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Ash writes: "What the US corporate media is not telling you about the situation in Venezuela is why the Venezuelan economy is in such trouble."

La Joya, El Salvador:  Human Rights workers search for the remains of victims of the The Massacre of El Mozote. US support for right-wing death squads is widely recognized throughout South and Central American countries. (photo: Pedro Linger-Gasiglia)
La Joya, El Salvador: Human Rights workers search for the remains of victims of the The Massacre of El Mozote. US support for right-wing death squads is widely recognized throughout South and Central American countries. (photo: Pedro Linger-Gasiglia)


What's Really Going On in Venezuela

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

06 February 19

 

hat the US corporate media is not telling you about the situation in Venezuela is why the Venezuelan economy is in such trouble.

Since 1999, the US has waged economic warfare against Venezuela in an attempt to destabilize and deconstruct the Socialist Revolution started by former Venezuelan president and close Fidel Castro ally Hugo Chavez.

The US wants Venezuela, with its rich oil reserves, to be a compliant client-state. That was what motivated the Cuban Revolution and that is what drives anti-colonialist sentiment in Venezuela today.

The CIA, the US State Department, and the Treasury have used all available means and all resources to undermine and disrupt a Venezuelan government they see as uncooperative and unprofitable.

Venezuela was indeed a prosperous nation in the 1990s, but there was vast economic inequity. The economic inequity the Venezuelans faced was not at all unlike the economic inequity Americans face today. All the money is in the hands of a few people. We don’t like it now, and they didn’t like it then.

Chavez sought to change that. He wanted oil revenues to benefit Venezuela’s poor and disadvantaged. Chavez campaigned on that and was gratefully embraced by a considerable majority of Venezuelans. It did not, however, go over well with those who controlled the money or their US partners.

The US unleashed the same economic repression on Chavez’s government, and later Maduro’s, that it had been applying to Castro’s Cuban government. The message from the US is clear: “This is our hemisphere and we control everything in it.”

For its part, to underscore their intent, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams special envoy for Venezuela. As assistant secretary of state under Reagan, Abrams had quite a track record in South America. Julian Borger for the Guardian notes:

“Abrams is widely remembered in Central America, but particularly from his time in the Reagan administration, when he tried to whitewash a massacre of a thousand men, women and children by US-funded death squads in El Salvador, when he was assistant secretary of state for human rights.”

Abrams was widely suspected by human rights groups of helping coordinate aid, including arms, to the right-wing death squads. He pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal in 1991.

Abrams was recently quoted as saying, “This crisis in Venezuela is deep and difficult and dangerous, and I can’t wait to get to work on it.” You can be sure he will.

When you hear talking heads tell you about the crisis in Venezuela, remember its origins. It’s the same people you now fight for control of your democracy here in the US.

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+43 # elizabethblock 2019-02-06 15:30
"For might makes right,
And till they've seen the light
They've got to be protected,
All their rights respected,
Till somebody WE LIKE can be elected"

-- Tom Lehrer, "Send the Marines," written in 1965. Has anything changed?
 
 
+12 # DongiC 2019-02-07 02:20
Isn't Tom Lehrer marvelous! Did you know that he has several degrees in Math and that he worked for a while at NSA? One of my bosses there remembered TL as the funniest guy he ever knew. I have many of TL's songs on cassettes. The lyrics are hysterical and the tunes quite fetching.
 
 
0 # soularddave 2019-02-09 17:08
Quoting DongiC:
Isn't Tom Lehrer marvelous! The lyrics are hysterical and the tunes quite fetching.


Look on YouTube for his rendition of the periodic table of elements.
 
 
+33 # dickbd 2019-02-06 15:38
This is a great summary by Marc, and it is one that should be more widely read. But, of course, it will never be covered in the corporate media.
 
 
+7 # tsyganka 2019-02-07 12:17
I'll be posting the link for this article to Nation of Change and to various Disqus forums today. That will help somewhat, despite those outlets not being corporate media (the propaganda monopoly).
 
 
+30 # MaggieB 2019-02-06 16:02
Hear, hear, Marc Ash. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.
 
 
-49 # BKnowswhitt 2019-02-06 16:20
All true. And for the most part i support it. Communism is corrupt and so is dictatorship. Chavez was a lying creep .. if you spoke out they would disappear .. this was only in the past decade never mind before that .. So now busted .. a newly elected more modern leader has evolved .. fairly elected .. the dictator using the military will not step down .. 20 democratic nations including usa support the ouster .. good for us .. WE are NOT the Enemy for doing so .. Don't care if you don't like it or not .. my view ..
 
 
+21 # Trumpistheswamp 2019-02-06 21:32
New guy wasn't elected. Maduro was elected with higher percentages than Trump. We've got to stop fighting corruption with corruption. We must find ways, this is just about the oil. Imaginative and humane measures could be taken if corporate greed wasn't our god.
 
 
+18 # tsyganka 2019-02-07 12:20
US sanctions and illegal wars ("regime changes") have Never brought freedom, democracy, peace, prosperity, or happiness to Any targeted country. Such US actions have brought only ruin and death.
 
 
+3 # ChefDave 2019-02-09 07:02
Communism is not corrupt. It is a form of government. Some people, however, are corrupt and some of those people are employed in communist governments. Some are employed in capitalist governments and some work in high finance. Some work in the media. I think that when we citizens support and promote the lies of corrupt corporate media, we are complicit in that corruption. In my view, your post is corrupted with corporate lies.
 
 
+34 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-06 16:25
It is really interesting -- and sad -- that in the early 2000s when the attention of the US imperial forces were aimed on the middle east and south asia, there occurred something of a Latin Spring in Central and South America. Progressive and socialist government came to power in Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and many other nations that had long been under the vicious thumb of the Yankee in Washington.

There was a lot of talk about how the US would someday have to turn its attention back to its backyard and the Monroe Doctrine. And it did. It happened under Obama, who is infamous for his "pivot" to Asia and Africa, sending military forces there are bolstering US fascism. But he also "pivoted" to Central and South America, installing dictators or near-dictators in all of the nations I just mentioned. Brazil succumbed under Trump.

It is not only Abrams who has been implicated with right wing death squads in Latin America, but it is very many in the US military, starting with David Patraeus.

Once more, we all need to say, Yankee Go Home. US get out of Central and South America.

Had it not been for the trillions of dollars in wealth that has flowed out of Central and South America and into Europe and the US, all of these nations would be developed and prosperous. It is just a case of outright theft. That's what Bolton is contemplating for Venezuela. Guaido has said he intends to "privatize" Venezuelan oil very rapidly.
 
 
+11 # yolo 2019-02-06 18:52
What you won't read in the news is the fact the former Venezuelan Vice president Tareck El Aissami helped fund organizations in the middle east like Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel. Any, and every country which helps those organizations are targeted by the US on the orders of Israel. It is the same reason we are in Syria, and the major reason why Iran is our enemy.
 
 
-10 # Salburger 2019-02-07 05:22
For Antisemites like yolo everything always come back to the old theme--"the Jews are at fault." He knows because he read it in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
 
 
-1 # soularddave 2019-02-09 17:15
There are people of Israel, Jewish people, and Zionists. The terms are not equal or interchangeable . Don't be confused.
 
 
+57 # Anne Frank 2019-02-06 16:28
The U.S. oligarchy is punishing Venezuela for the same reason it is trying to punish Cuba: if the Cubans or Venezuelans get away with using their national resources to benefit their people instead of to line the pockets of corporate billionaires, the American people might take to heart the example and rebel against our own slavery.
 
 
+33 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-02-06 18:31
& for the same reason it destroyed Libya, too.
 
 
+15 # tsyganka 2019-02-07 12:26
We should have been in the streets about that long ago, blocking business traffic in every major commerce hub in the US.

If corporatist-fas cist trump invades Venezuela or causes another govt shutdown or declares a national emergency or, in general, does Anything else to harm America or other countries, we should be in the streets Immediately.
 
 
-16 # jmcauliff 2019-02-06 17:05
You are correct about the origins of the problem and what is at stake.

However, it is a mistake to ignore how much the policies and practices of the Maduro government have made it vulnerable.

The 2017 election was internationally discredited in large part because serious opposition parties were barred. It attracted a record low of 47% of voters. Maduro was supported by 68% of them, 6,245,862 people, i.e. only 32% of potential voters.

The New York Times has joined the call for a transitional government led by National Assembly president Guaidó. The only way he can get to elections is through armed conflict, external military intervention and bloody Chilean style repression of Chauvistas.

That would be tragic for the Venezuelan people and destructive of US standing in the Hemisphere to the benefit of Russia and China.

Neocons in the Trump Administration are pushing confrontation with both Venezuela and Cuba as reported in the Wall Street Journal, see tinyurl.com/Ven ez2019

The only peaceful scenario may be a direct military takeover or a negotiated compromise between the competing claimants to power.

Internationally supported and supervised elections at every level could be conducted by the existing government and a National Assembly that regains its legitimate powers.

Economic resources such as the oil company must be restored to the existing state and international humanitarian aid should be distributed through non-partisan channels.
 
 
+34 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-02-06 18:58
'The only peaceful scenario may be a direct military takeover ...'
Peaceful?! Military takeover?! Your logic is unusual.
 
 
0 # jmcauliff 2019-02-07 15:13
If the military intervened as a neutral arbiter to prepare for elections and not on behalf of Maduro or Guaido, it might be accepted without violent reaction from either side.

If some portion of it defects to Guaido, there would be violent conflict with the rest and with Chavista militants and militias.

If the army stays with Maduro, external pressures will mount trying to provoke an incident, perhaps around the delivery of humanitarian aid, that will be used to justify foreign intervention.

The Lima Group meeting in Canada spoke strongly against military intervention while reaffirming its commitment to Guaido. I am skeptical they will resist US pressure if it looks like Guaido's pretend regime is under attack.
 
 
+1 # soularddave 2019-02-09 17:32
If Guaido wanted to be president, why was he not in the election?? Why does the NYT get to appoint a candidate?
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14305
 
 
-18 # BKnowswhitt 2019-02-07 02:44
The oil state of Venezuala is corrupt .. dictatorships are like the Mafia .. none of it benefits the people .. pure evil .. and chavez was part of that .. we have a responsibility to stand up . yeah the so called Deep State has erred at times .. but on principle .. we have attempted to stand up for what is right .. and in this case we are correct ..
 
 
+15 # yolo 2019-02-06 17:18
"...why the Venezuelan economy is in such trouble." Because Venezuela has been selling its oil in US dollars and those billions of dollars are sitting in US banks instead of going back to Venezuela, which explains partly why Venezuela's economy is in shambles. But what doesn't make sense is Venezuela recently signed a contract with a newly started US company Erepla Services LLC, story here, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-04/venezuela-taps-obscure-driller-to-replace-big-name-oil-companies
to boost oil production. Harry Sargeant III a Florida billionaire with a record of bilking the US government and is a chief principle of Erepla. If Maduro and the US allowed this contract to be signed, which would allow a US company to get Venezuelan oil, why would the US all of the sudden want to overthrow Maduro if the US is getting and going to get more Venezuelan oil? Did Maduro do something to upset Israel, so that Bibi has directed the US to regime change Venezuela?
 
 
-8 # Salburger 2019-02-07 05:20
On point until the antisemitic conclusion that the Jews are at fault. The mystical power of the Jews is an old theme that long preceded the creation of Israel and that's what yolo is spinning here.
 
 
0 # Caliban 2019-02-08 21:02
From what I have read, Sargeant's company probably got the contract because he is a big wheel in GOP party finances.

In short, the Republican honcho Sargeant has used his shipping wealth to make himself even wealthier. I don't see any Bibi influence in this particular issue -- just GOP money.
 
 
-11 # jmcauliff 2019-02-06 17:22
You are correct about the origins of the problem.

However, don't ignore how much the policies and practices of the Maduro government have made it vulnerable and unable to mobilize mass support.

The 2017 election was internationally discredited in large part because serious opposition parties were barred. It attracted a record low of 47% of voters. Maduro was supported by 68% of them, 6,245,862 people, i.e. only 32% of potential voters.

The New York Times has joined the call for a transitional government led by National Assembly president Guaidó. The only way he can get there is through armed conflict, external military intervention and bloody Chilean style repression of Chavistas.

That would be tragic for the Venezuelan people and destructive of US standing in the Hemisphere to the benefit of Russia and China.

Neocons in the Trump Administration are pushing confrontation with both Venezuela and Cuba as reported in the Wall Street Journal, see tinyurl.com/Ven ez2019

The only peaceful scenario may be a direct military takeover or a negotiated compromise between the competing claimants to power.

Internationally supported and supervised elections at every level could be conducted by the Maduro government and a National Assembly that regains its legitimate powers.

Economic resources such as the oil company must be restored to the existing state and international humanitarian aid should be distributed through non-partisan channels.
 
 
+16 # margpark 2019-02-06 17:25
Thanks for clarifying that. I sort of thought that was the way it went but was not completely sure. The US has interfered with governments in South America in favor of US companies and in search of more oil and gas. I wasn't quite sure what was going on in the present. Haven't seen much since Chavez' death.
 
 
-32 # lnason@umassd.edu 2019-02-06 18:52
Since Chavez became president (1999), the US has, very properly, stayed out of Venezuelan affairs. We are thus not the cause of Venezuelan troubles. Chavez confiscated all oil company property (without compensation) and manned the nationalized oil company with political cronies. Experienced oil workers left or were fired. No oil well maintenance was done, in part because no one knew it had to be done and in part because no one would allow the necessary equipment to be shipped to the country lest it too be nationalized. Oil production started declining and today the Paris-based IEA estimates that oil production is less than half of what it had been prior to Chavez taking over. The decline in production plus the world market price drop left the government unable to fund their programs and led to hyperinflation as the govt. attempted to fill the shortfall by printing Bolivares.

Chavez was elected to make all Venezuelans equal and his aim has been fulfilled. When Chavez took over, about 50% of the population was living in poverty and today more than 90% of the population is living in poverty. I think we might wisely forego this sort of imposed equality.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+5 # yolo 2019-02-06 20:59
Lee it is true that Chavez nationalized the oil because Venezuelans the majority of Venezuelans were not benefiting from its oil. But what gets me is the Maduro government recently signed an agreement with a US company Erepla Services LLC to improve and increase production in Venezuela, so if Maduro is opening up Venezuelan oil to a US company why is he suddenly being targeted for regime change?
 
 
-18 # Depressionborn 2019-02-06 22:28
thanks Lee Nason, for some reality. socialism is a bad trip.
 
 
-17 # BKnowswhitt 2019-02-07 02:47
Very informative .. how they dislike real info here at RSN .. when it conflicts with either Big Oil is the foe ..as in the global warming scherade .. or that it's US imperialism via the Deep State .. never the crooked assed dictators like the self centered Megalo ego maniac Chavez .. glad he's DEAD ...
 
 
-1 # kgrad 2019-02-07 20:30
"self-centered Megalo ego maniac" There's another?
 
 
+36 # DongiC 2019-02-06 19:00
Elliott Abrams is shedding what little is left of American honor in Latin America. His appointment as special envoy to Venezuela is obscene and totally without merit. Abrams was sent to jail for his part in the Iran-Contra gate scandal of the 1980's. He was always the friend and protector of Central America dictators in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatamala and Panama. His appointment signals a return to the policy of backing the right wing bosses against the lower, poorer classes of those particular societies. This is a major mistake by Trump and company and will result in terrible consequences.
 
 
+6 # Salburger 2019-02-07 05:16
Yes and no. The anti-Cuba economic blockade was essentially total, but at no time has the US stopped importing very large quantities of Venezuelan oil. So there is no legitimate comparison between the 2 sets of sanctions and given the massive oli purchases the sanctions against Venezuela are not sufficient to explain the near total collapse of the Venezuelan economy. There is no justification for US intervention, but pretending that the Chavez-Maduro regime didn't screw up big time doesn't get us anywhere. Let the people of Venezuela decide their own fate.
 
 
+6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-08 09:51
This should be an addendum to Marc's article --


Leaked Wikileaks Doc Reveals US Military Use of IMF, World Bank as “Unconventional ” Weapons


In a leaked military manual on “unconventional warfare” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, the U.S. Army states that major global financial institutions — such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — are used as unconventional, financial “weapons in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war,” as well as in leveraging “the policies and cooperation of state governments.”


The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. Though the document has generated new interest in recent days, it had originally been released by WikiLeaks in December 2008 and has been described as the military’s “regime change handbook.”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51069.htm
 
 
0 # rxfxworld 2019-02-10 04:55
When supporters of the coup claim that the opposition was "barred" from the 2017 election they ignore the fact that the opposition boycotted the election. Agreed that it's a big mess but the facts are the US has been buying Venezuelan oil with one hand and undermining the Venezuelan govt with the other. The appointment of Elliot Abrams, war criminal says a great deal about US policy. BTW, after conviction only for lying to Congress he never spent a day in jail and was pardoned by Bush Sr. remember him and his glorious send-off. You might have thought he was actually a good president. Seeing that front row at his funeral, I kept looking for 2 Jesuses, considering there were at least 4 thieves there.
 

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