California Protesters Say “Hands Off Venezuela!”

April 4th, 2019 - by Gar Smith / Berkeley Daily Planet

BERKELEY, Calif. (April 4, 2019) — On Saturday, March 30, thousands of people marched in the streets of Washington, calling on the US to halt it’s regime-change provocations against Venezuela. On Sunday, March 31, a much smaller crowd gathered before the Federal Building in Oakland to raise the same cry.

More than a dozen speakers addressed the crowd, including members of a delegation that had recently returned from an inspection trip to Caracas. Some of the information they shared provided surprising insights into a situration that the Mainstream Media routinely misrepresents to promote Washington’s Monroe-Doctrine-inspired Intervention Agenda.

Responding to the frequent claim that Nicolas Maduro’s election was “fraudulent,” one of the speakers quoted former US president and international election watchdog Jimmy Carter, who declared: “Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

Venezuela has been a pioneer in electoral fingerprint technology and undertakes regular audits to guarantee transparency and eliminate voter fraud. In addition to touch-screen voting machines, every vote includes a paper ballot that must be certified as correct before voters drop their ballots in a box. Despite complaints of flaws and “coercion” in the 2018 ballot, in many ways, Venezuela’s elections are more open and honest than the typical US election. (Remember: Two of the past three US presidents—George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump—were “elected” despite losing the popular vote.)

For a detailed look at the history of Venezuelan elections, see “Consistent, Free, Fair: Venezuela’s Election History Analyzed” and watch this video:

Venezuela’s self-declared “president” (and Mike-Pence Puppet) Juan Guaido, has repeatedly claimed that the May 2018 election that extended Maduro’s term as president was “fraudulent.” The New York Times, while alledging that Maduro had “stifled dissent” and “targeted his opponents,” still managed to win 68% of the vote. The Times suggested that one of the reasons so many people voted for Maduro was because they feared the loss of government financial aid and food subsidies, if Maduro were replaced.

And there is a plangent irony to Guaido’s complaints that the 2018 election was “fradulent.” After all, this was the same election that elevated Guaido to head the National Assembly. Lo Siento, Juan: You can’t have it both ways.

Power from the People

One speaker who had been part of a US delegation to Caracas, described personally witnessing the misery caused by repeated power outages, especially for seniors living in the highrises that the Maduro government ordered built to house the country’s elderly and poor citizens.

When it comes to addressing the housing crisis, the Washington could take some inspiration from Caracas. Since 2016, the Maduro government’s Great Housing Mission (first proposed by President Hugo Chavez) has constructed apartments for 2.5 million of its poorest citizens and plans to complete 5 million new homes by the end of 2025.

Also effected by the blackout, according to the delegation member addressing the crowd, was the capital’s free public subway system. “It’s free because it turned out the cost of printing tickets was more expensive than actually moving the passengers.” Now people have to rely on the free municipal buses.

Affordable housing? Free public transportation? Food subsidies? These unreported achievements could explain why so many Venezuelans remain committed to supporting the Maduro government.

Juan Guaido is fond of proclaiming that he will “get the lights back on” once he seizes control of the country. One of the speakers at the Oakland demo posed an interesting question: “Why can Guaido say this?” Could it be because he controls the switch? Could it be he knows full well who’s responsible for cyber-hacking and bombing Venezuela’s power grid? ( Footnote: One of the reasons the electricity system is in need of repairs is because US sanctions have blocked desperately needed replacement parts from entering the country.)

Another speaker noted that, while the US media promotes Guaido agitations, it ignores larger pro-government rallies. Recently, the speaker noted, Guaido showed up at a neighborhood church to attend services on the same day Maduro held a large rally in Caracas. Angry parisioners reportedly chased him from the chapel.

Who’s the Real Hemispheric Threat?

Another speaker mentioned that Venezuela has gone 200 years without a war. By contrast, over the past 244 years, the US has been at war for all but 21 of those years. In 2018, US combat troops were fighting “official” wars in seven countries while the US Special Operations Command was engaged in combat and “special missions” in 134 foreign countries.

Over the past two centuries, the US has repeatedly intervened militarily and toppled governments across Latin America—in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Chile. As the KCET documentary “Harvest of Empire” notes:

“By using foreign lands and labor to expand American business, financing the overthrow of democratically elected leaders, or training the leaders of oppressive military leaders, the US has contributed to the poverty and civil unrest that has fostered conflict and violence abroad.” 

For a brief recap of Washington’s historic role in destablizing Latin America, you can watch Harvest of Empire below: