Civil War in Venezuela: US Joint Operation with Colombia

This July, the people of Venezuela elected the National Constituent Assembly that, as expected, would be aimed at preparing amendments to the Constitution. The convocation of this body was initiated by President Maduro. The opposition condemned and failed to recognize the elections stating the National Constituent Assembly convocation should be held by the referendum. These events urged forward the mass protests proceeding in the country since the beginning of April as the result of the discontent with state leaders policy, essentials’ deficiency and a mass population impoverishment against the background of drop in oil prices – a crucial resource for the economy of this mineral-rich Latin American country.

The opposition tries to seize power in Venezuela with broad political support of the USA. The term of the current head of state Nicolás Maduro ends in 2018, but protests organizers, as well as their American curators, do not want to wait, they demand to hold the elections immediately.

The White House makes all efforts to drive the “Bolivarian” regime from power in Venezuela. Latin America is a traditional sphere of influence of the USA since the end of the 19th century, and Washington extremely painfully reacts to loss of positions in its “backyard”. Taking into account the Venezuela situation, the main stake for Washington are oil fields since the American business lost access to them as a result of reforms of President Hugo Chávez.

It should be noted that the Venezuelan question is under special control of the Secretary Tillerson, one of the most influential figures of an oil lobby. During the management of ExxonMobil “Texas T-Rex” proved to be the real predator able to take any measures for achievement of goals. For example, the similar situation happened in 2011 when the company has begun oil development in the Iraqi Kurdistan counter with opinion of the Barack Obama Administration.

Such animal grasp should be expected from Rex Tillerson also with Venezuela. The Secretary of State commenting the hearings in the House of Representatives on the difficult situation which had developed in recent months in Venezuela declared that “the USA has to continue pressure upon Caracas, and also give support of local opposition in this connection the White House needs to take steps through various organizations”.

The recent tour of the vice-president Mike Pens across Latin America also indicates the high priority Washington gives to “the Venezuelan question”. The trip resulted in the coalition of Latin American countries created for political support of Washington efforts to topple President Maduro. Colombia, Argentina, Panama and Chile act as the US allies.

In turn, CIA director Mike Pompeo affirmed (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cia-venezuela-crisis-government-mike-pompeo-helping-install-new-remarks-a7859771.html) the dialogue the agency leads with Colombian and Mexican authorities within the work against the Venezuelan government. The chief of CIA obviously dissembles, claiming that contacts with the Latin American partners are limited only to political consultations. Groups of the Colombian fighters are thrown in the country to carry out provocations against police officers during protests and organize murders of members of opposition in order to create an occasion to accuse Maduro’s government of use of lethal weapon against own people.

Interior Minister Nestor Riverola announced the arrest of several Columbians in Tachira state bordering on Colombia. They were dressed as Bolivarian national guards of Venezuela and took part at street clashes between the protesters and police (https://www.telesurtv.net/news/Detienen-a-6-paramilitares-colombianos-en-protestas-venezolanas-20170517-0032.html). Moreover, the governor of Tachira state José Gregorio Vielma Mora reported about elimination of the Colombian fighters’ camp and added that the number of detainees reached 120 people (https://www.telesurtv.net/news/Desmantelan-campamento-paramilitar-colombiano-en-Venezuela-20170322-0066.html).

Washington has always comprehensively supported opposition groups in the countries of Latin America with “inconvenient” regimes without hesitating in the choice of methods. Mercenaries recruited among political refugees and citizens of neighboring countries have always been one of the most widespread tools of the CIA arsenal if the Hawks wanted to change the government in such a country. As we can observe today, the style of CIA is invariable.

The situation in Venezuela is aggravated to a limit. The American oil business strongly intends to return the positions lost during the presidency of Chávez and Maduro. The USA will do everything to change power in Caracas and disrupt the upcoming presidential elections in Venezuela in 2018. Participation of fighters from Colombia against Maduro serves as the evidence of the White House intention to plunge this Latin American country into chaos of political turbulence and civil war.

Ukraine’s united, divided churches

Ukraine’s united, divided churches

Churches have responded to Ukraine’s crisis with prayers for peace and calls for reconciliation.

Statistics suggest Ukraine is one of the most religious states in Europe. Over the past few months its main churches grown considerably in importance.

In light of the crisis, more and more people have turned to religion, because they “don’t see another way.” About three-quarters of the population regard themselves as religious, according to one opinion poll, 10 percent more than a year ago.

Yet in hardly any other country in the world is the religious landscape as fractious as in Ukraine. Around 70 percent of Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians. But there are two Ukrainian Orthodox Churches – one is subject to Moscow and the other has its power base in Kyiv.

The two churches have no theological disagreement, but for the past two decades they have fought for influence in the country. The Moscow Patriarchate has successfully prevented the Kyiv Patriarchate – and the smaller, national-mined Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – from having their canonical status recognized by the broader Orthodox communion.

Meanwhile, the Greek Catholic Church, which also follows Byzantine rites but is in full communion with Roman Catholicism, is the largest denomination parts of western Ukraine, but has only a small following elsewhere.

Throughout history, the ruling powers – Russia, Poland-Lithuania and Austria-Hungary – tried to project their power in Ukraine by altering church structures. The political conquest of the country has always been accompanied by the destruction of church life.

Frictions over several centuries

In the early 1990s there were scuffles as the rival denominations claimed church buildings. But this has a long history. Divisions between the churches in the 16th and 20th centuries, most for political reasons, still awaken emotions today.

In 1946, Ukraine’s Soviet rulers banned the Greek Catholic Church and handed its property over to the Russian Orthodox Church. This inevitably caused conflict when the ban was lifted in 1989. The Greek Catholic Church shaped the national consciousness in western Ukraine since the 19th century and in 1991 it played an important role in the founding of the independent Ukrainian state.

The Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchy came into being in 1992. The reason for its founding was the refusal of the Moscow Patriarchate to award the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly – autonomy from the Russian Orthodox Church.

All Ukraine’s churches offered support to the anti-government Euromaidan movement during the winter. They spoke out in favor of human rights and civil liberties and against corruption. There were prayer tents on the Maidan, the center of the protests, and they held services on the central stage used by the protest movement.

“There were parallels to 1989 in East Germany,” said Ralf Haska, pastor of the German Evangelical Lutheran parish of St. Catherine in Kyiv. “The churches here gave a forum to the protesters and also supported their justified protest.”