Connect with us

Latest

Interview

Brief Analysis

US meddled in Venezuelan elections, says Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in new interview

Election meddling is fine when America does it, just don’t do it to them

Published

on

719 Views

Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, talked about how the US embassy and American diplomats meddled in Venezuela’s elections, calling for the opposition to boycott the elections in a bid to undermine its legitimacy, in a recent interview with Deutsche Welle.

Western media, in attempts to parrot the illegitimacy claims, have often pointed to the boycotts that much of the opposition carried out.

But if we take Arreaza at his word, then it would seem to appear that these boycotts were an attempt by Western diplomats to meddle in the elections of Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the American media has been bashing Russia right and left over alleged meddling in America’s 2016 presidential election.

As far as American media is concerned, then, election meddling is fine when they’re ones doing it, just don’t do it to them.

Some of the topics covered in this interview include US-Venezuela relations, recent elections, US threats of regime change, Venezuelan economic model, and others. The text of the interview is included below:

Venezuela is mired in crises. Its foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, spoke to DW about how the opposition and the US have brought the country to the brink of ruin and why the Maduro’s government stands behind socialism.

Deutsche Welle: Let’s begin with the electoral results and voter participation. Venezuela appears to have seen the lowest participation rate since the start of the Revolution. How do you explain this?

Foreign Minister Arreaza: This was a difficult election held in the middle of not only a boycott from the opposition, but also an internal aggression against our economy, against the Venezuelan people. But of course there’s also external aggression from the US and from the governments that are subordinate to the US government.

When you see on TV that 14 countries in Latin America and the US government and the EU believe that these elections aren’t fair, then of course that has an effect on the people. If you listen to the leaders of the opposition saying that they will not participate in the election, you might even think, why should I vote if President Nicolas Maduro already won? I will support Maduro, but why should I go to vote if he has already won? And in spite of that, our voter participation corresponds to the average participation rate Latin America. And other countries haven’t seen a boycott likes ours. If this had happened in Chile or Columbia the participation figure would have been 10 percent. So here we have almost half of the registered voters and the US did everything it could do to stop the people from voting.

You mentioned Latin America and the US. All of these countries claim that the vote was unfair and undemocratic.

It’s very strange because, first of all, it’s the elites – not our neighboring countries – who are responding to the interests and orders of the elite in Washington. The people in Latin America don’t have anything against Venezuela or the Bolivarian Revolution. So what we saw is people predicting the future saying that the elections wouldn’t be fair months before the elections were even held. What they did was create the conditions to then say that the elections were unfair. The electoral system in Venezuela is the best one, maybe in the world.

There have been reports that small stations called “red points” were set up on election day where people were given food in exchange for proving that they had voted.

That is not true. There is not absolutely proof of that. These stations are traditionally used by both sides in Venezuela. The opposition set up “yellow points” during the 2013 elections. It’s also very common in other Latin American countries. In Costa Rica, for example, the political parties are inside the electoral centers.

How do you imagine the future with the US after the diplomatic sanctions? You have already expelled two US diplomats.

It is the least we can do. They have tried to impose what it are usually refered to as “sanctions.” The only goal is to make you do what they want you to do. This is what has happened with Iran, and with other Asian and African countries. And this is harming Venezuela and its economy. It’s difficult for us to buy medicine and food. It’s difficult for us to get our oil pay back, our oil which is sent by ships. It’s difficult to know when they are going to pay for the oil because the banks don’t want to work with the Venezuelan state and companies. The charge d’affaires, Todd Robinson, was a political actor during in recent months. He pressed the opposition not to participate in the elections. He pressed the candidate Henri Falcón to withdraw before the elections. The US embassy has done this before in every single country. But here in Venezuela we don’t accept that.

Are you still open to dialogue with the US?

If the US respects international law and our country, we can have a dialogue with whom ever. They are the ones who do not respect us. We even respect President Trump. It’s their problem, their sovereignty, their people who have chosen him. But if he attacks us, we have to respond.

President Maduro said in the National Constitutional Assembly that Trump looks like a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

He is. It is the extreme right that is in power in the US. They are racist, supremacist. They believe whites Americans are superior to everyone, not only in the world but also within the US. And they have links to all these extremists groups. The US’s decision is in part because they don’t like the Venezuelan Revolution and in part because they are racist.

A US senator said that the world would accept an armed coup d’etat by moving President Maduro out of the country. Are you afraid?

Latin America is used to this. Whereever the US is in Latin America and the Caribbean, it tries to make the governments do whatever it wants. This has happened before but we aren’t afraid. It’s a part of their history. They tried it for 60 years with Fidel in Cuba. That’s why we have to defend our sovereignty.

We are seeing a mass exodus of young qualified people leaving the country. There is also huge economic problem and a humanitarian emergency. Don’t you think it’s the right time to change Hugo Chavez’s economic model?

The economic sector that we have in Venezuela emerged through capitalism. The property of Venezuelan companies is almost the same as before the Revolution. This is not socialism – we are far from socialism. We have not proved the socialist model, we have only made some decisions and taken some steps, but we are far from our goals because the capitalist sector is against that model. That’s why we have these problems in our country.

What are you going to do?

We have to control the economy in every single way. We have to work with the private sector, we have to regulate it. If they want to comply with the law and to protect our people, they are welcome. If they want to wage war against our people and against the legitimate government, then we have to make the decisions that we have to make.

We believe that the private sector is very important in the socialism that we are trying to build. But if the private sector wants to stage a coup and wants the people to be poor, it is not allowed to play the game. During the coup in 2002, they appointed the head of the commerce chamber president. The private sector and the opposition are the same internally. Those are the people that have taken to the streets and have killed people, destroyed public buildings and private property. They have affected the economy. They are against our model and don’t play fair. They don’t respect the law. If that are willing to respect the law, then we invite them even to be main players in the future of Venezuela. If they want to keep on trying to make the people suffer and to remove the president, then they are out of the game. There is only one direction, we have a project, the Homeland Plan, “El plan de la Patria.” The private sector is included, if they want.

The EU expects the release of political prisoners. What are you going to do?

In December, more than 60 of these criminals were released and now President Maduro is also taking the steps to prepare for more releases. I’m sure that most of the people who are interested in Venezuelan news weren’t aware of this. Our good actions are censored by the international community. In the National Constitutional Assembly we have a Peace, Dialogue and Truth Commission and we are examining every case separately with judicial power.

I have heard Maduro tell the Assembly: “We are not doing things right, transformation of the leadership, of the Revolution is necessary.”

The Venezuelan Revolution has always been based upon self criticism. Comandante Chavez had three R’s: revision, rectification and reinvigoration of the party. What President Maduro is saying is true. We have great tools: We protect the Venezuelan people; we are building more than 2 million housing solution; we are giving people subsidies directly; we protect children and the elderly; we have free health and education. But we have to do it better.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Jorge Arreaza is Venezuela’s minister of foreign affairs.

In a post election environment for Venezuela, the US and its regional allies are continuing with their program of hostility towards the oil bearing Latin American nation. In fact, the program isn’t significantly different from that which is employed against Iran. In both cases, the nations contain vast oil reserves, in both cases, the US has led regime change attempts, and in both cases, the outcome was a defensive stance against American aggression.

 

 

 

 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Second Canadian Citizen Disappears In China

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge…


For a trade war that was supposed to be between the US and China, Canada has found itself increasingly in the middle of the crossfire. And so after the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei CFO in Vancouver, Canada said a second person has been questioned by Chinese authorities, further heightening tensions between the two countries.

The second person reached out to the Canadian government after being questioned by Chinese officials, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, at which point Canada lost contact with him. His whereabouts are currently unknown and Global Affairs Canada said they are in contact with his family.

“We haven’t been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this,” Freeland told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa. “We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with Chinese authorities.”

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea. He gained fame for helping arrange a visit to Pyongyang by former NBA player Dennis Rodman, and he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on that trip, the newspaper reported. Attempts to reach Spavor on his contact number either in China, or North Korean went straight to voicemail.

Spavor’s personal Facebook page contains several images of him with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un including one of him with both Jong-un and former Dennis Rodman at an undisclosed location.

Michael P. Spavor, right, pictured here with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, and Dennis Rodman.

Another image shows the two sharing a drink on a boat.

The unexplained disappearance takes place after China’s spy agency detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday, who was on leave from the foreign service. The arrest came nine days after Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. DOJ. While Canada has asked to see the former envoy after it was informed by fax of his arrest, Canada is unaware of Kovrig current whereabouts or the charges he faces.

“Michael did not engage in illegal activities nor did he do anything that endangered Chinese national security,” Rob Malley, chief executive officer of the ICG, said in a written statement. “He was doing what all Crisis Group analysts do: undertaking objective and impartial research.”

One possibility is that Kovrig may have been caught up in recent rule changes in China that affect non-governmental organizations, according to Bloomberg. The ICG wasn’t authorized to do work in China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing in Beijing Wednesday.

“We welcome foreign travelers. But if they engage in activities that clearly violate Chinese laws and regulations, then it is totally another story,” he said, adding he had no information on Kovrig specifically.

As Bloomberg further notes, foreign non-governmental organizations are now required to register with the Chinese authorities under a 2017 law that subjects them to stringent reporting requirements. Under the law, organizations without a representative office in China must have a government sponsor and a local cooperative partner before conducting activities. ICG said this is the first time they’ve heard such an accusation from the Chinese authorities in a decade of working with the country. The company closed its Beijing operations in December 2016 because of the new Chinese law, according to a statement. Kovrig was working out of the Hong Kong office.

Meanwhile, realizing that it is increasingly bearing the brunt of China’s retaliatory anger, Trudeau’s government distanced itself from Meng’s case, saying it can’t interfere with the courts, but is closely involved in advocating on Kovrig’s behalf.

So far Canada has declined to speculate on whether there was a connection between the Kovrig and Meng cases, with neither Freeland nor Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr saying Wednesday that there is any indication the cases are related. Then again, it is rather obvious they are. Indeed, Guy Saint-Jacques, who served as ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016 and worked with Kovrig, says the link is clear. “There’s no coincidence with China.”

“In this case, they couldn’t grab a Canadian diplomat because this would have created a major diplomatic incident,” he said. “Going after him I think was their way to send a message to the Canadian government and to put pressure.”

Even though Meng was granted bail late Tuesday, that did not placate China, whose foreign ministry spokesman said that “The Canadian side should correct its mistakes and release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately.”

The tension, according to Bloomberg,  may force Canadian companies to reconsider travel to China, and executives traveling to the Asian country will need to exercise extra caution, said Andy Chan, managing partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Vaughan, Ontario.

“Canadian business needs to look at and balance the reasons for the travel’’ between the business case and the “current political environment,’’ Chan said by email. Chinese officials subject business travelers to extra screening and in some case reject them from entering, he said.

Earlier in the day, SCMP reported that Chinese high-tech researchers were told “not to travel to the US unless it’s essential.”

And so, with Meng unlikely to be released from Canada any time soon, expect even more “Chinese (non) coincidences”, until eventually China does detain someone that the US does care about.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Multipolar World Order in the Making: Qatar Dumps OPEC

Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey.

Published

on

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The decision by Qatar to abandon OPEC threatens to redefine the global energy market, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s growing difficulties and the growing influence of the Russian Federation in the OPEC+ mechanism.

In a surprising statement, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned OPEC on Monday December 3 that his country had sent all the necessary documentation to start the country’s withdrawal from the oil organization in January 2019. Al-Kaabi stressed that the decision had nothing to do with recent conflicts with Riyadh but was rather a strategic choice by Doha to focus on the production of LNG, which Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, is one of the largest global exporters of. Despite an annual oil extraction rate of only 1.8% of the total of OPEC countries (about 600,000 barrels a day), Qatar is one of the founding members of the organization and has always had a strong political influence on the governance of the organization. In a global context where international relations are entering a multipolar phase, things like cooperation and development become fundamental; so it should not surprise that Doha has decide to abandon OPEC. OPEC is one of the few unipolar organizations that no longer has a meaningful purpose in 2018, given the new realities governing international relations and the importance of the Russian Federation in the oil market.

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices low, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump’s desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.

The declining leadership role of Saudi Arabia in the oil and financial market goes hand in hand with the increase of power that countries like Qatar and Russia in the energy sectors are enjoying. The realignment of energy and finance signals the evident decline of the Israel-US-Saudi Arabia partnership. Not a day goes by without corruption scandals in Israel, accusations against the Saudis over Khashoggi or Yemen, and Trump’s unsuccessful strategies in the commercial, financial or energy arenas. The path this doomed

trio is taking will only procure less influence and power, isolating them more and more from their opponents and even historical allies.

Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, the Eurasian powerhouses, seem to have every intention, as seen at the trilateral summit in Buenos Aires, of developing the ideal multipolar frameworks to avoid continued US dominance of the oil market through shale revenues or submissive allies as Saudi Arabia, even though the latest spike in production is a clear signal from Riyadh to the USA. In this sense, Qatar’s decision to abandon OPEC and start a complex and historical discussion with Moscow on LNG in the format of an enlarged OPEC marks the definitive decline of Saudi Arabia as a global energy power, to be replaced by Moscow and Doha as the main players in the energy market.

Qatar’s decision is, officially speaking, unconnected to the feud triggered by Saudi Arabia against the small emirate. However, it is evident that a host of factors has led to this historic decision. The unsuccessful military campaign in Yemen has weakened Saudi Arabia on all fronts, especially militarily and economically. The self-inflicted fall in the price of oil is rapidly consuming Saudi currency reserves, now at a new low of less than 500 billion dollars. Events related to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have de-legitimized the role of Riyadh in the world as a reliable diplomatic interlocutor. The internal and external repression by the Kingdom has provoked NGOs and governments like Canada’s to issue public rebukes that have done little to help MBS’s precarious position.

In Syria, the victory of Damascus and her allies has consolidated the role of Moscow in the region, increased Iranian influence, and brought Turkey and Qatar to the multipolar side, with Tehran and Moscow now the main players in the Middle East. In terms of military dominance, there has been a clear regional shift from Washington to Moscow; and from an energy perspective, Doha and Moscow are turning out to be the winners, with Riyadh once again on the losing side.

As long as the Saudi royal family continues to please Donald Trump, who is prone to catering to Israeli interests in the region, the situation of the Kingdom will only get worse. The latest agreement on oil production between Moscow and Riyad signals that someone in the Saudi royal family has probably figured this out.

Countries like Turkey, India, China, Russia and Iran understand the advantages of belonging to a multipolar world, thereby providing a collective geopolitical ballast that is mutually beneficial. The energy alignment between Qatar and the Russian Federation seems to support this general direction, a sort of G2 of LNG gas that will only strengthen the position of Moscow on the global chessboard, while guaranteeing a formidable military umbrella for Doha in case of a further worsening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending