US to help ‘legitimate Latin American govts’ to PREVENT protests from ‘morphing into riots’ – Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the US will help "legitimate governments" in Latin America in order to prevent protests from "morphing into riots.”

Pompeo made the comments while delivering remarks at the University of Louisville on Monday.

He declared that US policy in Latin America is based on “moral and strategic clarity,” meaning Washington “cannot tolerate” regimes it deems unsatisfactory in the region.

Pompeo said that protests in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador reflect the "character of legitimate democratic governments and democratic expression" and that governments in the region should respect that.

We’ll work with legitimate governments to prevent protests from morphing into riots and violence that don’t reflect the democratic will of the people.

“Diplomatic Realism, Restraint, and Respect in Latin America”...

Pompeo added that the US will "continue to support countries trying to prevent Cuba and Venezuela from hijacking those protests." He also accused Russia of “malign” influence in Latin America and of “propping up” the democratically elected Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro.

The eyebrow-raising comments come in wake of the November coup in Bolivia, which saw socialist President Evo Morales ousted while violent protests and attacks on politicians forced him to leave the country. Opposition leader Jeanine Anez has since declared herself an "interim president." The opposition-led protests began over alleged election irregularities.

Also on rt.com Bolivia’s coup: Morales toppled not due to his failures, but due to his success...

Pompeo’s distinctively frank comments are an admission of sorts that the US will encourage violent protests and regime change where it deems a government to be illegitimate, but will work to quash anti-government sentiment in countries it sees as obedient allies.

While the US wholeheartedly supported the Bolivian coup, as well as coup attempts in Venezuela earlier this year, it has all but ignored anti-government protests in Chile, where it blames "malign" Russian and Chinese influence.

In both Venezuela and Bolivia, Washington supports the unelected self-declared “interim presidents.”

Pompeo concluded by saying there remains an "awful lot of work to do" in the region, referring to Latin America as the US's "back yard." He also warned against “predatory Chinese activities” in the region, which he claimed can lead countries to make deals that "seem attractive" but are "bad" for citizens.

Also on rt.com Trump threatens to rock Brazil & Argentina with renewed tariffs on metals

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Venezuelan president says Trump has obsessive hatred of Latin Americans

In the new season of his RT TV show, Ecuador’s former President Rafael Correa on Thursday interviewed Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, where both critically addressed the complex realities the Bolivarian Revolution is currently facing.

During their one-hour conversation, the two leaders of contemporary Latin American politics talked about the economic and social situation of Venezuela, which, as Correa said, is "victim of a disinformation campaign" whereby the political opposition tries to benefit from problems that have been "clearly caused by the so-called 'sanctions' which are actually illegal aggressions against sovereign countries."

In order to highlight the effects of the U.S.-led economic aggression, President Maduro recalled that from the beginning of President Hugo Chavez's administration in 1999 up to 2015, “we had annual revenues of $50 billion from oil sales.  Now we only receive $4 billion.”

Maduro also mentioned that the death of Commander Hugo Chavez in March 2013 meant a "very big blow" for his country because "internal enemies, but especially the U.S. imperial power, began to design tactics to replace Chavismo."

During the presidency of Donald Trump, over the last two years, "the war with Washington has had a devastating effect on our social stability and people's lives," the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader said.

"Venezuela cannot either open or close international bank accounts.  It cannot pay for any type of product.  In addition, we are now being threatened with a complete naval blockade."

In his talk with Correa, the Bolivarian president once again denounced that the U.S. government actions imply many financial costs to the Venezuelans.  "They have confiscated and robbed us of almost $30 billion," Maduro said and explained that Venezuela is carrying out "an economy of resistance."

In order to tackle this situation, his administration has established priority policies, one of which is food and medicine production.  This goal is "at the center" of those priorities so as to be able to supply the population.

"Venezuela has no sanctions, it has aggressions," Maduro said and added: "Trump has an obsessive hatred against Latin American peoples, refugees, immigrants; he has a special hatred of the Venezuelan people and our history."

"I compare [what happens now] with the Hitler era, with that same vision that Hitler imposed against the Jews before the war," he stressed.  Based on the challenges it faces at the current historical moment, the Venezuelan government is laying the long-term foundations to overcome the country's traditional dependence on oil revenues.

"I have defined 16 'development drivers' on the basis of our country's economic, industrial and technological realities," Maduro said and recalled that transforming a natural resources-based growth model, which has been in place for the last 100 years, is a difficult task.

Nevertheless, "despite all imperial aggressions, we are standing strong and ready to resume the path towards growth,", President Maduro affirmed.

For his part, in order to illustrate what is happening in Venezuelans' everyday live, Rafael Correa asked the audience to imagine what it means to live under siege.  "Imagine a country which cannot sell oil, its main product; even if it could sell it and obtain some foreign currency, it cannot buy anything because it cannot use the international financial system," the Ecuadorean politician said.

“That is what they have done to Venezuela.  And, in their eagerness to sanction a government without having the right to do so, they are sanctioning the whole population," Correa stressed.​​​​​​​

Before finishing the interview, Correa invited President Maduro to describe in his own words the Venezuelan political system.  "In Venezuela, they tell us, there is no democracy and you are a 'usurper'," Correa said provocatively.

"Over 20 years of revolution, we have had 25 elections for president, governors and mayors," Maduro replied and, with a hint of irony, he said that it would be "a strange dictatorship."  The Venezuelan president recalled that the Chavista movement has beaten the opposition in 23 out of those 25 elections.  

Rafael Correa concluded his program by reiterating his support for Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan people.  "Intellectual honesty does not mean being neutral, which is impossible. Intellectual honesty means trying to maintain objectivity, despite the partiality we all have and our ideological inclinations."

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Coup Master: Michael Kozak New US Envoy for Latin America


The new acting head of U.S. diplomacy toward Latin America is no stranger to the implementation of interventionist tactics in the region, where for thirty years he learned and perfected the tactics to oust governments.

In par with its belligerent policy towards Latin America, United States President Donald Trump appointed Thursday Michael Kozak as Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, a U.S. diplomat known for his expertise in regime change.

“Kozak is one of those rare diplomats without fear of using force for what the U.S. considers a noble goal," journalist and Director of the Andes section of the Associated Press Joshua Goodman tweeted on Thursday.

This comes as Trump warned that with former National Security Advisor John Bolton out he will enforce an even harder policy against Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, thus Kozak will likely become his ‘go-to-guy’.

The new acting head of U.S. diplomacy toward Latin America is no stranger to the implementation of interventionist tactics in the region, where for thirty years he learned and perfected the tactics to oust governments, a craft that was later exported to Eastern Europe and the former USSR.

Kozak, 73, began his work in the 1970s when he worked as a negotiator on the Panama Canal Treaties during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. He then participated in the U.S. role to downplay the Sandinista revolution in 1978-1979 and was a member of the U.S. mediation team that implemented the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and sought a solution to the Lebanese Civil War.

As many other operatives of regime change under Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., he was tasked to push for U.S. interventions in Latin America. Panama’s Manuel Noriega wrote in his memoirs that the two CIA-State Department operatives who were sent to negotiate and then engineer his downfall from power in 1989 were William Walker and Kozak.

In 1991, during his time as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the inter-American Affairs Bureau, Kozak proposed six different options to go against General Manuel Contreras, head of the DINA secret police during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile.

The most radical option was to covertly snatch Contreras without the consent of the then democratic Chilean government violating international law and the country’s sovereignty in a bid to distance themselves from the U.S.-backed dictatorship in the name of “human rights.”

Then his path through key nations in the region took him to Haiti. In March 1993, Kozak was a deputy to U.S. Special Advisor Lawrence Pezzullo on issues related to the Caribbean nation and part of the U.S.-backed ousting of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

After that from 1996 to 1999, he served as chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, undermining the Cuban government, especially during the island’s “special period.”

Under Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., he took his vast expertise in regime change to the former Soviet bloc. In 2000, Clinton appointed him as U.S. ambassador to Belarus, by 2001 he mounted "Operation White Stork" designed to overthrow President Alexander Lukashenko.

During an exchange of letters to The Guardian in 2001, Kozak unapologetically admitted that he was doing in Minsk exactly what he had been doing in Nicaragua and Panama.

"As regards parallels between Nicaragua in 1989-90 and Belarus today, I plead guilty. Our objective and to some degree methodology are the same," he said.

The strategy repeated in exact detail the tactics the U.S. used to help the Serbian opposition overthrow Slobodan Milosevic, and the Nicaraguan opposition who unseated Daniel Ortega in 1990. Mainly channeling funds to non-governmental organizations, such as the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (Canvas), to push for regime change from within.

According to leaked internal emails from intelligence firm Stratfor, Canvas “may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.” The same strategy which later would be used in Venezuela.

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Cuba on alert over increase in dengue cases

The increase of cases of dengue and other diseases in the Americas has placed Cuba's healthcare system on alert, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Local health authorities are carrying out efforts to control Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit dengue, Zika, and yellow fever, said Dr. Francisco Duran, national director of Hygiene and Epidemiology at the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.

These viral diseases represent a serious threat of morbidity and mortality for communities and families living in high-risk areas, he explained.

Although Cuba has suffered some dengue outbreaks in the first half of 2019, they all have been controlled, said the official.

Duran warned about the importance of strengthening prevention measures at home to prevent the breeding and proliferation of the vector.

It is also necessary to educate the population on the symptoms of these diseases to avoid deterioration and receive a timely treatment.

So far this year, more than 2 million dengue cases have already been reported in the Americas, where 70 percent of the population lives in conditions conductive to the transmission of the disease.

The country in the region which presents the most cases is Brazil, with more than 1 million cases and some yellow fever cases.

Duran made the remarks during the 26th International Course on Dengue, Zika, and other Arboviruses being hold at Havana's Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine, which was attended by experts from 50 nations. 

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Renowned poet and essayist Roberto Fernandez Retamar passes away in Havana

Renowned Cuban poet, essayist and literary critic Roberto Fernandez Retamar passed away in Havana Saturday. He was 89.

Abel Prieto, president of the Jose Marti Cultural Society, confirmed the death of the president of Casas de las Americas on Twitter.

“We have lost one of the greatest poets and thinkers of America and the world.  He leaves us an exceptional work, focused on decolonization and anti-imperialism,” Prieto tweeted.

Fernandez Retamar was a central figure in Cuba literary scene since the 1960s, he wrote over a dozen major collections of verse and founded the Casa de las Americas cultural magazine.  He had also served as president of that institution since 1986.

Fernandez authored Calibán, considered one of the most important essays written in Spanish language in the 20th century.

In 1989, he was awarded the National Prize for Literature.

  • Published in Culture

Latin America honors 100th anniversary of birth of Oswaldo Guayasamin

Hondored as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century, the memory of Ecuador’s Oswaldo Guayasamin was celebrated Saturday on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Across the region and in his home country of Ecuador, events were held to celebrate the centennial of his birth.  The artist's final years were spent bringing the struggles of Latin American history to life with his colorful and powerful paintings.  Guayasamin once described his work as "a painting of denunciation, of great strength, of content.”

"From town to town, from city to city, we witnessed the most immense misery: peoples of black clay, black earth, with children muddied with black mud, men and women with faces of skin burned by the cold, where the tears were frozen for centuries, until not knowing if they were salt or stone," said Guayasamin in a phrase that stands out on the website of the foundation dedicated to the painter.

Born to Indigenous parents in 1919, Guayasamin was sympathetic to the trials faced by the Indigenous communities, and those displaced and abused by “imperialists” throughout the centuries.

As the world wars and regional conflicts filled the headlines of newspapers, Guayasamin took to his art, creating the series “The Age of Wrath,” which, he said, “shows all the tragedy of the twentieth century, the wars kill-men, the torture and pain that produced the dictators, the anguish of mothers who lost their children.  As well as a denunciation of the violence of man against man.”

Guayasamin collaborated with one of Mexico’s greatest painters, Jose Clemente Orozco, in the 40s and completed several murals both in Ecuador and abroad.

Some of his best known works are "The Workers," "The Dead Children," "Mother and Child," "Quito Green Fog," "White Coffin," "The Hands of Protest," "Mutilated," "Tears of Blood," "The Guitarist," “Cabeza de Napalm," “Playa Giron" and “Meditacion I."

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Cuban FM Stresses Importance of Ties with Latin America

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez highlighted the importance for Havana of its relations with Latin American and Caribbean nations, with which it shares the common goal of defending peace and geographical coexistence.

In Twitter, he wrote Cuba has defended the proclaim of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, calling the region an area of insertion and common destiny.

He further said the island consolidated its 'multifaceted relations with all Latin America and the Caribbean'.

In another twit the Minister pointed out Europe represented in 2018 a third of the island's trade turnover with the world. It was an important source of tourists and the most important in term of cooperation.

Rodriguez further wrote that 'our relations have the potential to keep expanding in 2019'.

Previously, the Cuban FM highlighted the strengthening of bonds in 2018 with nations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, based on respect and cooperation.

Rodriguez mentioned Cuba sent more doctors to countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East, and said that one of Havana's goal in 2019 is geared to expand links with these two regions.

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Trend of Self-Proclaimed ‘Presidency’ Catches On in Latin America

In a form of political satire, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador join Venezuela by having their own self-proclaimed "presidents." 

Something they all have in common is that none were democratically elected by the people, yet, this did not stop them from self-proclaiming as ‘presidents’ of their homelands. But with Juan Guiado’s example, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador join Venezuela with brand new self-proclaimed heads of State.

RELATED: People Around the World Reject US Intervention in Venezuela

It all started on Jan. 23 with the attempted coup made by Guaido. The opposition lawmaker, sworn himself/self-proclaimed as the "interim president" of the country, violating the constitution. Soon after, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the illegal self-proclaimed president and the same was done by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro and right-wing governments in the region. 

Despite repeated calls by Guaido and the Venezuelan right-wing opposition, backed by the U.S. to oust President Nicolas Maduro, the country's army and its leadership has repeatedly stated its full support for the legitimate government and rejected such calls as interventionist and a breach of the sovereignty of Venezuela.

Even though the majority of world leaders, including Russia and China, have not recognized his "leadership", most U.S allies, especially the right-wing "Lima group" have.

As a form of protest and political satire of the current political situation, ordinary citizens in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador have decided to follow Guaido’s footsteps and also declare themselves president.

  • Published in World
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