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View Diary: A reality check about the Venezuela uprising (557 comments)

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  •  Another reality check from the Real News Network (17+ / 0-)
    US Backing the Destabilization of Venezuela

    Venezuela has certainly been in the news lately, with massive protests and pro-government and opposition protests rocking the country. At least five people have been killed.

    But can Americans really trust their media to give them an accurate description/representation of what's happening there?
    ...
    BHATT: Well, that's a crucial point. You know, by portraying the Chávez government, and then the Maduro government, as essentially paranoid and inventing these kinds of grandiose delusions of constantly being under threat, what it really does is it obfuscates the very clear role of the United States. So in 2002, as you know, the U.S. backed a coup that overthrew the Chávez government, which was democratically elected, for two days. And, you know, one of the coup perpetrators, a vice admiral in the Venezuelan Navy who was the defense minister under the coup government, Héctor Ramírez Pérez, he said, basically, that fortunately we have an important weapon, which is the media, and that the Venezuelan people saw neither the Army nor the Navy fire a single shot; our arms were actually, our weapons were actually the media.

    And so there's a very long history of the Venezuelan government--a democratically elected government which received even a greater mandate in the regional and municipal elections, which the Chávez coalition won by a nine-point margin--they've been facing an opposition that knows, unlike many other countries around Latin America, that they can count on U.S. support, both tacit and overt, if and when they decide to move beyond the electoral arena to try to effect change through extra-electoral means.

    And that's what's taking place here. If you look at the leadership of Leopoldo López, who was the cofounder of Primero Justicia, you know, over the past decade, he's received training and support by the International Republican Institute. He was a direct National Endowment for Democracy grantee. They've received, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars, these opposition groups. Marína Corina Machado, you know, who's the president of SUMATE, another opposition party, she--you know, SUMATE also received an NED grant, you know, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars after the coup.

    So, you know, while there's no indication that the United States is active in this particular effort, in which the opposition is clearly attempting to force a democratically elected government to withdraw and to actually--to resign, you have many, many indicators of a constant, ongoing, you know, U.S. support through financing, through providing training, and by incentivizing these kinds of behaviors with their immediate acceptance of the coup government of Pedro Carmona in 2002. You know, WikiLeaks actually produced a document, a 2006 cable, which talked about--you know, which was signed by the U.S. ambassador and described a number of positions, which included "Penetrating Chavez' Political Base," "Dividing Chavismo", protecting U.S. vital interests, and "Isolating Chavez Internationally." And I'm basically saying this almost verbatim. So the fact that this government may believe that there's a conspiracy against it on the part of the United States government is not very outlandish at all.


    More at The Real News
    •  i always have a problem (10+ / 0-)

      when people misuse the word "deconstruct"...

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:37:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly what is your problem with the word? (10+ / 0-)
        deconstruct - verb

        to identify and examine the basic elements or parts of (something) especially for discovering interrelationships

        Synonyms anatomize, assay, break down, cut, deconstruct, dissect

        Related Words assess, diagnose, evaluate, examine, inspect, investigate, scrutinize; arrange, assort, catalog (or catalogue), categorize, classify, codify, diagram, enumerate, index, order, schematize, sort, tabulate; divide, reduce, segment, separate, subdivide

        Do you also have a problem with Keane Bhatt?

        More to the point of this diary:

        The Hypocrisy of Human Rights Watch
        Friday, 07 February 2014
        By Keane Bhatt, NACLA

        Over more than a decade, the rise of the left in Latin American governance has led to remarkable advances in poverty alleviation, regional integration, and a reassertion of sovereignty and independence. The United States has been antagonistic toward the new left governments, and has concurrently pursued a bellicose foreign policy, in many cases blithely dismissive of international law.

        So why has Human Rights Watch (HRW)—despite proclaiming itself “one of the world’s leading independent organizations” on human rights—so consistently paralleled U.S. positions and policies? This affinity for the U.S. government agenda is not limited to Latin America. In the summer of 2013, for example, when the prospect of a unilateral U.S. missile strike on Syria—a clear violation of the UN Charter—loomed large, HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth speculated as to whether a simply “symbolic” bombing would be sufficient. “If Obama decides to strike Syria, will he settle for symbolism or do something that will help protect civilians?” he asked on Twitter. Executive director of MIT’s Center for International Studies John Tirman swiftly denounced the tweet as “possibly the most ignorant and irresponsible statement ever by a major human-rights advocate.”1  

        •  that's an oblivious simplification (8+ / 0-)

          of what derrida was doing. and typical of its modern usage. which is the problem i have with it.

          and yeah- human rights watch, amnesty, reporters without borders, the eff- all just tools of the deep state.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:04:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nonsense. (9+ / 0-)
            just tools of the deep state.
            Did you even bother to read Keane Bhatt's report:
            http://truth-out.org/...

            HRW’s accommodation to U.S. policy has also extended to renditions—the illegal practice of kidnapping and transporting suspects around the planet to be interrogated and often tortured in allied countries. In early 2009, when it was reported that the newly elected Obama administration was leaving this program intact, HRW’s then Washington advocacy director Tom Malinowski argued that “under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place” for renditions, and encouraged patience: “they want to design a system that doesn’t result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured,” he said, “but designing that system is going to take some time.”2
            ...
            After all, HRW’s Malinowski will be directly subordinate to Secretary of State John Kerry, who conveyed the U.S. attitude toward Latin America in a way that only an administrator of a superpower could. In an April 17, 2013 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, a member of Congress asked Kerry whether the United States should prioritize “the entire region as opposed to just focusing on one country, since they seem to be trying to work together closer than ever before.” Kerry reassured him of the administration’s global vision. “Look,” he said. “The Western Hemisphere is our backyard. It is critical to us.”19

    •  The U.S. media is pathetic (5+ / 0-)

      And that's being charitable to them.  It assumes they're not churning out talking points from self-interested intelligence sources.

      For instance, how many have heard any of this about Ukraine:

      "Nor is this the past, this is the present. The most popular political party by far in Lviv (reportedly taking over 50% of the vote there), Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil is Svoboda, a party who have made Nazi-idolatry a central part of their platform -

      - Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, member of Svoboda’s Lviv City Council, maintains a blog called nachtigal88, the nachtigall a reference to the Nazi battalion formed in Ukraine, with the 88 a binary version of “Heil Hitler”. Mykhalchyshyn references Goebbels repeatedly as a hero, and has himself stated of Svoboda: “We are against diversity. Ukraine is for Ukrainians.”"

      http://grahamwphillips.com/...

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:39:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like the concluding line. (6+ / 0-)

      It simply has nothing to do with the head line.

      The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

      by Inland on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 07:53:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Read it again (9+ / 0-)

        "US Backing the Destabilization of Venezuela" is directly related to "So the fact that this government may believe that there's a conspiracy against it on the part of the United States government is not very outlandish at all."

        You do understand what a conspiracy is don't you?

        con·spir·a·cy [kuhn-spir-uh-see]
        noun, plural con·spir·a·cies.
        1. the act of conspiring.

        2. an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.

        3. a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose: He joined the conspiracy to overthrow the government.

        4. Law. an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.

        5. any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.

        •  "Belief is not outlandish" (5+ / 0-)

          Is a long way from saying it is correct.

          The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

          by Inland on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:03:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is that the best you can come up with to dismiss (7+ / 0-)

            this report? Just semantics?

            Ridiculing the Venezuelan government's belief that the US has been fomenting opposition to it is a common theme of the US MSM and many right here in DKos.

            •  There's no report. (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Miggles, Yoshimi, sweatyb, doroma, Aquarius40

              There's just a headline and stuff from 2006 and earlier that doesn't support the headline.  

              The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

              by Inland on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:34:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are attempting to take the report out of (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cybrestrike, quill, BigAlinWashSt, felix19

                context to invalidate it. Read the Full Episode here:

                http://therealnews.com/...

                There's just a headline and stuff from 2006 and earlier that doesn't support the headline.
                Are you trying to imply the Obama administration is not supporting the opposition in Venezuela? That this intervention stopped with Bush?
                National Endowment for Democracy Annual Report
                Grant descriptions - Venezuela 2012
                The US has pumped tens of millions into the country directed to the opposition movement. The annual budget of the US Embassy jumped 9 million to 24 million and there isn't even an Ambassador there.

                Has Obama recognized Maduro yet? Will he listen to the very influential and vocal Brookings Institute calling for the removal of the duly elected Venezuelan government?

                •  So now you have a DIFFERENT link? (0+ / 0-)

                  Are we done with the first?  

                  The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

                  by Inland on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:23:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Did you even watch the link I originally gave? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cybrestrike, BigAlinWashSt, felix19

                    That NED link backs up exactly what Bhatt was discussing in the original link.

                    It appears YOU are also trying to obfuscate the "very clear role of the United States" in the intervention in Venezuelan politics.

                    BHATT: Well, that's a crucial point. You know, by portraying the Chávez government, and then the Maduro government, as essentially paranoid and inventing these kinds of grandiose delusions of constantly being under threat, what it really does is it obfuscates the very clear role of the United States.
                    ...
                    And that's what's taking place here. If you look at the leadership of Leopoldo López, who was the cofounder of Primero Justicia, you know, over the past decade, he's received training and support by the International Republican Institute. He was a direct National Endowment for Democracy grantee. They've received, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars, these opposition groups. Marína Corina Machado, you know, who's the president of SUMATE, another opposition party, she--you know, SUMATE also received an NED grant, you know, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars after the coup.
      •  "there's no indication" (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inland, Matt Z, Yoshimi, maryabein, Riff
        while there's no indication that the United States is active in this particular effort
        That's one hell of a caveat.
    •  How bad is the NED, really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      newinfluence

      We're talking about a liberal organization that promotes democracy around the world by conducting community organizing training and workshops on how to run financially clean political campaigns.  It seems like a really good alternative to the "hard power" of US intervention of the CIA or the military, doesn't it?  

      Most people in Latin America, left or right, do not view receiving an NED grant as something to criticize.  Chavez, Maduro, (and now Correa of Ecuador) have begun to take the NED to task because they fear exactly what NED does -- good, old fashioned community organizing training for private citizen activists of all kinds regardless of political affiliation -- after seeing what such training did to their allies in Libya Tunis, and Syria.  It is not because the NED actually does the CIA's dirty work, as you seem to be implying.  

      Or how should American citizens be involved in international discourse regarding rights and governance principles that are important to us with our friends and partners in other countries?

      I mean, the longtime executive director of the organization was also previously the executive director of Social-Democratic of America during the Carter Administration, the President who carried the water for starting the NED, although it would be Reagan who eventually got it going.  It seems quite unfair and less than honest to portray the NED as some kind of instrument of the CIA or US military intervention.  Rather, it seems instead to be exactly what we here at dkos would want out political discourse abroad to be -- promoting democracy through improving the voluntary political participation of citizens in their own countries instead of through military or special operations interventions.

      •  Do you know the history of NED or who the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        felix19

        members are/were?

        Most people in Latin America, left or right, do not view receiving an NED grant as something to criticize.
        Care to back that statement up with a link?
        It is not because the NED actually does the CIA's dirty work, as you seem to be implying.
        Trojan Horse: The National Endowment for Democracy

        How many Americans could identify the National Endowment for Democracy? An organization which often does exactly the opposite of what its name implies. The NED was set up in the early 1980s under President Reagan in the wake of all the negative revelations about the CIA in the second half of the 1970s. The latter was a remarkable period. Spurred by Watergate-the Church Committee of the Senate, the Pike Committee of the House and the Rockefeller Commission, created by the president, were all busy investigating the CIA. Seemingly every other day there was a new headline about the discovery of some awful thing, even criminal conduct, the CIA had been mixed up in for years. The Agency was getting an exceedingly bad name, and it was causing the powers-that-be much embarrassment.
        ...
        The NED, like the CIA before it, calls what it does supporting democracy. The governments and movements whom the NED targets call it destabilization.

        I mean, the longtime executive director of the organization was also previously the executive director of Social-Democratic of America during the Carter Administration
        You've done a pretty good whitewash.
        BERSIH : A Foreign-Funded Movement for a Foreign-Serving Agenda
        ...
        NED, NDI, IRI, & Freedom House are run by warmongering imperialists

        We begin our thorough examination of these organizations with a look at the board of directors of NED, which funds NDI and who, judging by their supposed mission to support “freedom around the world,” should be filled with Nobel Peace Prize laureates, accomplished diplomats, and definitive examples of democracy in action.
        ...
        We then consider several of the certified warmongers serving upon NED’s board of directors including Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, Will Marshall, and Vin Weber, all signatories of the pro-war, pro-corporate, utterly insane Project for a New American Century.

        Within the pages of documents produced by this “think tank” are pleas to various US presidents to pursue war against sovereign nations, the increase of troops in nations already occupied by US forces, and what equates to a call for American global hegemony in a Hitlerian 90 page document titled “Rebuilding Americas Defenses.”

        As we will see, this warmongering think tank serves as a nexus around which fellow disingenuous “rights advocate” Freedom House also gravitates.

        The “Statement of Principles,” signed off by NED chairmen Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Vin Weber, states, “we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.”

        Of course by “international order” they mean meddling beyond the sovereign borders of the United States and is merely used as a euphemism for global imperialism. Other Neo-Con degenerates that signed their name to this statement include Freedom House’s Paula Dobriansky, Dan Quayle (formally), and Donald Rumsfeld (formally), along with Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Eliot Cohen, and Elliot Abrams.

        Or how should American citizens be involved in international discourse regarding rights and governance principles that are important to us with our friends and partners in other countries?
        Stay the fuck out and stop intervening. The US is supportive of democracy and freedom only in so far as it would align with it's geo-strategic agenda.

        The cold war was about capitalism versus communism. The NED was at the forefront of this conflict. This war continues unabated. Just change "communism" to socialism.

        National Endowment for Democracy of US
        The post-Watergate enquiries into the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US exposed details of its covert political activities in other countries in order to promote US foreign policy objectives. Amongst such activities were the secret funding of individuals, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) favourable to US interests and funneling of money to counter the activities of those considered anti-US.
        ...
        NED Executive Memorandum No.461:
        "The NED advances American national interests by promoting the development of stable democracies friendly to the US in strategically important parts of the world.
        ...
        The NED is a cost-effective way to encourage captive nations to liberate themselves without committing the US to a prohibitively risky and costly military crusade to free them from communism."
        •  Sorry, but I choose to "intervene" then, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Riff

          if that's your ridiculously broad definition of intervention.

          What you are advocating is that the US, and US citizens, refrain from non-violent political engagement outside of US borders.  Sorry, but we don't prevent anyone else from engaging with us as such within the US, and we must also retain both the right and the duty to engage with others as members of the global community as well.  

          You seem to interpret everything written about or by the NED as some kind of tool for Empire, when it really is just discourse engagement -- exactly what we should be doing instead of military operations and other dirty deeds.  Grow up.

          •  What gives the US the right to intervene in (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            felix19

            sovereign nations?

            What you are advocating is that the US, and US citizens, refrain from non-violent political engagement outside of US borders.
            You come across as a member of the Heritage Foundation

            What Is America’s Role in the World?

            Grow up.
            The ad hominem attack does not add credence to your argument.
            •  Heritage Foundation?? (0+ / 0-)

              Talk about an ad hominem attack!

              Political discourse is not intervention. Military attacks, spying, actively support coups against elected governments is what is generally considered intervention. Political discourse need not be limited to government-to-government communications, either. In a legitimate democracy, political discourse includes discourse of dissent and is not limited to particular nationalities.  

              The US puts no effective limits on whom may protest or contest US policy-making.  There are only limits on foreign participation, financial or voting, in actual election contests.  (And even these are relatively recent.)   Every day in the US there are hundreds of groups supported by foreign funding, many of whom engage in formal lobbying as well, organizing protests of one kind or another on the National Mall.

              Just as citizens and governments all over the world have every right to contest power with US policymakers by engaging in lawful, non-violent political discourse and dissent within the US, American citizens (some of whom are also Venezuelan citizens by birth) have every right to engage in political discourse within Venezuela or any other country.  

              Discourse is not intervention, and peaceful protest and dissent are generally considered to fall under the heading of discourse.  Whatever else the NED may be, its activities in the political arena are clearly limited to indirectly supporting political discourse. That's a good thing, isn't it?

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