Pink catfish discovered in Venezuelan cave

This 10 August 2020 video from Venezuela says about itself:

Pink Catfish Discovered In Mountain Cave | The Dark: Nature’s Nighttime World | BBC Earth

This tiny pink catfish is a welcome surprise for the team. It has never seen daylight or an ocean. The crew inspect it closely and document their discovery.

Trump government arrests journalist for Venezuela reports

After lack of press freedom in Australia and in the Netherlands, now the USA.

This 3 November 2019 video says about itself:

Journalist Max Blumenthal arrested on false charge in DC

Pushback with Aaron Maté

The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal speaks out on his arrest months after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence at the DC embassy. Blumenthal was seized from his home by a group of officers and held for two days in cells and cages. His arrest warrant labels him as “armed and dangerous”. Blumenthal says the charges are false and a retaliation against The Grayzone’s journalism on the US-backed coup in Venezuela and corrupt members of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition carrying it out.

Guest: Max Blumenthal, Editor of The Grayzone and author of “The Management of Savagery.”

ACLU SUES TRUMP FOR DETAINING JOURNALISTS The American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that it is suing Trump’s administration for tracking, detaining and interrogating journalists while they were reporting on U.S.-Mexico border conditions. [HuffPost]

Venezuela alarmed at Trump-Bolsonaro summit’s ‘preparation for war’: here.

Donald Trump’s navy invading Venezuela?

This 19 February 2019 video says about itself:

Arturo Lopez Levy discusses Trump’s Venezuela address

Arturo Lopez Levy, an Assistant professor of international relations at Gustavus Adolphus College, discusses the Venezuelan political crisis with CGTN’s Sean Callebs.

By Andrea Lobo in the USA:

US commander says navy ready for Venezuela intervention

24 August 2019

On Tuesday, Adm. Craig Faller, head of the US Southern Command, made the most explicit threat so far of military intervention against Venezuela, while reaffirming efforts to consolidate US neocolonial control across Latin America.

While overseeing the UNITAS maritime military exercise in Rio de Janeiro, which included forces from nine Latin American countries, Japan, the UK, Portugal, and the US Navy and Marines, Faller declared that the event “sends a message to [Venezuelan president Nicolás] Maduro and other partners that don’t share the same values.”

“I won’t speak of details of what we’re planning and what we’re doing, but we remain ready to implement policy decisions and we remain on the balls of our feet,” regarding Venezuela, he said. “The United States Navy is the most powerful navy in the world. If a policy decision is made to deploy the Navy, I’m convinced that we’ll be able to do what needs to be done.”

The statements follow the August 5 decision by the Trump administration to freeze all Venezuelan government assets in the US, ban all transactions with US entities, and extend a threat of secondary sanctions against foreign firms or governments that “support” Caracas. At the same time, recent reports have revealed that US President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated a full-fledged naval blockade of Venezuela’s Caribbean coast.

After the August 5 measures, which amount to an economic blockade—an act of war—Maduro was compelled to pull his government out of negotiations in Barbados with representatives of the US-backed Venezuelan opposition.

Even as Faller was making his statements, however, both Trump and Maduro confirmed that US and Venezuelan officials have been holding direct talks.

Trump told reporters that his government is talking to “various representatives of Venezuela … I don’t want to say who, but we’re talking at a very high level.”

A few hours later, Maduro indicated in a televised address that “for several months” he has authorized “secret meetings in secret places” with Washington. “I reaffirm that we are looking for all means of dialog so that President Donald Trump hears the truth of Venezuela and the voice of the Bolivarian Revolution. We seek to normalize the conflict that exists with the American Empire. I believe in dialog. I believe in peace”, he added.

The escalated threats and “secret” talks reflect the impatience in Washington regarding its regime-change operation in Venezuela after the failure to pressure the military and state bureaucracy to overthrow Maduro through economic sanctions and to install a puppet regime led by the self-proclaimed “interim president”, Juan Guaidó.

The AP reported Wednesday that opposition leaders also continue to hold meetings in Washington, which has become the new setting of the talks.

After news of the talks broke, US National Security Adviser John Bolton insisted, in a tweet on Wednesday, that “Maduro must go.” Even though Maduro had acknowledged involvement in the talks, Bolton added: “The only items discussed by those who are reaching out behind Maduro’s back are his departure and free and fair elections.”

Last month, in a meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had noted that “it seems incomprehensible that you could have a free and fair election with Maduro still in Venezuela on the ground” …

Then, earlier this month, Faller had declared in Colombia that the Southern Command was preparing for “the day after Maduro”, which he described as “a point in time where a legitimate government, not a Maduro government, has asked the United States and others to come in to Venezuela to help.”

After the shrinking of the economy by a third, the plunging of the majority of the population into poverty and the displacement of millions of Venezuelans abroad, any future bourgeois government will deepen the suffering of Venezuelans to service its $150 billion debt with the international financial elites and to hand over control of its oilfields to the US-based energy conglomerates.

Only a brutal police-state dictatorship could advance these policies against mass opposition …

At the same time, Washington’s efforts to roll back Russian and Chinese economic influence in Venezuela and the region poses the threat of a military conflict between nuclear-armed powers.

In fear of US sanctions, the Russian state-owned firm Rosneft has been directly managing a growing share—66 percent this month compared to 40 percent in July—of Venezuelan oil exports, and shipping them to refineries in China and India, according to Reuters.

Rosneft also owns 49.9 percent of Citgo, state-owned PDVSA’s branch in the US, which has been taken over by Washington. Any claim made by Russia could lead the Committee of Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) “to block this on grounds that Rosneft owning half of Citgo threatens US national security,” wrote Forbes earlier this year. “It would be a compelling standoff between Venezuela, Russia and the US.”

Venezuela and Russia signed a deal last week agreeing to send warships to each other’s ports. On Wednesday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with Venezuelan vice-president Delcy Rodriguez in Moscow. Lavrov vowed to defend Venezuela’s “right to independently choose its own development paths and to oppose any illegitimate unilateral methods of blackmail and pressure.”

Earlier this year, giving a glimpse of the broader strategy of US officials, Hector Schamis, a professor at the US School of Foreign Service, wrote in El País, “Without American troops [Yugoslavian president Slobodan] Milosevic would not have gone to the diplomatic negotiating table. Much less would he have died as a prisoner in The Hague in 2006.”

After the brutal NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in early 1999, Milosevic agreed to call for early presidential elections to be held on September 24, 2000. He won the elections against the Western-funded Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOC), only to be overthrown on October 5 in a “political coup organized by the United States government and the European powers to ensure their undisputed control of the Balkan peninsula,” as reported by the WSWS at the time.

Since the turn of the century, the efforts of US imperialism to counter its crisis of economic hegemony globally through military means have only become more aggressive, with Democrats and Republicans both supporting the campaign against Venezuela and competing with each other on who is more militaristic, especially in the face of a renewed global economic downturn.

In Venezuela, the United States, Russia, China and all over the world, millions of workers are entering into struggle against attacks on jobs, wages and social services. This movement must be consciously united across borders and independently of all bourgeois parties… in the fight against colonial re-subjugation and imperialist wars and to abolish their source, the capitalist system.

US escalates regime-change machinations against Venezuela: here.

Uruguayan Defense Minister José Bayardi warned in an interview with Sputnik this past weekend of the “possibility” of “a military conflict in Venezuela.” “Tensions surrounding a military conflict are permanent,” he said. “Even some Latin American countries keep baiting or agitating about the eventuality of a military solution,” he added, describing this as “irresponsible.” He then said that Washington was “recklessly” heightening tensions through “unilateral” economic sanctions against Venezuela and by turning the opposition parties into a “military spearhead”: here.

Trump moves towards invading Venezuela

This 6 August 2019 video from the United Nations says about itself:

Trump administration is trying to fabricate a war on Venezuela” – Permanent Representative

Following US President Donald Trump executive order banning Americans individuals and entities from doing business with Venezuela, Ambassador Samuel Moncada today (6 Aug) said the Trump administration is “trying to fabricate a war on Venezuela.”

Moncada said Trump’s “racist administration” has announced “a total economic embargo against Venezuela as we have never seen in our history.”

He said the US administration is “freezing all economic assets in US territory, but more than that, they are threatening coercive measures.”

The Venezuelan Ambassador said “Venezuela is not a threat to anyone. And the United States is fabricating this aggression just to take the oil.”

He noted that US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “is already proposing a plan to rearrange Venezuela after they topple our government.”

Moncada said, “it’s a plan made in Washington, written in Washington, thought out in Washington, to impose to Venezuela after they topple the Venezuelan government. It is an imperial plan, and it’s a colonial plan.”

He said, “You could accept sanctions from a legal or legitimate authority, but they are not an authority over Venezuela, they are attacking Venezuela with economic measures, economic warfare, and more than economic warfare, economic terrorism.”

Trump’s executive order freezes Venezuela’s assets in the United States and except for specific exemptions, prohibits economic transactions with Venezuela.

By Andrea Lobo:

Washington orders international embargo on Venezuela, threatens invasion

7 August 2019

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday freezing “all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States.” The move is the culmination of a series of increasingly severe sanctions and marks a new stage in the US coup operation against the Government of Nicolás Maduro.

By fully cutting access to the financial, capital and consumer markets controlled by the United States government, at the center of global capitalism, this attack constitutes an embargo of the Venezuelan economy, an act of war according to international law.

The measure will have a devastating impact on the Venezuelan working class. The US Congressional Research Service recognized in a July 5 document that “although Venezuelan oil exports to the United States already had been declining… [s]ome analysts are concerned that stronger sanctions on [the state-owned oil company] PdVSA are further exacerbating Venezuela’s difficult humanitarian crisis, already marked by shortages of food and medicines and mass migration, by limiting a key source of revenue.”

In other words, US imperialism is starving Venezuelans into submission in order to install a puppet regime under Juan Guaidó to gain full control of the largest proven oil reserves on the planet. Above all, the move is aimed at overthrowing a key Western Hemisphere economic and political ally of Washington’s declared geopolitical rivals, Russia and China.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry denounced the policy as “economic terrorism,” while declaring that it will avoid any “escalation of aggressions” in order to continue “political dialogue”, a reference to ongoing talks with representatives of the US coup operation that began in May in Norway and are currently taking place in Barbados.

This is the first time the US has frozen the assets of a western hemisphere country in three decades. The last time was against the dictatorship of former CIA asset Manuel Noriega in Panama in 1988, preceding the 1989–1990 invasion by US Marines to depose him, killing thousands of civilians and bombing working-class neighborhoods in the process.

While the corporate media consciously avoided making the historical reference, the Trump administration wanted the message to be clear.

The announcement deliberately coincided with an “International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela”, held in Peru, involving representatives of 59 countries around the world and several international agencies like the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Latin American Development Bank.

Ahead of the meeting, the US envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, a war criminal from his involvement in covering up genocide and other abuses during the Central American civil wars in the 1980s, gave an interview to the Peruvian daily El Comercio. “We are following the options we have,” he declared. “If you had told George Bush Sr. in 1988 that he would invade Panama, he would have called it madness. But two or three years later, it happened. So, no one knows what will happen in the future, but it’s not today’s policy.”

The summit was organized by Washington to threaten the world into obeying the US blockade against Venezuela. US National Security Advisor John Bolton told the conference: “We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: Proceed with extreme caution. There is no need to risk your business interests with the United States for the purposes of profiting from a corrupt and dying regime.”

The message was also aimed at governments still allied with Maduro. Cuba, China, Russia … were invited but decided not to attend. After the thuggish orders were given, no delegation saw any need to insist on having an actual discussion. No final communiqué was published and no resolution was voted on.

US financial sanctions against the Venezuelan government have been gradually increased since 2006. These were limited to top officials in the military and state bureaucracy and their families, currently some 100 individuals, until August 2017 when the Trump administration prohibited access of the Venezuelan government to US debt and equity markets, drastically cutting access to foreign currency needed for vital imports. In May 2018, this was expanded to ban transactions on existing Venezuelan debt. The Venezuelan gold sector was later banned as well.

Around the time of the change in policy, in December 2017, the White House published a new National Security Strategy proclaiming openly “great-power competition” against the “revisionist powers” of China and Russia as its central priority. “Both China and Russia support the dictatorship in Venezuela and are seeking to expand military linkages and arms sales across the region,” the document warned. Thus, in one of its “priority actions,” the document said, “We will isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity,” referring to Cuba and Venezuela.

In this context, the summit in Peru and the blockade constitute part of the new escalation of US measures against China. Last Thursday, Trump announced new tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods, set to take effect on September 1. Adding to existing tariffs, this will effectively cover all Chinese imports to the US, its greatest trade partner.

Yesterday, James Carafano, a strategist at the Heritage Foundation and the primary advisor for Trump’s transition team at the State Department, wrote: “The US has to seek an ‘un-peaceful’ coexistence where we force China to respect Washington’s equities on a global scale… We can’t and shouldn’t ask every country in the world to pick sides. But what is sensible is to encourage them to act in their own interest and meter Chinese influence.”

Guaidó’s self-proclamation as president in January saw an aggressive expansion of sanctions, this time directly aimed against PdVSA. Exemptions for several US companies doing business with PdVSA or its branch in the US, Citgo, ended on July 27, while sanctions were recently placed on the Russian Evrofinance Mosnarbank and several shipping companies associated with Venezuelan oil exports.

International reserves in Venezuela are virtually gone, beginning the year at $8.75 billion but facing a deepening crisis and a World Bank ruling ordering Venezuela to pay $8 billion in compensation to ConocoPhillips for expropriations in 2007. On April 10, the International Monetary Fund cut access to a $400 million credit line.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called upon his national security officials and senior military commanders to draw up plans for a US naval blockade of Venezuela to stop all goods from either entering or leaving the country. Such an illegal military intervention would come on top of a set of unilateral US sanctions that already amount to an effective embargo, tantamount to an act of war: here.

Pompeo admits Venezuelans don’t support regime change

This 11 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Mike Pompeo Insinuates the US is Willing to Meddle in UK Elections

From daily News Line in Britain:

Pompeo admits US-organised uprising in Venezuela has ‘no popular support’

14th June 2019

US SECRETARY of State Mike Pompeo had a secret meeting last month … in which he spilled the beans on the manoeuvrings of US imperialism to effect regime change in Venezuela and he outlined the determination of the Trump administration to block any possibility of a Corbyn-led Labour government in the UK.

This was revealed in a clandestine tape of his speech leaked to the Washington Post. On Venezuela, Pompeo admitted that the official US narrative, that it is supporting a popular pro-democracy movement against the elected president Nicolas Maduro is a complete fiction.

He admitted that there is no popular movement to oust Maduro, saying that there was no movement ‘worth talking about’. In fact, Pompeo was scathing about the so-called opposition and its leader, the self-declared ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido, admitting that Guaido does not have any popular support amongst the Venezuelan people.

Pompeo went even further when he lamented that the handful of bourgeois ‘oppositionists’ cobbled together by the US are nothing more than a rabble fighting one another over who will grab the spoils if regime change is achieved.

He said: ‘Our conundrum, which is to keep the opposition united, has proven devilishly difficult. The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and say, “Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela.” It would be forty-plus people who believe they’re the rightful heir to Maduro.’

The complete failure of US imperialism to orchestrate the overthrow of Maduro was exemplified in the humiliating debacle of a military coup attempt on 30 April led by Guaido which fizzled out before it even began.

Pompeo also candidly admitted that US efforts to conjure up an opposition had been going on long before Maduro was overwhelmingly re-elected as president last May. He said: ‘We were trying to support various religious … institutions to get the opposition to come together … since the day I became CIA director. This was something that was at the centre of what President Trump was trying to do.’

Pompeo made it clear in his speech that the Venezuelan people are not alone in being the subject of attempts at regime change. The Trump administration is also determined to prevent the election of a Corbyn-led Labour government and intends to try and stop Corbyn from ever becoming prime minister.

Pompeo was recorded saying: ‘It could be that Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.’

His remarks surfaced after Trump’s three-day visit to London where he contemptuously … saying Corbyn was ‘somewhat of a negative force’ while going out of his way to endorse Boris Johnson as his pick for next UK Prime Minister.

Trump, as Pompeo confirms, will mobilise the US resources, being Labour right-wingers, to dump Corbyn before any election – this is the meaning of Pompeo’s pledge of a ‘push back’ against the Labour leader. …

Trump’s rampaging around the world attempting regime changes while waging trade wars with China and the EU is a product of the acute weakness of US capitalism.

In the face of a rapidly developing banking crisis, a crash in industrial production and a US working class taking mass action against low wages and poverty, Trump is forced to fight it out with his capitalist rivals to either destroy them or turn them into servile client states of US capitalism through regime change.

Pompeo’s speech has established that the enemy of the Venezuelan people is the same enemy of the British working class. The only way forward is for British workers to carry out their own regime change by organising a general strike to bring down the Tory government and go forward to a workers’ government and socialism.

No to Trump military invasion of Venezuela

This 13 May 2019 video by United States congresswoman and Democratic party presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Military Intervention Won’t Help the Venezuelan People

Throughout history, every time the US topples a foreign country’s dictator/government, the outcome has been disastrous. Civil war/military intervention in Venezuela will wreak death & destruction to Venezuelan people, and increase tensions that threaten our national security.

On Thursday at noon, United States law enforcement officials, some of them helmeted and wearing flak jackets and carrying battering rams, forced their way into the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., detaining four anti-war activists who had been residing there. The activists, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, Adrienne Pine and David Paul, part of a group calling themselves the Embassy Protection Collective (EPC), had been invited to stay inside the Venezuelan embassy over a month ago by the elected and internationally recognized government of President Nicolas Maduro. The raid against the embassy was carried out in flagrant violation of international laws governing diplomatic relations between states and is of a piece with the reckless and illegal actions taken by the Trump administration in an effort to force a regime change in Venezuela, home to the largest proven oil reserves on the planet: here.

Events that transpired Thursday at the Venezuelan embassy in the upscale Washington neighborhood of Georgetown expressed in microcosm the criminality and contempt for international law that characterize US imperialist operations the world over. US Secret Service agents, Washington’s Metropolitan Police and agents of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, hundreds of armed men, stormed the building to evict four peaceful antiwar activists, part of a larger contingent that had been staying in the embassy for the last month at the invitation of the Venezuelan government: here.

New York Times Stoops to New Low in Venezuela Coverage: here.

Economist Sachs on Trump’s Venezuela coup attempts

This 4 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Economist Jeffrey Sachs: U.S. policy in Venezuela is “pure bullying”

U.S. foreign policy on Venezuela, spearheaded by Elliott Abrams and John Bolton, is “pure bullying,” says leading economist Jeffrey Sachs. “It is hard enough to achieve economic progress, but when the U.S. is using its political power to break other countries, the results absolutely can be devastating.”

One week after the abortive coup launched by Juan Guaidó, the right-wing, US-funded and self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela, Washington has stepped up its threats of a direct US military intervention: here.

Grenfell survivor, Venezuela at London May Day

This video from England is called CELEBRATIONS: May Day demonstration at Trafalgar square in London, 2019.

From daily News Line in London, Britain today:

FOLLOWING the May Day march last Wednesday, 1st May, the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Young Socialists held a lively meeting in Covent Garden.

Chairman Jonty Leff, Editor of the News Line, drew attention to the thousands of workers marching for socialist revolution on this day, throughout the world. Joshua Ogunleye, National Secretary of the Young Socialists, said that workers and young people were in the eye of the storm.

‘Young workers are suffering zero-hours contracts, with no holiday and sick pay and lack of job security, making it difficult to pay the rent. Youth centres have been shut down. The cost of higher education is pricing young people out.

‘Lecturers are also are on zero-hours contracts. This week, there have been strikes by college lecturers, which have been supported by students.’ He said young people were defiant. We see this in Palestine where youth rose up in the Marches to Return, and in France where the young people are shot at by the state forces and injured in struggles approaching civil war.

‘Our generation has to change the course of history. We’re not all in it together. As we saw at Davos, the rich are exponentially richer and the poor getting poorer. This class struggle is being fought out across the world. It’s not enough to get a Labour government. We need to bring down this government and get a socialist Britain.

‘We need more jobs, more youth clubs. Scrap tuition fees. Nationalise the industries and defend the NHS. …’

Jacqui Haynes spoke about the struggle of the Grenfell survivors. She said: ‘We need justice. Those responsible should be jailed. I come from no political party. I was there when people were dying. There was nothing we could do at the time. Politics, Brexit or not, they are doing nothing about Grenfell. We need to mobilise so we are not the victims. We have been fighting for justice, both legal and social. Everything is a battle and struggle. The authorities just work for damage limitation.

‘We have to fight for the money that has been given to be used for us, and to shame them. We were promised alternative housing within one month and to get back secure tenancies. We are only being offered five-year tenancies. Our trauma will not be cured while we are still dealing with the reality that the government is doing nothing for us, and still oppress us and don’t care. We have to make a system that governs people well.

‘Many youth have been expelled from school. Nothing has been done for our youth. There are no extra services for the vulnerable. They are just cared for by neighbours. The message from the top down is disregard and disrespect for people like us. We will do this. We need this and will use the money that has been donated. We went to every public meeting and take officials to task. We demand to get procurement of services and induction of new people. We want transparency and valid participation.

‘They tried to divide residents from the bereaved but we stuck together as a community. United we are the power. They were going to sell it off. They are currently looking at refurbishment. We are dead people walking. The soil is toxic. We had to get our own independent person. We ingrain ourselves into their system and keep banging on the door. We set up our own lettings policy. We fought for our own in-house services to do repairs.

”We have become political experts, and housing experts, and mental health experts. We learnt ourselves. Be involved in any consultations, meetings and decisions. We have to take this country by storm because it’s ours. We need to change this government. I’m here because I want justice for Grenfell and beyond.’

Carolina Graterol, a journalist from Venezuela, spoke about the situation there.

She said: ‘… The Guaido coup failed. Trump wants a war and is hungry to invade and steal the oil. Chavez gave opportunities for workers and people with brown skin to do things like study, which used to be just for rich people. He honoured justice, solidarity and fraternity and helped people from the barios and favelas. Maduro has deepened ties with these people.

‘We in the Americas are subject to racism and fascism. In 2017, fascist groups burned Chavistas alive. Venezuela has 200 years of oil supplies and much gold. It is on a border with Colombia and the military and civilians defend the border. The oil revenue has been used for social programmes. 70% of GDP went on this. 2.6 million houses have been built in the last few years. We don’t see homelessness. Everyone has a house.

‘Four million children live in poverty in the UK. One million elderly are cold and hungry in winter in one of the richest countries in the world. I live in Muswell Hill and people come from Southgate to use the food banks. Seven pounds an hour is not enough. Companies make money from staff getting stressed from working long hours.

”Young peoples’ lives are being destroyed. Fascism spreads hatred and fear. Money is more important for them. The Extinction Rebellion came to the fore. We should support them. We must take the example from Grenfell and learn how to govern ourselves. They have money. If we exercise power they will run. We definitely can do it.’

Dr Bob Gill, GP, said: ‘They are trying to privatise the NHS and convert it to a profit-driven private health system. For 30 years they have been doing this by stealth, and are nearly there. They use consecutive legislation. They are also privatising education and housing. They are replacing doctors and nurses with bloated top management.

‘This market bureaucratic corporate structure is used to impose top-down change. Doctors and nurses have no power. They are told there are not enough beds, and they must discharge patients too soon. It started with “Britain’s Biggest Enterprise” written by John Redwood and Oliver Letwin. These called for public-private enterprises, private finance initiatives and outsourcing. The public pays the bill and the private company takes the profit. The taxpayer is fleeced and the standard of care goes down.

‘They brought in the internal market in 1998 and Foundation Trusts five years later. These were stand-alone businesses with boards of directors and requirements to balance the books. £11bn pounds worth of PFI hospitals were built, requiring £88bn to pay back the debt with interest and the NHS does not own the building at the end.

Labour’s Tony Blair ran with this idea from John Major’s [Conservative] government. That PFI debt was used to close down NHS hospitals which did not have PFI debts.

‘They have to silence the workforce. They create an environment where staff are afraid to speak up. The head of NHS England is Simon Stevens who was the president of Global Health, the US’s biggest health insurer. He is taking us to the US system: Medicare for the poor and elderly, and top-up insurance for the rest. They are shrinking the universal service, and rationing operations and letting waiting lists get longer.

‘Now general practice is being attacked via a new GP contract, which coerces GP practices to sign up to a new Network Contract. This ties GPs to becoming part of Primary Care Networks attached to new “integrated care providers” leading to private sector monopolies of clinical care, making profit out of the NHS. We have to restore the NHS as a public provided service.’

Monday, May 6, 2019. Grenfell Tower inquiry ‘failing to deliver,’ survivors say: here.

Grenfell families accuse corporations of ‘amnesia’: here.

Media lies in service of war for regime change in Venezuela: here.

Germany’s grand coalition government, led by the Social Democratic Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is currently touring Latin America, is playing a central role in the imperialist offensive against Venezuela. In a joint press release with the far-right Brazilian government, Germany’s Foreign Ministry gave its unconditional backing on Tuesday to the criminal attempted coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and declared its solidarity with the US puppet, Juan Guaido: here.

Iraq war liar Miller, Murdoch´s Venezuela warmonger

This 24 October 2008 video from the USA is called Judith Miller Plays Ball With The Right Wing And Gets Good Job [at Rupert Murdoch‘s Fox News and at Murdoch’s War Wall Street Journal].

Helen Caldicott, in the book Loving this Planet, writes about how Judith Miller’s lies in the New York Times about non-existent Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction’ helped to start the Iraq war.

Now, Ms Miller is back at her old lying warmongering. This time, not in the New York Times, but in Rupert Murdoch‘s Fox News. This time, not against Iraq, but against Venezuela. Egging Donald Trump on to escalate his war for oil on Venezuela.

One should point out that, contrary to her fellow right-wing warmonger, televangelist Pat Robertson, Ms Miller at least names the target country correctly ‘Venezuela’; not ‘Vuvuzela.’ [sarcasm off]

In the wake of Tuesday’s stillborn coup called by the US-backed and self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, the Trump administration has escalated its threats of a direct military intervention to realize its aim of regime change in Venezuela. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday told the Fox Business Network that US “military action is possible”: here.

Trump’s military coup in Venezuela fails

This 30 April 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

[Democratic party Congressman] Ro Khanna Calls Out Mike Pence For Venezuela Coup Support

The entire Trump administration is pushing for a coup in Venezuela, and Ro Khanna isn’t having it. Sam Seder and the Majority Report crew discuss this.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Guaidó launches abortive military coup in Venezuela

1 May 2019

A coup attempt launched Tuesday morning in Venezuela, distinguished by the brazen criminality of the US government in supporting and orchestrating it, appeared to have failed miserably by nightfall.

The attempt was launched with the posting of a video by the US-backed right-wing puppet Juan Guaidó, backed by a few dozen men in military uniform outside the La Carlota air base in Caracas, calling for the military to rise up against the government of President Nicolás Maduro. While the attempt led to violent street clashes and rival demonstrations by supporters and opponents of Maduro, it provoked no significant military revolt.

Coming more than three months after Guaidó, on January 23, proclaimed himself the country’s “interim president”, an action directly coordinated with and immediately supported by Washington, Tuesday’s coup attempt took place amid flagging popular support for the right-wing opposition that has served as the political base for the US regime-change operation.

By late Tuesday, no military base had been taken by the opposition and no major figure in the Venezuelan armed forces had declared support for Guaidó. While the “interim president” had picked the La Carlota air base as the backdrop for his video, there was no indication that any personnel there were supporting his provocation. The choice of the base was determined, rather, by its proximity to the wealthiest districts of eastern Caracas, the traditional base of the right-wing opposition.

The most significant development in the launching of what Guaidó termed “Operation Liberty” was the presence by his side of Leopoldo López, the leader of the extreme right-wing political party Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) of which Guaidó is a member.

López, a scion of one of Venezuela’s most aristocratic families, has been under house arrest since 2017 after being convicted on charges of organizing a violent campaign in 2014 known as “La Salida,” or the exit, aimed at overthrowing the Maduro government. In 2002, he was one of the leaders of the abortive CIA-backed coup attempt against then-President Hugo Chávez.

The overthrow of Maduro, while ostensibly transferring the government to Guaidó, who before his self-swearing-in as “interim president” last January was virtually unknown in Venezuela, would in reality place the reins of power in the hands of López, an arch-reactionary and long-time CIA asset.

By late Tuesday afternoon, however, López and his family had sought asylum in the Chilean embassy in Caracas. Similarly, some 25 Venezuelan military personnel who had joined Guaidó’s coup attempt sought refuge in the embassy of Brazil.

Dozens of other Venezuelan soldiers told the country’s news media that they had been tricked into participating in the provocation staged outside the La Carlota air base, awakened at three in the morning and told to grab their rifles and turn out for an important event where they would receive medals.

Guaidó’s provocation triggered a Twitter storm from the top echelons of the US government signaling support for the coup on Tuesday morning.

“I am monitoring the situation in Venezuela very closely,” President Trump tweeted. “The United States stands with the People of Venezuela and their Freedom!”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that the United States “fully supports” the protests. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a message to “all the freedom-loving people of Venezuela who are taking to the streets today in #operacionlibertad—Estamos con ustedes! We are with you! America will stand with you until freedom & democracy are restored.”

Right-wing governments in Latin America, including those of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Iván Duque in Colombia and Mauricio Macri in Argentina, also issued statements of enthusiastic support for the coup attempt.

By Tuesday afternoon, however, Brazil’s minister of institutional security, the retired general Augusto Heleno, issued a frank assessment of the day’s actions, declaring that, while there had been “certain support from the armed forces… this didn’t reach a high level.” He added that Brazil did not see any solution to the Venezuelan crisis “in the short term.”

One clear signal of Washington’s direction of the abortive coup attempt was a meeting the day before in Washington between Pompeo and Ernesto Araújo, the foreign minister of the government of Brazil’s fascistic President Bolsonaro, the strongest Latin American ally in the US regime-change operation in Venezuela. A State Department press release said that the two had discussed “defending human rights and democracy in Venezuela.” Early on Tuesday, Araújo issued a statement declaring that it was “positive that there is a movement of the military that recognizes the constitutionality of President Juan Guaidó.”

Washington’s response to the faltering coup attempt in Venezuela was delivered by Trump’s right-wing national security adviser John Bolton in a press conference outside the White House Tuesday afternoon. He described the situation as “very delicate” and insisted, despite all evidence to the contrary, that what was taking place in Caracas was “clearly not a coup.”

Oddly, he mentioned three times the names of three high-ranking Venezuelan officials, whom he claimed had made “commitments to achieve the peaceful transfer of power” to the US puppet Guaidó, insisting that they had to “act this afternoon or this evening to bring other military forces to the side of the interim president.”

One of those named was Vladimir Padrino, Venezuela’s defense minister. In the course of the day, however, Padrino issued a statement in front of massed officers denouncing Guaidó’s action as “a cowardly terrorist act and a coup attempt on a very small scale.” Padrino declared that “80 percent of the troops who responded to this call were tricked,” adding, “We hold responsible for any bloodshed the fascist, anti-patriotic leadership.”

The second official named by Bolton was the head of Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ), Maikel Moreno. During the day, the TSJ issued a statement condemning the “attempted coup against the Constitution and the laws of Venezuela on the part of a group of military deserters acting together with elements of the national right wing.”

The third official was the commander of the presidential guard, Iván Rafael Hernández Dala, who was still in the Miraflores presidential palace, which was surrounded by thousands of demonstrators opposing the coup attempt.

Bolton addressed a tweet to the three men saying it was their “last chance” to be absolved of US sanctions or “go down with the ship.” Bolton suggested that the three officials had been prevented from keeping their “commitment” by Cuba and Russia.

“The Cubans, we believe, have played a very significant role in propping Maduro up today, possibly with help from the Russians,” Bolton said.

Similarly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the claim, repeated as fact by the US corporate media, that Maduro had been on the verge of fleeing to Havana on Tuesday, but had been dissuaded from going only by the Russians.

Bolton repeated the incessant threat of the Trump administration: “I will say again, as the president has said from the outset, and Nicolás Maduro and those supporting him—particularly those who are not Venezuelans—should know is, all options are on the table.”

Trump, meanwhile, stepped up US threats against Cuba, threatening to impose a “total embargo” on the island.

Washington’s regime-change operation is aimed not only at asserting unrestricted exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves—the largest on the planet—by US-based energy conglomerates, but also at reasserting US hegemony over all of Latin America and countering the growing challenge particularly from China, the continent’s largest source of investment, but also from Russia.

The “all options on the table” threats are increasingly directed at not just the Maduro government in Caracas, but also against US imperialism’s nuclear-armed rivals.

As for US plans in Venezuela, one indication of an escalation came with a report that Erik Prince, the billionaire head of the military contractor formerly known as Blackwater and brother of Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, had floated a plan for sending 5,000 mercenaries recruited from among former Latin American soldiers into Venezuela to support Guaidó’s coup attempt.

While the initial coup attempt on Tuesday appears to have failed, the dangers confronting the Venezuelan working class remain intense. …

Should the so-called “democratic transition” promoted by Washington prove successful, it will result in the imposition of an extreme right-wing US puppet regime that will carry out a ruthless and bloody campaign of repression against the working class in the interests of Big Oil and international finance capital.

The working class in the US must oppose US intervention and reject the “democratic” pretensions of the likes of Trump, Pence, Pompeo and Bolton with the contempt they deserve.