Pro-Venezuela Anti-intervention march

Washington DC 16Mar2019

banner at rally
In Washington DC to protest the Trump Administtration's actions against Venezuela. President Nicolás Maduro was sworn in on January 10th for a second six-year term. As NPR put it:

[Venezuela] was once Latin America's wealthiest and is now devastated by economic and social collapse. Many countries, including the U.S. and neighboring Brazil and Colombia, refuse to recognize his leadership. They say he won an election that was neither free nor fair.

On January 23rd, "the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaidó, declared himself acting president and said he would assume the powers of the executive branch from there onwards." The election was held back in May of last year. The US officially recognized Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of the country.

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How does the military feel abut the two contestants?

Following the events of 23 January, top military commanders tweeted their support for Mr Maduro but videos posted on social media showed National Guard members stepping aside at one opposition protest to let those marching through.

The BBC describes the socialist policies of the previous president, Hugo Chvez, as being poorly designed. Price controls were put on basic necessities such as flour and cooking oil, but no subsidies were provided to compensate businesses. The businesses, finding these markets to be unprofitable, simply stopped producing for them. A baker in Caracas

explains that due to price controls, bread must be sold at a loss — for about 20 U.S. cents per loaf. So, like other bakery owners, he reserves some flour for pizza and pastries that he can sell at market prices to help keep his business afloat.

rally crowd
How many people did we have? Popular Resistance  said it was anticipating "thousands." My guess was that we got  1,000 to 1,250.  The International Action Center says that "Representing Workers World and the International Action Center, Loan Tran and Taryn Fivek spoke from the stage to the rally."  The IAC alsor reported about 100 counter-protesters. The IAC and ANSWER both took early action against the Iraq War that began in 2003.

Cindy Sheehan
Medea Benjamin
 The top two speakers are Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin, both of whom were active against the Iraq War that started around 16 years ago.

I saw the signs that some of the counter-protesters were carrying. Some younger Venezuelans carried signs that said, in effect "We know you enjoy watching Narcos on Netflix, but how would like to live under those sots of people?" To which my answer would be that as bad as life was under Saddam Hussein of Iraq or Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, what followed US intervention was much worse. Al Jazeera said that in 2018

Amnesty International can confirm the number of IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Iraq is over three million now. The Iraqi government has unfortunately been a part of the problem ... many of these people are displaced because of the actions of the government and militias affiliated with the government.

And also that "The reconstruction effort that was promised [by the Iraqi government] has not even started in many cases." So my advice to the younger Venezuelans would be to "Be careful what you wish for!"

Washngton Monument
And how's Libya doing? According to Bloomberg News

A long-delayed conference to reconcile feuding Libyan factions and pave the way to elections will be held next month, the UN’s envoy to the country said Wednesday, voicing optimism the gathering could help the OPEC member find stability after years of turmoil.

So again, I wouldn't willingly trade their life now for what they had under the dictator Gaddafi.

Both National Security Adviser John Bolton and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) are urging the Venezuelans to surrender. Rubio tweets:

There is still time for military leaders in #Venezuela to
- maintain their rank
- be granted legal amnesty
- have U.S. sanctions removed; &
- participate in a transitional government
But only if they play a role in restoring democracy.
It only gets worse from here.

Does that sound like a threat to you? Sure sounds like a threat to me. I would definitely take that as a threat.

Youtube of speech and marching

Elliot Abrams tries to explain how Juan Guaidó is actually the president of Vanezuela when Maduro hasn't left office  Makes a complete botch of it.

The US mainstream media does not appear to recognize that there are tremendous class and ethnic differences between the sides represented by Maduro and Guaidó. The incumbent group since Chavez took over and Maduro succeeded him are Mestizo (mixed-race) and poor. The insurgent group led by Guaidó tends to be light-skinned and wealthy. The light-skinned Venezuelans had complete control of the country's politics for four centuries before Chevez took office. And this is very important for understanding what's happening today:

Today, Guaidó’s supporters, like Carmona’s, know they can’t win an election given the overwhelming fact of the newly empowered Mestizo majority. So Guaidó has skipped the idea of an election altogether, simply replacing running for office with the “recognition” from Trump and allies which Guaidó can’t get from Venezuelans.

video viewing
A large section of the march gathered in an upper room of the church where we stopped to hear messages from Jill Stein and Daniel Ellsberg, among others. We all went straight to the buses after that.

So the US is battling hard to add to Venezuela's unforced economic errors by imposing as much economic pain as it possibly can.

As these sanctions escalate, the lives of ordinary Venezuelans become steadily worse. Food and medicine are in short supply, inflation is raging, and living standards have collapsed. Government corruption and mismanagement fuel this freefall, but fiats from Washington have decisively accelerated it. 


Although our leaders like to use the phrase “targeted sanctions,” in most cases that is about as honest a formulation as “clean coal.”

Is it working?

Beside the moral question is the political one: do sanctions work? Evidence suggests that they do not. The two countries that the United States has sanctioned for the longest time, Cuba and Iran, have defiantly survived over generations without changing their behavior.

With straight military invasion and covert operations both being unfeasible, economic sanctions are about al we have and that doesn't appear to be working, either.

what we're fighting for
"What we're fighting for!"