Mark Weisbrot is a Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a think tank based in Washington. In his writings about Venezuela he violates the promise made in the website of this organization, see: https://cepr.net/ , where one can read:
CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better informed.
Accuracy is not a virtue Mr.Weisbrot can claim. In an article he wrote for the Centre Daily Times, the newspaper of Pennsylvania State University, he demanded that the U.S. establish normal diplomatic relations with Venezuela. To support his demand he made several statements which are demonstrably false and which give the Venezuelan despotic regime an aura of democracy it has lacked for the last 17 years. See article: http://www.centredaily.com/opinion/article55344755.html
· “Venezuela had elections for its National Assembly scheduled for Dec. 6, and the Obama administration wanted to do what it could to influence, discredit and delegitimize these elections. This was done primarily through an international public relations campaign that argued the elections would not be credible without monitors from the Organization of American States, who have long been heavily influenced by Washington”.
To accuse the Obama administration of mounting an international public relations campaign to discredit the transparency of the Venezuelan elections is a falsehood. It should not be written by the director of a think tank that purports to be accurate and objective. It sounds as if it were written for an ideologically committed newspaper, such as Havana's Granma
Weisbrot lies when he says the OAS has been under the control of the U.S. In fact, at least for the last 10 years this organization has been very much under the control of the Venezuelan regime, due to the votes of the Caribbean and ALBA member countries, votes mostly obtained by means of significant petroleum subsidies. Weisbrot fails to mention the fact that the OAS has had for many years the best team of electoral observers in the hemisphere. This team was blocked from going to the country by the Venezuelan regime while other independent observers from the European Union were equally excluded from observation. The only observers allowed were from UNASUR, an organization led by a man, Ernesto Samper, who has proven to be at the service of the Venezuelan regime.
What actually happened was that this time the countries of the hemisphere paid a great degree of attention to the Venezuelan elections and this attention put the necessary pressure on the Venezuelan regime not to commit fraud, as it has usually been the case in Venezuela during the last 17 years.
Weisbrot says that the “campaign” proved to be unnecessary since the victory of the opposition was by a landslide. The fact is that the pressure put on the Maduro regime by the democratic countries of the hemisphere to conduct a clean election was a powerful factor in preventing another fraud such as the one that took place when Maduro “won” the presidency through to a series of illegal maneuvers which are well documented.
· Weisbrot says: “in Venezuela’s heavily safeguarded, fraud-proof voting system, which former president and electoral expert Jimmy Carter called “the best in the world,” there were no problems with the vote count”. This is false. The night of the elections Maduro tried to reverse the results of the voting but this attempt was neutralized by the Armed Forces, which this time around came out in favor of democracy. Everybody knew about this event but Weisbrot prefers to rely on the old and discredited opinion of Jimmy Carter, which does not even represent any longer the opinion of the Carter Center.
· According to Weisbrot the Venezuelan opposition had “a strategy of “military takeover” which included a U.S.-backed military coup (2002) and oil strike (2002-2003) to topple the government”. Weisbrot echoes the Venezuelan regime version of a U.S. backed coup when Chavez was removed from the presidency by the Venezuelan military, after they refused to act against the Venezuelan protesters and when he created a crisis in the oil company to politicize it and destroy it.
· Weisbrot lies again when he says: “In 2013 the opposition refused to accept its loss in the presidential election, even though there was no doubt about the results. It took to the streets with violence, again backed by Washington until international pressure convinced the U.S. to recognize the results. And in 2014 the opposition once again engaged in violent street actions aimed at deposing the government”. In those 2013 elections Maduro ran for president in violation of the constitution and “won” by a margin of less than 2% of the votes. The irregularities in this event mounted to several times that margin. To say that there were no doubts about the outcome is a flagrant lie. As for the 2014 protests, the story about the repression of the government that took many lives is so-well known that Weisbrot should not go there. It is now known that the trial of Leopoldo Lopez was a cruel mockery of justice, even “Foreign Policy” knows it.
· According to Weisbrot “ hard-liners in Venezuela who want to overthrow the government will find vitally important support from within the U.S. “national security state.” Again, Weisbrot distorts the truth. What he calls “hard liners” are an impressive majority of Venezuelans who want to see Maduro and his gang gone from power. The regime has run the country into the ground and is now taking steps to prevent the new National Assembly from doing their constitutional job. The regime is acting in violation of the Constitution, not the other way around.
I believe Mark Weisbrot’s falsehoods do not add credibility to the promises of accuracy made by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in its website. Does he belong there?