by Stephen Lendman
October 25, 2016
Venezuela's oil-dependent economy suffers greatly from low crude oil
prices and US economic warfare - waged to destabilize the country,
create enormous hardships, mobilize majority opposition to President
Nicolas Maduro's leadership, and end nearly 18 years of
economic and social progress.
The collapse in the price of crude oil
was the result of a carefully designed speculative operation.
Neocons in Washington want control over Venezuela's vast oil
reserves, among the world's largest. With full US support and
encouragement, the right wing opposition which controls the National
Assembly want Maduros ousted - its latest tactic by recall
referendum as constitutionally permitted.
On October 18, Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled valid signatures of
20% of voters in each of the nation's 24 states must be collected to
proceed with a process against Maduro.
"(F)ailure…will render the call for
the presidential recall referendum as nullified," the High Court
said in its ruling.
On October 21, Venezuela's National
Electoral Council (CNE) suspended the referendum until further
notice, following Supreme Court allegations of fraud. Over 30% of
signatures collected had irregularities - including listing over
10,000 deceased persons.
A previous article explained how Venezuela's recall referendum
Article 72 of Venezuela's Constitution states,
"(a)ll magistrates and other offices
(including the president) filled by popular vote are subject to
"Once half (their) term of office…has elapsed, 20% of
(registered) voters (by petition may call for) a referendum to
revoke such official's mandate."
"When a number of voters equal to or greater than the number of
those who elected the official vote in favor of revocation
(provided the total is 20% or more of registered voters), the
official's mandate shall be deemed revoked…"
Signatures collected must be verified
for authenticity before proceeding further with the recall process.
If achieved, it'll be organized within
90 days. Removing Maduro requires support from more than the 50.6%
of voters supporting his 2013 election.
Timing is important. If held by January 10, 2017, a new election
will be called if Maduro loses. If things go against him after this
date, Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz will serve as
president until January 2019, when his term expires.
In response to CNE's suspending the recall process, the factions
controlling the National Assembly barely stopped short of urging
coup d'etat action to remove Maduro forcefully.
Last Sunday, they said they'll impeach him for "violating
democracy." The body has no legal standing after ignoring the
Supreme Court's October 18 ruling.
United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader
mocked them, saying parties violating the,
"rules of the game come
and talk about democracy… There will be no recall referendum in 2016
because of fraudulent signatures collected."
Violent demonstrations may follow, similar to what occurred in 2014
- perhaps another US coup attempt.
On October 24,
WaPo editors disgracefully
headlined "How to derail Venezuela's new dictatorship."
What followed was a disgraceful litany
of misinformation, exaggeration and Big Lies.
WaPo: Maduro "made clear (he
and his government are) prepared to shred what remained of the
country's constitutional order… (They) stripped the
opposition-controlled national assembly of its powers,
imprisoned several top leaders and tried to slow" the recall
Fact: Maduro and Venezuela's CNE observe the letter of
constitutional law. No opposition powers were "stripped." Their
imprisoned officials plotted to remove Maduro by coup d'etat. Collecting fraudulent signatures "slow(ed)"
the recall process, not administration officials.
WaPo: Opposition National Assembly
members "issued a declaration saying Mr. Maduro had staged a
coup. That is accurate - and it ought to provoke a consequential
reaction from the United States and Venezuela's Latin American
Fact: No Maduro "coup" occurred, nor is one in prospect. WaPo
calling for "consequential" action sounds ominously like urging
Washington to oust him forcefully.
WaPo: "The recall referendum the opposition was pursuing offered
a democratic way out of what has become one of the worst
political and humanitarian crises in Latin America's modern
Fact: US dirty tricks and economic manipulation leading to
disruptions in the distribution of food, bear much
responsibility for hard times in Venezuela.
Real problems exist.
Hunger isn't one of them. WaPo lied claiming "(t)he vast
majority of low-income families say they are having trouble
Venezuelans changed their dietary practices because of the
scarcity of commonly eaten foods, at times consuming less than
earlier. Profiteers hoarding and diverting foodstuffs for resale
are responsible, along with high inflation resulting economic
WaPo: "(T)he United States should be coordinating tough
Fact: Neocon WaPo editors want Maduro toppled and replaced. Do
they mean by coup d'etat by calling for "tough international