China, Russia Call for Respecting Venezuela Elections, Condemn US Intervention

President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes.

A day after the Venezuelan general elections, China and Russia called Monday for respecting the country's democratic process and rejected attempts of interfence by the United States and other regional powers. 

RELATED: Cuba: Diaz-Canel, Raul Castro Congratulate Maduro

"The parties involved must respect the decision of the Venezuelan people," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang at a press conference in Beijing, as he encouraged resolving any dispute through legal channels, EFE reported. 

Kang affirmed China's policy of not interfering in internal affairs of other countries and was convinced that the Venezuelan government and citizens will be able to resolve the issues.  "China will address the relevant issues in accordance with diplomatic practice," the spokesman added. 

President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the country's National Electoral Council (CNE) reported.  

The opposition candidate, former governor, Henri Falcón came second after Maduro - and the evangelical expiator Javier Bertucci have made accusations of irregularities. 

Maduro's win comes at a time when the United States and its right-wing regional allies as well as several European governments have made several attempts to intervene in Venezuela's presidential elections through sanctions and boycott calls against the Venezuelan election saying they won't recognize the results, policies that were rejected by the Russian Foreign Ministry Monday.  

"We regrettably have to note that in these elections, in addition to the two traditional participants, that is, the Venezuelan people, the electors, on the one hand, and on the other the candidates who presented their programs ... there was a third participant, the governments who openly called for a boycott of the vote," said Alexánder Schetinin, director of the Latin American Department of the Foreign Ministry.  

Schetinin also added that Russia is often accused of meddling in other countries' elections but in Venezuela's case, some countries have meddled indiscriminately.

He added that some countries put obstacles "among others to hinder the voting in their territories of Venezuelans who are abroad." 

"And even worse when a whole series of governments, including the one you are appointing (United States), a priori declared that they would not recognize the results," he said during a press conference, the Interfax news agency reported. 

"The elections have been held and their results have an irreversible character: two-thirds of the votes went to the current president of the country, Nicolás Maduro," he concluded. 

While Many countries in Latin America have recognized the Venezuelan elections and congratulated President Maduro, such as Cuba, Bolivia and El Salvador, right-wing governments in the region have dismissed the vote as "illegtimate" echoing statements by the U.S. and Canada and some Western countries who had dismissed the vote and teh results before the election had even taken place.

The so-called Lima Group plus Canada issued a statement Monday saying it did not recognize the legitimacy of Venezuela's presidential election. The statement said the countries would call their ambassadors back from Caracas for consultations and hold a meeting to coordinate a regional response to what they call "crisis" in Venezuela. They also said they would seek a new resolution on "the situation" in the South American country.

Such attempts of interference into Venezuela's internal affairs have repeatedly been rejected over the past few months by the government in Caracas as well as left-wing governments in the region.

The Lima Group includes Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Santa Lucia, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

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Cuban minister of Economy and Planning pays official visit to Russia

The Vice-president of the Council of State and Ministers and minister of Economy and Planning, Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, pays an official visit to the Federation of Russia.

Cabrisas heads the Cuban delegation to the International Economic Forum to be held in St. Petersburg from May 24-26.

During his stay in the European nation, the Cuban vice-president, who also co-chairs the Bilateral Intergovernmental Committee on the Economic-Trade and Scientific-Technical Collaboration, will exchange views with Russian authorities and executives from companies with active bonds with the island.

In the context of the forum, the Caribbean leader will also attend two High-Level panel discussions with leaders of other foreign nations invited to the event.

Cuba will be also represented by the minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, and the deputy ministers of Energy and Transportation, Raul Garcia Barreiro and Eduardo Rodriguez Davila, respectively.

The deputy minister of Industry Jose Gaspar Alvarez Sandoval, the MINREX general director of Bilateral Affairs, Emilio Lozada Garcia, and the Cuban ambassador in Russia Gerardo Penalver Portal are part of the delegation as well.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

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NATO was never a defensive alliance, and its behavior since 1991 shows it

Throughout the Cold War, NATO was advertised as a defensive alliance. That was not really the case then, and certainly hasn’t been since, with NATO engaging in interventions and regime change from Bosnia to Libya.

Though the alliance’s founding document was signed in April 1949, it wasn’t until a year later that the foreign ministers of the 12 member countries sat down in London to give shape to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On May 18, 1950, led by US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, they signed a communique establishing the permanent structures of NATO.

“This business of building for peace is a very grim business, and it has to be worked for day in and day out,” British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin said after the meeting.

How much NATO was really into “building peace” became clear in 1954, after the death of Stalin, when the Soviet Union’s new leader Nikita Khrushchev asked to join the alliance. Not only did NATO say no, the alliance invited West Germany to join. The date chosen for the occasion was symbolic: May 9, the tenth anniversary of Nazi capitulation in the Second World War.

@starsandstripes Security experts say Germany's military is virtually undeployable. For example, none of its submarines are operational and only four of its 128 Eurofighter jets are combat-ready. https://www.stripes.com/news/as-germany-prepares-for-nato-crisis-response-role-its-military-readiness-is-abysmal-1.527253 

The USSR saw this as an open provocation, and responded by establishing the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, also known as the Warsaw Pact.

After the Warsaw Pact dissolved in 1991, NATO not only remained in existence but expanded its membership and mission, usurping the role of the UN by openly intervening in Yugoslavia. The alliance’s first military action was in Bosnia (1994-95), followed by an all-out war against the remnant Yugoslavia (1999) and the subsequent occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

 
© Reuters

NATO has also taken part in the US war in Afghanistan since 2001. The alliance did not officially join the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq, though many members chose to join George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing.”

The most overt NATO military action since 1999 was the 2011 intervention in Libya. It unfolded in much the same fashion as the mission creep in Bosnia, only much faster. Within hours of the UN Security Council authorizing the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya on March 19, the US, France, UK and Canada began airstrikes.

NATO officially took over the war on March 31, flying 26,500 sorties during Operation Unified Protector until the death of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi in October.

Drive to the East

Though US Secretary of State James Baker assured the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “not one inch eastward” if Germany reunified, the alliance did just that. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were officially admitted into NATO even as alliance warplanes were bombing Yugoslavia in April 1999.

Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia joined in 2002. The last former Warsaw Pact country, Albania, joined in 2009. The alliance has also expanded to include the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro, as well as the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing NATO to Russia’s doorstep.

As if that wasn’t enough, NATO pushed further, into Georgia and Ukraine. Believing NATO had his back, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili attacked Russian peacekeepers in the disputed region of South Ossetia in 2008. His NATO-trained military was disarmed in six days. NATO has continued to flirt with Georgia since, though the current government in Tbilisi doesn’t appear eager for another war with Russia.

@NATO_MARCO Four NATO ships conducting a port call in Poti, Georgia  https://civil.ge/archives/241621

The phantom menace

The most recent escalation of tensions with Russia began in 2014, after the US-backed regime that took over Ukraine in a February 2014 coup. Alliance troops have since set up bases in the far west of the country, and have been providing weapons, supplies and training to Kiev’s military and neo-Nazi militias to “counter Russian aggression.”

Under the guise of “deterring Russia,” NATO has also established permanent military bases in the Baltic States, Romania and Poland, and conducted a series of massive military drills right on the Russian border. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has condemned the troop buildup, saying in February that Washington is using an “imaginary Russian threat” to ensure its dominance in Europe.

The alliance’s first secretary general (1952-57), Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay, reportedly once said NATO’s purpose was to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.”

NATO’s behavior since the 1990s shows not only that it has become an aggressive, expansionist body, but one serving the foreign policy priorities of the US first and foremost. With Europe now contemplating breaking from Washington over Iran, its leaders would do well to keep Ismay’s words in mind.

@Ruptly Tusk on Trump: 'friends like that, who needs enemies?'

 
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Lavrov: US Plan on Arab Troops Deployment in Syria 'Sovereignty Violation'

Russia and Egypt are united in their belief that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. Moscow and Cairo will coordinate actions on this issue, Lavrov said after talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Moscow.

Acting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss topical issues on the international agenda, including the situation in Syria and the Iran nuclear deal, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We are convinced, like our Egyptian friends, that there is no military solution to this conflict. The adjustment of disputes can be achieved exclusively through political means through a comprehensive cross-Syrian dialogue in full accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the outcome of the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, which was held in Sochi on January 30," Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, the parties reaffirmed their mutual commitment to the close coordination of Russian-Egyptian actions in the Syrian direction.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

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Syria: U.S. increases support for terrorists

The latest chemical attack against civilians has once again served as a new pretext for U.S. to justify a greater intervention against the Arab country, without resigning itself to the continued defeats of the terrorist groups it has armed, trained and organized, and whose greatest percent is made up by contractors, as many elegantly call these mercenaries, and Islamic fundamentalist individuals who give their lives ignoring the manipulation they have been subjected to by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The entire anti-Syrian plot, and eventually anti-Russian, is seasoned with a funding that increases, despite the defeat and withdrawal of many of the aggressors, and having received extensive supplying of US, British and Israeli weapons, including chemical ones, which have been generously paid by the satraps of the Persian Gulf, and Arab League members, which are Arab by their name, rather than by their spirit, as has shown their hypocritical and empty support to the Palestinian people so far.

The United States does not resign itself to the defeat of its protégées at the hands of the Syrian army and the solidarity intervention of the Russian air force, which only participates in actions in rural areas, not in the cities, geared at avoiding what usually happens to the Empire’s army, “collateral damage”.

In this context, the CIA, of a long record of support to terrorists and mercenaries, used once again, as we have stated, the pretext of the chemical attacks, carried out by its hosts, with the support of the US mainstream press, after which the missiles launched by US troops targeted a Syrian airbase in the province of Homs, amid the rhetoric of the Trump Administration telling that preps are underway to intensify their military operations in Syria.

Like in previous episodes of chemical attack charges, the public is being overwhelmed with unverified recordings of agonizing victims, as official reports and corporate press, before any probe and groundless; hold the government of Bashar al Assad and its Iranian and Russian allies responsible of a war crime.

In a matter of minutes, The New York Times and The Washington Post posted articles pinning the blame on the Syrian and Russian governments for the alleged attack. For its part, British newspaper The Guardian declared in an editorial that, “the renewed use of chemical weapons by Syria against its own people over the weekend is shameless and barbaric”.

All this farce takes place shortly after a very painful event for the Empire: because after having used the region of eastern Ghouta for years to cut off supplies to Damascus and to attack unfriendly embassies, such as Russia’s, the Syrian army forced the opposition groups, mainly armed by Israel, to withdraw to other remote spots, but they previously evacuated the hundreds of thousands of locals held hostage by the aggressors.

It’s worth adding that Trump is already devising plans to attack the Syrian army with missiles there, as part of the chemical pretext, unlike what his predecessor, Barack Obama, did in a similar event, also plotted by the CIA, since he did not want to bombard Ghouta in 2013, which earned him furious criticisms until the day he left the White House.

The investigations that have been conducted since then prove that the attack was actually perpetrated by the “rebels” at the service of the U.S., together with the Turkish government that openly supported the aggression against Damascus at that time.

In April 2017, an alleged gas attack was used to justify a significant bombardment with cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield. Similarly, it turned out to be an airstrike targeting facilities used by the “opponents” to collect poisonous gases.

But with Trump, I stress, the hawks that control the cabinet have no problems, and with the head of the National Security  Agency, John Bolton, they should be considering to carry out new actions at the expense of the blood of the Syrian people.

For the moment, as it is actually happening in Iraq, the Empire does not have its hands free for other terrorist actions, such as the immolation of fundamentalist individuals deceived by their own CIA-hired chiefs, not aimed at primarily occupying cities or territories, but at sowing chaos, destruction and uncertainty among citizens.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

 

The Skripal: Healthier than ever before

Today the couple —they were dead first, then badly injured— cannot be found after being discharged from a British hospital where they made a “miraculous” recovery and even gained some weight.

One hundred fifty Russian diplomats expelled. The Consulate in Seattle, U.S.: closed. Everything is part of a sanction policy implemented by the West against Russia. This time an alleged or fake poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter by the expressed consent of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, took place in the British park of Salisbury, as confirmed at first.

Since British PM Theresa May announced the news and confirmed the responsibility of Moscow in the poisoning, the support of the U.S., France, and two dozens of European heads of state — most of them members of NATO — came swiftly. All of them “pointed at” Moscow, with no evidence, as the responsible of the event.

In short, this is another empty threat of the West, which has unleashed such an aggressive stance since the fascist setback in Ukraine some years ago. They bombed the Russian-speaking citizens in bordering regions of Ukraine and Russia, and rejected the freedom of Crimea to adhere once again to the Russian Federation.

Last April 18th, the United Nations Security Council met once again to analyze the Skripal’s case. But as usual, nothing came to fruition. Although it was stated that Yulia, 33, daughter of former spy Sergei Skripal, is already recovered and her father is getting better. It was also missed out that they were put out of action by the British intelligence so the Russians could not find out the possible truth.

What is significant is how they went from being on the brink of death to a miraculous recovery. Afterwards, as we already said, they vanished both. Moscow described this situation as a virtual kidnapping.

NO RESIGNATION, NO SHAME

In this regard, Russia stated that UK internally attacked the Skripal, added to a media conspiracy. It may lead to the resignation of the British government; not to mention the embarrassment of those countries that fell into the trap. But I do not believe London will resign nor its associates have shame whatsoever.

Thus, the recent document of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reveals that these people were poisoned with a very pure nerve agent without airing its identity or state publicly that it is named Novichok. They only limit to recognize they were poisoned. Therefore, the speech of Theresa May is clearly dubious to say the least. The “high purity” creates tons of doubts by not eliminating these people.

Hence, it is crystal clear that the political stance followed by several nations was not coherent at all.

The minister of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, who removed a public message incriminating him, blames again Russia for the attacks by saying that “there is no alternative explanation as to what nation is responsible.” It is true that Johnson’s analytical skills are reduced since he cannot have any different idea.

Contrary to his perspective, everything suggests there are many alternative such as the experiments carried out by his own government concerning toxic weapons and the site of the exposing (Salisbury), or the contacts of the former spy with other people interested in chemical weapons. It may well be a self inflicted attack to divert attention from the UK’s serious domestic crisis, violence, and poverty. They also have strong desire to damage the image of the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2018 and to reverse its failures by backing terrorism in Syria, among others.

Police and scientific authorities do not know where the Skripal were poisoned and who did it, how, when, or the probable cause of the survival from a highly lethal substance.

It does not take brains to notice that the sole plausible explanation is that the British government is compromised in the case. Believing without evidence, for the sake of faith, is not convincing at all.

The Skripal’s disappearance is like having them in jail with no communication with their relatives. The UK has destroyed evidence; for instance, the dead animals in the Skripal’s house, which confirmed the procedure to remove all sort of evidence that could have jeopardized an undisputable truth.

It seems they will try to give a secret identity to Sergei and Yulia Skripal. It means they could be eliminated in order to hide the main evidence. And that is a very dangerous tactics that both, the American and British intelligence are proven experts.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

Russia: Trump promised to make visit to Moscow if Putin accepts invite to White House

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that President Trump indicated he could visit Moscow if Russian leader Vladimir Putin comes to the United States.

Lavrov told state television that Trump mentioned the possible trip when he called Putin on March 20 to congratulate him on his re-election to another six years in office.

State-run news agency RIA Novosti, citing the foreign ministry, said Trump invited Putin to Washington and said he would be glad to see his Russian counterpart in the White House.

Lavrov, who met with Trump in Washington in May, said Russia was expecting Trump to formalize the invitation, RIA Novosti reported. 

“We proceed from the fact that the U.S. president in a telephone conversation ... made such an invitation, said he would be glad to see (Putin) in the White House, would then be glad to meet on a reciprocal visit,” Lavrov said in comments posted on the foreign ministry's website.

“He returned to this topic a couple of times, so we let our American colleagues know that we do not want to impose, but we also do not want to be impolite, and that considering that President Trump made this proposal, we proceed from the position that he will make it concrete.”

Both the White House and the Kremlin previously revealed that Trump had invited Putin to the White House during the same call, when the two leaders discussed wanting to meet soon.

A visit by Putin to Washington would anger Trump's critics, amid special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russians who sought to influence the election by hacking emails and spreading fake news.

Trump has repeatedly said his campaign did not collude with Russia to gain advantage in the election. Lavrov has dismissed the meddling allegations as a baseless "claptrap."

Trump met face-to-face with Putin for the first time at the Group of 20 summit of world leaders in Hamburg, Germany, in July. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

More: Trump won't say whether he would fire Mueller, but notes that he's 'still here'

More: Russia: 'Unscrupulous' U.S. behavior destabilizes world

More: Lavrov rejects as 'claptrap' charges of Russian election meddling

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Expert believes Cuba’s policy towards Russia will not change

Cuba’s policy towards Russia will not change following the election of Miguel Diaz-Canel as head of the Council of State, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies expert Igor Pshenichnikov told TASS.

"Cuba’s foreign policy will not change, particularly as far as Russia is concerned, there will be no surprises," he said. "The new leader… has been a member of the ruling team for a long time so I am sure that friendly relations between Cuba and Russia will not change a bit," the expert added.

"Cuba will seek reliable partners on the international stage and deepen relations with Russia," Pshenichnikov said, adding that "at the moment, it is very important for the Cubans to boost international cooperation."

While speaking about Havana’s relations with Washington, the Russian expert noted that they tended to deteriorate. "US President Donald Trump has put an end to the thaw in relations that started during Barack Obama’s presidency, so the embargo will remain in place," he said. According to Pshenichnikov, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said ahead of the Cuban National Assembly’s meeting that Washington was concerned about the undemocratic transition of power in Cuba. "Under the current circumstances, it is no use to expect the United States to take accommodating steps," the Russian expert stressed.

Pshenichnikov also said that dramatic changes in Cuba’s economic policy were out of the question. "There will be no radical steps," he said, adding that a number of economic reforms, particularly involving elements of market economy, had been carried out under Fidel Castro. "These changes have already taken place so Cuba will continue to move in that direction," the expert said.

New Cuban leader

On April 18, Cuba’s National Assembly elected Miguel Diaz-Canel to head the Council of State.

"Cuba’s foreign policy will remain unchanged," he said, addressing National Assembly members. "Cuba will neither compromise its sovereignty and independence, nor discuss its principles nor make concessions despite facing pressure and threats," Diaz-Canel added.

According to Diaz-Canel, the number of threats to global peace and stability has been growing. "We will remain ready for dialogue and cooperation with those who understand what respect is. We will continue to advocate the revolution’s ideas and develop socialism," the new Cuban leader stated.

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