Venezuela: Media Preparations for Military Intervention

Romain Migus
Translation by Internationalist 360°

On May 20, 2018 the presidential election will be held in Venezuela. This convocation of the people to the polls will be the occasion to ask citizens to make a choice about the future of their country, in the most sovereign and democratic way. The chavismo, led by Nicolás Maduro, will face four opposition candidates, among them Henri Falcón (1).

The former governor of the State of Lara was the campaign director of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski in the last presidential election of 2013. With 22% of voting intentions in the polls, he is today the opposition candidate in the best position to try to snatch the executive from the outgoing president. Nicolás Maduro, on the other hand, now receives 52% of the voting intentions (2). In Venezuela chavismo retains a strong electoral base.

It is therefore a crucial election that will be held at the end of May, that will allow Venezuelans to define the political course of the country for the next six years. Nothing very original for a country that has carried out 25 electoral processes in the 19 years of the Bolivarian Revolution. Except that these elections will take place in Venezuela, where a terrible fourth generation war develops, whose battle of information is one of the central axes.

Several psychological operations have already been put into practice since the arrival of Hugo Chávez to power. The last one was aimed at achieving the acceptance in the international public opinion of a change of regime by force after the election of a Constituent Assembly, on July 30, 2017. Given the incredible mobilization of Venezuelan voters in favor of the new constitution project, this goal was aborted. But it has caused great damage and the propaganda deployed at that time managed to insert as true a series of false information into oppinion matrices. It is from this fertile ground that the media is once again preparing to try to coerce us to accept as logical, an anti-democratic intervention against the Venezuelan government.

This scenario should not be taken lightly. The possibility of a military attack had never been as favorable as it is today. The president of the USA, Donald Trump, did not exclude it (3). After the fiasco of the intervention in Syria, an overthrow of the Bolivarian Government could enhance the military prestige of the USA in what it considers to be its fiefdom. At the same time, it is also a good way for Washington to challenge the Russian determination to defend a multipolar world and to know in how many theaters of operations the Kremlin can simultaneously be present.

Now the media will attempt to sway public oppinion in favor of intervention, one tactic being to delegitimize the democratic scope of the electoral process.

Therefore we must prepare ourselves to face a psychological operation of great amplitude that is based on several falsehoods elaborated for years against the Bolivarian Government. The dominant media thus constructed several matrices of opinions that each legitimized a pretext for an intervention against the country of Bolivar.

An intervention to restore democracy

In May 2016, a few months after the victory of the opposition in the legislative elections, a process of dialogue between Maduro and his opponents began in the Dominican Republic under the auspices of the former president of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, former President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández and former President of Panama, Martin Torrijos. This series of 150 meetings aimed to take the country politically and peacefully out of the political crisis provoked by the violent attempts of the opposition to overthrow President Maduro.

In January of 2018, an agreement seemed to have been reached regarding an old US and Venezuelan allies’ cantinela: the call for an early presidential election (4). The agreement referred to the electoral guarantees and the date of the election, initially scheduled for April.

However, as indicated by Jorge Rodríguez, Minister of Communication and head of the Commission for Dialogue for the Government, “Everything was ready [for the signing of the agreement] to the desk where we had to make our official statements. And then, in the afternoon, Julio Borges, the former right-wing president of the National Assembly, received a phone call from Colombia from the former US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (…) The opposition announced that it would not sign the agreement.

Back in Caracas, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero sent a letter to the opposition asking what his alternative was, since he refused to participate in an election presenting the guarantees “in which he himself had worked” (5). The most radical fringe of the opposition then decided to boycott the election to make the public believe that Nicolás Maduro was presented as the sole candidate in the race to the Miraflores Palace.

Although four opponents now present themselves against the outgoing President, this argument was broadly reproduced by the media to further their propaganda that the Bolivarian government rigs the elections and organizes a parody of democracy. Several governments have already announced that they will not recognize the results of the next presidential election: the USA, the Latin American member countries of the Lima group (6), as well as the kingdom of Spain and the French Republic. But what the media never shows is that all the conditions are perfectly established for democratic and transparent elections.

In Venezuela, to avoid fraud, elections are not organized by the executive. The 1999 Constitution, which recognizes the existence of five independent powers – the executive, the legislative, the judicial, the moral and the electoral power – leaves the latter the task of organizing the electoral processes, according to the Organic Law of the electoral processes. This legal framework, adopted in 2009, was not modified afterwards. It allowed, in particular, the election of Henrique Capriles as governor of the powerful State of Miranda (2 times), recognized the election of Antonio Ledezma as Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Caracas and of Julio Borges as deputy to the National Assembly.

None of the elected representatives of the opposition ever expressed a doubt about the proper development of the suffrage that won it, and the opposition itself has never challenged the legal framework of electoral processes. When the media tell us about an illegitimate election, why do they not refer to the legislation that protects the citizens’ vote instead of being spokesmen for an undemocratic opposition?

How do you vote in Venezuela? Here is a good question never addressed by the media. First, each political party has the right to nominate its supporters as advisers in the polling stations, as well as on a list of national and international observers.

Next, the National Electoral Center (CNE) convenes, in the presence of all parties, conducting a prior audit of the computer program used for data collection. Observers from each political party will follow the electoral process from the headquarters of the CNE and also from the telecommunication company in charge of transmitting the data. Each stage must be approved by all participants. And in fact, up to now it has always been.

Regarding the vote (7), Venezuela uses a double electronic and manual system. When one enters the electoral college, it is identified by its identity card and a fingerprint recognition machine. It is therefore impossible to vote twice. Then your candidate is chosen on a machine that asks for confirmation of the vote. Once confirmed, the machine issues a ticket with the name of the candidate, which the voter places in an envelope and deposits in an urn. Finally, after signing the electoral register, the voter soaks their finger in indelible ink to guarantee a second time that they will not repeat their vote.

On the night of the results, the CNE will proceed to audit the polling stations where the electronic result will be verified in front of the heads of the different parties. It is then a matter of comparing the results obtained in the ballot box after the final count with the electronic result. An error was never detected during the multiple electoral processes.

When the loser, Capriles Radonski challenged the election of Nicolas Maduro in 2013, the CNE opened 100% of the polls to compare them with the electronic result that gave him a small margin of 1.49%. After having killed 11 Chavistas and having punished the country through several weeks of fire and blood, Capriles Radonski was finally forced to acknowledge his defeat (8).

These guarantees to shield the result led former US president Jimmy Carter to define the Venezuelan electoral system as “the best in the world” (9). These are the same procedures that will define the vote of the presidential election of May 20, 2018.

Media propaganda relies on the public “forgetting” the actual function of the Venezuelan electoral system. Their omissions are criminal. As everything seems to indicate that Nicolás Maduro should win the next election (10), the non-recognition of the democratic nature of this election by the media aims to legitimize a foreign intervention “to restore democracy” as was the case in Haiti or Serbia.

An intervention against a Rogue State or Failed State

On more than one occaision, the vice president of the USA has referred to the Venezuelan State as a “bankrupt” and “rogue State” (11).

According to American propaganda and their media conduits, Venezuela would no longer have an institutional system that works but would depend on the good will of a dictator and a militia that would guarantee their protection and their permanence in power. The year 2017 gave rise to several media constructions around this theme. Let’s resume the chronology of events so as not to be a victim of media bombings on this subject.

After the 2015 legislative election, in which the opposition won 112 of the 167 seats, a fraud complaint was filed in three constituencies. Such a measure is not exclusive to Venezuela, it is a procedure similar to that which was initiated against former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, whose election as deputy aroused suspicions of electoral fraud (12).

After the investigation, the election of these deputies from the State of Amazonas was invalidated by the electoral tribunal that summoned citizens back to the polls in three circumscriptions. Preferring confrontation to free democratic elections, the then president of the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup made the decision not to respect the ruling of the electoral power. As stipulated in the Constitution, it was the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) that ruled and declared the National Assembly in judicial contempt while the election of the three deputies did not take place. Therefore, all decisions of the National Assembly were considered void by the TSJ while this situation persisted. This institutional tension affected the legislative, judicial and electoral powers. It is symbolic because of the vivacity and good functioning of the Venezuelan institutions that do not allow a legal vacuum or lack of power. And where the constitutional thread has never been broken. It should be noted that in this confrontation, the executive could not make any decision.

Despite this, the international media propagated the idea that institutions did not work in Venezuela and that President Maduro had monopolized all the powers by silencing a contradictory Assembly. This legal conflict was quickly followed by a failed coup attempt. From March to July 2017, violent clashes between armed groups and law enforcement forces left more than 142 dead and more than 800 injured. Immediately, a media campaign was set in motion to attribute the deaths to the Bolivarian government. After investigation, it was revealed that 70% of the deaths were directly or indirectly attributable to opposition groups (13).

The election of the Constituent Assembly and the subsequent local elections allowed a return to calm, but the propaganda of the media had made its way and the idea of ​​a failed state, where the institutions no longer work. It is from this perspective that it is necessary to understand the recent media show mounted by the opposition to judge and stop President Maduro (14).

A new “Supreme Court of Justice in exile” appointed by a National Assembly, whose decisions are considered null and void, based on the request of the former Prosecutor of the Republic Luisa Ortega, dismissed and sought by the justice system for corruption (15), to proceed to the prosecution of the Venezuelan president for corruption, and request his capture by Interpol. The National Assembly subsequently approved the request for this fictitious judiciary, and Luisa Ortega “ordered” the Armed Forces to capture the president.

This action fits into this strategy of presenting Venezuela as a failed state. By illegally creating parallel judicial institutions (TSJ and Fiscal “in exile”), the opposition intends to create a false public impression of an institutional crisis. This situation of artificial ungovernability could in turn justify the intervention of countries that would not recognize the true existing legal powers. Recall that the constitution of parallel powers in exile has always been the prelude to military adventures as was the case in Libya and Syria.

In the same way, and without any evidence, Venezuela is accused of being a “narco-dictatorship”, a necessary premise to be qualified as a rogue State. In 2015, the chavista deputy Diosdado Cabello and a group of soldiers were accused, without any tangible evidence, of belonging to the mysterious Cartel de los Soles (16). The accusation was based only on the testimonies of former members of the Venezuelan administration, “refugees” in the USA after being accused of corruption by the justicial courts. But the media went mad. The big communication groups began to discredit Venezuela’s courts through an astute system of triangulation of information. The Washington Post cited as proof an article in the Spanish newspaper ABC, which was later retaken by the Wall Street Journal, then by Colombian newspapers, which in turn invoked the articles of their European colleagues, and so on.

The only problem was the evident absence of evidence. Three years after this case, the evidence is classified in the same folder as those on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or on Syrian chemical weapons.

What’s more, the idea germinated in public opinion is that Bolivarian Venezuela, despite its efforts in the fight against drugs, is now associated with drug trafficking. This matrix of the narco-state was reinforced by the DEA’s arrest of two members of the family of President Maduro’s wife, accused of cocaine trafficking. Once again, no evidence connected this detention to an illegal operation organized from the highest levels of the State.

What matters, for the media system, Venezuela became a “narco-dictatorship” (17). This precipitation from the media court is as amazing as it is selective. The same year, the children of the president of Suriname and a former president of Mauritania were arrested and convicted of drug trafficking (18). However, no media used these events to transform the two countries mentioned into narco-states.

Let us not be fooled by the fake news of the mainstream media. The media story aimed at transforming Venezuela into a failed state or into a rogue state has only one objective: to justify a foreign intervention as was the case in the operation Causa Justa * in Panama, or in the destructions of Afghanistan or Libya.

A “humanitarian” intervention

On the sidelines of the VIII Summit of the Americas, the US Vice President Mike Pence met with members of the most extreme elements of the Venezuelan opposition. During the meeting, one of the politicians present, Antonio Ledezma, who a few weeks before had called the international community “to overthrow Maduro” (19), declared: “more than humanitarian aid, what we need is a humanitarian intervention” (20). ).

This declaration is inscribed as the culminating point of the strategy of economic warfare deployed against the Venezuelan people and whose purpose, as in the case of Allende in Chile, is “to make the Venezuelan economy scream” (21). Speculation against the bolívar, the national currency, contraband of extraction of the products of first necessity, looting of gasoline, Venezuelan banknote traffic, reduction of the Venezuela’s solvency notes in spite of the payment of its debt, all means for stifling the economy of the country and rotting the lives of citizens.

To this is added a fierce economic and financial blockade by the USA and its allies. Established under Obama, it has been reinforced by President Donald Trump. As the economist Pascualina Curcio (22) points out, 64% of the total imports of medicines and 82% of the food imported by Venezuela come from the USA or from European and Latin American countries aligned with the policy of Washington and in its will to penalize companies that trade with Venezuelan entities. It is a criminal act aimed at making misery to justify a humanitarian intervention, terminology now famous to cover the horrors of a war, as in Somalia or Kosovo.

Drowned by this economic war, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans decided to emigrate to other countries of the region or to the USA (23). This migratory process became a pretext to attack the government and awaken the specter of a humanitarian intervention. What difference does it make if the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization does not consider real problems of malnutrition in Venezuela in its last report 2017 (24? Alfred De Zayas, independent expert of the United Nations for the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, has declared: “I have compared the statistics of Venezuela with those of other countries, and there is no humanitarian crisis. Yes, there are supply problems and shortages but for those of us who have worked for the United Nations for dozens of years and who know the situation of countries in Asia, Africa, and even the Americas, we know that the situation in Venezuela does not constitute a crisis “(25). Yet, the idea of a humanitarian crisis will be fed by a series of NGOs with questionable objectivity (26) and taken up by the world media system to legitimize the oxymoron of a military intervention “for humanitarian purposes”.

Justified by the economic crisis of its neighbor, the Brazilian government ordered a military deployment on the border with Venezuela (27). Colombia decided to build camps for refugees in the border cities. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos even sent members of his government to Ankara, to learn from the management by the Turkish administration of the influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the war in their country (28).

It is not a question of denying the magnitude of the migratory process of the Venezuelans affected by the consequences of the blockade and the economic war, the reaction of the neighboring countries and the American administration indicates that we are closer to war. By way of counterexample, when, at the beginning of the 21st century, 15% of Ecuadorians had to flee from the misery in which neoliberal policies had engulfed them, no State thought of demanding a “humanitarian intervention” in Ecuador. And what about Greece where half of the population lives outside the borders of the Hellenic Republic? Would there be coherent means to call for the bombing of Athens?

Place our minds on alert

The current situation in Venezuela is explosive. As the presidential elections approach, and the likely victory of Nicolás Maduro, the media pressure will intensify. This runaway psychological war offensive will take place at the four corners of the planet, at the same time, with the same arguments, and above all with the same sources of information. These come from NGOs financed by the USA, the prism of triangulation of unproven information. The unleashing of fake news that announced the presidential election in Venezuela – which, remember, will not be recognized by certain countries – will have as its objective to provoke a clash in public opinion, and thus prevent any manifestation of solidarity against the punitive measures that will follow. Paradoxically, those who dare to question the mediawill be lynched in the name of democracy and freedom of expression.

To defend Venezuela in the comimg storm is not only to affirm our adherence to the principles of respect for democratic sovereignty and non-interference; it is also to rebel against attacks on our mental integrity, not to accept being an accomplice to the conflict and to reaffirm our right to be informed in an honest and balanced way.

Notes:

(1) “Who are the presidential candidates in Venezuela?”, Telesur, 08/03/2018, https://www.telesurtv.net/news/venezuela-cne-cinco-candidatos-elecciones-presidenciales-20180307 -0045.html
(2) “Hinterlaces: 52% of Venezuelans will vote for Maduro in presidential elections”, Últimas Noticias, 04/15/2018, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/politica/hinterlaces-52-los-venezolanos -votaran-mature-presidential /
(3) “Donald Trump does not rule out the military option against Venezuela”, Cubadebate, 08/12/2017, http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2017/08/12/donald-trump-no-descarta-la -option-military-contra-venezuela / #. WtelCS_pM9c
(4) See for example in 2016: “Opposition calls for early elections in Venezuela”, El Nuevo Diario, 04/11/2016, https://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/internacionales/409260-oposicion-pide-elecciones- anticipadas-venezuela / and in January 2017: “Opposition calls for march to demand early elections”, Última Hora, 18/01/2017, http://ultimahoradigital.com/2017/01/oposicion-convoca-a-marcha- para-exigir-elecciones-anticipados / o in April 2017, the request was made by Julio Borges on behalf of the National Assembly: “Opposition majority of the National Assembly of Venezuela demands early presidential elections and” closes “the dialogue with the government of Maduro “, BBC Mundo, 04/27/2017, http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-39739963
(5) Cathy Dos Santos, “Venezuela. «Il faut diversifier notre économie sans toucher au social» “, L’Humanité, 04/03/2018, https://www.humanite.fr/venezuela-il-faut-diversifier-notre-economie-sans-toucher-au -social-652993
(6) Founded by the right-wing governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, the Lima Group is a regional diplomatic lobby against the Bolivarian Revolution.
(7) The author of these lines has already participated in electoral processes in Venezuela as a voter.
(8) About this tragic episode see Romain Migus, “Crystal Night in Venezuela” Venezuela in Vivo, 04/17/2013, http://www.romainmigus.com/2013/05/night-of-crystal-in- venezuela.html / http://www.es.lapluma.net/index.php/articulos/opinion/4745-night-of-crystal-in-venezuela.html
(9) “Jimmy Carter:” The Venezuelan electoral system is the best in the world “, RT, 09/20/2012, https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/view/54145-jimmy-carter-sistema-electoral -Venezuelan-best-world
(10) José Vicente Rangel, “La suerte está cast”, Últimas Noticias, 04/16/2018, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/opinion/espejo-jose-vicente-rangel-la-suerte -this-pitch /
(11) “Mike Pence:” Venezuela is a failed state “, El Nacional, 04/14/2018, http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/latinoamerica/mike-pence-venezuela-estado-fallido_230996
(12) The election of Manuel Valls was finally validated by the Constitutional Council.
(13) “Support Network Report shows that more than 50% of the 142 deaths in guarimbas of 2017 did not participate in demonstrations,” Alba Ciudad, 02/05/2018, http://albaciudad.org/2018/02/ commission-of-the-truth-report-network-of-support-142-dead-guarimbas-2017 /
(14) “Why the” antejuicio “to President Maduro does not have legal legitimacy”, Misión Verdad, 04/17/2018, http://misionverdad.com/La-guerra-en-venezuela/por-que-el- pre-judgment-to-the-president-mature-has-legal-legitimacy
(15) “Why do you suspend Luisa Ortega as Venezuelan prosecutor?”, Telesur, 05/08/2018, https://www.telesurtv.net/news/Por-que-suspenden-como-fiscal-de- Venezuela-a-Luisa-Ortega-20170805-0027.htmlo “Luisa Ortega Díaz cooperates with the FBI to criminalize Venezuela”, Misión Verdad, 10/31/2017, http://misionverdad.com/LA-GUERRA-EN- VENEZUELA / luisa-ortega-diaz-informente-del-gobierno-americano-to-criminalize-a
(16) See Fernando Casado, The New Invention to Attack Venezuela: The Cartel of the Suns, 06/01/2015, http://www.rebelion.org/docs/200755.pdf
(17) A search for the terms “narco-dictatorship” or “narcor regime” in Google brings surprising results. These terms were introduced in the media after a political tour of opposition leaders. Several Spanish, Colombian, Guatemalan, Argentine or Ecuadorian media echoed this formula used by Miguel Henrique Otero in interviews (this person is the owner of a Venezuelan opposition newspaper) in 2017. A year later, while the “narco-dictatorship” “It fell into media oblivion, it was Antonio Ledezma who rehabilitated the term in the media. No media coverage accusing Venezuela of being a “narco-dictatorship” has been able to present any serious evidence on these accusations.
(18) “Etats-Unis: le fils du président du Suriname lourdement condamné” RFI, 03/12/2015, http://www.rfi.fr/ameriques/20150312-etats-unis-fils-president-suriname-lourdement -condamne-desi-bouterse-dinoet “Trafic de drogue in Mauritanie: onze personnes incarcérées dont le fils d’un ex-président”, Jeune Afrique, 02/05/2016, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/depeches/ 300279 / societe / trafic-de-drogue-mauritanie-onze-personnes-incarcerees-dont-fils-dun-ex-president /
(19) Watch the video of the intervention of Antonio Ledezma in https://www.voanoticias.com/a/antonio-ledezma-reunion-vicepresidente-mike-pence-cumbre-americas/4347460.html#player-set-time = 0.00001
(20) Patrick Saint Paul, “Antonio Ledezma:” Il faut une intervention pour renverser Maduro “,” Le Figaro, 02/23/2018, http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2018/02/23/01003 -20180223ARTFIG00339-antonio-ledezma-il-faut-une-intervention-pour-renverser-mature.php
(21) Declassified documents from the United States revealed that the former president of this country, Richard Nixon (1969-74) had asked his administration to “make the Chilean economy scream” with the aim of overthrowing the socialist president Salvador Allende. (“To make the economy scream” to prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him. “)
(22) Pacualina Course, “Sanctions”, Latest News, 04/01/2018, http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/opinion/sanciones/
(23) The figures of the Venezuelan emigration bring intense debates and speculations on the part of numerous NGOs. On this topic see: Fallacies and inaccuracies about the Venezuelan migration, Mission Verdad, 03/02/2018, http://misionverdad.com/LA-GUERRA-EN-VENEZUELa/falacias-e-imprecisiones-sobre-la-migracion- Venezuelan
(24) United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture, “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017” http://www.fao.org/3/a-I7695s.pdf
(25) “There is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, says UN expert”, Telesur, 02/20/2018, https://www.telesurtv.net/news/Experto-ONU-Alfred-de-Zayas-Venezuela-20180220 -0053.html
(26) On this topic see Maurice Lemoine, “Bonnes et mauvaises victimes au Venezuela”, Le Grand Soir, 2/18/2016, https://www.legrandsoir.info/bonnes-et-mauvaises-victimes-au-venezuela .html, or Romain Migus et Eva Golinger, La Telaraña Imperial, Caracas, ed. CESE, 2008. Available at http://www.romainmigus.com/2013/06/la-telarana-imperial.html
(27) “Exodus of Venezuelans requires military mobilization in the borders of Brazil, Colombia and Guyana”, Yahoo news, 02/12/2018, https://es.noticias.yahoo.com/exodo-de-venezolanos-obliga-movilizacion -militar-en-fronteras-de-brasil-colombia-y-guyana-142004472.html
(28) Mariana Escobar Roldán, “Colombia enlists refugee camps for Venezuelans”, 08/28/2018, El Colombiano, http://www.elcolombiano.com/colombia/colombia-alista-campos-de-refugiados-para- Venezuelan-EN7186336

N of the T:
* Operation Just Cause: The 1989 American Invasion of Panama was a military operation of the US Army carried out between Wednesday, December 20, 1989 and January 31, 1990, whose objective was to capture the general Manuel Antonio Noriega, de facto governor of Panama, who was required by the American justice accused of the crime of drug trafficking, as well as neutralizing the Panamanian Defense Forces, a militia under the orders of Noriega. The operation was called Operation Just Cause (Operation Just Cause) by the US military command, and left approximately 3,000 dead.