Saturday, December 05, 2015

More on the international pressure on Venezuela's government

Mark Weisbrot has been writing about the efforts by hostile outside powers and groups to pressure Venezuelan voter to oust the current chavista government of President Nicolás Maduro. Tomorrow's elections are mid-term parliamentary elections, not a Presidential election.

In Venezuela Votes Soon -- And the U.S. Isn't Missing Its Chance to Meddle World Post 12/01/2015, he reports:

The campaign for Venezuela's Dec. 6 National Assembly election is only three weeks long, but in the United States it started about six months ago with leaks by anonymous U.S. officials making unsubstantiated allegations that Venezuelan officials were running a "cartel." More recently, relatives of Venezuela's first lady Cilia Flores were arrested and taken (not extradited) to the U.S. after being lured by DEA agents to Haiti. Then last week, when an opposition politician was shot and killed, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, immediately joined Washington in trying to make it look like a political murder. Within a day, evidence from investigations appeared to show that the victim was likely a gang member killed by a rival gang.

To understand the strategy of the U.S. government and its allies -- including Almagro and now the president-elect of Argentina -- we have to look at what happened in the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election. In 2013, President Maduro won by 1.5 percentage points, but there was absolutely no doubt about the result. Because of the extensive safeguards in the voting process -- including an immediate audit, with witnesses, of a random sample of 54 percent of voting stations -- former U.S. president and election expert Jimmy Carter called Venezuela's election system "the best in the world."

But the Venezuelan opposition, not for the first time, rejected the result and claimed fraud, taking to the streets with violent demonstrations. The U.S. government, with almost no allies, backed the protestors by refusing to recognize the election results. The stage was set for increasingly violent conflict, but South American governments stepped in and publicly pressured Washington to join the rest of the world in accepting the results.
In Hillary Clinton and a Venezuelan Murder Mystery: Who Killed Luis Manuel Díaz? Venezuela Analysis 12/05/2015, Weisbrot notes:

On November 30, Hillary Clinton stated that she was "outraged at the cold blooded assassination of Luis Manuel Díaz on stage at a rally last week." She was referring to the killing of a local opposition leader in Venezuela on November 25. It was clear from her remarks that she was blaming the government for the murder. Her statement appeared to be part of an international campaign to delegitimize Sunday's congressional elections in Venezuela, and it spread quickly throughout the global media.

Clinton is familiar with these types of international campaigns for regime change. In her recent book, "Hard Choices" she acknowledges her role in helping prevent the democratically-elected president of Honduras, overthrown in a military coup, from returning to office in 2009; and recently released emails add further detail.