Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has written an open letter to the people of the US. "I forged myself in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality. I am not a tycoon, I am a worker of reason and heart… rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which was forged by Commander Hugo Chávez since 1998 inspired by the Bolivarian legacy." He frames this in a socialist historical context of a class struggle. "Your national representatives of Washington want to bring to their borders the same hatred that they planted in Vietnam… The history of the usurpation of power in Venezuela is as false as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is a false case, but it can have dramatic consequences for our entire region." What are we to make of this? US President Donald Trump also intends to disturb noble dialogue initiatives promoted by Uruguay and Mexico with the support of CARICOM for a peaceful solution and dialogue in favor of Venezuela. We know that for the good of Venezuela, we have to sit down and talk, because to refuse to dialogue is to choose strength as a way. Keep in mind the words of John F. Kennedy: "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." Are those who do not want dialogue afraid of the truth?
Thousands of Haitians protest corruption and rising living costs. At least two people died and 14 police officers were injured Thursday, police said, as thousands of Haitians protested against rampant inflation and demanded the resignation of President Jovenel Moise on the two-year anniversary of his inauguration. "For two years, Jovenel has promised to fill our plates. But I can't eat lies," protester Josue Louis-Jeune said in the capital of Port-au-Prince, banging a metal plate with a spoon. As Haitians reel from 15 percent inflation over the past two years, a sharp drop in the value of the gourde — the national currency — against the US dollar has only intensified price increases on mostly imported everyday essentials. Unlike the October 17 and November 18 anti-corruption protests, however, where demonstrators demanded an accounting of $2 billion in allegedly misused money from Venezuela's PetroCaribe oil program, Thursday's demonstrations mostly centered on the economic malaise that has been gripping the country and led to some bakeries and other stores shuttering their doors earlier in the week in disgust.
Also, it's Friday: that means its panel time, as my panelists discuss the major stories of the week.
A second accuser comes out against embattled Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. Fairfax is denying the latest sexual assault allegation made against him. He issued a statement through his spokesperson that claims it is demonstrably false. He said he has never forced himself on anyone. He is calling for a full investigation into the allegations, because he believes it will show that he is telling the truth. He said this is an obvious and vicious smear campaign against him, and he will not resign. Lawyers for Meredith Watson sent a letter to Virginia lawmakers today claiming Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were both students at Duke University. She claims she immediately told friends about the rape after it happened.
The National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc., says it will "thoroughly investigate" blackmail allegations made by Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, who said yesterday that the Enquirer threatened to publish intimate pictures of him unless he backed off an investigation of the tabloid. It is interesting to me how Bezos now claims, "Also, The Post's essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles," when the Post has been a mouthpiece for the Saudi government for a number of years.
Dr. Gerald Horne — Professor of history at the University of Houston and author of many books, including Blows Against the Empire: US Imperialism in Crisis.
Kweku Lamumba — External Relations Coordinator of KOSSSA.
Colin Campbell — PhD student in the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University's School of Communication. He has been a TV news reporter for more than 20 years. As a senior Washington, DC, correspondent since 2008, he has been a reporter-at-large, covering two presidencies, Congress and the State Department.
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
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