A view from France of the ongoing coup attempt in Venezuela

first_imgThe author directed this article to a French audience. Published in RT on Jan. 24, it explains some of the current background of the attempt by the Venezuelan government to defend its country’s sovereignty. Translation by Workers World Contributing Editor G. Dunkel.Let’s start by asking our readers in France some questions.Imagine that the highest Chinese authorities are calling on Yellow Vests to take the streets of Paris and major French cities.Imagine that Russia decides to no longer recognize President Emmanuel Macron and declares that the new legitimate French president is Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon.Imagine that Iran is funding and arming paramilitary groups to set the country on fire and destroy it.What would you call it? No matter what opinion you have of President Macron, would you be willing to accept such foreign interference in the affairs of our French Republic?Incongruous situation? And yet this is exactly what is happening in Venezuela.It cannot be said that the scenario had not been advertised. As early as Jan. 8, two days before Nicolás Maduro’s swearing in, the Venezuelan National Assembly illegally passed a Transition Law in order to seize the executive power (presidency). The United States and its allies in the Lima group were quick to support this putschist initiative.Before going any further, let us remember that the National Assembly has been in a situation of contempt of court for almost two years. After the election of deputies in December 2015, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates in Amazon State filed a complaint because their opponents had purchased votes to win the election. The court subsequently condemned the fraud, and the Electoral Power Tribunal demanded that the election for these three seats be redone.Since the Speaker of the National Assembly refused to comply with the judicial and electoral authorities, the National Assembly was declared in “contempt of court.” Decisions and votes emanating from the legislative power are therefore null and void as long as the speaker of the National Assembly fails to authorize the return to the polls.It should be noted that the opposition holds an absolute majority of 122 deputies out of 167 seats. This insubordinate National Assembly has therefore become a parallel legislative power. However, it is this body that is making the attempt at an institutional coup d’état, which we are currently witnessing.Pence calls for coupOn Jan. 22, while several demonstrations were being prepared in Caracas, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called on Venezuelans to rise up against the legitimate government. This clearly shows that opposition political organizations have so little legitimacy that Washington must directly call — without an intermediary — on Venezuelan citizens and the army to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, in order to satisfy U.S. interests.The next day, as expected, as soon as Juan Guaidó illegally took over the executive power, the White House “officially recognized the president of the National Assembly as interim president of Venezuela.”  A handful of Latin American countries, subservient to Washington, will follow Trump’s order to recognize his Venezuelan Gauleiter [name Nazis used for their leader of an occupied country]. The creation of parallel powers is nothing new. As early as 2017, the opposition created a parallel Supreme Court (based in Panama) and a post of Attorney General of the Nation (based in Colombia). Now, with the usurpation of executive power by a National Assembly in contempt of court, we are facing the construction of illegitimate public authorities, recognized by the USA, Canada and their Latin American vassals.Since these bodies obviously cannot coexist with legitimate powers, there will undoubtedly be an upsurge in violence in the Bolivarian country. It is in this sense that Washington’s refusal to comply with the expulsion order of its Caracas diplomats, immediately announced by President Maduro, must be interpreted. This scenario reflects the situation that preceded the Libyan and Syrian wars. The formation of parallel governments, whether the Libyan National Transitional Council or the Syrian National Salvation Council, has been a prerequisite for the bombing of these countries or for unleashing mercenary attacks on them. During the night of Jan. 23, gangs of armed criminals carried out a reign of terror in some parts of Caracas by shooting at everything that was moving and clashing with the police.It should be recalled here that the National Assembly, which is today the main instrument of the institutional coup attempt, has approved all of Washington’s economic sanctions against its own [Venezuelan] people. Worse still, on Jan. 8, 2018, it paved the way for the devastation of the country by authorizing the creation of a trust fund to reclaim the assets of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.Hiding its intentions behind the fight against corruption, the National Assembly allowed foreign countries to freeze the assets of its own country. Here again, this reminds us of the strategy deployed in Libya and the freezing of that country’s assets.Washington and its allies can count on bands of mercenaries, recruited to spread violence in Venezuela. In addition to the Colombian paramilitaries, who are very active on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, President Maduro reported, on Nov. 28, the presence of 734 mercenaries on military bases, on Eglin AFB in Florida and on Tolemaida in Colombia. Their goal was to attack Venezuela or to prepare a false flag attack in order to justify military intervention against the Bolivarian nation.In the short term, the outcome of the showdown we are witnessing can only be, unfortunately, violent. Neither Nicolas Maduro’s legitimate power nor the dummy bodies created by his opponents will retreat or engage in dialogue in the immediate future. In any country, Juan Guaidó and the felonious Assembly members would find themselves behind bars. Venezuela must deal with the threats made by the USA. ‘All options on table’President Donald Trump stated that the military option against Venezuela remains valid (“all options are on the table”). As for the State Department, it has already announced that it is preparing to send “humanitarian aid.” Nicolás Maduro’s government, which is fighting to have the financial blockade against his country lifted, will never accept that the USA should disembark under the pretext of “humanitarian aid.” This provocation is part of a planned strategy that former SouthCom Commander John Kelly had mentioned on Oct. 28, 2015: “The United States will intervene for humanitarian reasons, if asked to do so.” This has now been done.Faced with this escalation of tension, all that is missing is a detonator to justify a war adventure. Let us remember the media lies that plunged Iraq, Serbia, Libya or Syria into the destructive abyss of war: the alleged destruction of incubators in Kuwait; the Raçak massacre in Serbia; the bombing of demonstrations in Benghazi, Libya; or the torture of teenagers in Deraa, Syria were all the necessary prelude to legitimizing massacres in the name of the “Defense of Humanity.”Media intoxication to justify interventionInternational public opinion could once again be the victim, in the coming weeks, of a media intoxication operation in order to justify a military operation against Venezuela.Although the Venezuelan scenario looks similar to those deployed in the Levant, there are still some significant differences. On the one hand, the Venezuelan army continues to support its country’s Constitution, its national sovereignty nation and the republic. While 20 soldiers were arrested on Jan. 21 for trying to appropriate a weapons depot, the tens of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of reservists did not show any interest in a coup. The Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, recalled that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces “defend the Constitution and are the guarantors of national sovereignty.” On the other hand, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, South Africa and a vast majority of countries in the world recognize the legitimacy of President Maduro. Beijing has supported the Venezuelan government in its “efforts to maintain its sovereignty.” The Kremlin, for its part, assured Caracas of its support to “ensure that Venezuela’s sovereignty is respected.”It is true that the Venezuelan opposition has done everything possible to provoke the allies of the Bolivarian Revolution. By claiming loud and clear that the credit lines authorized by China and Russia or the economic agreements signed by President Maduro would not be recognized by “their government,” they have de facto internationalized the Venezuelan conflict. Beijing, Moscow and Ankara are now indirectly targeted by the anti-democratic designs of the Venezuelan opposition. An intensification of the current conflict or a military adventure would have repercussions far beyond Venezuela’s borders.This Cold War could well warm up under the Caribbean sun. It is now up to all peace activists to mobilize against intervention and for a political solution to this new offensive against the Bolivarian Revolution. Let us not allow the warmongers to spill blood that is not their own.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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New program to help start, expand businesses

first_imgToday, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, along with the Darcy Carter, director of the Vermont office of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and Linda Rossi, Assistant Director of the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) unveiled Community Business Connections, an important project designed to create new jobs by helping Vermonters start and expand businesses. These are difficult times for Vermont families and we believe that each one of us must do everything we can to jump-start our economy. Markowitz said. Whether we are government officials, individual entrepreneurs, local chambers of commerce, or members of civic and service organizations we could be doing more to help Vermonters start and expand businesses. Carter said, There are a wealth of resources available to help new and existing businesses and Community Business Connections was developed to get this information to the people who need it most.Community Business Connections includes three componentsOne-Stop-Shop for Starting a New Business. www.startabusinessinvermont.net(link is external) is the Community Business Connections website. It is a new resource designed to provide everything a person needs to know to start or expand a business in Vermont. This one-stop-shop for starting or expanding a business provides step-by-step information in checklist form and important links to help entrepreneurs develop a business plan, obtain financing, navigate tax requirements and regulations, find customers and expand sales.Community Outreach. Community Business Connections is reaching into every community to get the word out about the free resources available to help Vermonters start or expand businesses. With stickers for public access computers in libraries and public buildings directing Vermonters to the new website and posters advertising the free resources available through the Small Business Administration and the Vermont Small Business Development Centers the program is expected to reach Vermonters in every part of the state.Training for Local Economic Development Ambassadors. Community Business Connections also provides training to local officials, librarians, individual entrepreneurs and citizens to help them become local economic development ambassadors. Through trainings given around the state and webinars the Secretary of States office, the SBA and the SBDC are educating people across Vermont about what they can do to help jump start their own local economies.Rossi said, Our goal is to reach people at the most local level . . . people who may not be accustomed to thinking about business, either for themselves or on behalf of others in their community. In each of our communities there are people who are losing their jobs and need to figure out what they re going to do next, said Markowitz. Starting a business may not be right for everyone, but if we all took a moment to reach out, I bet we would be surprised by the number of people in our communities who are ready to take the plunge.For more information about this program, please contact the SBA at 802-828-4422, the VtSBDC at 800-464-7232, or the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office at 800-439-8683.Business Fact SheetAccording to a survey by FindLaw.com reported in March 2009, 61 percent of Americans have either started or thought about starting a small business. Thirty percent of Americans say they have started at least one small business. An additional 31 percent have thought about starting their own business at some point in their lives.The Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) has a long history of providing advice and training to Vermonters. To date, they have trained over 20,000 Vermonters in 1,700 separate events, and provided individual, in-person, confidential counseling to over 8,000 business people representing all stages of business. In 2007, 1,868 new jobs were created by client businesses of the VtSBDC, and these businesses contributed over $4.4 million in new tax revenues.The Vermont office of the U.S. Small Business Administration reports:Vermont had 18,937 small employers (fewer than 500 employees) in 2006, representing 96.8 percent of the state s employers and 63.5 percent of its private-sector employment.The retail trade industry was the state s largest small business and overall employer in 2006.Small businesses created 51.7 percent of the state’s net new jobs from 2004 to 2005Vermont’s real gross state product increased by 1.5 percent in 2007. By comparison, growth in the New England region was 2.1 percent and the United States, 2.0 percent. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis).The Vermont Secretary of State s Office reports that in 2008 over 8,631 new business entities registered in Vermont.last_img read more

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Bannon Addresses Arrest “Fiasco” After Pleading Not Guilty to Fraud

first_imgSteve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, had some strong words for detractors on Thursday, after pleading not guilty to fraud charges and leaving a Manhattan courthouse.“This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall,” he told reporters.Earlier in the day, Bannon and three individuals from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service who organized a group called “We Build the Wall,” had been arrested on a yacht near Connecticut.Federal prosecutors charged them with defrauding donors in order to help pay for Trump’s border wall with Mexico.The 66-year-old, who served in Trump’s administration during its first seven months, pleaded guilty via video conference in the courthouse.Oops! But who cares, somebody up There likes me…— Steven Bannon (@SteveKBannon) August 20, 2020 He was then released on bail, which includes a $5 million bond.Bannon also agreed to bail conditions that keep him from from traveling on private airplanes, yachts or boats without the court’s permission.Meanwhile, each of the individuals involved was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering.Each of the counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.President Trump says he was unaware of the group and its effort.last_img read more

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Norris receives $1.6-million grant for prostate cancer drug trial

first_imgThe National Institutes of Health awarded the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center a three-year $1.6-million grant for clinical trials of a new drug to treat prostate cancer.After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. The drug, AEZS-108, may offer hope to patients with few remaining options and could be a more effective and less toxic treatment for all sufferers of advanced prostate cancer.“I’m very enthusiastic,” said Dr. Jacek Pinski, associate professor of medicine who led the research team. “This particular drug offers a more direct treatment while reducing toxicity and decreasing side effects.”Pinski and his team, which includes multiple oncologists, researchers and instructors from USC, received the grant after submitting a comprehensive amount of preclinical data to the National Institutes of Health.“Its not easy to get these kinds of big grants from the NIH,” Pinski said. “We had to ensure there was sufficient preclinical data in our proposal to demonstrate that the project is meaningful and the drug is effective.”AEZS-108 allows for a more focused treatment as a result of the LH-RH peptide that is capable of recognizing a protein on the cancer cells and directing itself to them, reducing the detrimental effects on other healthy cells. Pinski’s former instructor and mentor, endocrinologist Dr. Andrew Schally received the Nobel Peace Prize after discovering the peptide LH-RH in 1977. The combination of the peptide with doxorubicin was first evaluated in clinical trials for women with different types of cancer in Europe. Those studies determined the drug’s relatively low toxicity, but this will be the first time it is assessed for the treatment of prostate cancer.The clinical trial, which will take place at the Norris Center’s Clinical Scientific Office, will include 55 participants, all of whom have metastasized and castration-resistant prostate cancer. The other qualification is that the patients must have failed treatment attempts with a traditional chemotherapeutic agent. Therefore, the drug is something of a last resort for many of the participants, Pinski said.“The traditional prostate cancer patient, or any patient with a localized disease, generally has success with surgical or radiotherapy treatments,” Pinski said. “But in cases of reoccurrence and metastization there are significantly fewer treatment options. We hope to change that.”The research team will conduct an abbreviated Phase I trial to gauge any toxicity differences in men. After that they will move on to Phase II, where they administer the drug and collect data via tumor measurements, CT and bone scans.The Norris Center is collaborating with Dr. Yu-Chong Tai of the California Institute of Technology, whose newly developed porous artificial-membrane device will collect circulating tumor cells for analysis. The new device is meant to be quicker and more efficient, expediting the analysis process.“After we collect the data we’re going to measure the reception of the tumor cells and correlate it to our clinical outcome measures,” Pinski said.The trial is set to begin in the next few weeks according to the research team, which is waiting for the drug to be delivered. If the trial proves effective and noninvasive during the three-year study, Pinski said it will make great strides in the advanced prostate cancer treatment.last_img read more

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