Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category

Thank goodness for that 13Apr

2016-04-11

Today, 11Apr15; ‘yesterday’, 11Apr02.

To remember is that Venezuela is, and has been, a country rich in natural resources, the benefits of which would always flow to foreign corporations and to the Venezuelan oligarchy. Poverty, illiteracy and hopelessness would be the crumbs thrown at the rest of the population – and then along came (the Caracazo and) Hugo Chávez and with him the rekindled hopes of the abandoned and dispossessed masses.

Predictably, such a turn of events was completely unacceptable, even as the results of such an election were too indisputable to overturn. The only reliable option that would guarantee success, a return to the status quo ante, was an old friend, the coup, a golpe blanco. And a coup it was – however short-lived – with US involvement.

TeleSUR takes us back, Anniversary of Venezuela’s 2002 Coup

On April 11, 2002 the Venezuelan right, with the help of media power, created a tense situation to pit Venezuelans against each other, leading to a coup for 48 hours against President Hugo Chavez.

TeleSUR’s series of reports and analyses on the event also shines a light on the role of complicit corporate media, especially of the US. And, yes, as recently as 2014 14Apr2013 there was that desperate, concerted, violent and deadly attempt at destabilisation, La Salida with its guarimbas.

To be remembered is that in March 2016, the US  President, and for the second straight year, has declared Venezuela a threat, yes, to the existence of the US – the height of cheek.

So Venezuela continues to struggle not only against droughts, a drastic fall in oil prices, hoarding or smuggling of subsidised food and essentials across the border into Colombia, and some weak economic policies; not only against such challenges, but also against the unrelenting machinations of the US with its loyal local allies – despite the recent electoral reverses for the Chavistas.

And the disadvantaged of Venezuela and the country’s neighbours and against such odds? During the administration of the late President Chávez, ‘minor’ accomplishments such as health care available to all, millions lifted out of poverty, lifted out of illiteracy, free education, and increased economic opportunities. And Alba for many of its neighbours.

Thanks to information technology, alternative media and blogs, the unremitting propaganda of US corporate establishment media and oligarchy-controlled media in such countries as Venezuela is fast, but not fast enough, becoming less effective, less credible, less acceptable even among the somewhat inattentive.

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A sobering read – countries and corporate greed

2016-04-10

How easy is it to create a country? And one that suits your own nefarious purposes? Simple, if you are a powerful US financial mogul with significant financial and political influence in a powerful country, where both player and country benefit substantially – at the cost of the people of the new and the original, supposedly independent state.

The Guardian takes us on a journey to the tropics, Colombia. How a US president and JP Morgan made Panama: and turned it into a tax haven A teaser,  (more…)

Hugo Chávez, hasta siempre

2016-03-05

A refreshing read against the backdrop of the US President proclaiming, on 04Mar. and for a second consecutive year, Venezuela a threat to the US.

With that and the US President’s accomplishment in mind, we have TeleSur which pays homage to the late President of Venezuela who died on 05Mar2013. (more…)

March? Then the eagle flies south

2016-03-04

Comes other news of the US President. In his final year in elected office he seeks to rediscover America. On 21-22 March he is scheduled to visit Cuba, notching up another US accomplishment, first President to visit the island since the US imposed its destructive embargo against the small country.

There, aside meeting Cuban officials and others and making some speeches, the US President is to see a baseball game. However there seems still no plan to have the US President go scuba diving, since that may well raise this awkward question, even if not embarrassing to the country’s exceptional policy makers.

Any discussion of the fate of Guantanamo and its torture camp will certainly be avoided. More likely a sing along of Guantanamera or a dance of the rumba?

On 24 March, and forty years to that date, the US president is then scheduled to be in, of all places, Argentina, and to meet President Mauricio Macri. Sí, el Condor pasa. The insensitive choice of that date for the visit is suggestive, and it has not been lost on many in the region. Whereas his former Secretary of State, with the audacity of the bold, has proclaimed herself ‘abuela‘ of Latins in the USA, in Argentina there have been true ‘Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo’ as there are true ‘Madres de la Plaza de Mayo’. As the founder of Madres stated in the TeleSUR report, Obama to Visit Argentina’s New President Macri on Anniversary of Military Coup, an excerpt,

 Hebe de Bonafini, Argentine human rights activist and founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, strongly criticized the timing of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Argentina, which will coincide with the anniversary of the 1976 military coup.

[snip]

“Let’s raise alarm bells, he did not invite him to visit on a regular date. He invited him to visit March 24 … (Macri) is a servant of theirs,” said de Bonafini, referring to politicians in the United States.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a genuine Nobel Laureate, also weighs in on the, at best bizzare, decision to visit Argentina on 24 March, as reported in the common dreams blog, Skip Your Visit to Argentina, Nobel Laureate Tells Obama. A snippet,

“I’m a survivor of that era, of the flights of death, of the torture, of the prisons, of the exiles,” Esquivel told AP. “And when you analyze the situation in depth, the United States was responsible for the coups in Latin America.”

And to soothe ruffled feathers, nothing like a sing along of a Mercedes Sosa classic, or doing the tango, for the photo-op? Or mention the name Messi (but not Videla)?

Not yet announced, but then again, why not. A visit to Chile. On 11 September? With fellow Nobel Laureate, Henry Kissinger?

Clearly, that problem of language and communication. At the Summit of the Americas (SoA) in Port-of-Spain, the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, as a futile gesture of friendship, had presented that well-known Galeano. Instead, as subsequent events showed, the US President seemed to have opted for Galliano. And there disappearing in the wind ‘hope and change’, lofty rhetoric without substance – mission accomplished.

Caracas, 27Feb1989

2016-02-27

TeleSur takes us on an unpleasant but necessary journey back to the horrific events that began on 27Feb1989 in Caracas, Venezuela. And the overarching question should remain, “Why?”

A video captures in graphic detail some of the unfolding tragedy, wanton death and destruction, Remembering the Caracazo

One analyst’s perspective, Venezuela’s Caracazo: State Repression and Neoliberal Misrule

From the perspective of the survivors, Caracazo Victims: In Their Own Words

Or better expressed, ¿Por qué el Caracazo?

Then comes the obvious question, “Since that time, how far have the dispossessed, the socially excluded, reached in their quest for respect, social justice and economic opportunity in so rich country as Venezuela?”

Clearly not jaded is that aphorism of Santayana’s on the consequences of failing to to remember and understand history.

A Dickens of a time?

2015-12-25

No time better. And US economist Tim Taylor has been the guide.

That Christmas Carol of Charles Dickens, a customary seasonal read, not to mention the essential viewing of Alastair Sim’s portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge. Both a now a tradition.

Those impelled to follow the commercial gospel of ‘Shop till you drop!’ may have had little time to contemplate the, if not religious, spiritual significance of the season. Such, in their frenetic pursuits, will have missed life, in its various forms of emptiness and despair, around them. Of course, for some these same unfortunates their own bill may soon come due.

Thus, today is better than any to do an accounting. And we go back in time. Charles Dickens would recount a stroll with a friend one winter’s night in London, A NIGHTLY SCENE IN LONDON. One telling excerpt,

Crouched against the wall of the Workhouse,
in the dark street, on the muddy pavement-
stones, with the rain raining upon them, were
five bundles of rags. They were motionless,
and had no resemblance to the human form.
Five great beehives, covered with ragsfive
dead bodies taken out of graves, tied neck
and heels, and covered with ragswould
have looked like those five bundles upon
which the rain rained down in the public
street.

What is this! ” said my companion. “What is this!”

Some miserable people shut out of the
Casual Ward, I think,” said I.

Times have since changed. Roads are paved. Smart phones abound. And the poverty and destitution, though not as dire, ignored by policy makers, is made invisible or the victims’ fault by a cooperative corporate media that ensure that their distractions make the problem disappear.

Kindness is no sign of weakness, of human frailty.

Venezuela, social progress against all odds

2015-12-06

As is known, Venezuela sits on one of the largest reserves of hydrocarbons in the world. Such wealth is not lost on those who seek to acquire it, by all means fair and foul. Nor was the purpose of the move by ExxonMobil into the Esequibo region of territory in dispute between Venezuela and Guyana not obvious.

To date such efforts have failed generally, and not because of no strenuous efforts to destabilise the government and damage the economy of the country – as damage there has been, other than from the massive crash in oil prices.

Today elections are being held for 167 parliamentary seats, and the government faces a strong challenge, due in large part to shortages and other inconveniences – even as many shortages were exposed as created through private sector failure to produce consumer goods or through contraband of subsidised products heading for Colombia, with one avenue being through Táchira. (more…)

A long read – power, persuasion and avoidable obesity

2015-11-04

No joke this. Coca Cola and McDonald’s are two of the companies that had demanded that Sepp Blatter resign his post at Fifa. Purveyors of sugary drinks and processed fast food, these two who flog their sales especially to the economically vulnerable, especially in developing countries, and we know what these offerings can do to a body. Obscene profits from peddling an impending health disaster for individuals, communities and countries. No, that is not Fifa.

A tragic example of the costs of those sugary drinks and action taken to address the health crisis is Mexico, where an avoidable crisis was allowed to balloon out of control. As The Guardian reports, How one of the most obese countries on earth took on the soda giants

As will be recalled Coca Cola had spent some US$119M on healthcare ‘research’ that would show that, no worries, mere exercise would deal with that obesity thing. The Guardian gets to the point: democracy restored and a businessman becomes President, and.., (more…)

A PM to visit to Jamaica, former British colony

2015-09-30

Escaping Lord Ashcroft may have solved one problem. But the UK Prime Minister David Cameron is on a visit Jamaica. And Jamaican officialdom and others are not entirely tickled pink, with the days of sending in some troops to pacify the natives now difficult to resurrect. With The Guardian doing its part, how is the coverage in alternative media?

As RT tells it, Imperial legacy: Jamaica demands slavery reparations from Britain. Some excerpts,

Prime Minister David Cameron has been reminded of his family’s links to slavery as he faces calls for Britain to pay Jamaica millions of pounds in reparations ahead of his first official visit to Kingston on Tuesday.

Academics and politicians in Jamaica have demanded the PM issue an apology for the hundreds of years during which Britain enslaved and “extracted wealth” from the island’s people.

(more…)

That day at the UN – President Hugo Chávez

2015-09-21

That moment in history that would attract and hold the attention of so many, Remembering Hugo Chávez’s Speech at the UN

Of course, as is now very apparent, the sulphur emanates more so from the establishment than its messenger .