Thursday 22nd of August 2019

when the US was defending Venezuela's independence...

german boats bomb venezuela 1902-03

The Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03[a] was a naval blockade imposed against Venezuela by the United KingdomGermany and Italy from December 1902 to February 1903, after President Cipriano Castro refused to pay foreign debts and damages suffered by European citizens in recent Venezuelan civil wars.


Castro assumed that the United States Monroe Doctrine would see the US intervene to prevent European military intervention. However, at the time, US president Theodore Roosevelt and the Department of State saw the doctrine as applying only to European seizure of territory, rather than intervention per se. With prior promises that no such seizure would occur, the US was officially neutral and allowed the action to go ahead without objection. The blockade saw Venezuela's small navy quickly disabled, but Castro refused to give in, and instead agreed in principle to submit some of the claims to international arbitration, which he had previously rejected. Germany initially objected to this, arguing that some claims should be accepted by Venezuela without arbitration.

President Roosevelt forced the Germans to back down by sending his own larger fleet under Admiral George Dewey and threatening war if the Germans landed.[1] With Castro failing to back down, US pressure and increasingly negative British and American press reaction to the affair, the blockading nations agreed to a compromise, but maintained the blockade during negotiations over the details. This led to the signing of an agreement on 13 February 1903 which saw the blockade lifted, and Venezuela commit 30% of its customs duties to settling claims. 

When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague subsequently awarded preferential treatment to the blockading powers against the claims of other nations, the US feared this would encourage future European intervention. The episode contributed to the development of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, asserting a right of the United States to intervene to stabilize the economic affairs of small states in the Caribbean and Central America if they were unable to pay their international debts, in order to preclude European intervention to do so.


At the turn of the 20th century, German traders dominated Venezuela's import/export sector and informal banking system. Most of these, however, had little influence in Berlin - rather it was German industrialists and bankers, including those associated with building railroads, who had connections and influence.[2] The revolutionary turmoil of the last decade of the 19th century in Venezuela saw these suffer, and send "a stream of complaints and entreaties for protection" to Berlin. Matters were particularly bad during the Venezuela civil war of 1892 which had brought Joaquín Crespo to power, which saw six months of anarchy with no effective government,[3] but the civil war of 1898 again saw forced loans and the taking of houses and property.[4] In 1893 the French, Spanish, Belgian and German envoys in Caracas had agreed that joint action was the best route for settling claims from the 1892 civil war, but in the event reparations in that case had been paid.[5]

While German investment in Venezuela was substantially less than in countries such as Argentina or Brazil, Krupp's Great Venezuela Railway Company, valued at 60m marks, was "individually one of the more valuable German South American ventures",[6] and despite a renegotiation of the concession terms in 1896, payments were irregular after 1897 and stopped in August 1901.[6] In addition, Cipriano Castro, one of a succession of Venezuelan caudillos (military strongmen) to seize the Presidency, halted payment on foreign debts after seizing Caracas in October 1899.[7] Britain had similar grievances, and was owed the bulk of the nearly $15m of debt Venezuela had obtained in 1881 and then defaulted on.[8]

In July 1901 Germany urged Venezuela in friendly terms to pursue international arbitration[9] via the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.[7] Between February and June 1902 the British representative in Venezuela sent Castro seventeen notes about the British government's concerns, and did not even receive a reply to any of them.[8] Castro assumed that the United States Monroe Doctrine would see the US intervene to prevent European military intervention. Theodore Roosevelt (US President September 1901 – March 1909), however saw the Doctrine as applying to European seizure of territory, rather than intervention per se.[7] As Vice-President, in July 1901, Roosevelt said that "if any South American country misbehaves toward any European country, let the European country spank it,"[10] and reiterated that view to Congress on 3 December 1901.[11]


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How the wheels turn...

pirates of the caribbean...

Picture at top: French Magazine Le Parisien on the attack of German Boats on San Carlos de la Barra Fortress, Venezuela, 1903...


In 1666 the French pirate Jean David Nau El Olonés with a fleet of 8 ships and 650 men entered from the Gulf of Venezuela into to the mouth of Lake Maracaibo where the Castle of San Carlos was located armed with 16 guns and attacked the fort. After an exchange of artillery, the pirates captured the fort in less than three hours. In March of 1669, the town refugees took shelter in the fort during the sacking of Maracaibo by the English pirate Henry Morgan. Upon learning of the futility of escaping Lake Maracaibo by crossing the castle, Morgan tried to negotiate with the Spaniards by asking a ransom for hostages from the town. In response, Alonso de Espinosa, commanding officer of the castle, was given a large sum of gold and silver plus some cattle in payment, but Espinosa refused categorically to let them go. The next day, Morgan devised a trick to escape by simulate a ground attack on the site at night. The Spanish hurriedly abandoned the fort, while some soldiers remained in the castle attempting to block access back to the sea, without success. Morgan returned to Jamaica on May 14, 1669 under warnings from the English governor Thomas Modyford before claims of the misdeeds they committed were received in London. In 1823, the fort was attacked and taken by a Venezuelan squadron commanded by Admiral José Prudencio Padilla, in what was known as "The Forcing of the Barra de Maracaibo" which also allowed the Venezuelan ships to enter the lake and attack a Spanish fleet in the Battle of Lake Maracaibo.

In the nineteenth century Venezuela achieved independence and the fort continued to be maintained as part of the country's defences. It saw action in the Bombardment of Fort San Carlos when it was attacked by the Imperial German Navy during the Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03.

It also served as a prison, imprisoning such figures like included the writer Eduardo López Bustamante, who wrote poetry during his captivity.


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pirate of the potomac and low hanging fruit...

Trump losing interest in Venezuela, officials sayThe president has been frustrated about a foreign policy issue he “always thought of ... as low-hanging fruit” on which he “could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory,” a former official said.
You better not believe it. Trump is a trickster, saying one thing and doing another...

a godly appointed president?...

Elections and dialogue should be used to solve the crisis in Venezuela, Russia’s president has said, bringing up how opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself a president ‘before God,” but has yet to receive a response.

The long-term crisis in the South American country is very worrisome for Russia, as well as the repeated attempts to stir it up from abroad, Vladimir Putin said on Thursday at a joint press conference with Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte.

Military intervention must be ruled out, but any political meddling bust be ruled out as well, Putin said, explaining that the standoff between the legitimate, elected President Nicolas Maduro and self-styled ‘interim-president’ Juan Guaido is damaging to the very concept of democracy.

The opposition leader Guaido went into a square, turned his eyes up and, addressing god, proclaimed himself a president. But god did not tell us how he reacted to this address, no signal was sent.

No “divine intervention” can fix that, Putin stressed, calling for Guaido to return to “our sinful earth” and to stick to well-trusted mundane procedures – “dialogue and elections.”




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how washington is doing it...













This is the blueprint that is applied to China, Russia, Iran and a host of countries that do not lick the US arse. Despite the "corruption" as described by the Admiral Tidd, Venezuela managed to improve education amd health services for the poor while eliminating as far as possible capitalistic corruption of the elites — thus annoying the United Sates by trying to prove that socialism can improve the life of people...




THE CHÁVEZ government managed to do what no other leader of Venezuela has done. Using the oil revenues that swelled during the early years of the 2000s, it expanded social programs to provide health care for millions of poor Venezuelans, dramatically increased access to education and attempted to include historically marginalized sectors into the national political process.

Additionally, Chávez's opposition to the U.S. and its neoliberal economic doctrines--openly expressed as opposition to capitalism--rightfully inspired millions of people around the world to reconsider socialism as a worthwhile project.

These are achievements worth celebrating. But they don't add up to socialism because Chávez never let real power spread to the grassroots of society. Indeed, any initiatives for popular power depended, to receive any funding or support, on loyalty to the government. This kind of clientelist relationship with grassroots campaigns has nothing to do with genuine socialism.

Once the boom in basic commodities ended, world oil prices plummeted, and the revenues used to expand social programs dried up, along with any leverage that the state had to hold Venezuela's private capitalists in check.

The response of the Maduro administration has been to crack down on opposition, both from the right wing that has always opposed the government, but also supporters of Chavismo that dissent from Maduro's direction for society.

This, too, must be completely rejected by revolutionaries. The fight for socialism should always stand for the expansion of democracy, not restrictions on it.

With Maduro, the bureaucratic layer that had already emerged under Chávez seems to have consolidated and strengthened its hold over state resources. Not only is it clear that there is massive corruption among "Bolivarian bureaucrats," but this layer has failed to challenge the Venezuelan capitalist class--something that Maduro has shown with his continual overtures and concessions to private capitalists, even as he cracks down on democracy.

Venezuela has remained a capitalist country, through and through, despite the social achievements of the last 18 years. What has failed is not socialism, but a system that has been capitalist in its economic and political domination by a minority over the majority.

To the extent that Chávez proposed a strategy for achieving socialism in the future by accepting compromises with private capitalist control and the political rule of a minority acting on behalf of the masses of people, that, too, has been proven lacking.

Relying on a minority, however well intentioned, to take over a capitalist state and reform the system into socialism has failed before. Socialism from above, in whatever form it takes, is not the successful shortcut we should keep trying.

To inspire a new generation of socialists, we need to be able to explain what happened in Venezuela--and to re-raise the banner of socialism from below. As Draper writes at the close of his The Two Souls of Socialism:

Since the beginning of society, there has been no end of theories "proving" that tyranny is inevitable and that freedom-in-democracy is impossible; there is no more convenient ideology for a ruling class and its intellectual flunkies. These are self-fulfilling predictions, since they remain true only as long as they are taken to be true. In the last analysis, the only way of proving them false is in the struggle itself. That struggle from below has never been stopped by the theories from above, and it has changed the world time and again. To choose any of the forms of Socialism-from-Above is to look back to the old world, to the "old crap." To choose the road of Socialism-from-Below is to affirm the beginning of a new world.


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socialism has an image problem...


liberalism has a fundamental problem...

how russia sees it...

The Foreign Ministry expresses deep regret over the cancellation of the round of talks between the government of Venezuela and the opposition that was to take place in Barbados. Regardless of who initiated this decision, the main reason for the breakdown in the negotiating process is obviously Washington’s irresponsible policy regarding Venezuela and its legitimate authorities. The methods adopted by the United States to exert economic pressure, alongside other actions in stark violation of international law, are unacceptable. We firmly condemn the outright interference by the United States in the affairs of a sovereign state and Russia’s strategic partner.

It is highly regrettable that opposition politicians in Venezuela welcome aggressive unilateral action by a foreign government targeting the people of Venezuela. It seems that these politicians are ready to forgo the prospect of normalisation in the interests of their own ambition. We strongly believe that there is no alternative to dialogue between responsible political forces. Moving in any other direction would lead to chaos with unpredictable consequences.

We are alarmed by the irresponsible statements by US officials that the time for dialogue has passed and it is time to act. These power games and persistent attempts to escalate tension are a mere reflection of the United States’ aspiration to claim the role of a global “supreme arbitrator.” All reasonable politicians and responsible governments must combine their efforts to put an end to these practices.

The people of Venezuela must be given the chance to use their undeniable right to determine their future in keeping with the national Constitution and laws.

The international community must encourage these efforts by creating an enabling environment for finding peaceful solutions. Russia reaffirms its unwavering commitment to this policy.



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how washington is doing it...

how the mainstream media is doing it...

Leading English-language news organizations have provided extensive and dramatic coverage of anti-government protests in Venezuela, but mostly ignored large-scale rallies against US sanctions, which took place over the weekend.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans flooded the streets of the country’s capital, Caracas, on Saturday to denounce the economic blockade and sanctions imposed by the US. Many were wrapped in national flags and sported red shirts, typically worn by the supporters of the government. The rallies were held under the slogan ‘No More Trump’.


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foaming at the mouth in anticipation...

The head of US Southern Command said Tuesday the US Navy was ready to “do what needs to be done” if and when US President Donald Trump gives the order for them to move against Venezuela.

“I won’t speak to details of what we’re planning and what we’re doing, but we remain ready to implement policy decisions, and we remain on the balls of our feet,” Adm. Craig Faller told reporters in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. The annual UNITAS maritime exercises began off the Brazilian coast on Tuesday, in which the US, UK, Portugal, Japan and nine Latin American nations run naval drills.

“The United States Navy is the most powerful navy in the world,” Faller continued, according to AFP. “If a policy decision is made to deploy the navy, I’m convinced that we’ll be able to do what needs to be done.”

Faller said the two-week-long sea exercises would “send a message to [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro and other partners that don’t share the same values … Naval exercises send a message to the world of what democracies that work together can do across a range of complex threats.”

Earlier this month, Trump instituted what amounts to a complete embargo of Venezuela, as Washington continues to try and force Maduro, Venezuela’s elected president, from power.

In January, Maduro’s legitimacy was challenged by Juan Guaido, a Washington-backed opposition politician who declared himself the country’s interim president and has mounted three failed coups d’etat against Maduro since then. The US has steadily increased its sanctions on Venezuela since then in a bid to make Venezuelans so miserable as to force Maduro from power in an effort to lower the trade barriers.

So far they’ve failed, and Venezuelans have rallied around their government amid the ensuring siege.

Earlier this week, Faller said SOUTHCOM officials were focused on preparing for “the day after” Maduro leaves office, criticizing countries such as Cuba, Russia and China for continuing to provide support to the Venezuelan government to offset US sanctions. The countries have provided essential foodmedicine and trade since the US encirclement began, but US pressure is forcing some of them to step back somewhat, with China announcing over the weekend that US sanctions were forcing it to suspend oil purchases.

A Monday report by Axios revealed that Trump has raised the idea with his advisers of imposing a complete naval blockade of Venezuela’s 1,750-mile coast, only letting in approved shipments of goods.

"He literally just said we should get the ships out there and do a naval embargo,” an administration source told Axios; “prevent anything going in.”

"I'm assuming he's thinking of the Cuban missile crisis ... But Cuba is an island, and Venezuela is a massive coastline. And Cuba we knew what we were trying to prevent from getting in. But here, what are we talking about? It would need massive, massive amounts of resources, probably more than the US Navy can provide," the source said.

However, the Pentagon reportedly doesn’t take the idea seriously. Further, the move could be considered an act of war - one of the reasons that US President John F. Kennedy’s attempted blockade of Cuba in 1962 was so politically explosive.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov made it clear Tuesday that Moscow disapproved of the reported blockade proposal.

"We will certainly study the situation related to Washington's boosting of illegal, illegitimate sanctions pressure and attempts to impose a blockade,” Ryabkov said in a statement. “We warn Washington against incautious steps in this sphere.”


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A blockade is like a declaration of war.... Where is the fucking United Nations? I see... Navel gazing expedition to Grovelland...



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