Published 24 June 2017 by teleSUR

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The political and social battle that is now taking place in Venezuela is centred on an attempt by the local elite and their US backers to retake the Government and the oil industry.

After reading the article by Ms Linda Taglialatela (the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean) that was published in several of the newspapers of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 under the headline “We Must Defend Venezuela's Democracy” or some such title, it occurred to me that only an ambassador representing the Administration of the egotistical Donald Trump would have the effrontery to believe that she is entitled to attempt to circumvent the national leadership of our countries by arrogating to herself the right to utilise our national news media to speak directly to the masses of our people and to enlist them in her (and her country's) unholy “regime change” crusade against the duly constituted and friendly Government of our fellow Caribbean state of Venezuela.

Ensconced as she appears to be in an exaggerated sense of her own importance and authority over our people, Ms Taglialatela ends her article by admonishing the people of Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean as follows: “I urge you to let your leaders know that you stand shoulder to shoulder with the Venezuelan people as they fight for their fundamental human rights.”

So, apparently Ms Taglialatela believes that she knows better than the prime ministers and other political leaders of our countries, and that it is up to her to inform and instruct what she no doubt perceives to be the ignorant and uninformed people of the Caribbean.

Indeed, Ms Taglialatela seems to think that she knows the situation in Venezuela even better than Ms Ines Esparragoza, the mother of the late Orlando Figuera — the 21-year-old Afro-Venezuelan who was brutally beaten by a crowd of white Opposition supporters, stabbed six times, doused with gasoline, and set on fire. Orlando Figuera was burnt to death simply because he was black and was a supporter of the socialist party of Chavez and Maduro. His grieving mother publicly stated that the Opposition was directly responsible for his death. Does Ms Taglialatela really think that she knows better than the mother of Orlando Figuera?

Well, I have news for Ms Taglialatela! The people of Barbados and the other Eastern Caribbean islands do not need any instruction from her. Our people are well aware that the defining feature of the history of the entire Latin American and Caribbean region is that for hundreds of years the masses of indigenous, mestizo, and black people were exploited and kept in an impoverished state by local white elites acting in partnership with the economic oligarchy of the metropolitian countries of Europe and North America.

Our people are aware that just as this social pattern applied to Barbados and the other Eastern Caribbean territories, it applied to Venezuela as well.

The masses of black and working-class people in Barbados and the rest of the Eastern Caribbean only began to experience significant social and economic upliftment when, in the 1950s, representatives of the black masses finally got their hands on the instruments of government and used them to share the national resources more equitably and to uplift the people.

And so it was with Venezuela as well. It was only with the coming to power of President Hugo Chavez in 1999 that, for the first time, Venezuela became possessed of a president and a governmental administration that were deeply connected to the interests of indigenous, mestizo, black and impoverished Venezuelans.

Ever since oil was discovered in Venezuela in the 1920s, big and wealthy American corporations had latched on to Venezuela and — in partnership with the white Venezuelan elite — had plundered and selfishly consigned the country's oil revenue to themselves, and to the exclusion of the black, mestizo, indigenous and working-class masses of the country.

It was Chavez and his United Socialist Party that effectively snatched away Venezuela's tremendous oil resources from the hands of the US multinationals and the local white elite, and began to direct the oil revenue towards education, health, housing and other forms of social development for the impoverished masses.

And so, our people know instinctively that the political and social battle that is now taking place in Venezuela is centred on an attempt by the local elite and their US backers to retake the Government and the oil industry that the Government now owns and controls.

This is what you and the Trump Administration are really interested in, Ms Taglialatela — not in the welfare of the ordinary people of Venezuela.

Indeed, the Government that you serve, Ms Taglialatela, has never been interested in the welfare of the ordinary people of Latin America or the Caribbean. It is well known, for example, that the US Government has a reputation for supporting any dictator who is willing to toe an American line and to permit American economic interests to flourish — Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti, Somoza in Nicaragua, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Batista in Cuba, Pinochet in Chile, Marcos Perez Jimenez in Venezuela, Porfirio Diaz in Mexico, and a slew of brutal military strongmen in Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Honduras, El Salvador and Uruguay at various times between the 1960s and the 1990s.

Finally, Ms Taglialatela, you must not believe that our people are so ignorant and uninformed about the situation in Venezuela that you can get away with the parroting of half-truths and distortions.

You claim that the Maduro Government has “undermined” the Opposition-controlled National Assembly on the basis of “vague, unproven claims of electoral fraud allegedly committed by three legislators”. Surely you must know that this is a gross distortion. Why didn't you acknowledge that the Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled that the claims of electoral fraud had been proven, and as a result had gone on to instruct the National Assembly not to swear in the three legislators in question, but that the National Assembly openly and defiantly flouted the ruling of the Supreme Court and admitted the three disqualified legislators?

You also claimed that the Supreme Court of Venezuela has stripped the National Assembly of all legislative authority. Here again, you must know that this is a half-truth. Why didn't you acknowledge that under the constitution of Venezuela the Supreme court has the legal power (and the responsibility) to temporarily take over the functions of any organ of the State that is failing to carry out its Constitutional responsibilities, and that the Supreme court took control of the functions of the National Assembly for a mere one day before rescinding the decision to do so?

Why the need — Ms Taglialatela — for all the half-truths and distortions? Why not inform the Barbadian and Caribbean people that no nation on the face of this Earth has had as many internationally approved elections than Venezuela has had over the past 18 years, under the presidencies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro?

Why not inform our people that the United Socialist Party of Venezuela has won the vast majority of these elections, but that on every occasion that it has lost an election, it has respected and upheld the result? Indeed, isn't this why the opposition MUD party is now controlling the majority of seats in the National Assembly?

Wasn't the December 2015 National Assembly election that was conducted under the auspices of the Maduro Administration not a free and fair election? And didn't the Maduro Administration accept the result, even though it was to their disadvantage? You insult our intelligence, Ms Taglialatela, when you suggest that Nicolas Maduro is an undemocratic dictator.

The reality is that Nicolas Maduro won the presidential election in 2013 fair and square, and as a result he and his Administration are entitled to and will remain in office until the latter part of the year 2018, and hopefully — if it be the electoral will of the people — way beyond that date, as well. And no amount of orchestrated (and paid-for-by-wealthy-Opposition-politicians) violent street protests is going to change that.

David Comissiong, attorney-at-law, is coordinator of the Caribbean chapter of International Network in Defense of Humanity.

Originally published in the Jamaica Observer

Published 22 June 2017 by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

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On Saturday 18 June 2017 the Revolutionary Communist Group and Rock Around The Blockade organised a picket of BBC Broadcasting House in central London to denounce its mendacious coverage of the struggle for socialism in Venezuela.

Having picketed The Guardian for the same reason in May, the RCG and RATB targeted the BBC because this unashamed mouthpiece for imperialism spreads blatant lies about the Bolivarian Revolution in order to justify ongoing attempts at a fascistic counter-revolution.

Curiously enough, even if Venezuelan Presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro have always been presented as 'ruthless dictators' by the BBC, the British media have usually taken little interest in the indisputable progress brought about by the Boliarian Revolution. However, seizing on the renewed counter-revolutionary efforts of the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), the opposition's coalition, the British media have suddenly remembered Venezuela’s existence.

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Published 22 June 2017 by Venezuelanalysis.com

The United States failed Wednesday to persuade the Organisation of American States to condemn Venezuela’s government, amid growing speculation of a new round of unilateral sanctions.

On the final day of OAS talks in Cancun, Mexico, the US pressed for a formal declaration condemning President Nicolas Maduro’s handling of his country’s political and economic crisis. The proposal was strongly backed by US allies including the host country Mexico.

"Mexico's position on Venezuela is a position that will not waver, it's a position that says representative democracy is the only form of government acceptable in the Western Hemisphere," Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said, according to Reuters.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez responded by labeling Mexico and other US allies as “lapdogs of imperialism”.

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Published 5 June 2017 by venezuelanalysis

Venezuelan Man Burned Alive Dies as Death Toll Tops 73

Caracas, June 5, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – A Venezuelan man burned alive by opposition protesters has died of his injuries as anti-government unrest claimed two more lives over the weekend. 

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 Afro-Venezuelan Orlando Figuera died in the hospital on Saturday evening after suffering six knife wounds as well as first and second-degree burns on 54 percent of his body.

On May 20, the 21-year-old was passing through the opposition stronghold of Chacao when he was accused of being a government supporter by masked protesters, who brutally beat him before dousing him in gasoline and setting him on fire.

The death was made by public by the national ombudsman, Tarek William Saab, who called for the “maximum sentence against the lynchers”. 

“Orlando Figuera, beaten, stabbed, and burned alive by “protesters”, is the symbol of hate crimes in Venezuela,” the top human rights official declared via Twitter. 

In an interview with state broadcaster VTV, Figuera’s mother, Ines Esparragoza blamed opposition leaders for the murder.

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Published on 19 May 2017 by teleSUR

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A coalition of Colombian and international human rights groups called on the International Criminal Court on Thursday to investigate 14 former and current Chiquita executives and employees who had direct involvement in facilitating crimes against humanity by funding right-wing paramilitary organizations in Colombia between 1997 and 2004 in the midst of Colombia's bloody internal conflict.

The petition was presented by the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, a Colombian human rights organization.The human rights coalition asked the ICC that the Chiquita executives be investigated and held accountable individually for “crimes against humanity.”

“The executives who oversaw the funding of paramilitaries should not be able to sit comfortably in their houses in the United States as if they did nothing wrong,” said a member of the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado, which submitted a letter to the ICC about how the paramilitary violence personally affected them. “Families across Colombia have been waiting for accountability for too long.”

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Published on 18 May 2017 by Venezuelanalysis

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A maternity hospital was attacked in Venezuela's Miranda state Wednesday as the death count in ongoing violent anti-government protests ascends to 53. 

Three newborns and one pregnant woman in labor were evacuated from the Carrizal Maternity Hospital after the facility was besieged for two consecutive days by opposition demonstrators. 

According to hospital’s director, Doctor Natalia Martinho, smoke was entering the hospital from the barricades of burning rubble erected just 50 meters from the building by protesters, endangering the health of patients on the fourth floor.

The barricades reportedly prevented doctors, specialists, and all but two of the hospital’s twelve nurses from arriving for their shifts, leaving Martinho on duty for 36 hours alongside two residents.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has confirmed that a 27-year-old pregnant woman from Aragua currently in labor was evacuated along with three newborns “who could not receive their treatment for 36 hours due to the terrorist groups of the opposition”.

The attack comes as violent opposition protests demanding early presidential elections enter their seventh week.

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Published on 12 May 2017 by venezuelanalysis

Around 100 people were allegedly trapped in Venezuela’s embassy in Madrid Thursday by far right protesters.

The protesters have been accused of chanting “Franco, Franco!” while protesting outside an embassy event on violence in Venezuela. A close supporter of Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco ruled Spain as a military dictator for over three decades until his death in 1975. The protesters also carried signs demanding freedom for Venezuela’s jailed right-wing opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez.

However, the protesters themselves have denied the allegations, claiming they were shouting "narco". The protest was in response to an event hosted by the embassy to discuss right-wing violence in Venezuela. The event included representatives from the NGO Victims of Guarimba, a group that provides support to Venezuelans injured by guarimbas. “Guarimba” is a term used in Venezuela to refer to violent right-wing protests and roadblocks. More than 40 people died in 2014, when the guarimbas took over the streets of Venezuela as part of a campaign to force President Nicolas Maduro from office. The guarimbas struck again last month, when they began another campaign of political violence, which has so far left 44 people dead.

According to forum attendee and coordinator of the left-wing party Izquierda Unida, Daniel Moreno, the protesters were aggressive and threatening.

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Published 3 May 2017 by venezuelanalysis

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Caracas, May 3, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Four people were killed and over a dozen wounded Tuesday as a result of the Venezuelan opposition’s “National Barricade” that saw anti-government demonstrators block roads throughout the country.  

Organized by the right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the national day of action was a response to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement Monday convening a constituent assembly to redraft the country’s constitution.

The move has been denounced as a “fraud” and a “coup” by MUD spokespeople despite the proposal being previously endorsed by top opposition leaders, including Freddy GuevaraLeopoldo Lopez, and Maria Corina Machado.

In spite of the MUD’s calls for “civil disobedience”, Tuesday’s mobilizations once again gave way to deadly violence.

Two people were killed and 10 wounded in a bus accident in Carabobo state Tuesday evening when the vehicle flipped over “trying to avoid barricades,” confirmedNational Civil Protection Director Jorge Galindo.

One of the victims has been identified as Ana Rodriguez (42), though the other person killed remains unidentified. 

 

The accident occurred when the bus swerved to avoid an anti-government barricade. (@AndrewsAbreu and @CristopherB)

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Published 28 April 2017 by revolutionarycommunist.org

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Opposition violence wreaks death and destruction in renewed coup attempt

Venezuela’s bourgeois opposition has once again taken to the streets in violent scenes of chaos and destruction with the aim of toppling President Maduro and the United Socialist Party (PSUV) government. Since 4 April several of its marches have ended with gangs of right-wing thugs setting up burning barricades and attacking public housing projects, hospitals, schools, health centres, transport systems and government offices. To date at least 31 people have been killed. The imperialist media and privately-owned Venezuelan press dishonestly portray these masked groups as ‘pro-democracy’ protesters facing down repression from the government; inevitably, they completely censor the mass mobilisations by working class supporters of the Bolivarian government. These lies, disseminated across the globe, are designed to provide the ideological framework for what is in reality a coordinated attempt at a right-wing coup.

The protests began after Venezuela’s Supreme Court temporarily assumed the functions of the country’s legislative body, the National Assembly, which is controlled by opposition forces. It had found the National Assembly in contempt of court for allowing three opposition politicians who have been suspended while they are investigated on charges of electoral fraud, to take their seats (see ‘The Venezuelan Supreme Court and the MUD Coalition’s persistent rejection of legality’). The move by the Supreme Court, although completely constitutional, was controversial and was rescinded within days at the request of President Maduro. However, the right-wing ‘Democratic Unity Movement’ (MUD) coalition seized its chance, accusing the court and the government of an attack on democracy. Just days before the Supreme Court decision, opposition leader Henrique Capriles, a viciously reactionary two-time presidential candidate and current governor of Miranda state, was banned from holding political office for 15 years for breaking contracting laws and improperly managing fundraising donations. This was the ammunition needed for the opposition to instigate violent street protests, demanding foreign intervention to force a change of government.

A history of opposition sabotage, coups and violence

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