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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Ongoing Coup in Venezuela: What If Same Scenario Happens in France

This Cold War could well warm up under the Caribbean sun. It is now up to all peace activists to mobilize against intervention

Let's start by asking our readers in France some questions.

Imagine that the highest Chinese authorities are calling on Yellow Vests to take the streets of Paris and major French cities.

Imagine that Russia decides to no longer recognize President Emmanuel Macron and declares that the new legitimate French president is Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

Imagine that Iran is funding and arming paramilitary groups to set the country on fire and destroy it.

What would you call it? No matter what opinion you have of President Macron, would you be willing to accept such foreign interference in the affairs of our French Republic?

Incongruous situation? And yet this is exactly what is happening in Venezuela.

It cannot be said that the scenario had not been advertised. As early as Jan. 8, two days before Nicolás Maduro's swearing in, the Venezuelan National Assembly illegally passed a Transition Law in order to seize the executive power (president). The United States and its allies in the Lima group were quick to support this putschist initiative.

Before going any further, let us remember that the National Assembly has been in a situation of contempt of court for almost two years. After the election of deputies in December 2015, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates in Amazon State filed a complaint because their opponents had purchased votes to win the election. The court subsequently condemned the fraud and the Electoral Power Tribunal demanded that the election for these three seats be redone.

Since the Speaker of the National Assembly refused to comply with the judicial and electoral authorities, the National Assembly was declared in "contempt of court." Decisions and votes emanating from the legislative power are therefore null and void as long as the speaker of the National Assembly fails to authorize the return to the polls.

It should be noted that the opposition holds an absolute majority of 122 deputies out of 167 seats. This insubordinate Legislative Assembly has therefore become a parallel legislative power. However, it is this body that is making the attempt at an institutional coup d'état, which we are currently witnessing.
Pence calls for coup

On Jan. 22, while several demonstrations were being prepared in Caracas, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called on Venezuelans to rise up against the legitimate government. This clearly shows that opposition political organizations have so little legitimacy that Washington must directly call -- without an intermediary -- on Venezuelan citizens and the army to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, in order to satisfy U.S. interests.

The next day, as expected, as soon as Juan Guaidó illegally took over the executive power, the White House "officially recognized the president of the National Assembly as interim president of Venezuela."  A handful of Latin American countries, subservient to Washington, will follow Trump's order to recognize his Venezuelan Gauleiter [name Nazis used for their leader of occupied country].

The creation of parallel powers is nothing new. As early as 2017, the opposition created a parallel Supreme Court (based in Panama), and a post of Attorney General of the Nation (based in Colombia). Now, with the usurpation of executive power by a National Assembly in contempt of court, we are facing the construction of illegitimate public authorities, recognized by the USA, Canada and their Latin American vassals.

Since these bodies obviously cannot coexist with legitimate powers, there will undoubtedly be an upsurge in violence in the Bolivarian country. It is in this sense that Washington's refusal to comply with the expulsion order of its Caracas diplomats, immediately announced by President Maduro, must be interpreted.

This scenario reflects the situation that preceded the Libyan and Syrian wars. The formation of parallel governments, whether the Libyan National Transitional Council or the Syrian National Salvation Council, has been a prerequisite for the bombing of these countries, or for unleashing mercenary attacks on them. During the night of Jan. 23, gangs of armed criminals carried out a reign of terror in some parts of Caracas by shooting at everything that was moving and clashing with the police.

It should be recalled here that the National Assembly, which is today the main instrument of the institutional coup attempt, has approved all of Washington's economic sanctions against its own [Venezuelan] people. Worse still, on Jan. 8, 2018, it paved the way for the devastation of the country by authorizing the creation of a trust fund to reclaim the assets of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Hiding its intentions behind the fight against corruption, the National Assembly allowed foreign countries to freeze the assets of its own country. Here again, this reminds us of the strategy deployed in Libya and the freezing of that country's assets.

Washington and its allies can count on bands of mercenaries, recruited to spread violence in Venezuela. In addition to the Colombian paramilitaries, who are very active on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, President Maduro reported, on Nov. 28, the presence of 734 mercenaries on military bases, on Eglin AFB in Florida and on Tolemaida in Colombia. Their goal was to attack Venezuela or to prepare a false flag attack in order to justify military intervention against the Bolivarian nation.

In the short term, the outcome of the showdown we are witnessing can only be, unfortunately, violent. Neither Nicolas Maduro's legitimate power nor the dummy bodies created by his opponents will retreat or engage in dialogue in the immediate future. In any country, Juan Guaidó and the felonious Assembly members would find themselves behind bars. Venezuela must deal with the threats made by the USA.
‘All options on table’

President Donald Trump stated that the military option against Venezuela remains valid ("all options are on the table"). As for the State Department, it has already announced that it is preparing to send "humanitarian aid." Nicolas Maduro's government, which is fighting to have the financial blockade against his country lifted, will never accept that the USA should disembark under the pretext of "humanitarian aid." This provocation is part of a planned strategy that former SouthCom Commander John Kelly had mentioned on 28 October 2015: "The United States will intervene for humanitarian reasons, if asked to do so". This has now been done.

Faced with this escalation of tension, all that is missing is a detonator to justify a war adventure. Let us remember the media lies that plunged Iraq, Serbia, Libya or Syria into the destructive abyss of war: the alleged destruction of incubators in Kuwait, the Raçak massacre in Serbia, the bombing of demonstrations in Benghazi, Libya, or the torture of teenagers in Deraa, Syria were all the necessary prelude to legitimizing massacres in the name of the "Defense of Humanity."
Media intoxication to justify intervention

International public opinion could once again be the victim, in the coming weeks, of a media intoxication operation in order to justify a military operation against Venezuela.

Although the Venezuelan scenario looks similar to those deployed in the Levant, there are still some significant differences. On the one hand, the Venezuelan army continues to support its country's Constitution, its national sovereignty nation and the republic. While 20 soldiers were arrested on Jan. 21 for trying to appropriate a weapons depot, the tens of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of reservists did not show any interest in a coup. The Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, recalled that the Bolivarian National Armed Forces "defend the Constitution and are the guarantors of national sovereignty."

On the other hand, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, South Africa and a vast majority of countries in the world recognize the legitimacy of President Maduro. Beijing has supported the Venezuelan government in its "efforts to maintain its sovereignty." The Kremlin, for its part, assured Caracas of its support to "ensure that Venezuela's sovereignty is respected."

It is true that the Venezuelan opposition has done everything possible to provoke the allies of the Bolivarian Revolution. By claiming loud and clear that the credit lines authorized by China and Russia or the economic agreements signed by President Maduro would not be recognized by "their government," they have de facto internationalized the Venezuelan conflict.

Beijing, Moscow and Ankara are now indirectly targeted by the anti-democratic designs of the Venezuelan opposition. An intensification of the current conflict or a military adventure would have repercussions far beyond Venezuela's borders.

This Cold War could well warm up under the Caribbean sun. It is now up to all peace activists to mobilize against intervention and for a political solution to this new offensive against the Bolivarian Revolution. Let us not allow the warmongers to spill blood that is not their own.

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Stop Coup in Venezuela Is to Defend Regional Peace

Cuban political figures called here in the last hours to stop the coup in Venezuela against President Nicolás Maduro as a key action to preserve peace in Latin America and the Caribbean.

'In defense of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, we must stop the imperialist coup attempt against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its constitutional president, Nicolás Maduro,' Foreign Minister Bruno warned on his Twitter account. Rodríguez

For its part, the president of the International Relations Commission of the National Assembly, Yolanda Ferrer, demanded the cessation of US interference in the South American country, in order to preserve the independence, sovereignty and regional self-determination.

Ferrer also advocated the defense of the Peace Zone, based on the need to stop the ongoing coup against Maduro, which escalated on January 23 with the recognition by Washington and some of his allies of the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó, chief of the National Assembly, declared in contempt.

The calls from Cuba are framed in the observance of the declaration of the region as a Zone of Peace, signed during the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), held in this capital in January 2014.

The proclamation establishes a commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes, to banish the use and threat of the use of force, and with strict compliance to non-intervention in the internal affairs of countries, in full adherence to the principles of national sovereignty and the self-determination of peoples.

Concerning the crusade led by the White House against Venezuela, the director general for the United States of the Cuban chancellery, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, warned about the attempt to re-edit in the South American nation the scripts imposed in Libya and Syria, directed to the change of regime.

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Brazil Coup and Political Crisis: How Did We Get Here?

Dilma Rousseff's 2014 re-election marked the fourth consecutive victory for the PT, a fact that did not sit well with the country's right-wing politicians.

Accused of mishandling the nation's fiscal budget, the Senate began the process against President Dilma Rousseff in December 2015.

But Brazil's political crisis dates back to 2014 when Rousseff was reelected as president for the second time in October 2014 amid a recession, with high inflation and unemployment rising in the country.

At the same time, the biggest corruption scandal in Brazilian history, "Operation Car Wash," shook the Brazilian political elite including members of both parties in the ruling coalition, the Workers’ Party (PT) and Michel Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB).

Despite no proof existing that Rousseff had any role in the Petrobras scandal, during her first year reelected in office this confluence of factors saw Rousseff's approval rating take a nosedive as millions held anti-corruption protests across the country.

Brazil’s right-wing seized the moment, launching a campaign to implicate high-profile members of the PT—including Dilma and Lula—in the graft.

And they had good reason. Under successive PT government’s wealth in Brazil was widely redistributed as social programs were implemented to help the nation’s poor. 

Public spending on education grew from US$17 billion in 2002 to US$94 billion in 2013, a rise from 10.4 percent of total government expenditure in 2004 to 15.6 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, spending on health grew from US$28 billion in 2002 to US$106 billion in 2013, increasing from 7.0 percent of GDP in 2004 to 9.7 percent in 2013.

In fact poverty fell from 35.8 percent in 2003 to 15.7 percent in 2013, whereas extreme poverty fell from 11.5 percent in 2003 to 4.5 percent in 2013.

These programs were funded in part through taxation on the wealthy and a redistribution of wealth to the poorer sections of Brazilian society.

Coup Leader Cunha 

One of the most high-profile figures implicated in Operation Car Wash is Eduardo Cunha, the former Speaker of Brazil’s Lower House whom media have billed as the “arch-nemesis” of Rousseff.   

The evangelical Christian was a key architect in propelling the impeachment process against President Rousseff forward, so much so that he is often referred to as the “coup leader.”

“They can say what they like: Eduardo Cunha is the central person of the Temer government,” Rousseff said in the interview published by Folha in May. “Cunha not only commands, he is the Temer government.”

Cunha and pro-impeachment supporters accuse Dilma of manipulating the national budget prior to her 2014 reelection in order to conceal a government shortfall. An investigation by the Federal Prosecutor's office in July concluded that Rousseff did not violate any fiscal laws. 

In another twist, Cunha was himself forced to step down from his position as house speaker in July after he was suspended amid corruption and perjury allegations.

He has been accused of hampering investigations, intimidating lawmakers, currency dealing and has even been implicated in the Panama Papers for receiving bribes of US$5 million linked to offshore companies involved in the country’s Petrobras scandal.

The Left's Response

In December 2015, Rousseff denounced Cunha's move against her as an attempted coup. “For the sake of the health of our democracy, we must defend it against this coup,” she said.

Government supporters allege the efforts to oust Rousseff via impeachment is a thinly-veiled attempt to overturn the results of the 2014 presidential election, where the suspended president defeated her right-wing rival in the second round.

Leftist movements, even those critical of some of the more conservative policies of the PT, quickly pledged to defend the Rousseff government and the country's democracy through street mobilizations. The president of the Workers Party, Rui Falcao, said the party was now entering into a period of “permanent mobilization.”

The Latin American left has expressed strong support for the democratically elected Rousseff. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recalled his ambassador to Brazil the day after the decision to suspend Rousseff, calling the attempted coup a “painful page” in the country’s history.

Similarly, Bolivia rejected the Brazilian Senate’s decision to suspend Dilma, calling the process a “legal and political farce."

Cuba released a statement condemning the impeachment bid against Rousseff as a move by the country’s oligarchy to “overthrow the legitimate government and seize the power that they could not win with an electoral vote."

Nicaragua, Chile and Uruguay were just some of the other nations who released statements expessing concern over the coup.

What's at Stake      

The final stage of Brazil's impeachment process is set to begin on August 25 and the stakes are high.

The cabinet of the new Senate-imposed President Michel Temer, who will succeed Rousseff should the latter be impeached, is the first Brazilian cabinet since 1979 without any women. It is also composed exclusively of white men, no one who identifies as gay, lesbian or transgender, nor anybody representing social movements or minority groups.

As for Temer himself, he immediately reduced the size of the cabinet to 22 ministries, completely eliminating the Ministry of Women, the Ministry of Racial Equality and the Ministry of Human Rights, among others.

Among the new, coup ministers include Alexandre de Moraes, who served as secretary for security in Sao Paulo for the right-wing government of the state, where he was responsible for a series of brutal crackdowns on protesters.

Furthermore, O Estado de S. Paulo said de Moraes served as a lawyer for Transcooper, a company accused of running a money laundering operation on behalf of PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital), the largest criminal organization in Brazil.

Of the 80 members of Senate who voted to impeach Rousseff, 60 percent have cases against them for bribery, money laundering and other crimes. Five face criminal charges and 24 have been placed under investigation by the Supreme Court.

As for Temer himself, last year his PMDB party launched a new economic plan which the Financial Times described as a “new liberal economic policy platform… that represents a radical break with the left-leaning program of Dilma Rousseff.”

The FT added it was “like a wishlist for markets and investors with proposals to liberalize industrial relations and reform pensions and government spending.”

An economist who helped draft the Bridge to the Future told Reuters in March that the PMDB are “considering former central bankers Henrique Meirelles and Arminio Fraga, both widely respected on Wall Street, to lead the future economic team as finance minister.”

What this is likely to result in is the further targeting of social programs introduced by the PT, including “Minha casa, minha vida” (My home, my life), which was launched in March 2009 and contributed to over 2.6 million homes being handed over to low income families.

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Turkey Expels Thousands of Policemen for Alleged Links With Coup

The Turkish authorities have expelled more than two thousand policemen for alleged links to the failed military coup of July 15th, according to a decree published on Wednesday in the official Turkish Gazette.

The government took the action in the field of state of emergency declared in the country after the coup.

In total, 2692 people lost their official status: 2360 police officers, 196 employees of the Telecommunications Authority and 136 Army officers, from sergeants to generals.

There are also 4897 officials expelled so far, including more than 3,000 military, as the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, said on Saturday.

Yildirim also said that a total of 75,000 officials or employees of public sector were suspended, awaiting a review of their case.

All of them are suspected of having links with the organization of the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, exiled in the United States since 1999, and accused by Ankara of instigating the coup.

Turkey requested the extradition of Gulen, who denies being involved in the military uprising and condemned the attempted coup.

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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: Conspiring against Venezuela?

Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, revealed that, next to her buddy Marco Rubio she was involved in vandal acts that took place there during 2014.

"What Maduro said is another attempt of distraction to draw the attention far from the crisis that country lives" said the congressman.

Ros-Lehtinen tried cut down the strength to the accusation of the leader who exposed her link to the funds supply for the native extreme right.

According to her, "Venezuelans" know that their domestic economic difficulties are not attached to an overseas elaborate scheme.

She also attacked president Obama for not supporting her campaigns regarding supposed violations that are carried out in that South American nation.

It’s upsetting she hadn’t added more names (of Chavistas members) to the list of offenders, so they are denied entrance to the United States", she remarked.

However, all in all the life of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen corroborates her public adhesion to mischief and her generous relationship with terrorists.

A few examples will corroborate that, to guarantee it.

The almost incredible show of her fervent defense of terrorist Orlando Bosch Avila when in the late 80’s of the last century Washington tried to expel them from the United States for his repeated terrorist actions.

On October 6, 1976, Bosch, next to Luis Posada Carriles, destroyed in mid flight a Cuban civil airplane with 73 people onboard.

On top of that, Mrs. Lehtinen has played the role without the tiniest modesty as "godmother" of other henchmen of politics against Havana, like Rodolfo Frómeta Caballero, head of the Comando F-4 gang.

Another very much alike, Eduardo Arocena Pérez, even when she has been part of the U.S. Congress.

Her service record also includes the complicity displayed in the kidnapping of the Cuban boy Elián González, a fact rejected by millions of Americans.

A separate file deserves one of those responsible for the coup d’état in Honduras, the dictator Roberto Micheletti, whom, when he had been isolated by almost the whole world, she visited him, even called him "president" and justified the coup.

Of course it must be included, when characterizing Ileana, the scene on Capitol Hill accusing without evidence Cubans "sent by Castro's régime" of having tortured in Vietnam 19 North American pilots.

Responsibility fell then on President William Clinton, who with a simple and not very spread press note, undo the lie.

Her permanent bond with those who finance and command the "dissidents" who are hired in Cuba it’s an unmistakably example of an empty and frustrated cause.

The current normalization of diplomatic ties between Havana and Washington is a blunt blow that still keeps them a bit dizzy.

With that tight and generous background, can anyone doubt Mrs. Ileana is part of the current plot against Venezuela?

Of her existence remain the thick files, since her childhood when she was called Lily, until today, capable of revealing very interesting matters.

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