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Venezuela. Damage assessment. Lopez surrenders. Coup suffers setback
by Les Blough and Arturo Rosales
Tuesday Feb 18th, 2014 11:25 PM
Since our February 14 report from Venezuela of the right-wing violence against government infrastructure, institutions, workers and media, the attacks have continued sporadically across the country. In this report we provide a damage assessment, media coverage and the response from the people and international governments.
Les Blough and Arturo Rosales in Venezuela. Axis of Logic.

FEB_18_MARCH_FOR_PEACE5495.jpg
A massive march for peace in support of the Maduro government today in Central Caracas led by workers of PSUV and this banner:

"The Country is Not for Sale."


Since our February 14 report from Venezuela of the right-wing violence against government infrastructure, institutions, workers and media, the attacks have continued sporadically across the country. In this report we provide a damage assessment, media coverage and the response from the people and international governments.

Leopoldo Lopez who called for the protests and violence once jagain, was in hiding until today when he surrendered to authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest last week. He has now been publically rejected by MUD, the organization of opposition political parties and it's possible that he surrendered to the government for his own protection. The National Guard took him on an NG tank to the Ministry of Justice today in open view apparently to pre-empt any claims that he might have been abused, beaten or harmed in any way during his arrest. Diosdado Cabello accompanied Lopez to a prison in the interior to ensure his safety.

Lopez_in_Custody498.jpg
Leopoldo Lopez in Custody. He has been charged with murder, terrorism, burning of public buildings, damage to public property, intimidation and incitement to commit crimes.

Lopez had called for massive "protests" in various parts of the country and for an opposition march into Central Caracas. President Maduro issued a statement yesterday that the government did not authorize the march to avoid anything similar to what took place when the opposition changed the route of their march on April 11, 2002, leading them into a Chavista demonstration resulting in 19 dead and the attempted coup.

Last night and today, the government placed 1600 police, NG and military in the streets where the march was planned to prevent any further violence. In accord with the constitutional right to protest, the government however, permitted protests in Chacao and wealthy opposition areas having opposition mayors. Today there were small concentrations of protestors in those areas and no incidents of violence are being reported.

Today, thousands of workers from PDVSA (state petroleum company) led the people in a demonstration for peace at Miraflores, the presidential palace in Central Caracas. President Maduro is currently addressing them, denoucing violence and calling for peace.

FEB_18_MARCH_FOR_PEACE495-2.jpg
The people, led by PDVSA workers met en-masse today to eschew violence and support President Maduro's Peace Plan.

Damage Assessment covering the last 5 days
 
These are a few examples of the more serious damages done by the right-wing opposition over the last 5 days:

  • Today  the Minister of Information issued a report that a band of opposition "protestors" on large motorcycles attacked a texile cooperative in Muncipio Sucre - shot and killed one worker leaving two others badly wounded.

  • Another attack took place in Carabobo state when unknown gunmen opened fire on PSUV headquarters in Valencia wounding one person who is in hospital but recovering.

  • 27 cyber attacks on government computers, websites and other media over the last 5 days.

  • In Turmero, about a 45 minute drive west of here, the internet service provider (ISP), Intercable, had a fire of unknown origin that destroyed fibre-optic cable that left users without service. This is Axis of Logic's ISP connection in Venezuela, leaving us without the ability to publish for the last 4 days. Intercable services are intermittent today with numerous interruptions.
     
  • 40 buses destroyed with molotovs and other weapons in 3 different opposition districts of Chacao, Sucre and Baruta simultaneously in Caracas.

  • Damage to three metro stations in middle class Chacao, Muncipio Sucre,  Altamira and Los Cortijos Metro stations - forcing government to close them for the safety of passengers and metro staff who were also attacked and beaten.

  • 19 passengers and drivers injured, bus service to Altamira – a key point in the metro bus network in East Caracas has been suspended for safety reasons.

  • Attempt to raid and loot Centro Plaza mall in Chacao was thwarted last night by National Police.

  • Destruction of frontage of the Attorney General's Building in Downtown Caracas

  • Extensive damage to the Court Building in Avenida Francisco de Miranda in Chacao

  • Destruction of Banco de Venezuela and Banco Provincial branches in Chacao

  • Nightly attacks on the public television channel, Venezolana de Television (VTV) every night since February 12th; extensive damage to street lighting and to streets due to burning tires and garbage.
Throughout the riots that began on Feb 3rd, the police, National Guard and military have demonstrated remarkable restraint even while being attacked, causing no deaths or injuries to the protestors reported by public or private media in Venezuela.

More News Today

  • On February 15, two days ahead of schedule, President Maduro launched his National Peace Plan with the support of the people gathering en-masse in Caracas to support peace and eschew violence. These included students and their leaders. We have witnessed a marked reduction in numbers and violence from those protesting against the government during the last few days. For example, during our tour of Maracay yesterday,  there were only small groups of young people gathered at some intersections holding protest signs.
  • Yesterday, Perez Pirela, a Public TV personality played an audio recording in his program, obtained by intel services, calling for terrorist attacks and revealing a detailed plan for destabilization. The voices recorded are of one ex-military general and a sociologist who is an advisor to Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, General Secretary of MUD (the organization of all opposition political parties). The names of the two men in the recording have been withheld during an ongoing investigation.  In the recording, one of the men stated that the opposition has a 120 billion bolivar fund (US$19 billion) being tapped to carry out the current "student demonstrations." The fund was no doubt developed via illegal transactions converting black market dollars to bolivars. The illegal exchange rate rocketed to 120 bolivars per dollar yesterday compared with 12.5 bolivars per dollar less than a year ago. One man is recorded saying that  3000 bolivars are being offered to any killing of anyone supporting the government.
  • Yesterday, VTV published a December, 2013 photo of Lopez meeting with Alvaro Uribe, former president of Colombia who ran paramilitary death squads throughout his 8 year presidency in Colombia. Uribe was always a US puppet and a sworn enemy of former President Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolutoin. Since he left the presidency, Uribe has continued to work for the overthrow of the Venezuelan government. Yesterday Vielma Mora, Governor of Tachaira State, said that Colombian paras may be infiltrating the opposition riots in Tachira on the Colombian border and videos are shown of Uribe's paramilitaries conducting maneuvers in Colombia.

Lopez_and_Uribe500.jpg
Leopoldo Lopez meeting with Alvaro Uribe in Colombia in December, 2013
  • With rumors of another coup attempt in Venezuela, stories abound and a key question is being raised about the Venezuelan military's loyalty  to the government. The military has consistently stated and demonstrated their support of the government and today the high command gave a news conference stating they will not permit any change of government here unless it comes about via elections or referenda as provided in the constitution.
The Media War Rages with Lies and Comedy

Yesterday, CNN Espanol in Atlanta, Georgia gave Capriles Radonski a half hour interview in Caracas via Skype. Trying to present himself as the voice of reason Radonski at times burst into frenetic speech with invectives against the government. He stated that he is opposed to violence but supports the student protests. This is the tac taken by the opposition now, including Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Machado - opposing violence while creating it.

The social media networks like Twitter and Facebook has been rampant with deceptive photos and information and some have been adopted by major corporate television, print and website media. Photographs of victims and police brutality taken in Greece, Egypt, Syria, Brasil, Chile and Ukraine are being presented as taking place this month in Venezuela. On CNN English last night, Jim Clancy presented Venezuela as "a country in crisis." He spoke of President Maduro holding onto power by a group of former followers of Hugo Chavez and presented the student opposition, a tiny fraction of Venezuela's the nearly 3 million university students as "the youth in Venezuela."

The US and European media completely ignored the masses of Venezuelan students who have been rallying in support of the government including the amazing parade they produced on National Youth Day in La Victoria on February 12. Instead, the capitalist media has focused on the "peaceful student protests" - and acts of violence to depict the country as "in chaos."

This woman was dragged away by police in Egypt, not Venezuela
Egypt_-_NOT_VENEZUELA._Correspondent_in_
A correspondent in Venezuela for ABC in Spain published this photo as though it took place in Venezuela

Photos of Torture in Spain - Published as Torture in Venezuela
Photos_of_torture_from_Spain_-_NOT_VENEZ

Victims of the war in Syria - Published as
Victims of the Government in Venezuela

Civil_war_in_Syria_-_NOT_VENEZUELA_498.j

Abuse of Students in Chile Published as
Victims of Police Brutality in Venezuela

Mistreatment_of_students_in_Chile_-_NOT_

The following photos were collected by "Dr. Dawg" for his blog from the corporate and social media. All these photos were shown as having been taken in Venezuela. The captions are also from Dr. Dawg ... we like his sense of humor :-) ...

Here are some brutal cops, with nice woolly caps and fur collars to guard against the 24°C Caracas weather, I assume.
venezuelan_-_fur_hats497.jpg

And visiting police officers from Bulgaria
Bulgaria497.jpg

And here’s a photo from Chile:
Chile_-_Aljazeera496.jpg

This one is so iconic! But CNN had to admit that the graphic photo was actually taken in Singapore:
singapore_cnn_-_not_venezuela400.jpg

And a victim .... But the victim here was a pro-Chavez demonstrator: and the picture was taken last year.
Chavista_victim_April_11_2013-496.jpg

Here’s my personal fave: a religious procession, reincarnated as an anti-government protest:
***image23**

Here’s a heart-wrenching picture of babies in laundry-baskets, with the question, What kind of revolution is this? The photo is from Honduras:

Honduras498.jpg

The protests in the magical country of “Venezuela” have spread.

To Brazil (Forbes)
Fprbes496.jpg

To Catalonia
Catalonia496.jpg

And to Syria
Syria495.jpg

ADDED: Well, not Syria, it seems. This pic was constructed by a supporter of the opposition, to send up those of us exposing real fakes. In other words, this is a fake fake. Getting a little meta, aren’t we? ...

Here, we have this one instead: a photo of alleged sexual assault by Venezuelan police—grabbed from a porn video!
constructed_from_a_porn_movie496.jpg

International: Friends and Foes

President Maduro expelled three US diplomats accused of instigating student protests. There names were given by Foreign Minister Jaua who listed them as US Embassy officers declared persona-non-grata: Vice-Consul Brent Mary McCusker; Elsen Gordon, and Clark Christopher Lee, Second Secretary. The Foreign Minister gave all three of them 48 hours to leave Venezuela.
The three officials had been under observation by Venezuelan authorities for two months and had been seen to visit several private universities where they offered visas to students to live in the US if they helped to destabilize and cause mayhem in the country.

The decision to expel these diplomats was accelerated by news from Venezuela’s Ambassador to Washington, Roy Chaderton Matos, who on Sunday, received an official phone call from one Alex Lee, sub-secretary of state for Latin America who told Chaderton that the Venezuelan government had to:
  • Negotiate with the opposition
  • Release all detainees arrested for crimes during recent demonstratio0n.
  • Rescind the arrest warrant issued against fascist protest leader, Leopoldo López.
  • Failure to do this would result in dire consequences for Venezuela. This was the threat.
President Maduro replied by saying “We do not accept threats from anyone."

John-McCain_-_occupy_Venezuela-404.jpg
US Senator wardog John McCain demanding that Obama occupy Venezuela with US military "to restore order."

Latin American countries and their international organizations such as UNISUR, ALBA, CELAC and MERCOSUR have issued statements in support of the Venezuelan government, sovereignty and independence, denouncing the violence being executed by the opposition.

In diplo-speak, China has requested that Venezuela and US improve dialogue and bilateral relations as “Cooperation with Venezuela is very important for China”, so-stated spokesman, Hua Chunying for the Chinese Foreign ministry.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement lending support to the Venezuelan government in its efforts to defeat fascist violence in the country and preserve law and order as well as the constitutional legality and avoid destabilization.

Conclusion

The government has handled the protests and the violence with skill and intelligence and without repression. One could overlay the template of opposition "protests" in Venezuela this month with those that are currently taking place in Syria and Ukraine and see little difference. The Venezuelan government has deftly separated democratic political protests from the riots, allowing students to protest while gaining control of the fascists without using repression, brutality or torture.  As in the attack today on the Textile Cooperative killing one and wounding others, there will probably be more isolated acts of violence. But the government has exemplified for all countries the proper way to calmly protect their independence and sovereignty when suffering internal attacks by US proxies to foment insurrection, civil war and "regime change."

But I have one remaining question: While the government is committing its time, resources, security services, talent and money to defend Venezuela's sovereignty and independence during this onslaught and while millions of Venezuelans are preoccupied with many in the street standing up for their country - - who is in the factories, schools, farms, stores, clinics, hospitals, agencies and bureaucracies for production, services, carrying out the work that must be done in daily life to keep a country productive and running? The attack we have been under since the first of February exacts a cost and impedes the development of the country. If Washington and their lapdog opposition gain nothing else from their fasicism they have at least achieved this much. When this is over, Venezuelans will go back to work and continue to build the country while all the time, warding off the attack dogs who will not go away soon.

Axis of Logic will keep readers informed with facts and analysis in coming days with reports like this one and our earlier report on February 14.

Stay tuned!  

Biography, Essays and Poetry by Les Blough