Obama’s Contempt for Venezuelan Democracy

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May 15, 2013
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May 16, 2013

Obama’s Contempt for Venezuelan Democracy
by Stephen Lendman
It’s no surprise. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He abhors democratic values. He defiles rule of law principles. He governs by diktat authority.
He’s waging war on humanity. He targets all independent states. He wants pro-US puppet regimes replacing them. 
Venezuela is hugely important. It’s the oil, stupid. Venezuelan reserves are the world’s largest.
Its democracy is real. It shames America’s sham system. It’s the best democracy money can buy. Each electoral cycle proves it. Business as usual reflects it.
Money power runs things. Duopoly power rules. Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Not a dime’s worth of difference separates them.
Each replicates the other. Corporate interests control them. Voters have no say. America’s unfit to live in. It hasn’t been for years. 
Challenging appalling injustice is dangerous. Supporting right over wrong is risky. It isn’t tolerated. Resisters face repression. Police states operate that way.
Venezuela’s a model democracy. It’s the real thing. Its electoral system’s the world’s best. It’s constitutionally mandated. 
On April 14, Venezuelans voted. They elected PSUV’s (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) Nicolas Maduro president. He assumed office legitimately. He won fair and square. 
He did so by a narrower than expected margin. Audit results found no discrepancies. They didn’t surprise. 
Advanced touchscreen electronic voting machines are used. They’re the world’s most reliable. They work as intended. 
They’re designed to eliminate tampering. They provide verifiable paper ballot receipts. They’re 100% auditable.
A permanent record’s provided. It’s available for recounts if needed. Voters leave an electronic thumbprint. Doing so activates the machines. It assures no one votes more than once. Fraud and identify theft are prevented.
Mark Weisbrot explained more. Simple statistical analysis verifies accuracy. “When the polls close, a random sample of 53 percent of the machines is selected, with at least one (from) each polling place,” he said.
“The paper receipt count is then compared to the machine count to make sure that they match.”  
“This is done in front of witnesses from both sides, as well as election officials; members of the community are also invited to watch.”
Results showed not “a single reported allegation of mismatch” between machine and paper ballot tabulations.
Weisbrot’s an economist. Based on his statistical analysis, the odds that Maduro lost were less than “one chance in 25 thousand trillion. There is really no way around this conclusion,” he said.
If fraud occurred, it would have been easily discovered. “But it wasn’t,” said Weisbrot. 
“So you have a choice,” he added. You can believe something virtually impossible, or you can accept the verifiable certainty that Maduro won fair and square.
He’s Venezuela’s new president. He was elected legitimately. It’s an indisputable fact.
Even Forbes magazine agreed. It calls itself the “capitalist tool.” On May 14, it published Eugenio Martinez’s article. 
He covers elections for Venezuela’s El Universal. The broadsheet is very much right of center. It’s no Bolivarian advocate. 
His article headlined “Venezuela’s Election System Holds Up As A Model For The World.”
“Venezuela employs one of the most technologically advanced verifiable voting systems in the world, designed to protect voters from fraud and tampering and ensure the accuracy of the vote count.” 
“Accuracy and integrity are guaranteed from the minute voters walk into the polls to the point where a final tally is revealed.”
A mutually agreed on audit process “ensures that no vote manipulation” occurs. “The extent of this audit, the widest in automatic elections, leaves little room for questioning.”
The process is “thorough and intense, conducted in the presence of election officials and political parties to ensure proper functionality and full confidence in the system.”
Venezuela’s process “is as transparent (and verifiably accurate) as any in the world.”
Not according to Washington Post editors. On April 16, they headlined “Nicolas Maduro shoves aside democracy in Venezuela,” saying:
“(T)he Venezuelan regime appears to be preparing to maintain itself in power through brute force. (Maduro) appears to be preparing repressive measures. (He’s) killing his way into power.”
Wall Street Journal America’s editor, Mary O’Grady commented during and after election results. She called the process “Venezuela’s Cuban Election.” 
She accused chavistas of “using state power to cheat, intimidate and spend themselves first across the finish line” to win.
Post-election, she headlined “Latin Leaders Abandon Democracy in Venezuela,” saying:
“Latin American leaders are apparently fine with military governments – as long as they are communist dictatorships.”
“During 14 years in power, Chavez stripped individuals of their right to free speech and due process of law, and nearly eliminated independent media. He also put Cuba in charge of intelligence and the state security apparatus.”
“Tens of thousands were murdered in the mayhem that he inspired, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that government intimidation played a role in the latest voting.”
“The April 14 contest did not provide even minimal transparency.”
It’s shocking to find this type rubbish in print. It doesn’t pass the smell test. No credible publisher would touch it. 
Other media scoundrels had their own post-electoral spin. Maduro bashing substituted for truth. It continues. 
Throughout his tenure, Chavez was mischaracterized as an autocrat, strongman, dictator, authoritarian ruler, caudillo, and occasionally even as Hitler. Expect Maduro to fare no better.
Even Harvard’s student newspaper Crimson lost credibility. It’s not the first time. It won’t be the last. Undergraduates staff it. Views expressed reflect bias.
On May 1, contributor Grayson C. Fuller, class of ’15, headlined “Maduro’s Failure: Degrading Democratic Norms in Venezuela,” saying:
“In Venezuela, the death of Hugo Chavez has caused the deterioration of a ‘sultanistic’ regime, one in which state institutions become conflated with a single authoritarian leader.”
Maduro’s concerned only about power, he claimed. By so doing, he “further damaged the country’s already weak democratic norms and institutions.”
He “explicitly threatens to use violence against (anti-chavista) peaceful demonstrations.”
He’s “trying to strip political opponents of their humanity.”
He’s “no better than the military generals who left behind so much trauma in much of Latin America.”
Fuller showed where he stands. Youth is no excuse for unjustifiable slander. He’ll have to explain why he substituted willful misinformation for accuracy. 
Journalists, even student ones, are obligated to get their facts right. Fuller made no attempt. He disgraced himself in the process. It’s his cross to bear.
Over one month post-election, Obama refuses to recognize Maduro’s legitimacy. During his early May Mexico visit, he declined to do so when asked. 
His comments were provocative. He denigrated Venezuelan democracy. He did so willfully and maliciously.
“What we want for Venezuela is…Venezuelans…able to choose their own leadership in fair and free elections a democratic process that is credible.”
“We have not tried to interfere in any way with what happens there.”
“What we’ve said is, you know, let’s make sure that the rules are being followed, that people are not being thrown into jail or intimidated, that the press is allowed to report fairly on what happens, that the ruling party doesn’t resort to intimidation in terms of skewing results.”
“It’s up to Venezuelans to choose their leaders in legitimate elections.” 
He also claimed post-election violations of human rights, democracy, press freedom, and free assembly. Venezuelan officials were justifiably furious. 
Maduro denounced his “insolence….There’s now no doubt that Obama himself, as the puppet of that imperial power, is behind the financing in dollars of this right wing that wants to mess with and destroy Venezuela’s democracy,” he said.
Obama’s the “grand chief of devils. Coming out of Central America, (he) let loose with a bunch of impertinent remarks, insolent stuff.”
“He is giving an order, and his blessing, for the fascist rightwing to attack Venezuela’s democracy.”
A Venezuelan government statement also addressed Obama’s comments. In part it said:
“The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects with all the force of its Bolivarian dignity the statements made by the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in Mexico City on May 3, 2013.”
“Once again, President Obama attacks the legitimate government of Venezuela which was elected on April 14 through a transparent electoral process, whose results were recognized by electoral accompaniers coming from the whole continent and other countries of the world, including the Electoral Mission of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) as well as by all the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean and other continents.”
“President Obama, the people of Venezuela fully exercise many rights and freedoms that US society is still a long way from reaching.”
“(I)t is a source of outrage for the Venezuelan people, and especially the families of those who died on April 15, 2013, that you would falsely claim that ‘the entire hemisphere has been watching the violence, the protests, the attacks on the opposition.’ “
Anti-chavistas were responsible for “the political assassinations of nine compatriots.”
Washington orchestrated years of subversion and destabilization. Obama continued where Bush left off. Replacing Venezuelan democracy with pro-US oligarch power is policy. Expect efforts to continue unabated.
“This is the nature of two-faced imperialist morals,” the statement continued.
“We are a nation of peace that works arduously alongside our Latin American and Caribbean brothers in order to achieve the true unity of our peoples, in order to be free and sovereign and consolidate ourselves as a zone of peace.”
“Your false, harsh and interventionist statements (confirm) to the world the policy of aggression that you and your government maintain against our nation.”
“We alert all the independent governments of the world, the peoples and their political and social organizations to the US government’s plan to provoke the so-called ‘dogs of war’ in Venezuela in order to justify an imperialist intervention.”
We “are ready to defend our right to be free against any form of imperial domination.”
“Compatriots, let us take up the sling of David to face this new aggression by Goliath.”
Unchallenged global dominance reflects US policy. Washington’s permanently at war against manufactured enemies. Policies are secretive, unaccountable, repressive, destructive and malignant.
Institutionalized lawlessness is too deep-rooted to reverse. Imperial ambitions threaten everyone. Venezuela’s been targeted for years. Replacing Bolivarian achievements with diktat power is prioritized. 
Maduro represents all Venezuelans. His challenge is assuring it won’t happen. Chavez did for 14 years. Advancing his achievements matter most. They’re too important to lose.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.