House hearing on Venezuela: Military intervention no, regime change yes

Published time: 13 Feb, 2019 22:31Edited time: 13 Feb, 2019 23:37Get short URL

House hearing on Venezuela: Military intervention no, regime change yes

CodePink protesters confront US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, DC, February 13, 2019 ©  AFP / Getty Images / Alex Wong

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Trying to sell Congress on intervention in Venezuela, Trump administration’s controversial envoy Elliott Abrams faced tough questions from several lawmakers, but most seemed on board with regime change in Caracas.

Abrams faced the House Foreign Affairs committee at a hearing on Wednesday, for the first time since he was appointed special envoy for Venezuela by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month. Several lawmakers used the opportunity to raise his checkered past of spearheading US meddling in Central and South America, among them Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

People for Bernie@People4Bernie

.@Ilhan taking Elliot Abrams to task on his personal history of withholding information from Congress(which he was pardoned for!), support for genocide, and the reality of America’s human rights abuses is the best exchange of 2019. Watch all of it.2,4211:13 PM – Feb 13, 20191,286 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Omar’s grilling of Abrams quickly gained traction in the media, albeit for different reasons. While critics of US meddling in Venezuela praised it, the Somalia-born lawmaker faced criticism from conservative quarters for calling Abrams “Mr. Adams,” and her inability to pronounce words such as “contra,” “pardoned,” “Salvador,” and “Communist.”ALSO ON RT.COMWATCH Ilhan Omar grill US Venezuela envoy on war crimes of previous US-backed coups

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) also brought up Abrams’s checkered past, asking the envoy if he was aware of any shipments of weapons to the US-backed Venezuelan opposition.

“I ask this question because you have a record of such actions,” Castro said, alluding to the fact that Abrams was convicted of lying to Congress in 1991 about his role in the Iran-Contra affair. “Can we trust your testimony today?”View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Michael Tracey@mtracey

Elliott Abrams used “humanitarian aid” as a pretext to arm Nicaraguan death squads in the 1980s. And now we’re supposed to believe the “humanitarian aid” he’s sending to Venezuela is purely intended to alleviate the suffering of the people. You have to be kidding8542:41 PM – Feb 9, 2019593 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

At one point in the hearing, Abrams was heckled by antiwar activists from Code Pink, some of whom were physically removed from the chamber.

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‘Hands off #Venezuela‘: Protesters interrupt US Special Representative for Venezuela’s testimony before House Foreign Affairs34811:04 AM – Feb 13, 2019366 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York) made sure to assert congressional power to declare war and argue that the Democrat-majority House will not approve an armed intervention in Venezuela.

“I do worry about the president’s saber rattling, his hints that US military intervention remains an option. I want to make clear to our witnesses and to anyone else watching: US military intervention is not an option,” Engel said.

Most Democrats appeared on board with Trump’s regime change policy, however, so long as it could be done quickly and cheaply. Brad Sherman (D-California) was particularly interested in making sure the US-backed government doesn’t repay any of the loans Caracas has taken out from Russia, which Venezuela has been settling with oil shipments.

Sam Husseini@samhusseini · 8h

This is the spectrum of US gov “debate” on Venezuela — Eliot vs Elliott.

Sam Husseini@samhusseini

At Venezuela hearing, Dem Rep. Sherman argues that coup regime shouldn’t have to pay Russia back for money it loaned to Venezuela. There’s no commitment to any principle, including capitalism. Everything is subsumed to prerogatives of Empire. Makes Abrams seem reasonable.410:53 AM – Feb 13, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Sam Husseini’s other Tweets

Meanwhile, Colombian President Ivan Duque was in Washington meeting with President Donald Trump.The two presidents released a joint statement pledging to “work with the Guaido government to restore freedom, democracy, and prosperity to Venezuela” and condemning the “illegitimate, former dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.”

Last month, Trump recognized the opposition politician Guaido as president of Venezuela, in a bid to oust the elected President Maduro. So far, 51 US allies around the world have recognized Guaido.

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