Stop me if you've heard this before

A leftist Latin American government, flawed, but democratically-elected, is being undermined by shameless, right-wing crooks and murderers, who are fully funded by the U.S. taxpayer.
When has that ever happened, amirite?

The political party of Juan Guaido — Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) — was never all that popular to begin with. The sixth largest political party in Venezuela, Popular Will is heavily financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Now, a recently exposed embezzlement scandal in Colombia risks to further alienate the party from the Venezuelan people.

What was supposed to be Guaido’s watershed moment has instead turned out to be a public-relations failure far worse than his quickly quelled attempted military coup, which MintPress News reported caused even the New York Times to describe Guaido as “deflated.”

What happened in Colombia appears to be so damning that not only is the Colombian intelligence service leaking documents exposing wrongdoing by Popular Will representatives appointed by Guaido, but the Organization of American States (OAS) — which is typically just as pro-opposition as the Colombian government — has called for an investigation.

Shocking! A guy who openly invited a military invasion of his country by a foreign, imperialist power, would be ethically challenged? Unheard of!

There’s barely a peep about the scandal in the Western press. A Google News search for “Juan Guaido scandal” and “Popular Will scandal” turned up nothing of relevance at the time of this article’s writing. But on Latin America social media, everyone is buzzing about it. American journalist Dan Cohen appears to be the first to highlight the scandal to an English-speaking audience.

It started with a request from Juan Guaido to billionaire investor and regime-change enthusiast Richard Branson.
The stated purpose of the concert was to help raise funds for humanitarian aid and spotlight the economic crisis. At least that’s how it was billed to Americans. To Venezuela’s upper class, it was touted as the “trendiest concert of the decade.”
...
The inflated soldier count meant more funds for the organizers, who were charged with putting them up in hotel rooms. Guaido’s “army was small but at this point it had left a very bad impression in Cucuta. Prostitutes, alcohol, and violence. They demanded and demanded,” the report said.

They also left a bad taste in the mouth of the authorities. The Colombian government was supposed to pay for some of the hotels, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was to cover the costs of others, while Guaido’s people were only going to pony up the cash for two of the seven hotels.

But Popular Will never paid, leaving one hotel with a debt of $20,000. When the situation became completely untenable, the hotel kicked 65 soldiers and their families to the curb. One soldier anonymously told the outlet that the party was not taking care of their financial needs as promised.

Guaido’s ambassador to Colombia took money out of his own pocket to try to resolve the dispute, but the check bounced.

So let me get this straight.
To "address the humanitarian crisis" in Venezuela, USAID, the Colombian government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees paid for hookers and alcohol for a concert for mercenaries.
And still managed to stiff the pimps.

Did I get that right?

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The Aspie Corner's picture

along with their CIA co-conspirators by the Maduro government. They deserve no less.

Meanwhile, the FARC rebels are reforming in Colombia.

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11 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

Alligator Ed's picture

gj, let me know if the following example count as echo chamber stories. How about Weapons of Mass Delusionment? Does that county? Or maybe this one: Ghadafi is trampling on the rights of his citizens? Hey, isn't that a good one? What about one from the vault of golden oldies: Mossadegh is a tyrant who is selfishly preventing us from taking Iran's oil? Do I get credit for hearing that one before?

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20 users have voted.

So one of the UK financial institutions is withholding something like a billion in gold from the VZ government. Guaido is wanting all of these with held monies and gold. I wonder if Guaido is being exposed because the regime changers want to replace him with another hopefully better figure head. Also, I wonder if Guaido realizes that one of the options of the regime changers is to make him into a martyr.

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18 users have voted.

first time in U.S. news

On Tuesday, Mr. Guaidó’s aides in Bogotá, scrambling to contain political fallout that could curtail foreign aid in the future, requested that Colombian prosecutors investigate how the two activists allegedly embezzled as much as $60,000. The money, from private donations, had been allotted to pay some of the costs of hotel rooms, meals and transportation incurred by Venezuelan military deserters, whom Mr. Guaidó had heralded as heroes after they broke from Mr. Maduro and crossed the border to Colombia.

The two accused activists, Rossana Barrera and Kevin Rojas, had been appointed to manage some $100,000. They have not been charged and couldn’t be reached for comment.
...
The revelations, made public earlier by the PanAm Post, an anti-Maduro news site, come as Mr. Guaidó’s movement has lost momentum against Mr. Maduro after a five-month pressure campaign of street demonstrations and international sanctions that have failed to unseat the authoritarian leader.

A recent poll by Venezuelan pollster DatinCorp found that about 36% of respondents recognized the young opposition leader as Venezuela’s legitimate president, down from 49% in February. Mr. Maduro was seen as president by 41%, up from 34% of respondents, though Venezuelans blame him for the economic mismanagement that has caused hyperinflation, food shortages and the exodus of millions of migrants.

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14 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Branson's concert was in February around the time of the bridge incident when the US was trying to force Maduro to open the border for Bolton's freedom weapons 'humanitarian' convoy.

(CNN)Billionaire businessman Richard Branson says he hopes his Live Aid-inspired concert to raise funds for Venezuelans will persuade members of the country's military to defy President Nicolas Maduro and allow humanitarian aid to cross the border.

Branson, who will host "Venezuela Aid Live" on Friday in the Colombian border town of Cucuta, said he is aiming to raise about $100 million to buy food and medicine, essential supplies for the country, which is gripped by a political and humanitarian crisis.

According to the website press release (PDF) they raised a total of only $2.5 mil (2.5% of the goal) before ending the campaign on April 23. Be interesting to know where that money went.

Then again, the site also claims they had 300,000 people at the concert, when there was probably no more than 20,000. So who knows how accurate any of their numbers really are.

One thing's for sure though, in the immortal words of Dr. Evil,


"There's nothing more pathetic than an aging hipster."

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15 users have voted.

Peace Sells

illustrating how hookers and drunks add benefit to humanity. Even tons of rotted food, for example, makes great soil eventually.

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10 users have voted.

enlightening to read about US foreign policy in action. Now I feel better about US domestic policy, because now I know it's not that the gov. hates me. It's not personal, it's just business.

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@jim p
basic law constitutional text that protect me against the accusation that those authoritarian Germans want to shut down everyone to say what they just happen to want to say no matter what.

This is a translation via google's translator:

German:
In Artikel 18 heißt es wörtlich: "Wer die Freiheit der Meinungsäußerung, insbesondere die Pressefreiheit (Artikel 5 Abs. 1), die Lehrfreiheit (Artikel 5 Abs. 3), die Versammlungsfreiheit (Artikel 8), die Vereinigungsfreiheit (Artikel 9), das Brief-, Post- und Fernmeldegeheimnis (Artikel 10), das Eigentum (Artikel 14) oder das Asylrecht (Artikel 16a) zum Kampfe gegen die freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung missbraucht, verwirkt diese Grundrechte. Die Verwirkung und ihr Ausmaß werden durch das Bundesverfassungsgericht ausgesprochen."
English:
Article 18 states literally: "Who Freedom of expression, in particular press freedom (Article 5 (1)), freedom to teach (Article 5 (3)), freedom of assembly (Article 8), freedom of association (Article 9), Correspondence, postal and telecommunications secrecy (Article 10), which abuses property (Article 14) or the right of asylum (Article 16a) to fight against the liberal democratic basic order, forfeits these fundamental rights.The forfeiture and its extent are pronounced by the Federal Constitutional Court.

ok, what do you think, is that fair or not?

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@mimi if you try to intimidate/prevent freedom of expression for the press, teachers, like minded people who gather together, being able to talk to anyone you please, freedom to communicate by mail without censorship, committing vandalism or intimidation of asylum seekers you will then lose those rights, listed above, for yourself?

Am I reading this right?

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4 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@Snode
but I understand the situation here in Germany to be, that the discussion about what constitutes an oppression of freedom of speech and all the other items listed above, is a matter of those discussions being in the open or not.

On the one hand it is forbidden to incite hate speech, especially if you use in your attempts to incite hate references to Nazi symbols and neo-nazi xenophobic expressions and racial vulgarities.

Apparently there are many more hate speech groups in the social media than the average citizen knows about. So, oppressing those groups' speech puts them into the underground, which would be the opposite of what one wants, namely to know about those dangerous groups.

It always has been a problem and recently it is back in public conscience, as we have neo-nazi extremist hidden among police and military, who are threatening public officials with killing them or their children. One side says one should engage with those extremists and continue to talk to them in the open, others say they are so dangerous that a clear line must be drawn, what the state governments allows and what not, to minimize copy-cat engagements. Let them talk unrestricted opens up more lunatics to be seduced by the hate and fear they create.

In the end the discussion always ends at the point when everybody realizes that one can not change a dangerous xenophobe from being just that. One can oppress them, but not stopping them from lying about their true feelings. You just push them into the underground or dark social media messy sites.

The issue has become more urgent, as with the technologies today you can get entangled in extremist groups from records that have been kept secret by the secret service from an extremist's or racist's past for decades just unknowingly. May be that guy or gal had been a aquaintance of yours twenty years ago and before you know it, people want to know how come that you have known them.

So, at the moment politicians try to define clearly, what is needed to reveal light upon those extremists without taking away a citizens right to free speech, freedom to communicate by mail without censorship etc. I doubt that they will make any progress in that.

It has been a discussion since decades and until reunification or the eighties at least, the more libertarian US approach vs. the more authoritarian approach with regards to freedom of speech' limitation in Germany, was a subject I at least was aware of since the eighties.

So, no, if I don't salute you with 'Heil, Sieg Heil' etc and raise my rigt arm, I don't lose anything. That doesn't mean that I know in how far I am tracked, being surveilled or how long my utterings on social media, (including C99p), have been recorded. I can not know, who could use what I have said during the last ten years by any moron monster among the political powers that be in any country.

For exmaple I was amazed to learn that the German Postal Service doesn't allow you to mail an USB stick or external hard drive via a letter or package to the US. I have no idea if the same is also true for the other way around. Would USPS mail a USB stick in a little package to Germany?

To conclude, you don't know how you are tracked, what is hidden and what is intentionally published in print media or posted online. Trust is broken and I consider it a mess and dangerous. I think those who are aware of it, are all more scared today than they were in the late sixties or early seventies.

I hope it answers your question. If not, I am just a blonde old housewife and you have to live with that. Joking. Ducking. Snarking. And apologies for my spaghetti English. I wished I could express myself with less words.

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7 users have voted.

@mimi I am always interested in how other countries "think" about problems. In the US I get the feeling the government tolerates all kind of speech, because with all the spying, list making and surveillance the can always pick up the suspects any time they want.

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2 users have voted.

@Snode

one thing, the SCOTUS has carved out exceptions to First Amendment protections, like causing imminent danger. Sounds justifiable, until you realize how subjective that standard can be when applied by a cop or even the D of J. And then, there's Assange, a private person who choose to be the owner of a publishing operation that engages primarily in political speech, supposedly the kind of speech to which our first amendment accords the very highest level of protection.

We did not seek to enjoin the company, wikileaks, as we did after the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers. We did not seek to fine the company, as we did when we learned an auto manufacturer had knowingly chosen to risk lives rather than make an inexpensive modification--and remained silent as people were dying as a result of that decision. No, we made the life of the owner of the company a living hell; and we ain't done yet.

And, if we know that our government has access to every single communication we make so that it can prosecute us if it chooses, doesn't that result in a "chilling effect" on at least some speech by some people?

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4 users have voted.

as those in the Western Hemisphere, that has nothing at all in its history that reeks to high heaven?

Can anyone name a nation whose relatively recent/current behavior, as a domestic government and as a nation among the nations of the world, is above reproach?

Thanks in advance.

Signed, Longing to Know.

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mimi's picture

@HenryAWallace
No, no, no, no ... and I am serious now for a change. Sigh.
I need a song now.

Good Night from Germany, beyond my bedtime now. And I haven't even read the EB. Shame. That too is a no no...

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3 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@HenryAWallace

Can anyone name a nation, even one as young (as formal nations)

as those in the Western Hemisphere, that has nothing at all in its history that reeks to high heaven?

Can anyone name a nation whose relatively recent/current behavior, as a domestic government and as a nation among the nations of the world, is above reproach?

Thanks in advance.

Signed, Longing to Know.

Dear Longing to Know,

The answer to your question is a most emphatic "No!"

No one can mention any such nation because there is no such nation.

"All Power Corrupts Absolutely."
Gravity.
Electro-Magnetism.
Taxation.
Death.

All of these things have something very important in common.

Wink

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3 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
But you can be absolutely corrupt without possessing absolute power.

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1 user has voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

So let me get this straight.
To "address the humanitarian crisis" in Venezuela, USAID, the Colombian government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees paid for hookers and alcohol for a concert for mercenaries.
And still managed to stiff the pimps.

Did I get that right?

Yes.

There is no Goddess but Eris.

Wink

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4 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg