5 March 2019   Leave a comment

I had a great discussion last week with Ahm Bakrin and Miranda Donohue of the Amherst Wire on Venezuela, North Korea and the Pakistan-India conflict. You can listen to the discussion at https://amherstwire.com/27650/showcase/whats-goin-on-podcast-episode-6/. It is my first podcast–a very interesting format. I think I prefer to write what I think, but the process of talking out my thoughts was intriguing.

There was a fascinating exchange in today’s press briefing by the US State Department on how we should refer to Juan Guaido, the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly who the US supports as the legitimate President of the Venezuelan Republic. It is somewhat ironic that the State Department continues to demand precision even though some other parts of the US government seems to use language very loosely. Robert Palladino is the State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson and he is briefing the press.

MR PALLADINO: Thank you.

And finally, the United States applauds the people of Venezuela for their actions to create a peaceful, democratic transition, and congratulates Interim President Juan Guaido on his successful diplomatic efforts in the region and safe return to Venezuela. However, we have noticed in news coverage that some outlets are incorrectly referring to Juan Guaido as the opposition leader or the self-proclaimed president. Neither is correct.

A few basic facts: The National Assembly remains the only legitimate and democratically elected institution in Venezuela. Juan Guaido was elected president of the National Assembly on January 5th, 2019, and on January 10th, Maduro usurped the presidency.

Therefore, the president of the National Assembly and relying on Venezuela’s constitution – as president of the National Assembly, and relying on Venezuela’s constitution, Juan Guaido became interim president of Venezuela on January 23rd. Millions of Americans and more than 50 countries recognize Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela. He has appointed and credentialed ambassadors to international organizations and the United States and numerous other democratic nations and other democratic nations.

So to refer to Juan Guaido as anything but interim president falls into the narrative of a dictator who has usurped the position of the presidency and led Venezuela into the humanitarian, political, and economic crisis that exists today. The international community must unite behind Interim President Juan Guaido and the Venezuelan National Assembly and support the peaceful restoration of democracy in Venezuela.

That’s it for the top.

QUESTION: Let me get this straight. You’re complaining because news outlets are calling him by a title that you don’t think that he should have?

MR PALLADINO: Not a complaint. Pointing out. Just trying to correct.

QUESTION: Well, it sounds like a complaint to me, and that seems pretty weak-sauce. I don’t understand what your problem is. I mean —

MR PALLADINO: He’s the interim president, and we don’t want to —

QUESTION: Well, you consider him to be the interim president, and as you say, 50 other countries outside of – recognize him as the interim president. But there are more than 190 members of the United Nations. So your 50 countries is not even close to half of that. Is that correct?

MR PALLADINO: We are supporting the constitution of Venezuela and the people of Venezuela. With the – we’re supporting the Venezuelan people here. And so the United States – it’s time to act in support of democracy and —

QUESTION: And you think that news coverage calling him the legitimate leader, the president, is going to encourage more countries to recognize him?

MR PALLADINO: We don’t feed into rhetoric of the current dictator.

Satellite imagery indicates that North Korea is rapidly building up its satellite launching site. The facility uses technology that could also be used to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The renewed activity comes as information has indicated that North Korea may have as many as 20 additional missile launching sites. This information comes on the heels of the failed summit in Hanoi and may indicate that North Korea does not think that negotiations are going to serve its national interest. The big question is whether North Korea will restart its testing program which will represent a serious challenge to President Trump.

Satellite image of the Sohae Launch Facility

Posted March 5, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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