Obama’s Dirty Hands Manipulating Venezuelan Violence
by Stephen Lendman
He wants Venezuela looking like Ukraine. He wants fascists replacing democrats. He wants Washington dictating Venezuelan policy.
He’s mindless of what most Venezuelans cherish. Bolivarian fairness is polar opposite neoliberal contempt for social justice.
It’s too precious to lose. Venezuelans remember. February 27 marked the 25th anniversary of what’s called “El Caracazo (meaning Caracas with the suffix ‘azo’).”
A popular rebellion confronted former President Carlos Andres Perez’s hated government. It lasted days. Security forces killed hundreds. Some estimates said thousands. Many others were injured.
Protests followed so-called economic reforms. IMF diktats were imposed. Neoliberal harshness punished ordinary Venezuelans.
Perez broke his campaign promise. He called the IMF “a neutron bomb that only kills people.” He about-faced in office. He bowed to Washington Consensus demands.
February 27, 1989 was a Monday. Over the weekend, he doubled consumer gasoline prices. Commuters were enraged. They responded angrily.
Many refused to pay. Protests erupted. Revolutionary ferment united students, workers, and activists for change.
Anger over doubled gasoline prices became rebellion. Perez’s entire neoliberal package was challenged.
Martial law followed. Perez authorized live ammunition against protesters.
Caracazo was pivotal. It represented the eventual death knell of business as usual. Rebellion created Hugo Chavez. In 1999, Bolivarianism followed.
Perez was Venezuela’s president from 1974 – 1979. He served again from February 1989 – May 1993. In 1992, he survived two coup attempts.
Chavez led one that failed. His activism catapulted him to prominence. He got national television air time. He called on remaining resistance elements to cease hostilities.
At the same time, he said he only failed “por ahora (for now).” Later success proved him right.
Perez became Venezuela’s first president forced from office by the Supreme Court. He was impeached for embezzling 250 million bolivars.
Senate members stripped his immunity. He refused to resign. Venezuela’s National Congress ended his tenure permanently.
In May 1996, he was sentenced to 28 months in prison. In 1998, he was prosecuted again. He ended up self-exiled in Miami. He was a vehement anti-Chavista.
A 2003 stroke partially disabled him. In December 2010, he died. He’s gone. He remains reviled. Venezuelans remember. They deplore someone like him returning.
Maduro declared February 27 and 28 non-working days. He did “so that our people will massively (commemorate) the historical events of that (time) that marked the lives of all (in) the life of the country,” he said.
Conditions are polar opposite now than then. Venezuelans benefit hugely from Bolivarian fairness. Fascist elements in league with Washington want them ended.
In late January, opposition extremists demanded “La Salida (the ousting or departure).” Fascist politician Leopoldo Lopez called for regime change.
He and likeminded extremists get generous Washington funding. CIA operatives help them. So do State Department-funded insurrectionist groups.
Lopez is now detained on multiple serious charges. At the time, he said:
“There should be a complete change of those in power. It’s clear now that the problem isn’t just Maduro.”
“It’s all the heads of the public powers who have kidnapped the state.” Change requires “getting the people into the streets.”
Tachira state borders Columbia. Venezuelan authorities accused former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe for involvement in ongoing street violence.
He’s a notorious hard-right thug. State terror defined his tenure. Extrajudicial assassinations characterized it. So did murdering thousands in cold blood.
He was a valued US imperial ally. He continues performing services for Washington.
Communications Minister Delcy Rodriguez accused him, Venezuela’s Chamber of Commerce, and the American-Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce and Industry of involvement in what’s ongoing.
National Assembly (NA) President Diosdado Cabello revealed alleged emails between political advisor Juan Jose Rendon and opposition party member Ricardo Koesling.
Uribe’s role was discussed in supplying “resources and sub-contracts” pertaining to ending “this cancer of a regime.”
Fascist anti-government NA member Maria Corina Machado allegedly emailed lawyer Gustavo Tarre on February 20, saying:
“We’re going to continue the example of Tachira (disruptiveness) but we shouldn’t for a minute abandon the call to the street and for peace…”
“(T)his is the advice…of our friends in the (State) Department, as it shouldn’t be the regime that kidnaps this word to be used as its flag.”
Murduro said US-supported fascist extremists want “imperial coup” violence ending Venezuelan democracy.
In early February, street thugs attacked Tachira state Governor Vielma Mora’s residence. They did so with molotov cocktails, rocks and bottles.
They broke through the main gate. They injured 12 guards. They threatened Mora’s wife. Separately, Cuban baseball players were attacked.
Near daily violence continues in Caracas and elsewhere. The Center for Democracy in the Americas promotes responsible US relations with Venezuela and Cuba.
It calls ongoing street violence provocative. It blames it on elements opposing Maduro’s government.
The vast majority of Venezuelans deplore it. Anti-Bolivarian extremists can’t win democratically.
Since 1998, they lost 18 of 19 elections. In the last 16 months, they lost four. They lost twice since Chavez died.
Venezuelans won’t vote against their own self-interest. Opposition fascists hope destabilizing street violence and other disruptive actions can achieve what legitimate activities can’t accomplish.
Around four million signatures are needed for a presidential recall election. The earliest date possible is in 2016.
Fascist elements aren’t waiting. They want Maduro toppled now. They’ve used violence and other destabilizing tactics before.
Security forces are wrongfully blamed for their disruptiveness. Maduro has every right to challenge it.
Venezuelans expect no less. He’s responsible for their security. He’s going all-out to provide it.
At least 15 deaths so far were reported. More ahead are likely. Government supporters are targeted.
So are public buildings, power stations, transportation facilities, Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz’s headquarters, public television channel 8, the state-owned Bank of Venezuela, health centers, public universities, and trucks carrying subsidized food.
Weapons seized include grenades, automatic weapons, rifles and pistols.
Others discovered included 360 petrol bombs, 420 weapons with protruding nails, and 16 kilograms of gunpowder.
Chavista activists worry justifiably. What’s ongoing may try to replicate what happened ahead of the aborted April 2002 coop.
Opposition orchestrated killings preceded it. Chavez was wrongfully blamed. Media propaganda was vicious.
Fake video images were used. Dark forces took full advantage. Washington manipulated events covertly.
Disruptive 2002 Venezuelan elements are involved in what’s now ongoing. Tactics used then are repeated.
Fake video clips, photographs, and other images circulate via social media. Maduro is wrongfully blamed. Street violence shown happened earlier in Chile, Argentina and Bulgaria.
One widely distributed image shows Venezuela’s Policia Metropolitana arresting student protesters. In 2011, the unit was disbanded.
Violence so far doesn’t approach what Ukrainians experienced. Plans perhaps intend escalating it exponentially.
Reports suggest it’s largely in a handful of municipalities. Most others are calm.
Venezuela’s population numbers 30 million. Home Secretary Miguel Rodriguez Torrez estimates fewer than 2,000 people involved in what’s ongoing.
Caracas is Venezuela’s capital. It’s the largest city. Barrios with its poor majority are calm.
San Cristobal borders Colombia. It’s an opposition stronghold. So is Merida. Both areas experienced considerable violence.
Obama bears full responsibility. Internal fascist allies share it. In mid-February, John Kerry claimed US-supported street thugs “express their grievances peacefully.”
He wrongfully blamed Maduro for their violence. Venezuela “has an obligation to protect fundamental freedoms and the safety of its citizens,” he said. For sure, with tongue in cheek.
Neocon Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) reflects the worst of Washington’s criminal element.
She supports violent anti-Chavista protesters. She blames Maduro for their crimes.
She’s sponsoring congressional legislation voicing support for rioting protesters. America has a “moral obligation” to do so, she said.
“I urge the administration to keep up the pressure on the leaders of Venezuela to end the violence and respect their citizens’ dignity, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to support me in this fight.”
She’s consistently on the wrong side of history. She supports what responsible officials condemn.
Washington is infested with extremists like her. They want regime change. They want Venezuelan democracy destroyed.
They want Bolivarian fairness ended. They want Venezuela plundered for profit. They’ll stop at nothing to achieve imperial goals.
Rogue states operate this way. America is by far the worst. None match its viciousness. It’s persists globally.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.