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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/15/19

Venezuela Retains Political Control After New US Coercive Measures

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Despite Washington's recent escalation, the Maduro government remains in control both domestically and in the international scene, Nino Pagliccia argues.

Republished from Venezuelanaysis

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In political terms the government of Venezuela had a good month of July while managing very critical economic circumstances. Reps of 120 Non Aligned Movement (NAM) countries attended their ministerial meeting in Caracas, and more than 700 delegates from dozens of leftist parties and social movements from about 32 countries were in attendance for the 25thencounter of the Sao Paulo Forum (SPF), also in Caracas, a few days later. Even the quick recovery from what appeared to be another sabotage of the electric power grid, which occurred in the days between the two meetings, was seen as a sign of an efficient and responsive government fully in control.

However, the month of August had a more challenging beginning for Venezuela. But we think that the Maduro government still retains full command of the political situation.

On August 5, the day before the meeting of the so-called Lima Group in Lima, Peru, United States President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on "Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela". This may well be the most severe unilateral coercive measure (sanction) against Venezuela to this date. It also meets the criteria of a total blockade on the country, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's denial that "this is not an embargo".

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The more serious and controversial issue of the Trump's executive order is that it implies the possibility of its extraterritorial application. US National Security Adviser John Bolton left no doubt about that intention saying that the order "also authorizes sanctions on foreign persons who provide support or goods or services to any designated person, including the government of Venezuela."

The EU immediately opposed Washington's threat and other countries may follow. But we know that Trump is not shying away from his version of "if you're not with us, you are against us". He has recently implemented, for the first time since 1996, Title III of the Helms-Burton Act (blockade) on Cuba, which allows US persons, whose property was taken over by the Cuban government after 1959, to sue companies and individuals who "traffic" in those properties in US courts. This has serious implications for many European and Canadian companies currently operating in Cuba.

The US blockade of Venezuela is intended to "make the Venezuelan economy scream"; nevertheless, the blockade does not guarantee the collapse of the economy. After almost 60 years of persistent and harsh US blockade, Cuba's economy has done fairly well in maintaining its socialist project, initially with the support of the former Soviet Union, and since the early 1990s with the development of a thriving tourist sector that has brought substantial foreign investment to the chagrin of the US government.

Therefore, in geopolitical terms, the extraterritorial element of the blockade on Venezuela is the US second line of attack - unlikely directed at the EU or Canada that have recognized self appointed "interim president" Juan Guaidó - rather directed at Russia and China that have sided in words and deeds with the elected president Nicola's Maduro.

Russia has not only sold military equipment to Venezuela and trained its military, but last July 10 the two countries signed a protocol on facilitating Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft's activities in two gas fields on the continental shelf of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

China has also developed important economic cooperation with Venezuela. A joint venture of over $1.8 billion between Venezuelan Petroleum Corp (CVP) and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) was just reported.

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Enter John Bolton with a threatening message in Lima: "to both Russia and China, we say that your support to the Maduro regime is intolerable, particularly to the democratic regime that will replace Maduro."

Both in tone and actions Washington is sounding increasingly desperate and frustrated at the lack of tangible results in its effort at regime change in Venezuela. The US has usually been absent at meetings of the "Lima Group"; it is not even a member of it. Canada has normally taken on the "leadership" role with other a dozen or so nations.

The Lima meeting was clearly driven by a combative US government with the high profile presence of National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. If Bolton held Washington's stick, Ross offered its carrot as a vague recovery plan for Venezuela after Maduro. Of the 100 governments invited, only about 60 reps were present, mostly observers. Many declined, including Russia and China.

If Washington's intention was to bring on board more international allies, the strategy didn't work. The UN Assembly would have been a larger and captive audience. Why was that venue not chosen?

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Again, we come to ask what right does the United States have in even thinking it can take over any country based on lies and greed? In every case they, with the Presstitute Media Propagandists (PMP) providing the brainwashing as ordered, paint the leader of the country to be illegally attacked as a ruthless dictator who is mistreating, even torturing, his people and we need to go in to take him/her out of power in order to install a democracy in that country.

That alone is a pile of horse manure as they have dismantled and destroyed the democracy we once had in the United States and even when it was functioning as one still wasn't as sound in many ways as the one in Venezuela. Now the US comes in with its puppet, Quaido, merely announcing he is the President and the PMP portrays it to be even though the phony leader was never elected to anything, not even dog catcher, and the majority of the citizens of Venezuela had never heard of him. The fact is Maduro was elected, again, as President of the country in an election the United States attempted to corrupt by paying opponents to not participate in order it would appear to be a "strong-armed" election controlled by a dictator. Maduro even asked the UN to come in to monitor the election, but the US told the UN not to do so in order they could call "foul" afterward.

One thing this illegal bullying by the United States may be showing is the strength of a socialist nation where the people are sticking together, as opposed to a corrupted capitalist society where the majority are getting burned daily. The people of Venezuela rejected the capitalism that had much worse poverty, no healthcare, poor education systems, only wealth to a select few. They are fighting to not having to go back to such a travesty to mankind.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 16, 2019 at 12:22:21 PM

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