Monthly Archives: March 2019

How to enable business where money is scarce

How to enable business where money is scarce

What poor people lack, more than intelligence, knowledge or skills, is money, i.e., a way to pay and be paid. Social entrepreneur Will Ruddick tells the story of how community currencies in Africa are enabling the poor to produce, sell, and buy.


Advertisements

The Siege of Venezuela–What are the facts, and who’s to blame?

In 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (HRC) sent its former Secretary, Alfred de Zayas to Venezuela to investigate the situation there. De Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, a leading expert in the field of human rights and international law.

John Bolton, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo (L to R)

In August of 2018, de Zayas presented his Venezuela report to the HRC but it was greeted with a shocking silence. The only mainstream media outlet that I am aware of that has covered the UN report is the Independent (UK), in an article titled, Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens, published on January 26, 2019. I have not seen any similar coverage it in the United States, and I myself learned about the report almost by accident. Amidst the deafening drumbeat for regime change, one must wonder why such an official investigation has been ignored.

Despite this neglect by the mainstream media, several recorded interviews of De Zayas have made their way onto the Worldwide Web. In this video interview, the UN Investigator and human rights rapporteur gives a summary of his findings. De Zayas says that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, but“The government … through an external economic war is being asphyxiated.” He asserts that “the financial blockade has had extremely adverse human rights impact” and it has been the intention of the United States “to create a situation whereby the people or the military would topple the government…and then the one percent could again come in and again control the wealth of Venezuela.”

Among the facts that he presents are these:

  • The Venezuelan oil company Citgo has not been allowed to take it revenues, amounting to 9 or 10 billion dollars, out of the United States.
  • In July 2017 Citibank decided, without prior notice, to close the accounts of the Central Bank of Venezuela,
  • And again, in November 2017, Citibank blocked the transfer[of funds] for a shipment of more than 300,000 doses of insulin.
  • Also, in November 2017, “the company Euroclear, retained $1.65 billion that the government of Venezuela had paid for the purchase of food and medicine.

These and numerous other blocks of payment for essential medicines, he argues, are responsible for increased rates of child and maternal mortality, and increased deaths due to lack of insulin and anti-retroviral drugs.

National security advisor, John Bolton has arrogantly admitted on air to Fox Business host Trish Regan that the [Trump] administration had the goal of putting U.S. companies in charge of Venezuela’s oil production. See it on former Congressman Ron Paul’s Liberty Report.
The most recent developments in this matter have included new financial sanctions, the attempt to declare the Maduro presidency illegitimate and to impose a hand-picked puppet, and an attempt to provoke an incident by sending so-called “aid” to the border with Columbia. As Mr. De Zayas, puts it, “Juan Guaido is riding on the Trojan horse of the United States.”

We should be grateful to Mr. De Zayas for courageously reporting the truth of the matter in Venezuela. It is distressing to me to see such broad support by Western and Latin American governments for regime change in Venezuela based on trumped-up charges. Such blatant imperial overreach should have the US populace up in arms, especially after the obvious falsehoods that have been put forth to overthrow governments in places like Iraq, Libya, and others countries across the middle-east and North Africa, and the attempted overthrow of the Assad government in Syria. Truly, the world order today has all the hallmarks of a fascist super-state.

You can find Mr. de Zayas’ official report at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/239/29/PDF/G1823929.pdf?OpenElement. I have excerpted the Conclusions and Recommendations from the report and you canfind them here. You might also want to visit Alfred de Zayas’ Human Rights Corner.
______________________________________

Venezuela addendum
Here are some additional excerpts and links to articles about the current situation regarding Venezuela.

Another Failed Coup in Venezuela?
George Ciccariello-Maher dissects the failing US-backed coup in Venezuela.
From Venezuelanalysis

Underestimating the People
We’ve seen this all before: On April 11 of 2002, the Venezuelan opposition—according to the most credible accounts—unleashed snipers on its own supporters and used the ensuing deaths to justify a coup against Hugo Chávez. But the opposition dramatically overplayed its hand and underestimated the Chavista grassroots, who it routinely smeared as the blind followers of a populist strongman. When coup leaders abolished all branches of government and scrapped the constitution, hundreds of thousands of poor Venezuelans poured into the streets demanding, and eventually forcing, Chávez’s return to power.

Much has changed since 2002. A perfect storm of Chávez’s death, collapsing global oil prices, a mismanaged system of currency controls, ferocious aggression from the opposition and—more recently—U.S. sanctions, has thrown the Venezuelan economy into a tailspin. Many of the impressive accomplishments of the Bolivarian Revolution—in health care, education and poverty reduction—have quickly evaporated, producing frustration, confusion and desperation among even Chavismo’s most hardline supporters.

Read the rest of the article here
_________________________________

Hands off Venezuela
By Pat Hynes,
From Traprock Center for Peace and Justice

Hope and US Aid at the Border, the title of a recent New York Times video, deodorizes the US attempt to overthrow President Maduro of socialist Venezuela and replace him with a hand-picked member of the Venezuelan elite, capitalist class.

As the major media presents it, the US is altruistically rushing to feed a people in economic crisis. And, of course, our government knows what is best for the Venezuelan people (just as we did for Afghani, Iraqi and Vietnamese peoples). Yet, photos of mass rallies reveal that millions of darker-skinned – indigenous and mixed-race Venezuelans, of poorer classes support their elected president, while smaller numbers of white descendants of early Spanish colonizers back the US-selected and designated new president, a legislator named Juan Guiado. Our troops and aid anywhere near Venezuela smell like regime change.


The enlightenment of another Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, Kevin Tillman, pierces the benighted world of Washington. “As one of the soldiers who illegally invaded Iraq…I know an illegal coup/invasion when I see one…if Venezuelans believe their president (their president) PMaduro has mismanaged the nation’s most valuable asset [oil], it is their right to seek change, but this is not a right enjoyed by Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi or Elliot Abrams.”

Please read the full article.
_________________________________

Financial Imperialism: the Case of Venezuela
by Jack Rasmus
From Counterpunch

The US Neocon-led strategy is increasingly clear: establish a ‘beach-head’ on the Colombian-Venezuelan (and Venezuelan-Brazilian) border under the guise of providing humanitarian aid. Use the aid to get Venezuelans on the border to welcome the US proxy forces to cross over. Set up political and military structures thereafter just inside the Venezuelan borders with Colombia and Brazil, from which to launch further similar efforts deeper into Venezuela.  Repeat this province by province, step by step, penetrating Venezuela space until enough local units of the Venezuelan military change sides and convince one or more of the Venezuelan military hierarchy to join them. Establish a dual state and government within and along the border of the Venezuelan state this way. A breakaway State and dual power within the country. Make it appear, by manipulating the media, that the Venezuelan people are rising up against the Maduro government, when in fact it is US proxy forces invading and using opportunist local politicians, military, and others in the ‘conquered’ zones, as the media covers for their invasion.

Read the full article.
_________________________________

Can Venezuela and its neighbours survive the coming war?
by Thierry Meyssan
From Voltairenet

Thierry Meyssan is a French journalist, author and political consultant. He is founder of the Voltaire Network (1994) and has written numerous articles about the geopolitical power struggle.
In this article, Meyssan argues that:

If my analysis is correct – and for the moment, everything seems to confirm it – we have to prepare for a war not only in Venezuela, but throughout the Caribbean Basin. Nicaragua and Haïti are already destabilised.

This war will be imposed from the exterior. Its aim will no longer be to overthrow leftist governments for the profit of right wing parties, even if appearances will at first be confusing. The logic of events will make no distinction between one side or another. Little by little, the whole society will be threatened, without the distinction of ideology or social class. Identically, it will become impossible for other states in the region to shelter from the storm. Even those who believe that they can protect themselves by serving as a rear base for military operations will be partially destroyed. For example, even though the Press hardly ever mentioned it, entire cities were wiped out in the region of Qatif, in Saudi Arabia, even though this country was Washington’s main ally in the « Greater Middle East ».

You can read the entire article here.
_________________________________

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela
A Case of News-Suppression All Across the Mainstream Media
From NotSee America

By Eric Zuesse Introduction This news-report is being submitted to all US and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the UN General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public. Read the full article here.
_______________________________________

Feel free to provide additional pertinent links, and your comments, by entering them in the Leave a Reply box below.

# # #