February 23, 2019 - No. 6

Hands Off Venezuela!

All Out to Defend Venezuela's Sovereignty and Peace on the American Continent!
Speak Out Now!

Urgent Need to Unite the Continent to Preserve the Peace

Majority of Countries of the World Uphold Venezuela's Sovereignty

Urgent Message to the Political and Social Forces of
Latin America and the Caribbean

- Communist Party of Cuba -

Toronto Community Forum Asserts Firm Support for Venezuela

Trump's Warmongering Speech in Miami

Trump's Depraved Doctrine Paves Way for
More Anarchy, Violence and War

Official Statement of Bolivarian National Armed Forces in
Response to Trump's Miami Speech

Military Deployments in Latin America and the Caribbean

Battle Group Made Ready to Attack

Arguments in Support of Rights Uphold International Rule of Law

Cuba Reiterates Its Invariable Solidarity with the Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution

- Press Conference, Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez -

Speech by Venezuelan Ambassador Samuel Moncada at Permanent Council of Organization of American States

Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic

30th Anniversary of U.S. Invasion of Panama

Hispaniola Rising: How the U.S. Coup in Venezuela Is Taking Root in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

- Ariel Fornari -


On the Eve of the February 24 Referendum to
Approve the New Constitution

Hands Off Venezuela!

All Out to Defend Venezuela's Sovereignty and Peace on the American Continent! Speak Out Now!

Mass rallies in the streets of Venezuela, February 23, 2019, stand for peace against U.S.
imperialist plans for invasion in the name of humanitarian aid.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) denounces with all its might the U.S. imperialist preparations to invade Venezuela and the actions of all its appeasers in the neighbouring states which have opened their territories to the would-be invaders. It also denounces the policy of the Government of Canada which is playing a nefarious role claiming the cause is humanitarian and in defence of freedom and democracy.

CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to take urgent action to oppose the provocations being launched to justify this U.S. invasion in the name of humanitarian aid, the violence being committed at Venezuela's borders with Brazil and Columbia, and Canada's active role in fomenting this violence and participation in the plans for an invasion.

U.S. and Canadian monopoly media are doing their utmost to spread lies and incite passions, including about the killing of two Pemon Indians at the border between Venezuela and Brazil on Friday, February 22, which they blamed on the Venezuelan armed forces. The ballistics reports show the killings were not carried out by the Venezuelan military. The violence originated with the opposition forces, which are doing whatever they can to start a war.

The U.S. has announced it plans to forcibly transport its "humanitarian aid" across the Venezuelan border on February 23. This must not pass! President Maduro has rejected the aid and suggested it be distributed to the Colombian people instead. The damages to the economy of Venezuela and the hardship the people are suffering are the result of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, hoarding by opposition forces and the theft of Venezuelan bank accounts and assets abroad.

Demonstration in Sydney, Australia  as international day of action "Hands Off Venezuela,"
begins, February 23, 2019.

Enough of the lying and disinformation by the Canadian government and media! A war against Venezuela must not be permitted! A war on the American continent must not be permitted!

All out to join the demonstrations and International Day of Action against the danger of war against Venezuela and U.S. imperialist interference into Venezuela's affairs.

All Out to Demand that Canada BACK OFF!
Hands Off Venezuela!

February 23, 2019, Caracas, Venezuela.

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Urgent Need to Unite the Continent to
Preserve the Peace

President Maduro at February 23, 2019 mass demonstrations in Caracas.

The U.S. military and its allies, including Canada, are amassing provocateurs at the Venezuelan border with Columbia and Brazil, inciting passions, violence and manufactured incidents to justify a military invasion of Venezuela. The scenario is a repetition of the devastating destructive wars launched by the U.S. and NATO forces against Iraq, Libya and Syria in recent years. The U.S. has also massed a naval battle group ready to attack Venezuela and it has been readying its deployments of troops, military hardware and equipment and plans in the Caribbean so as to impose its "regime change" in Venezuela through military might and to threaten the peoples of the entire region to submit to the U.S. imperialist dictate. The U.S. imperialist military's mobilization is accompanied by a concerted disinformation campaign about what is happening in Venezuela, and claims that a military intervention is for humanitarian purposes. It must not pass!

Hugo Chavez Peoples' Defence Brigades guard border with Colombia, February 20, 2019.

In Venezuela, the people are preparing for any eventuality. Their resilience is legendary and should not be either underestimated or doubted. On February 10, Venezuela's military kicked off large-scale military drills against foreign military intervention, which ran until February 15. According to President Maduro, the drills were the largest the country has held in its 200-year history. Separately, President Maduro announced that 50,000 "popular defence units" are being set up. This has a significance that must be appreciated. The arming and training of an organized people will be essential to defending their neighbourhoods, as the resistance in Syria demonstrated. He promised that the U.S. will get a South American "Vietnam War" if it decides to invade.

Youth camp set up guarding Tiendita bridge, near Colombian border, February 22, 2019.

Today, as the U.S. puts its plans into motion, the streets of Caracas have been filled with tens of thousands of people who are determined to reject the establishment of the so-called "parallel government" armed by the U.S. against their president, Nicolás Maduro, and their sovereignty. They uphold the Bolivarian Revolution that is the legacy of Hugo Chávez. Simultaneously, demonstrations, meetings and protests are being held all over the world, including in Canada, to denounce these plans of invasion, oppose the interference into Venezuela's sovereign affairs and demand that peace be preserved on the American continent.

TML Weekly is publishing this issue which addresses unfolding events.

A Concert for Peace and Life, and against U.S. intervention, is taking place in Venezuela close to the border with Colombia, in the area where the U.S. plans to forcibly deliver their "humanitarian aid." The concert continues throughout the weekend.

Outdoor mass in Plaza Diego Ibarra in Caracas, a light for Venezuela, February 22, 2019.

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Majority of Countries of the World Uphold
Venezuela's Sovereignty

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza meets with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, February 22, 2019.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza held a press conference at the United Nations in New York City on February 22. He informed that Venezuela is holding discussions with all those seeking a peaceful resolution to the situation, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, with whom Venezuela held a third bilateral meeting earlier in the day. Arreaza pointed out that nearly 60 member nations also met at the UN that day to advocate for a peaceful resolution and to uphold the principles of the UN Charter. They worked on a plan of action to reject aggression against Venezuela and any sovereign people, including at the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. The Bolivarian government is also seeking dialogue with the U.S. and the opposition forces, to find a peaceful solution to the current problems.

"We want peace and dialogue; we are sitting at the table and we have not gotten up. Members of the opposition and of the National Assembly, we are here to talk. There is a constitution, let's look for a peaceful solution,"Arreaza said.

He also pointed out that various intrigues against the Maduro government are in the works. For example, a draft resolution of the Lima Group has been prepared by the U.S. for approval on Monday, February 25, that anticipates events that have not yet even occurred. The U.S. is not even an official member of this treacherous Lima Group ,which Canada has cobbled together under its command.

Arreaza expressed the hope that the U.S. and the opposition forces it supports "do not carry out false flag operations on the weekend." In this vein, Arreaza rejected media attempts to attribute violence against the people to the Bolivarian Armed Forces.

"The Armed Forces are characterized by their humanism." They would never act against their own people but are "ready to protect national sovereignty," he said. He reminded the media of how the U.S. military attacked the Dominican Republic in 1965 and imposed a dictatorship under the same guise of sending "humanitarian aid."

Regarding the "humanitarian aid" that the opposition forces will attempt to forcibly bring into Venezuela on February 23, Arreaza said this aid would better serve suffering children in Colombia. He reiterated Venezuela's willingness to cooperate with the UN system so that the country can buy food and medicines with UN support, on the basis of humanitarian technical cooperation, not false "humanitarian aid."

Arreaza also called on international media to not lend themselves to U.S. disinformation for aggression.

"In the case of Venezuela there is a great media war, not only economic and political," he said and called on journalists to properly investigate and get to the bottom of the news, saying they "must be professionals and responsible in arriving at the truth."

Spokespersons for the Foreign Ministries of China and Russia stated that the U.S. must not use the pretext of humanitarian aid to stage a provocation in Venezuela.

In the evening of February 22, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez tweeted, "The Bolivarian Government informs the population that, due to the serious and illegal threats attempted by the Colombian Government against the peace and sovereignty of Venezuela, it has taken the decision of a temporary total closure of the Simón Bolívar, Santander and Unión bridges!" She added that the government "gives full guarantees to the Venezuelan and Colombian people for safe border crossings. As soon as the disruptive acts of violence against our people and our territory are brought under control, normalcy at the border will be restored!"

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Urgent Message to the Political and Social Forces
of Latin America and the Caribbean

Demonstration, February 21, 2019, blocks bridge between Venezuela and Colombia, expressing the determination of the Venezuelan people to defend their Bolivarian Republic.

As the Statement of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba emphasized on February 13, "the escalation of pressures and actions of the U.S. government in preparation for a military adventure under the guise of a humanitarian intervention," not only constitute a real threat against the Bolivarian Revolution, but they pose a real danger for continental peace.

Washington should not underestimate the costs of aggression against Venezuela. The possibility of a disastrous regionalization of the armed conflict would affect our peoples and all their social, economic and political sectors.

We are facing a typical threat of war of imperialist aggression, no matter how it disguises itself, whose main objective is the appropriation, by the United States, of the largest certified oil reserves on the planet. Washington's contempt for the tens of thousands of civilian victims that a conflagration like the one being planned could produce is evident, once again.

It would not be just an attack against the Bolivarian Revolution. In the logic of the hawks that control the Trump administration's policy toward Latin America, the action is seen as a final onslaught against the left and progressive forces on the continent. Today it is Venezuela, tomorrow it will be Nicaragua, Bolivia or Cuba.

National women's organization marches in mass action, February 23, 2019.

The defence of the Bolivarian Revolution thus becomes the first entrenchment in the struggle for the sovereignty of Our America, for the ideal of social justice, peace with dignity, and Latin American unity that the founders of our noble nations bequeathed to us.

We reaffirm the position of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba, when it said, "What is at stake today in Venezuela is the sovereignty and dignity of Latin America and the Caribbean and the peoples of the South. Equally at stake is the survival of the rules of International Law and the UN Charter. What is being defined today is whether the legitimacy of a government emanates from the express and sovereign will of its people or from the recognition of foreign powers."

Let us march together and show the Yankee Empire that the peoples of the continent do have a sense of their independence and sovereignty.

It is an opportune moment for the forces of the São Paulo Forum to reclaim the political potential they represent. Our people demand it.

The democratic and patriotic political and social sectors of the left have before them the possibility of demonstrating that the best way to say, is to do, as José Martí emphasized.

From Cuba, we urge you to win the war: let us prevent it from being unleashed, let us guarantee peace for all. Let us honour this historic decision of the Spanish anti-fascists: They will not pass!

March in Apure by the revolutionary militia February 22, 2019 near the Tienditas bridge with
Colombia, where U.S. threatens to invade under the gusie of bringing in "Humanitarian aid."

(February 22, 2019)

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Toronto Community Forum Asserts
Firm Support for Venezuela

An Emergency Community Forum was held in Toronto on February 20 to discuss the unfolding events in Venezuela and the need to stand with the Maduro government and Venezuelan people as they courageously face the crisis imposed on their sovereign nation by U.S. imperialism, along with Canada and the Lima Group, which is aimed at instigating war and regime change in Venezuela. Close to 100 people participated in the event organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network with the support of many other organizations.

Raul Burbano, who co-chaired the forum, was part of the Canadian observer team that was present at the May 2018 elections in which the Venezuelans people voted President Nicolás Maduro to a second term. In opening comments, he highlighted the disinformation spread by the Canadian government and media -- including the CBC -- that presents a false picture of the reality of Venezuela in order to justify regime change. Burbano noted that the U.S. imperialists have brazenly pointed out that stealing Venezuela's natural resources would benefit the U.S. economy and resource multinationals. He also informed that President Maduro had, on a principled basis, tried to work with the so-called Venezuelan opposition in last May's elections, including agreeing to have observer teams from the UN and the OAS present. At the last minute, directed by their U.S. sponsors, the opposition boycotted the elections, in an effort to undermine and de-legitimize what was clearly a free and fair election with the broadest participation of the people. Mr. Burbano also emphasized that the attempts by the U.S. and Canada to recognize Juan Guaidó -- who has no popular base in Venezuela and who has clearly stated that he stands for the privatization of state-controlled resources and imposing a neo-liberal regime on the Venezuelan people -- has no basis in the Venezuelan Constitution nor in international law, and is therefore illegitimate.

Cikiah Thomas of the Global Afrikan Congress, focused his comments on the role that the U.S. has played around the world as an imperialist aggressor and warmonger. He noted that U.S. involvement in Africa, as over many decades in Latin America, has been to plunder the natural resources, impoverish the people and undermine any state that aspires to self-determination and independence. He noted that almost every African country today has a military base so that the U.S. can protect its geopolitical interests in the region. In speaking to the positive stand taken recently by CARICOM (Caribbean Community) nations at the UN in support of Venezuela, Mr. Thomas noted that this stand was a direct result of the peoples of the Caribbean nations writing to and calling upon their governments to assist the Venezuelan people in their hour of need. He observed that there is a long-standing tradition among the peoples of the Caribbean to assist one another when help is needed. He noted that the peoples of the Caribbean recalled that in the 2008 world economic crisis, it was President Hugo Chávez who rendered them immeasurable assistance through PetroCaribe and other initiatives. Mr. Thomas also emphasized that the Bolivarian revolution has positively impacted the most marginalized sections of Venezuela society, including the Indigenous and Black populations.

"Hands Off Venezuela!" picket held in Toronto earlier in the day, February 20, 2019.

Runako Gregg of the Caribbean Solidarity Network spoke on the connection of the peoples of the Caribbean with the Venezuelan Bolivarian Project and Canada's criminal role with the illegitimate Lima Group today. He recalled Canada's role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti (1996-2004) which, while in power took many pro-social measures to assist the Haitian people. This popular government was overthrown in 2004 with Canadian peacekeepers present and since then the U.S. and Canada in tandem have continuously violated the sovereignty of the Haitian people, not only militarily, but also through a slew of NGOs that have worked hand-in-glove with U.S. imperialism and the Canadian state to undermine and oppress the Haitian people. Mr. Gregg stated it is important to stand with the Venezuelan people now, and stop the U.S., Canada and the Lima Group from taking control of Venezuela and imposing a foreign occupation like in Haiti.

Coromoto Jaraba, a TeleSUR reporter, skyped in from Caracas, Venezuela and gave an on-the-ground report of the situation in Venezuela. She emphasized that the brutal economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela have created great harm to the Venezuelan economy and made it difficult for the Maduro government to ensure the basic needs of the people. She called the sanctions an illegal act of war against the Venezuelan people. Ms. Jaraba also spoke about the high democratic standards of the various elections organized by the Venezuelan government which have been certified time and again by international observers as transparent and a true expression of the popular will of the people. She emphasized that Nicolás Maduro is president by choice of the majority of the people of Venezuela, with a greater majority than any leader of the U.S., Canada or the EU can claim.

Following the presentations there was a lively discussion and appeals for people to go all out to mobilize their neighbours and friends to oppose the path of sanctions, interference and intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Everyone was invited to participate in the International Day of Solidarity With Venezuela on Saturday.

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Trump's Warmongering Speech in Miami

Trump's Depraved Doctrine Paves Way for
More Anarchy, Violence and War

Demonstration in Edmonton, February 16, 2019, one of many across Canada condemning
U.S. plans for military intervention and the despicable role of the
Canadian government in supporting it.

On February 19, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a speech at the International University of Miami in which he threatened to intervene militarily in Venezuela and as much as said Cuba and Nicaragua were next on his list for regime change. The speech elaborated Trump's depraved doctrine which advocates immorality, corruption, anarchy, violence and war on a grand scale.

Revealing a morbid preoccupation with defeat, Trump's speech was a hateful diatribe against the "horrors" of socialism (mentioned 29 times) and communism (seven times), associating them with every evil imaginable -- crime, corruption, poverty, hunger, persecution, rigged elections, tyranny, cruelty and more. It shows he has no moral justification of any kind and so resorts to boorish Cold War disinformation and hyperbole which attributes to socialism and communism all the things that in the experience of humankind actually characterize the imperialist system of states and especially the U.S. imperialists.

Trump claimed that by nature socialism does not respect borders, the sovereign rights of its citizens or its neighbours, and that it "always seeks to expand, to encroach, and to subjugate others to its will." Socialism promises prosperity but delivers poverty, he said. It "advances under the banner of progress, but in the end it delivers only corruption, exploitation, and decay." It promises unity but delivers hatred and division, he said.

The speech contained a number of threats based on end-of-history assertions which claim that the U.S. system is the highest form democracy can attain and must therefore be defended at all costs. According to the Trump doctrine this means civil war at home and imperialist war abroad, this time against Venezuela, then Nicaragua and Cuba. He directed his threats against the working class and people of the United States itself. To "those who would impose socialism on the United States," he said, the U.S. will never be a socialist country. "We are born free and we will stay free, now and forever."

Trump also repeated the stock lies and slanders of Marco Rubio, John Bolton and architects of previous U.S. dirty anti-communist wars which have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, disappearances, torture and human rights crimes and suffering in the countries of the Americas. Nicolás Maduro is a "Cuban puppet" and Venezuela a "police state run directly from Havana," he said. He put Cuba and Nicaragua on notice, declaring that the days of socialism and communism are numbered in those countries as well as in Venezuela and anywhere else it exists.

"The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere and, frankly, in many, many places around the world," he said.

Would that be a message to Vietnam and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, whose leaders he will be meeting with in a few days?

He spent considerable time giving Venezuela's Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) "choices" -- to abandon their duty and support the puppet calling himself the "acting president" which he said would allow them to live their life "in peace" with their families, or remain loyal to Nicolás Maduro and "lose everything." This was accompanied by a reminder that if a "peaceful transition" was not possible, there were other options on the table.

The FANB gave Trump an immediate and fitting reply, reminding him that they answered to their own Commander-in-Chief, President Nicolás Maduro Moros, and nobody else.

The depravity of Trump's discourse was such that he tried to invoke the fight against slavery and for civil rights in the U.S. by appropriating for his own nefarious purpose words made famous by Martin Luther King: "[Y]ou have prayed for the day we can now see, which is just ahead -- the day when all the people of this region will at last be free."

Later, in an appeal to "every member of the Maduro regime" he said, "Let your people go. Set your country free."

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro replied that Trump's Miami speech was full of tired Nazi-like rhetoric, prohibiting different ideologies and trying to impose the "single thinking of the supremacists in the White House" on everyone. "They want to enslave us; either we think like Trump or we are nothing," he said.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel called the speech arrogant, cynical and immoral, among other things, and denounced Trump's warmongering against Venezuela and Cuba. He said the Cuban people would respond with a mobilization for peace and against an imperial intervention in Latin America and by voting Yes in the Sunday, February 24 referendum on Cuba's new constitution.

All over the world, demonstrations and actions are taking place in support of Venezuela's sovereignty and against the pending U.S. invasion of that country.

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Official Statement of Bolivarian National Armed
Forces in Response to Trump's Miami Speech

The attempted coup d'état which has been in the making for a long time against the legitimately constituted Venezuelan government, and which has taken on more force at the beginning of this year, has placed the Bolivarian National Armed Forces at the centre of the debate, which clearly is not convenient, since the political differences within Venezuela must be resolved through the mechanisms established in the national constitution, and in no case by means of force.

Within this order of ideas, yesterday [February 18] we observed an act of extreme arrogance and terrible folly on the part of the president of the United States of North America, Donald Trump, when referring to our country. The tone and content of his statements allow us to see at first glance the very dangerous attitude of those who unfortunately direct the destinies of a military power, which in its excessive imperial desire, has been orchestrating an interventionist plan against the nation.

In this sense, it is imperative to reiterate before the world that we are in the presence of an escalation that has resorted to the method of hybrid warfare, to suffocate the economy by imposing an economic and financial blockade, with which it seeks to generate ungovernability, chaos and anarchy. We know well that its true purpose is none other than to take possession of the national riches.

It is unusual that in flagrant violation of the elementary rules of international law, he presumes to give orders to the Venezuelan military, promoting or encouraging a confrontation with their co-nationals under the pretext of "humanitarian aid." Imagine for a moment if some ruler were to ask the U.S. troops not to recognize their commander-in-chief and disobey his authority.

It is not conceivable that the armed forces of any country, including that of the United States of North America, would accept threats in the rude and insolent manner that President Donald Trump has issued them, trying also to blackmail us with a supposed amnesty and intimidate us with coercion.

Definitely President Trump is completely ignorant of the eminently Bolivarian, anti-imperialist and professional character of our institution, which for several decades has become a guarantor of democracy, always firmly attached to the constitution and laws of the republic,  in which the election of the citizen Nicolás Maduro Moros was held on the basis of a popular vote, to the presidency for the period 2019 -- 2025, to whom the generals and admirals, superior officers, subordinate officers, professional troops and enlisted troops -- all soldiers of the country -- we reiterate our unconditional obedience, subordination and loyalty.

The Bolivarian National Armed Forces will never accept orders from any government or foreign power, nor from any authority that does not come from the sovereign decision of the people, and will remain deployed and alert along the borders, as ordered by our commander-in-chief, to avoid any violation of the integrity of its territory.

The threats, the blackmail and the coercion, will not fracture our unity and moral strength, because we are not mercenaries that are sold to the highest bidder; we are the worthy heirs of Bolívar, Zamora and Chávez, and true to their principles, we will defend the most sacred interests of the Venezuelan people: their freedom, their sovereignty and independence.

"Chávez lives ... the country continues"

"Independence and socialist fatherland ... We will live and we will win "

"Venezuela's sun rises El Esequibo"

"Loyal always, traitors never"

Vladimir Padrino López
General in chief

(February 19, 2019. Translated from the original Spanish by TML.)

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Military Deployments in Latin America and the Caribbean

Battle Group Made Ready to Attack

USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group departs Norfolk, Virginia, January 28, 2019.

The U.S. Navy has deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and its escort of deadly cruisers and destroyers, in exercises codenamed COMPTUEX intended to certify the combat readiness of the fleet prior to the start of a mission. The destination of the deployment is unknown, news agencies report, however military consultants Stratfor and Southfront located the carrier strike group (CSG) somewhere in the Atlantic off the coast of the state of Florida, the Maritime Herald reported. Since the COMPTUEX Compound Training Exercise started on January 25 and usually last about a month, and it was reported to have most recently tried crossing straits, a necessary manoeuvre to enter the Caribbean Sea, this puts this battle group as being ready to be deployed against Venezuela.

U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) spokespersons said on February 20 that the command is ready to face "any scenario" in Venezuela.

In addition, experts point out that an attack on Venezuela can even be conducted from bases on the continental United States. They also point out that in no case would they act with impunity, taking into account the defensive systems available to the Venezuelan military.

The fleet is composed of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), the Ticonderoga-class USS Leyte Gulf missile cruiser and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Bainbridge, USS Gonzalez, USS Mason and USS Nitze. They were joined by the Spanish navy vessel, the ESPS Méndez Núñez.

The USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, operates the Embarked Air Squadron (CVW) 7, equipped with the Lockheed F-35C Lightning II, the most advanced fighter-bomber in the U.S. arsenal. It is said to have "a significant radius of action, although with a notorious history of technical failures and mismatches during its commissioning," one commentator pointed out.

"CSGs have cross-platform capabilities to operate wherever and whenever required, and in addition to having the flexibility and sustainability to fight large-scale wars and ensure the freedom of the seas, CSGs [Attack Groups with Aircraft Carrier] are visible and powerful symbols of U.S. commitment to their Allies, partners and friends," said an official press release from the U.S. Navy.

The U.S. currently maintains 76 military bases in Latin America and the Caribbean Sea. Among the best known are 12 in Panama, 12 in Puerto Rico, nine in Colombia, and eight in Peru, with most of the remaining 35 concentrated in Central America and elsewhere, including the Guantánamo base on appropriated Cuban territory.

Deployment of U.S. Navy's battle groups around the world earlier in 2019.

U.S. Southern Command's "Masterstroke" Plan

One year ago, on February 23, 2018, Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, when he was commanding general of SOUTHCOM, released the military plan called "masterstroke," to invade and takeover Venezuela. The military plan demonstrates that the international portrayal of a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is entirely fabricated to achieve the premeditated aim of achieving regime change.[1] Since then, U.S. imperialism has steadily increased the pace and scope of massive military operations (Tradewinds, Panamax and the largest, UNITAS) in the Caribbean jointly with NATO forces, including Britain and Canada and sell-out regimes in countries such as Colombia and Brazil.

A U.S. Special Forces naval warfare centre (e.g., Seal Team) is operating from the Colombian naval base at the port city of Cartagena de Indias, on the Caribbean coast. Canadian Forces participated in the annual U.S.-led UNITAS 2018 naval-air-land exercises, conducting operations in the southern Caribbean Sea as well as on the Pacific coast in late August and early September 2018. In parallel, the UNITAS Amphibious 2018 was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 20-25, 2018. This year, 23 countries participated either with military units or observers. Military forces participating in one or both of these exercises from outside the hemisphere included Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, and Poland from the NATO bloc -- and Thailand. Noteworthy, is that in January last year was the arrival of U.S. military personnel in Panama. This military contingent stayed there through the end of Venezuelan presidential elections in May 2018, under the pretext of "protecting the Panama Canal."


In 1999, after 80 years of occupation, the U.S. government was forced to close its Howard Air Force Base in Panama as a major centre of military operations in the region. It established three small bases, which it operated under the pretext of strengthening anti-narcotic missions, which at the same time increased their capabilities in aerial and naval monitoring and surveillance of the entire Caribbean and South America.

On May 1, 1999, the U.S. began operations from these Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) in El Salvador, Curaçao and Aruba, and Manta, Ecuador, which was subsequently closed by that country in 2009 because of its engagement in subversive activity.

In 2008, the U.S. Navy reactivated its Fourth Fleet stationed in Norfolk Virginia whose role is to prowl the waters of South America and the Caribbean.

Role of Curaçao, Brazil and Colombia in Militarization of the Caribbean

Click to enlarge. 

The islands that comprise the Dutch Antilles are located off the coast of Venezuela. Of these, Curaçao is the largest and most populated. They are neo-colonies, with The Netherlands controlling defence and foreign policy. The U.S. Department of State classifies them as the "Third Frontier America," and considers them an extension of U.S. SOUTHCOM. They are also linked to NATO due to The Netherlands' membership in the alliance.

The U.S. maintains an important strategic military base on Curaçao, which it uses to conduct espionage, reconnaissance and surveillance missions in the region. Described as a "Co-Operative Security Location" (formerly known as an FOL), it is located at the Hato International Airport -- also known as the Curaçao International Airport. It hosts an Airborne Warning and Control System and transport aircraft near the Royal Dutch Naval Air Station. The airport has the third longest commercial runway in the Caribbean region.

Examples of Curaçao's use include U.S. espionage flights from Curaçao over Venezuelan military bases. These began in 2005, exposing the ruse that the FOL is part of interdicting drug trafficking. In 2006, the massive Dutch-led "Caribbean Lion" military exercise took place there, with the participation of the Canadian Forces.

In 2007, "Partnership of the Americas 2007" was launched -- a six-month naval mission throughout Latin America and the Caribbean of a special U.S. war task force.[2]

Most recently, the newly-appointed commander of SOUTHCOM, Admiral Craig Faller visited Curaçao from February 13 to 14, following discussions with the Joint Military Staff of Brazil in February.[3]

U.S. military aircraft at the U.S. forward operating location at the
International Airport on Curaçao in 2011.

The visit to Brazil is notable because in August 2018, then-U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis chose Brazil as the initial destination for his first tour of South America. Among the topics on his agenda was U.S. participation in the Alcântara base, of strategic value due to its proximity both to Venezuela and West Africa. Previous U.S. access to the base was reversed by the governments of Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva (2003-2011), and Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016), which was overthrown by a U.S.-led coup. A new base could only be activated from January 1, 2019 when the reactionary President Jair Bolsonaro took office.

The organization of a so-called "humanitarian hub" on the southern border of Venezuela was the topic of the meetings of SOUTHCOM commander Admiral Craig Faller with Brazilian generals on February 11-12. The U.S. and Brazilian generals designated two centres in Brazil as the centre of operations. Pacaraima is on the border and has a "regional airport." Scores of innocent Venezuelan refugees were beaten there last fall and the border was closed -- by Brazil. The second centre, Boa Vista, is 216 km south of Pacaraima and has an international airport. A major north-south toll highway, Troncal No 10, links Pacaraima and Guyana City (603 km) and then Caracas.

U.S. SOUTHCOM Commander Admiral Craig Faller (centre) meets with Brazilian military counterparts, February 12, 2019.

In related news, General Mark Stammer, commander of the U.S. Army of the South, arrived on February 4 in Bogotá, Colombia to meet with the military and police leadership and "review border issues." Army South is a component of SOUTHCOM established to conduct operations in Latin America. It is responsible for 31 states and 15 territories in Central and South America, and the Caribbean.[4]

British Military Activities in the Region

RFA Mounts Bay docked in Curaçao, February 5, 2019.

The British naval vessel RFA Mounts Bay, a giant Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship, spent New Year in Miami, embarking a U.S. coastguard helicopter for the first time. It then sailed south and docked in Caracas Baii on Curaçao, by January 21. The Royal Navy asserted it was working with the U.S. Coast Guard's Helicopter Interdiction Tactical squadron and its counter-narcotics boarding team, which comes under SOUTHCOM. The "war on drugs" is among other things a smokescreen precisely to legitimate the naval presence of the European states, who have enslaving colonial and neo-colonial interests in the Caribbean and Latin America, on a regular basis.

In addition to "its regular complement of soldiers who operate her mexeflote powered barges," Naval Today informs that "the Bay-class ship has a dedicated 20-strong team from 24 Commando Royal Engineers -- self-styled 'Commandos of the Caribbean' -- and a Wildcat helicopter flight from 815 Naval Air Squadron." These forces have the means to occupy and control the shoreline of any country, and use it to launch air and ground attacks against targets located in those countries, land their troops and support their advance.

In January and into February, British marines have been conducting jungle warfare training in Belize. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) characteristically described their deployment as "routine." Their arrival in mid-January coincided with Britain's ratcheting up of its anti-Venezuela campaign.

Initially, the marines were based at British Army Training Support Unit Belize, a permanent base adjacent to the country's international airport, that was to be mothballed in 2010, but in 2015 became active again. The marines are from 40 Commando's A Company, a highly trained unit that specializes in close combat and is "held at very high readiness by UK MoD for crisis response."

British Marines in Belize, February 2, 2019. 

Photos show the marines carrying out battlefield drills, including casualty evacuation. Marines from 40 Commando were among the first British troops to land in Iraq during the 2003 invasion.

They are currently accompanied by sappers from the Royal Engineers' 59 Commando Squadron, who provide "close combat engineer support," as well as members of Condor Troop, a unit normally based in Scotland.

Britain's air force is also active in the region. Flight data shows an RAF transport aircraft from Brize Norton landed in Belize after dark on January 23. On February 2, the RAF released aerial photos of the Belize coastline, saying that its personnel were supporting "army exercises in Central America."

Belize itself is part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which is staunchly opposed to foreign interference in Venezuela.

Thus it appears a collective siege is underway, conducted by NATO allies of the U.S., The Netherlands, Britain and also France -- which has bases in French Guyana -- all looking for seats at the table from the imperialist redivision of Venezuela and the Americas. Experts consulted by Prensa Latina, in addition to highlighting the dangerousness of these movements, point out that in the first place they are aimed at intimidating the Venezuelan leadership, but if this objective is not achieved, they could be used in direct incursions against that South American nation.

In fact, such forces would not have to go much closer to the Venezuelan territory to develop attacks with their aerial means and missiles, because they are in a position to do so from relatively large distances, experts point out.


1. U.S. Southern Command's "Masterstroke" Plan

The plan states the U.S. aim of "continuing setting fire to the common frontier with Colombia. Multiplying the traffic of fuel and other goods. The movement of paramilitaries, armed raids and drug trafficking. Provoked armed incidents with the Venezuelan frontier security forces." The plan includes recruiting "paramilitaries mainly in the campsites of refugees in Cúcuta, La Guajira and the north of Santander, areas largely populated by Colombian citizens who emigrated to Venezuela and now return, run away from the regimen to intensify the destabilizing activities in the common frontier between both countries. Making use of the empty space left by the FARC, the belligerency of the EBN and the activities in the area of the Gulf cartel." It goes on to its conclusion, which is "to prepare the involvement of allied forces in support the Venezuelan army officers or to control the internal crisis in the event they delay too much in taking the initiative. Establishing a speedy time line that prevents the Dictator to continue winning control on the international scenario. If it is necessary, act before the elections stipulated for next April."

While this once secret plan was envisioned around last year's Venezuelan presidential election, it has been repurposed to achieve the present desperate attempt to takeover Venezuela.

2. In 2013, Helmin Wiels, the Afro-Curaçaoan leader of the Pueblo Soberano (Sovereign People) party was assassinated. Wiels demanded total independence, an end to legalized corruption, the closure of the U.S. military base and that the island not be used against Venezuela.

3. The Brazilian generals in charge of "humanitarian aid" for Venezuela have the blood of the Haitian people on their hands. The Brazilian general who is now the Defence Minister for Jair Bolsonaro, retired army general, Fernando Azevedo e Silva was Operations Chief of the UN Mission for the (de)Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) -- the UN so-called peacekeeping force -- under the command of General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, also now retired, in 2004 to 2005.

Last autumn, Bolsonaro also named Heleno as the head of the presidential office for national security. He is described as "the real power behind" the former army captain and extremist congressman Bolsonaro, who formally assumed the presidency on January 1, 2019.

Statements from MINUSTAH to the public about the massacre (which have disappeared with its after-action report to the U.S. Embassy) described a firefight that "lasted over seven hours during which time their forces expended over 22,000 rounds of ammunition," and an operation that involved 1,440 troops: 1,000 who "secured the perimeter" and 440 who engaged in a raid.

4. All the countries that militarily occupied Haiti through MINUSTAH are today organized as the extra-legal Lima Group formed by Canada in 2017, who sanction and prettify military intervention in Venezuela as humanitarian engagement.

They included Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and the United States. This United Nations "peacekeeping" force occupied the country after the U.S., Canada and France orchestrated the violent overthrow of Haiti's elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and sent in U.S. Marines in 2004 along with troops from the Royal Canadian Regiment.

(With files from Tony Seed's Blog, U.S. Navy press releases, Maritime Herald, Naval Today, Prensa Latina, news agencies.)

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Arguments in Support of Rights Uphold International Rule of Law

Cuba Reiterates Its Invariable Solidarity with
the Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro
and the Bolivarian Revolution

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez, speaks to national and international media, at press conference held at Minrex headquarters, February 19, 2019.

Full text of press conference by Cuban Foreign Affairs (Minrex) Minister Bruno Rodríguez, for the national and international media, held at Minrex headquarters, February 19, 2019, Year 61 of the Revolution.


Bruno Rodríguez: Good afternoon. Thank you for being here.

We are just a few days from the Constitutional referendum in our country which is holding all of our attention. The mobilization of our people has been intense, and I thank you for the coverage provided by the media you represent.

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister
Bruno Rodríguez.

The government of the Republic of Cuba has consistently denounced that the United States of America is preparing a military aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, using humanitarian pretexts.

In speeches by the First Secretary of our Party's Central Committee, on July 26, 2018, and January 1, 2019, and in those of the President of our Councils of State and Ministers, compañero Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, in July last year, and more recently, alerts have been sounded about the very serious consequences -- economic, political, social, humanitarian, and to the peace and security of the region -- that a new military adventure by the United States in Our America would have.

The Revolutionary Government statement dated February 13, with full responsibility and all necessary facts, affirmed, and I reiterate, that U.S. military transport flights are taking place, originating at U.S. military installations from which operate special forces units and marine infantry used for undercover actions, including those directed against leaders or persons considered valuable.

Entirely without the knowledge of governments in the areas involved, and with total disregard for the sovereignty of these states, the preparation of a military action continues, using a humanitarian pretext.

Yesterday afternoon, President Donald Trump and other high-ranking functionaries and spokespeople for the U.S. government repeated and confirmed that the military option is among those being considered. Yesterday, the President said: All options are open.

According to the media in the U.S. itself, high-ranking U.S. military commands, which do not, have never, taken charge of humanitarian aid, have held meetings with politicians in the U.S. and other nations, and have made visits to sites clearly related to the issue we are addressing.

We are all witnessing the fabrication of humanitarian pretexts. A deadline has been set to force the entry of "humanitarian aid" with the use of force, which in and of itself constitutes a contradiction. It is not possible that real humanitarian help be based on violence, on the use of weapons or the violation of international law. This very focus is a violation of international law that reveals the politicization of humanitarian aid, as has occurred at other moments, with the use of noble causes, of universal recognition, as pretexts for the launching of military aggression.

We must ask ourselves -- given the setting of a deadline, given the statement made that the humanitarian aid will enter Venezuelan territory by any means, against the sovereign will of its people and the decision of its Constitutional government -- what objectives are being pursued? What could they be, if not generating an incident that would endanger the lives of civilians, provoke violence or unpredictable situations?

There has been talk, these last few days, about the humanitarian aid lasting months or even years -- as long as the "reconstruction" lasts, has been mentioned.

We could ask this Senator from Florida what reconstruction he is talking about. We are talking about a nation that is not at war, nor suffered a war, but knows that war is good business for U.S. companies in the military-industrial complex, and for others later, during the so-called reconstruction.

The United States government continues to pressure member states of the United Nations Security Council to force the adoption of a resolution that would serve as the prelude to a "humanitarian intervention." Contained in the text is a diagnosis of the situation portraying the peace and security of this sister nation as broken, and calls on all types of international actors to adopt necessary measures.

Given the precedents, including recent ones, this language is well known to be followed by other calls for exclusive aerial zones, the protection of civilians, the establishment of humanitarian corridors, in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter that authorizes the use of force.

We are hopeful that the United Nations Security Council ensures that its vocation and responsibility as a guarantor of peace prevails, and does not lend itself to military adventures. We call on its members to act in accordance with international law and defend the peace, so precious to humanity, to Our America, and to the Venezuelan people, as well.

The government of the United States has invented, has fabricated in Washington, an imperialist coup, with a "President" constructed in this northern capital, which has not worked even internally. Numerous U.S. sources could be cited, accredited press media that have published all the details about how the coup was organized. At this time, the pressure that the United States government is putting on other countries is still brutal, trying to force recognition of the supposed "President," self-named and proclaimed by Washington, and the call for new elections in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, annulling those that its people, legitimately and constitutionally, just held.

The manoeuvres of the White House National Security team, along with those of some State Department functionaries and U.S. embassies, are well known. Also underway is a huge publicity and political operation, generally seen as a prelude to broader action by this administration.

Coercive, unilateral -- and therefore illegal -- economic measures against the sister Republic of Venezuela are increasing: the seizure or freezing of financial assets in third countries; the tremendous pressure on governments that supply Venezuela and the Venezuelan oil industry; pressure on banks in third countries to block legitimate financial transactions, even in other currencies; the confiscation, practically theft, of the PDVSA subsidiary in the United States and other interests established in the country.

These measures constitute a gross violation of international law and international humanitarian law, creating hardship and human harm, which are totally incompatible with hypocritical calls for humanitarian aid by those responsible for the implementation of these cruel measures. The figures are obscene. There is talk about humanitarian aid worth some $20 million to a country that is being deprived of more than $30 billion, as a result of these arbitrary, illegal, and unjust measures.

The government of the Republic of Cuba calls on the international community to take action in defence of peace, to prevent a military intervention in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with the joint efforts of all, without exception.

At this critical moment, when at stake are respect for and the relevance of the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter; when it is decided if the legitimacy of a government rests in the support and the votes of its people; when it is decided if foreign pressure can substitute the sovereign exercise of self-determination; in these circumstances, one can only be in favour or against peace. One can only be in favour or against war.

We encourage the Montevideo Mechanism, especially the governments of the United States of Mexico, the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, the governments of the Caribbean Community and the Plurinational State of Bolivia, to continue making their greatest efforts, in this urgent situation, to facilitate a resolution based on dialogue and absolute respect for the independence and sovereignty of Venezuela, and the validity of the principles of international law, especially non-intervention.

We call for an international mobilization for peace, against a U.S. military intervention in Latin America, against war; above and beyond political differences, ideological differences, in favour of the greater good of humanity which is peace, which is the right to live.

We call on all governments; parliaments; political forces; social, popular, Indigenous movements; professional and social organizations; trade unions; farmers; women; students; intellectuals and artists; academics; and especially communicators and journalists -- on you (gesturing toward the press) -- on non-governmental organizations, on representatives of civil society.

At the same time, the government of the Republic of Cuba reiterates our firm, invariable solidarity with Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, with the civic-military union, and the people, and insists that in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, today, the postulates of the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace must be defended. There, today, the sovereignty of all, the independence of all, and the sovereign equality of states must be defended.

Cuban people send their messages of solidarity to the people of Venezuela, February 14-20, 2019.

We witnessed in wonder, this afternoon, the speech by President Donald Trump. Suddenly, he decreed the "end of socialism," and announced "a new day" for humanity. He solemnly proclaimed that, for the first time in history, there would be a hemisphere free of socialism.

He curiously also spoke of progress in negotiations with a large socialist country and had chosen another to host an important summit. How many times have figures in the United States announced the end of socialism or the end of history?

President Trump praised the "great leaders" from Florida present at the event: a governor, a couple senators, a representative, an ambassador, all fundamentalist Republicans, and five minutes later, apparently, they told him or he noticed that he had been deeply unjust by omitting the name of John Bolton, also present.

Bolton has been a war planner for decades, the principle organizer of the coup in Venezuela and a consistent advocate of the military option.

The President of the United States referred to human dignity. Apparently he forgets that it is under capitalism -- in particular, imperialism -- that injustice, exploitation, and manipulation of persons prevails.

He criticized corruption, perhaps without recognizing that the U.S. political system is corrupt by nature, that this is where special interests and corporate contributions reign, where money talks and now big data, where elections are won by manipulating the people.

He spoke of democracy, without mentioning the millions of U.S. citizens, mostly Black and Latino, who are not allowed to vote, or the 40 million living in poverty, half of them children.

He forgot to mention the more than 500,000 homeless, without a roof over their heads. Perhaps he is unaware that a pattern of racial discrimination prevails there, from disproportionate death penalty sentences and court sanctions, including police brutality that has perennially cost the lives of African-Americans.

He did not mention the low level of unionization of U.S. workers, or women without the right to equal pay for equal work.

He mentioned Venezuelan migrants, but not the wall on the Río Bravo. He didn't mention the under-aged Central Americans, cruelly separated from their parents, or the deaths in detention centres. He did not refer to repression of migrants, or minorities, or those murdered at the hands of the Border Patrol.

President Trump promised the coup plotters success, because the United States is behind them, backing them. It appears that he is unaware that the coup has not worked, and this is why threats against Venezuela from abroad are escalating.

He presented himself as a head of state who loves peace. Successive U.S. administrations have provoked dozens of wars. This is the country that has tortured and tortures. This is the country that calls the deaths of innocent civilians in war adventures "collateral damage." This country has sent tens of thousands of U.S. youth as cannon fodder to die in wars of imperialist plunder. This is the country that launched a war that cost the lives of more than a million on the basis of a lie about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Some of the current protagonists were responsible for that war and are now lying about Venezuela.

The [U.S.] President said that socialism does not respect borders. But it was that imperialism that militarily occupied Cuba more than once, that prevented our independence until the entry into Havana of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. It was that country that stripped Mexico of more than half of its territory, that imposed cruel military dictatorships in Latin America, and that today maintains aggressive military bases practically all over the planet.

President Trump said that socialism promises unity, but provokes hate and division. What extraordinary cynicism, extraordinary hypocrisy! He is the representative of an amoral government, of a sector rejected even by traditional U.S. parties, that plays dirty politics, that incites the polarization of society with the language of hate and division, and that even prominent conservative exponents have condemned, as lacking the minimum standards of political decency.

The President also said that nothing is less democratic than socialism.

Mr. President Trump, try a constitutional reform, call a referendum on your policies, respect the will of your electorate. Remember that you are President despite having lost the popular vote by more than three million ballots.

The accusation by the President of the United States that Cuba maintains a private army in Venezuela is vile. I demand that he present proof.

Our government categorically rejects this slander, while reaffirming the duty and commitment to continue providing our modest cooperation, in which slightly more than 20,000 Cuban collaborators participate, all civilian, 94 per cent of them health workers, others in education, as they do in 83 countries around the world.

We Cubans will continue on our own path, and are preparing for a successful referendum just days from now. We will continue calmly and devotedly working, imbued with the certainty that we possess the necessary tools to build our future.

Cuban collaborators in Venezuela, last Saturday and Sunday [February 16 and 17], exercised their right to vote in the referendum. They did so massively.

They tell their relatives, who logically worry about the news they receive, that despite the circumstances, they live normally in Venezuela; that it isn't true that there are hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans dying of hunger, as certain deceitful spokespersons claim, and they reaffirm that they will continue to carry out their profoundly humanitarian work.

I firmly reject President Trump's attempt to intimidate those who, in a completely sovereign manner, in the exercise of self-determination, have decided to build and defend socialism, and the intimidation of numerous parties, organizations, and people who, as lovers of justice, equity, social and environmentally sustainable development, opponents of exploitation, neo-colonialism, neo-liberalism and exclusion, have embraced socialist and revolutionary ideas with profound conviction, convinced that a better world is not only possible, not only essential, but inevitable.

As numerous U.S. analysts and politicians have recognized, yesterday's speech in Florida was very electoral. He wants to intimidate not only socialist and communist forces, but also Democratic leaders, voters, especially young voters who are frustrated with the system.

He proclaimed yesterday that there would never be socialism in "America."

He doesn't only seek to intimate the people, but also the Democrats. His position that whoever votes for the Democrats, in the electoral campaign that appears to have already begun, will be voting for the construction of socialism in this nation of the North, is well-known.

Trump's main "theoretical contribution" in his speech yesterday, was the incorporation of McCarthyism to the Monroe Doctrine, in advocating a single imperialist power, to which he added an extreme, visceral, old-fashioned, essentially outdated anti-communism, rooted in the Cold War. He will not earn any royalties. President Reagan, and beforehand Prime Minister Churchill, beat him to addressing the issue.

Churchill said 71 years ago: "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy " Reagan stated 36 years ago: "I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual."

It was a clumsy, crude declaration of imperialist domination over José Martí's Our America. "We have seen Cuba's future here in Miami," the U.S. President said yesterday. He is wrong; the future of Cuba is here. With or without additional blockade measures, the future is decided by Cuban women and men. We have done so, we have built and we will defend a socialist Revolution right under their noses.

We must recall the defeat of the Batista dictatorship, established and sustained by imperialist governments. We are proud of our victory at Playa Girón, or the Bay of Pigs. Of our bravery faced with the risk of holocaust in the October Crisis (Cuban Missile Crisis). Of our firm and virile response to state terrorism, faced with the mid-flight bombing of a Cuban civil aircraft; events that have caused 3,478 deaths and left 2,099 Cuban women and men disabled.

We reiterate to President Trump that our loyalty to Fidel and Raúl will be invariable, and that the process of continuity led by President Díaz-Canel is permanent and irreversible. We will be united together with our Communist Party of Cuba. Together we have written this new Constitution and we will vote for it on February 24, for the homeland and socialism. It will also be a response to President Trump's speech.

Many thanks.

Participants in press conference at Minrex headquarters, February 19, 2019.

Moderator: We will now go to a brief Q&A session. I ask colleagues from the press to identify themselves, the media they represent, and to make use of the microphones available in the room.

Katell Abiden (AFP): Good afternoon, Mr. Minister. I want to ask two questions. If a military intervention occurs in Venezuela, what will your reaction be?

On the other hand, I would like to have your opinion on the possible implementation of the Helms-Burton Act's Title III by the United States.

Bruno Rodríguez: Yes. Your first question is hypothetical. Our call is to stop a U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, the time has come to unite and act together in time to stop it.

On the second, I can reiterate: As we have explained before, and other leaders of our nation and Foreign Ministry spokespersons have said, our country is prepared to face any measure to tighten the blockade, including the implementation of new elements of the Helms-Burton Act. We have a program, with a predictable economic plan through 2030. The Cuban economy has strong international underpinnings. Our economic relations are diverse. We also count on the prevalence of the rule of international law, the rules of free trade, and freedom of navigation, and we are sure that the fiercely extraterritorial application of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba not only sparks huge international rejection, but that it will face strong resistance from our economic, investment, financial, tourism emissary counterparts, faced with the attempt to impose additional sanctions against the sovereignty of their states, against their national interests, and those of their businesspeople and citizens.

Axel Vera (ABC-Miami): What evidence does the Cuban government currently possess that the United States is on the path to a military intervention? Could you explain more about that, please?

Bruno Rodríguez: Yes. Thanks very much.

I can reiterate that I have all the data that allows me to state that flights from U.S. bases are taking place, where special operations and marine infantry units operate, used for missions of this nature, in preparation for actions against Venezuela.

If you would care to visit some airports, you may be able to personally note what I say. I categorically state that these are not humanitarian aid flights.

Governments are usually able to obtain this information but, even without the data that you are asking about, it is clear that an international situation has been created in which the U.S. government is moving toward the military threat.

I don't know how you could explain the summoning of tens of thousands of people on the Venezuelan border, to forcibly bring in humanitarian aid. I don't know what your media outlet expects to happen under those circumstances. I don't know how you interpret a senator's statement that U.S. capital will be necessary to rebuild Venezuela.

Lorena Cantó (EFE news agency): You have said, returning to Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, that Cuba is prepared to confront an intensification of the sanctions, and I wanted to ask you if you hope that countries, above all Canada and other commercial partners of Cuba, adopt an active position like that which was initially produced when this disposition was approved, and that stopped its application and has resulted in its periodic suspension. I don't know if you have maintained contact with the governments of these countries, if they have conveyed that they will adopt a position now as active as at that time in 1996.

Bruno Rodríguez: Many thanks.

We are necessarily discrete given our position, but I can tell you that I know of strong opposition from numerous European Union member states, and other industrialized nations; I have seen some statements. I also know of extensive diplomatic exchanges, and I am convinced that these nations will defend not only the sovereignty of their states, but their national interest and the interest of their companies and citizens, and I am sure that they will consider the attempt to establish discriminatory norms in favour of U.S. companies against those national interests unacceptable, as in fact I know is their position. They are supported by international law, the obligation to apply their own laws in their own territory, the existence of antidote laws that should also be applied according to their own legal system and international circumstances; as I have heard energetic, firm statements from numerous United States counterparts regarding trade and investment, considering U.S. trade policies, in terms of tariffs and other aspects, unacceptable.

Sergio Gómez (Cubadebate): President Trump spoke yesterday in Miami as if there were global unanimity regarding the recognition of Guaidó. Does this, or does Minrex believe that such unanimity exists?

And in the same direction, has this aggressive agenda of John Bolton and Marco Rubio against Cuba that President Trump has assumed, been effective or not in achieving the isolation of Cuba from the international community? Because the latest we had in this regard was global approval of the reestablishment of relations between the two countries.

Bruno Rodríguez: The isolation of Cuba, or of the United States?

Sergio Gómez: No, whether it has been achieved, if that policy has been effective, in your opinion, in isolating Cuba from the international community that applauded the reestablishment of relations.

Bruno Rodríguez: One reads numerous statements and information in the press. Less than a quarter of United Nations member states interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela to demand elections or, in one way or another, recognize the "president" invented in Washington. So I think the information is irrefutable.

I am also aware of a recent debate in the United Nations Security Council, where the supposed accuser became the accused, faced with the defence of international law and the sovereignty of Venezuela by numerous United Nations member states.

I also know of a meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, that firmly expressed it was against a military adventure, and supports Venezuelan sovereignty.

So I think that we have to separate the propaganda from the reality, to not allow U.S. spokespersons, who sometimes want to confuse reality with their wishes, not ours, to succeed.

If there were any doubt regarding the international situation surrounding Cuba, it would be enough to briefly review the minutes, or more entertaining, to see the video of what occurred November 1, in the United Nations General Assembly: 10 votes, practically unanimous, left the United States government isolated, still obsessed with a genocidal blockade.

Those who now speak of humanitarian aid, and generously over $20 million, have caused Cuba damages of approximately one trillion dollars at prices based on the value of gold, or more than $130 billion at current prices. The blockade damages, as has been said, scrupulously calculated, using an internationally auditable methodology, reflect that without it, Cuba would have grown at an annual average of 10 per cent over the last decade.

I think it is totally clear that the United States government, in its attempt to isolate Cuba, has ended up profoundly isolated.

Many thanks.

(Council of State transcript; Granma International translation.)

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Speech by Venezuelan Ambassador
Samuel Moncada at Permanent Council of Organization of American States

Mr. President,

A pile of lies, falsehoods, manipulations and calumnies has been constructed; a whole world parallel to reality, a whole alternate fantasy that serves to confuse millions of people about what is happening in Venezuela.

Today I come to make contact with reality and tell the world what our truth is.

Firstly, I would like to clarify what happened here regarding which government the OAS recognizes. That is the first farce, a swindle, a fraud, a trick, a maneuver, a manipulation. They are all trying to play tricks. Yet, it continues to work for them, and they keep repeating it.

Mr President,

The only way that I get out of this chair, as a representative of the Venezuelan State, and representative of the government of Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, full member of this organization with all the rights exercised for more than 70 years, without violating international law, without violence, without cheating, without fraud, without manipulation and without arbitrariness, is that you, Mr. President, receive in your hands the resolution approved by the Extraordinary General Assembly of the OAS where 24 member states would have voted for the suspension of the rights of the Venezuelan State in this organization.

Mr. President,

Without that General Assembly resolution, every act is null and void, and it would translate to the destruction of this organization. What we have just heard from the Secretary-General is false, he lies, he swindles, he says it in front of everyone. That is why member states of CARICOM complained to him about it.

It is not true that a Permanent Council resolution with 18 votes can ignore a member state. It is false, it is just propaganda. The only penalty, in all the statutes of this Organization, that can be applied to a state is suspension and occurs with 24 votes in a General Assembly of Foreign Ministers, and that has not happened. Everything else is false. All those lies are quelled the minute that I sit here. Everything else collapses, the lie collapses, the fraud collapses. Stop lying, get the 24 votes of the Assembly needed, and only then would I leave here legitimately.

They permanently threaten to take away our visas. Doing so would be a scam. The U.S. is using its personal or bilateral enmity with Venezuela to affect our multilateral functioning. We have already broken off relations with the U.S. from a bilateral point of view.

We have to dismantle all this and bring light to the darkness of lies from the eyes of the majority of the people and international public opinion.

Each state is free to recognize whoever it wants, but what is certain is that in order to get us out of here it is necessary to comply with the [OAS] Charter. Enough of this scam!

Let us now explore the core of the other topics.

Mr. President,

A wave of self-proclamation runs through the hemisphere. In Venezuela, a congressman stands in a square and proclaims himself president; in Miami tourists gather in a restaurant and self-proclaim themselves the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice. Here, in this room, the Secretary General proclaims himself head of the OAS and begins to disregard states and give orders without having the authority to do so. He begins to take orders on behalf of the states. He is not the head of the OAS. He speaks as if he were the president of those states, but that doesn't work that way. Please, you have to understand what the function of this gentleman is here! When he calls for war, he violates everything he should be doing here.

In the very OAS, an employee of Washington's propaganda bodies proclaimed himself Ambassador of Venezuela without anyone understanding how he can occupy this post. That's why he's not sitting here, because he proclaimed himself!

To add to the confusion, a U.S. senator proclaims himself Chief of our Bolivarian National Armed Forces and threatens our officers in Venezuela. An advisor to the White House proclaims himself the owner of our oil and robs the Venezuelan people of more than $30 billion just a week ago while we were all discussing which article of the Constitution was applicable to the situation, and to avoid making the longest list, Mr. Trump, the highest leader of the aforementioned self-proclaimed individuals, also proclaimed himself the owner and lord of the natural resources, territories and settlers of the colony he calls Venezuela.

We have a true epidemic of self-proclamations.

Mr. President,

What is going on? How do you explain this nightmare? Let's look at it item by item.

The self-proclaimed Venezuelan government approved the U.S. government's dispossession of our people's property for tens of billions of dollars. He accepted at face value the appointment made by a Florida Senator of an employee of a U.S. oil company as Venezuelan ambassador in this country. He also said that he was willing to authorize U.S. troops to invade Venezuela, and even a U.S. Congressman reminded him that U.S. military interventions can only be authorized by the U.S. Congress. In order not to make the list too long, the self-proclaimed president defended the measures of economic asphyxiation against our people, for they produce the necessary suffering for the military to decide to support him taking power.

Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros' inauguration, January 10, 2019.

Mr. President,

The coup d'état is victorious in Washington, where everyone celebrates the plundering of our nation, but it has been a failure in Venezuela where the leader needs the protection of embassies of foreign governments, even to sleep.

In our country, one given day Washington's puppet threatens the Bolivarian National Armed Forces to obey him; yet another day he accuses them of corruption and murder; then a third day he offers them amnesty and forgiveness; and a fourth day he bribes them. Finally, when everything fails, he ends up threatening to assassinate them with the U.S. armed forces. That is not the behaviour of a Venezuelan President, that is the behavior of an agent in the service of a foreign power.

It is obvious that the puppet obeys orders from abroad, specifically from here in Washington. In Venezuela, the coup d'état failed and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, together with the people, are a guarantee of peace and freedom for the nation. From here we send you a message of pride. We are proud of our Armed Forces because they have resisted a wave, a psychological war, bribes, threats. Today the U.S. has just issued new sanctions, believing that a diplomatic visa is the supreme happiness of a Venezuelan General.

I am proud of my diplomats here at the OAS, who have had a war waged on them so that they switch sides. They have been offered money, visas. They have been threatened, but they have resisted. I am proud of my diplomats in the United States who have been threatened and bribed, but have returned to their homeland, as should be the duty of any man or woman who admires and respects their country. We are patriots, we are not traitors!

The failure of the coup is so clear that they have already abandoned the Constitution to justify their actions. Now their ultimate law is a transitional statute that allows them to remain in power indefinitely. They have already approved it. Now they do not need elections and neither do they need to recognize other public powers. It is the pure and hard dictatorship that leaves behind all those who supported this atrocity without argument because they fought for a republic of laws. The purpose of this meeting, that you can't hold elections in Venezuela and you have to let the puppet remain for several years, because according to what we hear here the system is so bad that you have to end chavismo first, you have to get rid of all those people, everywhere, even the governors, according to the super expert, you have to get rid of all the governors to call an election. All the elections were bad, they were terrible, except when they won in the National Assembly, those were marvelous. They don't realize the farce, what they are doing is justifying the dictatorship in Venezuela. They ran out of arguments because the coup failed, the coup in Venezuela doesn't exist!

The coup d'état failed because in Venezuela its leaders do not pay a salary to anyone, they do not control one single police car, they do not issue identity cards, they do not open a school, they do not even produce a barrel of gasoline. It's a pathetic, surreal fantasy, a fiction that serves to plunder for its masters in the United States.

Because the true nature of what is happening is not a coup d'état, it is a project to convert Venezuela into a colony governed by local salaried workers, in the manner of Puerto Rico. These self-proclaimed persons are actually a U.S. representative office in Venezuela and not a National Government. That has always been the U.S. colonial model, unlike Europeans, they don't send rulers from the metropolis but use their local employees as administrators. This is an attempt to reconquer Latin America as the backyard of the empire ruled by the most self-proclaimed person: Donald Trump.

The real objective of this whole process of aggression is to loot, pillage and plunder. The biggest robbery in Venezuelan history occurred last week. Mr. Trump's government robbed the Venezuelan people of at least $30 billion in oil refineries, in bank accounts of the Central Bank of Venezuela and [the state oil company] PDVSA, in debt bond transactions, and I say no more for reasons of time.

Mr. President,

Mr. Bolton, an advisor to the White House, states that he is already distributing oil concessions in Venezuela to U.S. companies. When our oil refineries were stolen, the first person to sit down with the company's managers was not a Venezuelan: it was Mr. Bolton, the same man who today threatens India and other countries that buy oil from Venezuela. Mr. Bolton proclaimed himself colonial administrator of Venezuelan oil.

It is the doctrine of Trump, who stated that he would only send his troops to other countries if 50 per cent of the loot was stolen. I am not exaggerating; millions of people have seen this explained on social media. It is the doctrine of war for oil, of greed, hatred and ambition.

The Trump doctrine is joined by other European countries. The Bank of England stole from the Venezuelan people more than $1.2 billion in gold, simply because they can do it. No explanation needed.

With the return of the pillage and plunder of colonialism, confidence in bank deposits of all countries in the world in American and British banks is destroyed. The United States and the United Kingdom would steal the savings of the people if they would have the opportunity. It is the business of plundering and assaulting those who believe in their promises of neutrality and impartiality. International law and all contracts lose meaning when entrapment and greed are the moral basis of empires. It is the Trump Doctrine: the winner takes the spoils. At least 50 per cent.

Mr. President,

And with the greatest looting of our people in centuries, with gigantic theft accompanied by the most abject surrender we arrive at the infamous humanitarian crisis.

The propaganda machine hides the motives of the aggression, and the scale of the robbery concentrates on the humanitarian motives of the thieves who, now converted into some sort of Mother Teresas of Calcutta, feel an enormous concern for the suffering of Venezuelan people. We must thank the looters for offering us the crumbs from the loot they took.

By destroying the economic sources of the country, they inflict a massive violation of human rights of our people, generating chaos and maximum collective suffering. They use our people as hostages to destroy social peace and weaken the strength of the nation, this is a war of attrition.

The aggressors impose a narrative of humanitarian rescuers. They now want to overthrow the government because they have to save the hungry and sick that they themselves are producing.

If they really care about the needy, just returning the stolen would help immediately, but that is not the goal. Of the $30 billion that were stolen, $30 million are announced to alleviate the effects of crime; that is an immoral and barbaric act and that is what they call "humanitarian aid."

This is a gigantic propaganda operation. The simplest solution is to eliminate the measures of foreign extortion against our people, but considering that it is about imposing a colonial government, the handouts must be given using foreign military force. In the same way, some gentlemen in Miami who proclaim themselves a court have already authorized a U.S. military invasion of their own country. They said it yesterday here in this building.

Mr President,

True humanitarian aid can only be neutral, independent, universal, non-political and delivered at the request of the recipient state. It can never be used for purposes of extortion or aggression, let alone to justify war. This trap is clearly seen by serious humanitarian organizations such as the International Red Cross or the United Nations, which have refused to participate in this propaganda operation because it attacks the essence of what upholds humanitarianism in the world: trust, goodwill and peace.

If anyone wants additional and definitive evidence of the perversity and immorality of this aggressive project, they can find it in the fact that the person in charge of the U.S. operation today is exactly the same person who organized, in 1986, the clandestine shipment of weapons for the civil war in Nicaragua in airplanes camouflaged as humanitarian aid, sending weapons as if they were humanitarian aid to kill Nicaraguans.

There is no greater cynicism in the message they are sending to the world. They are the same actors, the same tricks, it is the same simulation of interest in those who suffer.

They are the same sickly messages that one day express interest in Venezuelan children and the next day they say that they are going to invade us to bring help. They are going to kill us to save us. They are going to bomb us to feed us. It is colonial humanitarianism that offers relief but ends up selling the war of conquest.

Yesterday President Trump declared a security and humanitarian emergency on his southern border. Does that mean he is going to send food and medicine to migrants approaching his border? No, he is going to build the wall for them.

Is it impossible to believe that those who put children in cages in the U.S. and build humiliating walls are sincere when it comes to Venezuelan children? If you want to help Venezuela, don't threaten us with wars. Instead, give us back what you stole from our people.

Mr. President,

Now, the last point. What's going to happen now?

The failed coup removed the disguise of the colonial invasion. The self-proclaimed have no national fibre for the country to follow. Now they are desperate with coarser, more insolent, more strident threats. Stuck in the swamp of a delirious plan, they can only save it with increasingly dangerous and repugnant actions.

The first is the policy of calculated cruelty. They are going to treat Venezuela as a gigantic experiment in economic deprivation and wait for the country to burst inside and then appear as if they were the saviors. They believe that in a few weeks the national suffering will be intolerable and like a besieged city of antiquity the population will surrender on its own.

The second is even worse -- while the moral, economic and military resistance capabilities of the nation are deteriorating and clandestine operations are being prepared to justify external military action, we know that there are secret military movements at this very moment, as we have denounced. I want to warn of two things: either U.S. Ambassador Carlos Trujillo had supernatural powers of prediction several months ago when he announced that Colombia's military forces were going to attack President Maduro, using the ELN as an excuse, that is, he listened to what the Colombian ambassador said today, with the marvelous powers of a gifted man; or they are in a plan that they had known for several months. You tell me which one you prefer: whether the supernatural and mystical explanation or the secret, clandestine, cruel and miserable plan.

They are the horsemen of the apocalypse: hunger, war and death to obtain the conquest. All in the name of humanitarianism that conceals its cruel ambition.

Only twisted minds, souls poisoned with hatred and greed can design such vile and low plans. These are the works of criminal organizations and not of responsible governments. They are driving the region to the abyss while propaganda machines hypnotize international public opinion.

There is one last scenario: U.S. public opinion itself can react and reject Trump, on its behalf, and the use of its armed forces in colonial wars against countries on this continent, which has already declared the continent a Zone of Peace.

It is also possible that a peace movement will emerge that prevents the death traffickers, including the Secretary General who calls for war all the time, from deceiving the world in the name of their greed for oil and domination.

The nations of the region and of the world can decide to defend the principles of the Charters of the United Nations and of the OAS itself and reject the military adventure of the supporters of the Trump doctrine, of the doctrine of 50 per cent.

Our people also understand the existential danger they face and strengthen their patriotic conscience, women and men, civilian and military, from all regions and social origins, are organizing themselves into a powerful national movement for the salvation of the homeland and for peace. This reaction weakens the forces of destruction and leaves no room for those who initiated this dangerous adventure.

We are in the process of a second liberation of our homeland and we will not fail in our duty.

(Official translation. Slightly edited by TML. February 15, 2019)

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Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic

30th Anniversary of U.S. Invasion of Panama

Panama City during the U.S. invasion, December 21, 1989.

Installing presidents to give the appearance that a government is legitimate is nothing new for the U.S. imperialists and their appeasers such as Canada. This year will mark 30 years since the U.S. launched a brutal invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989. U.S. President George H.W. Bush sent 12,000 troops with bombs and heavy firepower into the country, striking the capital Panama City and the city of Colon.

Little was spoken in the monopoly-owned media of the death toll or destruction from that invasion. The U.S. media was almost entirely focused on the number of U.S. troops killed and wounded but Panamanian health workers were quoted as saying the Panamanian death toll was between 4,000 and 7,000 dead of which at least 2,000 were buried in mass graves. The destruction left at least 10,000 homeless.

After the invasion, U.S. troops imposed martial law. Acting as a state security force, they arrested thousands of people perceived as opposing the invasion or being supporters of Manuel Noriega, the president the U.S. had previously put into power. Noriega was later accused of being a drug lord and deposed in the invasion when those arrangements no longer suited U.S. aims. Eyewitnesses said U.S. troops went house to house; it is believed they rounded up, arrested and then detained nearly 7,000 Panamanian civilians in various camps and prison facilities.

To give its invasion and occupation of Panama legitimacy, Guillermo Endara was declared president of the country and sworn in on a U.S. Army base in the sector of the Panama Canal under U.S. control.

Six years before that, in 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, citing an alleged threat posed to American nationals on the island of Grenada, ordered U.S. Marines to invade the island. Some 6,000 U.S. troops were sent to secure the safety of nearly 1,000 Americans in Grenada at the time, many of them students at the island's medical school. Prior to the invasion, the U.S. had Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop assassinated and had the assassin installed as Prime Minister. It then cited the people's opposition to those actions as the reason U.S. nationals needed defending. In little more than a week, Grenada's government was overthrown and the U.S. installed another government to its liking. The Reagan administration claimed a great victory, calling it the first "rollback" of communist influence since the beginning of the Cold War.

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Hispaniola Rising: How the U.S. Coup in Venezuela Is Taking Root in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

TML Editor's Note: The Haitian opposition is calling for the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse over wrecking of the economy and corruption centred around embezzlement by Haitian oligarchs and their patrons from Venezuela's PetroCaribe oil-discount program. This was a program that benefited the poor and provided funds for development of a self-sufficient economy.

Since last year, Haitians have been demanding an accounting of the PetroCaribe money, which was supposed to be invested in social programs for the poor after the country's 2010 earthquake, as shown in the above photo from October 17, 2018.

The United States threatened various OAS members like Haiti, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic, members of CARICOM, with diplomatic and financial action if they voted in favour of non-interference and respect for Venezuela's sovereignty. The Haitian government capitulated to the U.S. dictate and voted against Venezuela at an OAS meeting in Jannuary, arousing the fury of Haitians still further.


For more than a decade Venezuela has aided the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through a preferential system known as Petrocaribe, and the people of those nations are not taking their governments' support for the US coup in Venezuela lightly.

As Judas betrayed the Son of Man with a kiss for 20 pieces of silver, the institutionally corrupt governments in Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo have written another sad chapter in their nation's history.

Ironically, it was Venezuela that helped to develop the island's energy infrastructure in recent years. A key part of this is the REFIDOMSA oil refinery in the Dominican Republic which the Venezuelan government helped to develop and partially owns, and which has also been used to help alleviate increased fuel demands and shortages in Haiti.

For more than a decade Venezuela has aided the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic through a preferential system known as Petrocaribe, which provided subsidized crude oil prices to meet the countries critical energy demands. The Petrocaribe oil agreement, allowed for governments to pay only 60 per cent of the oil shipments they purchase from Venezuela. The remaining 40 per cent could be financed over 25 years at 1 per cent interest, as long as oil prices stayed above $40 per barrel. This allowed for tremendous savings, and money that (according to the agreement) was supposed to be used for socially beneficial purposes.

Countries such as Nicaragua, Jamaica, Cuba, and many islands in the eastern Caribbean have successfully utilized Petrocaribe funds and other Venezuelan support mechanisms, investing in vital infrastructure, education, health care, and have used the funding to avoid austerity deals with the IMF and other international financial institutions. Corrupt politicians in Hispaniola, though, whose regimes are closely aligned with Washington, have by contrast become well-known for robbing many of the funds meant for the social needs of their population.

For this reason, the date of January 10, 2019, will go down in the historical memory of the Dominican and Haitian peoples, as an ignominious reminder of the historically aberrant role of the Organization of American States (OAS), when that body was used as a front by neo-conservative policymakers in Washington. It was on that date that the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic voted to no longer recognize Venezuela's legitimately elected president.

The people of Hispaniola, on both sides of the island, are waking up. They are coming to understand how the political orders in their countries are being managed by Washington and how local corrupt elites are stealing the solidarity funds sent by Venezuela while failing to meet the needs of the local population. Haitians and Dominicans are organizing protests, meeting at homes and schools to discuss what is happening, learning on social media and through news spread over Whats App and Facebook. Hispaniola's betrayal of Venezuela will not be taken lightly.

The people of Hispaniola know better. They know that it was the U.S., not Venezuela, that twice invaded and occupied the Dominican Republic; they know of the multiple coups and occupations that the U.S. has carried out in Haiti. The Dominican collective memory still bears the deep scars of the over 2,000 Dominicans that perished during the invasion of Santo Domingo by the U.S. marines in April, 1965. (Dominican historians calculate that the actual figure of deaths including civilians and military during the 1965 invasion and occupation, could have been as high as 5,000). Haitians still march annually protesting the 1991 and 2004 coups d'état, which cost the lives of so many thousands, as many human rights studies verified, such as a paper in the Lancet Medical Journal that found that upward of 8,000 people were killed as a result of the 2004 coup and pro-U.S. paramilitary violence. A decade prior it was estimated that more than 10,000 were killed in the wake of the 1991 coup.

We need also to remember how the U.S. supported the ruthless Trujillo and Duvalierist dictatorships. We must not forget the first U.S. invasion and occupation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, that took place in the early 20th century during the Era of Gunboat Diplomacy in the Central-American and Caribbean Basin.

It is against this compelling and stark historical background, that we are confronted again with tumultuous events in the region, when the U.S. is once more employing the infamous and wholly discredited OAS, in its theatrical charade to lend an air of "legitimacy" to the recent lopsided vote against Venezuela. While 14 of the CARICOM states, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Uruguay, Cuba, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, India, South Africa, and nearly all of the states in mother Africa continue to recognize the elected government, the U.S. has found support from its right-wing and neo-liberal allied governments across Latin America, Europe, and in Israel. Shockingly, the Dominican Republic and Haiti joined with the U.S. in denouncing Bolivarian Venezuela.

This eerily reminds some of us old enough to remember, of those similarly turbulent days in the hemisphere during 1962, when an OAS meeting took place in a beach resort known as Punta del Este, Uruguay as Cuba was removed from the body. It was at that OAS meeting that the legendary Foreign Minister of Cuba Dr. Raul Roa forever baptized that odious organization as "The Ministry of Yankee Colonies."

Dominicans Won't Accept Their Government
Stabbing Caracas in the Back

Precisely because of these historical realities that transpired in Hispaniola and the region, vis-à-vis the "Colossus of the North," the popular movements and social organizations of the Dominican Republic have again assumed their vanguard roles as national leaders, mobilizing throughout the country, reminding the people of the historic legacy serving as background to current events, once again building up the people's collective consciousness, illustrating that these latest events have not happened in a vacuum. Within this context, a broad coalition of popular movements and organizations, scheduled a vigil on February 5, 2019, in Santiago, the heart of the northern Cibao region of the country, comprising 13 key provinces which have played a determining role in this country's history, going back all the way to its independence in the mid 19th Century.

The deep solidarity bonds of Venezuela towards the Dominican nation can be traced further back in time, when in 1930 the first outflow of Dominican exiles began arriving in the "Patria de Bolivar," fleeing the U.S. backed Trujillo's dictatorship. Professor Juan Bosch, a legendary figure of Dominican history and who in 1962 became the first democratically elected President after the fall of Trujillo, arrived in this first contingent of Dominican exiles in Venezuela. Bolivar's homeland in turn became the safe harbour of patriotic activism against Trujillo, by the Dominican diaspora. This anti-Trujillo militancy from Venezuela became so intense, that the "Satrap of the Caribbean" as Trujillo was sometimes known, ordered an assassination attempt against President Betancourt of Venezuela in 1960. The Dictator Trujillo was finally assassinated in 1961.

After the fall of Trujillo and the ascent to power in Dominican Republic of another lackey of U.S. imperialism -- President Joaquin Balaguer, whose elections in 1966 were known to have been financed by the U.S. Department of State according to declassified files -- over 2,000 Dominican combatants that participated in the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1965 arrived in Venezuela. Afterwards during the re-election of Balaguer in 1971-72, hundreds of Dominicans also migrated to Venezuela. The situation in D.R. then became so untenable for many Dominicans due to Balaguer's fierce persecution of opponents, it is estimated upwards of 60,000 of them migrated to Venezuela. Eventually, the Dominican diaspora in Venezuela became the largest migration inflow from the insular Caribbean, up to the ascent to power of Chávez, at which time Cubans began to increasingly arrive in Venezuela, composing in part the core of Chávez's "Mision Barrio Adentro" massive health clinics projects, in the poor neighborhoods of the country.

In summary, the brotherly hospitality and solidarity afforded to Dominicans in Venezuela, throughout 20thCentury migratory periods, along with the aforementioned fact of Venezuela's consistent solidarity with Dominican Republic through the generous Petrocaribe oil agreement, this honorable background stands in stark contrast to D.R.'s "Kiss of Judas" vote at the OAS against Venezuela, on January 10, 2019. This "Kiss of Judas" comes at a time when Bolivarian Venezuela faces a mounting economic war undertaken by the U.S. and its allies, compounded by a huge decline in the international price of oil.

With Dominicans aware of their history and learning the truth about the empire's actions in the region, in the coming months, it appears very likely that the elite consensus in Dominican politics will begin to be shaken, as [President] Danilo Medina faces a crisis of legitimacy.

Jovenel Moïse's Treason and the Oncoming Tidal Wave of Resistance

It was Haitians who stood out within our concert of colonized Caribbean nations, as the people which decisively proved in the field of battle, that the very best of Europe could be defeated in war when it finally gained independence from France in 1804. Venezuela's and Haiti's history is also intertwined, when in 1816 Pétion gave arms, money and men to Bolivar, for the cause of independence of Venezuela, which in turn eventually liberated Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from imperial Spain.

Sign seen at weekly Haitian protest against the theft of PetroCaribe funds, October 2018. 

More recently, during the second Presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Venezuela was one of the only countries which kept providing financial support to the Haitian government as it was embargoed and undermined by the George Bush administration. Furthermore, it was Chávez who was the only Latin American leader who forcefully denounced the 2004 coup against Aristide. Afterwards, during the Préval and then the right-wing Martelly and Moïse regimes, Venezuela continued its unconditional solidarity with the people of Haiti, through its Petrocaribe agreement, as well as providing financial assistance for infrastructure projects. Venezuela has never required the conditionalities, nor the political alignment, for its aid, as have the supranational agencies and countries of the north. A true friend.

Regarding Venezuela and Haiti we must remember, that during Chávez's tenure and following Haiti's catastrophic 2010 earthquake, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution soon thereafter announced Venezuela would "write off" Haiti's undisclosed oil debts. At an ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) foreign ministers' meeting after the earthquake, Chávez remarked that "it wasn't Haiti that had a debt with Venezuela, but just the opposite Venezuela had a debt with that nation." He also mentioned that an initial donation of $10 million would be disbursed to Haiti for emergency energy needs, along with an additional $100 million "for starters" towards infrastructure projects. Additionally, Chávez mentioned, one part of ALBA assistance to Haiti would consist of fuel distribution via "mobile service stations" to be up and running within a few weeks. The ALBA plan of aid for Haiti also included support for such sectors as agriculture production, food imports and distribution, and immigration amnesty for Haitians living illegally in the bloc's member-states. At that time also, Cuba and Venezuela sent assistance and aid workers to Haiti within days of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that left an estimated 150,000-200,000 dead and more than a million people homeless.

To illustrate that unique internationalist relationship between Venezuela and Haiti, we must witness the Venezolana de Television report of Chávez's trip to Haiti in 2007, exemplifying the close emotional bond between these two Caribbean nations, which Chávez in great measure revived as he recuperated its historic memory jogging openly with the peoples of Cité Soleil and Bel Air through the streets of Port-au-Prince. In this report, you will witness the incredible feat of Chávez leaving his vehicle, as he actually joins the joyful masses in Port-au-Prince, which are jogging in unison along his motorcade. On the other side of the historical spectrum, when Nixon as Vice President visited Venezuela in 1958 the total opposite occurred at that time. Instead of joyful crowds awaiting Nixon, enraged Venezuelans violently assaulted his limousine, manifesting the people's rebuke of the U.S.'s close collaboration with the ruthless dictatorship of Perez Jimenez, which had recently ended.

As Moïse's unpopular government has been caught up in corruption scandals and as complaints grow over the worsening economic situation and a lack of government support for the poor, in recent months the USPGN (Moïse's own personal security forces) took part in a violent massacre targeting an anti-government slum. With Moïse facing mass protests his government increasingly takes its cues from Washington.

"No need for threats, I won't vote for Venezuela!" 

With regards to Jovenel Moïse's governemnt's treasonous vote against Venezuela at the OAS, another of its aberrant dimensions was its diametrical position vis-à-vis the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Haiti is a member. CARICOM's position has been unequivocal in contravention to the virtually neocolonial position of OAS Secretary General Almagro, who by all reasonable standards has become a virtual mouthpiece of Uncle Sam at the "Ministry of Yankee Colonies." CARICOM on the one hand recognizes the legitimacy of President Maduro of Venezuela, while the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has recognized the so-called "self-proclaimed" interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido.

Haiti has long been in the crosshairs of the Empire and its local proxies. In recent years top elites have sought to restructure the county's economy and political scene. This has come after the U.S. and its allies have essentially neutralized the country's sovereignty and independence, heavily influencing, installing regimes, or supporting political processes that relied on heavy vote suppression and years of political disenfranchisement (such as in 2016 with one the lowest percentages of voter participation in the world). This is the same unpopular and corrupt regime, which has been the subject of massive nationwide protests against its misuse of Venezuela's Petrocaribe funds, starting on August, 2018, and which continually burst out throughout the following months and into February, 2019.

These protests were practically made invisible by Western mainstream media, even as their brutal repression has been well documented by citizen journalists and local grassroots groups.

Hispaniola Rising!

In spite of the backstabbing vote of the corrupt Dominican and Haitian administration's against Venezuela at the OAS, the people of Hispaniola's solidarity with Venezuela has been manifest in many ways.

Huge marches backed by many grassroots groups and Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party have called for an end to the foreign occupation and new sovereign elections, while a smaller opposition party Pitit Dessalin has planned demonstrations in support of the legitimacy of President Maduro. Already Haitian paramilitary and police forces are being used to brutally attack these demonstrations.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Hispaniola, on February 17, 2019, a massive demonstration in support of Venezuela is scheduled to take place, at the Parque Independencia of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Student groups and activist circles across the country are being mobilized and are coming to understand the threat that Trump and his neo-con allies present.

Mass demonstration in support of President Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution at Parque Independencia in Santo Domingo, February 17, 2019.

In view of all the aforementioned, this writer while not an expert on geopolitics or history, by virtue of the fact of having been born in the Caribbean, and having closely observed its regional history since childhood and comprising many decades, I have reasonably concluded that this recent crisis between Venezuela and the Empire (or the "Colossus of the North"), could perhaps be opening a new threshold in the correlation of forces in the hemisphere, to the point where we could almost start leaning towards the conclusion, that perhaps the United States of America is no longer the absolute master of this hemisphere, say as it was the case prior to the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

What we are witnessing now are key nations such as Venezuela deciding to chart a course in favor of thier own people, implementing the re-foundation of the nation-state, while further steering away from the imperial diktat. At the same time, it is obvious that the Empire while commencing its decline, still exerts plenty of hemispheric muscle, as the treacherous OAS vote of Haiti and Dominican Republic has shown, in spite of Venezuela's committed and honorable solidarity record with these two sister nations. Informing the younger generations about the history of the U.S. empire in the region, about the role of soft power in the media, and what is happening around the region today is vital. Also vital are creating new bonds and working to unify popular sectors to oppose the plans of Washington and their clients, to once again build south-south bonds and regional development from below.

(HaitiAnalysis.com, February 11, 2019)

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On the Eve of the February 24 Referendum to Approve the New Constitution

Cuban citizens living in Vietnam cast their vote in the
constitutional referendum, February 16, 2019.


Tomorrow, February 24, the Cuban people go to the polls to vote on the new Constitution. Already Cubans abroad have cast their ballots. TML Weekly is publishing below a brief summary by the newspaper Granma on Cuba's transcendental Constitutional Reform process. We wish the Cuban people every success and happiness!

1. Start of the Reform Process

By agreement of the National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP), in an extraordinary session held on June 2, 2018, it was agreed to initiate the Constitutional Reform process and approve, as a first step, the creation of a Commission in charge of preparing the proposed Constitution.

The Commission, chaired by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba; and with the presence of the President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; and the Second Secretary of the Party, José Ramón Machado Ventura, worked intensely in the drafting of the first version.

2. Approval of the Proposed Constitution by the National Assembly

After several sessions of debate, in July of 2018, deputies approved the proposed Constitution of the Republic, and voted to submit the document to an extensive popular consultation.

3. Popular Consultation

The process of popular consultation extended from August 13 to November 15, 2018 and mobilized the entire country, even Cubans living abroad had the opportunity to participate.

4. Approval of the Constitution by the National Assembly

The final draft of the proposed Constitution, discussed and analyzed by deputies and enriched with proposals from the population, was approved, by a roll-call vote, by the ANPP, during the Second Ordinary Period of Sessions of the Ninth Legislature. Esteban Lazo Hernández, President of the Parliament, summoned citizens with the right to vote to a referendum, on February 24.

5. Appointment of the National Electoral Commission
and Other Electoral Bodies

Members of the National Electoral Commission, presided by Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, were appointed December 28, 2018, while provincial, municipal, district and special electoral commissions were named and constituted later.

To carry out the referendum, electoral authorities received extensive training that allows them, in addition to fulfilling their responsibilities, to explain the significance of the constitutional reform process, as well as the contents of the Magna Carta that is submitted to ratification.

6. Test Run

Electoral authorities described the February 17 test run as satisfactory, noting that all processes functioned well.

7. Constitutional Referendum

The referendum will take place on February 24 throughout the country. The vote has already taken place abroad, which went according to plan: with transparency and total adherence to the law.

On the importance of these elections, Miguel Diaz-Canel said, at the conclusion of the Second Ordinary Session Period of the Ninth Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power:

"On a date as dear to us as February 24, 124 years after the resumption of the independence struggle led by our National Hero José Martí, Cubans of these times, faithful to our tradition of struggle, will go to the polls to approve the Constitution, as an expression of firmness and loyalty to the legacy of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, and we will say with our vote: Yes to the Revolution, to the sovereignty and independence of the homeland, to unity. Yes for socialism and for the commitment to our heroes and martyrs over more than 150 years of struggles for freedom."

8. Proclamation of the Constitution

If the Constitution is ratified by the free and secret vote of the people, it will be proclaimed and will govern, from that moment, the destiny of the country.

(Granma, February 22, 2019)

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