Catégorie : Opinion

Venezuela: Chronology of Fascism Begins in Washington and Will Be Defeated by Venezuela’s Own Democracy

This is not the first time that Latin American and Caribbean countries have been the target of fascism by the Obama administration. For example, right after Obama’s coming to power in 2008, the Honduras coup took place in 2009 with his full involvement. The role of the Honduran military, armed and trained by the U.S., became notorious for its fascist suppression of the Hondurans who struggled for months on end against what the grass roots called a fascist dictatorship.


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WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 4: Chief of Protocol Nancy Brinker, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democratic Strategy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs stand in the background as U.S. President George W. Bush (R) meets with Saad Hariri, leader of the Lebanese Parliament, in the Oval Office of the White House on October 4, 2007 in Washington, DC. Hariri, the son of the slain former Prime minister of Lebanon, is in Washington for talks about the future of Lebanon. (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images)

The current February 2014 threat of fascism in Venezuela was initiated in Washington by the Obama administration the day after the April 14, 2013 presidential elections won by the Bolivarian Revolution’s candidate Nicolás Maduro. From April 15, 2013 to date, Washington has tried everything to provoke incidents in Venezuela in order to usher in a fascist coup d’état; the goal was and is to draw Venezuela into its orbit once again as was the case before Hugo Chávez won the presidential elections in December 1998. On April 15, 2013 Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney gave the green light to the pro-US opposition to violently protest the election results by declaring:

“…given the tightness of the result – around 1 percent of the votes cast separate the candidates – the opposition candidate and at least one member of the electoral council have called for a 100 percent audit of the results. And this appears an important, prudent and necessary step to ensure that all Venezuelans have confidence in these results.”

That same day the opposition organized violent riots and killed 8 Chavistas who were defending the health centers and other public places from the bands. On April 16, Patrick Ventrell Acting Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. State Department appeared in a daily press briefing. The following interaction with a journalist indicated the desire of the US to refrain from recognizing the election results and call into question the legitimacy of the Maduro government:

MR. VENTRELL …And we said yesterday, a full recount would be important, prudent, and necessary in ensuring that an evenly divided Venezuelan electorate is confident that the election meets their democratic aspirations….

QUESTION: Well, okay. So are you prepared to congratulate Mr. Maduro on his victory?

MR. VENTRELL: We’re not there.

QUESTION: Why? The vote has been certified. He has been elected. So either you say, ʻOkay, and we’ll work with you,’ or, ʻtry to work with you,’ or you say, ʻWe don’t think that you’re the real winner’, or, ʻWe think that there is no winner because the vote hasn’t been certified,’ so – I mean, are you prepared to work with President Maduro, President-Elect Maduro?

MR. VENTRELL: Well, we said we’re prepared to work with whichever government comes out of this electoral process. Having said that, given what happened yesterday, we’re consulting with key partners, the OAS, the EU, other regional neighbors as we examine this.”

The next day on April 17, the Obama White House issued the following statement:

“The United States congratulates the Venezuelan people for their participation in the April 14 presidential elections in a peaceful and orderly manner. We call on the Venezuelan government to respect the rights of Venezuelan citizens to peaceful assembly and free speech. We also urge everyone to refrain from violence and other measure that could raise tensions at this difficult moment. The United States notes the acceptance by both candidates for an audit of the ballots and supports calls for a credible and transparent process to reassure the Venezuelan people regarding the results. Such a process would contribute to political dialogue and help advance the country’s democracy.”

On April 19, 2013 a Communiqué from the 33 countries, that is the entire hemisphere minus the U.S. and Canada, composing the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) regarding the elections in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela read in part:

“…CELAC congratulates President Nicolás Maduro on the election results and for his election as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

Despite and perhaps in response to this, Obama himself stepped up to the plate and said on a May 4th interview to an important and widely accessed Spanish-language media,

“…María Elena Salinas: I have two more questions. One is does the U.S. recognize Nicolás Maduro as the legitimate President of Venezuela?

President Barack Obama: Well, you know, I think it’s not what the U.S. alone is concerned about. But I think that the entire hemisphere has been watching the violence, the protests, the crackdowns on the opposition. I think our general view has been that it’s up to the people of Venezuela to choose their leaders inlegitimate elections….” (Emphasis added)

Obama went even further than his own administration and openly called the Venezuelan elections illegitimate; and by completely ignoring the CELAC position taken only a few days earlier Obama de facto claims that the “entire hemisphere” is composed of only the U.S. and Canada!

I Googled for the repercussions of this interview right after it was made public and immediately found over 50 entries in Spanish “Obama habló de Venezuela: ‘El hemisferio completo está viendo la violencia y los ataques a la oposición’” ( the entire hemisphere has been watching the violence, the protests, the crackdowns on the opposition.)

With regards to the most recent February 2014 wave of violence carried out by the opposition, this time led by another figure (Leopoldo López rather than Capriles) what did Marie Harf, Deputy U.S. State Department Spokesperson, say in a Washington DC press briefing held on February 13, 2014? She left the door wide open for the Obama administration to switch loyalties from Capriles to the more openly violent López, if it was not already done:

…QUESTION: I’d like to ask if you have any comment about the violent protest that took place yesterday there and the lack of coverage provided by the local TV. And also, this morning the Venezuelan foreign minister in an interview blamed an opposition politician, Leopoldo López, for violence that took place yesterday and said that López and his acolytes have been financed by the U.S. Government for a long time. If you please have a comment on those two points, I would appreciate it.

MS. HARF: Yeah. Well, let me see if I can get some specifics on what’s happened in the last few days. In general, when it comes to Venezuela, we’ve made clear that we’re open to having a constructive relationship with the Government of Venezuela. Quite frankly, we haven’t seen that – we have not seen that reciprocated, to be clear. So we also, I think, see a lot of conspiracy theories or rumors out there in the press about how the U.S. is interested in influencing the domestic political situation in Venezuela, which is absolutely not true. It’s not up to us to comment on internal Venezuelan politics. So I’m happy to check with our team to see if there is more specifics about the protest specifically that I’m not as familiar with, and see if we can get you something on that….” (Emphasis added)

The very next day, on February 14, in another daily press briefing by Marie Harf, Deputy U.S. State Department Spokesperson, notice how Washington walks the tight rope. It continues with the claim that the U.S. is not involved in the internal affairs of Venezuela, while at the same time taking sides with violent opposition leader against the constitutionally elected Maduro government.

“…QUESTION: So the government accused Washington of being involved in these – the [Venezuelan] protests.

MS. HARF: It’s not true. It’s not true.

QUESTION: They didn’t accuse you?

MS. HARF: No. We are not involved in them.

QUESTION: Oh, okay.

MS. HARF: They may have accused us; we’re not involved in them.

QUESTION: And they’re also accusing an opposition leader. Do you think this is a step up in the regime’s –

MS. HARF: Are you talking about Mr. López?


MS. HARF: Yes. So we are deeply concerned by rising tensions, by the violence surrounding these February 12th protests, and by the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo López. We join the Secretary General of the OAS in condemning the violence and calling on authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of peaceful protestors. We also call on the Venezuelan Government to release the 19 detained protestors and urge all parties to work to restore calm and refrain from violence….” (Emphasis added)

This interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela was solidified even more through a Press Statement by John Kerry, Secretary of State, on February 15, 2014, which reads in full:

“Recent Violence in Venezuela

The United States is deeply concerned by rising tensions and violence surrounding this week’s protests in Venezuela. Our condolences go to the families of those killed as a result of this tragic violence.

We are particularly alarmed by reports that the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained scores of anti-government protestors and issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Leopoldo López. These actions have a chilling effect on citizens’ rights to express their grievances peacefully.

We join the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and others in condemning this senseless violence. We call on the Venezuelan government to provide the political space necessary for meaningful dialogue with the Venezuelan people and to release detained protestors. We urge all parties to work to restore calm and refrain from violence.

Freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly are universal human rights. They are essential to a functioning democracy, and the Venezuelan government has an obligation to protect these fundamental freedoms and the safety of its citizens.”

On February 17, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua disclosed in a press conference in Caracas that the Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, had received a telephone call from a State Department official. According to the Venezuelans the US is “ʻasking’ the Maduro govenment for “ʻa series of conditions’” and threatened Venezuela with “ʻinternational consequences’” if opposition leader Leopoldo López was arrested.” Elías Jaua also revealed proof indicating that Washington has been directly involved in training the fascist groups.

As the situation continues to unfold rapidly, there is a conclusion and one question. One can conclude from the above that the Obama administration is striving to create pretexts with the aid of fascist groups in Venezuela. The goal of the fabricated excuse is a U.S. open, or camouflaged, intervention in Venezuela to overthrow the Maduro government by a coup d’état. The question that I am raising, is for readers to consider the possibility that Obama represents a danger of fascism domestically and internationally? What does fascism look like in the 21st century?

By Arnold August for Democracy Cuba

Venezuela: Right-Wing Provokes Violence in Time-Worn Practice by Steve Hellner

Venezuela: Right-Wing Provokes Violence in Time-Worn Practice by Steve Hellner

History repeats itself. The time-worn tactic of the dominant class that controls the diffusion of information is to provoke violence and then blame it on the enemy, usually those who struggle for change.

Nero did it when he burned down much of Rome and blamed it on the Christians. Similarly, US newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst used the sinking of theUSS Maine in 1898 to create war fervor that led to war with Spain.

Hitler ordered the burning of the Reichstag and blamed it on the Communists. He also had Germans dressed as Poles attack German troops in order to justify the invasion that began World War II.

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The Gulf of Tonkin incident played out a similar scenario to justify US escalating its war on Vietnam. And George Bush Sr. used the same tactic to justify the invasion of Panama in 1989.

In Venezuela this tactic has been used umpteen times throughout these past 15 years. The most infamous incident was on April 11, 2002 when shootings by snipers on demonstrators justified the US-backed coup against then-president Hugo Chavez.

But the opposition in Venezuela has used this trick over and over again. During the general strike of 2002-3, a woman physically attacked a National Guardsman and then the opposition showed (out of context) the part where the guard pushed the woman to the ground.

In another incident, a woman protester in Caracas approached National Guard members and spat on one of them. The private media then just showed the reaction of one of the guardsmen who pushed the instigator to the ground, again taking the incident out of context.

It turned out that the instigator was a city councilperson belonging to the right-wing opposition.

Today the same thing is happening and the private media is promoting the same deceit. Opposition demonstrators have created havoc in the centre of Caracas and elsewhere, burning public buildings, using firearms after having attacked the house of the governor in the state of Tachira.

The announced intention of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader who has organised these protests, is to overthrow the government. He says it publicly.

And yet the media is making it seem as if the violence is the work of motorcyclists supposedly on behalf of the Chavista government of Nicolas Maduro! (These same Chavista “hordes” were blamed for the violence at the time of the 2002 coup, in fact opposition newspaper El Nacional called the Chavistas “lumpen”.)

Common sense tells you that the government has nothing to gain by promoting random violence. Furthermore there is tons of footage showing the violence perpetrated by the opposition protesters.

But the media, true to form, both here in Venezuela and abroad use all their ingenuity to convince people, sometimes in subtle ways, that Chavista “hordes” are behind the violence. Sometimes all it takes is common sense to know what is going on.

[Professor Steve Ellner has taught at the Universidad de Oriente in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, since 1977. He is the author of many books on Venezuelan politics.]