There is a reason why the socialist government of Venezuela is (and has been) in the crosshairs of the international neo-liberal cartel. What Chavismo has been able to accomplish in Venezuela if allowed to stand, it would represent one of the most serious ideological challenges to the U.S.-led international Neo-liberal agenda.
That is why the U.S. is currently engaged in a clandestine destabilization campaign against the Venezuelan government, in collaboration with Venezuelan oligarchs and right wing extremists. And that also explains the almost-comical (but not funny) massive propaganda campaign we're being subjected to here in the U.S., when it comes to the current situation in Venezuela.
To illustrate how grotesque and woefully transparent the U.S. propaganda against the Venezuelan government is, I'll use two recent examples.
Here's the pablum published by The New York Times today: "Response From Latin American Leaders on Venezuelan Unrest Is Muted."
The United States may finance civil society groups in the region, but it would be a stretch to attribute last year’s huge street protests in Brazil, the indigenous protests in Bolivia or the police uprising in Ecuador in recent years to American “imperial interests.”I read that article (written by Damien Cave) a couple of times just to make sure I soaked in all its manifest (and historical) mendacity and shallowness. The authors' conflating the protests in Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador with the situation in Venezuela (for some reason) reminds me of the type of strawman logic I often see displayed by pro-establishment trolls here, but I digress.
~ SNIP ~
Other countries that have benefited from Venezuela’s “petro-politics” — with favorable energy deals doled out across Central America and the Caribbean — have been silent or have backed Mr. Maduro. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, a close ally who is allowed to buy Venezuelan oil on favorable terms, has spoken publicly several times to support Mr. Maduro and to accuse the United States of trying to destabilize Venezuela.
It's interesting that the author's title points to a "muted" response by Latin American leaders to the current unrest in Venezuela, while attributing actual responses (i.e., Bolivian president Evo Morales) to "petro-politics."
Another propaganda hit piece can be found at The San Francisco Chronicle: "Venezuelan violence has roots in obscure incident."
The violent protests that have roiled Venezuela's major cities and challenged its socialist government have their roots in a little-known incident on a college campus in a city far from the capital.Those are the first three paragraphs of the article... Hopefully the banality and absurdity of the "analysis" provided by the writer, AP's Vivian Sequera, is obvious enough to the reader that I won't have to elaborate any further.
Just over a week before the Feb. 12 opposition rallies across Venezuela, students at the University of the Andes in San Cristobal in the border state of Tachira were protesting an attempted rape of a young woman on campus.
The students were outraged at the brazen assault on their campus, which underscored long-standing complaints about deteriorating security under President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.
Now, after that painful example of outright propaganda, let's examine information provided by people who are really interested in providing accurate information. Let's start with excellent analysis by Jerome Roo of Roar Magazine: "Venezuela: it’s the opposition that’s anti-democratic."
[ ] The protests in Venezuela are orchestrated by the right-wing oligarchy. Let’s get the facts straight: plenty of Venezuelans are taking to the streets with legitimate grievances about violent crime, high inflation and food shortages — and there is no doubt that the Venezuelan riot police are indeed behaving violently towards many of these protesters. All police brutality should be roundly condemned. The people of Venezuela should be allowed to freely express their indignation in public without fear of repression. But it bears emphasizing in this respect that at least two of the protesters’ main grievances have been deliberately escalated by the oligarchic elite itself: through extensive hoarding and smuggling of consumer products (giving rise to shortages and fueling price inflation) and massive speculation on the foreign currency market (pushing down the Bolívar and feeding into further inflation). This is precisely the type of economic warfare that the US-backed Chilean opposition drew upon prior to the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973.He goes on to report about the tens of millions of dollars U.S. right wing organizations ($45 million) and the Obama administration (earmarked $5 million) have provided to the opposition in financial support, "not to mention the secret ties that undoubtedly exists between the opposition and the US intelligence community. "
Moreover, even though the protests initially began as a student mobilization on Venezuela’s national Youth Day (February 12), they have in the past week become effectively subsumed under the leadership of the most right-wing section of the opposition alliance, Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), led by Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo López. As the firebrand leaders of the most anti-democratic faction of the oligarchic elite, López and Machado have been actively calling for the overthrow of Nicolas Maduro’s democratically-elected government and have urged the continuation of violent protest until he resigns. In the last 15 years, these people have shown themselves to be intent on restoring their class privilege at any costs, even if it requires casualties among the general population. They are deliberately fueling violence and social unrest in order to delegitimize and oust the government.
But the most important part of his report, when it comes to why Venezuela is seen as a threat by the corporate-controlled U.S. government, is this:
[ ] The democratic credentials of Maduro’s government are not in question. The US-backed opposition, which is now openly calling for Maduro’s salida (exit) considers his government “illegitimate”. This is absurd, because even judging by the limited standards of liberal constitutionalism, the democratic legitimacy of Maduro’s administration is unsurpassed. In 15 years, the United Socialist Party has won 18 elections and lost only one. Venezuela’s electoral system has been described by former US President Jimmy Carter — who has observed elections in 92 different countries on all continents — as “the best system in the world.” Just two months ago, in December 2013, the government won 76% of all local municipalities in midterm elections and decisively defeated the opposition, led by the “moderate” Henrique Capriles, by more than 10 percentage points. Much more than this, the government has been actively working together with grassroots movements to create one of the world’s most vibrant experiments in direct and participatory democracy, giving rise to thousands of communal councils, hundreds of communes and tens of thousands of worker-run cooperatives. In no other country in the world is citizen participation in politics and the economy as actively stimulated by the state as it is in Venezuela.Now, before I go on to make my final point, let me acknowledge that perhaps Maduro's government is making a number of mistakes as he deals with the crises, and that I don't condone the violent suppression of peaceful protesters.
But here's the thing... When it comes to direct participatory democracy, communal councils, and worker-run cooperatives, if those institutions are allowed to flourish in such large numbers in a country like Venezuela, their success would represent a clear threat to the system of neo-feudal control the international neo-liberal cartel have put in place during the last several decades.
And I'm not talking about far-away lands. I'm talking about right here in the "homeland." As the brutality and exploitation caused by the wholesale takeover of our institutions by corporate cartels increases, more and more people are beginning to look for alternatives, for ways of getting the corporate fascist boots off their necks.
And as people begin to look for alternative systems, they are realizing that communal councils and workers-run cooperatives may meet their expectations (and needs). A good source of information about this topic is democracy at work:
There has been no greater example of Worker Self-Directed Enterprise than in the Basque region of Spain. In a small town still reeling from the Spanish Civil War, Catholic priest José María Arizmendiarrieta introduced collective cooperative enterprises. These have grown, multiplied, and integrated themselves (now 85,000 members strong) into the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation.
Cooperative movements, big and small, have contributed to a modern society in which collectivity is involved in everyday life. From the industrial giant Mondragon to the microfinance organization Grameen Bank, to the local credit union or grocery cooperative, hundreds of millions of people choose to collaborate collectively and cooperatively with one another. From national legislation to grassroots organizing, the local has become global to the extent that the United Nations declared 2012 to be the Year of the Cooperative. If history serves as any guide to the present Economic Crisis, global capital will do what it can to assuage the minimum of working class concerns while preserving the larger capitalist structure. As Mondragon and Argentine factories and Chicago’s New Era Windows have shown, capitalism’s recurring crises provoke workers to remember, revive, and rebuild alternative, non-capitalist enterprises. Now more than ever, the opportunity exists for a major step forward for Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises as a creative, positive alternative to capitalism’s failures and those of governments to prevent or overcome capitalism’s latest deep crisis. Democracy at Work aims to help achieve that forward step.
The other day I had a long conversation with a worker-owner of a business here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was actually on site watching the entire operation, how they interacted with customers... I was very impressed with not only the quality and professionalism they demonstrated, but with how much they believed in the worker-owned cooperative concept. And with their sense of activism when it came to their interest in encouraging other people to do the same.
Again, when it comes to the current neo-feudal system we're living under, enforced by the mind-numbing effects of corporate state media conglomerate propaganda and an increasingly oppressive security surveillance state, collectivism (and democratic socialism) could very well provide the pathway to freedom and democracy.
And that's why, both, supra-national corporations (and their puppets in government), and the Venezuelan oligarchy have the Venezuelan socialist experiment in their crosshairs--and because of the oil, of course.
Given the (reported) widespread popular support of the current government in Venezuela, and most importantly, the widespread expansion of communal councils and (tens of thousands of) workers-owned cooperatives, I don't think the Venezuelan oligarchs and the U.S.-led clandestine operations against Chavismo are going to succeed.
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Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues. Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people. They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies. A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption." Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll. Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them. [Image credit: Jacob Bøtter from Copenhagen, Denmark]