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U.S. aggression against Venezuela and how do you “eat” that

Originally published: Orinoco Tribune on April 5, 2019 by Staff Writer (more by Orinoco Tribune)  | (Posted Apr 19, 2019)

As a result of different requests from friends of Venezuela in the U.S. and also as a simplification exercise Orinoco Tribune’s staff decided to make an easy to follow timeline about the more than documented United State Aggression/Sanctions against the Bolivarian Revolution, starting with Hugo Chavez and continued/magnified with Nicolas Maduro.

The U.S. and world elite have attacked the Bolivarian Revolution thinking that it exists because of its leadership and not realizing that Chavismo is a state of mind shared by millions of Venezuelans and also by anti-imperialist and chavista people all over the world and also not understanding that when Chavismo is threatened that anti-imperialist and nationalistic (in the good sense) sentiment magnifies exponentially.

The source of this brief is based on the work of Eva Golinger from 2015, when she was still a militant of the Bolivarian Revolution and is also based in the recent and wonderful work of Pasqualina Curcio that not only enumerates aggression after aggression but also translates it into real things that we Venezuelans are not having as a consequence of U.S. Imperialism.

It is important to highlight that most of the analysis is based only on U.S. aggression/sanctions not taking into account the aggression from Europe or other Latin American countries that are less relevant but add to the amount of human right violations the Venezuelan people have been resisting since 2002.

The continuation in time of the aggression/sanctions since 2002 until 2019 reflects that U.S. imperialism has been trying to get rid of the Bolivarian Revolution using the same excuses they are using today and counting on the short memory of most human beings.

This is the list of U.S. attacks and aggressions against Venezuela:

  1. April 2002 Coup D’Etat against President Hugo Chavez
  2. Nov 2002/Jan 2003 Oil Lockout: right-wingers decided to stop producing oil to provoke a Coup d’Etat against Hugo Chavez.
  3. 2005: Constant negative declarations by senior U.S. officials from Condoleezza Rice, Porter Goss, Donald Rumsfeld, General Bantz Craddock, Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, Tom Casey, John Walters, Thomas Shannon.
  4. 2006: Arms sales embargo to Venezuela. United States has prohibited all U.S. commercial arms sales and retransfers to Venezuela since 2006.
  5. 2006: Venezuela is linked to terrorism for the first time in the annual report of the state department. A diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks, pointed out that U.S. ambassador William Brownfield said both USAID and OTI were playing central roles in a strategy to oust Chavez.
  6. 2007: George Bush classifies Venezuela as a country that does not cooperate in the fight against drugs and Condoleezza Rice says she is worried about Chavez’s destructive populism.
  7. 2008: A report by the U.S. Intelligence Agency classifies Venezuela for the first time as a threat to the U.S. National Security.
  8. 2008: Hugo Carvajal, Henry Rangel Silva and Rodriguez Chacin, high ranked Venezuelan officials are placed on the U.S. list of terrorists
  9. 2008: George Bush declares that he will defend Colombia against the provocations of Venezuela for the Venezuelan troops mobilization in response to Colombian bombing of Ecuador, killing Raul Reyes of the FARC. George Bush asks legal advisers to study adding Venezuela to the list of countries that promote terrorism.
  10. 2009: Evidence of U.S. construction of the Palanquero Base in Colombia appears.
  11. 2010: The Director of National Intelligence of the USA declares Venezuela as an Anti-American Leader in his report on World Threats.
  12. Since 2011, Venezuela has been included in the list of countries that do not collaborate against terrorism and as a violator of human rights. And sanctions against PDVSA began.
  13. Since 2011 until 2015 Barack Obama authorizes funds for 5 million dollars for anti-Chavez groups and increases it to 5.5 millions in 2015
  14. 2013: CAVIM, the Venezuelan Army arms factory, is sanctioned by the U.S.
  15. December 2014. The U.S. Congress approves Law 113-278: “Public Law for the Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society in Venezuela” through which the roadmap for U.S. policy toward Venezuela is established and other States, under its influence adopt unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela.
  16. 2015: U.S. sanctions more than 50 Venezuelan officials and relatives of government officials for human rights violations and corruption
  17. 2015: The U.S. expands the blockade of arms sales to Venezuela for reasons of human rights violations.
  18. 2015: Vice President Joe Biden visits the Caribbean and urges countries in the region to leave Petrocaribe indicating that Maduro had little time left.
  19. February 2015: Obama presents his report on national security strategy and names Venezuela as a threat. Days later Maduro’s government unveils an attempted coup led by Antonio Ledezma who is imprisoned and confronted with his complicity with the U.S., which is denied by spokesman John Ernest of the White House who ridicules it. Antonio Ledezma can currently being seen walking around the White House regularly.
  20. 2015: Obama signs the March 9 Executive Order 13692 declaring Venezuela an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security. Initially it was minimized by the U.S. despite the Venezuelan objections and even Obama manifested in some way that it had no great relevance,
  21. March 2016: The U.S. administration (Barack Obama) renews Executive Order 13692 for one year.
  22. May 2016: TheCommerzbank (Germany) closes the accounts held by several institutions, Venezuelan public banks and Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).
  23. July 2016: Citibank unilaterally ceases the service of correspondent accounts in foreign currency of Venezuelan institutions in the U.S. and Risk rating agencies rate Venezuela with the highest financial risk in the world (2640 points), well above countries at war.
  24. August 2016: Novo Banco (Portugal) reports the impossibility of carrying out operations in dollars with Venezuelan banks, due to pressures exerted by correspondent banks of this institution.
  25. September 2016: The government of Venezuela makes an offer to exchange 7,100 million dollars in PDVSA bonds in order to alleviate the amortization schedule and partially refinance its obligations. The three major U.S. risk rating agencies scare investors with declaring default (default) if they entertain the Venezuelan proposal.
  26. November 2016: The JP Morgan bank issues a false default alert about an alleged non-payment of PDVSA’s debt of 404 million dollars. The U.S. oil company, Conoco Phillips, sued PDVSA before a Court in Delaware, USA, for a bond redemption operation. The purpose of this legal remedy was to frighten the participants and thereby make the operation fail.
  27. December 2016: The company Crane Currency, supplier of tickets of the Department of the Treasury and contracted by the Venezuelan State to print the pieces of the monetary cone, delays the sending of the new tickets.
  28. July 2017: Delaware Trust, the payment agent of the PDVSA bonds, reports that its correspondent bank (PNC Bank) in the U.S. refuses to receive funds from the Venezuelan oil company. The Citibank bank (USA) refuses to receive Venezuelan funds for the import of 300 thousand doses of insulin.
  29. July 2017:  The Department of the Treasury, through the Office for the Control of Assets Abroad (OFAC), issues sanctions against a group of Venezuelan officials, including the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro Moros, a day after the celebration of the election of the National Constituent Assembly.
  30. August 2017: The Swiss bank Credit Suisse prohibits its clients from carrying out financial transactions with Venezuela.
  31. October 2017. The financial blockade of the USA makes it impossible for Venezuela to deposit in the Swiss bank UBS resources for vaccines and medicines acquired through the Revolving and Strategic Fund of the Pan American Health Organization, which generated a delay of four months in the acquisition of vaccines, altering vaccination schemes in the country
  32. August 2017:
    1. The Bank of China (BOC–Panama), reports that due to instructions from the U.S. Treasury Department and pressure from the Panamanian government, it will not be able to carry out any operation in foreign currency in favor of Venezuela.
    2. Russian banks report the impossibility of making transactions to Venezuelan banks, due to the restriction imposed by correspondent banks in the U.S. and Europe, to Venezuelan operations.
    3. The correspondent of the BDC bank Shandong, alleging administrative reasons, paralyzes a transaction for 200 million dollars towards Venezuela even though the funds had been drawn by the People’s Republic of China.
    4. Donald Trump issues Executive Order 13808: “Imposition of sanctions with respect to the situation in Venezuela” which establishes the following prohibitions:
      1. That the Venezuelan government acquire new debts with maturity greater than 30 days.
      2. That PDVSA acquires new debt greater than 90 days.
      3. New obtaining of shares by the government of Venezuela.
      4. Payment of dividends or distribution of profits to the Venezuelan government by companies operating in the United States, Which especially affects the CITGO refinery.
      5. The company Euroclear in charge of the custody of a part of the sovereign bonds of Venezuela, freezes operations of liquidation of titles, alleging “review” reasons. To date, Euroclear has retained 1,600 million dollars without the possibility of mobilization.
  33. September 2017:
    1. The Treasury Department, through its Financial Crimes Control Network (FINCEN), issues an alert called “red flags” that imposes a surveillance and control system on financial transactions in Venezuela, to prevent the payment of food and medicines.
    2. A shipment of 300 thousand doses of insulin paid by the Venezuelan State does not arrive in the country because the Citibank bank boycotted the purchase of this important input.
    3. The disembarkation of 18 million boxes of subsidized food from the Local Committee Program of Supply and Prices is interrupted by obstacles imposed by the U.S. financial system.
    4. Venezuela is included in the list of countries with a ban on travel to the U.S. (travel ban). The prohibition applies only to Venezuelan government officials.
  34. October 2017:
    1. The refining company PBF Energy, Venezuela’s fifth largest importer of Venezuelan crude, suspends direct purchases from PDVSA.
    2. Canada approves the S-226 bill that authorizes it to impose restrictions on the transactions of assets and freeze the assets of foreign officials.
    3. The U.S. oil company NuStar Energy prohibits PDVSA from using a storage terminal in the Caribbean.
    4. The Deutsche Bank informs the Citic Bank of the People’s Republic of China, the closure of its correspondent accounts, for processing PDVSA payments.
  35. November 2017:
    1. Colombia blocks the dispatch of the antimalarial treatment (primaquine and chloroquine) requested by the BSN Medical laboratory in that country.
    2. The transnational pharmaceutical companies Baster, Abbot and Pfizer refuse to issue export certificates oncological medicines, making it impossible for Venezuela to buy them.
    3. The U.S. sanctions and disqualifies Venezuelan officials who administer the food supply programs, preventing them from signing commercial agreements or international agreements that favor Venezuela’s food policy.
    4. The European Union prohibits the sale of arms and security equipment to Venezuela.
    5. The Deutsche Bank, the main correspondent of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), closes the accounts definitively.
    6. A total of 23 financial operations of Venezuela, destined to the purchase of food, basic supplies and medicines for 39 million dollars, are returned by international banks.
    7. The rating agency Standard and Poor’s declares Venezuela in “selective default”.
  36. December 2017:
    1. Venezuelan payments are blocked from the cabotage service for the transportation of fuel, which causes scarcity of this product in several states.
    2. A total of 19 Venezuelan bank accounts abroad are arbitrarily closed by U.S. banks, preventing payments to creditors.
    3. 471 thousand rubbers for vehicles purchased abroad whose payments were made are retained abroad.
  37. January 2018: 11 Venezuelan debt and PDVSA bonds, for a value of 1,241 million dollars, could not be paid to their creditors because of the obstacle of the sanctions.
  38. February 2018: The U.S. Treasury Department extends financial sanctions to Venezuela and Venezuelan companies established in Executive Order 13808 of August 2017. Prevents the renegotiation or restructuring of Venezuelan debt and PDVSA, issued prior to August 25, 2017.
  39. March 2018:  The Trump Administration
    1. Renew for one year executive order 13692
    2. Renews executive order 13808 and imposes 6 new coercive measures that undermine Venezuela’s financial stability, by prohibiting debt restructuring and preventing the repatriation of dividends from Citgo Petroleum, a Venezuelan state company.
    3. It dictates Executive Order 13827 that prohibits any citizen or institution from making financial transactions with the Venezuelan crypto currency “Petro”.
    4. The Government of Panama publishes a list of 55 sanctioned Venezuelan citizens (including President Nicolás Maduro) and 16 Venezuelan companies considered “high risk”.
  40. April 2018: Chancellor of Peru, in the framework of the Summit of the Americas, and on behalf of the Lima Group, announces that they have decided to create a follow-up group to study political and economic measures against Venezuela. In the same Summit, the U.S. and Colombia agree to accelerate mechanisms to pursue financial transactions in Venezuela and hinder the supply lines of basic products required by the country.
  41. May 2018:
    1. Claiming a favorable ruling of an arbitration award for 2,040 million dollars before the International Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. oil company Conoco Phillips announces that it will seize international assets of PDVSA.
    2. Block the payment of 9 million dollars for the acquisition of supplies for dialysis, for the treatment of 15 thousand hemodialysis patients.
    3. The Colombian government blocks the shipment to Venezuela of 400 thousand kilos of food from the food subsidy program of the Local Supply and Production CLAP Committees.
    4. In retaliation for the presidential election for the period 2019-2025, in which more than 9 million citizens voted and Nicolás Maduro wins with 67% of the votes, Donald Trump issues Executive Order 13835 in which he extends the economic sanctions against Venezuela and by means of which it prohibits the purchase of debt and accounts payable of companies of the Government of Venezuela.
    5. The U.S. sanctions 20 companies in Venezuela for alleged ties to drug trafficking.
  42. August 2018:
    1. The U.S. authorizes Crystallex to confiscate assets of Citgo Petroleum, owned by PDVSA.
    2. The Brazilian government stopped paying 40 million dollars owed to the Electricity Corporation of Venezuela for energy supply to the state of Roraima. Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes declared that the electric debt “has not been canceled due to the economic and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. and the European Union against Venezuela .”
  43. November 2018: Donald Trump prohibits U.S. citizens from trading gold exported from the South American country .
  44. January 2019: The administration of Donald Trump approves new sanctions against Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) that includes the freezing of 7,000 million dollars in assets of the subsidiary company CITGO , in addition to an estimated loss of 11,000 million dollars of its exports during the next years.

How you translate the most recent sanctions into real things the Venezuelans have been denied access to:

  1. The losses caused by the unilateral coercive measures that, since 2013 and up to now, the U.S. has imposed on the Venezuelan people, including the attack on the national currency, amount to $114.302 million dollars:
    1. Of these 114.302 million, 21.450 million losses have been caused by unilateral coercive measures, financial blockades, commercial embargoes, the theft of CITGO assets, resources that are not received by such an act of pillage, gold retained in England and the euros blocked in Euroclear:
      1. 11,000 million dollars of losses for what will be lost due to the illegal appropriation of the oil company and Venezuelan CITGO by the US.
      2. 7,000 million dollars for the illegal appropriation of CITGO assets.
      3. 1,600 million dollars retained by Euroclear.
      4. 1200 million dollars equivalent to the gold retained by the Bank of England   [15] .
      5.  in the value of the securities in custody in Euroclear, which went from USD 1,093,529,941.96 to 625.90 million, decreasing 57.24% as a result of the financial blockade.
      6. 37 million dollars for operating obstacles imposed by shipping companies and international ports, such as the role of the cargo that is destined for Venezuela and the increase in waiting times; coupled with the increase in rates.
      7. 655 thousand dollars for transfers, payment inquiries, amendments to transfers, between operating costs. Before the application of the U.S. sanctions, the payment instructions were sent through the correspondent banks and were executed within 48 hours. Now on average, a payment is effective between 10 and 20 continuous days.
      8. 20 million dollars for the foreign exchange differential as the Republic is obliged to adopt other currencies, different from the U.S. dollar, to carry out financial and commercial transactions.
      9.  264 million dollars for loss of the bond acquired through Credit Suisse corresponding to the external public debt.
    2. The difference, that is, 92.852 million dollars, corresponds to what we have stopped producing as a result of the attack on the currency, which in addition to inducing inflation, also contracted national production levels.

Impact of unilateral coercive measures

  1. These 114.302 million dollars are also equivalent to the importation of medicines and food to supply the 30 million Venezuelans for 26 years.
  2. The losses that to date caused by the sanctions, the blockade and the attack on the currency coincide with the investment in health for 10 years.
  3. They represent guaranteeing the right to education for 10 years, both public and private, from preschool to university.
  4. These losses represent the total annual imports for 7 and a half years, including machinery, spare parts, transportation, raw materials, supplies, food and medicines, textiles, products of the chemical industry, etc.
  5. They correspond to the total external debt of the Republic, which we must pay within 20 years.
  6. With the 1.2 billion dollars that England keeps us in gold, food is purchased for 6 million households for 6 months.
  7. With $20 million dollars the care and treatment for all people with malaria is covered for three years.
  8. With $40 million, antiretroviral treatment for people with HIV and AIDS for 2 years.
  9. With 18 million dollars we acquired the 9 million doses of vaccines to apply the annual vaccination plan.
  10. With the $11,000 million dollars that represent the losses due to the act of plundering CITGO, we import all the medicines and medical surgical equipment including the inputs for the internal production during 5 years.

“Each number presented here corresponds to the face of a Venezuelan woman, a man, a boy, a girl. It is not only about the economic impact on imports or production, it is about the impact that these economic aggressions have on the guarantee of the human rights of each Venezuelan” –Pasqualina Curcio, The Impact of the Economic War Against the People of Venezuela.


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