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US Embassy ‘deeply concerned’ by T&T’s stance on Venezuela; Caricom re-affirms non-intervention

“Democracy and prosperity require tough choices…”

The following release on Trinidad and Tobago’s recognition of Venezuela president Nicolás Maduro’s government was issued by US Ambassador Joseph Mondello:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (second from left) and Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro (right) dance to calypso after a meeting at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on 5 December 2016.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Federico Parra)

Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó and the democratically elected National Assembly have the full recognition and resolute support of the United States of America and the majority of democracies in the Western Hemisphere.

I find the official statements from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago recognising the undemocratic and illegitimate government of Nicholas (sic) Maduro to be deeply concerning.

Democracy and prosperity require tough choices.

I and the entire US Embassy are committed to maintaining mutually beneficial bilateral relations with the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Venezuela Opposition Leader and president of the National Assembly, John Guiadó.
(Copyright Mundo24)

The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM): Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Foreign Ministers of Grenada and Suriname met by video-conference on 24 January 2019 and issued the following statement:

Heads of Government are following closely the current unsatisfactory situation in Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a neighbouring Caribbean country. They expressed grave concern about the plight of the people of Venezuela and the increasing volatility of the situation brought about by recent developments which could lead to further violence, confrontation, breakdown of law and order and greater suffering for the people of the country.

Heads of Government reaffirmed their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy.

Heads of Government reiterated that the long-standing political crisis, which has been exacerbated by recent events, can only be resolved peacefully through meaningful dialogue and diplomacy.

In this regard, Heads of Government offered their good offices to facilitate dialogue among all parties to resolve the deepening crisis.

Reaffirming their commitment to the tenets of Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which calls for Members States to refrain from the threat or the use of force and Article 21 of the Charter of the Organization of American States which refers to territorial inviolability, the Heads of Government emphasised the importance of the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro shake hands during a joint press conference in Port of Spain on 23 May 2016.
(Copyright Alva Viarruel/AFP 2016/Wired868)

Heads of Government called on external forces to refrain from doing anything to destabilise the situation and underscored the need to step back from the brink and called on all actors, internal and external, to avoid actions which would escalate an already explosive situation to the detriment of the people of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and which could have far-reaching negative consequences for the wider region.

Heads of Government agreed that the Chairman of Conference, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis would seek an urgent meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General to request the UN’s assistance in resolving the issue.

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323 comments

  1. Dis mawnin self dey fearless leader sid dong and hug up Kim….dis mawnin self…..oh wait CNN is fake news…..I shoulda chune into Fox news instead…..
    #hypocrites
    #bigbadusofa
    #demockracy

  2. If the US think Kim Jong-on is a great leader, what yardstick is used to decide Maduro is a danger to his people?

  3. Described back in 1990 by the New York Times as “one of Latin America’s oldest and most stable democracies”, the newspaper of record predicted that, thanks to the geopolitical volatility of the Middle East, Venezuela “is poised to play a newly prominent role in the United States energy scene well into the 1990’s”. At the time, Venezuelan oil production was helping to “offset the shortage caused by the embargo of oil from Iraq and Kuwait” amidst higher oil prices triggered by the simmering conflict.

    But the NYT had camouflaged a deepening economic crisis. As noted by leading expert on Latin America, Javier Corrales, in ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, Venezuela had never recovered from currency and debt crises it had experienced in the 1980s. Economic chaos continued well into the 1990s, just as the Times had celebrated the market economy’s friendship with the US, explained Corrales: “Inflation remained indomitable and among the highest in the region, economic growth continued to be volatile and oil-dependent, growth per capita stagnated, unemployment rates surged, and public sector deficits endured despite continuous spending cutbacks.”

    Prior to the ascension of Chavez, the entrenched party-political system so applauded by the US, and courted by international institutions like the IMF, was essentially crumbling. “According to a recent report by Data Information Resources to the Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce, in the last 25 years the share of household income spent on food has shot up to 72 percent, from 28 percent,” lamented the New York Times in 1996. “The middle class has shrunk by a third. An estimated 53 percent of jobs are now classified as ‘informal’ — in the underground economy — as compared with 33 percent in the late 1970’s”.

    The NYT piece cynically put all the blame for the deepening crisis on “government largesse” and interventionism in the economy. But even here, within the subtext the paper acknowledged a historical backdrop of consistent IMF-backed austerity measures. According to the NYT, even the ostensibly anti-austerity president Rafael Caldera — who had promised more “state-financed populism” as an antidote to years of IMF-wrought austerity — ended up “negotiating for a $3 billion loan from the IMF” along with “a second loan of undisclosed size to ease the social impact of any hardships imposed by an IMF agreement.”

    So it is convenient that today’s loud and self-righteous moral denunciations of Maduro ignore the instrumental role played by US efforts to impose market fundamentalism in wreaking economic and social havoc across Venezuelan society. Of course, outside the fanatical echo chambers of the Trump White House and the likes of the New York Times, the devastating impact of US-backed World Bank and IMF austerity measures is well-documented among serious economists.

    In a paper for the London School of Economics, development economist Professor Jonathan DiJohn of the UN Research Institute for Social Development found that US-backed economic “liberalisation not only failed to revive private investment and economic growth, but also contributed to a worsening of the factorial distribution of income, which contributed to growing polarisation of politics.”

    Neoliberal reforms further compounded already existing centralised nepotistic political structures vulnerable to corruption. Far from strengthening the state, they led to a collapse in the state’s regulative power. Analysts who hark back to a Venezuelan free market golden age ignore the fact that far from reducing corruption, “financial deregulation, large-scale privatisations, and private monopolies create[d] large rents, and thus rent-seeking/corruption opportunities.”

    Instead of leading to meaningful economic reforms, neoliberalisation stymied genuine reform and entrenched elite power. And this is precisely how the West helped create the Chavez it loves to hate.

  4. basically the Venezuelan opposition wants an invasion
    they know even if they had participated and won the election their hardline policies would make them lose a following election

  5. Analysis

    Venezuela’s crisis and the limits of Cold War thinking

    Both the left and right have their blinkers on when it comes to Maduro.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/01/30/venezuelas-crisis-limits-cold-war-thinking/

  6. February 2014 student demonstrators acting as shock troops for the exiles erected violent barricades across the country, turning opposition-controlled quarters into violent fortresses known as guarimbas. While international media portrayed the upheaval as a spontaneous protest against Maduro’s iron-fisted rule, there was ample evidence that Popular Will was orchestrating the show.

    “None of the protesters at the universities wore their university t-shirts, they all wore Popular Will or Justice First t-shirts,” a guarimba participant said at the time. “They might have been student groups, but the student councils are affiliated to the political opposition parties and they are accountable to them.”

    Asked who the ringleaders were, the guarimba participant said, “Well if I am totally honest, those guys are legislators now.”

    Around 43 were killed during the 2014 guarimbas. Three years later, they erupted again, causing mass destruction of public infrastructure, the murder of government supporters, and the deaths of 126 people, many of whom were Chavistas. In several cases, supporters of the government were burned alive by armed gangs.

    Guaidó was directly involved in the 2014 guarimbas. In fact, he tweeted video showing himself clad in a helmet and gas mask, surrounded by masked and armed elements that had shut down a highway that were engaging in a violent clash with the police. Alluding to his participation in Generation 2007, he proclaimed, “I remember in 2007, we proclaimed, ‘Students!’ Now, we shout, ‘Resistance! Resistance!

  7. The three constitutional articles invoked by Juan Guaido to legitimise his presidency are: 233, 333, and 350. The latter two are broad affirmations of democracy and constitutionality, silent on Presidential lines of succession. Guaido’s claim rests entirely on 233; presented here in full:

    The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.

    When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

    When the President of the Republic becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the first four years of this constitutional term of office, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the Executive Vice-President shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

    In the cases describes above, the new President shall complete the constitutional term of office.

    If the President becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the last two years of his constitutional term of office, the Executive Vice-President shall over the Presidency of the Republic until such term is completed.

    The opening paragraph envisions six scenarios whereby a President might no longer serve.

    The next paragraph sets out protocols to be followed should a President-elect become unavailable to serve pre-inauguration. The third paragraph contemplates presidential vacancies during the first four years of office. The last paragraph deals with presidential vacancies in the final two years of office.

    Of the six scenarios envisioned (death, resignation etc.) Guaido relies on “abandonment of his position.” This clearly never happened. Maduro isn’t gone. He’s still there. “Abandonment” conjures images of a President fleeing on a plane freighted with bullion. Maduro, however, currently occupies presidential offices and residences. There has been no abandonment.

    “Abandonment” is spun to mean “usurpation.” When did this occur? Are they suggesting that at no time since April 19, 2013 has Maduro ever been President? If Maduro was President, then he must have farcically usurped himself. “Usurp” typically means take power away from someone. There has been no usurpation.

    If a President becomes unavailable to serve in the first four years of his term, then the Vice-President takes over and calls an election. If the calamity occurs in the last two years of the presidential term then the VP serves out the fallen President’s term.

    Guaido, as head of the National Assembly, only becomes involved when the vacancy occurs in the twilight zone between election and inauguration. This definitely did not happen here. Moreover, by citing Article 233 Guaido implies there was a recent (lawful) election. Finally, Guaido’s January 23 self-anointment occurred 13 days after Maduro’s January 10 inauguration. He missed the boat.

    Pursuant to 233, if the head of the National Assembly becomes Acting President he must immediately call an election; and serve only until the winner of that election is inaugurated. The Western media (and Wiki) butcher 233’s second paragraph, leaving only opening and closing clauses; discarding any mention of “election.” Guaido should have, at the moment of self-anointment, announced an election for February 22. For the head of the National Assembly to assume Presidential powers, and then fail to call an election so as to keep those powers, would be flagrantly unconstitutional.

    This thread becomes rejoicefully rich considering the EU’s position. They are demanding Maduro call an election; …or else they will recognise Guaido. Can Maduro call an election if he is not President? By demanding Maduro hold an election they are recognising Maduro as President. If Maduro is President he has no obligation to call snap elections to satisfy foreign governments. Alternatively, if Guaido became President he would have an explicit, unavoidable constitutional obligation to call an immediate election.

    Guaido is the figure-head of a coup attempt orchestrated by foreign powers without a constitutional leg to stand on.

  8. President Trump has chosen a side in the conflict in Venezuela, where opposition leader Juan Guaidó has named himself interim president after challenging the legitimacy of Nicolás Maduro’s recent reelection. Trump, along with other international leaders, has formally recognized Guaidó, effectively promoting regime change in Venezuela.

    Yet although international support will bolster Guaidó’s claim, Trump’s decision to insert himself into a struggle for democracy, now mainly driven by protesters in the streets of Venezuelan cities, will help neither Venezuela nor the United States. As a populist who uses, and abuses, democratic rules to undermine democracy, Trump is incapable of leading a transition to democracy in Venezuela. And his interference is likely to make things worse.

    The United States has participated in the overthrow of dozens of Latin American governments since the late 19th century. These interventions have taken the form of direct military attacks, covert operations (often involving the CIA) and aid to internal actors bidding for power. By appointing Elliott Abrams as its point man in Venezuela, the Trump administration embraces that history of interventions. During the Reagan presidency, Abrams was central to U.S. actions that resulted in human rights violations in Central America. He was also convicted of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra investigation.

    [Venezuela’s opposition in talks with military and civilian officials to force out Maduro, Juan Guaidó says in interview]

    Trump’s threats to invade Venezuela, along with his appointment of Abrams, show that even though he ran against the idea of democracy promotion and military adventurism, Trump has been unable to resist the U.S. government’s interventionist reflex. That reflex, based on the idea that the hemisphere is still an area of U.S. hegemony and that U.S. armed forces can “teach democracy” to lesser countries, has characterized the long history of the relations between the United States and Latin America. As a reflex, it operates regardless of evidence about its effects. Venezuela is a case in point: In 2002, the George W. Bush government, using the services of Abrams, supported a failed coup against then-President Hugo Chávez. Chávez soon consolidated his power as an anti-imperialist hero.

    So what does this history suggest about the probable outcomes of U.S. intervention in Venezuela today?

    One outcome is that Trump’s pro-Guaidó strategy fails: The Maduro government violently suppresses the rebellion in the streets, and the country returns to the quagmire of mismanagement and misery that in recent years has created a flood of refugees from Venezuela. This seems less likely than the last time Maduro quashed rebellion, in 2017, given the unified front now offered by the opposition in the National Assembly and the lukewarm attitude of the armed forces.

    This might suggest a second possibility, which would also represent a failure for Trump: that the armed forces remove Maduro and secure the continuity of their privileges and mismanagement of the national economy. Post-Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is a good example of this type of “transition.” No free elections; repression and economic misery remain as before. The current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was for decades Mugabe’s hatchet man and had led some of the fiercest attacks against political opponents, which continued this past week when his government’s repression led to 12 deaths, 78 gunshot casualties, hundreds of instances of assault or torture, and enough arrests to fill prisons beyond capacity. The dictator is gone, but his former cronies still rule the country without true democratic change.

    A third option in Venezuela has opened up with the United States’ entrance into the fray. The aggressive statements and threats of intervention coming from the Trump government could result in armed conflict. For the Maduro government, the threats from Washington and its recognition of Guaidó are a precious gift: They will allow him to claim renewed legitimacy and consolidate the support of the armed forces in the face of an external threat. In this context, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and other self-declared followers of Trump in Latin America would significantly contribute to a new Latin America that would look like that of the Cold War years, when authoritarian regimes undermined the rule of law and violated human rights with the endorsement and support of the United States and, in the case of Cuba, the Soviet Union.

    There’s a fourth option as well, one that would be welcomed by most parties. Although several Latin American and European countries have withdrawn their recognition of Maduro’s government, Mexico and Uruguay have not. As such, they could establish a public negotiation with the different parties, preventing both a civil war and foreign intervention.

    The experience of Central America shows that regional and multilateral negotiations can end conflicts. The mid-1980s Esquipulas agreements helped steer the peace process in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The accords were in part the product of the Contadora initiative, which involved Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela as brokers, and eventually led to the end of civil wars in the Central American region. In the current situation, brokering a peaceful outcome can be done only by intermediaries that recognize Maduro’s government as a party, withholding judgment about the ways he has been able to hold on to power.

    The authoritarian nature of the current leadership in Venezuela and the United States militates against that solution, however. In Maduro’s rhetoric, all the problems in the country have been caused by the imperialists from Washington. There is a considerable sector in the left in Latin America and the United States that agrees with this assessment, as well as with the notion that political oppression and the suffering it has caused are justifiable tools for an all-powerful leader — first Chávez and now, to a lesser extent, Maduro — who can uniquely express and mobilize the feelings of the people. This position is now being endorsed by the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin recently deployed two bombers to Venezuela while warning the United States not to intervene.

    For Trump, gut instinct determines whether an authoritarian regime is good or bad. Although he is attracted to the likes of Putin, Kim Jong Un and Rodrigo Duterte, he is also susceptible to the demonization of other authoritarian figures because of the encouragement, in this case, of John Bolton in his Cabinet and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the Senate. Besides a multilateral effort of mediation, the only impediment to Trump turning threats into action would be pushback from Congress. Because Latin America is not a high priority in Washington, intervention could become a reality. It would buttress Trump’s beleaguered image as a strong leader and could prop up his slipping polls as he heads into 2020.

    The internal situation in Venezuela is becoming a contest of global implications: extremist right-wing populism and its authoritarian interventionism vs. the dictatorial remnants of Chávez’s regime. Whether democracy has a place in this battle has yet to be seen.

  9. Maduro willing to talk.Even in Trinidad and Dr Rowley had his un meeting

    • Nothing against material at all and I’m glad for as different vantage points as possible. We have a few threads open in Venezuela already so we are leaving room for big updates to start new threads.
      Also we are particular about the source that we use to start threads.
      What is Grayzone project?

    • Lasana Liburd mainly because of their work in the Gaza.. That and I follow the reporter of this story Ben Norton. I try not to follow mainstream OR infowars types for news

    • Ok. His piece opened with some subjective stuff. Once you’re giving opinion as a journalist then I like to know the worth of that opinion

    • It’s ridiculous to call what Guaido is attempting a “coup.”

    • People need to first read the Vene constitution and understand the sequence of events.

    • Savitri Maharaj say what you mean and mean what you say.. It’s simple… Like.. If it’s not a coup.. What do you call a situation when two people are claiming to hold the office of leader.. And both are being recognized by different world leaders?

    • So China, Russia, Mexico just decided to not read the constitution?

    • Makesi Alexander check the Constitution.

    • Lastly…. Anyone who has ‘US backed’ before their name is being controlled to the benefit of the United States

    • Savitri Maharaj be specific.. Are you talking about the 3 articles cited to justify the ‘coup’? While we’re checking.. Can you check and tell me the billions US sanctions cost Venezuela in 2017?

    • Where in the constitution does it show direct influence from a foreign country to undermine said democracy and then ‘back’ someone of their choosing?

    • Makesi Alexander let me share something with you from somone who studied Latin American history at Uni and is also a military expert. Forgive the impatience at the beginning, read what he says about the articles:
      Feeling a bit ticked off.

      Somebody contacted me and starts off sharing a Young Turks video that gave a poor and also slightly slanted version of events in Venezuela.

      Then the said individual starts talking about how Guaido declared himself President like a crazy man and that Maduro is elected and as such she agrees with Russia and China.

      Repeating again for individuals who form opinions without understanding the Constitution of Venezuela. Understanding this stuff is hard so that’s no problem but do not cast your opinions in stone and start telling me you agree with Russia and China.

      Under the Bolivarian Constitution:

      Article 350: The people of Venezuela, true to their republican tradition and their struggle for independence, peace and freedom, shall disown any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values, principles and guarantees or encroaches upon human rights.

      and

      Article 333: This Constitution shall not cease to be in effect if it ceases to be observed due to acts of force or because or repeal in any manner other than as provided for herein. In such eventuality, every citizen*, whether or not vested with official authority, has a duty to assist in bringing it back into actual effect.

      As to the President of the National Assembly assuming powers, the legal argument being made for the invocation of Article 233 on 11 January 2019 is that Maduro’s term ended on 10 January 2019 and no President was duly elected who could be inaugurated.

      This goes to the issue of the legitimacy of the 2018 election.

      It is simple.

      If you say Maduro was legitimately elected – despite every single independent report indicating intimidation, arrest or exile of key Opposition leaders, disqualifying others and all other factors rendering the 2018 election suspect etc. – then you endorse all of the above.

      If you say he was not legitimately elected because the election was not free and fair, then on 11 January 2019, there was no person to be inaugurated as President.

      In those circumstances, the President of the National Assembly takes over.

      The two operative sentences in Article 233 are as follows:

      “When an elected President* becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President*, the President* of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.”

      What is being argued, is that no elected President is available and therefore within 30 days elections are to be held.

      Until then the Presidency falls to the President of the National Assembly.

      Guaido did not declare himself President in a legal and constitutional vacuum.

      The tenor of certain press articles in that regard is singularly misleading – don’t give excuses of it being a linguistic shortcut.

      It has come to the point that the gymnastics around Venezuelan politics is getting some people to practically endorse Maduro’s 2018 election.

      If you endorse the said election, that’s unfortunate.

      The democratic process has to be sacrosanct.

      The last standing freely elected entity was and is the National Assembly and its President has assumed the role he is Constitutionally obligated to take.

      If you want to be a shill for Russia or China and their support for Maduro, please feel free.

      Just do not message me to waste my time doing so.

      Incidentally, I say the same for shills for the US who try to tell me that they were winning the Vietnam war or that they supported democracy when they removed Allende.

      Why am I so passionate about this?

      For decades a thoroughly reprehensible government, empowered through rigged elections and political repression was condoned and supported by governments including ours.

      Where was that?

      Guyana.

      We sold our souls then.

      Whether it was for politico-racial ideology between the PNM and PNC or cowardice during the NAR or craven capitulation to the demands of expediency, we betrayed democracy.

      If Maduro’s re-election is endorsed by us, we’ve once again betrayed our democratic traditions.

    • Savitri Maharaj would you be so kind as to share the public and covert attempts by the US to undermine countries globally with specific reference to Latin America?

    • Savitri Maharaj sorry that you are ticked off but that’s my gripe as well.. Where is the fact that these individuals are being influenced by the US government and more importantly what does that mean given their MO.. That is what we should be discussing as well

    • Savitri whomever wrote that has a brilliant and spot-on take on the situation. This is no “coup” and those tossing out that term are trading in nonsense.

    • Makesi try your best and stay on point. Whatever the US has or hasn’t done in the past is totally immaterial to the discussion of whether what Guaido is attempting is in fact a coup.

    • Nigel S. Scott ok.. Try this on for size. I went back and looked at constitution.. Article 233 states that if the president is in office, the executive vice president takes over as interim, not the president of the National Assembly. It also says the Supreme Tribunal of Justice must approve Maduro’s removal.

      It also states that Maduro can also be recalled by popular vote. The only time the president of the National Assembly fills in as interim president is if this removal happens before Maduro would take office.

      But.. according to all media reports, Guiado announced himself the interim on Jan 11. The day AFTER Maduro’s term officially started.

      So on what ‘legs’ does he stand? Because if it isn’t legal… It’s a coup

    • Makesi Alexander let’s try Article 233 again, this time with the relevant paragraph highlighted:

      “When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.”

      The argument is that Maduro was not legitimately elected (for a number of persuasive reasons) and so prior to his inauguration his illegitimacy would have made him unavailable to serve. Under that circumstance, the President of the National Assembly becomes the interim President pending new elections.

    • Also, Maduro’s term never officially started, the argument goes, because he was not Constitutionally sworn-in.

    • Nigel S. Scott correct there is an ongoing argument, so I don’t see how anyone could reach to B (Gauido) if A (legitimacy of the presidency) is still not finalised. I’m yet to see a final determination of that matter

    • Makesi there is no question that his Presidency is illegitimate. None. He called early elections (thereby disadvantaging any opposition challengers not already mobilized to run); he then voided all opposition candidates, jailing some and rendering/expatriating others to places such as Chile and Colombia; thereby leaving himself as the only candidate on the ballot. Do you really need a “final determination” (from whom?) that his election and subsequent claim to the office is illegitimate?

    • Nigel S. Scott ok, now remove Venezuela and replace it with country X. Doesn’t this entire process concern you? Given the fact that this issue didn’t start with Maduro’s early election decision. Why them, why now, why US endorsement?

    • Nigel S. Scott some of yall don’t seem to care what comes with a US backed leader in a country the US has been undermining for years. Past and present we are seeing its effects.

    • Nigel S. Scott but as you say…. Stay on point ent.. All of a sudden the US wants to send 20 million in aid… This after years of sanctions and caused all this damage… Smh. I’m waiting for trump to say if they install Guaido he’ll remove the sanctions

    • Makesi I have never strayed from the point… this is NOT a coup. You seem to have an issue with the US, that is for you to sort out. The UK, Canada and every single Central American and South American country, save for Guyana and Uruguay, have also backed Guaido? What, yuh have issues with those other countries too? Trump didn’t sign on until well after Guaido played his hand, so don’t make it seem like this is another infamous case of us dark arts at play.

    • Nigel S. Scott

      you believe what u just wrote?

    • it was usa that told guaido to swear himself in

    • bolosnaro in brazil is a fascist

      the other countries have rightwing govts and their former presidents have denounced guaido

    • Kyon I’m sure it was. And as to the photo you posted, the UN were right. What is there to monitor after you void all Opposition candidates and arrest some and kidnap and render others to foreign countries?

      And do YOU believe what you just wrote? Canada and the UK are fascist countries? Every single S. American country that supports Guaido is fascist?

    • Tory are rightwing

      canada foreign minister is the daughter or granddaughter of ukraine nazis

    • In mid-December, Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition’s strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro’s expected swearing-in for a second term on Jan. 10 in the face of widespread international condemnation, according to exiled former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an ally.

      To leave Venezuela, he sneaked across the lawless border with Colombia, so as not to raise suspicions among immigration officials who sometimes harass opposition figures at the airport and bar them from traveling abroad, said a different anti-government leader, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security arrangements.

      Building consensus in the fragmented anti-government coalition proved to be an uphill battle. The opposition has for years been divided by egos and strategy, as well as a government crackdown that has sent several prominent leaders into exile, making face-to-face meetings impossible. Others inside Venezuela were being heavily watched by intelligence agencies, and all were concerned about tipping off the government.

      Long sessions of encrypted text messaging became the norm, the opposition leader said. A U.S. official said intermediaries were used to deliver messages to Guaido’s political mentor and opposition power broker Leopoldo Lopez, who is under house arrest after he tried and failed to lead a mass uprising against Maduro in 2014. The U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns.

      Despite Guaido’s personal assurances in Bogota that he would declare himself interim president at a Jan. 23 rally coinciding with the anniversary of the 1958 coup that ended Venezuela’s military dictatorship, the suspense lasted until the hours before the announcement, said a Latin American diplomat from the Lima Group who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Some moderate factions were left in the dark or wanted to go slower, worrying that a bold move would lead to another failure for the opposition. In the end, those differences were smoothed over internally, without any public discord.

      “This is the first time in at least five years the opposition has shown an ability to come together in any meaningful manner,” said a senior Canadian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly.

      On Jan. 4 — a day before Guaido was sworn in as national assembly president — foreign ministers from 13 nations of the Lima Group, which doesn’t include the U.S., said they wouldn’t recognize Maduro’s second term.

      That set off a scramble at the White House to make sure it wasn’t being left behind, said a former U.S. official and congressional staffer who was in close contact with the national security council. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the administration’s planning.

      Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido the night before Maduro’s searing-in ceremony to offer her government’s support should he confront the socialist leader, the Canadian official said. Also active was Colombia, which shares a border with Venezuela and has received more than 2 million migrants fleeing economic chaos, along with Peru and Brazil’s new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

    • Right… so Tories gone from “right wing” to fascist?? The foreign minister have a relative who was a Nazi (according to you) so that make Justin Trudeau government fascist?

      Stop wasting people time yes fella.

    • trudeau has ben quickly collaborating with Trump

    • take a while to learn about american rightwing death squads in latin america

    • Kyon Esdelle stay on point sir… Don’t stray.. These historical facts mean NOTHING to the matter at hand… 😉

    • Since the beginning of 2016 – the year that a peace agreement was signed with Colombia’s largest leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) – some 311 activists, community leaders, and human rights defenders have been murdered, according to the national human rights office.

      At least 123 of those killings took place in the first six months of this year, in what the country’s human rights ombudsman described as “an extermination”.

      Uribe has long been accused by human rights watchdogs of using rightwing death squads to help fight the Farc during his presidency, and he is alleged to have conspired with paramilitaries to organise a massacre in his native province of Antioquia while governor in 1997.

      Fifteen people died in the massacre at El Aro and nearly 1,000 were displaced, while an unknown number of villagers were raped.

      A separate scandal led to the abolition of the country’s domestic intelligence agency in 2011 after it was revealed that Uribe had used it to spy on opposition members and journalists. Several witnesses in other cases have turned up dead.

      Uribe has denied all the accusations and dismissed the latest charges as politically motivated. But the new allegations of witness tampering seem to have riled him enough to step down from office.

      His current legal battles stem from another feud with the leftist senator Iván Cepeda, who has long sought to clarify Uribe’s alleged involvement with death squads. Uribe accused the senator of intimidating and bribing witnesses in his investigations, something the supreme court dismissed before levelling the same allegations at the former president.

      Uribe’s brother Santiago is currently awaiting trial for allegedly running his own death squad known as the Twelve Apostles.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/25/colombia-alvaro-uribe-mi6-death-squads-charges

    • uribe protege Duque is now president

    • Kyon you have Tourette’s or ADD? There has been multi-national support for peaceful regime change in Venezuela utilizing Constitutional processes. It’s not just about US support. You can’t just wave the multi-lateral support for Guaido away as Yanquí propaganda or some wide-ranging fascist conspiracy. None of those articles you posted supports your comment that Guaidó only draws support from fascist regimes. The US has a very selfish, complex and at times detrimental history of incitement and involvement in Latin American affairs. Posting articles about that doesn’t address the abuses, voting irregularities and overall il/legitimacy of the May 2018 elections.

      Unless your position is that Maduro is the legitimate President of Venezuela, then you shouldn’t be so up in arms about the call for his removal. I know you and others have bugs up your asses over the US and anything it does, but try not to conflate the US’ tortured history in Latin America with every action it takes regarding present-day Latin America.

    • did the venezuelans ask for election monitors?

    • Nigel S. Scott anytime men start with personal attacks….nothing after it matters..

      Focus on the topic Nigel
      😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂

    • Makesi you see a “personal attack” around here?

    • Nigel S. Scott relax… breathe

    • Kyon yeah, after Maduro had already rigged the process, already addressed. Asking for a rigged election to be monitored doesn’t cure it of the irregularities, it only provides cover for those who benefit from the rigged process.

    • Makesi you have some special device… or talent, that let’s you know from your side of cyberspace I’m not relaxed or breathing?

    • best thing ive heard

      rig an election so good monitoring wouldnt have mattered but without monitoring we know it was rigged

    • Kyon if Opposition candidates are prevented from running; if some are jailed;and if yet others are kidnapped and exiled abroad… and ALL of that occurred during the 2018 elections, would you still need to monitor those elections in order to determine if they were free and fair?

    • are u aware of what has happened when the opposition protested ? are u aware there was an opposition candidate who the rest of the opposition refused to support

    • Kyon just answer the question, with an actual answer, not a non sequitur. In light of the suppression of opposition candidates, would you still need international monitoring to determine whether the elections were free and fair? Or would you have enough information at that point to arrive at a conclusion?

    • Axios notes: “We expect the Trump administration will target Nicolás Maduro’s oil and offshore wealth in the coming weeks and try to divert that wealth to the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó…”.

    • should Nicolas maduro and company run for election again nigel?

    • Kyon sure, anyone eligible should run. But you came back with yet another non sequitur rather than answering a simple question.

    • because u havent answered my previous questions

      but in fact election was free

      the problem is that you fail to understand that people are not above the law

      noone can go to europe do what the opposition did and still run for an election they would be in jail

    • these ppl pulled off a coup and put chavez in jail

      hes lucky they didnt kill him

    • when they took power they started to suppress the same institutions they accused him of suppressing

      that is why the opposition cant unite

      some of them are fascist

      they burnt a man because he was darkskin while they were protesting

    • The internal situation in Venezuela is becoming a contest of global implications: extremist right-wing populism and its authoritarian interventionism vs. the dictatorial remnants of Chávez’s regime. Whether democracy has a place in this battle has yet to be seen. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/29/dangerous-game-donald-trump-is-playing-with-venezuela/?fbclid=IwAR2f7eY0u2bNvoFwTEzNsYELDRJ9Ty2Y4iEVdoH0NPrZf9YdTFZtDvpJ1jw&utm_term=.83166b97109e

  10. Kamla hoping d government fall d gas deal go thru and d pnm government look bad.

    • Savitri Maharaj Well look at dat d Dragon Fields deal gone thru already.😥

    • ok so who u supporting in d Venezuela crisis?

    • which people?People on both sides

    • Collin Cudjoe the Venezuelan citizens. I’ve seen families torn apart. Young people have had to leave their parents homes and come to a country where they’re not welcome. Where they have problems communicating. Some of the stories are heartbreaking

    • Savitri Maharaj Yes and it all started when d US decided to impose sanctions on d Chavez government.

    • Collin Cudjoe no dear..it started before that.

    • Savitri Maharaj when did it start?

    • Collin Cudjoe there’s a lot I’ve shared from a military expert. You can read there. This is one such:
      A few points on the Venezuelan crisis:

      1) The National Assembly elections of 2015 were the last ones to be certified as being free, fair and free from fear in Venezuela.

      2) Since those elections, Maduro has sought to undermine the National Assembly to the extent of subverting its authority through a bizarre National Constituent Assembly.

      3) Blaming US sanctions for Venezuela’s ills is completely wrong: Sanctions have had little to do with the chronic food shortages. These might be partially attributed to price controls which made smuggling a lucrative option – goods being smuggled across the Colombian border to fetch higher prices – while others have noted that the Venezuelan military and government have been profiteering through an elaborate system of kickbacks for food import licenses.

      4) Venezuela’s Presidential elections of 2018 were a complete farce. There was no pressing need for Trinidad to recognize Maduro – silence would have sufficed.

      5) By recognizing the Maduro government, in spite of the fact that many more countries now recognize Guiado as the interim President than Maduro as President, the GORTT has made a fool of itself once again. Silence is sometimes golden.

      6) The Dragon gas deal requires – by Venezuelan law – the approval of the National Assembly. By its ill-advised actions, the GORTT may have burned those bridges.

      7) Protests in favour of Maduro were at least in part due to the fact government workers were ordered onto the streets to do so.

      8) This is not pro-socialist or anti-socialist. This is about a government that has subverted every institution in Venezuela and has run its economy into the ground. Apologists for it need to wake up.

      9) There is going to be no war. Trinidadians need to do some research before getting carried away. Russia sent two bombers largely to annoy the US and the Iranian flotilla on its way down is militarily weaker than the Venezuelan navy. Nobody is going to invade Venezuela and nobody is going to militarily intervene on behalf of Maduro. In fact, neither Russia, nor China nor Iran has that ability.

      It should be noted that the US has never invaded a Latin American country to effect regime change since Panama in 1989 and even then would not have invaded had Noreiga not been indicted on narcotics charges.

      The US did not invade Grenada under Bishop. It did so after Bishop was murdered and the last surviving constitutional authority – Sir Paul Scoon the Governor-General – called for external aid.

      Toppling governments is done through covert action- Cheddi Jagan in Guyana – or working with local forces – Chile in 1973 – to do so.

      Venezuela is in an interesting situation. Maduro has no legitimacy as a democratically elected leader and the hardships being endured by Venezuelans are real. Maybe we are in the final act of a four year old drama?

    • Silence is golden yet Kamla pledged her support for Guiado?Caricom leaders took a unilateral position.

    • How did I know you were going to go there..nice try

    • Savitri Maharaj i saw a beautiful picture given to Maduro

    • given d fact that we r so afraid of d us. if Trump comes to tnt we should not protest his visit because he will take offence and impose sanctions on tnt.

    • Savitri Maharaj the US did not invade Grenada? Ok then. Any excuse like they were invited is plausible I guess.

  11. Trump using Venezuela issue as mass distraction.

  12. And to be fair Trump making the right call. something needs to be done in Vene. Just not this

  13. “Hearing Budhoo’s accusations, the T&T government ordered two independent studies.” Kyon Esdelle by chance do you know if these reports are in the public domain?

    • internationally recognized economist Dr. Karl Levitt reported that “there were, in fact, statistical irregularities in the IMF’s Staff Report on the Trinidad and Tobago economy in 1986 and 1987” and that there might have been “deliberate manipulation of the statistical data in order to impose Fund (draconian) conditionalities” on TnT.
      These IMF “conditionality measures” created social chaos, unrest and strife in TnT and represented a deliberate attempt by the United States government to destabilize the democratically-elected government of TnT for the principled foreign policy stance it took against the U.S. invasion of Grenada.

      McGill Univ Levitt did one

    • Kyon Esdelle Can’t seem to find it online only commentary related to it so far.

    • other report was done in uwi

  14. Confession of an economic hitmann