political police, the National Security Agency, the shredding of constitutional guarantees, the conversion of electoral processes into elite controlled multi-billion dollar charades, the growing impunity of police involved in civilian murders, speaks to an emerging totalitarian police – state inside the US as a counterpart to the violent pursuit of world power.

Citizens’ movements, consequential center-left parties and governments, organized workers, in Latin America, Asia and Europe have demonstrated that authoritarian extremist proxies of Washington can be defeated. That disastrous neo-liberal policies can be reverted. That welfare states, reductions in poverty, unemployment and inequalities can be legislated despite imperial efforts to the contrary.

The vast majority of the Americans, here and now, are strongly opposed to Wall Street, big business and the financial sector. The Presidency and the Congress are despised by three quarters of the American public. Overseas wars are rejected. The US public, for its own reasons and interests, shares with the pro-democracy movement’s world-wide, a common enmity toward Washington’s quest for world power. Here and now in the United States of America we must learn and build our own powerful democratic political instruments.

We must through the force of reason contain and defeat “the reason of force”: the political insanity that informs Washington’s ‘will to power’. We must degrade the empire to rebuild the republic. We must turn from intervening against democracy abroad to building a democratic welfare republic at home.

Mar 262014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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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 242014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Introduction

Captain Jose Guillen Araque,  of the Venezuelan National Guard, recently gave President Maduro a book on the rise of Nazism, warning that “fascism has to be defeated before it’s too late”!  In retaliation for his prophetic warning, the patriotic young captain was shot by a US-backed assassin on the streets of Marcay in the state of Aragua on March 16, 2014.  This raised the number of Venezuelan soldiers and police killed since the fascist uprising to 29.  The killing of a prominent, patriotic officer on a major street in a provincial capital is one more indication that the Venezuelan fascists are on the move, confident of their support from Washington and from a broad swath of the Venezuelan upper and middle class.  They constitute a minority of the electorate and they have no illusions about taking power via constitutional and democratic means.

Captain Guillen Araque had stepped forward to remind President Maduro that the road to power for Nazi and fascist totalitarian groups has been littered with the corpses of well-meaning democrats and social democrats throughout contemporary history because of their failure to use their constitutional powers to crush the enemies of democracy.

The History of the rise of Fascism under Democracies

The term “fascist” in Venezuela is appropriately applied to the organized violent political groups currently engaged in mass terror in a campaign to destabilize and overthrow the democratically-elected Bolivarian government.  Academic purist might argue that the Venezuelan fascists lack the racist and nationalist ideology of their German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese predecessors.   While true, it is also irrelevant.  The Venezuelan brand of fascism is highly dependent on, and acts as a proxy for, US imperialism and their Colombian warlord allies.  In one sense however, Venezuelan fascism’s racism is directed against its multiracial African-Amerindian Venezuelan working and peasant classes – as demonstrated by their vitriolic racism against the deceased President Hugo Chavez.  The essential connection with earlier fascist movements is found in its (1) profound class hostility to the popular majority; (2) its visceral hatred of the Chavista Socialist Party, winner of 18 of the last 19 elections; (3) its resort to the armed seizure of power by a minority acting on behalf of the domestic and US imperial ruling classes; (4) its intention to destroy the very democratic institutions and procedures which it exploits in order to gain political space; (5) its targeting of working class institutions – communal councils, neighborhood associations, public health and dental clinics, public schools, transport, subsidized food stores, political meeting places, public credit unions, trade union organizations and peasant co-operatives; (6)  and its support of capitalist banks, huge commercial landed  estates and manufacturing firms.

In Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Chile, fascist movements also began as small terrorist groups, who gained the financial backing of the capitalist elite because of their violence against working class organizations and democratic institutions and recruited primarily among middle class university students, elite professionals (especially doctors) and active and retired higher military officers – united in their hostility to the democratic order.

Tragically and all too often, democratic leaders, operating within a constitutional government, tended to regard fascists as “just another party”, refusing or unwilling to crush the armed thugs, who combined terror in the streets with elections to gain state power.  Constitutionalist democrats have failed or were unwilling to see the political, civilian arm of the Nazis as part and parcel of one organic totalitarian enemy; so they negotiated and debated endlessly with elite fascists who meanwhile destroyed the economy while terrorists pounded away at the political and social foundations of the democratic state.  The democrats refused to send out their multi-million mass supporters to face the fascist hordes.  Worse, they even prided themselves on jailing their own supporters, police and soldiers, who had been accused of using ‘excessive force’ in their confrontation with fascist street thugs.  Thus the fascists easily moved from the streets to state power.  The elected democrats were so concerned about criticism from the international and capitalist media, elite critics and self-appointed ‘human rights’ organizations, that they facilitated the takeover by fascists.  The people’s right to the armed defense of their democracy had been subordinated to the pretext of upholding ‘democratic norms’ – norms that any bourgeois state under assault would have rejected!  Constitutional democrats failed to recognize how drastically politics had changed.  They were no longer dealing with a parliamentary opposition preparing for the next election; they were confronted with armed terrorists and saboteurs committed to armed struggle and the seizure of political power by any means – including violent coups-d’états.

In the lexicon of fascism, democratic conciliation is a weakness, a vulnerability and an open invitation to escalate violence; ‘peace and love’ and ‘human rights’ slogans are to be exploited;  calls for ‘negotiations’ are preambles for surrender; and ‘agreements’ preludes to capitulation.

To the terrorists, the democratic politicians who warn about a “threat of fascism” while acting as if they were engaged in ‘parliamentary skirmishes’, become an open target for violent attack.

This is how the fascists came to power, in Germany, Italy and Chile, while the constitutionalist democrats, to the last, refused to arm the millions of organized workers who could have throttled the fascists and saved democracy and preserved their own lives.

Fascism in Venezuela: A Mortal Threat Today

The martyred hero, Captain Guillen Araque’s warning of an imminent fascist danger in Venezuela has a powerful substantive basis.  While the overt terrorist violence ebbs and flows, the underlying structural basis of fascism in the economy and society remains intact.  The subterranean organizations, financing and organizing the flow of arms to fascists-in-waiting remain in place.

The political leaders of the opposition are playing a duplicitous game, constantly moving from legal forms of protest to sub-rosa complicity with the armed terrorists.  There is no doubt that in any fascist putsch, the political oligarchs will emerge as the real rulers – and will share power with the leaders of the fascist organizations.  In the meantime, their ‘respectability’ provides political cover; their ‘human rights’ campaigns to free incarcerated street thugs and arsonists earn ‘international media support’ while serving as ‘intermediaries’ between the open US funding agencies,  and the clandestine terrorist underground.

In measuring the scope and depth of the fascist danger, it is a mistake to simply count the number of bombers, arsonists and snipers, without including the logistical, back-up and peripheral support groups and institutional backers who sustain the overt actors,

To ‘defeat fascism before it is too late’, the government must realistically assess the resources, organization and operational code of the fascist command and reject the overly sanguine and ‘upbeat’ pronouncements emanating from some ministers, advisers and legislators.

First, the fascists are not simply a small band confined to pounding on pots and attacking municipal workers in the upper-middle class neighborhoods of Caracas for the benefit of the international and corporate media.  The fascists are organized on a national basis; their members are active throughout the country.

They target vital institutions and infrastructure in numerous strategic locations.

Their strategy is centrally-controlled,  their operations are decentralized.

The fascists are an organized force; their financing, arming and actions are planned.  Their demonstrations are not ‘spontaneous’, locally-organized actions, responding to government ‘repression’ as depicted in the bourgeois and imperial media.

The fascists bring together different cross currents of violent groups, frequently combining ideologically-driven right-wing professionals, large-scale smuggling gangs and drug traffickers (especially in border regions), paramilitary groups, mercenaries and known felons.  These are the ‘frontline fascists’, financed by major currency speculators, protected by elected local officials, offered ‘sanctuary’ by real estate investors and high-level university bureaucrats.

The fascists are both ‘nationals’ and internationals:  They include locally paid thugs and students from upper-middle class families;  paramilitary Colombian soldiers, professional mercenaries of all sorts, ‘contract killers’ from US ‘security’ outfits and clandestine US Special Forces Operatives; and fascist ‘internationalists’ recruited from Miami, Central America, Latin America and Europe.

The organized terrorists have two strategic sanctuaries for launching their violent operations – Bogota and Miami, where prominent political leaders, like ex-President Alvaro Uribe and US Congressional leaders provide political support.

The convergence of highly lucrative criminal economic activity  and political terrorism presents a formidable double threat to the stability of the Venezuelan economy and the security of the state . . .  Criminals and terrorists find a common home under the US political tent, designed to overthrow Venezuela’s democratic government and crush the Bolivarian revolution of the Venezuelan people.

The backward and forward inter-linkages between criminals and terrorists inside and outside the country, between  Washington senior policymakers, street drug pushers and contraband ‘camels’, provides the international elite mouthpieces and the  muscle for street fighters and snipers.

Terrorist targets are not chosen at ‘random’; they are not products of an enraged citizenry protesting social and economic inequities.  The carefully chosen targets of terrorism are the strategic programs which sustain the democratic administration; first and foremost the mass social institutions forming the base of the government.  This explains why terrorists bomb health clinics for the poor, public schools and centers for adult education in the barrios, the state subsidized food stores and the public transport system.  These are part of the vast, popular welfare system set up by the Bolivarian government. They are key building blocks in securing massive voter support in 18 out of the last 19 elections and popular power in the streets and communities.  By destroying the social welfare infrastructure, the terrorists hope to break the social bonds between people and government.

Terrorists target the legitimate national security system: Namely, the police, National Guard, judges, public prosecutors and other authorities in charge of safeguarding citizens.  The assassinations, violent attacks and threats against public officials, the  fire-bombing of public buildings and public transport are designed to create a climate of fear and to demonstrate that the state is weak and incapable of protecting the everyday life of its citizens.  The terrorists want to project an image of ‘dual power’ by seizing public spaces and blocking normal commerce… and by ‘governing the streets through the gun’.  Above all the terrorists want to demobilize and curtail popular counter-demonstrations by blocking streets and sniping at activists engaged in political activity in contested neighborhoods.  The terrorists know they can count on their ‘legal’ political opposition allies to provide them with a mass base via public demonstrations, which can serve as a shield for violent assaults and a pretext for greater sabotage.

Conclusion

Fascism, namely armed terrorism directed at violently overthrowing a democratic government, is a real and immediate threat in Venezuela.  The day-to-day, ups and downs of street fighting and arson are not an adequate measure of the threat.  As we have noted, the in-depth structural and organizational supports underlying the rise and growth of fascism are far more important.  The challenge in Venezuela is to cut-off the economic and political basis of fascism.  Unfortunately, up until recently the government has been overly sensitive to hostile criticism from overseas and domestic elites who rush to defend fascists – in the name of “democratic freedom”.  The government of Venezuela has enormous resources at its disposal to root out the fascist threat.  Even if firm action causes an outcry from overseas liberal friends, most pro-democracy advocates believe it is incumbent upon the government to act against those opposition officials who continue to incite armed rebellion.

Most recently, there have been clear signs that the Venezuelan government, with its powerful democratic and constitutional mandate, is moving with awareness of the fascist danger and will act with determination to stamp it out in the streets and in the suites.

The National Assembly has voted to strip Congresswoman Corina Machado of her immunity as a deputy in the National Assembly so she can be prosecuted for inciting violence.  The President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello has presented detailed documentary evidence of her role in organizing and promoting armed rebellion.  Several opposition mayors, actively involved in promoting and protecting snipers, street thugs and arsonists, have been charged and arrested.

The majority of Venezuelans confronted by the rising tide of fascist violence  support the punishment of these high officials engaged in or supporting sabotage.  Without firm action, Venezuelan intelligence agencies as well as the average citizen agree that these ‘opposition’ politicos will continue to promote violence and provide sanctuary for paramilitary assassins.

The government has realized that they are engaged in a real war, planned by a centralized leadership and executed by decentralized operatives.  Legislative leaders are coming to grips with the political psychology of fascism, which interprets Presidential offers of political conciliation and judicial leniency as weakness to be exploited by further violence.

The most significant advance toward stopping the fascist threat lies in the government’s recognition of the links between the parliamentary and business elite and the fascist terrorists:  financial speculators, smugglers and big-time hoarders of food and other essential commodities are all part and parcel of the same fascist drive for power together with the terrorists who bomb public food markets and attack the trucks transporting food to the poor neighborhoods.  One revolutionary worker said to me after a street skirmish: “Por la razon y la fuerza no pasaran!”(Through reason and force they will be defeated)…

Feb 232014
 

El análisis de James Petras

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“Hay dos ejemplos en el tratamiento con oposiciones violentas. El caso de (Salvador) Allende en Chile, que toleró la oposición violenta hasta que dieron el golpe de Estado; y la otra es la respuesta de Fidel Castro en Cuba frente a los ataques violentos, que terminó quebrando la espalda al terrorismo y consolidó la revolución”, recordó el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras al analizar en CX36 (*) lo que está pasando en Venezuela. En ese sentido dijo que “o se rompe la cabeza de esta oposición para permitir la democracia o peligra que pase en Venezuela lo que pasó en Chile y otros países democráticos, que toleraron demasiado. Y las consecuencias de un golpe en Venezuela son terroríficas, porque lo que llaman fascistas van a lanzar una purga masiva y sangrienta. Yo prefiero 300 terroristas encarcelados que 30.000 militantes y pobres muertos”. En la oportunidad, Petras también analizó el fracaso de las negociaciones por la paz en Siria, la visita del presidente François Hollande a Estados Unidos y el creciente apoyo al levantamiento del bloqueo estadounidense a Cuba. A continuación transcribimos el análisis que Usted puede escuchar aquí: http://www.ivoox.com/james-petras-pide-carcel-para-leopoldo-lopez-por-audios-mp3_rf_2841456_1.html

Héctor Vicente: Estamos en contacto con el compañero Profesor y Sociólogo James Petras. Buenas tardes, ¿cómo está?

James Petras: Estamos muy bien.

HV: Hoy queríamos comenzar con la situación en Venezuela. Hoy, se reunió aquí en Montevideo la Mesa Directiva del Parlasur (Parlamento del Mercosur); y allí el presidente uruguayo José Mujica dijo que “hay un caldo de cultivo muy embromado en Venezuela” y la declaración aprobada lamenta “la escalada de violencia que se desató en el país” y exhortan al diálogo para terminar con la violencia. ¿Quçe reflexión le merecen estas declaraciones?

JP: Bueno, el diálogo siempre es buena idea siempre que los interlocutores de la oposición dejen la violencia y los esfuerzos de provocar un golpe de Estado. Hay una oposición que funciona dentro de la Constitución, respeta la Ley y el proceso político, y uno puede pensar en el diálogo con ellos, para ver como tranquilizar el país y resolver algunos problemas.

Pero cuando tratas con terroristas que actúan con cócteles molotov, que queman edificios y patrulleros, es el momento de aplicar la Ley. Es el momento de encarcelar a los violentos a los terroristas.

En ese sentido,  Mujica tiene que tomar en cuenta con quién va a dialogar, porque si en Uruguay empieza un sector de la derecha a quemar los campos de cultivos, si entran al Palacio de gobierno tirando cócteles molotov, estoy seguro que él va a llamar al ejército o la policía, para encarcelar a los terroristas.

Entonces podríamos decir que Mujica tiene –como siempre- la mitad de la verdad y la racionalidad, cuando pide al gobierno que abra un diálogo con la oposición. Pero, hay que distinguir entre oposición constitucional y oposición terrorista.

HV: En las últimas horas el gobierno venezolano denunció con pruebas concretas la injerencia de Estados Unidos en su país y expulsó a tres funcionarios diplomáticos de la Embajada de EE.UU. en Caracas.

JP: Este, es un acto con bases fundamentales, porque los acusados han funcionado en las universidades como asesores y financistas del sector más violento de los manifestantes. No funcionan como diplomáticos, están funcionando como asesores del terrorismo.

El hecho de que Washington de forma abierta y descarada esté interviniendo en marchas y protestas es una clara razón para expulsarlos. Por eso creo que Washington quería provocar la expulsión, ellos están buscando volver a romper las relaciones con Venezuela porque están en la onda del golpe, y quieren tener en ese caso un campo abierto de colaboración con los terroristas.

En el mismo momento que las expulsiones estaban en camino, el Secretario de Estado norteamericano, el canciller John Kerry, salió a defender a Leopoldo López que es el cabecilla del grupo opositor más violento, “Voluntad popular” se llama. Este grupo estaba incitando a tomar el control de las calles  e incitaba a la violencia, abiertamente declararon que van a tumbar al gobierno y a eliminar los procesos electorales.

La  próxima etapa es mañana martes,  para cuando este señor Leopoldo López está convocando a una marcha para entregarse a las autoridades. Pero este es otro pretexto. Porque él quiere tener respaldo en las calles en el momento en que se entregue.

El señor Leopoldo López es un doble entreguista: primero se entregó a Washington y ahora quiere poner frente a los violentos su entrega al gobierno venezolano para provocar más violencia. Esta forma de entregarse, culminando una marcha, me parece una enorme provocación, porque él quiere presentarse como mártir con respaldo popular.

Es una maniobra muy peligrosa de este señor, que es un agente violento de los peores sectores de los representantes de Estados Unidos. Leopoldo López es un terrorista con ningún antecedente democrático, es un personaje que busca la provocación y mañana actos de violencia, en el momento que Washington aumenta la tensión. Washington está lanzando una campaña en este momento considerando a Leopoldo López como un líder de la oposición, es un pretexto que debemos desenmascarar. Mañanas martes es un día decisivo para los violentos y los norteamericanos.

HV: Campaña que se desarrolla en las calles y también en los medios de difusión, porque han denunciado también desde el gobierno de Venezuela la tergiversación, la manipulación mediática, incluso utilizando fotos trucadas.

JP: Si, el gobierno debe intervenir en los medios. Ningún gobierno puede tolerar medios de comunicación fomentando abierta y descaradamente el terrorismo. Ningún gobierno, europeo, norteamericano, de ningún lado, podría tolerar medios vinculados a poderes subversivos –internos y externos- y que están en la primera línea para incitar un golpe de Estado.

Deben intervenir los medios en seguida y deben encarcelar a López antes de la marcha y no después cuando ya movilizó a toda la canallada en Caracas.

HV: Se publicó una encuesta realizada por Atlantic Council que revela que el 57% de los estadounidenses está a favor de normalizar las relaciones con Cuba y se afirma que en el Capitolio, hay un grupo bipartidista que está trabajando en revisar esta política hacia Cuba e impulsar políticas que alivien el bloqueo.

JP: Bueno, quiero sumar otro hecho trascendente, que es una encuesta realizada en Florida donde reside la mayoría de los habitantes de origen cubano, de ella surgió que el 62% está a favor de abrir relaciones con Cuba.

Es decir, la justificación utilizada por muchos comentaristas respecto a que el lobby de exiliados cubanos es la razón de la política hostil contra Cuba; ya no es así. Ahora, incluso la gran mayoría de los exiliados cubanos está a favor de entablar el relacionamiento con Cuba, entonces quedan con esa posición los Obama, los derechistas de la Casa Blanca y en sectores de ultraderecha, con la minoría de cubanos extremistas.

Quiero enfatizar que para muchos cubanos en Florida, es muy importante tener acceso a Cuba por las oportunidades para negocios, viajes, relaciones familiares, son muy fuertes. Únicamente un residuo derechista queda en la oposición, la nueva generación quiere volver y conocer el país; los hombres de negocios quieren volver a formar asociaciones con empresas cubanas; sectores norteamericanos que tienen interés de mejorar relaciones con América Latina también están a favor; diplomáticos que entienden que la política norteamericana queda en minoría de 3 contra 190 países también buscan terminar con el bloqueo. Pero el principal obstáculo en este momento es la Casa Blanca y el señor ultra reaccionario, Barack Obama.

HV: En ese marco, se supo que los ministros de Exteriores de la Unión Europea mandaran a la Comisión para que negocie un acuerdo político con el Gobierno de Raúl Castro.

JP: Es parte de la ola europea, de los hombres de negocios, los sectores mínimamente democráticos, que entienden que el bloque es ilegal, contraproducente, que hay cambios en Cuba hacia mejores perspectivas para los inversionistas, para el funcionamiento del mercado, de apertura política. O sea, un conjunto de factores para los sectores más iluminados que hacen que sea un momento de insertarse.

Ahora, la idea no es exactamente altruista, no podemos decir que es progresista. Ellos quieren ahora mejorar las relaciones para influir en el proceso de apertura del mercado, quieren aprovechar la introducción de inversiones privadas para ver si pueden utilizarlas para cambiar el régimen.

Del otro lado, el gobierno cubano les dice bienvenidas a las nuevas relaciones, porque ellos tienen confianza en el respaldo popular para limitar los cambios en el marco socialista.

En todo caso, nosotros subrayamos otro factor. La Casa Blanca de Washington queda desnuda, ni sus aliados más cercanos en Europa como Francia, Alemania e Inglaterra, están dispuestos a mantener la política actual. Otra vez podemos decir que Obama queda otra vez aislado con su política intransigente.

Otra cosa más. Una de las razones por las que Washington no está tomando en cuenta las mayorías a favor de las relaciones con Cuba; porque está preparando el golpe en Venezuela y sabe que Cuba es  el mejor defensor de Venezuela y su proceso democrático. Entonces no quieren mejorar las relaciones con Cuba al mismo tiempo que están tratando de derrocar al gobierno venezolano, quieren mantener a Cuba a la distancia para facilitar su intromisión en Venezuela.

Esa es la razón. Vinculan a Cuba con Venezuela y por eso, como están confrontando a Venezuela no quieren mejorar la situación con Cuba.

HV: El primer ministro israelí viene a América Latina; Benjamin Netanyahu  anunció que visitará México y Colombia.

JP: Hace tiempo que Israel está asesorando los Escuadrones de la Muerte en Colombia. Agentes del Mossad entrenaron a los paramilitares, hay confesiones de ex agentes del Mosasad que estuvieron muchos años en Colombia trabajando con el ejército y los paramilitares, e introduciendo nuevos sistemas tecnológicos para ubicar a los guerrilleros y los insurgentes.  Es normal que Colombia sea una parada muy importante.

Ahora en México también los sionistas tienen mucho poder. Recuerdo que hace unos años, cuando era columnista del periódico La Jornada, y cuando escribí un artículo criticando a Israel y a los sionistas como influyentes, los editores del periódico supuestamente progresista me avisaron que eso no podían publicar sobre el sionismo; incluso movilizaron columnistas supuestamente progresistas para criticarme. Y en poco tiempo con algunas provocaciones, terminaron mi columna.

Cuando averigüé con otras personas porqué terminaron mi columna me entré que el embajador de Israel tenía acceso a la editora del periódico.

HV: ¡Se terminó la libertad de prensa!

JP: Bueno, es todo relativo.

Los israelitas tienen un acceso incluso en los sectores progresistas de la prensa en México. Es un indicador del poder que ejercen los sionistas en México.

HV: Y además se recuerda que Israel fue invitado como observador en la Alianza del Pacífico.

JP: Si, es normal, porque ellos buscan entrar a todos los mercados para vender armas. Es uno de los principales exportadores de armas en el mundo especialmente un pequeño país que se especializa en drones y otros instrumentos de guerra. Entonces siempre buscan nuevos mercados.

Le agrego una cosa curiosa. Israel que siempre está al lado de Estados Unidos, es uno de los tres países que apoya el bloque a Cuba, no lo cumple. Israel tiene inversiones y comercio con Cuba a pesar de tomar posiciones junto a Washington a favor del bloque.

HV: El presidente francés François Hollande visita Estados Unidos, recibió un muy buen trato y firmó con Barack Obama una alianza para actuar en Siria y en Irán.

JP: Si, Hollande es de tradición francesa de social imperialismo. No hay que olvidarse de que los llamados socialistas franceses que estaban involucrados en los gobiernos coloniales de Indochina y Vietnam, por muchos años, destruyendo aldeas y quemando pueblos. Estuvieron en Argelia por muchos años tratando de destruir el Movimiento de Liberación Nacional; cuando los socialistas dejaron de gobernar llegó (Charles) De Gaulle al poder, firmaron el acuerdo para liberar Argelia.

Hay que tomar en cuenta que el socialismo francés tiene una larga historia de apoyar el colonialismo, el imperialismo; y este gobierno de Hollande no es una excepción: está en por lo menos cuatro guerras, en dos está activamente con tropas; en África esta involucrado en Libia; está involucrado en Siria.

Hollande es un guerrerista de la misma tanda que Obama, por eso tienen mucho en común, son masacradotes, intervencionistas. Y cuando uno habla de esto debe tomar en cuenta que en Francia, la popularidad de Hollande ha caído al 20%, es decir que el 80% rechaza su gobierno ; es un indicio de que cuanto menos apoyo interno, más abrazos con sus socios externos para mantener el régimen. Pero las guerras externas están con poco apoyo interno y ese es el dilema que tiene hoy Hollande.

Cuanto más busca abrazarse a Washington, menos apoyo interno tiene. No se si va a terminar su Presidencia en esta situación.

HV: Incluso Francia fue el primer país en sumarse cuando Obama dijo que había que intervenir en Siria.

JP: Si, no sólo sumarse, sino que después lo criticaron cuando no tiró las bombas. Es decir, los socialistas franceses quedaron a la derecha del Congreso norteamericano, cuando los congresistas norteamericanos incluso el Parlamento inglés rechazaron un nuevo bombardeo, esta vez a Siria, los franceses seguían apoyando un ataque frontal militar de los países de la OTAN.

HV: Se logró fijar una reunión entre las dos Coreas para el 20 y el 25 de febrero; algo que hace mucho no se daba.

JP: Hace muchos años que no se da, las dos Coreas tiene mucho en común, los pueblos coreanos sienten una unidad nacional, cultural y familiar más allá de las diferencias ideológicas y políticas. Lo que esta frenando esta reconciliación son las bases militares norteamericanas. Y cada vez que las naciones se acercan, Washington lanza ejercicios provocativos contra Corea del Norte para perjudicar ese acercamiento.

Corea del Norte está a favor de entablar negociaciones para terminar el bloqueo, la división, y cada vez que se pronuncian a favor Washington busca alguna provocación, como poner los barcos de guerra en la frontera marítima o cualquier otro tipo de provocación.

Si Estados Unidos dejara de presionar a Corea del Sur, por lo menos se darían los primeros pasos hacia una negociación satisfactoria.

HV: Bueno, como siempre le pedimos nos comente en qué temas está trabajando Usted en estos días.

JP: Bueno, el único  tema que nos queda porque estoy trabajando en la situación de Venezuela, que ya hemos tocado; pero el otro tema es el fracaso de las reuniones en Ginebra entre el gobierno de Siria y la oposición.

Los medios de comunicación en el mundo occidental culparon al gobierno de Bashar Al Assad del fracaso, pero si uno analiza cuidadosamente, se podría decir que la principal razón por el fracaso es que la oposición primero no está unida, incluso tumbaron al general del supuesto ejército opositor; están fragmentados en docenas de grupos y hay un auge de los terroristas de Al Qaeda, en consecuencia no tienen una línea coherente.

En segundo lugar, Washington no quiere una solución, busca continuar la guerra y tumbar al gobierno, lo mismo que Arabia Saudita.

Entonces cuando el gobierno sirio ofrece terminar con la violencia, permitir un cese al fuego, la oposición no puede aceptar porque no controla las propias fuerzas y en segundo lugar, ellos simplemente están negociando para tumbar al gobierno. Y eso no se puede negociar.

Se pueden tomar medidas preliminares, crear un ambiente para una elección.

El gobierno de Siria tiene una posición muy correcta, dice que la oposición ni las presiones externas pueden imponer un gobierno porque al final de cuentas es una decisión de los sirios, y una decisión de los sirios puede darse cuando haya fin de la violencia y el país esté en condiciones de presentar candidatos libremente y así decidir quién va a gobernar, a partir de proceso electorales.

HV: Es como lo que hablábamos antes de Venezuela, uno no puede sentarse a negociar con alguien que tiene una granda en la mano y con la disposición de agredir en cualquier momento.

JP: Es absurdo. Yo creo que el gobierno  de Maduro debe actuar con más energía. Es imposible pensar que terroristas de este alcance podrían funcionar en cualquier país democrático. Yo no conozco ningún gobernante que pueda permitir cócteles molotov y considerarlos oposición pacífica democrática. Es la gran mentira de Washington, la gran mentira de la BBC del New York Times, llamarla oposición pacífica democrática.

Creo que es demasiada light la respuesta de Nicolás Maduro, demasiado tolerante. Debemos recordar que hay dos ejemplos en el tratamiento con oposiciones violentas. El caso de (Salvador) Allende en Chile, que toleró la oposición violenta hasta que dieron el golpe de Estado; y la otra es la respuesta de Fidel Castro en Cuba frente a los ataques violentos, que terminó quebrando la espalda al terrorismo y consolidó la revolución.

Creo lo mismo, o se rompe la cabeza de esta oposición para permitir la democracia o peligra que pase en Venezuela lo que pasó en Chile y otros países democráticos, que toleraron demasiado. Y las consecuencias de un golpe en Venezuela son terroríficas, porque lo que llaman fascistas van a lanzar una purga masiva y sangrienta. Yo prefiero 300 terroristas encarcelados que 30.000 militantes y pobres muertos.

HV: Mañana es un día clave por lo que suceda en esa marcha.

JP: Si, creo que podemos esperar ver  un teatro de violencia, la entrega de López es simplemente el detonante para la confrontación. Ellos quieren ver sangre en las calles para una escalada violenta. Creo que estamos a la puerta de una gran confrontación.

HV: Petras le mando un gran abrazo, muchas gracias y nos encontramos el lunes.

JP: Un abrazo y saludo a la audiencia.

(*) Por encontrarse en California, hasta el 25 de febrero el Análisis de James Petras que se emite en vivo los lunes en CX36, sale a las 15:30 horas (local). Escúchelo en vivo en el 1250AM del dial uruguayo o por www.radio36.com.uy

Jul 302013
 

By William Blum, 99GetSmart

hypocrisy

 

It’s not easy being a flag-waving American nationalist. In addition to having to deal with the usual disillusion, anger, and scorn from around the world incited by Washington’s endless bombings and endless wars, the nationalist is assaulted by whistle blowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, who have disclosed a steady stream of human-rights and civil-liberties scandals, atrocities, embarrassing lies, and embarrassing truths. Believers in “American exceptionalism” and “noble intentions” have been hard pressed to keep the rhetorical flag waving by the dawn’s early light and the twilight’s last gleaming.

That may explain the Washington Post story (July 20) headlined “U.S. asylum-seekers unhappy in Russia”, about Edward Snowden and his plan to perhaps seek asylum in Moscow. The article recounted the allegedly miserable times experienced in the Soviet Union by American expatriates and defectors like Lee Harvey Oswald, the two NSA employees of 1960 – William Martin and Bernon Mitchell – and several others. The Post’s propaganda equation apparently is: Dissatisfaction with life in Russia by an American equals a point in favor of the United States: “misplaced hopes of a glorious life in the worker’s paradise” … Oswald “was given work in an electronics factory in dreary Minsk, where the bright future eluded him” … reads the Post’s Cold War-clichéd rendition. Not much for anyone to get terribly excited about, but a defensive American nationalist is hard pressed these days to find much better.

At the same time TeamUSA scores points by publicizing present-day Russian violations of human rights and civil liberties, just as if the Cold War were still raging. “We call on the Russian government to cease its campaign of pressure against individuals and groups seeking to expose corruption, and to ensure that the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of all of its citizens, including the freedoms of speech and assembly, are protected and respected,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. 1

“Campaign of pressure against individuals and groups seeking to expose corruption” … hmmm … Did someone say “Edward Snowden”? Is round-the-clock surveillance of the citizenry not an example of corruption? Does the White House have no sense of shame? Or embarrassment? At all?

I long for a modern version of the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954 at which Carney – or much better, Barack Obama himself – is spewing one lie and one sickening defense of his imperialist destruction after another. And the committee counsel (in the famous words of Joseph Welch) is finally moved to declare: “Sir, you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” The Congressional gallery burst into applause and this incident is widely marked as the beginning of the end of the McCarthy sickness.

US politicians and media personalities have criticized Snowden for fleeing abroad to release the classified documents he possessed. Why didn’t he remain in the US to defend his actions and face his punishment like a real man? they ask. Yes, the young man should have voluntarily subjected himself to solitary confinement, other tortures, life in prison, and possible execution if he wished to be taken seriously. Quel coward!

Why didn’t Snowden air his concerns through the proper NSA channels rather than leaking the documents, as a respectable whistleblower would do? This is the question James Bamford, generally regarded as America’s leading writer on the NSA, endeavored to answer, as follows:

I’ve interviewed many NSA whistleblowers, and the common denominator is that they felt ignored when attempting to bring illegal or unethical operations to the attention of higher-ranking officials. For example, William Binney and several other senior NSA staffers protested the agency’s domestic collection programs up the chain of command, and even attempted to bring the operations to the attention of the attorney general, but they were ignored. Only then did Binney speak publicly to me for an article in Wired magazine. In a Q&A on the Guardian Web Snowden cited Binney as an example of “how overly-harsh responses to public-interest whistle-blowing only escalate the scale, scope, and skill involved in future disclosures. Citizens with a conscience are not going to ignore wrong-doing simply because they’ll be destroyed for it: the conscience forbids it.”

And even when whistleblowers bring their concerns to the news media, the NSA usually denies that the activity is taking place. The agency denied Binney’s charges that it was obtaining all consumer metadata from Verizon and had access to virtually all Internet traffic. It was only when Snowden leaked the documents revealing the phone-log program and showing how PRISM works that the agency was forced to come clean. 2

“Every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs and national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said recently. “All I know is that it is not unusual for lots of nations.” 3

Well, Mr. K, anti-semitism is not unusual; it can be found in every country. Why, then, does the world so strongly condemn Nazi Germany? Obviously, it’s a matter of degree, is it not? The magnitude of the US invasion of privacy puts it into a league all by itself.

Kerry goes out of his way to downplay the significance of what Snowden revealed. He’d have the world believe that it’s all just routine stuff amongst nations … “Move along, nothing to see here.” Yet the man is almost maniacal about punishing Snowden. On July 12, just hours after Venezuela agreed to provide Snowden with political asylum, Kerry personally called Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua and reportedly threatened to ground any Venezuelan aircraft in America’s or any NATO country’s airspace if there is the slightest suspicion that Snowden is using the flight to get to Caracas. Closing all NATO member countries’ airspace to Venezuelan flights means avoiding 26 countries in Europe and two in North America. Under this scenario, Snowden would have to fly across the Pacific from Russia’s Far East instead of crossing the Atlantic.

The Secretary of State also promised to intensify the ongoing process of revoking US entry visas to Venezuelan officials and businessmen associated with the deceased President Hugo Chávez. Washington will also begin prosecuting prominent Venezuelan politicians on allegations of drug trafficking, money laundering and other criminal actions and Kerry specifically mentioned some names in his conversation with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister.

Kerry added that Washington is well aware of Venezuela’s dependence on the US when it comes to refined oil products. Despite being one of the world’s largest oil producers, Venezuela requires more petrol and oil products than it can produce, buying well over a million barrels of refined oil products from the United States every month. Kerry bluntly warned that fuel supplies would be halted if President Maduro continues to reach out to the fugitive NSA contractor. 4

Wow. Heavy. Unlimited power in the hands of psychopaths. My own country truly scares me.

And what country brags about its alleged freedoms more than the United States? And its alleged democracy? Its alleged civil rights and human rights? Its alleged “exceptionalism”? Its alleged everything? Given that, why should not the United States be held to the very highest of standards?

American hypocrisy in its foreign policy is manifested on a routine, virtually continual, basis. Here is President Obama speaking recently in South Africa about Nelson Mandela: “The struggle here against apartheid, for freedom; [Mandela’s] moral courage; this country’s historic transition to a free and democratic nation has been a personal inspiration to me. It has been an inspiration to the world – and it continues to be.” 5

How touching. But no mention – never any mention by any American leader – that the United States was directly responsible for sending Nelson Mandela to prison for 28 years. 6

And demanding Snowden’s extradition while, according to the Russian Interior Ministry, “Law agencies asked the US on many occasions to extradite wanted criminals through Interpol channels, but those requests were neither met nor even responded to.” Amongst the individuals requested are militant Islamic insurgents from Chechnya, given asylum in the United States. 7

Ecuador has had a similar experience with the US in asking for the extradition of several individuals accused of involvement in a coup attempt against President Rafael Correa. The most blatant example of this double standard is that of Luis Posada Carriles who masterminded the blowing up of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. He has lived as a free man in Florida for many years even though his extradition has been requested by Venezuela. He’s but one of hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin American terrorists who’ve been given haven in the United States over the years despite their being wanted in their home countries.

American officials can spout “American exceptionalism” every other day and commit crimes against humanity on intervening days. Year after year, decade after decade. But I think we can derive some satisfaction, and perhaps even hope, in that US foreign policy officials, as morally damaged as they must be, are not all so stupid that they don’t know they’re swimming in a sea of hypocrisy. Presented here are two examples:

In 2004 it was reported that “The State Department plans to delay the release of a human rights report that was due out today, partly because of sensitivities over the prison abuse scandal in Iraq, U.S. officials said. One official … said the release of the report, which describes actions taken by the U.S. government to encourage respect for human rights by other nations, could ‘make us look hypocritical’.” 8

And an example from 2007: Chester Crocker, a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, and formerly Assistant Secretary of State, noted that “we have to be able to cope with the argument that the U.S. is inconsistent and hypocritical in its promotion of democracy around the world. That may be true.” 9

In these cases the government officials appear to be somewhat self-conscious about the prevailing hypocrisy. Other foreign policy notables seem to be rather proud.

Robert Kagan, author and long-time intellectual architect of an interventionism that seeks to impose a neo-conservative agenda upon the world, by any means necessary, has declared that the United States must refuse to abide by certain international conventions, like the international criminal court and the Kyoto accord on global warming. The US, he says, “must support arms control, but not always for itself. It must live by a double standard.” 10

And then we have Robert Cooper, a senior British diplomat who was an advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair during the Iraq war. Cooper wrote:

The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era – force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. 11

His expression, “every state for itself”, can be better understood as any state not willing to accede to the agenda of the American Empire and the school bully’s best friend in London.

So there we have it. The double standard is in. The Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is out.

The imperial mafia, and their court intellectuals like Kagan and Cooper, have a difficult time selling their world vision on the basis of legal, moral, ethical or fairness standards. Thus it is that they simply decide that they’re not bound by such standards.

Hating America

Here is Alan Dershowitz, prominent American lawyer, jurist, political commentator and fervent Zionist and supporter of the empire, speaking about journalist Glenn Greenwald and the latter’s involvement with Edward Snowden: “Look, Greenwald’s a total phony. He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America. This had nothing to do with publicizing information. He never would’ve written this article if they had published material about one of his favorite countries.” 12

“Anti-American” … “hates America” … What do they mean, those expressions that are an integral part of American political history? Greenwald hates baseball and hot dogs? … Hates American films and music? … Hates all the buildings in the United States? Every law? … No, like most “anti-Americans”, Glenn Greenwald hates American foreign policy. He hates all the horrors and all the lies used to cover up all the horrors. So which Americans is he anti?

Dershowitz undoubtedly thinks that Snowden is anti-American as well. But listen to the young man being interviewed:

“America is a fundamentally good country. We have good people with good values who want to do the right thing.”

The interviewer is Glenn Greenwald. 13

Is there any other “democratic” country in the world which regularly, or even occasionally, employs such terminology? Anti-German? Anti-British? Anti-Mexican? It may be that only a totalitarian mentality can conceive of and use the term “anti-American”.

“God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America’s Middle Eastern policy and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist.” – John LeCarré, London Times, January 15, 2003

Notes

  • White House Press Briefing, July 18, 2013 ↩
  • Washington Post, June 23, 2013 ↩
  • Reuters news agency, July 2, 2013 ↩
  • RT television (Russia Today), July 19, 2013, citing a Spanish ABC media outlet ↩
  • White House press release, June 29, 2013 ↩
  • William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapter 23 ↩
  • Reuters, July 22, 2013 ↩
  • Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2004 ↩
  • Washington Post, April 17, 2007 ↩
  • Hoover Institute, Stanford University, Policy Review, June 1, 2002 ↩
  • The Observer (UK), April 7, 2002 ↩
  • “Piers Morgan Live”, CNN, June 24, 2013 ↩
  • Video of Glen Greenwald interviewing Edward Snowden (at 2:05 mark) ↩

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

Jul 262013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Lessons from El Salvador for the Columbian FARC

In Memory of Manuel Marulanda, Farabundo Marti and Augusto Sandino

Introduction

It is commonly assumed that “peace agreements” between pro-US rightwing regimes and leftwing insurgents lead to peace, justice and greater security.  A number of peace agreements which were signed and implemented in the 1990’s in Central America, South Africa, Philippines and elsewhere provide us with ample data over two decades to confirm or reject this commonplace assumption.

We will examine the case of El Salvador where a powerful guerilla movement (FMLN) signed off on a peace accord in 1992.

Method of Evaluating the Peace Accord

In approaching the analysis of the Peace Accord it is important to begin by focusing on the evolution of the FMLN – the ideological, organizational and political changes that led to the negotiations, the eventual pact with the rightwing regime and the socio-economic and political results.  The second part of the essay compares and contrasts the socio-economic and political results and policies which followed from the pact and how they affected the mass of the people.  This allows us to see who benefited and who lost; what socio-economic class and political structures emerged; what foreign policies were followed.

The third section of the paper will focus on drawing lessons which can be learned from the El Salvador experience which are applicable to the current Colombian peace negotiations between the FARC and the Santos regime.

The FMLN:  From Socialist Revolution to Capitalist Electoralism

In 1980 four major guerilla groups joined forces to form the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).  The leading component, the FPL, envisioned a prolonged struggle, uniting the guerilla and mass movements in a common anti-imperialist and social revolutionary struggle.  The lesser allies, led by the Communist Party envisioned a two stage “democratic to social revolution”.

In a little over two years, the three minority components, the ERP, the Communist Party, the RN shifted FMLN policies, eliminating the struggle for socialism based on workers and peasants in favor of a ‘democratic revolution’, which included the “progressive modern bourgeois”.  As the struggle continued, the internal alignments of the FMLN favored a further turn to the ‘center’.. FMLN leaders emphasized political incorporation into the electoral system, legalization of the FMLN, the opening of negotiations without any prior agreements and a willingness to work within the capitalist-electoral framework.  When negotiations began the FMLN dropped its demand for dismantling of the military, the expropriation of the leading financial, banking, commercial and mining interests and accepted a “truth commission” which would “examine” war crimes – the mass murder of over 75,000 civilians.

By 1992 when the peace agreement was signed, the ex-guerillas, the El Salvadorian regime and the US government hailed it as a “great historical turning point opening the country and people to a new era of peace and prosperity”.  Most leftist academics and journalists joined the chorus hailing the “pragmatism” and “flexibility” of the leaders of the FMLN.  European social democrats, especially the Spanish Socialist regime offered training courses to the ex-guerillas, on the ways and means of acting in government and municipal affairs.

Evaluating the Politics of the FMLN in Opposition and Government

Once the FMLN leaders turned from armed struggle and mass mobilization to electoral politics, they directly benefited:  many were elected to public office and secured middle class living standards.  As Congress people, political advisers, staff assistants and mayors, the FMLN elite received substantial salaries, bought homes in middle class neighborhoods, new automobiles and obtained security guards for protection.

Most FMLN politicos retained a social democratic ideology and mouthed radical rhetoric.  Some, like the former head of the ERP, Joaquin Villalobos allied with the rightwing, denounced the popular movements , received a scholarship to Oxford and became a consultant for murderous death squad regimes in Colombia, Philippines, North Ireland and elsewhere.

The urban and rural mass movements were virtually abandoned by the FMLN turned electoral party.  During the mass uprising between 1980 – 1990, the peasants secured a land reform, public employees’ salaries increased, and popular organizations proliferated as the government and US attempted to undercut the mass base of the insurgency.  Once the FMLN leaders entered the parliament and prioritized electoral politics, the pressure on the ruling classes was relieved, mass struggle declined and land reform ended.  The trade unions received scant support from the FMLN politicos.  The FMLN led by Shafik Handel pursued an alliance with the “modern bourgeoisie” to “isolate” the “traditional” landowning oligarchy”, to stabilize democracy and ensure their position in Congress as a “loyal opposition”.  In 2009 the FMLN won the presidency running a neo-liberal Christian Democrat Mauricio Funes and gained a plurality in Congress.

Salvadorian Society After the Peace Pact

The FMLN signed the so-called peace pact without any democratic dialogue with their members, without consulting the mass social movements; they discarded the major structural reforms which thousands of militants fought for and died.  Instead they ‘consulted’ their own interests in a parliamentary career.  They dictated their settlement to their middle level cadres, expelled critics and directed the masses to acquiesce offering them more phony and broken promises “to continue the struggle”.  They reneged on promises for jobs, income and land redistribution; the ‘reform’ of the military and judicial processes against officials involved in massive human rights violations never took place.

From 1992 to 2013, El Salvador continues as the country with the second worst inequalities in Latin America.  Unemployment especially for young people continues to exceed over 50%.  Over 60% of the “working population” does not have formal employment.  They work without pensions, health plans, vacations or social security, mostly in low paid “services”, i.e. street vendors, domestic servants etc.  Over 2.5 million Salvadorians were forced to migrate to other countries for lack of opportunities.  They young guerilla fighters were abandoned by their guerilla leaders.  Some were offered land, but without training, credit, extension services, they turned to urban and rural drug gangs.  Over 25,000 mostly young people are members of drug gangs.  El Salvador has the second highest rate of violent homicide in the Americas.  In fact more Salvadorians have been murdered in the aftermath of the “Peace Pact” (1992-2012) then were killed during the civil war (1980-91).From March 2012 when the two principle gangs signed a truce the killings have sharply declined.

The Peace Agreement set up a “Truth Commission” to uncover and prosecute war crimes and human rights violations.  Instead the Generals and military elite were granted an amnesty.  The Commission lacked financial and political support and no war criminals, even those identified with the most egregious crimes were ever tried let alone sent to jail.

The main beneficiaries of the Peace Pact were the ‘modern bourgeois’ – the banking, commercial, agro-business, maquiladora elite – who reaped high profits, paid little taxes, received state subsidies and exploited cheap labor in the maquiladoras.  Private security companies prospered as the new rich ruling class – including the “new rich”, FMLN elite-hired an army of private guards armed with automatic rifles and sub-machine guns, to protect their homes, businesses, private clubs and resorts.

El Salvador is a neo-liberal paradise’ before and after the Presidential victory of the FMLN;  free trade agreements, low wages, no-union, low paid maquiladora workers, in the free trade zones are the centerpiece of FMLN economic policy.

The so-called “Democratic Revolution” has been emptied of any socio-economic content. The social distance between the leaders of the FMLN and their business contractor allies on the one hand and the masses is abysmal.  The FMLN leaders live in modern apartments and houses, protected by three meter walls covered with broken glass and barbed wire, with paved streets and flowered gardens.  The majority of poor Salvadorians live in crowded hovels, on unpaved streets, controlled by armed drug gangs and corrupt police officials.

The FMLN regime has supported the US and EU free market agreement in Central America and US military bases.  Their “free trade policies” undermine small and medium producers .Ther military ties to the Pentagon strengthen the US military position against Venezuela and Ecuador.

Political Consequences of Peace Pact

During the civil war, the class struggle raised class consciousness, enhanced independent class organization and forced the ruling class and its US ‘mentors’ to make concessions including a land reform for peasants and wage increases for labor.  In the aftermath of the peace pact, the mass organizations have diminished in size and militancy; leaders have been co-opted by the FMLN elite.  Centralized political control over social movements ensures conformity to neo-liberal policies.  FMLN attempts to legitimize its embrace of the current socio-economic order by citing its “glorious and heroic guerrilla past”.  Corrupt FMLN politicos evoke their past role as “guerilla commanders” to cover up their current corrupt links to the economic elite. Whenever, a trade union goes on strike for higher wages or better working conditions, such as the health, educational or municipal workers, the FMLN leaders accuse them of “politics” or “aiding” the bourgeois opposition.      The FMLN has become a bureaucratic political machine driven by elite factions fighting for positions of power and privilege within the neoliberal state bureaucracy.

In the face of the abject failure of the FMLN and its government to attend to the most elementary needs of the urban poor and peasants, several hundred NGOs, funded by US AID and EU regimes, and set up by middle class professionals have established local self-help projects, that enrich the NGO leaders, undermine local social movements and fail to reduce poverty.

Given the lack of peace, security, and social justice and the decline of social movements, is it any wonder that tens of thousands of Salvadorian flee their country every year? There are over 2.5 million Salvadoreans living abroad, over 90%in the USA.

Conclusion:  Why the Peace Pact Failed

From any objective analysis, it is clear that the peace pact signed by the FMLN has failed to meet the most minimum socio-economic and political demands of its mass supporters.  Despite great sacrifices and untold examples of personal heroism, the great mass of Salvadorians were defrauded of any positive outcome.  The powerful movements were dismantled by decree of the guerilla commanders. The top leaders who dictated policy either because collaborators with the US military (Villalobos) or allies of the so-called “progressive” bourgeoisie.

Various lessons can be drawn.

(1)    A militant military past is no guarantee of progressive socio-economic commitments after a negotiated settlement.

(2)   A peace agreement dictated by an elite is likely to sacrifice mass socio-economic interests in order to secure political respectability.

(3)   Foreign ‘radical’ allies, like Cuba, have their own political interests in securing regional stability and peace, which may not coincide with the socio-economic needs of a revolutionary mass movement.

(4)   Peace agreements must include the direct influence of the representatives of mass popular movements and incorporate their demands.

(5)   Peace agreements which disarm the insurgents and maintain the military, which sustain the economic ruling class and its control over all the strategic sectors of the economy, results in the continuation of neo-liberal policies, US military bases and the incorporation of former guerilla leaders into a corrupt, reactionary political system.

(6)   A peace pact that does not lead to massive public investments in jobs, public works, agrarian reform and other productive activity will result in unemployed armed young people turning to violent crime and drug trafficking.

(7)   Ex-guerilla leaders who promote their electoral careers and work within the system, adopt neo-liberal policies— as numerous examples demonstrate. In Colombia for example Antonio Navarro Wolff formerly of the M-19 became an ally of then President Alvaro Uribe’s death squad regime when he was governor of Nariño.  Teodoro Petkoff, the Venezuelan ex-guerilla, became the architect of the IMF austerity program of President Caldera.  Joaquin Villalobos the former Salvadorian guerilla leader of the ERP became an adviser to the CIA and any murderous regime which paid his lucrative consultation fees.

The people’s movements must establish their socio-economic priorities and presence in any “peace process”.  Incorporation of the guerillas into the electoral system should have the lowest priority.

The vast majority of the workers, peasants and students want peace that is accompanied by structural changes in the socio-economic system. This includes expropriation of fertile, irrigated land; the end of trade union repression and new labor laws protecting large scale unionization; doubling the minimum wage and the formation of workers’  committees to oversee management.

Large scale public program to create employment require new progressive taxes on the rich to provide financing of infrastructures and productive enterprises.  Environmental agencies composed of ecologists, Indian and peasant leaders need to be empowered to regulate mining operations and to enforce an equitable distribution of tax receipts and royalty payments.

Above all a peace agreement requires the democratization of the state:  the dismantling of Special Forces, counter-insurgency programs, advisory missions and foreign military bases.  The abject failure of the FMLN to change Salvadorian society and improve the socio-economic position of the masses was directly linked to their insertion in the capitalist state and subordination to the neo-liberal economy.

The “stage theory” of FMLN guru Shafik Handel argued that “capitalist modernization and democracy” in alliance with the modern bourgeoisie was the ‘immediate goal’ and socialism was for the “distant future”.  This “stage theory” overlooked the fact that the “modern bourgeoisie” was structurally tied to the traditional landowning, banking and imperial elites and was not in any way committed to any so-called “democratic revolution”.  The FMLN, discarded socialism, never achieved a “democratic revolution” and ended up presiding over a crime infested, impoverished country in which the political elite joined the same country clubs as their former class enemies.

It behooves the FARC to carefully study the negative lessons of the past, the disastrous peace agreements of Central America, the MR-19 surrender to the narco-state, in order to pursue a peace agreement that consults and benefits the majority and not simply secures  seats in Congress.