Venezuela stands up to US bullying
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
Streetwise | BusinessWorld
The failed coup in Venezuela last February and US President Obama’s
declaration this March that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a
“national security threat” to the United States have escaped most
Filipinos’ notice. Understandably so, with the entire country preoccupied
with the ongoing cover-up of another monumental blunder by the Aquino
government, one that has cost not just scores of lives including 44
members of its own elite police forces but has also undermined the peace
negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Yet Filipinos should sit up and take notice. These most recent events in
Venezuela underscore hard lessons being learned by the Venezuelan people
and its democratically elected government as they try to chart their
nation’s destiny toward greater equity, social cohesion and national
progress. In the process they find themselves continuously, systematically
and violently opposed by the tiny but still powerful socioeconomic elite
with the solid backing of the US government.
Fifteen years ago, under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez,
Venezuelan society underwent sweeping reforms that aimed to redistribute
the revenue from its oil wealth for the benefit of the greater majority.
This entailed nationalizing the oil industry and using its earnings for
government socioeconomic programs geared to ensure that basic goods and
services such as food, housing and education were universally accessible
and affordable. The Chavez leadership also pushed aggressively for genuine
land reform. It capitalized on its huge popularity with the masses to
build grassroots-based people’s organizations such as worker-managed
cooperatives and community councils that galvanized the popular will
behind its reforms.
The Chavez government prevailed over unrelenting destabilization moves by
its opponents up to a successful coup d’état in 2002 that lasted for 48
hours, until the younger loyal officers of the armed forces restored
Chavez to power. He ruled from then on, winning a series of democratic
elections until his death from illness in 2013.
The Maduro government that took over and continues the sweeping reforms of
Chavez (dubbed the Bolivarian Revolution) has been met from Day One by a
new round of attacks from the US-backed right-wing forces code named “El
Salida” or “The Exit.”
The elements of the plot are: (1) sabotage of the supply and distribution
chain for food and other basic goods in order to induce artificial
shortages and runaway inflation; (2) widespread, violent “protests” that
would cause chaos in the streets; (3) systematic and sustained
anti-government reportage by the elite-owned private mass media outlets
beamed to global media; (4) vilification of President Maduro and his
government coupled with the projection of unrepentant coup plotters as
representing the legitimate political opposition deserving of support from
the US and its allies; and (5) military actions such as assassinations of
government officials, bombings of government centers and including false
flag operations such as the assassination of some of the expendable
leaders of the right wing and deaths in violent street protests to be
attributed to state security forces.
For two years now the government has been exerting every effort to
overcome the economic sabotage measures. According to reports, while
scarcities and inexplicably inflated prices are being fought back through
government police action such as forcing stores to lower their prices on
pain of takeover and raiding warehouses to flush out hoarded goods, the
economic warfare continues. But this situation has not resulted in the
kind of mass unrest that is intended; Venezuela’s poor hold fast to their
experience of much better times under the Chavez and Maduro governments.
The so-called mass protests have died down despite the efforts of
opposition leaders holding the reins of local government in rich enclaves
to sustain these with sporadic thrashing of public parks and government
buildings by hoodlums. Thus the image the destabilizers have been trying
to project, that the Maduro government is unable to enforce basic law and
order, much more, is violating its citizens’ right to freely assemble and
express their grievances, has been unable to stick despite willful media
manipulation echoed by imperialist-controlled global corporate media.
What has become starkly clear is that the right-wing opposition is
resorting to the more dangerous option of military actions up to a
full-blown coup d’état to bring the government down. It would appear from
the account of the latest attempt in February this year (nipped in the bud
when a recidivist coup-plotting general was turned in by another officer
he was trying to recruit) that the plan was to conduct aerial bombings of
the Presidential Palace, the government media center Telesur, the
Ministries of Defense, Interior and Foreign Relations, the Department of
Military Intelligence, and the Attorney-General’s Office. The publication
of a manifesto in a national newspaper calling for a transition government
would be the plotters’ signal fire.
There would be a call for street protests once more with intentions of
fomenting violence and confusion in order to portray the events as the
result of government repression. A video of a detained general, a
confessed coup leader in an earlier failed attempt, would be repeatedly
shown to agitate members of the armed forces. Failing this, a video of men
in the uniforms of the different services of the military would be shown
to announce to the country and to the world that the armed forces had
risen up against the Maduro government.
All of this fell apart when the government discovered the plot and acted
quickly to preempt any of the plotters’ moves. According to Mark Weisbrot
(Al Jazeera), “The Venezuelan government has produced some credible
evidence of a coup in the making: the recording of a former deputy
minister of the interior reading what is obviously a communiqué to be
issued after the military deposes the elected government, the confessions
of some accused military officers, and a recorded phone conversation
between opposition leaders acknowledging that a coup is in the works.
The government also categorically accused the US embassy in Venezuela of
direct involvement in this latest as well as previous attempts to topple
it. It pointed to the “close relationship” of the political and military
figures at the core of the February attempt at another putsch with US
After the standard US denial of any involvement, came in quick succession
US President Obama’s declaration that the Venezuelan government is a
“national security threat” to the US and that US sanctions would be
imposed on seven Venezuelan officials. This is indeed ironic, given the
long history of US political interference up to armed intervention not
only in Venezuela but the entire breathe of Latin American countries to
remove governments not to its liking or to prop up those that are its
Obama’s declaration of Venezuela being a threat to US national interest is
primarily due to Venezuela’s key role in building and strengthening
alternative political and economic alliances among Latin American and
Caribbean states such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our
America (ALBA), Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC),
Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Petrocaribe which further the
interests of these states and their peoples more than the traditional
US-initiated and dominated alliances such as the Organization of American
States (OAS) and the so-called Caribbean Initiative.
Rather than isolate Venezuela, Obama’s move to attack and isolate
Venezuela is yet another futile attempt to stem the decline of US global
supremacy in its own hemisphere.
Carol Pagaduan-Araullo is a medical doctor by training, social activist by
choice, columnist by accident, happy partner to a liberated spouse and
proud mother of two.
Published in Business World
March 22, 2015
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Letter from the Bolivarian Front of Scientific Researchers, Innovators and
Workers to the Social Movements of the USA
By FREBIN, March 31st
As you know, on March 9th, 2014 President Barack Obama issued an executive
order which establish a state of “national emergency,” indicating that
Venezuela’s current situation “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary
threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”
(1). Well, we want to tell you why we believe Venezuela may be a “threat”
in the eyes of the US government. We want to talk from people to people.
In the executive order, President Obama says that the “Venezuelan
situation” is a threat because, supposedly, there are “curtailment of
press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in
response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of
antigovernment protestors, as well as the exacerbating presence of
significant public corruption.” Come on, do you really think that if this
were true it would be enough reason to be considered a “threat” to the US
national security? Do you? We do not. You know that during the eighties
and the nineties, Venezuelan governmental repression left thousands of
antigovernment protesters dead and also there was documented and
exacerbated governmental corruption. Neither of those reasons was enough
to constitute an emergency from a US government standpoint. On the
contrary, many of the people who stole public money during that time
migrated safely to the US and still live in those luxury neighborhoods
that you see in Doral, Miami and other cities.
Perhaps, comrades, the answer to why Venezuelans is considered a "threat"
are to be found in a document from 2007, leaked by Mr. Edward Snowden. The
serial code of the document is "SECRET // // REL TO USA COMINT, AUS, CAN,
GBR // 20291123" and is titled “United States SIGINT System. January 2007
Strategic Mission List”(2). It explains the NSA priorities for that
moment. There are four points in which Venezuela appears as a focus of
interest to boost maneuvers in the fields: political, energy, information
operations and intelligence and counterintelligence. This document
concludes with the proposal of “enabling policymakers in preventing
Venezuela from achieving its regional leadership objectives and pursuing
policies that negatively impact U.S. global interests” (p.9). Things make
more sense now, don’t they? And Venezuela appears next to China, North
Korea, Iraq, Iran and Russia... Please, give me a break!
The document leaked by Mr. Snowden reveals two issues that shed light on
the negative impact of Venezuela on the global interests of the US
government. The first, perhaps the obvious one, is that Venezuela appears
in the list of strategic missions because the US government must ensure “a
steady and reliable energy supply for the US” (p. 5). Hence, it is
necessary for the US government to seek ways to secure energy supplies
from Venezuela. However, the truth is that the revolutionary process which
we live in Venezuela has never undermined the reliability of Venezuela as
an US energy supplier. Actually, after 15 years of revolution the US
continues being our principal customer. The only time that our reliability
was affected was when in 2003 there was a sabotage against our oil company
and the US government was one of its main promoters. So, let’s look at the
next issue mentioned in the NSA document, which we believe is key to
understanding why Venezuela is a threat in the eyes of the US government.
In one of the strategic missions, the NSA proposes “providing warning of
impending state instability” in countries such as North Korea, Cuba,
Nigeria, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Bolivia, Sudan, Kosovo, Venezuela, the
"Palestinian Authority "and -attention!- something they call "Latin
American Bolivarian developments". The document does not provide more
detail over the issue, but The New York Times provided a revealing side
comment [in its coverage of the leaked document.] The NYT notes that "the
influence of leftist leaders in Venezuela and its allies in Latin America
are a surprising priority, here described as 'Bolivarian developments'"
(p. 4). The matter is now clarified. Venezuela appears as an unusual and
extraordinary threat because it presents an ideology -the Boliviarian one-
which rivals and contrasts with the totalitarian influence exerted by the
US status quo over the Latin American region in the recent decades.
How will the US government confront this threat? There are several ways,
for example, the “H” item of the document deals with "information
operations" and states that the government should “support U.S. military
deception (MILDEC) and psychological operations (PSYOP)... to influence
target behavior and activities” (p. 5). And among the countries which
intends to apply these military operations appears, as expected,
If Venezuela appears as a “threat” is because it is an ideological rival
which affects the interests of the US government. Obama's executive order
is one of the military and psychological operations applied against us.
Bolivarian Venezuela has succeeded in founding a leadership model that
threatens US hegemony in Latin America and the world. From Quito to
Greece, the liberating and anti-capitalist example of Venezuela and Hugo
Chavez is reflected, especially in social movements and insurgent parties.
What US government fears is the strengthening of the Venezuelan example
being projected over a world of capitalism in crisis. That's it!
The intention of Obama's executive order is to influence public opinion.
Its primary aim is to create a media campaign which calls into doubt the
radical democratic vocation of the Bolivarian Revolution. It intends to
tear down the solidarity of friends and allies and tries to open a road
either for an internal crisis or foreign intervention. We call to the
American progressive and democratic social movements (such as the "99%",
the "Occupy" and the "Anti-Globalization"), as well as, the Labor Unions
and the American people in general to not let themselves be manipulated by
these military and psychological operations.
North American and South American peoples have fought together in the past
and can fight together now again. Our precursor, Francisco de Miranda,
fought with you in Pensacola in 1781. Years later he requested support for
President John Adams, through his friend Alexander Hamilton, to liberate
the Spanish Empire colonies. Miranda failed to secure government support.
However, in 1806, US sailors escorted Miranda on his expedition to
liberate our continent, attempting a landing on the Venezuelan coast of
Ocumare. The landing was not successful and the Spanish armada managed to
seize 57 sailors. Ten of them were hanged, decapitated and mutilated in
Puerto Cabello. Their names were preserved by our history. They were
commander Thomas Donahue; Captains James Gardner, GustavusBergud and
Thomas Billopp; and Lieutenants Charles Johnson, Daniel Kemper, John
Ferris, Francis Farquarsons, Paulo George and Miles L. Hall. The latter,
Hall, was a printer who came to Venezuela with the intention of founding a
The rest of the sailors suffered imprisonment. Twenty-eight were sentenced
to ten years and the remaining nineteen to eight years in prison. Some of
the survivor American sailors proudly wrote down their libertarian
memories. Their names are: William Armstrong, James Biggs, John H.
Sherman, Moses Smith, John Edsall and Henry Ingersoll (3).
A decade later, in 1817, the free army of Simon Bolivar's Colombia went to
support the popular uprising of Floridian people on Amelia Island. On June
29th of that year, the Scottish General GregorMacGregor, the commander
Luis Aury accompanied by Doctor Pedro Gual, Brigadier General Lino de
Clemente, GermánRoscio and AgustínCodazzi landed in Fernandina with 150
patriots, most of them Venezuelans. With the Floridian people they
declared the independence and founded the "Republic of Florida." Sixty-six
days after the founding, the US Navy, supported also by the Spanish
armada, suppressed the popular movement and invaded the Free Republic of
Florida. The territory of Florida followed belonging to Spain until 1822
formally, but the truth is that, in fact, with the US invasion of 1817,
Florida had been annexed.
The official history of the US government says that Florida was purchased
from Spain. The truth is that Florida was a free and independent republic
declared by a popular insurgency movement which was repressed, invaded and
annexed by the Union (4). The Colombian army would go to give armed
support when needed. President Monroe called them "smugglers, adventurers
and looters," President Obama calls us "corrupt and human rights
violators." Epithets change in time but not the same style of military
deception and operation.
Neither Alexander Hamilton nor John Adams helped Miranda on his expedition
to free the Spanish America. President James Monroe aborted the
development of the Republic of Florida. However, our peoples did fight
together. Together we have fought for freedom and together we can rescue
From the Bolivarian Front of Scientific Researches, Innovators and Workers
(Frebin), Chapter Mérida, we want to pronounce our rejection of President
Obama’s executive order, which presents the developments of the Bolivarian
process as a “threat” to the US national security. We want to offer our
hand of support to the social movements and the American people in the
process of building a better world where everyone fits in freedom.
For the victory of 99%, let's fight together! as we already did in
Pensacola, Ocumare and Amelia Island. Let America be Our America.
Comrades!, Venezuela is not a threat, it is hope!
Bolivarian Front of Science Researches, Innovators and Workers