According to the great Dr. Johnson, “Men can be estimated by those who know them not, only as they are represented by those who know them.” An unavoidable universal contingency – for, indeed, we don’t know most of the people we judge. And the same, but for a few much-travelled individuals, applies to nations.
We also know that “on the tongue of Rumor, continual slanders rise, stuffing the ears of men with false reports.”
That rumor and falsehood are trademarked products of the oligarchical news-mill needs no elaborate demonstration. Truth, by atrophy of misuse, has lost the sense of its own meaning.
Nevertheless, at least on national matters, most of us can often track or trace related and reliable evidence proving the falsehood. Besides, experience and history have shown that truth is scarcely to be heard but by those from whom it can serve no interest to conceal it.
But on international matters, and where the ruling oligarchy’s interests are at stake, to test the truth of rumors and news is more challenging. Consequently, we are more prone to half-believe the rumors, even though domestic experience should have induced an instinctive propensity to disbelief, when not an unfathomable depth of incredulity.
In limited cases, the democracy of the oligarchs(1), feeling reassured that their crimes will remain unpunished, actually claim them as virtuous acts. Ukraine is an example, when the woman “whose sole name blisters my tongue,” had no compunction to say publicly that, “We spent 5 billions to take down the (democratically elected) local government.”
So far, it has not been easy to duplicate Ukraine in Venezuela. The spirit of Hugo Chavez survived his death. Alternatively, to make a Libya out of Venezuela may lead to counterproductive consequences, even for the oligarchic democrats of the exceptional nation.
Furthermore, in the collective mind, Venezuela lives in a geographical limbo. It lies somewhere in South America, maybe to the left or to the right of Colombia – sharing borders with Brazil and with those three rarely heard-of countries, the Guyanas, of which one used to be British, one is still French and one Dutch, though, after its independence Dutch Guyana is called Surinam.
The relative noiselessness of the Guyanas extended, and would have continued its extension to neighboring Venezuela, but for the irruption of Hugo Chavez on the world stage.
As we know, Hugo Chavez was a socialist – a qualification requiring no explanation, though I will beg my 25 readers to allow a lexical comment.
We are, of course, both masters and slaves of words. Some of which mean more than they sound, and, when hearing them, they spontaneously produce deep-seated mental images that we think are ours, though they are not.
One such word is “socialism” or “socialist.” Over 100 years of unremitting and hammering anti-socialist propaganda were not spent in vain. Contrary to its actual and etymological meaning, a ‘socialist’ filtered through propaganda is a scrounger, an idler whose ideal profession is to do nothing, followed by long periods of rest, an ignorant recipient of unearned privileges, an individual envious of his deserving betters, a peddler of diabolical notions, a godless creature imbued with satanic ideas, inculcated in him by godless preachers and sundry enemies of humanity.
As for the states that dare practice socialism in whatever form, they are poor, starving, helpless, hopeless, godless, powerless, corrupt and without freedom. Their rulers are dictators who defend the indefensible and vainly attempt to make the unworkable work.
It’s not even worth it to dispute the propaganda, for, after a certain not-easily-measurable level of indoctrination, too many people no longer believe in facts.
Returning to Venezuela, the official (US, Anglo-Zionist) info-mill wants us to believe that the country is on the brink of a civil war, that citizens are on the edge of starvation, and that only a brutal dictatorship, fearful of its own demise, forces the citizens to live under its regime. Hinted-at, though not openly declared, is that Venezuelans eagerly await the (military and logistic) helping hand of the exceptional nation to regain their freedom.
It’s a line that, in the context of the neo-liberal philosophy, makes sense. Thirty years of recent history have taught one truth to the dominant oligarchic classes. They need an enemy to effectively resist the consequences of the social regression they impose at home. And two or more enemies are better than one. Venezuela fits the bill.
To balance this gloomy vision of Venezuela, I will first publish extracts from an open letter to the Italian mainstream media, written and signed by over 150 Italian citizens living in Venezuela (letter of course unpublished by the addressee).
I will then contrast it with an article on Venezuela, written by a Phil Gunson (son of a gun?) for the “International Crisis Group” (nomen omen), a Soros-founded NGO, (there we go again).
Here is what the Italians say:
Dear Italian Citizens,
Reading the Italian mainstream media and listening to the RAI (the equivalent of the BBC in Italy) and other chains, we regrettably observed that, on Venezuela, the information given only repeats the claims, positions and interpretations of one of the two parties concerned.
We also read and hear often that the attention paid to Venezuela by the (Italian) media is justified by the presence in Venezuela of “a substantial Italian community of Italian origin.” This community is said to be suffering, and to be bound together and unanimously with the opposition.
We, the signatories of this letter, are members of this substantial Italian community – but interpret very differently the origin and causes of the serious situation affecting the country where we have lived for many years, where we built our lives and formed our families. We are here either because we emigrated directly, or are the children and grandchildren of Italian immigrants, who came to Venezuela after WW2, to escape poverty, or find employment unavailable in Italy.
Many of us have shared and approved the project of Bolivarian socialism proposed by Chavez and continued by Maduro. We did so either as activists or voters, and participated directly in the project of a more just and supportive Venezuela.
What was and is unacceptable to us is that in a country so beautiful, rich in resources and potential, tens of millions of people lived for more than a century in a situation of strict apartheid, barred from any opportunity of social emancipation, and therefore without the essential rights to a dignified life, namely work, education, public health services and a pension.
Venezuela has endured this situation for over 100 years. We ask why, only at the beginning of this century, with Hugo Chavez, for the first time in the history of this country, these issues have been decisively addressed. And why this had not happened before. Those who today protest in the streets of the affluent neighborhoods, shouting “freedom!” where were they, what were they doing, before Chavez was elected in free democratic elections?
In these years (of Chavez), various UN agencies and the UN itself, have certified that Venezuela was among the first countries in the world in the fight against poverty, illiteracy and child mortality, achieving results unmatched in scale, speed of progress and quality.
You write about the lack of products of first necessity, and (prescription) drugs, but do not say that there is a coordinated hoarding and speculative action, that has driven up exponentially both prices and inflation. Who is responsible for the importation of these products? Some large and medium-sized private enterprises, furthermore subsidized by the State. In the best of cases, these shortages reflect the inefficiency of these private group. Or, more ominously, the groups make political use of the shortages. This is similar to what happened in Chile in 1973, in order to overthrow the democratic government of Allende.
Clearly the main objective of this revolt of the rich (please note that the riots only occur in affluent neighborhoods of our city), is to call into question the social achievements reached in recent years, to privatize our national oil company and other rising enterprises operating in strategic sectors, such as gas, gold, coltan, thorium, the latter recently discovered in large quantity. The objective of these social sectors is to return to their mythical past, a feudal past in which a small elite enjoyed all the privileges and had the charge of the country, while tens of millions languished in utter poverty.
We do not have a truth to convey, but we have so many things to tell and make known to Italians in Italy through the media. Beginning with the fact that the Italian community is not, as today your media claims, siding with the violent, the vandals who destroy the infrastructure of the country or the criminals who design and lead so-called peaceful protests that are anything but peaceful.
The Italian community in Venezuela is composed of about 150 thousand citizens with an Italian passport, and over 2 million natives. The natives, thanks to the new Constitution of Venezuela, approved under the Hugo Chavez government, were able to claim dual citizenship. We have lived and continue to share with other Venezuelans the successes and difficulties of these years.
Most of us have supported and continue to support the process of modernization and democratization of Venezuela. Many of us have been and are auditors, managers, politicians and members of parliament .The entrepreneurs are members of the “Middle Class for the Positive” and of such Christian organizations as Ecuvives. They have supported and continue to support the Bolivarian process. Several of them participated in the drafting of the Constitution, which reflects strongly the Italian Constitution enacted after WW2. They have largely supported Hugo Chavez and support Maduro, oppose the violent demonstrations and the vandalism organized by sectors of the ultra-right in Venezuela (sounds like Ukraine to me).
A small minority, as small is, proportionally, the Venezuelan elite, supports the positions of the opposition. Thanks to external financial support they carry out a continuous campaign of defamation of Bolivarian Venezuela in many countries, including Italy.
There are 20 Italian organizations in Venezuela with approximately 7,000 members.
Only some of these associations, together with their newspapers, directly subsidized by the Italian government, have carried out, in recent years and in full freedom, a campaign of disinformation against the Bolivarian experience. Regrettably, they have formed the unique “sources of information” accredited by different bodies of the Italian press.
But this is not “the Italian community” in Venezuela. It is a quite limited section, whose views are amplified by the official (Italian) media. The rest of the Italian community and of the dual-nationals organize and mobilize in this country as in all others. Some are against and most favor the Bolivarian process.
The Italian communities in Venezuela are in no danger. As in every Latin-American country, and anywhere, there are different political and social visions.
Exploitation of the Italian presence in Venezuela to undermine the Bolivarian Republic is dangerous, and it has no other objective than telling lies and feeding strife.
Now let’s hear from another source, Phil Gunson. (“son of a gun”) with his article, titled (original in Spanish), “Venezuela: a Blueprint for Strife.” published in the official communication channel of the Soros-funded “International Crisis Group.” The article is long and I will report only some of the most meaningful statements.
“Amid the tumult on the streets of Venezuela, which has cost dozens of lives in the past six weeks, two crucially important, and related, events threaten to spur even greater violence and eclipse all possibility of international engagement aimed at redressing the country’s plight.
One was the announcement on 23 April by Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez that the country would withdraw from the Organization of American States (OAS) in response to what the government of Nicolás Maduro sees as “interference” in Venezuela’s internal affairs. The other move, which immediately incensed protesters and brought widespread foreign repudiation, was a presidential decree of 1 May convening an assembly to rewrite the country’s constitution.
(summary of the changes most dreaded by the son of a gun),
A… More active participation in the political process by trade unions and peasant groups.
B… More members of parliament elected at the municipal level, where they can be better known and evaluated for their persona and performance.
Gunson writes in dismay that this electoral system is “identical to that in the National Assembly of Cuba.” (God forbid).
The withdrawal from the OAS was, according to the author, “in response to pressure, both external and domestic, on the Maduro government to hold elections, restore the separation of powers, free political prisoners, and open a “humanitarian channel” to ease the country’s critical shortages of food, medicines and other basic goods. Rather than accede to demands for genuine negotiations with the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD, Movement for Democratic Unity), the government has made good on its threat to “deepen the revolution” by creating a so-called “communal state”.
… “Meanwhile, in response to almost daily demonstrations by the MUD, security forces have clearly been given orders to intensify the repression. By 10 May, six weeks of violence had killed 39 people, according to the PROVEA human rights organization.”
[NOTE. For the record, ‘PROVEA’ is another NGO whose website has a banner title with the words “Dictadura vs. Rebelion Popular”]
I will skip to what the author subtitles “The Way Forward”
“…Venezuela could face civil war. At the very least, there could be a period of violent anarchy on the streets, with armed, pro-government groups and criminal gangs spreading mayhem. The civilian population, already facing hunger and a breakdown of the country’s basic infrastructure, would suffer even greater hardship, and the task of reconstructing Venezuela would become far more taxing. In contrast, a decision by the bulk of the armed forces not to obey government orders to use violence against demonstrators – and to take action against armed civilians acting as para-police groups – could galvanize both sides into seeking a peaceful and negotiated solution. Already there have been signs of internal dissent, with dozens of officers, including two generals, reportedly under investigation by military intelligence (DGCIM).
A decision by the bulk of the armed forces not to obey government orders to use violence against demonstrators […] could galvanize both sides into seeking a peaceful and negotiated solution.
International pressure is vital, but needs to be carefully calibrated, with carrots as well as sticks, so as to offer a way out to those members of the regime who may be inclined to negotiate a return to democracy.”
No need for interpretation. They are working on the military.
As you see, here is yet another example of how a billionaire (Soros), deeply imbedded in the foreign circles of the exceptional nation, organizes information on the Country he wishes to destroy, so as to gobble it up in a single bite.
And this with the help and in concert with other NGOs and similar, fake humanitarians who have lost all humanity and every shame. Much as Amnesty International, itself undeserving or unworthy of any amnesty.
First they work on public opinion so that the western oligarchies are unembarrassed to be corralled into the flatulent and pestiferous ”Coalitions of the Willing.” Coalitions to hide or legitimize any maneuver, even the most senseless and violent, when not to actually intervene militarily or to finance sundry terrorists (equivalent of ISIS), mercenaries and paramilitary groups, as they are doing in Caracas.
The “orange revolution” in Venezuela has been financed for 18 years, but failed to obtain the desired goal. It is apparently in crisis, even in numbers. The opposition owns and controls the Venezuelan mainstream media and is patiently tolerated by the Bolivarian regime. To televise the “rebelion,” to compensate for the shortage of Jacobins and to give the impression of crowds, photographers must restrict the cameras’ field of view. They censor, however, every pro-Maduro event (so I was told by a friend living there). But there is no shortage of (paid) sons of guns and sons of bitches to produce material like what I just extracted from.
Finally, at the cost of inducing vomit in some readers, here is what the Soros-funded International Crisis Group (with members like Phil Gunson), is about
“The International Crisis Group is an independent organization working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world.
Crisis Group sounds the alarm to prevent deadly conflict. We build support for the good governance and inclusive politics that enable societies to flourish. We engage directly with a range of conflict actors to seek and share information, and to encourage intelligent action for peace.
Our work is urgently needed as the world is confronted with a dramatic rise in the number of conflicts, with devastating humanitarian, social and economic costs. Efforts to resolve conflicts are complicated by the profound shift in geopolitics, as well as the increasing prominence of non-state actors ranging from religious militants to criminal gangs.
In this more polarized, fragmented and dangerous world, Crisis Group’s work points a way forward. War is not inevitable; it is a man-made disaster. We must mobilize political leaders to heed early warnings and take early action to avoid looming conflicts. And we must build more creative and flexible frameworks for international diplomacy.”
In light of what these NGO monstrosities have done and continue doing worldwide, we can only ask, “Shame, where is thy blush?”
Note (1) The article “The Magnificent “G”Seven” attempts to demonstrate why a so-called democracy cannot but be, in the current circumstances and Zeitgeist, a concentration of oligarchies and, consequently, a negation of itself.
“Upon my tongue continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of man with false reports.” (KHIV.p2.introduction)
“This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues…” (Macbeth, 4.1)
“Shame, where is thy blush?” (Hamlet, 3.4)
Image Location. https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj9jcCrvd_UAhUB2WMKHc6iDI0QjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpitt.libguides.com%2Fc.php%3Fg%3D132752%26p%3D929940&psig=AFQjCNEtlqh4IO_liboVq4J0HSHnC5MHtQ&ust=1498702845425006
This article was also published on the Saker website
and The Greanville Post
I just discovered your writings, and love them. At the same time, I am trying to discover honest writings about Venezuela. And on that front, I would say what is missing from your witty and extensive post is a look at the downside of the Maduro regime (or Bolivarism, for that matter).
I grew up under “communism”, and while I agree with some of the ideals it was built upon, the evils were considerable, and not something that could be swept under the rug by railing against imperialists. We had a lot of equality, yes, except when it came to the special privileges of party members. Our elections were a sham. The economy was profoundly screwed up. And we lived in a country wrapped around with barbed wire like a concentration camp, unable to travel freely, while being told what to do by a more powerful and totalitarian neighbor. So I am saying… where’s the rub? Nice ideas and proclamations don’t feed people, they don’t create a lived democracy, and they fail to create respect for human beings when ideology is more important. So please, please, tell us about the rub. If you put in Shakespeare, all the better.
Thank you for your take on cultural Marxism, much enjoyed.
Vera, Thank you for your kind comments. Any representation of an event, political system, economy, even of a person is by definition limited and partial.
Therefore I am sure that your perceptions and conclusion about life under “communism” are accurate and reflect the sum-total of your direct observations. Furthermore, as you probably agree, our Weltanschauung inevitably affects our observations.
I visited the Soviet Union as a very young man and later for work – my impression was positive but necessarily limited. I agree with you, however, that much damage occurs to any regime when habits evolve in a way that hurt citizens in (sometimes small) matters, where injustice is palpable. And when the citizen cannot fight back. The “special privileges of party members” is a case at hand.
Anyway, there is always some distance between the birth and maturity of folly, as of wickedness. There is a fine Shakespearean quote that applies at large, to men and their systems, of whatever shade or color. “If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces – it is a good divine that follows his own instructions.” – says Portia in the Merchant of Venice.
Paradoxically, the special privileges you refer to, feel more unjust, at a personal level, than the current gigantic privileges of the oligarchical cliques constituting what we gingerly call democracy. I attempted to illustrate the issue in the first of the 4 “Historical Sketches” videos on the 1917 Revolution.
Your comments would deserve a long and detailed answer, impossible in the context of a blog or website.
Nevertheless, my opinions on what is referred to as “communism” as an idea, predate, in their origin, the communism of the USSR and Western Europe. They were formed by reading the Russian classics of the 19th century. I have never been a “communist,” nor subscribed to any specific rigidly-defined ideology.
However, …. the so-called West, paradoxically, owes much to the USSR. Had it not been for the concrete and palpable fear of revolutions, 1917-style in Russia or 1871-style in Paris, many of the rational social reforms enacted, and universal rights enforced, after WW2 would have been impossible. Reforms and rights that, as you know, have been steadily eroded in the last decades of our history.
Jimmie, I quite agree about the reforms, even under FDR, which would not have been enacted if not for the “red scare.” And whatever faults of the Soviet system (many) still there was a sense of opposition, of another way of doing things, rather than this monolithic neolib/neocon system we have now. Or one can simply say “globalism.” Loathsome.
Our old system did have a number of positives. I have always been glad that is where I grew up. Nevertheless, a distant cousin was executed in the 50s simply for having criticized Stalin (when still a communist between the wars) — he spent the war in a Nazi concentration camp, barely recovered, and wanted nothing to do with politics any more. Still, they bagged him and hung him. Communists are nothing if not grudge bearers. And my own grandfather spend 4 years in jail in the late 50s… for having a lively correspondence with the West regarding agricultural matters. And a great uncle died shortly after returning from a long prison stint because he resisted the collectivization of his farm.
When some people gain so much power they can terrorize others, the system will suck no matter what you call it, or what the official ideals are. That’s why I’d like to learn what exactly is happening in Venezuela. My (very limited) sense of it is that the current government thinks it can keep on by imposing tight “from above” controls on everything. Folly.