Hands off Venezuela Feb. 8, 2019
The editorial “Canada has a better plan for Venezuela” asserts that we know better what is good for the Venezuela than the Venezuelans. It states Canada is committed to effect regime change by removing President Maduro. That Maduro has impoverished his country, destroyed democracy and used deadly force against peaceful opponents. It’s a lie.
Prior to Hugo Chavez, and the Bolivarian revolution, the profits from Venezuelan oil lined the pockets of the rich while the majority were in degrees of poverty. Venezuela was run by a wealthy ruling class. A coup today would be a return to the old order.
The Bolivarian revolution aided the poor, delivered healthcare, education, provided housing and reduced poverty. It is not about helping, not brutalizing the people.
Even though President Maduro’s election was judged free and fair by 150, international election observers, including Canadians. Our government repeatedly states it was illegitimate and recognizes the unelected Juan Guaido as president. Even worse is our attemp to have the Venezuelan military turn against their government risking civil war.
Replacing Maduro is all about the U.S. gaining control of Venezuela’s massive mineral and oil resources. John Bolton, Trump’s security advisor, made this perfectly clear in stating “it will profit America to have our oil companies accessing Venezuelan oil. We need this to come out the right way”. For this to happen, the U.S. has waged economic war inside and outside Venezuela with crushing sanctions, confiscated assets and fueling inflation.
These actions hurt the Venezuelan people and make it extremely difficult for the government to effectively deal with the financial crisis initially brought about by dropping oil prices.
The U.S. has a long history of overthrowing democratically elected governments in South America. Our siding with Donald Trump’s foreign policy aim to overthrow the Venezuelan government is extremely regrettable.
Iraq’s Non-Existant Weapons of Mass Destruction
I have written a good number of Letters to the Editor. Perhaps, the one that sticks with me the most is one written prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush.
Prophetically it reads,
George W. Bush, in his state of the union address, has all but declared a pre-emptive war on Iraq, with or without the support of the United Nations and without support in the court of world opinion.
In this war mongering speech, Bush declared Iraq is a threat to America and indeed the world, using this as justification for threatening a military assault on the people of Iraq, an assault that could ultimately result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and incalculable consequences to regional stability.
It is simply unreal for knowledgeable, informed people to think of Iraq as a military threat to the United States. Saddam’s Iraq, with the material assistance of the U.S., could not defeat a weakened Iran in the early 1980’s.
Those were the days when the hawkish Rumsfeld was running off to Baghdad to offer moral and material support to Saddam Hussein.
It has become increasingly apparent, after months of U.N. inspections finding nothing, that Iraq does not possess weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, the idea that Iraq is linked to al-Quaida is equally unproven and even more bizarre.
Saddam’s Iraq is a secular state and, as such, was vilified by the fundamentalist bin Laden. Bush’s hell-and-brimstone speech embodying expressions of his own right-wing religious fundamentalism may even be doing service to the bin Ladens of the world by driving wedges between the Muslim and Christian faiths.
Putin Dec. 2019
Hearing TV news that Putin was elected President of Russia, a young granddaughter said that Putin is a brutal dictator. I asked, where did you get this from and received no reply.
In a Toronto Star article, Torstar contributor, Tony Burman, describes Russian President Vladimir Putin in these words “as he (Putin) gazed beyond his border this week, he must have been tickled pink. Well beyond his wildest dreams Putin saw signs that the liberal Western democracies, he loathes so much, are creeping closer to political collapse.” Burman, who would seem to have psychic abilities, cites the political angst in Britain over Brexit and in the U.S. over the government shutdown as the source of Putin’s inner feelings.
Now, I don’t know Putin’s inner thoughts any more than Burman does. But, for some time, I have observed him closely and I saw how he brought disparate countries, Turkey, Iran and Syria, together in an ongoing attempt to end the carnage of the Syrian war. I have seen how he restored his country, Russia, back to a world standing of influence and power. And, repeatedly I heard him say “he wants to work with our western partners”. Never has he used derogatory language, like our prime minister did in describing Putin as a bully.
But the real point, for me, is that this kind of unfounded characterizations explains my granddaughters belief that Putin is a brutal dictator. It exemplifies the commentary of demonization that is used to propagandize the public in the preparation of war.
Hard to imagine, or is it, that this guy was the Head of CBC News.
A letter published in Niagara This Week Dec. 2019
An earlier editorial outlines the extent of the growing affordable housing crisis in this area even suggesting the condition is unsustainable. It then offers a salad of supply and demand solutions which are not new and may help but are not a total solution.
Providing the necessary affordable housing will require a state solution. China has an annual target of 4.8 million which it exceeds each year. Nicaragua, with a population of just over 6 million announced a program to build 900,000 housing units to address their housing deficit. Much maligned Venezuela has built over 2 million affordable homes in the past seven years, curbing the shanty town existence of many, with a right to public housing national policy
In each case providing housing is part of their nation building.
Canada had a widely praised housing policy in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s before the Martin liberals killed it with Martin’s slaying the deficit program.
Today, if our federal government spends, over a ten year period, the $40 billion promised for providing affordable housing we could alleviate the problem in Canada. But will it?