Chaos and mayhem in Venezuela — all according to plan

by Al Burke, Nordic News Network / 12 August 2017

Chaos and mayhem in Venezuela — all according to plan

”The current economic, political, and social situation in Venezuela is very complicated, which makes it somewhat difficult for outsiders to make sense of”, notes Gregory Wilpert in the PDF document referenced below.

But there is little or no trace of that complexity in most of the “news” about Venezuela that is fed to consumers of mainstream media. In their world, it is all quite simple: The people are rising up against an increasingly or certifiably dictatorial regime, in a courageous struggle to restore freedom, democracy and the health of an economy devastated by incompetent leadership. The regime has responded to the legitimate demands of the opposition with despotic brutality and gross violations of human rights.

So the story goes.

But that story is grossly distorted and leaves out much that is essential to understanding events in Venezuela, including three key elements — the reactionary elite at the violent core of the opposition, its collaboration with and funding by the U.S. government, and the multitudes of so-called ordinary citizens who continue to support the so-called dictatorial regime of Nicolás Maduro. And as so often, the mainstream story is told within a historical vacuum.

In fact, the violent drama currently being enacted is merely the latest phase of a concentrated effort of regime change which has been conducted by the U.S. government and its Venezuelan collaborators during the past fifteen years. It began in earnest with a failed military coup against the government of Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, in 2002 and has continued ever since.

For those who may wish to acquaint or reacquaint themselves with that history, a collection of related news items and other information has been assembled in a PDF document at http://www.nnn.se/share/Venezuela-diverse.pdf

The focus is on the 15-year programme of destabilization and regime change conducted by the U.S. and its Venezuelan collaborators. It is not likely that many or any will have the time and/or inclination to read all 607 pages. The intended purpose of the compilation is rather to provide a searchable reference, and in most cases the contents of the various items can be deduced from their headlines. The predominant language is English, but there is some Swedish.

An insider’s explanation

The most pertinent item is Philip Agee’s detailed explanation of ”How United States Intervention Against Venezuela Works,” which begins on page 84.

Philip was the former CIA agent who resigned and in 1975 published Inside the Company: CIA Diary — the first detailed account of CIA operations by an insider. Not so incidentally, much of the book is based on his experience as an agent in Ecuador, a country which in more recent years has deeply offended the U.S. government by providing asylum to Julian Assange (see http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange.htm).

Philip visited Stockholm in September 2011, thirteen days after the iconic attack on the World Trade Center in New York, to deliver an address on ”The United States and International Terrorism”. It includes much that is relevant to current events in Venezuela — including a section on “The uses of journalists” — and can be downloaded from this address: http://www.nnn.se/pox/agee-0911.htm

Another valuable source is attorney/author Eva Golinger, whose article on page 168 concerns a CIA memorandum listing various ways to apply pressure on Venezuela’s government, including:

  • Take the streets and protest with violent, disruptive actions across the nation
  • Generate a climate of ungovernability
  • Provoke a general uprising in a substantial part of the population
  • Use polling companies contracted by the CIA
  • Criticize and discredit the National Elections Council
  • Generate a sensation of fraud

Although published ten years ago, those measures should be familiar to anyone who has followed recent developments in Venezuela. There is much more in the same spirit, as documented in the PDF compilation.

Compulsory repression

Efforts to crush the socialistic ”Bolivarian revolution” launched by Chávez have escalated since his death in 2013, presumably because any change of leadership provides enhanced opportunities for promoting disruption and disarray. And it is never easy to succeed a popular charismatic leader. Even equipped with a disguise and a different name, Hugo Chávez would have likely found it difficult to succeed Hugo Chávez.

Nevertheless, Niclàs Maduro is still the democratically elected president and, given the sustained assault on Venezuela’s socialist government over the past fifteen years, the relevant question is not whether it has experienced setbacks and difficulties, but how it has managed to survive. Part of the answer to that question is fairly certain: The Maduro government would not still be in place if it was not supported by a significant portion of the population. The basis of that support is explained in some of the articles in the PDF compilation.

Of course Maduro has taken repressive measures against ”the opposition”. That’s all part of the plan, as Philip Agee and other well-informed sources have explained. Included in my archive on Nicaragua are the minutes of a U.S. National Security Council meeting during the Reagan era, where the problem under discussion was how — short of an outright invasion — to attack and threaten the Sandinista regime so that it would be compelled to respond with repressive measures in order to survive. Western media and human rights organizations could then be relied upon to report and condemn the response while ignoring the provocation. Thus was another “authoritarian regime” born. (For details, see http://www.nnn.se/pox/misery.htm)

None of this is to deny that the Maduro government has made mistakes. That can be taken for granted, inasmuch as all governments seem to do so. But mismanagement is not always used as an excuse for removing them, as the experience of many U.S. allies testifies.

Although it is conceivable that Maduro could have devastated Venezuela’s economy by his own devices, he has not been permitted the opportunity to do so. Any errors he may have committed are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to disentangle from the extensive programme of economic sabotage conducted over 15 years by the U.S. government and the Venezuelan elite.

Alternative sources

The first item in the PDF compilation is headlined ”Don’t believe everything you read in the papers about Venezuela”. Published in The Guardian in 2002, that warning still applies to all mainstream media today — including The Guardian, which in recent years has become increasingly loyal to the Anglo-American establishment.

Where to find alternatives? A good place to start is Venezuela Analysis at https://venezuelanalysis.com.

Other useful sources are represented in the PDF compilation. Among the knowledgeable writers whose work can be searched there and on the Internet are Eva Golinger, Mark Weisbrot and Richard Gott.

Especially worthy of note is Dick Emanuelsson, a Swedish journalist who has spent much of his adult life in Latin America. His work is notable for its emphasis on the living conditions and political movements of the region’s impoverished masses.

Dick publishes mainly in his native language and in Spanish, but Google Translator is getting better at rendering those languages in English and other languages. The following is a sample from an article in Swedish from 3 August:

A confident CEO of Smartmatics had before his statement on “manipulation” of the votes in the Sunday election, interviewed by CNN’s Mexican star reporter Fernando Ramos…. In the six-minute interview, Mugica assured it impossible to manipulate the voting in the company’s electronic system. Each voice is recorded immediately and a physical copy that a vote has been taken is recorded separately. The computer system is checked later with the physical voices.

Since 2004, no-one has been able to question the company’s voice machines and software. Mugica explained this in an open and relaxed manner and expressed great faith in his statements to Ramos, CNN.

But on Wednesday, July 2, 2017, it was a nervous and co-incumbent CEO who read from London a written statement from the company where he repeatedly read during reading.

Among the more serious errors: (a) ”the company’s voice machines” should be ”the company’s voting machines”; and (b) ”he repeatedly read during reading” should be “he repeatedly stumbled during reading”.

Otherwise the translation is more or less comprehensible, and presumably better than nothing. In the case of this exceptional Swedish journalist, it is well worth the effort. For some background on Dick Emanuelsson in English, see http://www.nnn.se/nordic/colombia.pdf.

Questions and comments about any of this are very welcome.

Al Burke
[email protected]

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