By *Jomo Thomas

(“Plain Talk” – Feb. 22, 2019)

Frustration always overcomes me when people, who are for the most part sensible, logical and rational, get taken for a ride by the establishment media. In fact, the current “snow job” being done on Venezuela by the mass media reminded me of the wise saying by Malcolm X:“if you are not extremely careful, the media will cause you to hate your friends and love your enemies”.

The media tells us that the elected President of Venezuela is a dictator responsible for the “humanitarian” crisis in his country. The media also tells us that Juan Guaido, who never ran for president of Venezuela is the “interim president” who will save Venezuela from disaster.

Britain confiscated more than US$1 billion while the US government impounded much more and has even turned some of this money over to the treasonous, coup plotting, illegal “interim president”.  Close to US$20 billion that Venezuela could use to buy food, medicine and other basic necessities have been seized or frozen.

Because of the seizure of Venezuelan state assets, the refusal of the rich and powerful nation and institutions to offer letters of credit as well as the tough, illegal sanctions imposed by the US and others Venezuela is increasingly unable to buy necessary products such as food and medicine as well as make vital investment in its crucial oil industry.

A combination of these measures, intended to make the Venezuelan “economy scream” and to destroy the popular base of support for the revolution among the people, has created a “humanitarian crisis” similar to what we have seen before. But we fail to pay attention.

We join Jim Kavanaugh of Counter Punch in making this bold, but truthful claim:

“Is there a desperate economic situation and tremendous human suffering in Venezuela? You bet there is! How could there not be, when the U.S., the most powerful economic force in the world, in alliance with Venezuelan oligarchy and private capital, which still controls 70 per cent of the economy (And increasing. So much for Venezuela being “socialist”!), has been waging full-spectrum economic warfare and social sabotage against the country for almost twenty years.’

The unsuspecting may dismiss this claim as the wild mutterings of unrepentant radicals. But wait, you may be more persuaded if you were to hear the words of William Brownfield, former US Ambassador to Venezuela, who in pressing for more sanctions on Venezuela, dispensed with the standard “humanitarian” cover that US officials have offered for them. On February 10, Brownfield said:

“And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.”

And if you are not convinced of the lengths to which these high officials of major governments will go to bring to their knees governments they despise, we offer an excerpt from 60 Minutes, the popular CBS news magazine programme of May 12, 1996:

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

It’s worth noting that on 60 Minutes, Albright made no attempt to deny the figure given by Stahl–a rough rendering of the preliminary estimate in a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions. In August 1999, UNICEF came out with the first authoritative report, based on a survey of 24,000 households, suggesting that the total “excess” deaths of children under 5 was about 500,000.< These people are the real criminals. They have a case to answer at the International Criminal Court and not president Maduro.

The same policy of economic aggression was witnessed in the American crime plan to overthrow Salvador Allende in Chile.∙   Allende, who was elected in 1970 was overthrown in a military coup on September 11, 1973.  Jack Devine, a junior CIA operative stationed in Chile during Allende’s presidency told Foreign Affairs Magazine in 2014:

“Two days after Allende’s inauguration, the Nixon Administration developed a plan to make economic success as difficult as possible for the Allende regime. The consist of efforts to ensure that other Latin American governments knew how strongly the US opposed the Allende government and to ‘encourage them to adopt a similar posture; to ‘coordinate efforts’ with those other Latin American governments to oppose action by the Allende government; to exclude, terminat[e], reduce, and limit economic aid to Chile in all forms (credit, ‘financial assistance,) both from the US and international sources; and to advise US firms with interests in Chile that the US would bring pressure on the Allende regime.”

Peter Kornbluh, who studied the Allende period, also told Foreign Affairs:

“Nixon demanded that the US dump a portion of its copper holdings, “to quickly undermine the world price of copper, Chile’s main exports.  The White House refused to give instructions to the US representative in the IDB regarding the US vote for loans to Chile, indefinitely stalling the loan process. The Eximbank continued to give Chile a credit rating of ‘D,’ which reduced Chile’s chance of receiving loans from private US sources. Administration officials also sought to isolate Chile from its Latin American neighbours, and ‘considered trying to expel Chile…from the OAS.”

Peter Kornbluh contends that the Nixon Administration’s policy of economic strangulation destroyed the Chilean economy, destabilizing the country politically as well. In 1974 – the New York Times   admitted that the CIA created the misery, making it impossible for Allende to govern so that a US puppet could be installed. The same criminal playbook is being used against Venezuela.

As professor Timothy Hill says:  “If the U.S. truly wanted to assist Venezuelan citizens, it should work through international groups, like the Red Cross and United Nations, and eliminate economic sanctions. Indeed, this is precisely why the Red Cross, for one, has refused to participate in these U.S. actions, instead criticizing how the U.S. has overtly politicized humanitarian support in order to generate a media spectacle.”

Clearly, what the U.S is doing to Venezuela is a criminal aggression that no longer has any place in the world. Maduro correctly asserts that the aid is cover for a military invasion. Everyone with any anti-colonial credibility must unhesitatingly and unequivocally identify and denounce this action for what it is, and do whatever they can to put a stop to it.

*Jomo Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

12 replies on “Venezuela’s humanitarian battle”

  1. Clearly the USA has much to do with the situation in Venezuela. More at fault is the terrible Socialist system in Venezuela. No nation has ever prospered under socialism. Within the system it rewards a bad work ethic and punishes those that work extra hard. It destroys incentives, promotes corruption and encourages nepotism and other negative social aspects, all under the false guise of egalitarianism. Related to socialism is fascism. They are cut from the same cloth. It is no mistake that the founder of fascism. Mussolini, was at the same time a socialist. Adolph Hitler’s party, The National Socialist Party, is what contributed to the negative socialist happenings in Nazi Germany.
    I am not saying Maduro is comparable to these dictators but Venezuela has to at least change the terrible system they presently have. Venezuela has to decide, not the USA and thier puppet governments in Europe and elsewhere.

  2. This is certainly no “snow job” being done on Venezuela by the mass media which are merely reporting the facts on the ground.

    Everything that has ever happened in Venezuela since Chavez was elected was something the whole world could clearly see, step by step as the country became captured by the socialist monster.

    Introducing other examples like American agression in Iraq and Chile as being identical to the situation is Venezuela is a red herring: neither is comparable in any way to what is now going on in Venezuela and precipitating the current crisis.

    All the sanctions imposed by foreign actors have been a response to the wickedness of this incompetent and thievish socialist regime.

    What is taking place there is something we can all see with our very eyes, unless we are ideologically blind like Jomo Thomas. The downtrodden and hungry masses of Venezuela are merely crying “enough is enough” and want this corrupt, incompetent, immoral, and murderous government thrown into the dustbin of history by any means necesssary, as the three million who have already fled the country and the tens of thousands marching in the streets on a daily basis clearly shows.

    The criminality in Venezuela is all home grown. America and other countries only became gradually involved as the oppression of the Venezuelan people by its own government escalated.

  3. jamal Dominique charles says:

    does that make him an expert on what is happening in venezuela I am tired of seeing person speak about atopic that they just started following some days ago have never live in venezuela have no affiliation with the country and goes on what they think or feel with no real information I would recommend that person go and live venezuela for 6 months and really see what it is like there and what the people of venezuela Think and not stand on there High horse and speak from the outside in and use what has happened in the past and in other location to speak about Venezuela

    1. True. It is illogical, irrelevant, and intellectually dishonest to compare the situation in Venezuela with American involvement in Iraq and Chile.

      Jomo Thomas is grasping at straws and introducing straw man examples to bolster his indefensible position which is based on the unstated premise that any and every socialist/communistic society — whether it be Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, the dictatorial Soviet Union, oppressive North Korea, etc. — deserves to be supported and maintained regardless of the will of the people and the level of force and oppression used to maintain its wicked rule.

  4. Dear little man wanting to appear significant, the one thing that everyone who reads what you wrote on this great media is that Simon Bolivar would never in a million years have approved of Hugo Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, the Castro brothers, Ralph Gonsalves or yourself.

    May I start by asking you if you ever renounced US citizenship?

    It’s such a shame that you are tarred with the same Marxist-Leninist brush as the rest of the communist’s in the hemisphere. Regularly repeating and regurgitating the lies and innuendos that is quite merely taken from the rhetoric of others of the same ilk and embroidered to make it look believable.

    I remember In 2009, in a televised address, you Jomo Thomas said: “the leaders of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) are “cynical and reckless” and their actions “represent a clear and present danger” to the country.
    At the time you were the General Secretary of the People’s Movement for Change (PMC).
    You also said, “Vincentians should, therefore, begin to think and look beyond Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for the leadership of the state.”
    After ranting about leadership, you further said, “Gonsalves and his team are guilty of nothing short of political treason.”
    And in continuing said, “the ULP looks at all of SVG’s problems in political rather than human terms.” “This modus operandi hamstrings SVG and makes it harder to advance the country.”
    Ref: Peter Binose, https://www.iwnsvg.com/2015/10/20/is-jomo-thomas-a-clear-and-present-danger-to-svg/

    We have all seen you switch from openly truthfully criticizing to embracing the ULP and its leadership, supporting all the misdemeanors. Now you come with all this rubbish about Venezuela.

    Those of us with a smattering of intelligence knows that the Americans never put any embargos on Venezuela until 2018/19, long after the country has self-destructed on the policies and behavior of its 21st Century Socialist leadership, under the control and command of Cuba. There were embargoes put on some Venezuelan leadership members by the US in 2015, that did not affect government or State, only politicians, military leaders and perhaps their wives.

    Your derogatory statement suggesting illegitimacy of Guaido taking over the presidency is as you know entirely untrue, he took control under the terms of the Venezuelan constitution. He did that because Maduro had ordered the opposition leaders locked up in prison or under house arrest preceding and during the illegally held presidential election. Then like Vincentian elections, the Venezuelan voting was rigged. Today hundreds of thousands are in the streets of Caracas shouting for Maduro to leave.

    Despite the people starving and without medication dying in droves Maduro refuses to allow US and European medical aid to enter the country. Then to top that, last week Maduro sent a 100 tons of aid to Cuba to help them after storm damage there. He did that while his own people starve.

    Then you Jomo Sanga Thomas dare to come with this cock and bull rubbish story.

    I think it’s time for you to return to your tribal homeland with the BaBenzelé.

    Ps, You were great doing what you’re best at when you achieved success for the Union recently in the court. Why not stick to that and stop being a silly boy.

  5. ALL OF WHAT YOU SAID IS SUBSTANTIATED FACTS !!! ……….SOME PEOPLE CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH BECAUSE THEY THEMSELVES ARE FULL OF EVIL !!

  6. Jomo, I am not a fan of yours (see the vote of no confidence motion that turned into a vote of confidence) and frankly you look like an evil Marxist/ Leninist spokesperson.

    We[SVG] have nothing to do with the problems of Venezuela, we didn’t make them and we can’t fix them. In fact, we can’t even fix our own problems. (With you[ULP] conmen in charge) We all see what is happening in South America via the internet and other means but, you are the only one trying to convince SVG that it is because of the “Evil USA”.

    The USA is the country where most Vincentians go to and live illegally in order to live with a little dignity, not Venezuela. Should Vincentians be immigrating to Cuba and Venezuela instead of the US and other parts of the world instead to stay alive?

    You and Ralph are just as crooked as the people you pointing your finger at in your article above.

    Jomo give it a rest already. Let people make up their own minds. And, this Marxist/Leninist crap just would fly here. If you feel so strongly and hate America tear up your permanent US Visa. Or throw away your green card.

    Recently, I read in the news that you were representing a Rastaman in a traffic violation case. The man almost imprisoned himself under your counsel. It took another lawyer for the man to get proper legal assistance and avoid a lengthy prison stay. So just cut the crap, Jomo.

  7. It’s such a shame that you Jomo are tarred with the same Marxist-Leninist brush as the rest of the communist’s in the hemisphere. Regularly repeating and regurgitating the lies and innuendos that is quite merely taken from the rhetoric of others of the same ilk and embroidered to make it look believable.

    I remember In 2009, in a televised address, you Jomo Thomas said: “the leaders of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) are “cynical and reckless” and their actions “represent a clear and present danger” to the country.
    At the time you were the General Secretary of the People’s Movement for Change (PMC).
    You also said, “Vincentians should, therefore, begin to think and look beyond Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for the leadership of the state.”
    After ranting about leadership, you further said, “Gonsalves and his team are guilty of nothing short of political treason.”
    And in continuing said, “the ULP looks at all of SVG’s problems in political rather than human terms.” “This modus operandi hamstrings SVG and makes it harder to advance the country.”
    Ref: Peter Binose, https://www.iwnsvg.com/2015/10/20/is-jomo-thomas-a-clear-and-present-danger-to-svg/

    We have all seen you switch from openly truthfully criticizing, to now embracing the ULP and its leadership, supporting all the misdemeanours. Now you come with all this rubbish about Venezuela, a supporter of the same ULP you said are “cynical and reckless” and their actions “represent a clear and present danger” to the country, Venezuela are even worse.

    Are you simply a turn coat Jomo?

    Those of us with a smattering of intelligence knows that the Americans never put any embargos on Venezuela until 2018, long after the country has self-destructed on the policies and behaviour of its 21st Century Socialist leadership, under the control and command of Cuba. There were embargoes put on some Venezuelan leadership members by the US in 2015, that did not affect government or State, only politicians, military leaders and perhaps their wives.

    Your derogatory statement suggesting illegitimacy of Guaido taking over the presidency is as you know entirely untrue, he took control under the terms of the Venezuelan constitution. He did that because Maduro had ordered the opposition leaders locked up in prison or under house arrest preceding and during the illegally held presidential election. Then like Vincentian elections, the Venezuelan voting was rigged. Today hundreds of thousands are in the streets of Caracas shouting for Maduro to leave.

    Despite the people starving and without medication dying in droves Maduro refuses to allow US and European medical aid to enter the country. Then to top that, last week Maduro sent a 100 tons of aid to Cuba to help them after storm damage there. He did that while his own people starve.

    Then you Jomo Sanga Thomas dare to come with this cock and bull rubbish story.

  8. Well said Robertson, and well put indeed!

    For whatever moral credibility Jomo and our ruling Ralph Gonsalves family thought they had, in their giving their unwavering support to this obnoxious socialist Maduro regime, it had now been torn to utter shreds by that illegitimate usurper having ordered his soldiers not only to block the much needed food and medical Aid, sent for starving and sick Venezuelans, but worst, to set fire to them.

    Just how gross and immoral can a wannabe tyrant get? The trouble with these blinkered socialist is that their dogma overrides all sense of decency and moral rectitude.

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