- At a time of growing US poverty, hunger, homelessness,
and despair, imperial wars without end, and the Obama administration even
worse than its predecessor, Venezuela:
- -- is a model participatory democracy;
- -- holds free, fair and open elections;
- -- respects the rule of law, civil liberties, and human
- -- doesn't intimidate its neighbors;
- -- uses its resources responsibly for the people;
- -- provides essential social services for the needy;
- -- champions judicial fairness and the rule of law;
- -- has a model free and open media;
- -- wages no foreign wars;
- -- doesn't torture or imprison its adversaries;
- -- conducts effective operations to halt illicit drugs
- -- promotes global peace, solidarity, equality and social
- -- its only threat is its good example that shames its
- In contrast, America:
- -- is a serial belligerent and world class bully;
- -- spends more on militarism than the rest of the world
combined at a time it has no enemies;
- -- backs the world's worst dictators and faux democrats
like Colombia's Alvaro Uribe, a man closely linked to the country's paramilitary
death squads and drug cartels; and
- -- through the CIA, has actively engaged in global drugs
trafficking since the agency's 1947 founding; it profits hugely from its
dealings with local traffickers; so do major US banks and other powerful
business and financial interests.
- In addition, Washington
- -- serves the rich at the public's expense;
- -- tolerates corruption at the highest levels;
- -- subverts democracy through electoral fraud;
- -- has a closed, corrupted dominant media system serving
the powerful, not the greater good;
- -- incarcerates hundreds of political prisoners;
- -- uses torture as official policy; and
- -- wages state-sponsored terrorism and global wars.
- So consider the hypocrisy. On October 27, Rep. Connie
Mack (Rep. FL) introduced HR 872: Calling for the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its support
of Iran, Hezbollah, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP).
Its sole co-sponsor was Rep. Ron Klein (Dem. FL).
- Connie Mack is a notorious right-wing ideologue. In an
accompanying statement he said:
- "The evidence linking Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to
the FARC and Hezbollah - two of the most dangerous terrorist organizations,
responsible for many bombings, kidnappings, killings and drug trafficking
- is overwhelming. Naming Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism will
strengthen the stability of the region. The Administration must not turn
a blind eye to Chavez's dangerous aggression and must add Venezuela to
the state sponsors of terrorism with delay."
- Fact Check
- Iran hasn't attacked a neighbor in over 200 years, but
has defended itself vigorously when attacked, including during the 1980-88
war with Iraq, a conflict the Carter administration triggered in an attempt
to destabilize and weaken both countries.
- Noted Latin America expert James Petras calls the FARC-EP
the "longest standing, largest peasant-based guerrilla movement in
the world (that was) founded in 1964 by two dozen peasant activists (to
defend) autonomous rural communities from" Colombian military and
- Hezbollah is no terrorist organization. It's a legitimate
resistance group, and, as a political party, is part of Lebanon's elected
government. In addition, it's well respected for providing essential social
services, including a network of schools, medical clinics, and organized
relief after Israeli South Lebanon bombings in 1993, 1996, and 2006.
- Also, according to Aijaz Ahmad writing in the Indian
- It's "the only entity which has, through armed resistance,
forced the Israelis to relinquish any territory that the Jewish state has
ever captured" through decades of regional belligerency.
- Mack Attack Round Two
- HR 872 is round two for Mack. On March 13, 2008, he and
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) introduced HR 1049 (with eight co-sponsors)
"calling for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be designated
a state sponsor of terrorism (and) condemn(ing) the Venezuelan government
for it support of terrorist organizations," at that time referring
to the FARC-EP. The resolution died in the Foreign Affairs Committee.
- Referred there as well, the new one won't fare better.
Otherwise the implications are serious as state terrorism designation means
halting normal relations, prohibiting US companies from exporting and operating
there, and denying America vitally needed Venezuelan oil. It's the nation's
fourth largest supplier after Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
- In its "State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview,"
the US States Department imposes the following sanctions:
- 1. "A ban on arms-related exports and sales.
- 2. Controls over exports of dual-use items (that may
be anything, including oil), requiring 30-day Congressional notification
for goods and services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list
country's military capability or ability to support terrorism.
- 3. Prohibitions on economic assistance.
- 4. Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions,
- -- Requiring the United States to oppose loans by the
World Bank and other international financial institutions;
- -- Lifting diplomatic immunity to allow families of terrorist
victims to file civil lawsuits in US courts;
- -- Denying companies and individuals tax credits for
income earned in terrorist-listed countries;
- -- Denial of duty-free treatment of goods exported to
the United States;
- -- Authority to prohibit any US citizen from engaging
in a financial transaction with a terrorist-list government without a Treasury
Department license; and
- -- Prohibition of Defense Department contracts above
$100,000 with companies controlled by terrorist-list states."
- In other words, it halts virtually all normal diplomatic,
political and business dealings with "terrorist-list states."
- Corporate interests won't tolerate it at a time every
business opportunity counts. Nor will Venezuela with strong regional support
given the political, security and economic implications.
- As long as Bolivarianism flourishes, expect new efforts
to vilify, isolate, destabilize, and topple Chavez, no more likely to succeed
than others, and here's why. According to the Venezuelan Institute of Data
Analysis (IVAD), his latest approval rating tops 62% after nearly 11 years
as president. Governing responsibly keeps him popular compared to Barack
Obama's noticeable slippage from his post inaugural high.
- According to the November 3 Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential
Tracking Poll, only 28% of voters strongly approve of his performance,
41% strongly disapprove, 46% somewhat approve, 52% somewhat disapprove,
and for Congress it's far worse - 15% say its doing a good or excellent
job compared to 53% ranking it poor.
- Given Washington's inattention to essential needs, watch
for even greater erosion compared to Chavez remaining popular by a two-to-one
margin - a profile befitting a democrat, not a state-sponsor of terrorism.
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at <mailto:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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