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US policy on Venezuela: All roads lead to US military invasion

The people of Venezuela need our solidarity more than ever, says FRANCISCO DOMINGUEZ

WORLD corporate media propaganda notwithstanding, it is abundantly clear that US aggression against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has nothing to do with human rights, humanitarian aid, democracy or the wellbeing of its people. 

President Donald Trump and his Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams) have thrown away any pretence that altruistic objectives animate their persistent efforts to bring about “regime change” in Venezuela: the objective is US control over the planet’s largest deposits of oil (and over huge deposits of gold, coltan, thorium, diamonds, aluminium, iron, water and other commodifiable raw materials that would come in very handy to the US’s crumbling and declining economy). 

Ever since the election of Hugo Chavez in 1999, the US has made every effort to overthrow the government of Venezuela. 

This involved a brief coup d’etat in April 2002 that saw the kidnapping of democratically elected president Chavez, and the abolition of democracy; followed by nearly 20 years of efforts to bring about “regime change.”

These efforts have intensified since Chavez’s death in 2013 with the unleashing of an economic war against Venezuela reminiscent of what was done to Salvador Allende’s Chile in the 1970s. 

US fracking led to the plummeting of oil prices from about $140 a barrel (2008) to less that $30 (2016), deliberately aimed at weakening Venezuela’s economy. 

In March 2015 Barack Obama issued an executive order declaring Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security of the US.” The order is currently in effect. 

On August 4 2018, drones loaded with CS explosives aimed to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro during a military parade. 

Had the explosives been detonated they would have also murdered the whole military high command, key ministers and leaders of the Bolivarian process. 

President Maduro denounced the drone strikes which had been remotely directed from Colombia and the US.

In January 2019, National Assembly chair, opposition MP Juan Guaido, illegally and unconstitutionally proclaimed himself “interim president” of Venezuela. 

The aim was to set up parallel state structures as the US did in Libya. Guaido has been recognised by the US, by some US European allies (including Britain) and some right-wing Latin American governments.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo forced emergency meetings in the Organisation of American States and UN security council (three times) demanding the recognition of Guaido — failing on all four occasions.

Mike Pence, at a Lima Group (of right-wing Latin American governments)  meeting, asked for US military action to be endorsed. This was rejected.

In February 2019 the US, with Colombia’s support, attempted to force US “humanitarian aid” (which the Red Cross and Red Crescent — in a joint statement — declared not to be humanitarian aid) onto Venezuela by military means through the border. 

Planned on the back of a concert by “humanitarian” Richard Branson whose purpose was to make it a world media event, it aimed at getting a beachhead of Venezuelan territory from which to proclaim Guaido as head of a “provisional government.” Exactly as at the Bay of Pigs against Cuba in 1961. 

A solid wall of resistance at the border prevented Venezuela from being invaded by the US-Colombian military. 

On March 7-11 Venezuela’s electricity system suffered a massive cyber-attack, followed by powerful magnetic attacks, and by physical attacks and damage to many back-up substations, which sank the country into darkness and almost total paralysis. 

President Maduro said the attacks came from Houston and Chicago. The attempt to cause commotion leading to rioting and pillage thus, justifying external (US) military intervention, failed.

Pompeo appointed Elliott Abrams — who was responsible for the Contra war against Nicaragua and Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy in Central America in the 1980s — as special envoy on Venezuela.

Trump’s sanctions against Venezuela include the freezing of Venezuelan assets in the US; prohibition both to operate in the US stock market and for US citizens, companies or entities to engage in financial transactions with Venezuela (hard currency, oil, gold or any other commodity); the illegal US confiscation of Venezuelan assets (such as Citgo, a gasoline distribution company in the US); prohibition for Venezuela’s Central Bank to have access to US dollars and the blocking of all transactions in dollars by Venezuela anywhere in the world. 

The US and its EU partners are together withholding over $11 billion in Venezuelan resources (including $1.2 billion in Venezuelan gold in the Bank of England). 

These illegal and criminal US-EU sanctions have gravely impaired Venezuela’s capacity to import food and especially medicines. 

William Brownfield, former US ambassador to Venezuela, said: “Sanctions are the best solution to accelerate the collapse of Venezuela, even if that results in months or even years of suffering.” 

A report by the CEPR (Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment)  found that due to the sanctions, by September 2018 “more than 300,000 people were estimated to be at risk because of lack of access to medicines or treatment [including about] 80,000 people with HIV who have not had anti-retroviral treatment since 2017, 16,000 people who need dialysis, 16,000 people with cancer, and four million with diabetes and hypertension (many of whom cannot obtain insulin or cardiovascular medicine).” 

Thus, these sanctions “are a death sentence for tens of thousands of Venezuelans.”

The string of US failures is leading it to stress the “military option.”

The US Southern Command has issued alarming threats against Venezuela: “US military intervention by end of 2019” and “Syria-like war on Venezuela, the US military awaits the president’s orders.”

And secret meetings to discuss US military aggression against Venezuela are being held at the highest US government levels.

On April 27, after several years of US-led aggression and “regime change” efforts, Venezuela left the Organisation of American States, and celebrated it with huge marches throughout the nation: one less instrument for US aggression against Venezuela.

All roads lead the US to military action. The people of Venezuela, our brothers and sisters in Venezuela, need our solidarity more than ever. 

No blood for oil. Yes to dialogue and peace. No pasaran!

Francisco Dominguez is secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

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