Madeleine Albright. Fascism: A Warning Chapter 10

Although we had chapters 9, 10, and 11 on our agenda, the first comments were about chapter 10 (on Venezuela), and people seemed to want to discuss it in some depth…..

 

US “aid” to Venezuela is a Trojan horse, that is it is probably not just humanitarian aid, but like previous aid to Nicaragua and El Salvador has supplies for the right-wing forces as well.  US sanctions against Venezuela have created food shortages.  In addition the US is holding Venezuelan money.  A combination of military and civilian planes is delivering the “aid.”  The military probably has the most experience with such things.  The old CIA airline – Air America – no longer exists.

 

The thing we should be most concerned about is possible military intervention.  Since before WWII the US has been responsible for the creation of “banana republics”; capitalist expansion has been backed by military power.  Military intervention in Venezuela would give Trump the victory of “just intervention.”

 

Why is Guaidó suddenly receiving support from Europe?  It is in the interest of the countries of the EU to have a shot at the wealth of Venezuela as well as their markets.  It is “Trump-stroking” – so that they don’t look like they are totally against him.  It is to keep the Chinese and Russians from making any inroads.  It is weak support.

 

Chavez was maligned in this country.  He was a mixed bag, taking away from the rich.  The rich and upper classes came to the US from Venezuela, and like the upper class Cubans before them, have been influencing policy here and looking for an opportunity to more back to their homeland.

 

We are living now in a huge global right-wing situation, the Venezuela is part of that situation.  Guaidó  is a nobody who found himself in the right place at the right time and declared himself president.  (see link Elvira sent on Guaidó’s cultivation by US http://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/).  Also comments by Max Blumenthal

 

What is even more troubling is how many liberals here are against Maduro.  Maduro has made many mistakes, and the situation in Venezuela seems critical, but people seem to be looking for evidence that socialism/communism don’t work.  Venezuela is cut out of the global community.  What many liberals see is the humanitarian crisis, and with the illusion that the US is a “white knight,” they see military intervention as the solution.  They don’t realize that Guaidó is part of the right wing

 

Attachments that Dennis sent show that a third of the people interviewed had authoritarian leanings.  Their activism is sparked when they feel threatened.  This would suggest that the right-wing trend we are seeing is not a temporary aberration, and we need to take account of it in what we do.

 

“All governments lie,” and the media support the war drums.

Trump sits on top of a military budget from which the media benefit.

Choosing Venezuela as a target is a way the ruling elite think people can be stampeded to support war.

I disagree about the complicity of the press.  (Reference to “The Panama Deception” and “Thrive”)

The 2 great threats to humanity – war and the environment – are not adequately covered by the media.

I rely on the media for 10% of my information and the rest on discussions like this.

 

Tom Hartman comments that Guaidó and his supporters are all white.  Maybe there is a racial dynamic here.  Guaidó controls the Venezuelan money in the US banks, and the groundwork has been laid for him to take over.

 

We live in a dangerous time.  Pakistan and India nearly came to blows last week.  We are lucky something has not yet jumped off.  Trump would not dare invade Iran, but he would dare invade Venezuela.

 

I still don’t understand why it is in our interests to invade Venezuela.

Part of the answer is to quell the competition from Europe – especially for Venezuelan oil.  It is not that the US needs the oil itself, but it needs to control the international oil market

 

It is a source of frustration to me to try to figure out what to do when the system is set up to guarantee exploitation.  How do we break the impasse?

 

It is a dangerous idea to think that we are constantly lied to and betrayed.

It is a matter of ideology; they put out facts, but how do we interpret them?  People reach very different conclusions given the same set of facts.  Venezuela is a complicated situation.

 

Closing comments:

  • One thing we must do is raise issues wherever we are
  • Insight from book “How Culture Affects the Climate Change Debate”
  • We need to read more
  • Where is the tipping point when accommodation switches to war
  • Teach history again
  • When an empire is falling, confusion ensues. Since the invasion of Iraq there has been no way to make it work.  Yes ideology is primary.  Venezuela is part of what the US must control.  But remember, there are good people everywhere, including in the military
  • Israel is an example of a government that has a great deal of influence over our elections, but the media won’t touch it.
  • Venezuela is in a terrible situation that can only be improved if the countries of the world set aside their self interest
  • We must employ critical thinking and get closer to original sources than the regular media allow.
  • Critical thinking would show us that Venezuela is neither socialist nor communist.
  • Should we have a forum on “what is socialism, what is communism?”

 

 

Next meeting April 7 to discuss chapters 9, 11, 12, 13