Lima Group Members Invoke Human Rights While Trampling On Them

As Lima Group members Columbia and Brazil foment unrest on Venezuela’s borders, their right-wing regimes routinely violate human rights in their own countries.

For The Real News Network, I met in Caracas with Venezuelan human rights activist Antonio Gonzalez Plessman to discuss the human rights situation in the region.

According to Mr. Gonzalez Plessman, Western governments and media are magnifying human rights violations in Venezuela while minimizing or ignoring altogether human rights violations by the governments of Lima Group members, including Colombia and Brazil.

My discussion with Mr. Gonzalez Plessman can be watched and heard here:

Venezuela’s Former Minister of Communes and Culture Talks to TRNN About the Crisis

For The Real News Network, I recently spoke in Caracas, Venezuela with Venezuela’s former Minister of Communes and Culture, Reinaldo Iturriza.

Mr. Iturriza argues that U.S. sanctions “were conceived to make it difficult for the Venezuelan government to recover from an already critical economic situation due to the drastic fall of oil prices.” Those sanctions, he says, have had “terrible effects” on Venezuela’s people.

Our discussion can be watched and heard here:

TRNN Visits a Working Class Neighbourhood in Caracas, Venezuela

During my recent trip to Caracas, Venezuela, I visited the working class district of Valle.

There, I discussed Venezuela’s crisis with Gustavo Robledo, an ambulance driver who has spent his entire life in Valle. As we spoke, Gustavo and I stood beside the small home in which he has spent over 50 years of his life.

As Gustavo explains, although he categorically rejects Juan Guaido’s claim to Venezuela’s Presidency, and although Gustavo is strongly committed to Chavismo, he believes that President Maduro has made mistakes.

My discussion with Gustavo can be seen and heard here:

New Poll Shows Increased Bipartisan Desire to Act on Climate Change

According to a new poll by researchers at George Mason and Yale Universities, climate change concerns are more bipartisan than political elites would have us believe.

Among other things, their study found that 81% support the congressional Green New Deal.

For The Real News, I spoke to Dr. John Kotcher of George Mason University about the data. Our discussion can be seen and heard here:

Trudeau “Disappointed” his Ex-Justice Minister Resigned After He Demoted Her

On the Real News Network, I discuss with Sharmini Peries the resignation of the former Justice Minister of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, from the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau has reacted to her resignation by professing to be “surprised” and “disappointed”, but after all of the promises that Trudeau has made about transparency and the rights of women and indigenous peoples, no one should be surprised that Ms. Wilson-Raybould resigned after Trudeau demoted her for no good reason.

My discussion with Sharmini can be seen and heard here:

In Caracas, Ordinary Venezuelans Speak to The Real News About Venezuela’s Crisis

Last week, as hundreds of Venezuelans lined up in Bolivar Square in Caracas to sign a petition denouncing U.S. imperialism, I spoke to ordinary citizens about the crisis in Venezuela and U.S.-led efforts to replace President Nicolas Maduro with Juan Guaido. 

This is what they had to say:

Did Justin Trudeau’s Office Obstruct Justice in Canada’s Worst Corporate Corruption Scandal?

Following a bombshell report from The Globe and Mail, serious and troubling questions have arisen as to whether members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s staff pressured former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering firm.

If the allegations from The Globe and Mail’s unidentified sources are true, there is a very real possibility that one or more persons within the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) have committed the crime of obstruction of justice under the Criminal Code of Canada. Under s. 139(2) of the Criminal Code, a person who “wilfully attempts in any manner… to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice” is guilty an indictable offence punishable by up to ten years in prison [my emphasis].

Trudeau has responded to a barrage of questions about the actions of his political staff by insisting repeatedly that neither he nor any of his staff “directed” Ms. Wilson-Raybould, whom he recently devoted to the post of Minister of Veterans Affairs, to intervene in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. However, the words “in any manner” are very broad and certainly capture conduct falling short of ‘direction’. Trudeau has steadfastly refused to answer the broader question of whether the PMO pressured Ms. Wilson-Raybould to intervene and to ensure that SNC-Lavalin is not convicted of a criminal offence in what is arguably the worst case of corporate corruption in Canadian history.

Citing solicitor-client privilege, Ms. Wilson-Raybould has declined to answer questions about whether the PMO did in fact pressure her to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case. As I explain, however, Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s client (the government) is free to waive the privilege and to authorize her to respond to critically important questions about what actually happened.

Why hasn’t the Prime Minister waived the privilege?

With Sharmini Peries on The Real News Network, I discuss the legal implications of these allegations and the question of lawyer-client privilege. My discussion with Sharmini can be seen and heard here: