Sunday, March 3, 2019

Venezuela and Haiti, SNC-Lavalin, Climate Change & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos February 24 - March 3

This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of February 24 - March 3.

In addition to a general overview of news and opinion this week's installment begins with a section of articles and videos devoted to events in Venezuela and Haiti.

1) The U.S.-Venezuela Aid Convoy Story Is Clearly Bogus, but No One Wants to Say It

Adam H. Johnson, TruthDig

No one actually thinks the same Donald Trump who kicked off his run for the White House by calling Mexicans rapists, and subsequently, as president, left Puerto Rico for dead after Hurricane Maria, cares at all about the Venezuelan poor. No one actually thinks the murderers row of Cold Warriors—led by two of the most extreme right-wingers in American politics, Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams and national security adviser John Bolton—cares at all about the starving people in Venezuela or their plight. No one reading this, be they right, left, center, libertarian or communist, actually buys the prevailing narrative that the U.S. is sending “aid” to Venezuela as a humanitarian gesture.

2) More Sanctions to Be Imposed on Venezuela: Pompeo


"There'll be a meeting of the Lima Group on Monday, where further action will be contemplated. There are more sanctions to be had," Pompeo said in the interview with CNN.

3) A Call to Halt an Illegal Invasion of Venezuela

Kevin Tillman, Common Dreams

It seems like every time I pick up a newspaper or go online, our country is starting another war. As a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I am consumed by the situation in Venezuela, which is becoming more and more concerning.

No one could put it better than comrade Sankara - Via Socialist Party of Zambia 

4) Venezuela faces US-led intervention as Haiti struggles to break free

John Clarke, Counterfire 

To understand the imperialist intervention from the US and its allies, look to Haiti and the region's history, argues John Clarke.

5) Chile Senators Call Piñera's Trip to Colombia for Venezuela Aid 'Foolish'


Opposition party legislators in Chile are calling President Sebastian Piñera ‘foolish’ for going to Colombia to support the entry of U.S. “humanitarian aid” that didn’t make it into Venezuela last Saturday.  

6) Chile’s Communist Party Rejects Intervention in Venezuela


The Communist Party of Chile (PC) Monday reiterated its opposition to interference in the internal affairs of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela by interventionists countries like the United States. It also spoke for a solution based on political dialogue.

7) WaPo Quietly Deletes Branson's Venezuela Concert From Article After 'Fake' Attendance Figures Exposed

Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge 

The Washington Post has stealth-edited all mention of Richard Branson's Venezuela aid concert in Cucuta, Colombia, after the paper originally claimed that the event "drew a crowd of more than 200,000 people Friday."

8) Coalition collapse: Bolsonaro allies reject Venezuelan “adventurism”

Brian Mier, Brasil Wire

Generals Santa Cruz and Augusto Heleno warn US is trying to use Brazil as bait to trigger conflict in Venezuela and serve as a buffer during a military intervention.

9) Brazil will not allow U.S. use its territory to invade Venezuela: vice president


Brazil’s vice president, retired general Hamilton Mourão, said on Monday that under no circumstances would his country allow the United States to intervene militarily in Venezuela from Brazilian territory.

10) Pence threatens war in Venezuela at Colombia summit: “There is no turning back”

Eric London, Counter Currents 

US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a bellicose speech before representatives of 14 Latin American countries at a meeting of the Lima Group in Bogotá, Colombia, yesterday. The remarks were timed to coincide with the US-orchestrated provocations at the Venezuelan border over the weekend, resulting in clashes that left several people dead.

11) Expansionist policies of ‘imperialists’ slammed, democratic Venezuelan govt supported


Expressing solidarity with the Venezuelan government facing a military invasion threat from the United States (US), progressive and nationalist parties, social and women’s rights organisations and research bodies under the umbrella of the Venezuela Solidarity Committee Pakistan came together at Pakistan Medical Association House here on Tuesday at a seminar titled ‘Same story, same lesson: from Pakistan to Venezuela’ held to raise awareness of the “expansionist policies of imperialists such as the US” which, they said, had been supporting every dictator from Pakistan to Venezuela.

12) Labor, anti-war movements unite to protest U.S. aggression against Venezuela

 Wyatt Miller, Fight Back News

The streets were full of working-class solidarity on Saturday, February 23, when well over 100 people, including trade unionists, Latin America solidarity groups and anti-war activists gathered under the banner “U.S. hands off Venezuela!”

13) Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó Meets Brazil’s Bolsonaro

Democracy Now

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has arrived in Brasília for talks with Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Last month, Bolsonaro joined President Trump and many Latin American heads of state in recognizing Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim leader. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has called Bolsonaro “a modern-day Hitler” and has accused him of plotting a military intervention in Venezuela. Juan Guaidó’s trip to Brazil came as Venezuela’s foreign minister told a U.N. body Wednesday the United States is plotting to overthrow Venezuela’s government. Speaking at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Jorge Arreaza accused the Trump administration of “weaponizing” humanitarian aid, even as the U.S. has frozen tens of billions of dollars’ worth of Venezuelan assets. Arreaza also said President Donald Trump should negotiate directly with President Maduro.

14) Glory to the brave people of Venezuela!

Raúl Antonio Capote, Granma 

Nicolás Maduro, before a massive mobilization in Caracas, asked the coup plotters: “What are you going to do now? Are you going to continue playing at intervention?”

15) International Peoples’ Assembly gives clarion call for solidarity with Venezuela

People's Dispatch

The assembly released a final statement reaffirming their solidarity with Venezuela and denouncing the imperialist attacks on its sovereignty and right to self-determination.

16) The US Tried to Isolate Venezuela. It has Only Isolated Itself

Alan MacLeod – Venezuelanalysis

Alan MacLeod examines how Trump team's increasingly hare-brained schemes at trying to overthrow the government are backfiring.

17) Canada’s Hypocritical Double-Standard on Haiti and Venezuela

The Real News 

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is supporting Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, who has lost all legitimacy, if he ever had any, and at the same time it is in the forefront in opposing Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, who had a more legitimate election and has more supporters, says Yves Engler.

"Obviously, the CIA, every time they targeted a country for regime change, they tell you the same things. They tell you the same things in Iraq, they tell you the same things that they did in Chile in 1973. They all say, ‘They’ve lost support, they’re dictators. We’re just helping people.’ We know. C’mon. Everybody knows that’s not true. Right now, under the guise of humanitarian aid, they’re doing the same thing the US did in Guatemala in the ’80s, which was sneak guns to right-wing forces in Central America through what they call ‘humanitarian aid.’" - Boots Riley 

18) Spain’s Troubled Spring

Simon Vazquez, Jacobin 

Unable to pass its budget, Spain’s Socialist government is calling snap elections. But reactionary forces are on the rise in the country.

19) Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine

Lev Golinkin, The Nation

Five years ago, Ukraine’s Maidan uprising ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, to the cheers and support of the West. Politicians and analysts in the United States and Europe not only celebrated the uprising as a triumph of democracy, but denied reports of Maidan’s ultranationalism, smearing those who warned about the dark side of the uprising as Moscow puppets and useful idiots. Freedom was on the march in Ukraine.

20) Oscars 2019: ‘Green Book’ is the worst best picture winner since ‘Crash’

Justin Chang, LA Times

Like that 2005 movie, Peter Farrelly’s interracial buddy dramedy is insultingly glib and hucksterish, a self-satisfied crock masquerading as an olive branch. It reduces the long, barbaric and ongoing history of American racism to a problem, a formula, a dramatic equation that can be balanced and solved. “Green Book” is an embarrassment; the film industry’s unquestioning embrace of it is another.

21) Forget the Oscars, Watch the Documentary on the Real Green Book

Rich Juzwiak, The Muse

Once again, the Oscars have awarded a movie about race told from the perspective of a white protagonist, directed and written by white guys. But you don’t have to settle for Green Book. Tonight the Smithsonian Channel will air a documentary about the actual Green Book, which guided black motorists to safe businesses and lodging all over the country in annual installments from 1936 to 1966. The Green Book: Guide to Freedom was directed by Yoruba Richen (who also directed the 2013 marriage-equality documentary The New Black), who is a black woman, and the vast difference between Hollywood’s Green Book and her film is not lost on her. “We haven’t been in control of our own narrative so that’s what you’re going to get—you’re going to get something like the Green Book fiction film,” she told Jezebel during a phone interview last week.

22) VIDEO: Iceland’s First “Hunger Walk” Highlights Workers’ Rights

Andie Fontaine, The Reykjavik Grapevine 

Between 300 and 400 people attended a protest demonstration in front of Parliament last Saturday, in defense of Iceland’s lowest paid workers.

23) Honduran Journalists Reject State Censorship, Violence


The situation takes place at a critical time for media after journalists registered some 59 assaults last year.

24) 'We are now free': Yazidis fleeing Isis start over in female-only commune

Bethan McKernan, The Guardian 

Berivan runs over to join in the dancing, her traditional gold dress catching the winter sunlight. The 15-year-old Yazidi clasps hands with her best friend and stands among the line of women stamping their feet to a Kurdish pop song.

25) Trudeau and SNC-Lavalin: Of Hosts and Parasites

 Harry Glasbeek, The Socialist Project Bullet 

Every now and again the sophisticated web of myths and fantasies that hides the brutality and ugliness of capitalism is ripped away by sleazy and rapacious actors.

26) Wake Up, American Jews: You’ve Enabled Israel’s Racism For Years.

Joshua Leifer, Forward 

Much like Donald Trump’s election, the merger between the right-wing settler Jewish Home party and the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit — encouraged and facilitated by Prime Minister Netanyahu — marks less a break with the status quo than its unmasking.

27) 86% Votes For New Constitution in Cuba


86.86 percent of voters ratified the new Cuban constitution while only 7.6 percent voted no during the referendum.


Dave McKee, People's Voice

One month after the Ontario Tories’ election victory, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent personalized letters to each member of Doug Ford’s new cabinet, along with a copy of their 90-page Blueprint for Making Ontario Open for Business.

29) For international working class solidarity – unions out of the NED

Communist Party of Canada

US imperialism has moved aggressively to disrupt and reverse the progressive movements and governments that have emerged and developed throughout Latin America over the past two decades. It has at its disposal a wide range of weapons, from direct intervention to blockades to economic sabotage and beyond.

30) It is absolutely time to panic about climate change

Sean Illing, Vox

“It is, I promise, worse than you think.”

31) Their Internationalism and Ours

 Paul O’Connell, The Socialist Project Bullet

An oft heard refrain in sections of the European left holds that while the EU is flawed, it is important to remain in and reform it, to advance the cause of internationalism. This argument is usually run alongside derisory dismissals of some caricatured notion of ‘socialism in one country’, and uncritical assertions about the power of globalized capital.

32) Trump’s new rule to defund family planning hits the most vulnerable

Moira Donegan, The Guardian 

The regulations, designed to remove Planned Parenthood funding, would make it impossible for low-income patients to receive reproductive health services.

33) Workers making clothes for Australian brands can’t afford to eat, Oxfam reports

Lisa Martin, The Guardian 

Women in Bangladesh and Vietnam making clothes for the $23bn Australian fashion industry are going hungry because of wages as low as 51 cents an hour, an Oxfam report has found.

34) 'Girl power' charity T-shirts made at exploitative Bangladeshi factory

Simon Murphy, The Guardian 

Charity “girl power” T-shirts sold in the UK are made at a Bangladeshi factory where more than 100 impoverished workers claim to have been sacked after striking in protest at low wages, it can be revealed.

35) Windsor mom says she was misconstrued by Lisa MacLeod, doesn't accept apology

Jonathan Pinto · CBC News

A Windsor mother is upset after Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod used a quote to imply she supported the government's controversial changes to childhood autism therapy funding.

36) Am I the only one who’s terrified about the warm weather?

Jonn Elledge, The Guardian 

They were everywhere in London on the weekend. The people in short sleeves or sandals. The ones with sunglasses ostentatiously hanging from the front of their shirts or balanced on top of their heads. The beer gardens and riverside pubs of the capital were heaving; corner shops ran out of ice-cream. Outside it was 17C (62F).

37) Humans are “boiling frogs,” slowly getting used to climate-change temperatures

Olivia Goldhill, Quartz

In the unscientific but compelling fable, a frog that’s dropped in a pot of boiling water will immediately hop out, but one who’s left in a pot of slowly warming water will stay there, allowing itself to be cooked. (Several myth-busting experiments have shown that a live frog will actually try to escape water as it gets warm, whereas a frog thrown in boiling water will be too hot to escape.) The allegory applies perfectly to humans’ reaction to climate change, according to a study published Feb. 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

38) As many as 5 socialists could join City Council after election successes Tuesday

Ryan Hill, Chicago Sun-Times 

If their success on Tuesday carries over to the April runoff election, as many as five members of the Democratic Socialists of America could be on the Chicago City Council — the most in more than a century.

39) Noted Disability Rights Activist Dies After Being Denied Medication

Democracy Now

And a prominent disability rights activist and attorney died this past Sunday after being refused an essential medication by her insurance company. Carrie Ann Lucas, who had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, helped pass legislation in Colorado to protect parents with disabilities from child welfare discrimination. In 2017, Lucas was arrested with several others after protesting Medicaid budget cuts with a 58-hour sit-in at Senator Cory Gardner’s office. According to a message on Lucas’s Facebook page, United Healthcare denied her coverage for an antibiotic last year, triggering a host of medical complications which led to her death. Carrie Ann Lucas was 47 years old and is survived by her four adopted children, who are also all living with disabilities.

40) There’s nothing woke about the sex trade

Julie Bindel, Unherd 

It is no secret that the sex trade is riven with misogyny. The multibillion-dollar trade is built on the pain and oppression of women and girls. Yet many on the liberal Left support this abusive industry. Even the fact that black, brown and indigenous women and girls are first in line to be bought and sold into prostitution appears not to disturb these apologists. How come? On any other BME related issue they would be screaming from the roof tops, but perhaps the male defence of prostitution overrides even the racism that helps prop it up?

41) Israel Releases Palestinian Lawmaker Held for Nearly Two Years Without Trial

Jack Khoury and Amira Hass, Haaretz 

Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar was released Thursday after being held by Israel for 20 months in administrative detention. Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was arrested for her activity in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and jailed without charges.

42) When journalists rely on diplomats Ottawa ‘spins’ the news

Yves Engler

Canadian diplomats abroad seek to shape coverage of their work. And the more nefarious their actions the harder they toil to “spin” what they’re doing as something positive.

43) The War on AMLO

Kurt Hackbarth and Colin Mooers, Socialist Project Bullet 

Ten weeks into the administration of progressive president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the Mexican right has made it clear how it plans to oppose him: not as an adversary to be defeated, but as an enemy to be destroyed. And in a war of this kind, as the Spanish saying goes, Todo vale. Anything goes.

44) Girl, 11, gives birth to child of rapist after Argentina says no to abortion

Uki Goni, The Guardian 

An 11-year old girl who became pregnant after being raped was forced to give birth after Argentine authorities refused to allow her the abortion to which she was entitled.

45) Ontario PCs Slash Funding Boost For Rape Crisis Centres

Emma Paling, Huff Post 

The Ontario government will give rape crisis centres a one-time funding bump of 6.7 per cent instead of the permanent 33-per-cent increase promised by the previous government.

46) A failed policy dusted off

Elson Concepción Pérez, Granma 

Twenty-three years have passed since the Helms-Burton Act was approved. Its authors are barely remembered, but Cuba is still here, free and sovereign, and more committed than ever to our social project.

47) Berlin Likely to Hold Referendum on Re-Nationalizing 200,000 Apartments

Rachel Kaufman, Next City 

The proposed law would convert homes owned by landlords with more than 3,000 homes in their portfolio into public housing. It would cover 200,000 units, the Independent said.

48) Nationalize General Motors in Canada!

Communist Party of Canada 

The Communist Party of Canada calls on the federal government to nationalize the General Motors operations in Canada under democratic control, as the only way to save the jobs of the 2,700 workers in Oshawa and the many jobs in parts plants and in the surrounding communities dependent on the income from workers in the factory.

49) Bolivia Inaugurates Free Universal Health Care System


President Evo Morales launched Friday Bolivia’s new and free Unified Health System (SUS), which seeks to expand health coverage to the population who lacked any form of insurance.

50) Curb corporate power! Prosecute SNC Lavalin & repeal DPAs

Communist Party of Canada 

The terrible truth in the SNC Lavalin scandal is that both Liberal and Tory governments have bent to the will of the biggest corporations since Canadian capitalists first created these parties to look after their corporate class interests more than a century ago.  They’ve tried hard to hide that fact from the public – but every now and then the truth is exposed.Such is the case with SNC Lavalin and the Deferred Prosecution Agreements that came into effect September 10th, 2018, just days ahead of the criminal prosecution of SNC Lavalin for corruption and bribery by federal prosecutors.

51) 'And then he was raping me': Victim goes public about shocking attack to reveal justice system flaws

Ioanna Roumeliotis · CBC News

As the victim of a sexual assault and a minor at the time, her identity could have remained secret. Instead, Fazio took the extraordinary step of going to court to ask that the publication ban on her identity be lifted.

See also: Venezuela Resists, Unrest in Haiti, Canadian 'Yellow Vest' Fiasco & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos February 17 - 24

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