Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Top Venezuelan Legislator Calls for Investigation of NGOs funded by USAID

cabello390849138.jpg_1718483346

Diosdado Cabello speaks at a press conference in this archive photo. (Photo: AVN )
teleSUR | October 17, 2014

The president of the Venezuelan National Assembly Diosdado Cabello called Friday on intelligence agencies to investigate Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the country that are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Cabello’s call comes on the heels of the arrival of a representative of the U.S. government in Venezuela to meet with representatives of NGOs at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.

According to their website, USAID’s mission is “furthering America’s interests, while improving lives in the developing world.”

In practice, much of the work of USAID has been to support the activities of groups that are opposed to democratically elected governments. Cabello pointed to an NGO that has links to “Operation Liberty”, the group lead by Lorent Saleh, who is currently in custody on accusations of intent to commit terrorist acts in Venezuela.

Cabello has previously warned of the attempts by the U.S. and its allies to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela, saying, “This is one way for imperialism to finance conspiracy [against the government].”

Bolivia expelled USAID and its representatives from that country in 2013 due to their support of opposition groups opposed to the government of Evo Morales.

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

A Deafening Silence

Objectivity?

By Andrew Smolski | CounterPunch | October 17, 2014

Where is the American corporate media at on the disappearance of 43 normalistas from a rural teachers college in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico? Where is the wall to wall coverage? Where are the calls for Enrique Peña Nieto to resign? Or, at least, where are the calls for Aguirre’s resignation, the governor of Guerrero? Where are the pundits oversimplifying and labeling the Mexican government whatever they want, regardless if it has a basis in fact? The corporate media is eerily silent.

Let us contrast this silence with their coverage of Venezuela not so many months ago. 43 people from all sides of the conflict were killed over a couple of months of violent conflict between the opposition, chavismo supporters and state security forces. The coverage was almost 24/7. The pundits were labeling Maduro a dictator and calling for his head. The coverage was oversimplified and made to push the US government’s position that chavismo must go, without any mention of Maduro or the PSUV being elected, or that this should be decided by referendum and not just by protest.

The difference in coverage of the two cases represents a clear example of imperial priorities in the corporate media. The Mexican students are “unworthy victims” for the US corporate media. The students do not fit neatly into a narrative that supports imperialist ambitions. Actually, because the rural teachers college is a “leftist” school, the students are probably considered deviant by much of the US corporate media, and therefore “legitimate” targets of the Mexican state. So, the coverage, as it was of El Salvadorian Archbishop Oscar Romero’s death in the 1980s, is minimal and passive.

Whereas, in contrast, Venezuela became the cause célèbre of every major media outlet, even though there was no execution/kidnapping of civilians by the state in collusion with vicious drug cartels, but instead a drawn-out conflict begun by a very hostile opposition that is part of a decade long campaign to oust the PSUV from power that already had the 2002 coup attempt under its belt.

For the US corporate media the Venezuelan opposition are “worthy victims” whose narrative fits neatly into the framework of US imperial ambitions as it attempts to make Latin America its backyard once more. They are also “worthy” because they are mostly whiter, more middle and upper class and vacation in Miami. This is unlike the normalistas, who are predominantly indigenous campesinos, a group who only gets paternalistic coverage, if any.

So, let us weigh these two cases.

The case in Mexico is blatantly a state crime against its citizens, with local and state authorities having connections to drug cartels and the police and military implicated. It was carried out against peaceful students who had no weapons, although they did commandeer a bus, which is nothing new for them and has never led to physical harm. One of the students was left in the street with a flayed face and eyes gouged out. So far, the Mexican government has said the kidnapped/murdered students harm foreign investment and gave their “sincerest” condolences.

The case in Venezuela was a conflict between competing political groups representing different class and ethnic/racial interests in which people from all sides died over the course of the conflict and all most likely committed crimes. Those protests continued over a couple of months, even though the Venezuelan government was considered to be absolutely authoritarian in handling the protests by the US corporate media. So far, the Venezuelan government had an open dialogue with all opposition members who wanted to talk with them and made policy concessions.

The former is a much more grievous crime than the latter. Also, the government reaction in the former is callous, compared to the reconciliation proffered by the Venezuelan government. Yet the former receives scant, if any, attention, while the latter was unavoidable during its peak. Only so many conclusions can be drawn from this.

So, please, tell me again how objective the media is. Or maybe at another award celebration the pundits from the US corporate media can tell us how principled they are.

Side note:

This is not new; acrobatics are normally done in order to make Enrique Peña Nieto seem as if he is trying to stop the bloodshed. This is scandalous seeing as EPN is implicated in the violent police repression in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico State, Mexico that happened while Peña Nieto was Governor. That repression led to two deaths and 207 incidences of cruel treatment, including 26 cases of sexual assault against women. The Nation Human Rights Commission said that preference was given to force by the government, instead of diplomacy, leading to the human rights violations. The New York Times dedicated one paragraph to the heinous act which doesn’t mention Enrique Peña Nieto even once.

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Maduro Hands Over Land Titles to Indigenous Communities, Creates Institute to Protect Native Languages

By Z.C. Dutka | Venezuelanalysis | October 15, 2014

On Monday, in celebration of the nationally acclaimed Day of Indigenous Resistance, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro established a presidential council for indigenous peoples, handed over collective land titles to 14 original communities, lowered the threshold age for indigenous pensioners, and announced the creation of an institute to protect the country’s 44 native languages.

The South American leader also pledged 5000 new homes for indigenous communities for 2015 through the national housing mission Mision Vivienda, and announced the investment of 575 million bolivars (about $7 million) to address extreme poverty in 396 of those communities.

Aloha Nuñez, the Indigenous Peoples’ Minister, noted that the presidential council was formed as a result of elections held in 2,194 indigenous communities after the idea was discussed in 1,589 countrywide assemblies.

Delia Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the Wayúu community of Zulia state, said that the debates leading up to the creation of the council were conducted with respect, tolerance and spirituality, in the interest of enabling diverse indigenous peoples to make significant contributions to the transition towards socialism.

Nuñez also explained how the language institute is the product of many years’ collective efforts. Of the 44 different original peoples that exist in Venezuela, Nuñez said, 34 speak their language and 10 have lost theirs through lack of use.

“We should immediately found and motivate a team systematically [that can] permanently, scientifically, register, rescue and revive all indigenous languages that exist in Venezuelan territory,” said Maduro from Miraflores presidential palace where Monday’s ceremony was held.

Shortly after, the Venezuelan president announced the incorporation of all indigenous above the age of 50 into the Amor Mayor mission for special elderly pensions. Nationwide, the mission applies to women over 55 and men over 60 who live in family homes maintained by minimum wage workers.

Land titles that encompass six ethnic groups and 14 communities of Anzoategui state were presented to community representatives; 1,891 hectares to the Guatacarito people, 438 to the Cumanagoto, 983 to the Capachal, 3,294 to the Pedregal, 657 to the Guayabal and 1,119 hectares to the Kariñas of Mapiricurito.

From 2011 to 2013 the Committee for the Demarcation of Land and Habitat, of the indigenous ministry, has signed 40 property titles for collective lands, including over 1.8 million hectares of land.

In a similar ceremony in July, Nuñez declared, “Today, the Bolivarian government recognizes the lands that ancestrally belonged to us and have been our home for many years.”

October 16, 2014 Posted by | Environmentalism | , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela Declares Victory over Transnational in Response to Exxon-Mobil Settlement Ruling

By Cory Fischer-Hoffman | Venezuelanalysis | October 10, 2014

Caracas – On Thursday, The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) stated that Venezuela’s compensation payment to Exxon Mobil Corp for the 2007 nationalization of the oil company’s holdings in the country should only be 13% of the amount that the transnational company claimed that it was owed. Venezuelan officials have described the ruling as a victory and a testament to the country’s sovereignty.

In 2007, PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, renegotiated their contract with Exxon Mobil so that less of the profits from oil extraction would leave the country. Following ten years of very profitable oil exploitation by the foreign corporation in Venezuela’s Orinoco region, Exxon Mobil resisted the partial nationalization measures. When two of its refineries were then expropriated, the company brought the case to arbitration, demanding a compensation of USD $20 billion, which they later reduced to $12 billion.

The ICSID ruling on Thursday stated that Venezuela’s payment to Exxon Mobil would be $1.6 billion, an amount far lower than what the company had claimed. Venezuela’s foreign minister, Rafael Ramirez said that this ruling “confirmed that the level of compensation sought had been exorbitant and completely unjustified.”

An Exxon spokesperson said the nationalization was “clearly not a desirable outcome” and he went on to claim that Venezuela “failed to provide fair compensation for expropriated assets.” According to the Wall Street Journal, Exxon Mobil’s sales last year of USD $438 billion are roughly equivalent to Venezuela’s gross domestic product.

While Exxon Mobil has admitted defeat, the Venezuelan government, still owing the oil giant $1.6 billion, has claimed a victory. Ramirez noted in his official statement, “Once again the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its government, institutions and workers have confronted and [have] been able to defeat the aggressions of powerful transnational interests.”

Venezuela still faces pending rulings for other expropriated industries and the much anticipated ruling in the ConocoPhillips expropriation case is expected within the next few months. Ramirez insisted that the government sees these arbitrations as an affront to the country’s sovereignty and that they will continue to fight compensation claims from multinationals.

“We reiterate that Venezuela must be respected, we are committed to defending our independence and sovereignty in all scenarios” Ramirez concluded as he read the government statement following Thursday’s ruling.

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Terrorism and Assassinations in Venezuela

By Maria Paez Victor | CounterPunch | October 8, 2014

Last Friday, the centre of Caracas was filled with thousands of mourning citizens as they accompanied two flag draped coffins loaded with flowers they had cast upon it in homage.

If a Member of Parliament representing the Venezuelan opposition had been brutally tortured and stabbed to death in his own home, the Western press –including Canada’s- would have splashed the news in headlines around the world.

Yet this has just happened to a Member of Parliament from the governing party of Venezuela, but the international press is mostly silent. International politicians have not wrung their hands with indignation or regret, as they have about the lawful incarceration of opposition leader Leopoldo López who publicly and repeatedly incited mobs to violence and caused has at least 47 deaths.

On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, Robert Serra, 27 years old, a lawyer and legislator from the governing party PSUV, the youngest Member of Parliament of Venezuela, and his partner Maria Herrera, were assassinated in their own home in a central area of Caracas. It was an outrageous and deliberate act of terror. Robert Serra and María Herrera were tortured, stabbed and then bled to death. He specialized in criminology, and was engaged in the task of helping to curb crime in the country. María Herrera assisted him in this vital work. Robert Serra came from a poor family; his mother worked as a street hawker to help him go to law school. He was famous for his insightful interventions in parliament and was much beloved, some referred to him as “ a future Chávez”.

Their deaths were carried out systematically. Ernesto Samper, ex-president of Colombia and current president of UNASUR, said: “This crime is evidence of the infiltration of Colombian paramilitary in Venezuela.”

Just a few weeks ago, President Santos of Colombia deported to Venezuela a young man, Lorent Saleh, who had been meeting with paramilitaries in Colombia to conspire against the Venezuelan government. He appears in a video with Alvaro Uribe, ex-president of Colombia, who owes his political career to his connections to Escobar, the head of Colombian narco-traffic, and is accused by the Colombian Senate of being behind the proliferation of the paramilitary there. Saleh stated he was buying arms of war and contracting snipers and explosive experts because “they” were going to carry out selective assassination of 20 leaders of the Venezuelan government in order to bring it down. Then he said who “they” were: leaders of Venezuela’s opposition parties.

In Parliament, days before his assassination, Robert Serra had denounced  -in no uncertain terms- the terrorist plans of Alvaro Uribe and Lorent Saleh.

The Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro has been under relentless and continuous attack since it was elected. It has been submitted to economic sabotage with contraband and withholding of food and goods, a deliberate campaign of false rumors, and three months of street violence to create the appearance of chaos and lack of governability.  These subversive actions were deftly overcome by a government that stuck to the letter of the law, refused to take the bait of meeting violence with violence, and its call for peace included setting up negotiations with the opposition facilitated by ministers of neighboring countries. The Venezuelan people overwhelmingly repudiated the violent opposition tactics, and gave Mr. Maduro’s popularity an even larger boost.

In an attempt to produce “regime change”, violence has been intensified now to include assassinations. This was agreed upon in a meeting at Guadarrama, Spain at the end of June hosted by the Spanish spy agency CNI and the FAES – a think tank of the party Partido Popular of ex-president of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar. The USA’s CIA carries out the financing and training of the CNI, as Edward Snowdon has revealed.[i]

Two Venezuelan opposition leaders, Julio Borges and Ramon Muchacho, who were also behind the street violence, were present, and a video message from Maria Corina Machado was viewed. She could not be present as she is being investigated for her part in the street violence, which she enthusiastically led. Machado, as a standing member of Venezuela’s parliament, ignominiously accepted simultaneously the position of ambassador of Panama in order to address the OAS in 2014. According to the Constitution, she in effect, forfeited her condition of parliamentarian by representing a foreign government – and one, which at that time- was against Venezuela.

Machado, along with Lopez, instigated the street violence that cost so many deaths and millions in damages. Yet, holding  such disdain for the rule of law, she was invited by the Canadian Council for the Americas to speak at the prestigious Canadian law firm of Cassel Brock and Blackwell  last  May. This was a clear example either of Canadian willful ignorance or connivance.

The imperial forces believe Venezuela’s oil is just too rich a prize to leave in the hands of its people. The sterling leadership that the country has shown in promoting the integration of Latin America for the purposes of solving its common social problems and to protect its natural resources is just unacceptable to the greed of multinationals, the United States, and their subservient allies who seem to think the petroleum is theirs to take.

The assassinations of Robert Serra and María Herrera, of Eliézer Otáiz head of Caracas Municipality 5 months ago, the killings during the street riots of last March that were led by paramilitary (not students as the world press stated) and the bombing death of district attorney Danilo Anderson ten years ago, as well as the hundreds of rural leaders that have been assassinated by paramilitary mercenaries hired by the large landowners, have only fed the determination of the Venezuelan people. They know that their Bolivarian government, no matter how besieged and no matter how big the problems, is a government on their side, not on the side of the powerful elites and their foreign owners that have never in Venezuelan history sided with the poor or the nation’s best interest.

As the crowds wound their slow way towards the cemetery where Robert Serra and María Herrera were to be buried, the ubiquitous cry that was heard at every step was: “Justice! Justice! We want justice!”  The Venezuelan authorities dare not ignore this clamor.

María Páez Victor, Ph.D. is a Venezuelan born sociologist living in Canada. 

Notes. 

[i] Carlos Fazio, “Violencia y terrorismo son ejes de la nueva fase de desetabilizacion subversive”, Resumen Latinoamericano, 2 octubre 2014, http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/

October 8, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Correa Denounces US Plans to Intervene in Latin America

teleSUR | September 28, 2014

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa criticized on Saturday a new U.S. government plan to intervene and weaken Latin American governments.

Correa said that Obama’s intention to create six innovation centers for educating new “leaders” in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, and Asia, was clearly intended to interfere with Latin American countries.

“What they want is to intervene in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, because they say we attack freedom of speech; but go and see for yourselves who are the owners of media in United States,” said Correa.

On Tuesday President Barrack Obama said that his government will support civil society in countries where freedom of speech and association are threatened by the governments.

“We’re creating new innovation centers to empower civil society groups around the world,” said Obama during his speech in a plenary session of the Clinton Open Initiative. “Oppressive governments are sharing worst practices to weaken civil society. We’re going to help you share the best practices to stay strong and vibrant.”

President Correa hit back “This is part of the conservative restoration: the insolent announcement of intervention in other countries.” He added “Let us live in peace and respect the sovereignty of our countries.”

Correa also responded that he will propose the creation of an innovation center in the United States to teach the country “something about human rights,” so they might learn about true democracy and freedom of speech, revoke the death penalty and end the blockade on Cuba.

Correa has accused opposition movements in the country of trying to destabilize his government.

September 28, 2014 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama Unleashes Plan to Support ‘Civil Society’ Groups Across the Globe

teleSUR | September 25, 2014

President Barack Obama announced in a speech on Tuesday that the United States would be aggressively funding and supporting “civil society” groups around the globe, calling it a “national security” issue.

“It is precisely because citizens and civil society can be so powerful — their ability to harness technology and connect and mobilize at this moment so unprecedented — that more and more governments are doing everything in their power to silence them,” said Obama at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual conference in New York.

Obama singled out Venezuela for allegedly “vilifying legitimate dissent” and said that Latin America would host one of the six Regional Civil Society Innovation Centers, a new initiative that seeks to create a global network to create cross-border partnerships. Other regions targeted for these new centers include Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

However, U.S. assistance to so-called civil society groups, especially in Latin America, has been marred in controversy, especially with regards to leftist governments.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the U.S. bodies that funds and supports “civil society” organizations abroad, funded Venezuelan opposition groups responsible for the 2002 coup attempt against the democratically-elected former president Hugo Chavez.

In 2009, according to USAID documents obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, the group had also funded local regional governments and municipalities in Bolivia at a time when the government of Evo Morales was dealing with right-wing separatist movements in the eastern part of the country. Morales eventually expelled the agency from the country in 2013, a move followed by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa later that year. Correa announced in November 2013 that USAID is required to leave the country by the end of this month.

“Partnering and protecting civil society groups around the world is now a mission across the U.S. government,” said Obama.

He ordered, via a presidential memorandum, agencies such as USAID, the Department of State, and Homeland Security, to work more regularly with civil society groups across the globe. … Full article

September 25, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

F-16 Missile Attacks Venezuelan Humanitarian Aid Mission in Gaza

TeleSur | August 21, 2014

Venezuelan ambassador to Egypt, Juan Antonio Hernandez, denounced on Wednesday that an Israeli aircraft attacked the Venezuelan humanitarian delegation in Rameh along the border post between Egypt and Palestine. No one was injured during the attack.

The F-16 airplane dropped a missile very close to the humanitarian site but did not explode. The ambassador confirmed that the missile fell approximately 50 to 70 meters from the site.

The Venezuelan humanitarian delegation delivered twelve tons of aid to the Palestinian people.

Hernandez referred to the action as “an act of intimidation, which is not a coincidence and it proves that Tel Aviv is trying to halt humanitarian aid, because right now Venezuela is an important beacon for the Palestinian people”.

El Universal reported that Roni Kaplan, the spokesperson of the Israel Defense Forces, asserted that “there was no attack by the Israeli forces on the Egyptian side of Gaza. The air force has not attacked nor launched sound bombs to any humanitarian convoy on its way to Gaza from Egypt.”

August 21, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela: We will shelter injured and orphaned Palestinian children

MEMO | August 1, 2014

Venezuela has setup orphanages to shelter Palestinian children who have been injured or who have lost their parents in the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, President Nicolás Maduro announced yesterday.

In a fiery speech delivered on the occasion of the end of the General Assembly of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Maduro pointed out that contact has already been made with Palestinian families who would be adopting children.

Maduro said he decided to establish a shelter under the name of the late president Hugo Chavez to host Palestinian children injured in the war, and boys and girls that have become orphans. “We will bring them to Venezuela,” he told a cheering audience.

“We will welcome them with love, and in coordination with the Palestinian government. We will find these little girls and boys Venezuelan parents,” he said.

Maduro called for an end to the Israeli “genocide” against Palestinians.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Chile, El Salvador, Peru Recall Israel Envoys in Protest of Gaza Offensive

Al-Manar | July 30, 2014

Chile, El Salvador and Peru have announced they are recalling their ambassadors in Tel Aviv in consultation to protest the Israeli assault on the besieged strip of Gaza.

The moves come on the heels of Brazil and Ecuador, who announced last week that they were recalling their envoys.

“Given the escalation of Israeli military operations in Gaza, the Government of Chile, in coordination with others in our region, has decided to call in consultation Santiago Ambassador of Chile in Tel Aviv, Jorge Montero,” the Chilean foreign ministry in Santiago said in a statement.

“Chile notes with great concern and dismay that such military operations, which at this stage of development are subject to a collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza do not respect fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.”

The Chilean foreign ministry emphasized the more than 1,000 Palestinians killed, including women and children during Operation Protective Edge, which continued for a 22nd day on Tuesday. The statement also noted Israel’s attacks “on schools and hospitals.”

“The scale and intensity of Israeli operations in Gaza violate the principle of proportionality in the use of force, an essential requirement to justify self-defense,” the statement added, referring to rocket fire by the resistance movements in the coastal territory.

El Salvador Ambassador in the Zionist entity Susana Edith Gun was also recalled for “urgent consultations” on Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry of the Central American country said that El Salvador President Sanchez Ceren gave these instructions “over serious escalation of violence and Israel’s bombings in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.”

A similar statement was also published by the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, condemning Israel’s operation in Gaza.

Venezuela and Bolivia that cut their ties with Tel Aviv over Israel’s 2009 war on Gaza have also strongly condemned Israel’s actions.

Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela were among the 29 countries that voted in favor of a probe by the UN Human Rights Council into Israel’s war crimes in Gaza.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Detained Diplomat Hugo Carvajal Arrives in Venezuela

TeleSUR | July 28, 2014

General Hugo Carvajal arrived Sunday evening in Venezuela after being released from a jail in Aruba, where he had been arbitrarily detained since July 24, and immediately headed to Caracas to be received by President Nicolas Maduro at the Third Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Venezuelan Foreign Relations Minister Elias Jaua received Carvajal and the deputy Minister of Foreign Relations to Europe, Calixto Ortega, at the Maiquetia International Airport, some 18 miles from the capital’s city of Caracas.

Ortega told teleSUR that, “The government of the Netherlands — which recognized that the arrest of the official had been illegal and in violation of international treaties on diplomats — accepted the criteria of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry in regards to the fact that the Major General is a diplomatic official.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he was satisfied with the release of the general consul Hugo Carvajal, who he said was falsely accused of drug trafficking by the United States.

“Hugo Carvajal broke world records by arresting over 75 heads of drug trafficking organizations,” said Maduro during the second day of the Third National Congress of the PSUV. Carvajal was standing next to Maduro in the presence of the 985 delegates of the ruling party participating in the political event.

Maduro said Carvajal was an innocent victim of “lies fabricated” against him by Western media.

Carvajal was released this Sunday evening by the Dutch autorities in Aruba, after they admitted they had illlegaly arrested him on July 24.

Special Correspondent for teleSUR, Madelein Garcia, reported that Carvajal exited the prison in Aruba, accompanied by deputy Minister of Foreign Relations to Europe, Calixto Ortega, and his lawyers.

The government of Netherlands said on Sunday that General Hugo Carvajal would be released. The Venezuelan official was arrested by Aruban authorities in violation of international law, in particular the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The announcement of Carvajal´s release was made on Sunday by Jaua, in the framework of the III National Congress.

​Jaua read a statement sent by the Netherlands to the Venezuelan government, in which it recognized that the arrest occurred “outside international treaties for diplomatic personnel.”

“Comrade Hugo Carvajal at this time is in a prison and probably still does not know this news,” Jaua said. He stressed that the Netherlands rectified and complied with international law.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday rejecting the arrest and said the Venezuelan government will provide all support to Carvajal.

July 28, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

How Have Latin America’s Political Leaders Responded to Israel’s Siege on Gaza?

By Stephan Lefebvre | Center for Economic and Policy research | July 21, 2014

On July 10th, just two days after Israel launched Operation Protective Edge (the largest attack on Gaza in several years) President Obama released a statement in which he “reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself.” With a death toll now over 550, it is important to look beyond U.S. government sources for information and perspective. Foreign policy among the countries in Latin America conforms to the long-standing, overwhelming international consensus that opposes Israeli aggression and occupation, but it also reflects the region’s “second independence.” Over the last 15 years, most countries in Latin America have increased their ability to pursue a foreign policy agenda separate from the goals of the U.S. State Department. In the vast majority of cases, reactions to the latest hostilities are fundamentally at odds with the U.S. position, but they are also varied: many governments directly criticize Israel, using words like “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” to describe recent events; other official statements limit themselves to calling for a ceasefire and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Some of the strongest statements were issued by left-leaning governments in South America, including those of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela. The government of Argentina issued a statement “strongly condemn[ing] that Israel — defying calls by the Security County, by the Secretary General and by the many voices of the international community – has decided to escalate the crisis by launching a ground offensive.” President Evo Morales of Bolivia announced that he had petitioned the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) to consider a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for “crimes against humanity” and “genocide.” (Bolivia broke diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 over Israel’s Operation Cast Lead assault on Gaza.) The statement from Brazil reads in part:[1]

The Brazilian Government vehemently condemns the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, with disproportionate use of force, which resulted in more than 230 Palestinians dead, many of them unarmed civilians and children. It equally condemns the firing of rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel.

The foreign ministry of Chile released a statement that “strongly condemns the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip,” also saying that “The reprehensible kidnappings and deaths of three young Israelis and one young Palestinian cannot serve as an excuse to initiate terrorist actions nor to attack areas densely populated by civilians.” Chile has reportedly suspended trade talks with Israel and is considering withdrawal of its ambassador in Tel Aviv over Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip. The Government of Ecuador released a statement saying that it:

strongly condemns the disproportionate military operations by the Israeli army against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, which have left more than a hundred deaths [sic] and considerable damage to property and civil infrastructure, demands an immediate cessation of these aggressions against the Palestinian civilian population and called [sic] the State of Israel to exercise maximum restraint and act in accordance to international law and humanitarian law.

Uruguay issued a similar statement condemning the military attacks by Israel in the Gaza Strip, which “caused dozens of civilian deaths and injuries, including women and children, in a disproportionate response to the launch of rockets against the Israeli territory on the part of armed Palestinian groups.” The statement also condemns the “repeated [rocket] launchings that put the civilian population in central and southern Israel at risk.” On the whole, this was not positively received by the Israeli ambassador to Uruguay. Finally, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela issued a statement lamenting the murders of three young Israelis, saying it is a case that “demands a full investigation.” He also rejected the attacks by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, saying:

the Bolivarian Government of Venezuelan energetically condemns the unjust, disproportionate and illegal military response of the State of Israel against the historic Palestinian nation and urges its government to immediately end this aggression which goes against international law and against the most elemental sense of respect for life and human dignity.

Clearly the language used by each country varies, but it is interesting to note that Venezuela’s response falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum in terms of condemning the Israeli siege. The Venezuelan foreign ministry issued a separate statement on behalf of the ALBA counties which echoes the Venezuelan government’s statement and reaffirms the ALBA group’s “unconditional solidarity, support and influence for the people of Palestine before this new wave of violence.”

Outside South America, several other countries issued strong responses, including Cuba and El Salvador. Cuba’s foreign ministry condemned Israel for “us[ing] its military and technological superiority to execute a policy of collective punishment with a disproportionate use of force which causes civilian casualties and enormous material damage.” El Salvador issued a statement in which the government “strongly condemns and rejects Israel’s increased armed aggression against the Gaza Strip” which caused the “loss of human lives, hundreds of injuries and the flight of thousands of Palestinians from their homes, besides serious material damage.” Also, the statement explains that the U.N.’s legitimate self-defense clause “does not justify the use of disproportionate military force against another State, much less against its civilian population.”

As an historical aside, the United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and several of the countries that introduced the resolution to the General Assembly were from Latin America, including Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guayana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Colombia stands out, not only in South America but in Latin America as a whole, for condemning the “acts of violence and terrorism” against Israel and its civilian population. They called on both Israel and Palestine to end the confrontations and return to the dialogue and negotiation. Colombia has not supported U.N. membership for Palestine, abstaining during the 2012 vote.

More measured statements were issued by the governments of Costa Rica, Honduras [PDF], Mexico, and Peru. These statements typically called for a ceasefire, a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and condemned both sides equally for the violence. Several countries have not issued official responses, including the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. Panama’s foreign minister did not release a dedicated statement on the recent events, but received the Israeli Ambassador for a meeting to strengthen the bilateral relationship during which time the Panamanian official expressed concern over the rise in violence in the Middle East and expressed support for a peaceful resolution.

These statements clearly show not only that the vast majority of Latin American countries are at odds with U.S. foreign policy, but also that these countries are more and more able to articulate opposing views that challenge U.S. State Department narratives. Back in 2010, CEPR examined the region’s response to Israel’s deadly raid of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and then as now we found that there was a “hemispheric isolation of the U.S. on critical foreign policy issues.” While the era of U.S. supported coups and interference in the region is not over, significant progress has been made to increase national sovereignty and independence in Latin America, and these are changes that reverberate not just throughout the hemisphere, but across the world.

[1] In this blog post, estimates for casualties and other statistics included in official statements are quoted as written in the original versions, not corrected for the latest information available. The latest numbers for the death toll indicate over 550 killed since July 8, 2014.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 756 other followers