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There’s a sucker born every minute…

1 February 2019

… and the US media seems to be full of them, if they believe what’s being sold.


Ramon Lobo, in El País (1 February 2019)

If the alternative to Nicolás Maduro, who has given ample evidence of his ineptitude, is John Bolton, we can only say, “poor Venezuelans!” Bolton was one of the architects of the lies of mass destruction on which the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based. In politics, lying is corruption; it should permanently disable the liar, over and above any criminal sanction.

Iraq was an excellent business for US companies and oil companies, such as Halliburton, which Bolton seems to continue to represent. It was also a terrible business for the more than 400,000 Iraqis killed in the wars that followed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. We could add the 500,000 dead of Syria, a conflict derived from the Iraqi chaos, and the sufferings of millions of refugees; not to mention the continued existence of ISIS and the outbreak of global xenophobia. Invading Iraq might be good for private enterprise, but it has not been for half the citizens in the world.

Bolton is the brains behind the two Venezuelan presidents crisis, or as they like to call it, the “subtle threat of intervention” (the 5,000 soldiers for Colombia scribbled on a legal pad). He also wants to bomb Iran, a more complex and dangerous target. In that case, he is recycling tricks from 2003, not hard in a world without memory.  This week he had the nerve to speak on a program of Fox News about Venezuelan oil, how good it would be for US companies.

Vice President Mike Pence is Bolton’s ultra-religious minion, setting the agenda and making pronouncements, while we’re distracted by Donald Trump’s tweets.

Their choice to “return democracy to Venezuela” is Elliott Abrams, an interventionist expert in dirty wars, convicted in 1991 for lying to Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal. He was one of the creators of the Nicaraguan contras, and a war that cost thousands of lives. His curriculum includes El Salvador. He described as “communist propaganda” the December 1981 El Mozote massacre, in which the Atlacatl battalion, trained and armed by the United Staates, killed nearly 500 Salvadorans, including children and women. He was also the architect of the the most despicable Central American war. in Guatemala, with its more than45,000 disappeared.

Like Bolton, Abrams has no problems with managing his past. No regrets or doubts. Indecency should be incompatible with a democracy. It is true that in every state there are sewers, and one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. But it is never presumed or a second chance offered to the amoral. For them, dissimulation is essential, a certain theater of decency, so that we can continue thinking that we are the good guys in the story.

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