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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Violent Protests Break Out in Venezuela as US Plane Reportedly Violates Country’s Airspace

US Tax Dollars At Work?
[Ed. note – You don’t suppose the US State Department and USAID might be behind some of this, do you? Nah, perish the thought. ]
Venezuela Opposition Calls for Coup, Protests Turn Violent
Opposition protesters hit the streets of Caracas and other cities across Venezuela—and in some cases attacked police—as part of a national day of action Wednesday to demand that electoral authorities speed up the process of scheduling a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.
Thousands of demonstrators in Caracas gathered on the central Plaza Venezuela with plans to march a few blocks to the nearby National Electoral Council (CNE). Anti-government protesters, who waged a similar protest a week ago, are putting pressure on authorities to move quickly to validate signatures submitted last week to fulfill requirements for a recall referendum.
Some of the protesters have attacked police officers, who are safeguarding the nearby of the Electoral Council. Caracas Mayor Jorge Rodriguez said protesters also destroyed a library and doused police with gasoline.
If the recall vote takes place after Jan. 10, 2017, marking four years into Maduro’s six-year term, the country’s top office would be automatically handed over to Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz until the next scheduled election in 2019.
Opponents of Maduro have accused electoral authorities of stalling after they handed in a list of 1.85 million signatures on May 2 in favor of a recall referendum. Maduro said on Tuesday that the recall referendum is “not viable” due to allegedly false signatures on the petition.
If the recall vote takes place after Jan. 10, 2017, marking four years into Maduro’s six-year term, the country’s top office would be automatically handed over to Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz until the next scheduled election in 2019.
Opponents of Maduro have accused electoral authorities of stalling after they handed in a list of 1.85 million signatures on May 2 in favor of a recall referendum. Maduro said on Tuesday that the recall referendum is “not viable” due to allegedly false signatures on the petition.
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Venezuela President Slams US ‘Double’ Incursion Into National Airspace
Caracas, May 18th 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has hit out at “mounting aggressions” against his government after it was confirmed that a US plane had twice violated Venezuelan airspace.
The US Boeing 707 E-3 Sentry is reported to have illegally entered Venezuela’s national airspace on May 11th at 6.09am, as well as on May 13th at 6.03 am.
Both incursions were detected by Venezuela’s Bolivarian airforce and have sparked rumours that the US might be conducting covert spying operations over Venezuela.
“This plane has all the mechanisms to carry out electronic espionage,” stated Maduro on his television programme Tuesday.
According to US Airforce information, the Boeing 707 E-3 Sentry provides an accurate, real-time picture of the battlespace to the Joint Air Operations Center, and possesses a powerful radar to “detect, identify and track enemy and friendly low-flying aircraft”.
The double incursion comes as rightwing politicians at home and abroad step up their demands for military intervention against Maduro’s government.
Last Thursday, a former Colombian president made headlines after publicly enquiring which “democratic country is willing to put its armed forces at the service of the protection of the Venezuelan opposition?”
Likewise, rightwing “Justice First” politician and former Venezuelan presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, yesterday encouraged Venezuelan troops to form a mutiny against the national government.
“Prepare the tanks and war planes,” said the politician
“The hour of truth is coming to decide whether you are with the constitution or with Maduro,” he added.
A frenzy of international media reports over the last two weeks have painted an apocalyptic vision of the struggling South American country, citing a lack of access to basic food and medicine, skyrocketing inflation and devaluation of the national currency.
“I can say today that we are victims of the worst media, political and diplomatic aggression that our country has lived through in the past ten years,” stated Maduro.
The head of state has confirmed that his government will deliver an official complaint on the airspace incursions to US authorities.
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Regime Change in Latin America: Why Russia is Concerned?
A Russian diplomatic call to outlaw the US-sponsored policy of “regime change” is timelier than ever following recent events in Latin America.
The developments there are now routinely described as ‘institutional’ coups d’état, with popular presidents removed from power and replaced by neoliberal functionaries, enjoying almost unhidden support of the US government and American financial capital.
“What we see in the world now is an attempt by the so-called historic West to preserve its dominance in international affairs,”Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at a conference on Latin American development, held in Moscow.“Latin America is not an exception to this global trend. We see attempts by the United States to interfere directly into the internal affairs of some countries in the region… Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela are just the most recent examples.”
Last week, Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff was removed from power by a very unpopular group of senators, despite having the votes of 54 million citizens, who expressed their will a year and a half ago. Rousseff was removed because of accusations of corruption. However, even the mainstream media in the United States did not consider these accusations to be well founded.
The New York Times, on the eve of Rousseff’s ousting, called accusations against her“debatable” and added that “Ms. Rousseff is right to question the motives and moral authority of the politicians who were seeking to oust her.”
In 2014-2015, a similar campaign of personal attacks and ‘character assassination’ took place in Argentina against that country’s leftist president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
In both cases, the US-preferred candidates somehow managed to get to power posing as the only viable alternatives to the ousted women leaders.
In Brazil, the former vice-president Michel Temer took the reins of power without elections. Mr. Temer, whose popularity in Brazil is in single digits, has already started what RT’s expert on Latin America Juan Manuel Karg called a“realignment” of Brazil’s foreign policy. That “realignment” is supposed “to move Brazil closer to the United States and to the EU with or without Mercosur” (a bloc integrating the markets and economies of Latin American countries).
It is worth noting that the foreign policy program of Temer’s party PMDB from 2015 does not even mention BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – an important bloc of countries which Brazil played an important role in founding in 2009,” Juan Manuel Karg writes on RT’s Spanish page.
PMDB, which stands for the Party of Brazilian Democratic Movement, is a loose union of centrist and rightist forces, which never took more votes than Ms. Rousseff’s Workers’ Party. Temer himself has a disapproval rating of 58 percent in Brazil.
New Argentinian President Mauricio Macri also did not seem to be keen on following Fernandez de Kirchner’s policy of discovering new horizons for Argentina in China and Russia. During her tenure between 2007 and 2015, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner several times met with Russian presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, allowed RT Spanish to be included in the set of TV channels accessible for Argentina’s broadest television public, and expanded trade ties with Russia. This policy so far has not been continued under Macri.
In Venezuela, the situation is even clearer: the US makes no secret of its support for the“anti-chavista” opposition to President Nicolas Maduro, the successor to leftist leader Hugo Chavez, who gave his name to “chavizmo,” an ideology combining oil sales to the US with spending the proceeds from these sales on social development.
The American media gives full support to anti-chavista opposition, despite its role in violent street protests, which have claimed the lives of several dozen people.“The US policy of support for violent protests is inexcusable, since Venezuela is not a dictatorship. The country has many anti-Maduro media outlets, people have been given a chance to elect the majority of President Maduro’s critics into parliament,” explains Andres Izarra, a cabinet minister in Mr. Maduro’s cabinet in 2014. “The Venezuelan government suggested dialogue with the government of the United States, we wanted a compromise. But Washington simply has no policy towards Latin America except the so-called regime change.”
But why is Russia concerned with US pressure on Latin American countries? Seemingly, Moscow’s economic interests are not focused on that region. The share of Latin American countries in Russia’s foreign trade, with the notable exception of Venezuela, remains relatively small; it is still dwarfed by Russia’s trade with the EU or with China.
But the point is that in recent years it became absolutely clear to Russian diplomats that the policy of “regime change” in Latin America, Syria, Ukraine and – last, but not least – Russia itself, is conducted by the same people in Washington D.C. and in Brussels, and the same technology is being used for the purpose. Therefore, the events in faraway Brazil may have a direct impact on the developments in Russia.
“Attempts to “seat out” US-led color revolutions in other countries are simply not wise,”says Joshua Tartakovsky, a US-based foreign policy analyst, who recently visited both Venezuela and Ukraine. “Sooner or later, the American enthusiasts of regime change plan to go after all the regimes which even potentially can challenge American domination. First, they will do it in the Western hemisphere, but it won’t take long before they come to Russia, China and India too. The only way to survive for BRICS is to come together and act together – before it is too late.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, unlike the official representatives of India and China, openly says that he sees the West’s attempting to bring about a“regime change”in his country. In Latin America, only the Venezuelan foreign minister has similar courage to face the facts, while the others prefer the Tartakovsky-described tactic of“seating out” the storms of Washington-inspired revolutions.
“I listened to the Western leaders who announced economic sanctions against Russia,”Lavrov said at a meeting with foreign policy experts in autumn 2014. He referred to the aftermath of the US-sponsored Ukrainian coup in 2014, which ousted the centrist Ukrainian President Yanukovich and led to a civil war.
“These Western leaders openly said that sanctions should be applied in a way that would cripple Russia’s economy and lead to popular protests. So, the West is sending us a message: we don’t even want to change the policy of the Russian Federation; we want to change the Russian Federation’s regime. In fact they are not even denying that desire of theirs.”
How far will Russia go in its support for independence of Latin American countries? Who and how can shield them from the policy of “regime change” conducted by their powerful northern neighbor? Obviously, Lavrov is not under the illusion Russian can guarantee such independence alone. At the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations in autumn 2014, the Russian foreign minister suggested making a special UN declaration on the inadmissibility of the policy of“regime change”and on “non-recognition of coups as methods of changing state power.”
At the time, the Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff did not openly support Lavrov’s suggestion, even though she was present at that UN General Assembly. Earlier, in 2013, she even made an indignant speech at the United Nations about the NSA’s eavesdropping of Brazil’s representatives at the UN and even on the office of the president of Brazil.
Rousseff might regret not seizing the opportunity to act against “regime change”then. Now it appears to be too late – for her and, most likely, for Brazil.

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