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Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela? What Crisis?

Written by Subject: Venezuela

Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela? What Crisis?

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

Will the Trump regime order military action against Venezuela on the phony pretexts of humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect (R2P)?

Though highly unlikely, we've seen it many times before - "humanitarian" naked aggression, raping and destroying nations for their own good, "liberating" them from fundamental freedoms, looting their resources for "economic development" - the right thing to do?

One nation attacking another threatening no one is the highest of high crimes - a fundamental Nuremberg Tribunal principle affirmed by Chief Justice Robert Jackson, a US Supreme Court Justice.

Calling Nazi war crimes "the supreme international crime against peace," he stressed the following in his opening remarks, saying:

"The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated."

He called aggressive war "the greatest menace of our times."

International law defines crimes against peace as "planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing."

All US post-WW II wars fall under this definition. If the Trump intervenes in Venezuela militarily, another US highest of high crimes will be added to its historical record already blood-drenched.

Countless millions of corpses attest to America's barbarity, a nation hellbent for world conquest and domination no matter the human cost, operating by its own rules exclusively, fundamental international, constitutional, and US statute laws long ago abandoned.

Nazi war criminals were hanged for their crimes. America's remain free to commit greater ones, raping humanity because who'll stop them, Venezuela one of many prizes they covet.

There's nothing remotely legal about US war on the country by other means - done to harm, not help ordinary Venezuelans.

R2P and humanitarian intervention are unrelated to legally binding principles under international humanitarian law. R2P initially came from a 2001  International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) report titled "A Responsibility to Protect."

It focused on the responsibility of states to protect their citizens, recognizing that when unable to, the world community should help, according to principles of international humanitarian law.

At a 2005 World Summit gathering of heads of state, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing – a non-legally binding action.

A 2009 report to the UN General Assembly cited three elements of R2P, notably that the world community should recognize and protect the sovereignty of member states.

It should focus on the crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.

It should recognize that nations bear primary responsibility for protecting the rights, welfare and security of its citizens.

R2P is a principle. It's not legally binding under international law. The same goes for humanitarian intervention – justifiable only when requested by a sitting government, not otherwise.

Intervening without it is extrajudicial. So are unilaterally imposed sanctions by one country on others.

On his GrayZone website, Max Blumenthal headlined "EXCLUSIVE: Away from the public eye, the (hawkish) Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank hosted a top-level, off-the-record meeting to explore US military options against Venezuela," explaining:

Held on April 10, a secret discussion focused on "Assessing the Use of Military Force in Venezuela." 

Involved were "some of the most influential advisors on (Trump's) Venezuela policy. They included current and former State Department, National Intelligence Council, and National Security Council officials, along with Admiral Kurt Tidd, who was until recently the commander of US SOUTHCOM."

Senior Colombian, Brazilian, and imposter Guaido representatives attended. Convening the meeting was clearly over frustration by Trump regime hardliners for failing to topple Maduro and eliminate Venezuelan social democracy after nearly three months of trying.

War by other means hasn't been able to co-opt Venezuela's military, gain popular support, or transform imposter Guaido into a national hero - just the opposite.

Military intervention requires easy to invent pretexts. Opposition by regional and world community nations, the UN, and vast majority of Venezuelans wanting US hands off their country are major obstacles not overcome.

The April 10 meeting aimed to try finding a way to counter or circumvent these obstacles, not easily accomplished.

Despite considerable economic and financial harm to Venezuela caused by US war by other means, humanitarian crisis conditions in the country don't exist.

In November and December 2018, UN Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order Alfred-Maurice de Zayas visited Venezuela for 10 days, saying the following:

"There (is) no humanitarian crisis (in Venezuela), nothing to compare with Gaza, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, the Central African Republic, etc. But indeed there" are shortages of goods – not food with grocery shelves well stocked and subsidized food for the country's poor."

"The situation has gotten much worse since Dec. 2017 because of Trump's sanctions and the economic and financial blockade."

"(A)t no point when I was walking the streets of Venezuela that I felt threatened or saw violence and did not consider the country was experiencing a humanitarian crisis – but I do see human rights being used more and more to destroy human rights with the complicity of the mainstream media."

"(A)t no no time since my report to the human rights council at the UN have I been approached by any" Western media to discuss "what is really happening."

"What is particularly Machiavellian is the cause of an economic crisis that threatens to become a humanitarian crisis – that's what the US has done through the financial blockade and then goes on to say they are going to offer humanitarian help."

"(S)o-called president-in-waiting…Guaido is merely the jockey…riding (the US) Trojan horse." Resolving Venezuela's economic hard times is simple. Lift US sanctions. End the "financial blockade."

"Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns…Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring down not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees." 

"The key to the solution of the (situation in Venezuela) is dialogue and mediation…There is nothing more undemocratic than a coup d'etat, and nothing more corrosive to the rule of law and to international stability when foreign governments meddle in the internal affairs of other states…"

"Only the Venezuelans have a right to decide, not the United States, not the United Kingdom…We do not want a repetition of the Pinochet putsch in 1973."

"What is urgent is to help the Venezuelan people through international solidarity – genuine humanitarian aid and a lifting of the financial blockade so that Venezuela can buy and sell like any other country in the world. Its problems can be solved with good faith and common sense."

De Zayas explained that because his truth-telling diverges from the official narrative, "I don't exist," he said. His report to the UN was "filed away" and ignored.

Dartmouth College anthropology graduate student Christopher Helali visited Venezuela for nine days in March. Commenting on his firsthand experience, he said the following:

"My first day completely debunked the stories about the so-called 'humanitarian crisis' in Venezuela. No, the people were not eating trash, rats, jaguars or resorting to cannibalism," adding:

"(T)here was food everywhere…Street vendors sold everything from fruits and vegetables to meats and cheeses. Local markets had a wide variety of produce, processed meats, cheeses and beverages."

"Things were much worse before Chavez. For the poor, there was nothing," journalist Fernanda Barreto told Helali.

Human rights lawyer Christina Bracho explained that children were brutally exploited before Chavez, adding: "After the revolution, Chavez gave these kids the chance to have an education, which all children deserve."

"The US and Europeans hate Venezuela because we are trying to build a different world. They don't want us to exist as an example of possible alternatives to their system."

Helali was introduced to two Venezuelan generals. They welcomed him to their country. "I was shocked," he said. "They invited me to eat with them, so we sat down and purchased a traditional dessert."

They had no weapons, guards or other protection. "The people are our protection," said General A. Monroy M. Ordinary people greeted and saluted them.

In barrios Helali visited, people had communes to defend the revolution they cherish.

"The government provides individuals and families with subsidized food that addresses essential dietary and nutritional needs," Helali explained.

Included are "beans, rice, spaghetti, oil, eggs, chicken, beef, corn flower, salt, sugar, lentils and powdered milk."

Western reports about ill-nourished, starving Venezuelans losing weight are bald-faced Big Lies. "(T)he reality on the ground is quite different, Helali stressed, adding:

"The Venezuela I saw was…teeming with people, many carrying bags in and out of shops and eating at the restaurants."

"Venezuela has taught me about the resilience and dedication of a people fighting for their dignity, independence and sovereignty against the United States." 

Ordinary Venezuelans want US dirty hands kept off their country. The nation's military and millions of volunteer militia members want Bolivarian social democracy the way it should be preserved and protected.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

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