Cuba Refuses Interference and Exclusion of Venezuela from Summit of the Americas

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba strongly condemns the pronouncement of a group of countries in the hemisphere issued on February 13 in Lima, which constitutes an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, while categorically rejects the decision to reconsider the participation of the Venezuelan Government in the eighth Summit of the Americas to be held next April in Peru.

A few days ago the US Secretary of State, during a tour through several countries of the area, declared the full validity of the Monroe doctrine, the most notorious instrument of American imperialist interventionism in our region. He called for a military coup against Venezuela’s constitutional Government and advocated for hardening the sanctions against that country.

The decision taken is not alien to these statements and efforts.

In this context, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalls the arbitrary and aggressive executive order of the United States, renewed in January 2017, which describes Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to national security and exterior policy” of the superpower, and the most recent warnigwarning of President Donald
Trump on using “a possible military option if necessary” against it.

It is unbelievable and incredible that a supposed “unconstitutional rupture of the democratic order” is now used as a pretext, precisely in a country that has held in a few months municipal, regional elections and for a Constituent Assembly and has just called presidential elections, as it was claimed before, even using external interference or by unconstitutional and violent methods.

Cuba denounces this pronouncement and Venezuela´s exclusion from the eighth Summit of the Americas are contrary to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and to the proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ratifies the invariable solidarity of Cuba with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and with the civic-military Union of its people that constitutional President Nicolas Maduro Moros heads.

The words of the President of the Councils of State and of Ministers Raul Castro Ruz, pronounced on July 14, 2017 are totally up-to-date, when he said,

“The aggression and the coup violence against Venezuela damage all our America and only benefit the interests of those striving to divide us to exercise their domination over our peoples, not minding to generate conflicts of incalculable consequences in this region, as we are witnessing in different parts of the world. Today we warn that those who are trying to overthrow the Bolivarian and Chavez Revolution by unconstitutional, violent and coup routes will assume a serious responsibility before History.”

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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Condemns Unilateral Sanctions by EU

Jorge Arreaza said that the sanctions by the European Union are aimed at attacking the Bolivarian Revolution and its democratic institutions.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Monday condemned the unilateral sanctions of the European Union (EU) and called on the bloc to rectify its interventionist position.

"It is regrettable that the European Union is put to the tail's end of US imperialism, it is regrettable that the European Union has issued a series of restrictive measures against Venezuelan citizens, officials, but also presidents of public powers, that is, against Venezuela and its democratic institutionality democratic," Arreaza said during the II Forum of Cooperation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and China.

RELATED:  Venezuela Rejects 'Interventionist' Sanctions Imposed by EU

Arreaza asserted that the EU violates international law by subordinating its foreign policy "to the imperialist, supremacist and racist US policy"

"Venezuela calls on the EU to reflect and rectify because our independence is sacred, our institutions legitimate," he said.

Arreaza stressed that the EU's arguments to impose sanctions are not to promote dialogue with the opposition, on the contrary "it is about attacking the Bolivarian Revolution, and attacking Venezuelan democratic institutions."

He recalled that the undersecretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, Thomas Shannon, had previously reported that "they instructed the EU with a package of sanctions against Venezuela."

The Venezuelan diplomat said that his country will continue in the process of dialogue with the opposition, as well as progress in all areas of society.

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Venezuela Pays Tribute to Cuban National Hero Jose Marti

The Venezuelan government and society will dedicate an broad program to honor Cuban National Hero Jose Marti, according to the People's Power Ministry of Culture.

On Sunday, 137 years after the arrival in Caracas of the Cuban pro-independence hero, the capital's authorities will hold a commemorative event at Simon Bolivar Square.

Throughout the week and until January 28, which marks the 165th birthday of the Most Universal Cuban, the Jose Marti Our America House, in this capital, will implement a broad agenda of events.

The forum Marti and the Bolivarian Revolution will be held at this institution on Monday, and the screening of documentaries on the life and work of the Cuban hero and poetry readings, among other cultural activities, will take place from Tuesday to Saturday.

The tribute will will end on January 28, at Marti Square in Caracas, where his 165th birthday will be celebrated, in the presence of Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas and Cuban Ambassador to Venezuela Rogelio Polanco, among other personalities.

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Maduro Announces Implementation of People's Defense System

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said today that in 2018 the people's defense system for peace will be implemented.

This system, along with the people's militias, encourage the participation of the people in favor of peace, something that according to specialists, is a concern for some sectors in the United States that promote an armed aggression against Venezuela.

During the ceremony of the year-end celebration of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Fanb) at the Ministry of Defense, Maduro said that 2017 was a heroic year, in which Venezuela demonstrated that 'it is capable and that no one will be able to defeat us'.

Maduro also pointed out that 2017 was the year of the unity against oligarchy, as well as the 'triumph of peace over the oligarchic guarimba, it was the year of the people's unity in the Bolivarian National Armed Force, of farmers and workers, a Fanb made up of people. A year of victory for peace.'

He also urged Fanb to develop in 2018 a 'bold deployment and training plan to tune our defensive capacity, our people, and keep on winning respect for our country'.

He said that U.S. imperialism and the Government of U.S. President Donald Trump reached a dangerous point of despair for their failures in 2017, attempting to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution, so he urged the Venezuelan people not to lower their guard.

Maduro also tackled the smuggling affecting the country and urged Fanb to strengthen the fight against that scourge that affects the population.

'They are taking basic products and diamonds, gold, Venezuela's mineral wealth. We are going to make decisions. I expect recommendations to implement them during the first days of January,' he said.

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57 Countries Express Support to Venezuela at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

Over 50 countries around the world expressed support for the constitutional government of Venezuela against foreign threats.

During the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday, 57 countries signed an expression of support of respect for the sovereignty and independence of Venezuela.

RELATED: Venezuelan Delegation Travels to Dominican Republic for Peace Dialogue

“We condemn any action that disturbs peace, tranquility, and democratic stability... and that threatens sovereignty, including the recent threats of a possible foreign military intervention,” the jointly signed document read, that was read by Cuba's ambassador to the Council, Pedro Luis Pedroso.

The nations, among whom are Cuba, China, Bolivia, Russia, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Ecuador, Vietnam, South Africa, and Iran, expressed their “support for the constitutional government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in its commitment to preserve peace and maintain democratic institutions in the country.”

They expressed support for the calls and efforts of President Nicolas Maduro to political dialogue in Venezuela in order to “preserve peace and guarantee the stability of the democratic institutions."

RELATED: 'Latin America Must Be a Region of Peace’: Bolivia’s Morales on Venezuela Dialogue

Also read during the session was a declaration by the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA) that echoed the calls for respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity in Venezuela. Presented by the Nicaraguan ambassador, Hernan Estrada, ALBA repudiated the “international media campaign” against Venezuela and condemned the recent threats of the United States President Donald Trump in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.

The Venezuelan representative to the council, Jorge Valero, also spoke, expressing solidarity to those countries who support Venezuela's sovereignty and saying that "peace reigns" in his country due to the democratic National Constituent Assembly.

“Thanks to the National Constituent Assembly, elected through the universal, direct, and secret vote of millions of Venezuelans, peace reigns in Venezuela," he said.

The 36th session of the Human Rights Council is currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 11th to the 29th.

The support of ALBA and 57 countries around the world is an affirmation of the international support Venezuela has behind it, in a crucial moment as it has been subject to renewed attacks from the United States and its allied countries in recent weeks.

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Venezuela prepares in the face of Trump’s threats

After the failure in their attempt to hinder firstly, the election of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) and then its setting up, the internal counter-revolution hopes that the economic war imposed on the nation gives place to the direct military aggression of the United States, since the Donald Trump administration announced the possibility of a naval blockade. President Nicolás Maduro described it as madness and noticed that the armed forces are ready to reject any attack, reinforced the border with Colombia geared at preventing a treacherous invasion and mobilized hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans willing and active to defeat the imperialist attempt.

”It’s not a laughing matter. It’s sovereignty and independence that are at risk”, said Eleazar Díaz Rangel, director of “Últimas Noticias” newspaper, as Maduro claimed that “everything they are carrying out against Venezuela will fail with the effort of our people and Venezuela will come out strengthened, increasingly freer, more independent in the economic, financial, political, diplomatic and military field”.

One could not expect anything else from the United States and a president like Donald Trump, knowing, as the American people have just realized, that he is surrounded by what he is pleased with: racist and supremacist haters who hate not only Venezuela but the entire Latin America, riddled, according to them, with "an inferior race".

"To believe that these sanctions will only hit Venezuela is like believing ... that the announcement of the construction of the electrified wall between the US-Mexico border is an aggression only to countries that have migrants in the United States. No, it is not against those countries or against Mexico, it’s against the whole Latin America and the Caribbean”, stressed Maduro.

As many people know, last Friday the president of the United States issued an executive order that bans US citizens and entities from any transactions, such as the purchase of debt bonds, with the Venezuelan state and Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), which is considered the worst American aggression against Venezuela in the last 200 years.

Caracas is already responding to the aggression through the activation by the NCA of a plan to defend the economy and finances, and called on US companies that buy Venezuelan oil to an urgent meeting to fine-tune operating mechanisms after the economic war imposed by the White House.

DEMONIZATION AND DISABILITY
 
Within the same strategy, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mike Pompeo, said that Venezuela is influenced by Hezbollah and Iran, two of the geopolitical actors that Washington places within the "Axis of Evil," and that’s why “it can become a risk for the United States”, which has set up a real uproar so that the halberdiers who control the press join their media mechanism. This "intelligence" maneuver seeks to strengthen the story that Venezuela is a country that promotes "Islamic terrorism".

There is a great truth in this nebula of lies: the Venezuelan right is incapable of creating something, turning the board upside down and gaining popular support, thereby it makes itself dependent on the will of a president who sanctions, blocks banks and finances, and tries to isolate the country diplomatically.

That right took advantage of government mistakes to achieve a legislative victory, for the first time in seventeen years, but that control of the National Assembly became a complete stop to measures that benefit the nation, so it had to be suspended, not eliminated. Then, most Venezuelans voted for the creation of the NCA that will strengthen the Constitution and help good governance.

All this stirred the worst of the worst, removed masks from hypocrites, and united that group of genuflectors with the Cuban exiles in Miami, which dictates rules to their Venezuelan acolytes.

While poorly participating in a dialogue with the government, the ill-named Democratic Unity Board (MUD) tried to hold President Nicolás Maduro accountable for the threat of military intervention by Donald Trump, when its main leaders were protagonists of appeals to US rulers and officials to invade the country in the face of successive failures of all its violent and terrorist strategies.

Thus, reviewing the press sold to the national oligarchy, there is evidence that in 2017 important enemies of the Bolivarian Revolution, such as Julio Borges, Luis Florido and Lilian Tintori, have been photographed along with US officials, and Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the pro-American Organization of American States (OAS), while often travelling to Washington and Miami to achieve the financial blockade of the country by big international banks.

Borges has appeared smiling next to H.R. McMaster, National Security Advisor, who attended the meeting where Trump announced the military option and threatened to invade Venezuela; as Florido and Tintori have met with lawmakers Marco Rubio and Bob Menéndez, from the anti-Cuban mafia, enemies of the enemies of the Venezuelan constitutional government and promoters of the funding to the protagonists of the terrorist wave.

In other words, they are all part of the concoction that is being cooked to attack Venezuela, in a counter-revolutionary action, where the “cooks” could get burned.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Venezuela holds military drills after US threat

Venezuela has kicked off two days of nationwide military drills seen as a deterrent against military intervention by the United States. 

War planes, tanks, and 200,000 troops of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) were deployed along with 700,000 reserves and civil militia members as the exercises formally launched on Saturday.

"The people and the FANB are defending territory and sovereignty," President Nicolas Maduro wrote on Twitter.

"Against the belligerent threats of the United States, all Venezuelans between the ages of 18 and 60 are required to contribute to the integral defence of the nation," said an announcement broadcast on state television.

Venezuela's display of military might comes in response to US President Donald Trump's threat of military action two weeks ago and new financial sanctions announced on Friday.

"A complete menu of training skills was being offered to allow ordinary Venezuelans to be able to resist in case of a US invasion, as well as an internal subversion from the opposition," Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman said, reporting from Venezuela's largest military academy in Caracas.

READ MORE: Venezuela crisis: All the latest updates

Trump warned on August 11 the US was mulling a range of options to solve Venezuela's political crisis, "including a possible military option if necessary".

Top US officials later played down the threat. "No military actions are anticipated in the near future," said National Security Advisor HR McMaster on Friday. 

But tensions surged again when the White House made good on the sanctions threat on Friday, unveiling its first-ever such measures to target Venezuela as a whole, rather than just Maduro and his inner circle.

'Economic war'

The sanctions, which Trump signed by executive order, prohibit American financial institutions from providing new money to Venezuela or the state oil company, PDVSA, and could make it harder for Maduro to raise badly needed cash to prevent a debt default.

Maduro decries US sanctions against Venezuela

They also restrict the Venezuelan oil giant's US subsidiary, Citgo, from sending dividends back to Venezuela and ban trading in two bonds the government recently issued to circumvent its increasing isolation from Western financial markets.

Maduro decried the US measures during a national address on Friday. 

"Nobody can use economic and financial measures to impose their political will over a country," he said. "Economic war, pressures and  blackmail are illegal. They ratify an imperial road of aggression."

Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the armed forces support "all measures being implemented to counter the financial blockade".

In an address at one of the exercises near the capital Caracas, he told assembled troops the drills were "for the defence of the whole country" against "imperial aggression".

READ MORE: Venezuela's worst economic crisis: What went wrong?

Lopez said the exercises would include rifle practice on Saturday and combat manoeuvres on Sunday.

The US embassy in Caracas advised its citizens in the country to stay away from the military exercises, warning of the risk of action by armed civilian loyalists.

Venezuela was gripped by months of anti-government protests over growing anger against Maduro. 

The opposition, who demand new elections, say Maduro is turning the crisis-hit country into a dictatorship.

Maduro says the violence and the economic crisis are a US-backed conspiracy.

Diplomatic tensions increased last month when a legislative superbody called the Constituent Assembly was elected at Maduro's behest. It has the power to legislate, bypassing the opposition-controlled Congress.

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Venezuela Rejects ‘Hostile’ US Sanctions, Vows Response

The new sanctions target Venezuela's financial sector and state-run oil company.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has responded to new U.S. sanctions against the South American country, vowing to carefully study its implications and respond swiftly.

RELATED: ‘Libya, Iraq Are Lessons’: Antigua Slams US Threats Against Venezuela

On Friday, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed the new round of sanctions on Venezuela, targeting its financial sector.

The sanctions, according to Bloomberg, ban trades of Venezuelan debt and prevents the country's state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, from selling new bonds to U.S. citizens or financial groups. Trades of existing bonds commissioned by Caracas will also be barred.

Arreaza described the sanctions as "one of the worst aggressions against Venezuela in recent years."

"These types of sanctions show that the U.S. wants to rule over the continent. We will never accept this," Arreaza said.

"We are studying all measures that we can take in response to these sanctions."

The White House announced the measure in a press statement.

“In an effort to preserve itself, the Maduro dictatorship rewards and enriches corrupt officials in the government’s security apparatus by burdening future generations of Venezuelans with massively expensive debts,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

“These measures are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule, protect the United States financial system from complicity in Venezuela’s corruption and in the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people, and allow for humanitarian assistance.”

The new round of sanctions include a 30-day transitional period, allowing certain debt trades to continue, the Miami Herald reported. They also include exemptions for transactions involving Citgo, the PDVSA's U.S. affiliate.

RELATED: Venezuela’s Maduro Speaks on Chavez, Trump and Opposition

Trump is reported to have signed an executive order approving the sanctions on Thursday.

"We don't agree with anything (President Nicolas) Maduro is doing," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a press conference Friday.

"We wanted to rely on the OAS (Organization of American States), but they weren't able to do anything. We tried an emergency meeting with the Security Council, but they didn't think it had anything to do with peace and security. Now we've placed sanctions and we'll see if there's anything else we can do."

Echoing Haley, U.S. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster touted Trump's decision to "strongly punish the Venezuela regime."

"The U.S. won’t allow an illegitimate dictatorship to take hold in the hemisphere," McMaster said Friday.

"The Maduro dictatorship will not be able to accumulate debt that benefits corrupt insiders."

McMaster added that although no military options are being explored in the "near future," Washington is considering a "wide range of options" against Venezuela.

The decision comes days after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence promised to ramp up pressure on Venezuela in the wake of its July 30 National Constituent Assembly, ANC, election.

Pence met with several opposition leaders in Miami, capping off his tour of Latin America last week where he sought support against Maduro's govenrment. The meeting with 15 emigre political figures took place at a Catholic Church in Doral, well known as an enclave for Venezuelans opposed to the administrations of late President Hugo Chavez and Maduro.

RELATED: Maduro Calls on Trump to 'Stop Aggression Towards Venezuela'

It also comes weeks after Trump issued military threats against Venezuela.

“We have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I’m not going to rule out a military option,” Trump told reporters earlier this month in apparently impromptu remarks.

“A military operation and military option is certainly something that we could pursue.”

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on 13 Venezuelan officials ahead of the ANC.

“As President Trump has made clear, the United States will not ignore the Maduro regime’s ongoing efforts to undermine democracy, freedom, and the rule of law,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a press release.

Among those sanctioned on Wednesday were National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena; Elias Jose Jaua Milano, the head of the Presidential Commission for the National Constituent Assembly; Tarek William Saab Halabi, Venezuela’s Ombudsman; Maria Iris Varela Rangel, member of Venezuela’s Presidential Commission for the National Constituent Assembly; and Nestor Luis Reverol Torres, Venezuela’s Minister of Interior, Justice, and Peace.

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