By MARGARET VILLAMIZAR
This week has seen a ramping up by U.S. imperialism and the Colombian government of what Venezuela has called a cheap “humanitarian aid” show. It kicked off with a photo flashed around the world of an empty six-lane bridge linking Colombia and Venezuela with the trailers of three transport trucks placed across it, blocking all six lanes. The photo was used by CNN and other monopoly media to accuse President Nicolás Maduro of preventing humanitarian aid from entering Venezuela from the Colombian border city of Cúcuta where, all week long, truckloads of goods – auspices of USAID – were shown arriving. A little investigation revealed that the bridge, a joint project of the Venezuelan and Colombian governments, has never been open since it was completed in 2016 and that there are two other functioning bridges nearby.
The use of what is called “aid” to intervene in countries it has targeted for regime change is something the U.S. specializes in. The person appointed by Donald Trump to spearhead the current aggression against Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, is the same liar and war criminal who organized the shipping of weapons under the cover of “aid” to assassins the U.S. illegally funded and armed to massacre innocent people and those resisting its dirty Contra war in Nicaragua in the 1980s.
In what has been referred to as a “test” of the Bolivarian Armed Forces, U.S. puppet Juan Guaidó, calling himself the “president in charge” of Venezuela, has announced that on February 23 the “humanitarian aid” the U.S. has been depositing at the Colombian border will enter Venezuela “no matter what.” How he proposes to make that happen beyond issuing ultimatums to the Bolivarian Armed Forces that they have until then to mutiny against their Commander-in-Chief, Nicolás Maduro, is open to speculation. Guaidó has already let it be known that he would be prepared to call for a U.S. military intervention if necessary to rescue his fraudulent “transitional” government.
The latest reports are that this weekend three U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo planes landed in Cúcuta with more USAID packages to add to those already deposited in warehouses there. Similar operations are either in progress or planned in Roraima State in Brazil close to the Venezuelan border and the Caribbean island of Curaçao where the U.S. has an Air Force base.
On February 22, the opposition forces are making an effort to draw as much attention and as many people as possible to the border where Guaidó’s announced aid-running operation is to begin the next day. There are plans for a seven-hour “Aid and Freedom” mega-concert featuring regional and international artists, compliments of British tycoon Richard Branson.
Venezuelans are denouncing all these machinations as psychological warfare aimed at convincing naive minds (especially outside the country), unaware of the reality, that the U.S. coup is a virtual fait accompli; that the Bolivarian Armed Forces are defecting in droves to Guaidó and his imaginary government or – because there is no evidence of this – are waiting to make their move as soon as the first dominoes fall. Unfazed, the Venezuelan government has said it will not allow entry into the country of so-called humanitarian aid from the U.S. government or others participating in the illegal economic, financial and commercial blockade and theft of Venezuela’s overseas assets, saying Venezuelans are not beggars. It has also made clear that it, along with the organized Venezuelan people, stand ready to defend the country against any attempt to invade its territory by land, sea or air.
Colombian president weighs in
During an official visit to Washington this week Colombian president Ivan Duque, the protégé of Alvaro Uribe Velez, past president and an avowed enemy of peace and reconciliation in his own country, made a number of provocative assertions. Among other things he went to the U.S. to accept an award from a group of anti-Cuba mercenaries for his alleged defence of democratic values in the region and to hold talks with Donald Trump. While he was there he announced that the Lima Group will meet in the coming week in Bogotá.
In a joint statement, Trump and Duque said their countries are working together to provide aid to Venezuelans in need and that both would work with “the Guaidó government” to restore freedom, democracy, and prosperity to Venezuela. They stated that the U.S. and Colombia stand side by side with many other nations “in the face of any provocation by the illegitimate, former dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and those who work on his behalf to undermine the security and safety of the region.”
In an interview with Fox TV, Duque said he would support caravans Juan Guaidó is organizing to bring “relief” to “starving Venezuelans” on February 23. He also invited shipments of what he called humanitarian aid from all those who wished to send it, adding that “we must ensure it reaches Venezuela.” He said Nicolás Maduro’s refusal to accept the phony “humanitarian aid” sent by the U.S. was a crime against humanity. Everything he said flew in the face of statements made by the Red Cross and UN officials that what the U.S. has been organizing at the border, with his government’s connivance, should not be mistaken for a humanitarian gesture but served only to discredit the notion of what humanitarian aid is. By way of comparison, the Venezuelan Health Ministry took delivery of 933 tonnes of real humanitarian aid on February 15. TeleSUR reports that U.S.$28 million worth of medical equipment and spare parts “from international partners in Cuba, China, Russia, Palestine, Turkey, among others” arrived by ship in the port of La Guaira.
Another thing Duque did was repeat the lying script of the Lima Group that Nicolás Maduro is isolated, with “the whole international community” agreeing he is “a dictator,” “illegitimate” and needs to step down. Revealing what he meant by the international community, Duque named the U.S., Canada and others who he claimed made up “the great majority” of countries of the hemisphere (with no evidence of that) and of the European Union. According to this racist logic over a dozen Caribbean countries, including Cuba, Mexico, Bolivia, Nicaragua and others in the Americas, as well as China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and many others all over Asia and virtually all of Africa are not part of “the international community” – nor of course are millions of patriotic Venezuelans and citizens in their hundreds of millions around the world who surely oppose violations of the UN Charter and calls for the violation of Venezuela’s constitution by governments claiming to act in their names. Wishing them all away is one thing, but making it happen is quite another.
1. The group that sponsors the Oswaldo Payá Freedom and Life Award says Duque was chosen for his activism in the Lima Group and “for raising his voice in defence of just and democratic institutional values.” He was also chosen for “the exemplary solidarity that he has shown, giving refuge to thousands of Venezuelans who have escaped tyranny in their homeland.” The group’s leader is quoted in an article about Duque getting the award saying that “the Cuban dictatorship is the destabilizing centre in the hemisphere and the cause of the Venezuelan democratic collapse.”
(With files from Venezuelanalysis, CubaDecide.)
TML Weekly Information Project, February 16, 2019 – No. 5