Imperialist intervention in Venezuela: UPDATE 4

05.02.2019 - Venezuela - Countercurrents

Imperialist intervention in Venezuela: UPDATE 4
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro attends a rally in support of his government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez next to his wife Cilia Flores in Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
  • End US’s threats of war: Maduro asks world community
  • Trump threatens with military “option”
  • Japan declines to join any side
  • EU states directly interfering: Russia
  • A divided Europe
  • Left in Europe oppose their govt’s stand

As threats of imperialists’ militarized intervention in Venezuela have resurfaced, and new rounds of suffocating sanctions against the country’s economy is being imposed by the U.S. Venezuela is reiterating its opposition to imperialist intervention. The Latin American country has reiterated its calls for peace and dialogue. The following update is based on media reports:

Venezuela will not allow foreign soldiers to invade, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said calling for dialogue with opposition forces during a televised speech Monday.

“Che, Fidel, Chavez, they are our heritage, they give us strength,” the Bolivarian head of state said, reminding the crowd of supporters of the country’s past struggle for independence dating back to the colonial era to present day.

Maduro said, “When our Comandante Chavez passed away, I became president, but my first act was to hold elections. I wasn’t going to govern without elections. He questioned: “Why has Sanchez Castejon governed for so long in Spain without convening elections?”

“The attacks against us from the so-called ‘Lima Group’ are also an attack on the whole left, on all progressives who they persecute in their countries,” Maduro said, describing the organization’s behavior as “disgusting and laughable.”

Regarding the repeated requests for intervention made by the Venezuelan opposition, the president said it was foolish for his homeland to encourage war.

“Those who march with the US flag asking for military intervention in their own country have no idea what they’re asking for, they have no idea of the damage they will bring,” said Maduro.

“In Venezuela, a battle is being played out for the right of all countries to pursue their own paths… I want to ask the world for the highest level of solidarity to create a powerful movement against the threats of war from the US,” the Bolivarian president said.

In another event, Maduro continued collecting signatures from citizens from across the country for a petition calling for peace and non-intervention on behalf of U.S. President Donald Trump.

During a speech Monday at the Day of National Dignity commemoration and the 27th anniversary of the military rebellion of 4F (Febuary 4, 1992), Maduro swore before authorities, civilians and military that he will defend the homeland with his life against the coup d’état that is hovering over the nation.

“I swear, 27 years after the awakening of our country that I will be loyal now and forever with dreams of independence and dignity, I swear that I will defend this threatened country with my life and will give peace and victory to the people,” assured the president

From the early hours of the morning President Maduro along with president of the National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello and Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez, marched through the streets of the city of Maracay in Aragua state and gave a speech at the historical Cuartel Paez military barracks.

“We are never going to give up our country. We will never surrender the Republic to Yankee imperialism or allow any other to step upon this soil disrespectfully. This town will never surrender — it is the land of Bolivar,” said Maduro.

He also called on the people to stand firm “in permanent demonstration of conscience.”

Maduro said: “We are subjected to a great psychological war, every day and every night.” He encouraged those gathered to maintain “nerves of steel, calm and sanity, moral strength, conscience and demonstration to fulfill your role and mission.”

President Maduro announced that starting Wednesday evening they would collect signatures in the Plaza Bolivar of each Venezuelan city for a letter to be sent to the U.S. demanding that Trump not intervene in Venezuela.

“Do you want to turn our Homeland into a colony of slaves and beggars? We reject this bad and cheap show from this oligarchy. They need mental help. Someday they may have a bit of decorum and dignity,” said Maduro to crowds Monday.

Venezuela rejects EU governments’ position

Venezuela’s government has rejected the decision of a handful of European governments to recognize Guaido as ‘interim president.’

Seven governments including the Spanish, British, French, and German, all followed through on an earlier promise to recognize the opposition politician as head of state should President Nicolas Maduro not call new presidential elections within eight days. These governments were joined by the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria and Poland.

However, the bloc hasn’t officially recognized Guaido as interim president due to internal issues.

The European governments’ announcement was also rejected by leftist parties across Europe, including Podemos and the Communist Party in Spain, Germany’s Die Linke, the UK’s Labour Party, as well as the Left Party in France.

Europe continues to be divided on the issue, with Italy, Greece and the Vatican all maintaining relations with the Maduro government and blocking a unified position by the European Union.

Italy has announced its veto of recognition at an informal meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Romania. Italy has already made clear earlier that it would not back Guaido.

Germany has offered €5 million in aid, which will be released to Venezuelan authorities “as soon as circumstances allow.” They did not specify if the aid was earmarked for Guaido or for the Maduro government.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the move, urging other countries to join in recognizing the Washington-backed leader.

Maduro slammed the European countries’ decision, declaring that “International politics cannot be based on ultimatums, this is from the period of empires and colonies. I will not have my arm twisted.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza added that Caracas would conduct a “full revision” of relations with those European governments that “back coup mongering.”

Message to Sanchez

On Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that the government officially recognized Venezuelan lawmaker Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.

Maduro responded to Sanchez by saying that if something happens in the country, the prime minister “will have blood on his hands, will be stained in blood forever, and history will remember him as a president who put himself at the service of Donald Trump’s war and interventionist policies.”

Japan declines to join any side

The Japan government refrained Tuesday from indicating whether it would join other nations in endorsing Guaido as Venezuela’s president.

“Japan strongly hopes that movement toward recovering democracy in the country goes smoothly and continues to monitor the positions of various nations,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

On Monday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not clearly state a position on the issue, merely saying that his country wishes for a democratic, peaceful and stable resolution.

EU states’ ‘direct interference’: Russia

Moscow slammed EU states for trying to legitimize “an attempt to usurp power” in Venezuela after a number of key European countries recognized Guaido as president.

“Imposing some decisions or trying to legitimize an attempt to usurp power, in our view, is both direct and indirect interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the media on Monday, while commenting on the recognition of Guaido.

Earlier the same day, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and several other EU states officially labeled Guaido the “legitimate” leader of Venezuela.

Peskov said that backing the self-proclaimed interim president simply makes a “peaceful, effective and viable” settlement of the crisis more difficult to achieve.

On Monday, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov lashed out at the EU for setting up a contact group on Venezuela and “deciding on its members.” The body includes several EU and Latin American countries, but neither Russia, the US or China was invited to join.

US military action ‘an option’

The US President Donald Trump has increased pressure on Caracas.

When asked during an interview with CBS, Trump once again refused to rule out direct military action, which he said remains “an option.” On previous occasions, he has been quoted asking his close advisors, “Why can’t we just invade [Venezuela].”

Trump also commented to CBS that he had turned down an offer from Maduro for dialogue, claiming that “things are going well.”

Uruguay Dialogue

An international summit is due to be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, this Thursday to mediate the standoff. Bolivia, Mexico, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Spain, UK, Sweden and Germany are expected to participate.

Maduro calls for parliamentary elections, Guaido for USAID

Speaking to a multitude of supporters, Maduro called for the bringing forward of parliamentary elections by one year to “refresh” the institution. Elections to Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly are scheduled for 2020.

However, the government argues that it is necessary to bring them forward as the body has been declared in contempt since 2016 with all of its decisions “null and void.” Maduro did not propose any timetable for the possible elections.

On the other side of Caracas, Guaido, the self-proclaimed president of Venezuela, addressed supporters, telling them that international humanitarian aid was en route to the country.

The aid, he explained, is to be supplied by US government agency USAID and warehoused in three separate locations including the Colombian border city of Cucuta, a yet to be disclosed Caribbean island, and across the Brazilian border.

In efforts to provoke a rupture in the chain of command, on Saturday Guaido “ordered” the armed forces to allow the aid to enter the country. Maduro had previously raised concerns that the delivery of aid may be used as a pretext for a military invasion.

Aid to local authorities: Red Cross

The International Red Cross, which currently supplies a number of Venezuelan hospitals, also clarified its position on Monday, explaining that any aid must be delivered in accordance with local authorities.

Red Cross Spokesperson Dominik Stillhart added that he had held “hard discussions” with the Trump administration and that Guaido’s USAID plan has a “political tone.”

Both Bolivia and Mexico will be present at the international conference scheduled to be held next week in Montevideo, Uruguay, foreign ministers confirmed Monday.

Members of the European Union and various Latin American representatives arrive Thursday for the meeting with world leaders in an effort to educate on the state of Venezuela and encouraging a peaceful resolution, void of international interference.

Confirming Minister Marcelo Ebrard’s attendance, the Mexican Foreign Ministry stated, “Mexico welcomes the dialogue initiative endorsed by the International Contact Group (ICG), which will take place on February 7 in Montevideo, Uruguay… to promote dialogue towards a peaceful and democratic resolution of the situation in Venezuela.”

Bolivian Minister of Foreign Affairs Diego Pary who also plans to travel to Uruguay Wednesday said peaceful dialogue is the only way to assist the Bolivarian country.

“Bolivia will be present at the conference convened by #Uruguay y #Mexico. We forcefully reject any threat of intervention,” Pary said.

The pair of Latin representatives will be joined by delegates from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as well as the ICG, which includes France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay.

The meeting, which was promoted by both Mexican and Uruguayan state authorities, takes place amid the threats and aggressions of the U.S. and its Western allies against the Venezuelan Government and people.

In a statement Sunday, the ICG said the conference is meant to “identify the way forward, required steps and confidence-building measures for all relevant national actors to engage seriously in a credible process.”

Last week, Uruguayan ambassador to the United Nations, Elbio Rosselli said, “There will be no stability or peace in Venezuela without a political agreement between the various actors through broad and non-exclusive dialogue that includes the government, the entire political spectrum and civil society.”

Canada increases Censorship of Lima Group Meeting

The Foreign Ministry of Canada has denied access to several media outlets to cover the Lima Group meeting taking place in Ottawa Monday. At that meeting, countries allied against Venezuela are expected to discuss further steps associated with their actions against the Bolivarian nation.

Canada’s foreign ministry issued the same terse response to Russian media outlets Sputnik News as it did Ria Novosti’s bid for press credentials for the meeting: “Thank you for your interest in the 10th ministerial meeting of the Lima Group in Ottawa. This letter is to inform you you have not been accredited as media.”

As with Canada’s rejection of teleSUR for media credentials as reported Feb. 3., the response provided no reason for the rejection, however, Canadian spokesperson for the Lima Group responded to Sputnik by saying that the news outlet was rejected for a “lack of respect to the Canadian Foreign Minister.”

The Lima Group is composed of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Santa Lucia, and Guyana. All of its members, except for Mexico, Guyana, and Santa Lucia, have backed Guiado’s coup attempt. Ecuador — not a party to the association — has also backed the group’s stance on Venezuela.

‘US creating coup in Venezuela, backed by every MSM outlet’

The US establishment has put aside its internal political divides to unite in cheering on a foreign intervention, backed by the might of the entire American media, Lee Camp says in the latest Redacted Tonight.

“I am not saying things are great down there in Venezuela – they aren’t. But pro-war propaganda and US imperialism isn’t curing anything,” Camp said during the opening segment of his satirical show. “Our government is creating a coup in Venezuela with the support of every mainstream media channel in America, from MSNBC to Fox News, to NPR to Bill Maher.”

Camp said that a mixture of misplaced concern and naked self-interest makes Washington “treat every humanitarian crisis like a baby bird” – nurturing an already perilous economic and political situation into an out-and-out conflict.

Camp said: Venezuela’s socialism puts it in ideological opposition to Washington, while its oil reserves make it an irresistible geopolitical target – past experiences be damned.

“The Venezuelan people deserve self-determination, regardless of how you feel about the current government – the absolute last thing they need is to be turned into a neoliberal parking lot,” Camp sums up, noting the solid ties between self-proclaimed opposition “president” Juan Guaido with Washington and the IMF.

Twitter removes 2,000 Pro-Venezuelan accounts

Nearly 2,000 pro-Venezuelan Twitter accounts have been removed for “engaging in a state-backed influence campaign,” Twitter, the social media company said in a blog post on Thursday.

Totally 1,196 social media accounts based in Venezuela suspected of attempting to “influence domestic audiences” were purged last week.

Another 764 accounts were deleted, although the San Francisco-based company told: “We are unable to definitively tie the accounts located in Venezuela to information operations of a foreign government against another country.”

Allegations of censorship soon filled the site’s timeline.

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