Published 1 August 2017 by teleSUR
 
Venezuelans voted Sunday for representatives of the National Constituent Assembly, amid what the government has called a targeted media campaign to destabilize the country and destroy its sovereignty.

International media outlets rushed to discredit the vote, sharing grossly misrepresentative accounts of the historic electoral process.

The U.S. newspaper Washington Post, for instance, wrote "the decision to hold the vote appeared set to prolong and deepen the suffering of the people of Venezuela" — despite assurances from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that the purpose of the election was to ease economic and political conflicts with the opposition.

The Washington Post also insisted the nation’s 2.8 million state workers "risked losing their jobs if they did not vote."

The media outlet went even further, claiming the internal and democratic election represented "a direct challenge" to the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump after it demanded that the government cancel the vote.

It said Maduro "defiantly followed through Sunday with his pledge" to hold the election, "creating a critical new stage in a long-simmering crisis that could mint the Western Hemisphere’s newest dictatorship."

These inflammatory comments, however, do not acknowledge that the right to call a National Constituent Assembly is included in the country's Constitution and supported by several articles of its text. Indeed the absolute independence of the members of the Constituent Assembly to make changes to the Constitution is protected under these articles.

Germany's Deutsche Welle meanwhile said the election "will cement a socialist dictatorship" — ignoring the fact that Venezuelans have the right to call for a Constituent Assembly and that the new Constitution will need to be approved by the people.

The British media outlet BBC referenced the recent deaths during violent protests in Caracas, placing the full responsibility for the clashes between protesters and security forces.

But Venezuelan Armed Forces have denied these accusations. In a press conference Sunday, Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez said that none of the injuries or deaths could be attributed to the Armed Forces. The article also ignores the eight members of the Armed Forces who were severely injured while protecting Venezuelans' right to vote.

The CNN, a longtime critic of the Venezuelan government, argued the Constituent Assembly was controlled by Maduro and that the "vote would give the president immense political power."

This statement fails to take into account that no other state institution may interfere in the new legislative body. Only the 545 officials elected by the citizens from different sectors of society can draft the new Constitution.

CNN also reported that Maduro would replace Venezuela's National Assembly — a situation that has never been stated in the decree to call for an open and direct vote.

Canada's Globe and Mail said "voters broadly boycotted" the election, ignoring the numerous of photos and videos of people lining up to vote at dawn and even wading through swamps to reach the voting centers. The article also does not include the countless reports of seniors and people with disabilities eagerly casting votes across the country.

"Caracas was largely shut down with deserted streets and polling stations were mostly empty, dealing a blow to the legitimacy of the vote," said the Globe and Mail without any evidence.

The Guardian joined the mainstream criticism, calling the election an action that will "seal the demise of the oil-rich nation’s democracy."

Again, the article failed to acknowledge the thousands of people who fought to earn the opportunity to be candidates in this historical event, including candidates from the LGBT community, student organizations and women and campesino groups.

Finally, the New York Times reported on the election with the headline: "As Venezuela Prepares to Vote, Some Fear an End to Democracy."

The article reported, "Maduro is pushing a radical plan to consolidate his leftist movement’s grip over the nation," forgetting that candidates are not voted for according to their political parties but through individual candidacies.

In one of the bluntest accusations, the newspaper argued Maduro "has refused to negotiate with street protesters," a claim that blatantly ignores Maduro's ongoing calls for peaceful dialogue and guidance from the Vatican.

It concludes by accusing the president of Venezuela of seeking an "unchecked authority not seen since the juntas that haunted Latin American countries in decades past," as Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution have vowed to fight the same external interference that brought the U.S. backed dictatorships to the region in the 60s.

Published 29 July 2017 by Venezuelanalysis

With Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented.

What is happening on 30 July?

To be fair to the Guardian, there is one almost-informative paragraph, where the electoral procedure is explained. In a previous article the Guardian stated that

“[…] election rules appear designed to guarantee a majority for the government even though it has minority popular support”,

instead of presenting said electoral rules and letting the reader decide if they are so designed. This time they do present the rules, only omitting to say that everyone not currently holding public office can run for a seat. But then the Guardian brings in the propaganda artillery to ensure the reader’s conclusions do not stray too far off from those of the State Department.

“[…] voter turnout will be exclusively pro-government – and likely very low, given that Maduro’s approval rating hovers around 20%” (1)

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Published 30 June 2017 by Venezuelanalysis

50tonsfoodtorched

Venezuelan authorities said Thursday more than 50 tons of food have been incinerated by anti-government groups, amid ongoing attacks on public infrastructure.

The attack took place in the municipality Simon Bolivar in Barcelona, Anzoategui state, when a group of attackers infiltrated a government food distribution centre. The Ministry of Food has stated the attackers set fire to the interior of a warehouse, destroying a stockpile of basic food products awaiting distribution.

Food Minister Rodolfo Marco Torres described the incident as an act of terrorism, blaming opposition supporters.

“This is … fascism, this attack on the people by these terrorists,” he said.

State authorities say the attackers used improvised incendiary devices, including Molotov cocktails, though no injuries have been reported. Authorities also said they’ve recovered around 50 tons of food from the warehouse, which will be distributed to communities across Anzoategui on Friday.

No arrests have been made in connection to the incident, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The interior of the warehouse was defaced with graffiti, including “Viva Leopoldo,” a possible reference to imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. Another spray painted message read “damned Chavistas,” while a third stated “no more hunger”.

The incident was just the latest in a wave of attacks targeting Venezuela’s state food distribution network. More than 30 facilities and vehicles involved in food distribution have been attacked in recent months, according to the minister.

“Also, two food aid workers have been injured by gunfire in Lara state,” he added.

The attacks have coincided with widespread opposition protests over the past three months, during which more than 90 people have died. In another alleged case of opposition violence, three power substations in Aragua state was also reportedly attacked Thursday.

“A group of terrorists attacked with Molotov cocktails and and set fire to these three units that serve the people,” Energy Minister Luis Motta Dominguez told state media.

The minister condemned the attack, and said it resulted in power outages in some parts of the state.

“They are not attacking an installation or the government as such; they are attacking the people, because ... it’ll take 24 hours to restore electricity with those units,” he said.

The minister continued by alleging the incident was part of a broader campaign of violence.

“This systematic attack was carried out with the purpose of instilling terror,” he said.

Meanwhile in Caracas, officials held a tour of the Supreme Court, which came under attack by a rogue police officer piloting a stolen helicopter earlier in the week.

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Published 28 June 2017 by Venezuelanalysis

comunicado-oficial-mppre

An official communique from the Venezuelan government on the helicopter attack perpetrated against the Supreme Court and Justice Ministry Tuesday evening.

Official Statement 

The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hereby notifies the general public and sister countries of the world of the armed attacks carried out in the evening of Tuesday, June 27th 2017, against the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court Justice, as part of the escalation of a coup against the  Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its state institutions. 

Both attacks were carried out from an Airbus Volcom helicopter, model 105, initials CICPC02, stolen from the General Francisco Miranda airbase in La Carlota, Caracas, by a subject named Oscar Alberto Perez, who took advantage of his credentials as an inspector subscribed to the aerial transport division of the CICPC [special investigative police body]. 

The perpetrator flew the aircraft within the vicinity of the Justice Ministry on Urdaneta Avenue, firing around 15 shots against the building while a reception was being held on the rooftop terrace for a group of journalists celebrating the National Day of Journalists. At the moment of the attack, 80 people were present.

Afterwards, the helicopter was flown to the headquarters of the Supreme Court of Justice, where the Constitutional Tribunal was in session, including all of its judges and a group of workers in their offices. There were shots fired against these people and at least four grenades thrown, [which were] made in Israel and of Colombian origin. Of these [grenades], one did not go off and another was collected. Two of these grenades were launched at agents of the Bolivarian National Guard who were guarding the building. 

Thanks to the rapid response of the National Guard soldiers, a tragedy was averted. The perpetrator of these acts is being investigated for his links to the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] of the United States and the embassy of that country in Caracas, as well as for his links to a former justice minister who recently publicly confirmed his contacts in the CIA. 

For the Bolivarian government, these are terrorist attacks framed within the insurrectional offensive advanced by radical sectors of the Venezuelan right-wing, with support from foreign governments and powers.

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Published 24 June 2017 by teleSUR

chavezsupportersvnz
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!

vnzbbc

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. 

96166841 burning1afp-768x432

 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

chiquitabannanas

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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