cnn war propagandaVenezuela has revoked or denied press credentials for seven CNN journalists working in the country for what President Nicolas Maduro called “war propaganda” amid coverage of anti-government protests.

Before the conditions on credentials were announced, Maduro said he would eject CNN from the country if it did not “rectify” its coverage amid a spike in the unrest that has gripped Venezuela. According to officials, at least eight people have been killed since demonstrations mounted by the opposition turned violent last week.

“They want to show the world that there is a civil war in Venezuela,” Maduro said of CNN in a televised speech on Thursday.

He added that CNN was not showing “the people working, studying, building the homeland.”

“I’ve asked the [information] minister to tell CNN we have started the administrative process to remove them from Venezuela if they don’t rectify [their behavior],” Maduro said during the speech aimed at supporters, according to Reuters. “Enough! I won’t accept war propaganda against Venezuela.”

The pro-government audience applauded, chanting “Fuera! Fuera!” (“Out! Out!”)

The seven journalists – working for CNN International and CNN en Español – were notified later on Thursday about their credentials being revoked or denied. Despite the move, both entities said they will continue to broadcast from Venezuela.

Maduro did not mince words when describing how he viewed CNN’s coverage of demonstrations that have challenged his authority.

“A group of fascists with their aggressions want to take us away from peace,” Maduro said. “They are not going to do that. And we are going to show them.”

CNN has requested meetings with Venezuelan officials. Both CNN and CNN en Español were invited to a Maduro news conference scheduled for Friday afternoon.

“CNN has reported both sides of the tense situation in Venezuela, even with very limited access to government officials,” CNN en Español said in a statement, adding that at the time of the credentials announcement, they were seeking an interview with the president.

“We hope the government will reconsider its decision. Meanwhile, we will continue reporting on Venezuela in the fair, accurate and balanced manner we are known for.”

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro greets supporters during a rally in Caracas February 18, 2014.(Reuters / Miraflores Palace)

Local television networks have offered very little coverage of the protests, Reuters reported, leaving opposition leaders to use streaming websites on unreliable broadband to speak live to fellow Venezuelans.

Maduro ordered that Colombia-based network NTN24 be removed from Venezuelan cable after it showed live coverage of the demonstrations last week. The move was criticized by the likes of Reporters Without Borders.

Maduro, who was elected last year as the heir apparent following the death of long-time President Hugo Chavez, has accused the opposition – which he calls “fascists” – of fomenting a coup and inciting violence.

The majority of the opposition consists of middle class students who are frustrated with the country’s sputtering economy and soaring crime rate, and are seeking a regime change. They also allege that the recent presidential election was rigged for Maduro.

Venezuela’s ruling party, meanwhile, has long maintained that the US is playing a role in propping up the country’s opposition, and seeking to subvert the Maduro administration. That vitriol was sustained during Hugo Chavez’s tenure as the country’s leader; he often referred to an unsuccessful 2002 coup which heavily implicated US coordination.

Earlier this week, Venezuela expelled three US diplomats from the country, alleging they were working with opposition members against the government. The US State Department has denied the accusations.

The latest spout of violence came on the heels of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez’s surrender to government authorities during a large rally in Caracas. Lopez, who has recently become a rising star among Maduro opponents, is alleged to have played a role in the 2002 coup attempt.

Lopez, the Harvard educated 42-year-old leader of the Popular Will party and a former mayor, is being held responsible for the casualties that have resulted as demonstrators continue to clash with government forces. Though according to his lawyers, prosecutors have dropped the most serious charges of murder against him.



maduro_floresVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has stated he will take “the most radical measures to protect our people’s economy” as a deadline for businesses to adhere to new price controls approaches.

“We will expropriate whatever needs to be expropriated,” the president said during a speech in Caracas amid commemorations of the 22nd anniversary of the 1992 failed coup d’état. The coup was led by Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Although he served prison time for the insurrection, Chavez’s popularity was bolstered, and he went on to win the 1998 presidential elections by a landslide.

Maduro has pledged to continue the socialist revolution started under Chavez. “I’m determined to make an economic revolution. Nobody, nothing will stop me,” Maduro added.

New Price Controls

During his address on Tuesday, Maduro declared that businesses have until 10 February to fully comply with new price controls.

The Law for the Control of Fair Costs, Prices and Profits came into effect nationwide on 23 January, but businesses were given a grace period to adhere to the new controls. Under the law, profit margins are restricted to a maximum of 30%, though specific regulations vary between sectors, products and geographic areas. The law also imposes new penalties for economic crimes such as hoarding and price speculation – both of which are punishable by up to a decade imprisonment.

Three new offences are also added under the law: economic destabilisation, unauthorised resale of certain products and a new category of corruption.

Other offences listed under the law include usury, product tampering, price tampering, smuggling and speculation.

Maduro urged the private sector to voluntarily comply with the new law by self-regulating prices.

“Next Monday, if companies are found violating the fair prices law, I will implement the most radical measures [yet],” the president warned.

However, within hours of the speech Venezuela’s largest commercial lobby group declared it’s planning a legal challenge to the new law.

Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecamaras) president Jorge Roig stated that the law imposes undue restrictions on businesses.

“Not only it is unconstitutional, but also makes the situation of the country dramatically worse,” Roig stated, according to conservative newspaper El Universal.

“In a meeting of the board of directors, it was unanimously decided to take legal actions to request the annulment of the Law on Costs and Fair Prices,” he said.

Colombia and Venezuela cooperate to “crush” smugglers

Along with warning businesses, during his speech yesterday Maduro also declared that a “shock” plan would be launched to tackle smugglers.

“The Bolivarian National Armed Forces will continue to be deployed throughout the country, confronting the economic war that we have been attacked by since 2013,” Maduro stated.

The Venezuelan head of state said he is committed to ending “this problem that is affecting all of us Venezuelans”.

In the morning before his speech security forces uncovered a smuggler’s “warehouse with thousands of products, food and blankets” near the Colombian border, according to Maduro.

“The boss who was responsible has been arrested, and will pay with 14 years in prison,” Maduro stated.

30 tonnes of contraband flour and 110,000 litres of diesel fuel were also seized this week in the border state of Zulia, according to local police.

In a press release issued today, Zulia state deputy police chief Cesar Augusto Martínez stated the contraband was found in a municipality south of the state capital Maracaibo.

“It’s assumed that the fuel would have been transferred to a neighbouring country,” Martinez stated.

Tomorrow the government will meet with Colombian authorities to discuss strategies to counter smuggling on the shared border.

Maduro has stated he hopes to see the meeting produce tougher new measures to “crush the smugglers”.

Earlier this week the head of the National Assembly (AN) Diosdado Cabello stated that between 30 and 40 percent of Venezuela’s imported and domestically made food products are smuggled to Colombia.

“A bottle of water costs Bs10 in Venezuela, while when it goes to Colombia it costs Bs600,” Maduro said yesterday.

The president has labeled smugglers part of an “economic war” that he says is driving inflation and scarcity of consumer goods.

Products ranging from corn flour to dish washing soap have been scarce in some parts of the country in recent weeks.

Business groups including Fedecamaras have blamed currency controls for the shortages, claiming the government isn’t supplying out enough foreign cash for imports.

However, last week Maduro announced a government initiative to streamline imports.

The Estado Mayor de Abastecimiento (Supply Command) is an administrative task group mandated with overseeing improvements to Venezuela’s import process. Its members include the ministers of agriculture, food, industry, economics, finance and the head of the new consumer protection body, the National Superintendency for the Defence of Socioeconomic Rights (Sundde).

“The Supply Command will be installed to coordinate plans and actions needed,” Vice President  Jorge Arreaza tweeted on Monday.

SICAD cancelled this week

Maduro has also pledged to increase access to dollars for industries through the Complimentary System of Foreign Currency Acquirement (Sicad).

Although the government tightened access to official rate currency in January, Maduro stated that double the amount of cash would be offered this year in the government’s weekly Sicad dollar auctions.

Sicad has held regular currency auctions since last year, offering foreign currency at a rate of around Bs11.30 to the dollar, according to the latest figures. US$220 million was set to be up for offer at this week’s auction, until it was unexpectedly cancelled by the central bank yesterday.

“This determination owes to a series of anomalies and noncompliance with required procedures, which were detected after an exhaustive review of the orders,” the central bank stated in a brief press release.

No further details of the cause of the cancellation were provided.

Suppliers of paper and timber products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles and footwear had been invited to participate in this week’s auction.




A French political activist and comedy actor, who has been under pressure from the government for “racist and anti-Semitic remarks,” has told Press TV about the extent of Zionism within the French establishment.

“…Zionism takes up a considerable amount of space in the French establishment…,” Dieudonné M’bala M’bala said at the Golden Hand Theatre, where he runs his highly popular shows.

In recent weeks, Dieudo, as the actor is often called in France, has been accused of preaching the Quenelle, a gesture considered anti-Zionist in France.

M’bala M’bala is credited with creating and popularizing the gesture, done by pointing one arm diagonally downwards palm down, while touching the shoulder with the opposite hand.

Following the accusations, the French government banned his show. Now he is back to running his comedy show tours.

M’bala M’bala said, “A kind of a storm hit my family and my professional circles. All this because of one man, Manuel Valls, the interior minister. For how long, I can’t say. But I hope for the shortest possible time. He attacked me and the freedom of speech and expression in this country in general. Therefore, it feels very strange to face the entire government.”

“The Quenelle gesture, it was a humorous gesture, a gesture of emancipation. This gesture is anti-establishment, against this political system, against this Zionist system, because Zionism takes up a considerable amount of space in the French establishment. This is a slave’s gesture who looks at himself and who dreams of emancipation,” he said.

M’bala M’bala said, “There was a lot of muscle flexing by the Zionist Movement over the Dieudonné Affair, which was named after me. The decisions of the Council of State to ban a comedy show in France are the first ever, not just in France but in the whole of Europe. By flexing its muscles, the Zionist Lobby wanted to discourage everyone who would want to attack Israel’s politics in a show or in a song. All criticism of Israel is associated with anti-Semitism.”

“I am not anti-Semitic and I have been repeating and I am tired of repeating. Anti-Semitism would be the extreme hatred of Jews. Are all Jews Zionists? I know many Jews who are not Zionists. Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism are two terms that Zionists consider the same, but I don’t,” he also noted.

from PressTV

read more about Dieudonné on Open Revolt.

Zionist Cowards


Zionist cowards of the Israeli Defense Forces accidentally tear-gas themselves before their weekly assault on the Palestinians of Bil’in. Don’t skip the video below!


Arab Americans for Syria


Los Angeles: Arab Americans for Syria and allied anti-imperialist groups protest U.S. decision to resume arming terrorist factions in Syria, February 7, 2014

Syria-demoPeople in Syria have held mass rallies to show their support for President Bashar al-Assad and the army.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the capital Damascus and its countryside on Saturday.

They expressed support for President Assad and the Syrian army forces in their fight against terrorism and foreign-backed militants.

Pro-government demonstrations were also held in the western city of Homs and its countryside.

On February 2, Syrians also took to the streets of Damascus and the town of Nabek in support of the government.

Similar rallies have frequently been staged in the country during the past couple of years.

The pro-government demonstrations came as 83 people, including children and women, were evacuated from Homs as part of a three-day ceasefire brokered by the UN between the Syrian army and the foreign-backed militants.

The deal also allows the entrance of humanitarian assistance for civilians who choose to stay, while the two sides have also agreed on a pause in fighting as the deal is being implemented.

Meanwhile, thousands of Syrians have returned home in the town of Muadamiyat al-Sham, located in Rif Dimashq Province near Damascus, following a ceasefire deal between the two sides of the conflict.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. Some sources say more than 130,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

from PressTV