by Stephen Lendman
It's an open secret. Throughout Chavez's tenure, America supported opposition candidates. Quasi-government agencies did so. They're at it again now.
They include the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute (NDI) International Republican Institute (ISI), USAID, and Development Alternatives. They supply millions of dollars. Doing so interferes lawlessly in Venezuelan elections.
In contrast, America's Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits foreign nationals from "contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly."
"It is unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment."
Foreign nationals include nations, political parties, corporations, partnerships, associations, other groups, individuals, and immigrants without green cards.
Do as we say, not as we do reflects US policy. In 2011, Obama requested millions of dollars. He supports Venezuelan opposition candidates. He wants them funded. America's Caracas embassy is directly involved. It's a hotbed of subversive activity.
US/Venezuelan relations remain tense for good reason. Both countries have no ambassadorial relations. It's been that way since 2010.
Patrick Duddy last represented Washington. He served from August 2007 - July 2010. In September 2008, Venezuela declared him persona non grata. Doing so reflected solidarity with Bolivia.
Washington expelled its ambassador. He conspired against Bolivian democracy. He encouraged internal disruptions.
In 2009, Duddy's persona non grata status was lifted. He returned as ambassador. He remained another year. He's held various Latin American posts. He represent imperial interests. He's now a Duke University Center for International Studies diplomat in residence.
On March 20, Venezuela suspended communications with Washington. At issue is interfering in its internal affairs. It's standard US practice. It's ongoing ahead of April's presidential elections.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua explained "interventionist (US) statements." Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson called for "open, fair and transparent (April) elections." She said "it would be difficult" for Venezuela to do so. She lied.
Venezuela's are the world's best. America's pale by comparison. Duopoly power controls them. People have no say. Venezuela's are polar opposite.
America gets the best democracy money can buy. Venezuelans get the real thing.
It's constitutionally mandated. It's rigorously enforced. No nation anywhere matches its process. Suggesting otherwise is demeaning. It's unconscionable, uncalled for, and untrue.
"This channel of communication is suspended at this time, deferred until there is a clear message on what type of relationship the United States wants with Venezuela," said Jaua. "It makes no sense to continue wasting time."
"We want normal relations with the United States based on mutual respect," he added. America seldom affords it. Power politics matters most.
Jaua accused Jacobson of meddling in Venezuela's affairs. He did so for good reason. It's longstanding US policy. Bolivarian leaders aren't about to roll over for Washington. Latin America's no longer its back yard.
In early March, Venezuela expelled two US military attaches. They acted disruptively. They did so lawlessly. They proposed plots to destabilize the Bolivarian National Armed Forces of Venezuela. They tried recruiting Venezuelan military personnel to go along.
They were asked to leave. Jaua said "We will not allow any foreign interference in our country, who believe that the situation of grief (about Chavez) translate(s) into weakness."
"We will investigate their relationships with the corrupt right groups, whose representative was in New York when they made contacts with Venezuela's military," he added.
In response, Washington expelled two low-ranking Venezuelan diplomats. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced it. She called it a move to "protect" US citizens. She lied saying so.
"Around the world," she added, "when our people are thrown out unjustly, we're going to take reciprocal action."
Venezuelan presidential elections are scheduled on April 14.
Acting President Nicolas Maduro represents the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). He's Chavez's preferred choice. He'll face Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) leader Henrique Capriles Radonski.
Last October, Chavez defeated him decisively. He represents anti-Bolivarianism, money power, neoliberal harshness, and subservience to imperial Washington.
Polls suggest one-sided results. Maduro's well ahead. Datanalisis gives him a 14 point lead. It said 65% of Venezuelans expect him to win.
A Hinterlaces poll favors Maduro by 18 points. Expect others to show similar results. Maduro looks certain to win. Only his margin of victory remains to be determined.
Venezuelans want him to carry Chavez's torch. He's committed. He won't disappoint. His Bolivarian credentials are exemplary. He's qualified and experienced.
He's driven to do the right thing. He believes public service involves government of, by and for everyone.
He co-founded the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR). It's PSUV's predecessor. It champions Bolivarian fairness. It's polar opposite neoliberal harshness. It rejects imperial dominance.
On March 20, Maduro called on Venezuelans to advance Bolivarian principles. "(L)et's welcome debate, criticism, self-criticism and collective learning, besides recalling that in time of battle, we have always been together."
"It was precisely our brotherhood which allowed the return of Commander Hugo Chavez during the right-wing (April 2002) coup," he added.
He calls Venezuela's opposition "a minority full of hate." They "insulted Chavez during his whole life."
Maduro wants normal relations with Washington. He won't sacrifice Bolivarian principles getting them. They matter. He'll advance them.
Millions of Venezuelans depend on his commitment. On April 14, they'll vote. Maduro's sure to win. Chavez transformed Venezuela responsibly. Advancing his legacy matters most.
A Final Comment
On March 11, Fidel Castro said Cubans lost their best friend.
"Although we were aware of the critical state of his health, the news (of his death) hit us hard."
"The honor befell us to have shared with the Bolivarian leader the same ideas of social justice and support for the exploited. The poor are the poor in any part of the world."
Cuban national hero Jose Marti said "Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her: she has in me a son."
"Marti knew the beast because he lived in its entrails," said Castro.
Simon Bolivar said the United States was "destined by fate to plague the Americas with miseries in the name of freedom."
Days after Cuba's 1959 revolution, Castro visited Venezuela. He came to say thanks. He said:
"…Venezuela is the homeland of the Liberator, where the idea of the union of the peoples of America was conceived."
"Therefore, Venezuela must be the country to lead the union of the peoples of America; as Cubans, we support our brothers and sisters in Venezuela."
"I have spoken of these ideas not because I am moved by any kind of personal ambition, or even the ambition of glory, because, at the end of the day, ambitions of glory remain a vanity, and as Martí said, 'All the glory of the world fits into a kernel of corn.' "
"And so, upon coming here to talk in this way to the people of Venezuela, I do so thinking honorably and deeply, that if we want to save America, if we want to save the freedom of each one of our societies that, at the end of the day, are part of one great society, which is the society of Latin America; if it is that we want to save the revolution of Cuba, the revolution of Venezuela and the revolution of all the countries on our continent, we have to come closer to each other and we have to solidly support each other, because alone and divided, we will fail."
He stands by what he said then. He includes all nations America exploits.
"That was the struggle of Hugo Chavez," said Castro.
"Not even he himself suspected how great he was."
"Hasta la victoria siempre (Until victory always), unforgettable friend!"
Fidel Castro Ruz
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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