Saturday, August 12, 2017

Trump and anti-imperialism

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary” said US President Trump last night. “We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and people are suffering and they’re dying,” he added.

It’s unlikely that Trump’s declarations will be followed by an imminent invasion of Venezuela, but they are sure to boost the anti-imperialist and nationalist rhetoric of the Venezuelan government. The declarations will be presented as part of a “coordinated” hemispheric plan led by the US government, and backed by other “rightist” governments in the region and the local opposition, to put an end to the Bolivarian revolution and its “accomplishments”.

These are the first reactions by several government officials to President Trump’s declarations:

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López told Venezolana de Televisión: “This is an act of craziness, and act of extremism. There is extremist elite now governing the United States.”

Information and Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas, has said that the Venezuelan Foreign Minister will issue and official communique later today. He wrote on Twitter:

Amenaza proferida por Trump une a todos los venezolanos de bien en rechazo a injerencia y en defensa de la Patria

Delcy Rodríguez, President of the newly convened National Constitutive Assembly, wrote:

Rechazamos las cobardes, insolentes e infames amenazas del Pdte de los EEUU contra la sagrada soberanía de Venezuela

Translated by Telesur:

.: We reject the cowardly, insolent, and vile threats from US President against the sacred sovereignty of Ven

Both Rodríguez and Villegas re-twitted this response by Argentinian pro-chavista philosopher Fernando Buen Abad D.:

Nosotros también tenemos muchas "opciones" respecto al imperio y sus gerentes. Si quieren acelerar la lucha de clases nos encontrarán unidos

Abad added this picture:

   

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 6: Hiroshima and Paramacay

On August 6, 1945, in Hiroshima an atomic bomb killed at least 90,000 people, perhaps as many as 146,000. On August 6, 2017, an armed group of at least 18 attacked the military fort of Paramacay in the Venezuelan city of Valencia. After a gun battle that lasted for three hours, two of the attackers were dead and 10 had been detained, according to the government. The rest of the attacker fled after stealing a cache of guns form the fort.

To even suggest a comparison between these two events may seem tasteless to most. Not so to the Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias (AVN) and its main conspiracy theorist-in-residence Hernán Mena Cifuentes (previous mentions of him on this blog can be read here and here.)

Mena Cifuentes’s latest piece From the Hiroshima Genocide to paramilitary terrorism in Paramacay suggests that “There are crimes against humanity, such as the ones perpetrated on August 6 in Hiroshima 72 years ago, and on August 6, 2017, in Paramacay Fort, Valencia, that remain, not only in the collective memory of the people of the countries where they were committed, but also in the whole world, the footprint of the barbaric fascist terrorism on its grim march of violence, destruction and death.”


“Prohibido Olvidar” is the motto with which Mena Cifuentes closes his article.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Smartmatic, conspiracies and conspiracy theories

After Venezuela’s electoral authority the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) announced on June 31 that 8,089,320 people had voted on elections the previous day for the new Constitutive Assembly, the opposition immediately cried foul. Participation levels were important as the opposition refused to participate in the elections. The opposition argued that the participation in the elections had not reached 3 million. But the only evidence that the CNE had conspired with the Executive to inflate the participation numbers were images of empty voting centers, and previous polls that showed that more that 80% of likely voters rejected a new Constitutive Assembly.

Since yesterday the claims by the opposition have suddenly received very strong support from Smartmatic, the e-voting company that has provided technical support in 14 of the last elections in Venezuela, including the June 30 Constitutive Assembly elections. Indeed, Smartmatic was accused by sectors of the opposition in previous elections of not revealing successive “elections frauds” in Venezuela. But now the company seems willing to do just that.
    
In a statement read in London by Smartmatic director Antonio Mugica, and first reported by the BBC, the company said it could not vouch for the results provided by the CNE: “Based on the robustness of our system, we know, without any doubt, that the turn out of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated. It is important to highlight that similar manipulations are made in manual elections in many countries, but because of the lack of electronic security and auditing safeguards, they go unnoticed.” Mugica also said that there was discrepancy of “at least a million votes” between Smartmatic data and what the CNE had reported. 

Also yesterday Girish Gupta, Reuters’ correspondent in Caracas, reported that according to CNE internal data, only 3.7 million people had voted by 5:30. The polls closed at 7:00 and political analyst Jennifer McCoy told Gupta: "Although it's possible to have a late push at the end of the day, and the Socialist Party has tried to do that in the past, to double the vote in the last hour and a half would be without precedent."

And now it is of course the government, and government media, hinting at Smartmatic being part of a broad right-wing imperial conspiracy to discredit the election’s results. The main argument exposed by government media is that Smartmatic is contradicting itself by claiming its systems are robust and that electoral results cannot be changed. However Smartmatic claims that its systems are as robust as ever, but that the CNE ignored the control and auditing safeguards this time around, and simply reported a different result.

The head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, gave a press conference yesterday afternoon. She said that what has been said by Smartmatic amounts to “an opinion by a company whose only role in the electoral process is to provide services and technical support, which do not determine the results. These declarations [by Smartmatic] have been made in the context of a permanent aggression against the CNE.”

“It is not a private company, located outside the country who guarantees the transparency and credibility of Venezuela’s electoral system. Antonio Mugica says the differences between what was announced and what the system provided were a million votes, that is and irresponsible and groundless assertion,” added Lucena.

After Lucena’s press conference, the Mayor of Caracas and top PSUV leader, Jorge Rodríguez, declared that if it were not for “the violent acts of the fascist”, 10 million would have turned out to vote in the elections. Asked by reporters if the PSUV would ask for an audit of the process, he said that chavismo would not “play the oppositions game.”

President Maduro has announced that the newly elected Constitutive Assembly will be stablished this Friday, in the nation’s Capitol, where the National Assembly meets. Maduro called Smartmatic’s director Antonio Mugica “stupid” and said that “this electoral process cannot be tainted by anything because it is transparent.”

Maduro also hinted at possible future solution to Venezuela´s economic troubles: he will summon the members of the Constitutive Assembly elected from the “business sector” to Miraflores presidential palace, where they will meet with him every day and advise him on economic decrees to defeat the “economic unconventional war waged by sectors of the opposition.”

“I would like for you (business sector representatives) to form a powerful economic commission that will go to Miraflores every day to issue permanent economic decrees until we recover that economy of the country,” explained the President.


Here is an image published yesterday by Telesur explaining Smatmatic’s “contradictions”:


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Maduro: Trump could be behind the Plaza Catia attack

During the plebiscite organized by the Venezuelan opposition on July 16, a group of suspected pro-government armed groups attacked one of the voting centers in plaza Catia, Caracas. As a result of the attack one woman died and at least three more people were wounded.

President Maduro has hinted at the possibility that the “US Department of State and Donald Trump” could be behind the attack in Catia. His suspicions are based on the second paragraph of a press release published by the Department of States on July 17, a day after the plebiscite.

“…we condemn the loss of life in Catia, Caracas and deplore the violence. We call on the Venezuelan government to bring the attackers to justice,” says the second paragraph of the statement.

“This is a very delicate and strange paragraph in this statement,” explained Maduro, “we are now investigating the reason for this second paragraph. Donald Trump and the Department of State concerned with Catia? What is this about? (…) What importance could plaza Catia have had for the failed imperialist strategy?”

“How far can a conspiracy go in preparing false flags (falsos positivos) and massacres? How far does the hand of the US embassy reach into the massacre attempts that have been staged in Venezuela in the last one hundred days?” Maduro also asked.


To answer these questions the president has asked Venezuela’s “highest authorities” to mount a full investigation “in order to concentrate our efforts, and to integrate all the institutions, in the task of clearing this strange and unique expression in the second paragraph by the Department of State, naming plaza Catia.”


Emergency Justice: Search and seizure of conspirators

President Maduro has announced a new “Special Plan of Emergency Justice” for the “search and capture conspirators.” The announcement was made during a televised session of the Council for the Defense of the Nation (Codena), which was declared in “permanent sessions” by the government in order to “face the imperial threat” against the country.
The plan, according to Maduro, is the brain child of Maikel Moreno, President of Venezuela’s highest court, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), and will involve several state security agencies, including “military justice, police institutions, the Interior Minister,” and the recently appointed by the TSJ, pro-government vice-attorney general, Katherine Harrinton. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Forty-three symbols written in Hebrew

This video by Telesur’s Madelein Garcia (@madeleintlSUR) surpasses most of what has been reported in this blog. It begins with the revelation that “43 symbols written in Hebrew” have been found painted along the main opposition protests routes in Caracas. An “expert” interviewed by Garcia explains that the symbol roughly mean “I stand here” which, the expert says, is a symbol used by “Masonic”, “Zionist”, and “other US organization to harm governments that work in the service of their people.” Garcia further explains that the places in which the symbols have been found could indicate evacuation routes, meeting places for “terrorist gatherings,” or even an the invasion route to be used by foreign forces.

video

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Helicopter

Things are getting pretty weird, at least according to some opposition supporters. This is being often retwitted:


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CIA linked to helicopter attack


(Updated June 29. Thanks Gabriel Andrade and Trina Coleron for your comments.)

What we know so far of yesterday’s confusing incident is that a group of agents of the CICPC (intelligence police) flew a police helicopter over the buildings of the Venezuela’s Supreme Justice Tribunal and Interior Minister. Several shots were fired at the buildings from the helicopter and at least one grenade was thrown. No injuries were reported.

The helicopter had been commandeered by Oscar Pérez and a group of at least four more officers. Pérez published a video explaining that his aim was to “return power to the democratic people.”

The government is also being accused of conspiracy. Some opposition supporters expressed via social networks their suspicions that the actions could have been staged by the government as an excuse for further militarization and repression. Francisco Toro of Caracas Chronicles hypothesized that the event could be a “false flag” by the government: “(Oscar Perez’s) video looks like a two-bit parody of what an underpaid TeleSUR intern thinks the opposition looks and sounds like,” wrote Toro. However he concluded that he leans more to Pérez being a “random lunatic”.

The government however was quick to alert of an unfolding coup attempt. On early evening, president Maduro said on television that the event had been a “terrorist attack” and that the armed forces would be deployed in full to stop the coup.

The Ministry of Information issued a statement saying that the event was part of “an escalation of a coup against the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its institutions.” Oscar Pérez, says in the statement, “is under investigation for his links with the CIA and the United States Embassy in Caracas, and for his links with an ex-minister of Interior (of Venezuela), who has recently publically confirmed his contacts with the CIA.”

The “ex-minister of Interior” mentioned is Miguel Rodríguez Torres, who said in a news conference that he in fact had had contacts with the CIA as Chavez’s Interior Minister and under his orders. “When I was the director of the intelligence services, president Chávez told me that we should have the best relations with all the other intelligence services of the world, including the CIA,” said Rodríguez Torres.

Here is the transcription made by Telesur of the statement read by Information Minister Ernesto Villegas yesterday (the statement has not yet been published in the MINCI web page):

El Gobierno de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela informa a la ciudadanía en general y a los pueblos hermanos del mundo sobre los ataques armados perpetrados durante la tarde de hoy, martes 27 de junio, contra la sedes del Ministerio para el Poder Popular para las Relaciones Interior, Justicia y Paz, y el Tribunal Supremo de justicia, como parte de una escalada golpista contra la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela y sus instituciones.
Ambos ataques fueron efectuados desde un helicóptero Airbus Volcom, modelo 105, siglas CICPC02, hurtado de la base aérea Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda, en La Carlota, Caracas, por parte de un sujeto de nombre Óscar Alberto Pérez, quien para cometer los atentados se valió de condición de inspector adscrito a la división de transporte aéreo del Cicpc.
El complotado voló la aereonave hasta las inmediaciones del Ministerio para el Poder Popular para las Relaciones Interior, Justicia y Paz, en la avenida Urdaneta, y efectúo alrededor de 15 disparos contra la edificación, mientras se desarrollaba en la terraza de ésta un agasajo a un grupo de comunicadores sociales, con motivo de celebrarse el día de hoy el Día Nacional del Periodista. Para el momento del ataque, se encontraban ahí unas 80 personas.
Posteriormente, el helicóptero fue llevado hasta la sede del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, precisamente mientras se encontraba sesionando allí la Sala Constitucional del Máximo Tribunal, con todo sus magistrados, mientras un grupo de trabajadores permanecían laborando en sus oficinas. Contra estas personas, fueron efectuados disparos y lanzadas al menos cuatro granadas de origen colombiano y de fabricación israelí, de las cuales una no estalló y fue colectada. Dos de estas granadas fueron lanzadas contra los efectivos de la Guardia Nacional Bolivariana que custodiaba el edificio.
Gracias al rápida reacción de los custodios pudo evitarse una tragedia. El autor material de estos hechos está siendo investigado por sus vínculo de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia de los Estados Unidos y la embajada de ese país en Caracas, así como su vínculo con un exministro del Interior, quien recientemente ha confirmado públicamente sus contactos con la CIA.
Para el Gobierno Bolivariano, se tratan de ataques terroristas enmarcados en la ofensiva insurreccional adelantada por factores extremistas de la derecha venezolana, con apoyo de gobiernos y poderes extranjeros.
La Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana y los cuerpos de seguridad del Estado se encuentran desplegados, con el objetivo de capturar al autor de estos hechos y recuperar la aeronave. Se exhorta a quienes puedan aportar elementos que ayuden a dar con su paradero, comunicarse con las autoridades a través del teléfono 911.
Emplaza, el Gobierno Bolivariano a los partidos políticos coaligados en la llamada Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, así como la jerarquía eclesiástica y demás factores de la sociedad venezolana a condenar resueltamente estos hechos y a deslindarse de una vez por toda la violencia.
El Gobierno Bolivariano llama al pueblo venezolano a estar alerta frente a la escalada golpista que pretende alterar el orden constitucional en Venezuela y que ha demostrado carecer de cualquier escrúpulo para el logro de sus ambiciones políticas y económicas.
Ninguno de estos ataques detendrán la activación del proceso popular constituyente, ni impedirá el ejercicio del derecho al voto, por parte del pueblo venezolano, el próximo 30 de julio, para elegir a los miembros de la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente.
El presidente constitucional de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, quien encabezó hoy la entrega de los Premios Nacionales de Periodismo, se encuentra al frente de su equipo gobierno dirigiendo las acciones, para asegurar la seguridad y la tranquilidad del pueblo venezolano.
Hoy más que nunca están vigentes las palabras del comandante Chávez: Unidad, lucha, batalla y victoria.

Caracas, 27 de junio del año 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Deaths during manifestations could be part of a conspiracy

“The Bolivarian National Police and the Bolivarian National Guard have done a heroic effort to act without firearms,” president Maduro told international correspondents yesterday at the presidential palace.

When asked by the BBC correspondent in Caracas, Daniel García (@danigmarco), about the case of Fabian Urbina, fatally shot by a National Guard during protests in Caracas in July 19, Maduro said that in any such cases the agents responsible for the shootings have been detained by authorities, “the second such incidents happen.”

But also, Maduro added, “I have ordered an investigation to find out if there is a conspiracy [behind those cases], so that the People may know. I can’t be fooled compadre, nobody can think that if I have clearly given orders not to use firearms, and if there are the contention mechanisms in place of gas and pellet guns, somebody could take a picture of himself holding a firearm. Don’t you think that’s strange?” asked Maduro.

“Photographers, photographers everywhere. How many photographers do you find in an opposition protests? Sometimes more than the protesters themselves. So I have ordered an investigation, because there is too much money behind all this compadre, to many dollars,” explained the president.