“Maduro is more dependent on the military as a result of the possibility of a military intervention in Venezuela. So, these sanctions, and this hard-line approach that really dates back to the Obama Administration is having a big impact on Venezuela in a number of ways.” – Steve Ellner, from this week’s interview
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Western media paint a grim picture of Venezuela and the humanitarian crisis it has had to endure since 2014.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 1.5 million people have left the country since 2014.
In July, Alejandro Werner, director of the IMF Western Hemisphere department, described the country as being “stuck in a profound economic and social crisis,” with an estimated 18 percent drop in real GDP by the end of 2018, and a projected surge in inflation of up to 1,000,000 percent, painting an economic situation in the Latin American country comparable to that of post World War I Germany or late 2000s Zimbabwe. 
In early September, Canada’s national public broadcaster CBC, on its morning public affairs program THE CURRENT, aired a segment on the humanitarian crisis afflicting Venezuela. It reported on the food and medicine shortages that was driving Venezuelans to flee the country. Throughout the broadcast there was mention of scarcity in an oil-rich country, insinuating that the blame fell on President Maduro and his inept or corrupt ‘regime.’
Of course, there are some external factors influencing the situation there. Sanctions have been imposed on the nation by the Trump Administration with Canada among those countries following suit. The stated reason for the sanctions was in protest of the Maduro government was undermining democratic principles and fair elections. 
Anti-government protests in the streets have added to the turmoil. Sources indicated that 38 people died during the 2014 protests, and fully 137 perished in the 2017 protests. 
On August 4th an attempt was made on President Maduro’s life using drones armed with explosives. This took place while President Maduro was addressing the nation during a live television broadcast on the occasion of the celebrations around the 81st anniversary of the Venezuelan National Guard. No one was killed and Maduro was unhurt. He pinned the blame on “the Venezuela ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian ultra-right” and alleged financing from Miami, U.S.A. 
Perhaps most disturbingly, a number of commentators, including U.S. President Trump, Vice-President Pence, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and the head of the Organization of American States, Luis Almegro, have all made public statements to the effect that a military intervention in the country was “on the table” as an option for remediating the humanitarian crisis there.
This week’s Global Research News Hour attempts to deconstruct some of the messaging around the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, the root causes of the country’s suffering, and other potential motives for the economic, military, and propaganda operations being directed at the seat of the modern Bolivarian Revolution.
Our first guest Yves Engler tries to make sense of Canada’s hostile posture toward the Maduro government. While Canada typically sides with the U.S. on all matters hemispheric, Engler sees motives that extend beyond the northern country’s traditional sycophantism toward its southern neighbours. The author compares Canada’s policy stance toward Venezuela with that of other countries in the region historically, and outlines some ways in which Canadians can exhibit solidarity toward the Venezuelan people.
In the final half hour, we hear from Steve Ellner, an American living in Venezuela for more than four decades. Professor Ellner provides more context around the humanitarian situation, details efforts by the Maduro government to address these difficulties, and exposes the opposition forces internally and abroad that are undermining the government, and not in the interests of the Venezuelan public.
Yves Engler is a Montreal based political activist and writer specializing in dissident perspectives on Canadian foreign policy. He has authored close to a dozen books over the last decade. His most recent book is Left, Right — Marching to the Beat of Imperial Canada. More of Engler’s articles and information about his 2018 cross-Canada book tour can be found at the site yvesengler.com.
Steve Ellner has taught economic history and political science at the Universidad del Oriente in Puerto La Cruz since 1977. His published works include ‘Implications of Marxist State Theory and how they Play Out in Venezuela‘ and an upcoming volume – ‘The Pink Tide Experiences: Breakthroughs and Shortcomings in Twenty-First Century Latin America’ (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019). He spoke to the Global Research News Hour in studio while on the Winnipeg leg of his multi-city tour throughout Canada and the United States. His blogsite is steveellnersblog.blogspot.com
Upcoming tour dates for Steve Ellner:
Thursday, Oct. 25: 12:00 noon SALA lunch
Thursday, October 25, Consumnes River College, Sacramento, California
Friday, Oct, 26 7:30 pm Task Force on Americas event
Sunday, Oct. 28, 10:30 am, Niebyl Proctor Marxist Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
Sunday, Oct. 28, 4:00 pm Rossmoor w/potluck dinner
Wednesday, Oct 31, 3 pm University of California, Berkeley
Friday Nov 2 2pm Willamette Room, Werner University Center, Western Oregon University, Monmouth
Friday Nov 2 7 pm Corvallis, Oregon
Saturday Nov 3 Portland 5:30 dinner, 6:30 pm event: The Hardship Imposed on the Venezuelan people by US-Canadian Sanctions
Sunday Nov 4 dinner with National Lawyers Guild Convention members
Monday Nov 5, 7:30 pm Olympia Washington
Tuesday Nov 6, 1pm Evergreen College
November 7, 6pm Seattle
Saturday, November 10, Minneapolis
Monday, Nov. 12, 12 noon, University of Chicago, Center for Latin American Studies. Foster Hall, Room 103 (1130 E 59th St)
Monday, Nov. 12, 7 pm, Evanston Public Library
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 12:30 pm Purdue University NW (Hammond, IN)
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 1:30 pm Student Peace Action Network, McHenry County College Crystal Lake, Illinois
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 6:30 pm Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin
Thursday, Nov. 15, 6 pm University of Missouri, Kansas City
Friday November 16 University of Missouri, Kansas City, Latinx and Latin American Studies Program
Saturday, December 1, 1 pm Barco Law Building, University of Pittsburgh, co-sponsored by Pittsburgh Anti-Imperialist League
Monday, December 3, Columbus, Ohio
Global Research News Hour Episode 233
LISTEN TO THE SHOW
Click to download the audio (MP3 format)
The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . Excerpts of the show have begun airing on Rabble Radio and appear as podcasts at rabble.ca.
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- Virginia López and Sibylla Brodzinsky (July 31, 2017), ‘US hits Nicolás Maduro with sanctions after Venezuela’s ‘sham’ election’, The Guardian; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/31/us-venezuela-sanctions-nicolas-maduro
- Paul Dobson (August 5, 2018), `Venezuela’s President Maduro Survives Assassination Attack On Live TV’, Venezuelanalysis.com; https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13976