By Javier Rodriguez from Los Angeles 29 March 2015
”If Obama and supporters want the government of Venezuela to be punished and/or toppled because they refuse to comply with U.S. dictates, they should at least be honest about their beliefs so that their true character can be seen. Pretending that any of this has to do with the U.S. Government’s anger over suppression of political opponents — when their closest allies are the world champions at that — should be too insulting of everyone’s intelligence to even be an option.” Glenn Greenwald
The latest gross US intervention by “Nobel Peace Laureate” Barack Obama against Venezuela has intensified the conflict between both countries. Once again, what is at stake is the unequivocal fact that the South American nation and its Bolivarian revolution hold one of the largest oil reserves in the planet. Even though American corporations have been Venezuela’s largest oil buyer during its revolutionary period, the US government and the ruling global capitalist class apparently want to control it completely, again, as it did for decades before the socialist revolution, in addition to erasing the country’s influential independent role in the continent.
The latest ploy, as surreal as it maybe seem, the leader of the most potent military force in the history of humanity has opened up a new phase of imperial intervention against the South American nation because according to the Peace Laureate, Venezuela represents “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the security of the US.” As it has been done dozens of times in the last 215 years, Obama is cynically playing the role of the American victim. In the last 6 ½ decades, the familiar but brutal game has been applied to Korea, Viet Nam, Chile, Granada, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq with draconian results, except in Venezuela .
Korea was the first casualty of the Cold War when in July 1950, the United States entered the one month old war in support of the right wing South Korean dictatorship and like Chile, Cuba and Nicaragua from the sixties to eighties “to fight the forces of international communism” and to “liberate” the North from the communists. However, as with all American wars, astonishingly, an estimated 4,960,000 Koreans were killed, while the US lost only 40,000.
In the US-Vietnam War, almost three million Vietnamese were killed and their land was almost destroyed by the US military, when it bombed that small nation with three times more bombs and chemical warfare than all the bombing done in the 2nd World War, when 27 million Soviets were killed by the Nazis. Incredibly in the latter, it was the Russians who after moving millions of their people and whole industries geographically and rebuilding them, the Soviet Armies took on and defeated 200 German Divisions, while the US, Britain and France fought a total of 10.
Since 9/11 and the fall of the three towers of New York and the air assault on the Pentagon by Saudi terrorists, the US military machine destroyed Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq and of course installed “friendly and democratic regimes.” The 2003 assault on Iraq was ridiculously fabricated and again the US Air Force broke the bombing record, destroying the infrastructure and cities alike, logically killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and successfully taking control of that country’s economies and large oil reserves, with I believe only 4,000American deaths. In the case of the Taliban nation, the invasion returned it once more into the world’s limelight as the heroin king pin of the world, producing 70% of the all the opium.
Astoundingly, the fabricated political, economic and military assaults on all of the countries mentioned, and there are more, savagely killed, maimed, injured and starved millions of people and these facts are well documented by the 12 hour documentary, “The Untold History of the United States,” produced and directed by progressive Film Director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick. (All 12 original DVD as shown on Showtime can be purchased directly through Amazon.com for $17.95 plus taxes.) As a Mexican immigrant schooled in America from the age of 11, like Stone, I was never privy to the real history and truth of US wars of intervention and colonialist and imperial invasions, except the US-Mexico War, where my homeland lost half of its territory, the richest, to “American civilization and the Monroe Doctrine.”
President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya
The latest left leaning and democratically elected government in our hemisphere to suffer a full scale coup d’état is Honduras. The imperial hit to the former US ally -remember the Nicaraguan Contras and the Honduras camps- and its popular elected President Manuel Zelaya took place on 28 June 2009 and traditionally, it was done under the cover of democracy and human rights and coordinated by the CIA out of the US Military Base in Honduras. With the exception of the oil, the politics behind the Honduran coup were no different than that of Venezuela’s 48 hour overthrow. That is to say, the other democratically elected government administrated by a really militant and visionary President, Hugo Chavez. At the time of the violent coups, both Latino nations were considered hostile to American interests. However, Chavez had the thick of the military and millions of active and hard loyal supporters backing the revolution, which took up arms and the streets and reinstated the president. Unfortunately, the correlation of forces in Honduras did not favor Zelaya.
Upon hearing of the Honduran developments, President Obama had been in office only 5 months and at that moment he was in Africa. From there, I recall, he publicly declared, “Manuel Zelaya is the only true elected President of the Central American nation.” However and highly unfortunate for us and the Honduran people, during the following days of that crisis, his silence was deafening. Not a sound calling for the reinstatement of Zelaya. Obviously, the former president of “change” and the first African American to be elected in the US, who in the process of a historical election raised hopes of democracy and a new path for humanity, hadn’t been completely schooled or co-opted by the CIA and the military. Paradoxically today, he is leading the charge against a real icon of change, Venezuela.
Since 2009, the social security in Honduras is horrendous. A country of just 8 million inhabitants, by 2013, the murder rate had risen to 85.5 per 100,000 residents, making Honduras the most violent nation in the planet. Additionally, in the beautiful coastal City of San Pedro Sula, the killings rose to 173, which according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (NAUH), it’s the highest in the world outside a war zone. Astonishingly since the coup, as in Afghanistan, 80% of all the drugs in the continent are now smuggled through Honduras.
Another indicator attributed to the coup, is the fact that poverty has also skyrocketed and as usual in Central America, it’s accompanied by a familiar shadow, “immigration to Mexico and the US” and I witnessed it during several trips through Mexico in 2012. Then, I visited the southern State of Tabasco which borders with Guatemala and where since the coup, young Hondurans by the hundreds, cross daily into Mexico on their way to the American dream. They, then immediately cross the spectacular Usumacinta River in hired boats and after landing, an arduous and dangerous walk of 35 kilometers awaits them on their way to the LA 72 Immigrant Shelter in Tenosique, founded by the San Franciscans. Trust me, I walked that path with close to 200 of them, but under the protection of the priests and the reform activists.
In Tenosique every night, the familiar train whistle of “The Beast” is heard for miles and in a matter of minutes the young Hondurans, women and children included, reach the railroad tracks. There, surrounded by an abandoned train station and humble neighborhoods, with some of the homes occupied by the “Maras Gangs,” they climb on top of the Beast to continue their three thousand mile trek north to the US-Mexico border. Incredibly by themselves, tens of thousands have made it and continue making it to the north.
Mexico’s strong Immigration Reform Movement has meticulously documented the human rights violations which in summary state, “in Mexico many of the Hondurans: are beaten, robbed and killed, and 75% of all the immigrant women are raped.” The testimonies implicate not only the criminal Maras gangs and the Zetas Cartel -who control the migrant routes of the Gulf of Mexico- but also reveal the participation of the Municipal and State Police, Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration as well as politicians.
Mexico is perhaps the nation that clearly exemplifies America’s hypocritical pretention of concern over the suppression of political rights in Venezuela or any other place. A country of 110 million people, plus the millions living in the US, it is next door with a 2,000 mile border from where the US can see it all. Since 1988 it has had three massive documented electoral frauds. 1) Unbelievably to ensure Carlos Salinas de Gortari”s victory, in July of 1988, in the middle of the count, the national computer went down for three whole days to make the needed adjustments for the triumph. With Salinas in the presidency, NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, the US and Canada, was approved in 1994. Instead of moving Mexico to the first world and ending immigration as promised, the poverty rate doubled, with millions losing their farms and then displaced from the countryside, they migrated into the large Mexican urban cities and the US. Additionally, after having violated the political and human rights of the whole population, in vengeance, Salinas incremented the political suppression with more than 500 leftist party leaders executed in the first two years of his rule. On January 1, 1994 thousands of Zapatistas exploded in armed rebellion against NAFTA, in the southern State of Chiapas, the poorest under extreme poverty in Mexico. I was there with a Bi-national Human Rights Delegation on January 20 and met with the Zapatistas, inside liberated territory in the jungle. It is at this historical junction in Mexico, when the execution of journalists intensifies. In the north, right under the nose of President George Bush father, the femicide of hundreds of young women began in Juarez, the twin city of El Paso, Texas. In 1996, I was there in Juarez where I accompanied the fact finding delegations headed by then Congs. Hilda Solis and Luis Gutierrez, where we visited the killing fields and spoke to the mothers of the victims, which by then numbered over 5,000. However, the US government brushed it all under the carpet.
2) In 2006, Felipe Calderon, a right wing fundamentalist was also installed as president of Mexico, after the second major electoral fraud, this time directed by three right wing foreign consultants: Two Americans and one Spaniard. With Calderon’s brother in law in charge of the programming, the national computer and the count, this time, the system only went down for a few hours to also make the adjustments for the victory. Immediately after, Calderon, on the request made at a meeting with American Embassy diplomats in the City of Cuernavaca, with the sinister Attorney General Genaro Garcia Luna and Mexican Army officials present, the war was agreed. Financed with $1.5 billion US Dollars under the Merida Plan, he launched it against all the drug cartels except “El Chapo Guzman’s.” In Calderon’s watch, an estimated 100,000 died and 27,000 disappeared, two million were displaced internally and of course many more migrated north. Spectacularly, Juarez where I lived prior to migrating to Los Angeles, for years, became the murder capital of the world, followed by Torreon my hometown, and Acapulco. Logically with the dogs of war loose in Mexico, human rights violations augmented dramatically. As the war ensued, the killing of journalists increased and Mexico earned the number two spot in media assassinations worldwide. This period was documented by national and foreign human rights organizations, the progressive media and investigative authors like Anabel Hernandez and her Trilogy “Los Senores del Narco.” Our democracy loving government, once again, did nothing to stop the massacre, on the contrary.
3) I have written extensively on my trips to my home country in 2012, border to border, where I witnessed the third presidential electoral fraud and I wrote several pieces and media advisories from Mexico City. For the popular left candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, it was the second consecutive stolen election against him. I was there on both occasions and I saw and heard the people by the millions in the streets calling on Obrador to order a rebellion, an uprising, but he refused. Cuauhtémoc Cardenas did the same thing in 1988 when he was robbed of the presidency by Salinas, after the computers cynically went down for three days. Was it a historical mistake?
In July 2012, Enrique Pena Nieto was imposed after his team bought the votes of millions of the poorest in the country, unbelievably by handing out debit cards by the millions. The victory was also part of a seven year TV reality campaign, directed by the Chief Executives of Televisa, including its principal stock holder, Emilio Jean Azcarraga. This chapter was documented by Jenaro Villamil in his classic, “El Gran Montaje.” Pena Nieto is formerly the Governor of the State of Mexico, next to Mexico City and holder of the largest bloc of votes, at 12 million. He has a reputation of being a cruel and corrupt public official. Intellectually he’s not the brightest but politically he is tenacious. Today, Mexico under his rule continues on the road of poverty and like the US, brutal inequality. The war and the suppression of rights continue and for the last six months the world has heard of the missing 43 student/teachers from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. It just won’t go away. To reiterate, President Obama has been a complete disappointment on international policy, human rights and suppression towards all of Latin America and Mexico is the perfect illustration.
Of course the Venezuelans are a peaceful people. That country’s military forces have only exited their land for purposes of war once, in the 19th century, when along with Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, they fought the Spanish during the war of independence, led by their historical father figure, Simon Bolivar. Which means the progressive and Socialist nation has not threatened, invaded nor bombed any nation in this hemisphere or the world? The question is, where does Obama, the highly intellectual and constitutional law professor gets his information?
The Latin American independent bodies such as UNASUR, ALBA, CELAC and the Organization of Non Aligned Countries, have all condemned President Obama’s offensive Executive Actions against Venezuela and are demanding a retraction. Remarkably this time around, the US, as with Cuba, is completely isolated in the world’s political arena. Moreover, the Summit of the Americas is coming in April and with the tension over Obama’s actions and his presence there promises a historical debate.
The 55 Million Latinos in the US
The piece missing here is the 55 million Latino population and its national leadership. I’m referring to the Latino political class, the over 5,000 Latino elected leaders, the Hispanic Caucus, Latino Business Associations and the influential Latino and progressive media entities such as National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Hispanic Media Association and Radio Pacifica and Democracy Now. Venezuela and the Latin American and Caribbean progressive organized blocks could use their assistance to lobby and directly pressure President Obama and help him understand “the Venezuelan people are not a threat to the US or any other Country.” The leaders could also send fact finding high level delegations to begin a series of dialogues with the Venezuelan Government, similar to the one being organized by California elected officials and expected to visit Cuba this Spring.
*Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. A long time social activist, he is recent co founder of the Millions of Voices Coalition in LA that on Sept. 22, 2013 organized the largest march of that crucial year with thousands of people in Downtown LA for Reform; He was also the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 million historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006, as well as the May 1st 2006 Great American Boycott;
Back in 1982-86, he directed the mass street mobilizations in LA that led up to the Amnesty Law IRCA of 1986; a journalist, he traveled for 5 ½ months throughout Mexico in 2012, observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, visited several war zones and his family, as well as traveled with Elvira Arellano to the State of Tabasco border with Guatemala, where the Central American migrants catch the train they call “La Bestia-The Beast.” Between 1987 and 1996, his son Jesus, his nephew Jaramillo and his brother Jesus all fell victim to neighborhood violence in urban LA. His blog is Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com; email firstname.lastname@example.org