Mark Weisbrot

Venezuela: This is a revolt of the rich, not a 'terror campaign'

Images forge reality, granting a power to television and video and even still photographs that can burrow deep into people’s consciousness without them even knowing it.

I thought that I, too, was immune to the repetitious portrayals of Venezuela as a failed state in the throes of a popular rebellion. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in Caracas this month: how little of daily life appeared to be affected by the right-wing protests, the normality that prevailed in the vast majority of the city.

I, too, had been taken in by media imagery.

Venezuela: US backs bid to overthrow elected gov't

When is it considered legitimate to try to overthrow a democratically-elected government? In Washington, the answer has always been simple: when the US government says it is.

Not surprisingly, that is not the way Latin American governments generally see it.

Honduras: Fraudulent elections rejected

Election results are often contested, which is one reason why governments sometimes invite official observer missions from inter-governmental bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS) or European Union (EU).

But there are times and places when these outside groups do not provide much independent observation.

On November 24, Hondurans went to the polls to choose a new president, congress, and mayors. There were a lot of concerns about whether a free and fair election was possible in the climate of intimidation and violence that prevailed in the country.

Sorry haters, but Venezuela is not Greece

For more than a decade, people opposed to Venezuela's left-wing government have argued that its economy would implode. Like communists in the 1930s rooting for the final crisis of capitalism, they saw economic collapse just around the corner.

How frustrating it has been for them to witness only two recessions: one directly caused by the opposition's oil strike (December 2002-May 2003) and one brought on by the world recession (2009 and the first half of 2010).

Venezuela: US shows contempt for democracy

Most of the news on Venezuela in the week since the April 14 presidential election focused on the efforts of losing candidate Henrique Capriles to challenge the results. But another campaign, based in Washington, was quite revealing ― and the two were most definitely related.

Without Washington's strong support ― the first time it had refused to recognise a Venezuelan election result ― it is unlikely that Capriles would have joined the hardcore elements of his camp in pretending the election was stolen.

Environmentalists have interest in who owns the oil

Environmentalists seem to realise that they have some stake in a fight such as the Ecuador-Chevron lawsuit.

That case, which Chevron has recently moved to an international arbitration panel to try to avoid a multibillion-dollar penalty handed down by Ecuadorian courts, is about whether a multinational oil corporation will have to pay damages for pollution, for which it is responsible. Most environmentalists figure that would be a good thing.

Haiti: WikiLeaks shows why UN occupation should end

United States diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks make it clearer than ever that foreign troops occupying Haiti for more than seven years, under the banner of the United Nations, have no legitimate reason to be there.

They show that this a US occupation, as much as in Iraq or Afghanistan, and it is part of a decades-long US strategy to deny Haitians the right to democracy and self-determination.

Honduras: Washington continues war on democracy

At dawn one year ago, on June 28, soldiers invaded the home of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica.

It was a frightening throwback to the days when military men, backed by a local oligarchy and often the United States, could overturn the results of democratic elections.

It would also turn out to be a pivotal moment for relations between the US and Latin America. A new generation of left-of-centre governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela were all hoping for a new relationship with Washington.

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