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
Tag Archives: usaid
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
In the hamlet of Imbirí la Loma in Colombia’s southwestern department of Nariño, Yaneth Sosa and her family once struggled to survive as oil palm farmers. But their lives became dire in 2007, when blight killed off most of the African palm trees in Nariño’s Tumaco municipality, where the country’s palm industry is concentrated. Blight, known locally as la pudrición de cogollo, has plagued much of Colombia’s palm production since 2006. Like most monocultures, palm plantations displace indigenous flora and fauna, destroying the ecosystem’s resistance to blight. They are also undermining food sovereignty in the region’s Afro-Colombian communities.
Several hours up the Tapaje River from the Pacific Ocean, the monotony of the lush green rainforest is broken when we round a bend and the remote village of San José comes into view. Most of the buildings on the riverbank are fragile wooden structures precariously perched on stilts. Afro-Colombian women busily wash clothes in the river while their children splash around in the fast-flowing brown water. The motorboat slows, glides past the women and pulls up to the crumbling cement steps that constitute the dock. There is little to distinguish San José from hundreds of other remote jungle villages in Colombia that have suffered from goverment neglect in the social and economic spheres. And, like many other rural communities, San José has also been devastated by the US-backed counternarcotics initiative called Plan Colombia.