Monday, May 23, 2016

Counterpunch Magazine and Jeff Blankfort give voice to pro US coup propaganda against Venezuela.

If you Google my name with Venezuela you'll find that I've been critical of the Chavista government going back for years, but I've always maintained an opposition to United States intervention and I've defended the good and progressive things they've done.

It's beyond argument that Venezuela is in a state of collapse and that the government is responsible in major part for the misery of the Venezuelan people and the loss of the positive advances towards ending poverty that Venezuela made between 1999 and 2013. However there appears to be a campaign underway to make a pro US reversion to the old regime that the Chavista political revolution had ousted from power acceptable to progressives outside of Venezuela. Hand in hand with this campaign is a campaign to humiliate, discredit, intimidate and neutralize non Venezuelans who supported or defended the Chavez movement.

At bottom the campaign aims to identify socialism with the Venezuelan catastrophe and discredit socialism for another generation.  I don't know if Jeff Blankfort and Counterpunch magazine understand that in pushingPEDRO LANGE-CHURION forward this is what they're doing.

Lange-Churion has very valid criticisms of the Chavista movement and government. I've put several of the same criticisms out myself. The problem is in the possible alternatives and next steps. This is where he is doing harm and Counterpunch along with Jeff Blankfort have helped him so far.

Revolutions are messy. They are said  to even eat their children.  It's also been said that revolutions aren't tea parties. So, any revolution is marked with error, even crimes. They should be avoided unless they are necessary. By the 1990's one was necessary in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez and a group of soldiers around him picked up the challenge.

The Venezuelan revolution never was complete. It didn't smash the capitalist state. It didn't dispossess the Venezuelan one percenters. It booted them from political office, and instituted reforms based on the money pouring in from Venezuela's oil sales. It also turns out that it allowed Venezuela to try to challenge United States policies and hegemony. This was Chavez ' cardinal sin. He lobbied to revive OPEC and had some responsibility for the recovery of oil prices. He threw a lifeline to revolutionary Cuba. He set out to build a parallel organization to the Organization of American States that wold exclude the USA. (UNASUR). He strove to build a trade bloc in an effort to break the economic headlock the United States holds in Latin America. He invited Russian forces to visit and dock in Venezuela and moved to have China, not the US, be Venezuela 's first trading partner. He kicked the corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration out of Venezuela  ( they have the run of neighboring Colombia which is where the cocaine comes from and where cocaine production continues to increase.) He took the Venezuelan Embassy out of Tel-Aviv and sent the Israeli Embassy packing. He defied sanctions against Iran. He refused to accept a United States ambassador who had publicly insulted the Venezuelan armed forces. PEDRO LANGE-CHURION calls these "antics" that enamored the international left.

Fast forwarding, Chavez died (or perhaps was murdered). Before he died Chavez named Nicolas Maduro to take his place. Oil prices collapsed and the effects of an ongoing embezzlement of hundreds of billions of dollars started to bite.

Maduro has been floundering. Millions of Chavistas abstained or spoiled their ballots in the legislative  elections in December 2015. The opposition, much the same personnel of the old regime and the "misguided " in Lange-Churion's words US backed coup of 2002 and the insurrectionary economic sabotage of 2003. These are the people who Lange-Churion and Jeff Blankfort want to dress up as a broad coalition spanning center-right all the way to "socialists." Jeff Blankfort amazes me in this. I didn't think.I knew a more intransigent opponent of US imperialism and racism.

The leader of the opposition bloc in the Venezuelan legislature is Henry Ramos-Allup. Lange-Churionand Blankfort want us to see Ramos-Allup as a "socialist", which I suppose if you consider Henry Strauss-Khan  and Tony Benn (late edit- Tony Blair, may God forgive that error) socialists Ramos-Allup might count for one also.

Venezuela is a color conscious country to the point of illness. Every shade of skin color has its own name and children in the same household are in many cases treated differently based on skin color. So, it shouldn't surprise that Venezuelan rightist ( like the fake socialists) found it hard to accept a man of color, Hugo Chavez as president.  This is similar to the Republican Party here that never accepted the fact that a Black Democrat beat them in two elections.

Hugo Chavez had had the remains of Venezuela's founding father, Simon Bolivar,  exhumed to try to determine the cause of his death. Bolivar has always been portrayed as a man of solely European background. The study found, however, that Bolivar's features pointed to African ancesters. The new official image of Bolivar acknowledged this.

When the oppositionists took over the National Assembly the first order of business was to remove the portraits of both Bolivar and Chavez, the first President of color and revered by the majority of Venezuela's people, who also are of color, as the first modern leader who both resembled them and cared about them.

Ramos-Allup was outed by Wikileaks as someone who often pestered the United States Embassy in Caracas to give him money. His associates often did the same and also pestered for visas and college scholarships for their families.  If the recall referendum succeeds this year the president by default will be none other than Ramos-Allup.

The opposition has not been able to accomplish a mass mobilization since the Chavistas lost the legislative elections and they have offered no program to address the situation of hunger, inflation, collapse of the medical system.

Barack Obama has twice signed proclamations labeling Venezuela an imminent threat to United States security.  A drug smuggling case against nephews of Celia Flores, wife of President Maduro is unfolding in New York.  THE COCAINE COMES FROM COLOMBIA AND THE US DEA HAS THE RUN OF COLOMBIA! I shout this because the US isn't going to forgive Chavez' "escapades" and wants a pretext. Venezuela is rich not only in petroleum but in gold, diamonds and coltan, a mineral needed for smart phones, tablets and computers. In keeping with its doctrine of "full spectrum dominance" the US would want the power to cut off any other country, China for example, from access to coltan.