US Secretary of State John Kerry recently called on the Venezuelan government to end the “terror campaign against its own citizens.” Kerry’s words are just the latest effort by the US government and mainstream media to portray the month-long protests in Venezuela as peaceful popular demonstrations against an authoritarian regime that has resorted to repression to quell the uprisings. As a result, the Venezuelan government, as Kerry’s statement illustrates, is being blamed for most of the 28 deaths that have occurred. But is this portrayal accurate? A closer look at the reality on the ground paints a very different picture. From the beginning, the protesters have been armed, have conducted widespread arson and have been intent on achieving the unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically-elected government. Continue reading
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Both the ongoing protests in Venezuela and the economic problems that the demonstrators are protesting against appear to have been orchestrated by the opposition in order to destabilize the country and bring down the government. Unable to gain power through the ballot box, the Venezuelan opposition has turned to unconstitutional means to oust President Nicolas Maduro. And with only limited support among Venezuelans, the opposition has been dependent on outside aid from the United States and Colombia, Washington’s closest ally in Latin America. According to a recently discovered strategy document, the current protests appear to represent the latest tactic in a destabilization campaign that Washington has been waging against Venezuela for more than a decade, initially to overthrow former president Hugo Chávez, and now to oust his successor Maduro. Continue reading
The United States and other Western nations often claim to be engaged in “democracy promotion” around the world, but is this actually the case? After all, isn’t a core component of the democratic process accepting as legitimate the government that the people elect to govern them? It is becoming increasingly evident that the democratic model promoted by powerful Western nations includes an unspoken caveat that the only elected governments deemed legitimate and acceptable are those that represent Western liberal values. And if a government should actually advocate a different set of values, such as those rooted in the Islamic tradition, then it must be delegitimized as occurred recently in Egypt and previously in Algeria and Palestine. The inevitable consequence of such an approach for Muslims will be a growing disenchantment with democracy and an increasing acceptance of violence to resolve political differences.
The international community’s response to the recent massacre of more than 100 people allegedly perpetrated by pro-government militias in Syria has successfully kept the human rights spotlight on the actions of a “rogue” nation rather than on those of the world’s leading human rights violator: the United States. Even more disconcerting is the fact that the United States is using the volatile situation in Syria to once again position itself as a staunch promoter of democracy and defender of human rights. Lost in the dominant international discourse is the human rights reality in the world’s most powerful nation where more than 40,000 people die annually from structural violence related to unequal access to healthcare and where almost one in four children live in poverty. What is also ignored is the plight of more than 10 million people who die annually from the structural violence inherent in global capitalism, of which the United States is the leading proponent.