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18 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Did you actually watch that report from the "Canadian reporter" (who seems to have no trail as a journalist btw)? I stood in a line longer than that for Stones tickets a few weeks back. The interviews include snip, such as "we're not starving" and "we're not fighting with each other". Really? Have you seen the protests against Maduro? You've got a single penny in your pocket that's worth more than the bolivar right now.

Do you think this could have something to do with crushing sanctions and financial blockade against Venezuela?  The US has no legitimate pretense for further crippling the Venezuelan economy this way.   Sanctions kill.

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18 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

Do you think this could have something to do with crushing sanctions and financial blockade against Venezuela?  The US has no legitimate pretense for further crippling the Venezuelan economy this way.   Sanctions kill.

Different issue. My point is about a totally propagandistic set of claims.

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23 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Different issue. My point is about a totally propagandistic set of claims.

It really isn't.  If you're going to mention how the bolivar has collapsed, at least acknowledge the impact western sanctions have had against VZ economy.  That was the point of them all along- to economically strangle Venezuela into compliance with US interests.  This isn't the first time that mainstream media has advanced a narrative that suited regime change goals.  

Maybe socialism in Venezuela would have collapsed under its own weight.  It could be that Maduro is overwhelmingly unpopular entirely on his own.  But the reason Maduro "has to go" all of a sudden (What if he doesn't?  What if the Chavistas don't want him to?  What is the opposition's real endgame here when their coup doesn't pan out?)  is that US imperial interests- represented by Trump/Bolton/Rubio- see blood in the water. 

The Guaido wing of the opposition- itself opposed by other opposition parties that prefer democratic participation over strongarm tactics, backed by the US, begging for Abrams' "humanitarian aid," and looking to re-establish Venezuelan ties to the apartheid state of Israel- is incredibly unpopular itself.  The majority of Venezuelans oppose US intervention, which Guaido is going out of his way to facilitate.

Don't delude yourself into thinking an administration that talks about Latinos on the border like a violent infestation and backs Saudi Arabia's death and destruction in Yemen gives a crap about the wellbeing of Venezuelans.  They want the oil.  They want a US-subservient axis in Latin America.  Bolton really couldn't spell it out any harder.  That's a far greater threat to peace and stability in the region than Maduro could ever dream of.  

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On 2/15/2019 at 1:11 AM, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Venezuela’s collapse eclipses post-Soviet crash

A 54% plunge in economic output exceeds previous communist meltdown

Graph 1

Graph 2

Graph 3

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Venezuela’s economic collapse now exceeds that of the former Soviet Union, suggesting “21st century socialism” may be going the way of its 20th century predecessor. The Latin American state’s gross domestic product has fallen 54 per cent from its 2013 peak, according to calculations by the Institute of International Finance, a Washington-based trade body.

This collapse is now far worse than the 37 per cent peak-to-trough slide of the median former USSR state in the period after the union’s break-up in 1991, according to IIF data. It has even outstripped the 51 per cent slump experienced by Ukraine, the worst hit ex-Soviet state. Venezuela’s meltdown is now the second most severe economic crash in modern history, the IIF believed, exceeded only by the plight of Zimbabwe, where GDP plunged 74 per cent between 1998 and 2009.

“Venezuela’s economic collapse is almost unprecedented in recent history,” said Sergi Lanau, deputy chief economist at the IIF. “Zimbabwe in the last 20 years and the collapse of the Soviet Union are the only comparable episodes.

“GDP has collapsed to a point where it’s almost unthinkable in modern times.” The country, once one of the richest in Latin America and home to the world’s largest proven oil reserves, has been brought to its knees by the socialist “Bolivarian revolution” led by former president Hugo Chávez and his anointed successor Nicolás Maduro, whose ruinous policies, allied to widespread corruption, have ushered in an era of food shortages, hyperinflation, disease and violence. Venezuela stopped publishing official GDP data in 2016 after reporting a 16.5 per cent year-on-year slide, driven in part by a slump in oil prices, the third straight year of contraction. Mr Lanau, a former country economist for Venezuela at the IMF, has calculated his own output figures since, based on measures such as oil production (down 18 per cent last year), car production, which “has fallen to basically zero”, and export data from the likes of Colombia and the US.

He estimated that GDP fell a further 15.5 per cent in 2017 and 20 per cent in 2018 and is on track to contract a further 10 per cent this year. The figures are a little worse than the IMF estimates. The likelihood of regime change in Venezuela has seemingly risen in recent weeks as Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, has been recognised as the country’s legitimate interim leader by a host of western and Latin American states.

But based on the history of severe economic collapses elsewhere, Mr Lanau suggested it may take more than a decade for Venezuela to claw its way back to the peak GDP it enjoyed in 2013, even if a new regime was allowed to enact the correct policies. “It’s not like the standard V-shaped recession in emerging markets, such as in Indonesia in 1998 where it’s only a year and a half of real economic hardship,” he said.

It took the median former Soviet state 12 years to achieve pre-crisis real GDP levels and significantly more in some cases. [This] experience suggests that Venezuela’s recovery . . . is not assured to be fast. Where there has been significant destruction of economic capacity, recoveries can take a long time.” Others are also downbeat about the long grinding nature of any meaningful recovery. Fitch, the rating agency, said in a note that “the successor to the [current] government will face massive political and economic challenges in the following years”, as it attempts to rebuild institutions, combat hyperinflation, revive the oil sector and reduce crime. “We believe it will take several years for most of these challenges to be addressed, and we see significant risk of backsliding on reforms throughout the process,” Fitch added. Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, argued that Venezuela could potentially fair better than the former USSR, given that communism had been entrenched in the latter for 70 years.


This may prove of little benefit to Venezuela’s creditors, however. Mr Glossop estimated that the country owes $70bn on its bonds, plus $30bn to China, $10bn to Russia and a further $10bn to other countries and international organisations, a total he put at 140 per cent of GDP. His analyses of a series of previous debt restructurings, ranging from Ecuador in 1998 to Greece in 2012, based on data from Moody’s, suggests a strong relationship between the public debt-to-GDP ratio and the extent of the writedown. With Venezuela’s debt ratio being towards the upper end of the spectrum, Mr Glossop’s model suggests debt will need to be written down by between 60 per cent and 80 per cent — even if China and Russia could be persuaded to take their share of the pain.

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So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

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15 minutes ago, Slapdash said:

So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

Because the US controls the price of oil, duh. One could say the US runs a cartel of oil suppliers.

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8 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

Because the US controls the price of oil, duh. One could say the US runs a cartel of oil suppliers.

The price of oil didn't start collapsing until August of 2014 either.  

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10 hours ago, ren hoek said:

It really isn't.  If you're going to mention how the bolivar has collapsed, at least acknowledge the impact western sanctions have had against VZ economy.  That was the point of them all along- to economically strangle Venezuela into compliance with US interests.  This isn't the first time that mainstream media has advanced a narrative that suited regime change goals.  

Maybe socialism in Venezuela would have collapsed under its own weight.  It could be that Maduro is overwhelmingly unpopular entirely on his own.  But the reason Maduro "has to go" all of a sudden (What if he doesn't?  What if the Chavistas don't want him to?  What is the opposition's real endgame here when their coup doesn't pan out?)  is that US imperial interests- represented by Trump/Bolton/Rubio- see blood in the water. 

The Guaido wing of the opposition- itself opposed by other opposition parties that prefer democratic participation over strongarm tactics, backed by the US, begging for Abrams' "humanitarian aid," and looking to re-establish Venezuelan ties to the apartheid state of Israel- is incredibly unpopular itself.  The majority of Venezuelans oppose US intervention, which Guaido is going out of his way to facilitate.

Don't delude yourself into thinking an administration that talks about Latinos on the border like a violent infestation and backs Saudi Arabia's death and destruction in Yemen gives a crap about the wellbeing of Venezuelans.  They want the oil.  They want a US-subservient axis in Latin America.  Bolton really couldn't spell it out any harder.  That's a far greater threat to peace and stability in the region than Maduro could ever dream of.  

If this is the case, why would Dore launch a whole show off a false premise and pseudojournalism then?

I’ll try to provide a fuller post later, because you raise a load of side points, but I’ll agree that (of course) sanctions have an impact (even as Dore denies that impact). However, the decline in the economy started before the sanctions, and it’s Maduro himself as your own source pointed out who cut off his own border before Trump even came to power.

We can ageee on the despicability of Trump, Bolton and Abrams. However as I’ve often pointed out Trump often seems barely tethered to his own administration. 

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9 hours ago, Slapdash said:

So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

We can’t, not rationally. And I’ll add that the hallmark of VZ’s decline has been more about its character as a kleptocracy or kakocracy rather than its socialism.

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4 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

We can’t, not rationally. And I’ll add that the hallmark of VZ’s decline has been more about its character as a kleptocracy or kakocracy rather than its socialism.

Right.  Not following it closely, I was surprised the decline started before the collapse in oil prices.  It almost seems like Maduro started Venezuela's decline.  That is consistent with the economic data I see, even if it runs counter to what Russian propaganda says.

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15 hours ago, Slapdash said:

So if Venezuela's economic collapse started in late 2013/early 2014 and the US didn't apply major sanctions related to Maduro's dictatorship until a year later, why are we blaming the US for this situation?

Because "we" are ren

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5 hours ago, Slapdash said:

Right.  Not following it closely, I was surprised the decline started before the collapse in oil prices.  It almost seems like Maduro started Venezuela's decline.  That is consistent with the economic data I see, even if it runs counter to what Russian propaganda says.

When you've emptied all savings, the collapse comes quickly. So that points to Chavez' policies as well

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10 hours ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

We can’t, not rationally. And I’ll add that the hallmark of VZ’s decline has been more about its character as a kleptocracy or kakocracy rather than its socialism.

One naturally leads to the other.  In fact, I can't think of a time it didn't.  Quickest way to become a billionaire is to run a socialist country.

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11 hours ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

If this is the case, why would Dore launch a whole show off a false premise and pseudojournalism then?

I’ll try to provide a fuller post later, because you raise a load of side points, but I’ll agree that (of course) sanctions have an impact (even as Dore denies that impact). However, the decline in the economy started before the sanctions, and it’s Maduro himself as your own source pointed out who cut off his own border before Trump even came to power.

We can ageee on the despicability of Trump, Bolton and Abrams. However as I’ve often pointed out Trump often seems barely tethered to his own administration. 

What was false about the program?  Where did Dore deny the impact of sanctions?  I watched it last night and didn’t notice anything out of line with what I’ve been saying.  

Mate’ has bylines at Democracy Now, The Nation, The Intercept, Vice.  He did a lot of good work at The Real News as well.  

Maduro has not closed down the border to international aid.  The Red Cross and UN have been providing aid for a long time. So have China and Russia.  The bridge between VZ and Colombia was never opened since its construction in 2016 due to ongoing tensions between the two.  

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/venezuela-bridge-aid-pompeo-1.5018432

If they actually want to deliver aid to Venezuelan people, and not just use it as a PR stunt to put cruise ships and military planes on the border and militarize the opposition like they’ve done over and over again to other regime change targets, they can go through the Red Cross or UN.  They are right to be skeptical of this “aid”.  

Red Cross and UN have requested that they stop politicizing aid.  Not only because it’s a cynical ploy to manufacture consent for an invasion, but because it endangers actual aid workers in high risk areas.  

Again, maybe you are right that the Maduro admin is collapsing under its own weight.  But if they give a #### at all about Venezuelans they need to end the sanctions, return the $1.2 billion stolen by the Bank of England to the Venezuelan treasury, and work through neutral humanitarian orgs to administer aid and broker a peaceful transition.  

Guaido is just parroting Mike Pence with his ‘it is time for action, not dialogue’ talk.  They’re not doing any favors to a diplomatic resolution either.  

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43 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

What was false about the program?  Where did Dore deny the impact of sanctions?  I watched it last night and didn’t notice anything out of line with what I’ve been saying.  

You and I are making totally different points about the content. I'll drop it, I certainly recognize your point.

The point was just about Dore starting with snips of propaganda, then jaw agape is off and running from there. He did the same thing in another piece by pointing to Abrams and then wildly dragging in the 'western world' along with him. He is, after all, a comedian. He's an inherently funny guy but I don't have to take policy points from him.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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41 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

Maduro has not closed down the border to international aid.  The Red Cross and UN have been providing aid for a long time. So have China and Russia.  The bridge between VZ and Colombia was never opened since its construction in 2016 due to ongoing tensions between the two.  

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/venezuela-bridge-aid-pompeo-1.5018432

If they actually want to deliver aid to Venezuelan people, and not just use it as a PR stunt to put cruise ships and military planes on the border and militarize the opposition like they’ve done over and over again to other regime change targets, they can go through the Red Cross or UN.  They are right to be skeptical of this “aid”.  

Red Cross and UN have requested that they stop politicizing aid.  Not only because it’s a cynical ploy to manufacture consent for an invasion, but because it endangers actual aid workers in high risk areas.  

Again, maybe you are right that the Maduro admin is collapsing under its own weight.  But if they give a #### at all about Venezuelans they need to end the sanctions, return the $1.2 billion stolen by the Bank of England to the Venezuelan treasury, and work through neutral humanitarian orgs to administer aid and broker a peaceful transition.  

Guaido is just parroting Mike Pence with his ‘it is time for action, not dialogue’ talk.  They’re not doing any favors to a diplomatic resolution either.  

My point here was that, yes the bridge was closed 2016, but also other border points were closed off even before that, IIRC 2015. The bridge isn't the only siphon for aid or commerce. And its' really not aid, it's commerce that is impaired. The economy is cadaverous.

There is probably a way out of this and it involves free, fair and totally open elections with international monitoring and under the VZ Constitution, which of course gives management of elections to the Assembly. I'm guessing that has been put before Maduro more than once. All he has to do is do that and agree to leave office by a certain date if he loses. I think that will do it.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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But worry not, as this administration is bad at diplomacy, so Maduro probably isn't going anywhere.

Quote

Even among Maduro’s critics, cracks remain. EU member nations are united in condemning Maduro but divided in what to do about it. Italy’s populist government is sticking to a domestic compromise it painfully hammered out -- calling for new elections but stopping short of recognizing Guaido as interim president, according to an Italian official who asked not to be named.

- Apparently primarily it's just Mexico and Italy calling for this, but I would be fine with it, so long as the elections are free (all opposition allowed), fair, monitored, regulated by the Assembly, and with a deadline for Maduro to leave office if he loses, which he must agree to.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006

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It's hard to defend Elliot Abrams being any way involved with our foreign policy efforts. 

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6 hours ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

You and I are making totally different points about the content. I'll drop it, I certainly recognize your point.

The point was just about Dore starting with snips of propaganda, then jaw agape is off and running from there. He did the same thing in another piece by pointing to Abrams and then wildly dragging in the 'western world' along with him. He is, after all, a comedian. He's an inherently funny guy but I don't have to take policy points from him.

Didn't mean to talk past you.  I hadn't watched the video yet when I posted about the bolivar.  Just not following your comment about propaganda- he's actually out there on the ground in VZ.  Do you think he is just telling lies or something?  Just struck me as an unfair characterization is all.  

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54 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

Didn't mean to talk past you.  I hadn't watched the video yet when I posted about the bolivar.  Just not following your comment about propaganda- he's actually out there on the ground in VZ.  Do you think he is just telling lies or something?  Just struck me as an unfair characterization is all.  

Quite alright, nature of the medium. - I haven’t mentioned Mate. I was talking about the woman before him. I’ve seen Mate wrt the Russia investigation, but at any rate I wasn’t commenting on that.

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Aid is coming through.

>>A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian assistance for Venezuela will be unloaded at the Simon Bolivar bridge on Colombia's side of the border and the aid will be transported by a human chain across the frontier, Colombia's migration agency said on Saturday.<<

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Guaido's 30-day term ended this week. Shouldn't that mean that Maduro gets to resume the presidency?

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33 minutes ago, [scooter] said:

Guaido's 30-day term ended this week. Shouldn't that mean that Maduro gets to resume the presidency?

The Assembly’s point is there is no legally appointed president right now, so no I don’t think that’s the view of the opposition. I’m not sure what happens with Guaidó. Thought the deadline was for Maduro to respond in some way by stepping down or by calling new elections, and then the Assembly would determine the next stage. But I’m not sure on that.

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Maybe this was asked before, but why does Trump care about Venezuela?

Is it the oil?

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48 minutes ago, badmojo1006 said:

Maybe this was asked before, but why does Trump care about Venezuela?

Is it the oil?

Honestly, I think it's to score political points about socialism = bad. 

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30 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

Honestly, I think it's to score political points about socialism = bad. 

I'm not saying you're wrong, I don't know.  But what would we have Trump do here if we could choose?  I think what he's done so far I would agree with.  I'm not a fan of sending troops to Colombia or anything like that.

Edited by Shula-holic

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19 hours ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Aid is coming through.

>>A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian assistance for Venezuela will be unloaded at the Simon Bolivar bridge on Colombia's side of the border and the aid will be transported by a human chain across the frontier, Colombia's migration agency said on Saturday.<<

These the same trucks (carrying food & medicine) that were burned by gov troops yesterday?

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/02/23/venezuelan-soldiers-defect-troops-fire-tear-gas-protesters-colombia/amp/

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@marcorubio

Grave situation developing right now inside of #Colombia.

@freddysuperlano a member of the National Assembly of #Venezuela was poisoned this morning at breakfast inside of  Colombia & is in serious condition at the hospital.

 

His assistant Carlos Salinas has died from poisoning.

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I’m sure it’s a coincidence that a certain country that supports the current regime likes to poison people.

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https://twitter.com/federation/status/1099374815394308102?s=21

We’ve learned that there are some people not affiliated w/ @cruzrojacol & @CruzRojaVe wearing Red Cross emblems at Colombia-#Venezuela & Brazil-Ven border.

We urge them to stop doing this. They might mean well but they risk jeopardizing our neutrality, impartiality & independence

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I’ll say this about Ren’s point. I really don’t agree with the border closings or the halting of aid or commerce, and I don’t think it’s just US aid, but what I do think is possible is provoking some kind of incident by trying to force the aid through. It could be say a massacre, or firing on a ship or plane or convoy, that could be a trigger to provoke Trump into taking some kind of military action. Obviously no one rational or decent wants to see that.

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41 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I’ll say this about Ren’s point. I really don’t agree with the border closings or the halting of aid or commerce, and I don’t think it’s just US aid, but what I do think is possible is provoking some kind of incident by trying to force the aid through. It could be say a massacre, or firing on a ship or plane or convoy, that could be a trigger to provoke Trump into taking some kind of military action. Obviously no one rational or decent wants to see that.

But you do see why they'd be skeptical of "aid", right?  

China, Russia, the Red Cross, and the UN have been administering aid for a while now.  They are not closed off to aid.  They are closed off to "aid" from governments whose clear objective is to overthrow them. 

Other than that, I agree it's a perilous situation with chances of triggering a serous proxy war.  The US-aligned axis and rightwing opposition are pouring gasoline on it.  

Edited by ren hoek

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https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1098347192207720449

Richard Branson’s Live Aid interventionist propaganda show has brought the reality of Venezuela’s “humanitarian crisis” into the open: A local bus line is offering affluent Venezuelan opposition supporters luxury vacation packages to “the most trendy concert of the decade”

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In fact, Guaidó is from one of the most hard-line political parties among the opposition. While some parties have sought to displace chavismo through an electoral route, Leopoldo López, one of the founders of Voluntad Popular, led protests in 2014—many of which became violent—demanding Maduro’s exit. After Maduro’s first election, in 2013, López justified undemocratic approaches to removing him by declaring his government illegitimate. One of the few things we do know about Guaidó is that López has been one of his political mentors; some have even suggested López is continuing to call the shots while still under house arrest in suburban Caracas.

More than anything else, Guaidó appears to be a product of the right-wing, middle-class student movement that developed in opposition to the Chávez government in the mid-to-late 2000s. This movement, which took to the streets of Caracas to demand the ouster of Chávez, received much of its funding and training from Washington.

The following reporting is based on Tim Gill’s extensive research on US foreign policy toward Venezuela under Chávez, and the ways in which Washington sought to“promote democracy.” Gill conducted interviews with numerous US state actors and members Venezuelan civil society.

Over the course of several years, Washington worked with middle-class, opposition-aligned students through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI). Indeed, OTI often works in war-torn countries that are, as the office’s name indicates, experiencing a “political transition,” such as Burma, Iraq, and Libya. When Gill asked a former high-ranking USAID member why OTI worked in Venezuela, he stated that OTI are “the special forces of the democracy assistance community.” Another USAID functionary told Gill that OTI allowed the United States to provide funds to opposition members in Venezuela faster than if they used traditional channels.

What were the ultimate objectives of USAID/OTI in Venezuela during the years they worked with the student movement? US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield specifically laid them out in a secret embassy cable secured by Chelsea Manning and released by WikiLeaks: “1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base, 3) Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5) Isolating Chavez internationally.”

These efforts initially focused on setting up community groups in working-class neighborhoods, which appeared neutral but were actually operated by opposition activists. Since USAID/OTI could not directly fund political parties, they worked with party leaders, including those from Voluntad Popular, to help opposition activists set up these community groups in neighborhoods where chavistas were predominant. The groups, which claimed to promote and provide training related to participatory democracy, ultimately aimed to put opposition activists in contact with Chávez supporters in an effort to generate chavista support for their political parties. One USAID/OTI contractor who helped to organize these groups in Venezuela explained to Gill:

We even developed new NGOs that were looking very neutral in the eyes of the government; by them we can help people in the poor neighborhoods. They looked neutral because they had no affiliation with no political party. They were people from the neighborhood, even though they were opposition. They create the organizations with no past relation to political parties. So when they worked in the barrios, they looked very neutral. So we gave them money, but they succeeded in helping democratic values. They were pulling people away from Chávez in a subtle manner. We were telling them what democracy is, and showing them what democracy means. We developed very nice materials and took care of every word to give them, so it didn’t look like we were sympathizing with the opposition.

The campaign didn’t work out as planned. Chávez continued to garner support among the popular classes, and many barrio inhabitants eventually caught on that the community groups were organized by the opposition, so most stopped attending.

Thereafter, USAID/OTI largely shifted its efforts toward the burgeoning student movement that developed in the mid-2000s—the movement in which Guaidó “cut his political teeth,” according to a report in The Guardian. A former USAID/OTI member who helped devise US efforts in Venezuela said the “objective was that you had thousands of youth, high school, and college kids…that were horrified of this Indian-looking guy in power. They were idealistic. We wanted to help them to build a civic organization, so that they could mobilize and organize. This is different than protesting.” In other words, USAID/OTI sought to take advantage of racialized fear of Chávez to organize middle-class youth around a long-term strategy to defeat him.

How exactly did the United States help these students? One USAID/OTI contractor who worked directly with them on a routine basis revealed to Gill that Washington provided funding and training to the student groups that developed at the same time Guaidó was part of them. This contractor said that for USAID/OTI, the most successful time was during 2007, when the student movement developed.… The US had a very daring movement and brought a lot of money to the students through OTI, and it grew a lot as a result.… I can say with pride that a lot of people [now] in the Congress—I know them from our projects.… I’m proud. It’s like you see your son and daughter grow up. I knew them when they grew up…the potential leaders when/if there is a change of government, and we were the ones who showed them the first steps.

Washington gave money to these student groups for a number of purposes. As one USAID/OTI employee put it, the funding was for “all the things they needed: microphones, things for presentations, paper.” Another USAID/OTI employee described hosting seminars and courses with student protesters. One employee described the training this way: “what is democracy, what is the vote, all the pillars with the democracy system, to reinforce them, what language they have to use.” However, one USAID worker contended that Washington—albeit not through USAID—was also providing the students with items that could “be used in the street and protect themselves, [such as] masks, but it was not part of open grants.” Although they could not confirm the specific US origins of this assistance, this sort of aid has been used for CIA operations in the past.

While it is unclear what Guaidó’s role was in these groups at the time, it is clear that US “democracy promotion” financed his cohort’s formation and its demonstrations for over a decade. Two of the key actors that USAID/OTI contractors interacted with during this period were Yon Goicoechea and Freddy Guevara, who like Guaidó were from Voluntad Popular. All three have been widely documented in the media as leading student protests against the Chávez government at the same time, putting them in the same organizational circles.

This is not to suggest that Guaidó, Goicoechea, or any other opposition member is merely a puppet of the United States. But it is clear that Guaidó and others in his circle share a worldview and certain goals with the US government. Many of them linked up with US agencies, which provided them with the resources needed to amplify their voices and reach a much larger audience. When Gill asked one USAID/OTI member whether the goal was “to get Chávez out of office,” the member responded, “That was the idea.”

How Washington Funded the Counterrevolution in Venezuela

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I have not been following this story as closely as maybe I should - but it feels like the US is provoking conflict here - and I am not sure why.

 

I was listening to some reporters on the ground yesterday, and they were mentioning that the actual aid on the border is largely symbolic - i.e. it is just a small drop in the bucket of the aid actually needed.  And, that the major goal of getting the aid to the border was to create the PR around Madura refusing aid.  That strikes me as a very dangerous game to play with so many lives at stake in any kind of violent confrontation.

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A huge anti-government demonstration was supposed to make possible a coup d’état, a maneuver the CIA has used repeatedly—in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964 and many more, straight through to Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2015. The turnout at the Trump administration’s demonstration was disappointing, and the coup d’état never occurred. The result is that Trump has expressed a sudden interest in getting food and medicine to Venezuelans (FAIR.org, 2/9/19).

Trump, who let thousands die in Puerto Rico and put small children in cages on the Mexican border, seems to be an unlikely champion of humanitarian aid to Latin Americans, but the corporate media have straight-facedly pretended to believe it.

Most have suppressed reports that the Red Cross and the UN are providing aid to Venezuela in cooperation with the Venezuelan government, and have protested against US “aid” that is obviously a political and military ploy.

The corporate media have continued to peddle the Trump-as-humanitarian-champion line, even after it was revealed that a US plane was caught smuggling weapons into Venezuela, and even after Trump named Iran/Contra criminal Elliott Abrams to head up Venezuelan operations. Abrams was in charge of the State Department Human Rights Office during the 1980s, when weapons to US-backed terrorists in Nicaragua were shipped in US planes disguised as “humanitarian” relief.

Canada’s CBC (2/15/19) at least had the honesty to acknowledge that it had been had in swallowing a lie from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Venezuelan government had blockaded a bridge between Colombia and Venezuela to prevent aid shipments. The newly built bridge has not yet been opened: it has never been open, apparently because of hostile relations between the two countries, but the non-opening long predates the US government’s alleged food and medicine shipments.

The absurdity of $20 million of US food and medicine aid to a country of 30 million, when US authorities have stolen $30 billion from Venezuela in oil revenue, and take $30 million every day, needs no comment.

Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America

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20 hours ago, badmojo1006 said:

Maybe this was asked before, but why does Trump care about Venezuela?

Is it the oil?

That is certainly the conspiracy that Russia is promoting 

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On 2/20/2019 at 1:09 PM, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I keep thinking back on this.  The problem isn't that Trump doesn't have the diplomatic stature to overthrow Maduro.  The problem is that it's a proven, time-tested, disastrous policy that will bring all sorts of death, destruction and carnage to Venezuela.  

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4 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

I keep thinking back on this.  The problem isn't that Trump doesn't have the diplomatic stature to overthrow Maduro.  The problem is that it's a proven, time-tested, disastrous policy that will bring all sorts of death, destruction and carnage to Venezuela.  

It’s a failed state and has no path to recovery.  It could certainly get worse, but international support will go a long way towards opening up their economy again and giving them access to much needed funding.

I think it’s hard odds that the status quo is the best path forward.

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18 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

I keep thinking back on this.  The problem isn't that Trump doesn't have the diplomatic stature to overthrow Maduro.  The problem is that it's a proven, time-tested, disastrous policy that will bring all sorts of death, destruction and carnage to Venezuela.  

We've talked about diplomacy before. To me that means a way of institutionally certifying nations' positions on policy to effect certain goals hopefully in both/all nations' interests. The problem with the Trump administration is that it functions in a way that is antithetical to that, it's against US and western, or first world, tradition. So for instance, we do have diplomats and people in State and DOD even who follow traditional institutional ways of asking and demanding things. And we have people who want to help aid the VZ people and promote democracy in a peaceful way. However, in the Trump administration, we are on our 2nd SOS, our 3rd NSA, our 2nd UN Ambassador, our 2nd CIA Director, and a myriad of leadership positions have never been filled. Ambassadors have quit. We don't have Mattis, McMaster and Kelly anymore, we have Shanahan, Bolton and Mulvaney now. Confusion and policy by whim and contradictory positions are more akin to third world autocratic nations. While our policy per se in VZ has indeed been traditional in some ways (as even Trump critics have stated), we have Trump with his bombastic statements and Bolton with his history (and his likely purposeful exposed note re 5K troops), and the appointment of Elliott. Trump will get up before the UN and in one speech talk about the absoluteness of national sovereignty and in the same talk about regime change in Venezuela. While he talks about the evils of Iran and VZ he genuflects to the likes of KJU and Putin. And in general of course his administration is an actual LOL joke among foreign governments, friendly and unfriendly. The WH miscommunicates also which leads to risk of conflict. Honestly I just hope we make it through these next 2 years and that what are the better goals - aid, peaceful transition to democracy - are effected here. Obviously Trump is more of an obstacle to be overcome here, but then again his fecklessness means his ability to do things can also be limited. Otoh he's easily manipulable, both from inside his administration and also by our adversaries. We just have to hope for the best. As a matter of principle I think that Venezuelans need aid and we should give it to them, the key is to not risk conflict as part of that.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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2 hours ago, Slapdash said:

That is certainly the conspiracy that Russia is promoting 

It's not a conspiracy.  It matches almost verbatim what Trump and John Bolton have said about Venezuela.  Unlike the fake news you read, they really couldn't spell it out any harder for you.  

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29 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

It's not a conspiracy.  It matches almost verbatim what Trump and John Bolton have said about Venezuela.  Unlike the fake news you read, they really couldn't spell it out any harder for you.  

 What Bolton said doesn't match the description of that random twitter person or you.  The oil industry in Venezuela will be integral to reversing their economic disaster.

This isn't a US inspired coup and the US did not cause this crisis in Venezuela.  Israel isn't a "gangster terrorist state".  You really are about the last person that should criticize news sources when you link to people like that.

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2 hours ago, jonessed said:

It’s a failed state and has no path to recovery.  It could certainly get worse, but international support will go a long way towards opening up their economy again and giving them access to much needed funding.

I think it’s hard odds that the status quo is the best path forward.

The status quo is what they've been doing for years.  It's the same story over and over again.  Sanctions into economic asphyxiation, diplomatic isolation, CIA coups, arming the opposition, fomenting regime change.  That is the status quo.  The only thing that ever seems to change is the bogus rationale for overthrowing the regime.  Weird how this regime change argument never seems to come up with Saudi Arabia, as MBS beheads political dissidents and massacres Yemen.  

If the 'international community' cared about the wellbeing of Venezuelans, it would end the sanctions, return gold to the Venezuelan treasury, and stop arming/supporting a violent opposition party.  They'd also respect the wishes of Red Cross/UN, and stop politicizing humanitarian aid. 

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16 minutes ago, Slapdash said:

 What Bolton said doesn't match the description of that random twitter person or you.  The oil industry in Venezuela will be integral to reversing their economic disaster.

This isn't a US inspired coup and the US did not cause this crisis in Venezuela.  Israel isn't a "gangster terrorist state".  You really are about the last person that should criticize news sources when you link to people like that.

You think that John Bolton is talking about Venezuelan oil and American oil interests out of humanitarian concern for Venezuelans?  

It IS a US inspired coup.  The opposition represented by Guaido has had financial, strategic and material backing from the US for over a decade. Guaido, whose mentors include Leopoldo Lopez and others with strong ties to USAID and NED, has associations with US 'pro-democracy' outfits dating back to his education at George Washington University in DC long before Venezuela's student protests.   That's the party the US has backed and it's the party that Trump just crowned interim president.  Guaido supporters are supporting Trump on this, period.  

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20 minutes ago, ren hoek said:

You think that John Bolton is talking about Venezuelan oil and American oil interests out of humanitarian concern for Venezuelans?  

It IS a US inspired coup.  The opposition represented by Guaido has had financial, strategic and material backing from the US for over a decade. Guaido, whose mentors include Leopoldo Lopez and others with strong ties to USAID and NED, has associations with US 'pro-democracy' outfits dating back to his education at George Washington University in DC long before Venezuela's student protests.   That's the party the US has backed and it's the party that Trump just crowned interim president.  Guaido supporters are supporting Trump on this, period.  

This is simply propaganda from Maduro.  In reality, he is an illegitimate, authoritarian that murders opposition and has left Venezuela in economic/humanitarian chaos.  Trump is right to support Guaido and Venezuelans deserve democracy, but the US didn't cause this.

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6 hours ago, Slapdash said:

This is simply propaganda from Maduro.  In reality, he is an illegitimate, authoritarian that murders opposition and has left Venezuela in economic/humanitarian chaos.  Trump is right to support Guaido and Venezuelans deserve democracy, but the US didn't cause this.

beyond parody

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