Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

U.S-Cuba Relations and the Long Road to Nowhere. “Regime Change is on the Table”

March 18, 2015

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Will Obama’s Cuba Initiative Lead to Peace and Prosperity or an Orchestrated Coup?

By Timothy Alexander Guzman

The much anticipated U.S-Cuba talks continues this week as Reuters reported “Cuba and the United States meet for talks on restoring diplomatic relations on Monday, seeking more progress toward an agreement while not allowing differences over Venezuela to impede their historic rapprochement.” The meeting will be held in Havana between Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson and the Cuban foreign ministry’s chief of U.S. affairs Josefina Vidal that will continue into mid-week.

Excuse me for being pessimistic, but all of the talk about “normalizing relations” between the U.S. and Cuba will be a major disappointment for those who were rather more optimistic about the Obama administration’s new approach to the Cuban government.

In the end, it will be business as usual for Washington. The Obama administration’s announcement to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba last December is about regaining a foothold on the island-nation. The U.S. wants Cuba to change its political and economic structure for its own interests, therefore regime change is on the table.

These new diplomatic overtures to the Cuban government in the last two-years of the Obama’s Presidency seems like an attempt to undermine Cuban President Raul Castro. Many of Obama’s supporters still hope that he can fulfill his remaining campaign promise to restore ties between the U.S. and Cuba. At this point in time, Obama has nothing to prove. His true colors are out in public. People around the World see Obama’s foreign policies similar or even worst than his predecessor George W. Bush. Obama has two-years left. He is not up for reelection, so for Obama the gloves are off.

Obama seeks a new war powers bill from congress so that he can declare war against ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Middle East. It would also allow Obama to authorize the U.S. military and its intelligence agencies to implement regime change or military action against governments he deems necessary. Secretary of State John Kerry had previously said that the War Powers bill Obama was seeking “will provide a clear and powerful signal to the American people, to our allies and to our enemies” according to USA Today. Reuters noted that the Obama administration declared that Venezuela is a “national security threat” in a statement by White House spokesman Josh Earnest who said that

“Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems.”

Venezuela is a threat to U.S. national security?

Let me get try to get this straight. The U. S. has the largest and most expensive military in the world armed with nuclear weapons, drones and high-tech surveillance capabilities with bases and CIA black sites in more than 130 countries and still has Puerto Rico, the last remaining “colony” in Latin America under its “sphere of influence.” So who is the threat? Cuba will offer its “unconditional support” to the Maduro government making talks with the U.S. more difficult.

The Obama administration knows very well that Venezuela and Cuba are staunch allies. It is a well-calculated effort to destabilize Venezuela’s economy. They want to replace President Nicolas Maduro with someone that would cater to U.S. interests. If President Maduro is removed from power and replaced with a pro-US president, it would only mean that Cuba and every other Latin American nation who oppose U.S. hegemony on the continent would be targeted for regime change or even a military intervention.

Washington’s has several conditions for the diplomatic relations to work. and so does Cuba. Cuba wants to be taken off the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. Reuters noted one of the conditions set forth by Washington in a report last month ‘Exclusive: U.S. pressing Cuba to restore diplomatic ties before April – officials’ and said:

To finalize Cuba’s removal, Obama would need to submit to Congress a report stating Havana had not supported terrorism-related activities for six months, and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support terrorism in the future. Cuba would be automatically dropped from the list 45 days later.

This demand seems like Cuba would be admitting to the world that they are guilty of terrorism. But Let’s look at the terror networks Washington has historically supported straight out of Florida in an effort to destabilize the Cuban government. Cuba experienced various terrorist attacks since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion which has been orchestrated by the CIA, for example in 1997; an Italian tourist was killed due to a terrorist attack on Cuban hotels committed by Anti-Castro groups.

According to numerous reports, the terrorist attack was traced back to Miami, Florida where Luis Posada Carriles, a Bay of Pigs veteran who worked for the CIA, financed criminals from El Salvador to carry out the attack. The story does not end there. Mr. Carriles had been held for the Cubana airliner bombing in 1976 in a Venezuelan prison which killed more than 73 people with help from Jorge Mas Canosa, a Miami businessman who was the head of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF). In 1977, Posada and Freddy Lugo (a Posada affiliate involved in the bombing) escaped from prison.

Posada fled Venezuela to El Salvador, where he organized terrorist attacks against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua to support the Contras under U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Oliver North. Posada also worked with another known terrorist from Miami named Orlando Bosch, an associate working for the CIA but was convicted in the US for his involvement in a bomb attack on a Cuba-bound freighter. Both worked in Venezuela to coordinate terrorist attacks against Cuba. However, Bosch himself was considered a “mastermind” of the Cubana airline bombing and was responsible for more than thirty acts of terrorism according to FBI records. Bosch was granted a presidential pardon in 1989 by the George H.W. Bush which was influenced by Republican and Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and South Florida Cuban-American leaders.

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Washington wants a U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba wants Guantanamo Bay Returned

One of the other demands put forward by Washington is for Cuba to open a six-story U.S. embassy in Havana. Reuters also reported that “Converting the six-story U.S. interests sections in Havana into a full-fledged embassy after 53 years would require ending restrictions on the number of U.S. personnel in Havana, limits on diplomats’ movements and appointing an ambassador. It would allow the U.S. to renovate the building and have U.S. security posted around the building, replacing Cuban police.” I could just imagine the type of operations that would be carried out at the embassy to destabilize Cuba. Cuba has its own demands as BBC News reported earlier this year that Raul Castro wants the U.S. to return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba to begin a normalization process which will lead to better relations for both countries. The article titled ‘Castro demands Guantanamo Bay in return for US-Cuba diplomatic deal’ and said:

His brother Raul, who succeeded him as president in 2008, made his demands at the summit of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Costa Rica. “The reestablishment of diplomatic relations is the start of a process of normalising bilateral relations,” he said. “But this will not be possible while the blockade still exists, while they don’t give back the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base.” The land on which the base stands was leased to the US government in 1903 by Cuba’s then-rulers.

Both demands will be difficult to achieve. The U.S. wants a military presence in Cuba with Guantanamo Bay as a post and a six-story embassy in Havana with its “unrestricted” personnel that will travel freely throughout Cuba. What agencies would operate in the U.S. embassy? Will it be the CIA, USAID, DHS or even the FBI? Or maybe newly funded terrorists straight out of the Middle East who look like Latinos? That is a tough task to swallow for the Cuban government especially after their experiences with the U.S. behind the terrorist attacks that occurred in their territory over the last five decades. It will take a very long time to build trust between both nations before any of these demands are met.

U.S-Cuba Diplomatic Relations R.I.P. 2016

There is distrust between both nations. Does Cuba trust Washington? I don’t think so. The Cuban government and the people are not oblivious to the fact that the U.S. government’s numerous attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, the CIA backed ‘Bay of Pigs invasion’ or the economic embargo despite Obama’s promise to end it, is a part of history that is hard to forget. Obama’s offer to end the embargo comes with tough conditions. Cuba is extremely cautious with U.S. foreign intervention policies which is now directed towards Venezuela. The decline of oil prices clearly orchestrated by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. was to weaken the economies of both Venezuela and Russia who do rely on high oil prices.

Russian President Vladimir Putin once said that “we all see the lowering of oil prices. There’s lots of talk about what’s causing it. Could it be an agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to punish Iran and affect the economies of Russia and Venezuela? It could.” It makes all the sense now for the U.S. to aggressively use sanctions against Venezuela.

Cuba still receives its largest oil imports from Venezuela. I can assure you that if Maduro is overthrown and replaced with a new pro-US figure, the oil contracts will dramatically change or would even come to a stop and that would most likely have a devastating effect on the Cuban economy.

The U.S. would hope that it will strangle the Cuban economy to the point where the people would get angry at the Castro government causing civil unrest. The Cuban people have endured a lot of pain and struggle since the revolution began and I believe that they will overcome any hurdle that comes their way. But I do not see a breakthrough for Cuba or the U.S. despite the fact that legitimate Cuban and American businesses, farmers and the tourism industry would benefit each other. But the U.S. wants Cuba to become a corporate haven filled with fast food companies, GMO foods and casino’s filled with prostitutes run by organized crime and corrupt politicians similar to the Batista era before 1959.

Demands from both the U.S. and Cuba will not be met by the end of Obama’s term. If a Jeb Bush, or a Hillary Clinton or any other future candidate who is “selected” (Yes, I meant “selected” not “elected”) for the Presidency because he or she would most likely be hawkish on foreign policy. Most of the candidates for 2016 Presidential elections are war mongers whether Democrat or Republican including Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Any candidate who becomes president would be bad for U.S-Cuba relations.

Either way, all I see is a long and dangerous road that will lead to nowhere. The obvious is that Obama is more aggressive in his foreign policy by calling out Venezuela as a threat to U.S. national security. It is a sign that the Obama administration’s last two years in office will create more instability and war. Venezuela is sure on the list for regime change, once again. If that happens, Cuba will prepare its military and intelligence apparatus to repel any attempt by the U.S. to destabilize its country.

The talk about U.S-Cuba relations warming up will get cold pretty fast, because it is just talk. If Obama was serious about closing Guantanamo Bay’s torture chamber, he would use his executive powers (which he constantly uses for domestic purposes) to immediately shut down the facility, but he won’t, nor will the next President. Its time to face the possibility that the new U.S-Cuba talks will fail until trust is rebuilt between the two nations and that is something that is extremely hard for the Cuban government to do. Who can blame them?

http://silentcrownews.com/wordpress/?p=3982,

On Purpose of Cuba and international cooperation (II)

September 19, 2014

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By José Luis Rodríguez

The Venezuela initiative to consider as tradable goods which are included in the Cuban collaboration, not only represented a remarkable show of solidarity with the efforts had made by the Cuban Government in helping other people, but that allowed that the island began to raise revenue that took the balance of the total trade balance in deficit to surplus there after which enabled to make sustainable that policy and expand it.

Other nations such as Ecuador and South Africa would also proceed to compensate the medical services provided by Cuba on the basis of their economic possibilities.

The most recent case that took this modality has been Brazil, where the Government of Dilma Rouseff decided to undertake a year ago the operation “More doctors”, with a view to expand services to the most disadvantaged regions in the North and North-East of the territory, taking into account that the density of physicians per capita was only 1.8 per 1000.

15 460 health professionals, of whom were hired originally 3 891 Brazilian physicians, which finally fell to 938, demonstrating the need to go to others abroad, mainly from Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and Cuba were needed for this operation.

So far, Cuba has provided this operation 11 456 physicians through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which cover more than two thousand people in 26 Brazilian States, thus providing assistance that covers 74.1% of the lawsuit filed with its services.

As has happened with the presence of Cuban doctors in Venezuela and other Latin American countries, now also unleashed an intense media campaign against the Cuban specialists, who stands accused of displacing their counterparts in those countries. It is thus hide other realities, not by hidden less objective and often also painful.

First, the Cubans go there where there are no medical services. In very poor countries the absence of health personnel is almost absolute, but where there is – as the case of Venezuela or Brazil – many physicians are not hired to work in the public service and much less they go to regions where most they need them. Unfortunately, rather than receive a commensurate income according to their social contribution, the logic of competition in a market economy drives to go there where there is more money and not where most society requires it.

Secondly, if the Governments of the nations who hire doctors from other countries decide to capture personal competing with the highly profitable private medicine, they would have to face unsustainable expenditure for the public budget. Enough to recall that, according to studies carried out in Latin America, the expense of a patient assisted by private medicine in Brazil, based on the health insurance system, amounts as average to 606 dollars per year, while in Venezuela a basic medicine consultation can cost the equivalent of $127.

Certainly these are not the bases of calculation of Cuban cooperation programs, which are not governed by the price of the international market for these services, nor for the costs of training of highly qualified personnel.

What is meant to hide is that if today Cuba receives revenues reaching billions of dollars it is not related to prices imposed, but by the presence of 362 64 specialists in 191 countries, many of them free of charge.

Thirdly, the Cuban cooperation with other peoples is not the result of individual efforts, but should be understood as a policy advocated by the Cuban State for more than 50 years, and which relies on the use of resources that enter the country not only for the personal enjoyment of those who create the wealth, but on the needs of the whole society.

This does not exclude that insofar as the Cuban society can better recognize the efforts of its workers does not increase personal incomes of these. The wage increase recently approved this year for medical personnel, together with a greater involvement in income in currencies that generated while they remain on the outside, offers a clear testimony of this policy.

Cuba has developed a partnership with other peoples based on providing services of high quality and low cost, compensating for part of the expenses in the same measure in which revenues do not come into conflict with the principles of the deepest solidarity.

The essential motivation that has led to thousands of our doctors and teachers to work voluntarily away from their family and in very difficult conditions, saving lives or teaching from thousands miles their homeland, is the conviction that there is nothing more important to life and dignity of the human being. The value of these principles does not have a monetary expression.
– See more at: http://www.cubacontemporanea.com/en/news/purpose-cuba-and-international-cooperation-ii#sthash.BWT2B669.dpuf,

OBAMA’S ARROGANT INTERFERENCE IN VENEZUELA AND RESISTANCE BY A PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY

February 22, 2014

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by Arnold August

On February 19, 2014, at a Press Conference by President Obama, President Peña Nieto (Mexico), and Prime Minister Harper (Canada), in Toluca, Mexico, Obama stated:

“In Venezuela, rather than trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States, the government ought to focus on addressing the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people. So, along with the Organization of American States, we call on the Venezuelan government to release protestors that it’s detained and engage in real dialogue. And all parties have an obligation to work together to restrain violence and restore calm.” http://www.whitehouse.gov

How can Obama say that the accusations against U.S. diplomats for interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela are false? The above three-sentence statement exclusively on Venezuela uttered by the U.S. president consists in itself as an arrogant attempt to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs. The “legitimate grievances” of the Venezuelan people were addressed by the Bolivarian Revolution in numerous ballot box contests since December, 1998. These electoral gains precisely target the U.S.-dominated economic and political system existing from 1958 to 1998. The voting includes the April 14, 2013 presidential election won by Nicolás Maduro and which the U.S. refuses to recognize; by negating the results recognized by the whole continent, Obama had planted the seeds of the current violence carried out by the pro-U.S. elements in the country. The candidates of the Bolivarian Revolution’s Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela. (PSUV) also won the majority of municipalities, mayoralties and the popular vote in the December 8, 2013 municipal elections.

Furthermore, who is Obama to declare that the U.S. – dominated Organization of American States (OAS) is the reference point for Venezuela, while the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is not considered? The latter excludes two of the three countries represented at the above-cited press conference in Mexico, that is Canada and the U.S. This is so precisely because of their historical role in the south as gendarmes and plunderers of natural resources. Moreover, by what right does the U.S. define the vandals and their leader Leopoldo López as “protesters” and representatives of the “Venezuelan people,” as if they have no history of U.S.-driven violent coup attempts against the Hugo Chávez and then the Maduro legitimate governments? Does Venezuela not have the right to arrest and put on trial individuals who have been responsible for the violence? Obama urges “all parties” to “restrain violence.” He thus places the perpetrators of violence on the same footing as those who are trying to calm the situation, restore order and protect public and private property from the vandals. Furthermore, by calling for “real dialogue” he thus condemns the government for failing to consider grievances while painting a picture of the “protesters” as innocent victims of the Maduro government. However, despite the provocations, Maduro was and is calling for dialogue with the opponents. http://venezuelanalysis.com

This “opposition promotion” is part of the U.S. plan to create a pretext for a coup d’état in that oil-rich country. The role of the media in turning truth on its head and thus invent excuses for intervention in Venezuelan is pointed out in a timely article by Professor Steve Ellner (who since 1977 has taught at the Universidad de Oriente in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela). https://www.greenleft.org.au Despite the combined forces of the oligarchy’s international and local Venezuelan media, as well as the U.S.-financed and inspired democracy promotion groups, the first battle was won by Venezuela’s participatory democracy. On February 18 the Bolivarian Revolution, let by its government and Nicolás Maduro, displayed a show of force. A massive demonstration was held by mainly oil-industry workers in Caracas. This sector has been the source of forces to overthrow the legitimate constitutional regime and open up a path for the re-colonisation of Venezuela. This demonstration temporarily put the pro-U.S. forces in Venezuela on the defensive. It is only when the people are empowered and are effectively part of political power could this victory have taken place. These successful inroads into the pro-U.S. imperialist camp can come about because of Venezuela’s new experiments in participatory democracy under way since Hugo Chávez won the election in December 1998. Thus, on April 19, the day after the “Chavista” counter-offensive, the situation was relatively calm.

However, to counter the April 18th victory and the ensuing relative order prevailing on April 19, it was no accident that Obama came to the rescue. The above quoted February 19, 7:25 PM Obama statement encouraged Washington’s allies in Venezuela to restart their violent activities in Venezuela and create a climate of chaos. Thus, the next day, on February 20, violent incidents erupted once again, inflamed by Washington’s support, in various parts of Venezuela. On-the-spot reporting by Venezuelanalysis testifies to the nature of the violent opposition protests and the growing desire at the grass roots to take the streets back from the proponents of violent regime change. http://venezuelanalysis.com, http://venezuelanalysis.com

Thus Obama’s statement in Mexico on February 19 confirms what I wrote on February 17, 2014: Washington and the Obama administration are directly responsible for encouraging the fascist groups and opposition leaders in Venezuela. http://www.democracycuba.com

The international media including the liberal CNN played their usual role. http://www.cnn.com However, it is very refreshing to hear Maduro telling the CNN that if it does not cease its “war propaganda”, it “will have to leave Venezuela.” http://www.telesurtv.net

The U.S. and their Venezuelan media allies are blaming the Venezuelan government for the violence in that country, while it is supposedly the “pro-democracy” groups that are causing it. The U.S. expansionist goals toward Latin America and the Caribbean go all the way back to 1778 during the War of Independence. U.S. mainstream political parties, now known as Republicans and Democrats, have always been involved in direct and indirect military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean; in fact the Democrats actually scored better than their Republican with more – not less – military interventions. http://www.democracyintheus.com

In order to increase the U.S. policy of domination over the southern part of the hemisphere, much of which has been in revolt against U.S. control, a new face was needed for U.S. ambitions; this new image was necessary in order to close the international and domestic credibility gap created by the Bush years. This is the role of Obama; his image of “change” was, and is, consciously promoted by Obama himself and the Chicago marketing specialists. http://www.democracyintheus.com

Obama’s arrogant interference in Venezuela constitutes the latest example from among the long list of U.S. presidents who adopt and actively sponsor the original seventeenth century evangelical notion: the U.S is a chosen people, the beacon on the hill for the world to look toward for salvation. Herein lays the pompous nature of Obama which can only be smashed in Venezuela through the channels of participatory democracy fashioned by the Bolivarian Revolution. One must also add that the solidarity of other countries and peoples especially in Latin American and the Caribbean, but also the world, is a key ingredient.

Where heads of state, nations, academics and social activists stand on Venezuela is the litmus test of being progressive. Some academics and their associations in the U.S. and elsewhere are starting to stir. Among the academic circles, Ellner points out that “political scientist and Venezuelan specialist David Smilde of the University of Georgia, who is not pro-Chavista but rather even-handed in his analyses, has stated that the Venezuelan government has nothing to gain by the violence.” http://venezuelanalysis.com It is desirable that other academics and intellectuals do not follow into the Obama trap of “opposing violence” by “all parties.” It is preferable that these circles take a stand against the amply-documented media war (to which all academic circles have easy access) and U.S. intrusion. Tipping the balance in favour of allowing the Maduro government to settle the issues, without outside interference by the Obama administration, will help restore order and respect for constitutional legality in Venezuela.

http://www.democracycuba.com/Obama_Interference_Venezuela_Resistance_By_Participatory_Democracy.html,


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