Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela As Existential Threats To The US

One of the extreme ironies of the latest attack by the settler-colonial regime of the United States against the national democratic project of Nicaragua is that in Nicaragua, the second poorest nation in the Americas, universal healthcare and education are guaranteed to the population as a human right, while in the U.S. those kinds of basic human rights are distant dreams.

The day after the so-called progressive block of legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives surrendered to President Joe Biden and the right-wing corporate wing of the party on the Build Back Better legislation that offered some minor and temporary relief for workers and the poor, many of those same “progressives” voted for the RENACER Act .

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Newly Released Documents Expose US Meddling In Venezuelan Elections

America’s interference in the electoral process in Venezuela is laid bare in a series of files that reveal how Washington provided significant investment to train political activists in campaigning effectively online.

Documents released to researchers under the US Freedom of Information Act have revealed how US intelligence fronts weaponized social media to promote Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, and assist their election to parliament, thus laying the foundations for Washington’s appointment of Juan Guaido as the country’s leader in January 2019.

The files indicate that in October 2013, seven months after the death of popular socialist President Hugo Chavez, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a US intelligence front that funds and supports political parties abroad, was provided almost $300,000 by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a US government agency avowedly created to do overtly what the CIA had previously done covertly – for a program titled ‘Venezuela: Improved Training and Communications Skills for Political Activists’.

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US ‘Justice’ Dismisses 7 Of 8 Charges Against Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

On Monday, November 1, the US Department of Justice dismissed seven charges of money laundering against Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, leaving only one charge of conspiracy to commit that crime.

The motion was presented by the prosecutor Kurt Lunkenheimer, the day a hearing was scheduled in which the eight charges were to be read to Saab, a procedure that was postponed to next November 15, reported  EFE news agency. The request was issued because the prosecution could not find sufficient evidence to prove the accusations, as Saab’s defense team had argued. The decision aligns with the fact that the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office dismissed its own investigation early this year for lack of evidence to support Washington’s fabricated case.

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Protest In Miami In Support Of Alex Saab

Members of the Bolivarian Circle in Miami and Trokia Kollective chant “free Alex Saab” outside Miami’s Clyde Atkins Courthouse on Monday, Nov 1st – the day originally scheduled for Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab’s arraignment. Despite the disappointing delay of his arraignment to November 15th, his supporters are energized as they stand witness outside Ambassador Saab’s prison, the Miami Federal Detention Center (FDC). They are resolute in their commitment to Diplomat Saab for breaking through the crippling illegal U.S. unilateral economic sanctions imposed on the people of Venezuela.

Reportedly, the arraignment was postponed at the request of one of his lawyers, Henry Bell, since Diplomat Saab is “quarantined” from meeting with them in person.

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US Policy Toward Venezuela Was Never About Promoting Democracy

Last year, then Special Representative Elliott Abrams declared that the Trump Administration was “working hard” to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Now Abrams (currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations), together with the Biden Administration, is urging the Venezuelan opposition to participate in the upcoming state and local elections this November.

Washington’s recent backpedaling, however, does not mean they’ve given up on intervening in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

Not surprisingly, Washington has pressured Venezuela’s rightist opposition—led by self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó and opposition leader Leopoldo López—to abandon their three-year policy of boycotting elections, which they claim are rigged. Electoral participation is a hard pill for both politicians to swallow because it shatters the illusion, nurtured by many in Washington, that Guaidó is the rightful president and that he is just days or weeks from occupying the presidential palace.

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Solidarity Center Funding Skyrockets For Venezuela And Colombia

The Solidarity Center’s activities in Venezuela and Colombia skyrocketed last year. Funding from the mis-named National Endowment for Democracy (NED) soared to almost 60% over the previous year’s awards. The 2020 funding, alone, represents over 40% of the total for similar grants for the last five years on record ($3,617,000). In 2020, the Solidarity Center’s Bogotá office received $1,470,000 in regional NED funding. That is up over $626,000 in 2019. Additionally, the NED gave a $50,000 award for “a survey of labor rights violations” but did not specify to whom the grant was given.

The Solidarity Center works closely with long-time partners, the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV, for Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela), as well as the Labor Solidarity Movement (MSL for Movimiento de Solidridad Laboral), which includes current and former CTV officials in its leadership, as well as Orlando Chirino, who was a candidate for president of Venezuela against Hugo Chávez in 2012.

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Miami Defenders Rally For Release Of Venezuelan Diplomat Alex Saab

On Sunday, October 24, representatives from more than six independent activist groups led by the Bolivarian Circle of Miami joined forces at the foot of the statue of Latin American hero, Simon Bolivar, in the Miami Torch of Friendship Park, to demand Venezuelan Ambassador Alex Saab’s immediate release from U.S. prison and repatriation to Venezuela. 

The Venezuelan diplomat was kidnapped twice by Washington. First, Alex Saab was kidnapped under orders of the Trump administration on June 12, 2020, while his plane refueled in Cape Verde, then again, under the Biden administration, on Saturday, October 16 from Cape Verde to Miami. Ambassador Saab was abducted from Cape Verde without the knowledge of his legal team or family the day before the island’s presidential election.

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Biden Administration Is Undermining The Venezuela Dialogue

The talks between the Venezuelan government and the extreme-right wing opposition had been going well. There are still outstanding issues to be resolved, like ending the economic war, but the discussions held in Mexico led to concrete electoral developments. The European Union agreed to send an electoral observation mission. The United Nations decided to send a panel of electoral experts. (Both institutions refused to observe the 2018 presidential and 2020 legislative elections, despite invitations from the government.) Thousands of opposition candidates registered to run in the mega-elections, which include voting for governors and mayors, as regional and local legislators.

It’s a good thing that agreements on the elections were reached quickly, because the Biden administration, following in the Trump administration’s footsteps, has been actively undermining the dialogue.

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Alex Saab To Appear Today Before A Judge In Miami

On the afternoon of Monday, October 18, Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab will appear before a judge in Miami, United States, after having been illegally extradited from Cape Verde. This action has been classified by the Venezuelan government as a kidnapping by the US with the complicity of Cape Verdean authorities.

A spokeswoman for the US Justice Department, Nicole Navas, reported that Saab is scheduled to appear at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 18 before Judge John J. O’Sullivan of the US Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida. “Saab was extradited today from Cape Verde to the United States to be processed on the charges that were brought against him in July 2019,” stated Navas.

The US government accuses Saab of allegedly laundering the equivalent of over $350 million.

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Venezuelan Government Envoy Alex Saab Extradited To The United States

Venezuelan government envoy Alex Saab has been extradited to the United States from Cape Verde, where he had been imprisoned since 2020. The extradition was first reported by local Cape Verde outlets and later confirmed by US officials. The contractor will face trial in Florida where he was charged with money laundering. The Nicolás Maduro government immediately reacted, denouncing the “kidnapping” of Saab by the US government.

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Forbes Reveals Why The US Government Is Trying To Extradite Alex Saab

Alex Saab is “the key that unlocks the Venezuelan monetary mystery—that is, how a country facing sanctions from the US, the UK and the European Union—is still able to export things like gold and oil…and really the only man who can actually explain how the country [Venezuela] survives today,” according to Forbes.

The US would far prefer to just quietly extradite Saab to Miami, use whatever means necessary to extract sensitive information from him, and then warehouse him in the world’s largest prison system. Forbes uses the euphemism “under pressure” by US prison authorities as the means to force Saab to “shed light on Venezuela’s post-sanction economic network.” Saab already reports that his surrogate captors in Cabo Verde, described below, have unsuccessfully employed torture to try to break his will and induce him to betray Venezuela.

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Allow Humanitarian Aid To Reach Venezuela

We are writing to you to urge Novo Banco to execute the transfer of a modest portion of the now technically unfrozen assets belonging to Bandes, the Venezuelan economic and social development bank, so they may be transferred directly to the Brazil-based Pan-American Health Organisation to pay for vaccines and medicines for infants in Venezuela.

Bandes informed us that they submitted this request to Novo Banco on 22nd July and have yet to receive a response. At this point in time there is no legal or extralegal obstacle that would preclude a Portuguese bank from making a transfer of Bandes’ own funds in Brazilian reales directly to a Brazilian bank account in order to pay for humanitarian supplies for children.

Nearly 2 billion USD (in various currencies but a large amount in euros) have been withheld by Novo Banco illegally since late 2017.

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Outrage Over Atrocities Committed Against Alex Saab

After receiving a letter from the diplomat Alex Saab, the head of the Venezuelan government delegation in the Mexico Talks, Jorge Rodríguez, expressed outrage at the atrocities committed against this representative of Venezuelan diplomacy. In the letter, Saab denounced his subjection to torture in Cape Verde, including psychologically torment. For example, authorities had deprived him of water for days, wrote Saab, “because according to them they must pass the transparent bottles through the x-ray, and the machine is always damaged.”

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HBO’s Anti-Maduro Propaganda Is Cruder Than Venezuelan Oil

HBO Max began streaming a documentary on September 15: A La Calle (“To the Street”). It portrays US-backed opposition leaders in Venezuela as pro-democracy heroes battling a brutal dictatorship—a total reversal of the truth. A Daily Beast article (9/13/21) promoting the film is headlined “Capturing Venezuela’s Descent Into Socialist Hell,” which succinctly conveys the film’s slant, and suggests why it found a big corporate platform like HBO Max, a subsidiary of AT&T‘s WarnerMedia.

From the trailer alone, it’s obvious that A La Calle depicts Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López as a noble democrat. That’s outrageous. López, a former oil industry executive, was one of the perpetrators of a US-backed coup in 2002 that briefly ousted the democratically elected president at the time, Hugo Chávez. A dictatorship under business executive Pedro Carmona killed 60 protesters during the two days it was in power.

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Tensions Rise At Third Round Of Stalled Government-Opposition Negotiations

Mérida – The Venezuelan government and US-backed opposition held a third round of talks in Mexico City over the weekend amid increasing friction.

The weekend negotiations followed “fruitful” encounters in August and early September. Following previous sessions, the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding, opposition politician Freddy Guevara was released from prison, a number of hardliners signed up to participate in the upcoming November 21 elections and US $5.1 billion was transferred to the country’s international reserves by the International Monetary Fund.

The talks bring together representatives of the Nicolás Maduro government and Juan Guaidó bloc under the banner of the self-styled Unitary Platform. More moderate opposition sectors and leftwing opponents were not invited.

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