Venezuela’s Maduro calls for military exercises after Trump threat

By: Brian Ellsworth and Hugh Bronstein

Venezuelan government says it put down military revolt

By: Patricia Mazzei, Associated Press

Venezuelan authorities quelled an apparent military rebellion early Sunday, a ruling socialist party leader said, the day after a new all-powerful legislative body condemned by the international community began targeting opposition opponents.

Socialist deputy Diosdado Cabello called the incident a “terrorist attack” at a military base in Valencia, a city west of the capital, Caracas. He wrote on Twitter that the situation had been brought under control and that several people were arrested.

His announcement came after the release of a video showing about a dozen men dressed in military fatigues and holding assault rifles declared themselves in rebellion and urged like-minded security forces rise up against President Nicolas Maduro.

Witnesses posted videos including what sounded like gunshots ringing in the dark at the Paramacay military base. After daybreak, neighbors gathered at the base entrance, cheering and singing the national anthem. At one point, they were dispersed with tear gas.

More tear gas was used against a spontaneous protest in a Valencia plaza. Helicopters belonging to security forces flew low over the base throughout the morning.

The military denounced a “paramilitary attack” and said seven men who had been detained were “giving up information.”

In the widely circulated video, a man identifying himself as Juan Carlos Caguaripano, a former National Guard captain, demanded “the immediate formation of a transition government.”

“This is not a coup d’etat,” he said. “This is a civic and military action to restore constitutional order. But more than that, it is to save the country from total destruction.”

Caguaripano was discharged three years ago, accused of conspiring against the government. He had been in hiding since. It was unclear if he was on the Paramacay base — and if so, how he might have gained entry. The rebellion was said to take place among troops from the 41st Army Tank Brigade.

A video later showed Bolivarian Army Commander Jesus Suarez Chourio — surrounded by troops he said were from the 41st Brigade on the base — declaring victory over the “mercenary paramilitary terrorist attack.”

“They assaulted us, but we suppressed them,” said Suarez Chourio, who is under U.S. sanctions for violently repressing political dissent.


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has been pushing for sanctions against Maduro’s government, said on Twitter that Cabello’s acting as the government’s principal spokesman on the incident “shows who’s in charge of security forces in Venezuela.” He called Cabello, who has long been the subject of allegations that he’s involved in drug trafficking, a “narco leader.”

Cabello responded that Rubio was the first “character” to “defend the terrorist attack.”

“Now we know where it all comes from,” he said, later calling the senator “Narco Rubio.”

“Diosdado ‘Pablo Escobar’ Cabello is unusually nervous and frantic this morning,” Rubio retorted.


Cabello is among several socialist leaders threatened with being sanctioned by the U.S. in coming days.

On Saturday, a new constituent assembly elected under suspected fraud dismissed Luisa Ortega, the attorney general investigating the government, from her post and ordered her to stand trial. In response, the president of the opposition-held parliament urged the military to step in to restore the democratic order.

Late Saturday night, the government returned jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to house arrest.


Edited for

A call from Venezuela to the anarchists of Latin America and the world: Solidarity is much more than a written word

Editorial Collective of the anarchist newspaper El Libertario We address all the expressions of the libertarian movement, particularly those of this continent, not only to draw their attention to the situation we are living in Venezuela since April 2017, but by what we understand as urgency for the international anarchism expresses more emphatically on these […]

via A call from Venezuela to the anarchists of Latin America and the world: Solidarity is much more than a written word — Insurrection News

Death toll in Venezuela protests up to 36 with police death

Nicolas Maduro Venezuela Tareck El Aissami Venezuela political crisis constitution constitutional assembly,US US intervention in Venezuela Russia,Donald Trump Trump administration Trump decisions protests demonstrations protests in Venezuela

By: Crisanna Felipe

Almost 30 people have been killed, and many more injured, in protests this month and the economy is staggering under the weight of shortages and runaway inflation. Rafaela Requesens, a student leader, shouted at a wall of National Guard officers standing shoulder-to-shoulder and stopping protesters from advancing. Students held demonstrations across Caracas Thursday as a two-month-old protest movement that.

Hundreds have been injured, often in confusing street melees between stone-throwing youths and security forces firing tear gas and water cannons.

Opposition activists are run over by a charging National Guard riot control vehicle during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas.

A Venezuelan police officer died on Thursday after being shot in ongoing protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government in the country’s north.

Back in Venezuela, family and supporters of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez continue their anxious wait for news amid rumours about his health, despite the release of a so-called “proof of life” video in which he says he is fine. And more than 1,000 have been arrested.

Venezuelans and fellow classical music performers have blasted Dudamel in the past for being cosy with Maduro, who protesters accuse of undermining the South American country’s democracy and blame for an economic collapse that has produced soaring inflation and shortages of food and medicine. The latest waves of protests came in response to Maduro’s recent announcement to call a national Constituent Assembly with the aim of easing political tensions and supporting dialogue with the opposition.

Global news agency reports have mentioned daily protests by Opposition sympathisers on the streets, with pressure increasing by the day for the embattled President to step down.

Maduro has not given details of the changes he plans for the constitution as he began the procedures at the electoral council on Wednesday to elect a “constituent assembly” to draw up a new constitution “so that our people. can decide the destiny of our homeland”.

Maduro announced the creation of a new “constituent assembly” on May Day in Caracas tasked with rewriting Venezuela’s constitution. A group of bipartisan USA legislators sent a letter to President Donald Trump Thursday urging him to apply new sanctions against individuals responsible for human rights violations and to push for the delivery of humanitarian relief.

In an online essay titled “I Raise My Voice“, Dudamel asked President Nicolás Maduro to listen to demonstrators who have taken to the streets against his mandate.

At least 36 people, including supporters and opponents of the government, have been killed in more than a month of unrest triggered by Maduro’s efforts to consolidate his rule.

Mr Montiel also said Venezuela had large reserves of Coltan, a mineral used in electronic circuits, and, therefore, even in missiles, adding that foreign powers were coveting that as well.


Bolívar City and Venezuela in Ruins

Bolívar City and Venezuela in Ruins

Venezuela is breaking into pieces, and the violence in Bolívar City may be just the beginning.

The first victims of a riot are the rioters. That’s what the people of Bolivar City in Venezuela are learning right after the riots that took out 90% of its grocery stores in a matter of hours the weekend of December 16-18. Since 80% of the work force is dependent upon commerce, in addition to hunger, the population now faces a horrifying level of unemployment.

The reason for the riots? Look to the government of Comrade President Nicolas Maduro, “son of Chávez” and leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, who has ruled by decree for most of this year. The direct cause of the riots, however, began the weekend before.

In a country suffering the highest inflation rate in the world (estimated to come in at over 700% this year), with controlled currency dramatically overvalued, an economy utterly dependent on oil so that with slumping oil prices the imports (80% of what Venezuelans consume) imports have been cut to roughly a quarter of what they were two years ago, Maduro decided to deal with these problems by removing the highest value currency note from circulation. The 100 bolívar note (commonly referred to as “bolo” or “bolos”) is worth between 2 and 15 US cents, and the notes have lost so much value that most merchants have taken to weighing, rather than counting them.

The problem was not so much that he removed a bill from circulation, but how he did it. Without having a replacement currency (the bill is going to become a coin), on Sunday, December 11th Maduro gave Venezuela 72 hours to turn in their bills to the banks. The decree, however, was published two days later, on Tuesday the 13th, since Monday was a holiday, so Maduro changed his decree to begin 72 hours starting Tuesday. At last, or so Venezuelan’s believed, they had until Friday, December 16, 2016, to turn in their 100-bolo notes. In exchange they got 50, 20, 10 or even 2 bolo notes.

There were so many problems with this that they couldn’t all be enumerated here, but let’s start with the obvious. If a person brought in a box of 100-bolo notes (at two-cents value each, that might be a few of dollars worth) he would leave with two, five, ten, or more boxes of lower denomination bills. The logistics of getting those boxes home would be one problem fraught with even greater problems, especially given scarcity and cost of transport, crime, etc.

But often the banks haven’t got enough lower denomination notes to pay out, so they give “promissory notes,” but these aren’t currency, and they can’t be used to buy food. And if anyone was foolish enough to go to the ATM to get money, it would simply spit out 100 bolo notes…

There was also the problem of the lines to turn in the 100 bolo notes, some of them winding for blocks down the streets. So all of a sudden Venezuelans, who for two years have been cueing up to buy groceries, often spending up to ten hours in line for food, had to add into that another cue: this time to get rid of money before it became worthless.

You get the picture and it looks like chaos, right? But that’s not enough. The day after the deadline, in the midst of protests, riots, looting, a generalized uprising in various parts of the country, Maduro decided to continue the use of the note until January 2, 2017. He announced that the arrival of the new currency had been “sabotaged” and had “not arrived as I’d wanted.”

Here we leave Nicolas, the boy crying wolf again, and turn to Bolívar City where gangs led by “prans” or prison gang leaders were calling people out into the streets to loot stores. While national guard and police looked on with crossed arms (not daring to go up against the well-armed “prans” and their followers) a wave of destruction swept over the city. It was perhaps no coincidence that the stores belonging to Chinese merchants were the main victims, as Venezuelans, hungry and desperate, grabbed whatever they could find of value, and destroyed the rest. As often happens, minorities take the brunt of the outrage that should be directed at governments.

Given the dire situation of the country, it didn’t take much to get people out into the streets to take what they needed or thought they could trade for what they needed. The desperation is growing in Venezuela where it now takes 17 minimum wage salaries to feed a family, and even professionals (like my friend, a college professor) only manage to eat for less than a week on their wage.

Certainly the tanking of the price of oil is one reason for the problems battering Venezuela today, but it’s not the only, or even the major, reason. Even in 2013, when the price of oil was hovering around US $100/barrel, this writer said that “the so-called ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ is bankrupt: morally, ideologically and economically.” But the socialist Left didn’t want to hear that, and further denunciations of the socialist wrecking-ball known as Chavismo (after founder Hugo Chávez) or the “Bolivarian Revolution” found no place in that or other left websites. So today the ineptitude, incompetence and irresponsibility of the “Son of Chávez”—who, indeed, replicates his “father” Hugo Chávez’s policies with stunning consistency—go unnoticed in most international left media.

Ironically, the riots that destroyed Bolívar City began on the anniversary of Bolívar’s death, December 17th (1830), in a city named after him, and one of historic significance in his struggle for independence. Bolívar City was formerly known as “Angostura,” and it was the site of the Second Congress of Venezuela in 1819 where “the Liberator” gave his great speech to the Congress, a speech laced with Enlightenment ideas.

Today that city where Enlightenment ideals were expressed in one of the most significant independence struggles of the Americas is now falling into darkness and chaos. The destruction of Bolívar City threatens to drag along with it the country where the project of “21st Century Socialism” promised a different outcome in Latin America to that of the socialism of the previous century in the USSR.

In the wake of the collapse of this project, the worldwide Left needs to open honest discussions about why these projects failed. Anarchists, libertarian socialists, democrats and others who always suspected Leninism—and the populism of the “caudillo” or strongman Chávez—will have important contributions to make to that discussion. That is, if the socialist left will allow our voices to be heard.