Bahman (Faraz) Azad is an Iranian-American peace and justice activist living in the United States. He has a Master's degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Sociology from American universities. He served in the Iranian Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant between 1971 and 1973.
He is a former acting director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. He is currently a Professor of Economics and Sociology at Berkeley College in New Jersey.
Faraz has been active in the peace and justice movement since his arrival in the United States in 1973, first as a student activist against the previous regime in Iran and then as a member of the National Board of the U.S. Peace Council. He joined the Veterans for Peace in the early 1990s at the invitation of his close friend and then VFP President, David Cline. He is currently serving as the Chair of VFP's Iran Working Group, Organizational Secretary of the U.S. Peace Council, Co-Chair of Iran Pledge of Resistance, and an NGO representative of the World Peace Council at the United Nations. He is also the co-founder of the Campaign in Solidarity with the Iranian People's Green Movement, an international campaign in support of the Iranian people's democratic rights.
Leaders of the anti-war movement in the United States arrived in Caracas on March 9 and 10 to find out firsthand the truth of how the government and population are responding to the U.S.-led attacks on Venezuela. They will use this truth to build solidarity with the worldwide efforts to stop the covert U.S. war, economic sabotage and propaganda assault on Venezuela.
As they landed in Caracas, the delegates, like the Venezuelan people, were faced with a power outage caused by sabotage of the electrical grid. This interfered with transportation and communications for them, too, even though their hotel had its own power generator.
Everyone in the group had planned to arrive on March 9, but some airlines insisted that the travelers have visas just to fly to Venezuela. Since the break in U.S.-Venezuelan relations, no visas are being issued in the U.S., but most of the delegation members were able to fly anyway, based on letters from their Venezuelan hosts.
Saturday, March 9, sharing the same flight into Caracas were Bahman Azad, the organizational secretary of the U.S. Peace Council, the organization sponsoring the delegation; Gerry Condon, president of Veterans for Peace; Sara Flounders, co-coordinator of the International Action Center; Ajamu Baraka, national coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace; progressive journalist Eva Bartlett; and Joe Lombardo, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition.
Arriving later that day and Sunday to complete the delegation were Sarah Martin from Women Against Military Madness; Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers of Popular Resistance; Darien De Lu, president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-U.S.; Miguel Figueroa, president of the Canadian Peace Congress; and Daniel Shea, board of directors, Veterans For Peace.
The delegation met over the next few days with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who discussed with them the historic struggle between the U.S. and Venezuela over who will control the great oil and gold resources of this South American nation. The fact that Washington is now acting so openly against the Venezuelan government exposes to people all over the world the real face of U.S. imperialism.
Arreaza made it clear that the Bolivarian government attaches great importance to the potential response of the people in the U.S. He said you must be in the front lines, that you are the first victims of imperialism and that the most fundamental change will happen inside the United States.
This underscores the importance of the demonstration that the members of the delegation and their organizations are building for March 30 in Washington, D.C. UNAC originally called this event to protest the upcoming 70th anniversary of NATO, set to be celebrated there by the Western warmakers on April 4. But after the U.S. moves against the government in Caracas, the coalition refocused the March 30 action more urgently on opposing U.S. intervention in Venezuela. Many organizations now support this protest.
Solidarity groups in Venezuela are also paying attention to the U.S. movement. The Committee of International Solidarity (COSI) met the delegates as they arrived at the airport and have helped explain what is happening on the ground in their country.
In addition to our meetings with Arreaza, the North American delegates held discussions with organizers from COSI, including its president, Carolus Wimmer; Carlos Ron, the vice minister of foreign affairs for North America, who had been stationed in New York for some time; and Pasqualina Curcio, an economist at the Central University of Venezuela.
Curcio discussed the U.S. role in creating the “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela. These include shortages of basic necessities: toilet paper, corn, milk, coffee and vital medicines. To counter these shortages, the Bolivarian government established a distribution network to serve 6 million families by importing food, medicine and hygiene products.
The current U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil, the blocking of its banking services and the edicts that prevent the government from using its gold reserves all restrict the ability of the Venezuelan government to satisfy basic needs.
On top of this, the U.S. has handed $11 billion worth of assets of Venezuela’s national oil company, CITGO, directly to Juan Guaidó, a virtually unknown right-wing politician until U.S. Vice President Mike Pence suggested on Jan. 23 that Guaidó nominate himself to be “interim president.”
Foreign Minister Arreaza was recently in negotiations with Elliott Abrams, who just this January was appointed Special Representative for Venezuela by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Abrams had organized bloody right-wing coups in Central America in the 1980s for the Reagan administration and was also a key architect of the Iraq War.
Arreaza characterized Abrams as “frank” when he told the Venezuelan that “all options are on the table” — a threat of military intervention aimed at splitting the Venezuelan military.
When Arreaza then reminded Abrams that “The coup has failed,” the U.S. organizer of counterrevolutions shrugged and said, “This is a long-term project.”
Arreaza explained to the anti-war delegation that in countering the shutdown of its electrical power, Venezuela had to deal with an attack on the brain of its electrical system. “The enemy knows the weakness of the system,” he said. “The U.S. knows what Venezuela could not buy or replace. Knows what we have. This is cyber terrorism!”
Abrams also told Arreaza that to get peace, Venezuela must do as Nicaragua did in 1990, that is, hold a new election that the European Union would set up — and that would open the door to the right-wing.
Arreaza explained to the antiwar group that Venezuela has a broad system of social protection that began under Hugo Chavez and was even further expanded after Maduro became president. “That’s why,” he said, “four days without power in several major cities did not lead to chaos,” as it would have in most of the world. The imperialists wanted an image of people looting food markets, but that failed.
Russia, China and Turkey are helping Venezuela, said Arreaza. “We need the solidarity of the whole world, though. Terrorist brigades are being armed against us.”
The demonstration supporting Guaidó on the day the delegation arrived was smaller than its organizers had projected. While Maduro may have the support of half the population, his opposition is divided into many forces. And most of them oppose U.S. military intervention.
Eastern Caracas, an upper- and middle-class area, is a base of the opposition to the Maduro government. Western Caracas is working class and Black, with a lot of support for the government. Lombardo reports that the west side used to be a real shanty town, but the Bolivarian Revolution put resources into this community and now the people live in nice apartment buildings.
Guaidó’s forces, reports Flounders, were described as racist, sort of the KKK of Venezuela. Nine of the people burnt to death by the counterrevolutionary opposition in 2017 were Black Venezuelans.
Even by Sunday, March 10, the delegation already had a lot of media requests for interviews. They plan a press conference at the United Nations in New York City on Monday, March 18 at 11 a.m., as well as a public webinar reportback.
Special thanks went to Bahman Azad, Norman Markowitz, Michael Parenti, Anthony Coughlan, and Betty Smith for reading the entire manuscript and suggesting editorial and substantive changes. We would also like to thank those who read all or parts of the manuscript and those who shared their ideas and sometimes their encouragement: Gerald Horne, Frank Goldsmith, Erwin Marquit, Sam Webb, Elena Mora, Mark Rosenzweig, Gerald Meyer, Joe Sims, Lee Dlugin, Pat Barile, Daniel Rubin, Phillip Bonosky, Bill Davis, Evelina Alarcon, Tim Wheeler, Scott Marshall, Noel Rabinowitz, Paul Mishler, Jarvis Tyner, Esther Moroze, Marilyn Bechtel, Gerald Erickson, Constance Pohl, Jackie DiSalvo, Richard Najarian and Brawee Najarian, and Jim Miller.
Also thankedd were librarians, Mark Rosenzweig of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies and Jackie Lavalle, for helping with the research, and Eileen Jamison for tracking down numerous books and articles. Also owed a debt of gratitude were Gregory Grossman for helping find sources on the second economy. Also thankedd were SUNY Empire State College for granting a sabbatical leave to Roger Keeran during which he did some early research and writing. Catherine Keeran for her assistance and Alice Ward and John Ward for providing accommodations and company, while Roger did research at the University of Texas. David Granville, Derek Kotz, Ian Denning and Charles Keller, and for technical help.
U.S.Peace Council Petition on Korea
In December 2010, Alfred L. Marder, Catherine Goodman and Bahman Azad were listed as the originators of a U.S. Peace Council "Petition to President Barack Obama and Congress to end the Korean War and Normalize Relations".
- We call on U.S. government to stop its repeated “war games” threatening North Korea, to stop demonizing but rather recognize North Korea as a sovereign nation, to engage the North Korean government in meaningful direct talks to end the Korean War, to sign a peace treaty, to remove all U.S. military bases and troops from South Korea, to negotiate with North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons as part of global nuclear abolition, and to normalize diplomatic and trade relations between the two nations.
THE IMPERIAL ROOTS OF GLOBAL WARMING: ECONOMIC, INDUSTRIAL, MILITARY.
U. Manhattan, 51 (101) Astor Pl. 12-story office building occupies the block between Third and Fourth Avenues in the East Village.
Workshop provides examples of imperialism in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa & the root causes.
"New Cold War"
New York City: What’s driving the new ‘Cold War’? Will It escalate? Can we stop it?
Teach-In: Saturday, May 10 2014 Riverside Church, Tower Room.
- NATO expansion and encirclement of Russia & China
- Why the U.S. wants a confrontation over Ukraine
- ‘Asia Pivot,’ AFRICOM & the ‘War on Terror’
- How Washington uses NGOs, fascist movements, mercenaries & drones to promote its agenda
- Why our real enemy is Wall Street – not Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Korea …
- Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general, human rights lawyer
- Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
- Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, now antiwar activist
- Larry Holmes, People’s Power Assembly
- Sara Flounders, International Action Center
- Avin Dirki, Syrian American Forum
- Joe Lombardo, United National Antiwar Coalition
- Bill Dores, International League of People’s Struggle
- Bernard White, CPR Metro Radio
- Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN USA
- Dustin Ponder, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!
- William Camacaro, Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle
- Bahman Azad, U.S. Peace Council, Veterans for Peace
Coordinating Committee of Hands Off Syria Coalition
- Bahman Azad, Executive Board Member and Organizational Secretary, U.S. Peace Council
- Mark Burton, Board Member, Alliance for Global Justice; Member of International Committee, National Lawyers Guild
- Dr. Issa Chaer, Board of Syria Solidarity Movement and Syrian Social Club, UK
- Gerry Condon, National Board Vice President, Veterans for Peace
- Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center
- Margaret Kimberley, Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report
- Joe Lombardo, Co-Coordinator, United National Anti-War Coalition
- Iran The Next war? New Jersey Peace Action Part 2. Bahman Azad served in the Iranian Air Force Michael McPhearson Published on Jul 27, 2013
- WW Home » Global » U.S. anti-war movement leaders report from embattled Venezuela U.S. anti-war movement leaders report from embattled Venezuela By John Catalinotto posted on March 12, 2019
- "Socialism Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union"
- Sign the USPC Petition on Korea, Petition to President Barack Obama and Congress to end the Korean War and Normalize Relations, USPC website, accessed Dec. 29, 2010
- US Peace Council,“THE IMPERIAL ROOTS OF GLOBAL WARMING: ECONOMIC, INDUSTRIAL, MILITARY” — USPC Workshop at the Global Climate Convergence, New York, Sept 21
- Off Syria Coalition about, accessed December 15, 2016