On 25 August President Trump signed an executive order slapping Venezuela with the most sweeping economic sanctions ever. They practically paralyze Venezuela, threaten to plunge her into famine. It’s an economic coup of the worst kind. It’s outright financial warfare. For all those western nations for which such unilateral actions by the Zionist-led Washington regime has become the new normal – it is one of the highest criminal assaults a nation can impose on another nation.
To be sure, this is an act of highest treason of international law. It is a war crime, as it endangers and threatens the lives of the Venezuelan people. Furthermore, Donald Trump, has the impunity to threaten Venezuela with an overt US military invasion. ‘Overt’ – because military and secret services, i.e. CIA personnel and their proxies, trained, funded and armed, are already for years fomenting unrest and death in the streets of Caracas and elsewhere in the country.
Justifying the measures, the White House said, “[they] are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule.” The subsequent statement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explains literally that these sanctions are aiming at ‘choking’ Venezuela into submission; however, that “exceptions will be made for a 30-day phase-in period and for certain transactions between the US and Venezuela, including petroleum exports and imports involving Citgo, PDVSA’s American unit, as well as financing for humanitarian efforts.”
How ‘human’ can Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner – still be called? How human is the entire Trump military entourage? How much humanity do such people have left? Three generals are calling the shots on Trump’s presidency. How more proof is needed for the world to see that Washington is run by the Pentagon – is a pure military-police state, with the populace stripped of 95% of their civil and human rights – by ever enhanced successive versions of the Patriot Act and related legislation? Humanity at its worst.
The venom and evil of our western society never stops to amaze me. How did we get here? The beginning may date back some 5000 years. But that’s a different story. We are living now, and have to eradicate this egocentric, blood-thirsty pathological greed society, greed economy, NOW – meaning now to spare as many lives as possible.
Trump’s stated reason for slamming Venezuela with sanctions – of course a lie, like everything coming out of Washington – is the recent popular vote for a National Constituent Assembly – ANC – Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (http://www.globalresearch.ca/venezuela-the-national-constituent-assembly-is-in-place-but-the-fight-for-sovereignty-isnt-over/5602402 ). It’s the utmost form of democracy – a National Assembly voted by the people. The opposition which vigorously boycotted the July 30, 2017 vote, are now complaining of having no seats on the ANC. Of course not. They presented no candidates.
According to both Jimmy Carter, former US President and head of the Carter Institute on monitoring international elections, as well as Noam Chomsky, MIT Professor of Linguistics and reputed scholar of geopolitics, Venezuela has the most thorough democracy in the Americas and arguably in the world. Obviously, this does not please the world’s Dictator – cum – Assassin-in-chief, the United States of America.
The largest tyrant in the world calls for atrocious ‘suffocating’ killer sanctions on a sovereign, oil- and gas rich nation in “Washington’s backyard”, under the pretext that it has gone from democracy to dictatorship which the tyranny of the north cannot tolerate, but in a gesture of generosity it grants Venezuela temporary ‘humanitarian’ relieve. What a sham!
The Trump administration, or any of his predecessors, couldn’t give a hoot about democracy and human rights in any of the countries they want to dominate. Quite to the contrary, what they want is installing chaos to be able to exploit the country’s natural resources; and that is what they consistently do. In the case of Venezuela – the world’s richest nation in hydrocarbon reserves – the objective is to retake the riches and put them back to where they were before President Chavez took over in 1998, namely under firm control of US petrol giants.
Venezuela will never tolerate this.
Curiously, it looks like Trump has been dictated to adopt a new doctrine of ‘the loots of war’. His recent declaration of increasing troops in Afghanistan – without time limit – clearly has to do with the mineral riches of that central Asian country, copper, cobalt, iron, barite, sulfur, lithium, lead, silver, zinc, niobium, and an estimated 1.4 million metric tons of rare-earth elements (REEs). The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) estimates the total resources in the Afghan grounds in excess of US$ 1 trillion. Never mind that the US has already spent between US$ 1 and 2 trillion in the 16 years of illegal war in Afghanistan, resulting in massive killings, in tens of thousands of deaths.
In the case of North Korea, it’s iron ore, the US wants, plus, of course, strategic access to China and Russia. In Syria, it’s the infamous Qatari pipeline that would allow western petro-giants shipping trillions worth of oil and gas to Europe to the detriment of Russian’s European gas contracts. Bashar al Assad has refused the pipeline ever since the CIA approached him in 2008, and so did
his father already in the early 2000s. This refusal sealed Syria’s fate. In Venezuela, the intended theft is, of course, oil and gas.
It is of little importance that Trump is contradicting himself royally. His adamant and firm pre-election promises – no longer interference in far-away countries, no longer creating ‘democracies’ US style; in the future, the US will respect other countries’ lifestyle. “We will no longer use our force in foreign lands – these days are now over”.
Wonderful. Maybe he meant it. Like perhaps he really meant making peace with Russia. This is most likely the reason why he was elected. But, would Trump be so naïve, not to know that the military industrial complex wants – no, NEEDS war? This diabolical lot wants natural resources for eternal wars.
The vast majority of people want peace not war. They want to respect Venezuela’s sovereign democracy – not interfere with it. It’s their fascist puppet leaders (sic-sic) and those who make up the Latin American regional organizations that feel obliged to submit to the demands of the naked emperor.
The extractive industry, hydrocarbons, minerals has skyrocketed exponentially since the ascent of neoliberalism in the eighties like never before in modern history. The reasons are wars and conflicts. It is estimated that today almost two thirds of the plunders of worldwide extractive industries – an unspeakable calamity to human health, local communities and the environment – goes to the international military industrial complex, with the forerunner, the US of A.
The new sanctions on Venezuela have become “common staple”, for all those vassals around the western globe, who for some obscure reason – for fear or for earning kudos? – bend over backwards to lick President Trump’s boots. Donald Trump, the megalo-psychopath, is a mere caricature of the American electorate. Trump’s opinion and policies dance in the wind as only an immature master can muster. Hence, the world is kept confused and on her toes, never quite sure when another bomb shell will be dropped.
Dear Mr. Maduro, this act of war can only be committed by the United States of America, because it commands our western dollar-based totally fraudulent, privately run, debt and usury based, monetary system – for profit of the FED and Wall Street banksters. Period. The western world is still enslaved to it – though on a steadily declining scale, but still not free. The east, Russia, China and the entire Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is rapidly detaching themselves from the dollar hegemony.
Venezuela – in my humble opinion – has to do likewise, as soon as possible. There is no time to ponder: detach from the dollar, with whatever implications of asset and monetary loss this may have; and it will, but it will whether you do or whether you don’t. The rabid dog of Washington never lets loose, it bites to the end, and it will never release confiscated assets. Proof is time and again all through the world, just look at Iran.
Venezuela may want to cut her losses and starting from scratch, linking closely with the economies of Russia and China, as she is already doing – but may need to move on a more rigorous and radical basis. No more deals in dollars. Stop all dollar / bolívar manipulations from Miami. The dollar has to become a banned currency for the public in Venezuela, strictly enforced by law, only to be used by government authorities. This is still the casein in Cuba, and Cuba has survived 60 years – and counting. No euros either. The euro is in the same league with the dollar. It has been created as the foster child of the dollar – fiat currency, no backing whatsoever.
New transactions are to take place only in local currencies and / or the currencies of Russia and China – through respective Central Bank swaps – and international payment systems, outside of the privately-run FED, Wall Street, BIS (Bank for International Settlement) and SWIFT, for example through the Chinese International Payment System (CIPS). Russia is about to launch a similar scheme, detached from the western-dominated financial transaction modes, like SWIFT. Once the new Russian international transfer system is in place, together with the Chinese CIPS, the western monopoly on international payments – and sanctions – will be completely upset. International trade will be reset to function outside the dollar hegemony. Russia’s, as well as China’s economies are fully backed by gold.
Under these massive and sweeping financial sanctions, imposed on Venezuela thanks to the western monetary system, Venezuela is basically barred from any international financial transactions. There is a total banking blockade directed against the Venezuelan national oil and gas company, PDVSA- Petróleos de Venezuela SA, making direct hydrocarbon transactions impossible.
It is a stranglehold on Venezuelan’s economy – a recipe for starving a country and its population into submission, weakening it to be taken over – for plundering its resources. Venezuela will NEVER allow this to happen. Citgo, PDVSA’s US subsidiary, can no longer send back dividends to Venezuela – another blow to Venezuela’s foreign exchange earnings. There is a tacit threat, Citgo’s profits in the US may be confiscated – what else than highest treason of international law is this?
Venezuela has never done any harm to another nation. To the contrary, Venezuela has stood by other countries, helping them out with low cost credits and loans, with hydrocarbon at favorable prices, when the ‘market’ was abusive with artificially driven high prices, i.e. US$ 120 / barrel and higher, with the purpose to bleed developing countries into submission. Today, crude has dropped to US$ 47 / barrel, less than half of what it was 2 years ago. The same speculators are behind this drastic drop, another willful, ill-intended manipulation. Yes, by the Saudi vassals, but even more so by Wall Street and its chief executive mobster – Goldman Sachs, to hurt especially Venezuela, Iran and Russia.
This, Mr. Maduro, is an Economic Coup. It is outright financial warfare. It is criminal, illegal and punishable according to war crimes, if there was any international court in the world not yet ‘prostituted’ by the United States and its Deep Dark Zionist handlers. Blocking bank transactions with Venezuela / debt and equity swaps with creditors / debtors is a crime. Blocking Venezuela national oil company from selling hydrocarbon abroad is a crime.
Russia’s Rosneft bought a US$ 6 billion stake in in the Venezuelan PDVSA and acquired 49.9% collateral share in its US-based CITCO. This corresponds to about a 13% of Venezuela’s total production, almost the entire contingent is resold mainly in Latin America by Russia to Venezuela’s customers, despite US ‘sanctions’.
Venezuela might want to consider negotiating concession agreements or outright sales of larger portions of PDVSA to Rosneft and other Russian and Chinese petrol giants, to be repurchased once the crisis is over. Sweden has made such arrangements, nationalizing the banking sector to overcome their banking crisis in the 1990s; an elegant alternative to bailouts. It worked. Banks were later re-privatized. Russia might sell Venezuelan petrol throughout the world, with focus on honoring contracts with Venezuelan customers. No sanctions to be expected from the White House. Who could be sanctioned if transactions took place outside of the dollar economy?
Notwithstanding Trump’s threat of a direct military intervention in Venezuela, there is also a strong possibility of a US naval blockade of Venezuela’s ports. However, today, the US is no longer the sole master of the universe. Russia and China may be invited to form a counter-blockade and even to bring troops into Venezuela.
Russia’s intervention in Syria, at the behest of President Bashar Al-Assad has worked wonders; in fact, it has liberated Syria from the siege of NATO, the US, France, UK, Germany. All criminal nations, dancing to the tune of the dying emperor. Russia’s recent air force parade over the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, with nuclear-capable Tupolev-95MS bombers in the midst of the massive and provocative US-Japan-South Korea military exercises off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, has prompted Japan and South Korea to scramble jets to escort Russia’s Tupolevs. The Russian demonstration has had an impressive impact of respect. – Why would it not be a deterrent for a US navy blockade? Or to forego Trump’s threat of direct military intervention?
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.