It was always about the oil. United States assertions that the government of elected president Nicolas Maduro was illegitimate were always a ruse needed to get U.S. corporate hands on Venezuela’s oil company, CITGO.
All the years of demonization, choosing an “interim president” who addressed congress and met with U.S. allies around the world, and collusion with the corporate media to spread war propaganda, were all part of a bipartisan heist that would make a gangster blush.
Actually, the plot is the work of gangsters. Barack Obama began the process with the first tranche of sanctions against Venezuela. He then handed over the project to Donald Trump, a man allegedly anathema to the Democratic Party, who openly bragged about wanting to take Venezuela’s oil. He got his wish but his successor Joe Biden gets the hoodlum ring leader bragging rights.
This columnist was invited to be a jurist for the International People’s Tribunal on U.S Sanctions hearing in Caracas, Venezuela. During a week long fact finding mission and a day of testimony we witnessed the depths of U.S. depravity directed at a nation that refuses to bend to Washington’s will.
Unilateral economic coercive measures, commonly referred to as sanctions, target more than 40 countries and impact 28% of all people in the world. They are used as a tool of punishment and as a means of theft on behalf of corporations. The goal is to steal and to exert compliance from nations who won’t do what the U.S. wants them to do.
Before the full force of sanctions were directed at Venezuela its oil wealth was used to benefit not only its people but those abroad as well. Petrocaribe funds made oil available at generous discounts to Venezuela’s neighbors in the Caribbean basin region. Such generosity is not in the interests of the U.S. hegemon, whose goal is to dominate. An oil rich nation that shares its wealth is a danger to the imperialist project.
Venezuela also shared its oil with low income Americans. For ten years Venezuela provided free oil to 200,000 homes every winter through the non-profit Citizens Energy.
Socialist nations, especially in this hemisphere, present the threat of a good example. Venezuela helping poor people heat their homes is proof that their own government could have done the same thing. One nation’s generosity might create demands for change here in the U.S. and that was something to be stamped out.
By working with the Venezuelan opposition to claim funds, CITGO is due to be auctioned beginning on October 22, 2023. Canadian mining company Crystallex has its hand in the till to recoup losses after Venezuela nationalized its operations and U.S. oil company Conoco-Phillips also stands to gain from the robbery.
But grabbing loot is not the criminals’ only goal. Sanctions are meant to undermine governments and create unrest. The Chavez and Maduro presidencies used oil wealth to provide free health care. The Children’s Cardiology Hospital of Latin America is located in Caracas, and as the name suggests it cared for children throughout the region.
Now that hospital performs surgery without necessary equipment, such as sternal saws, because the U.S. punishes any nation that dares to do business with the targeted country. U.S. sanctions then become international, and force the rest of the world to go along with its aggressions. Countries risk their own security if they dare to sell medical equipments to a country that has fallen out of U.S. favor.
The CITGO theft is not the only one that will be used against Venezuela. Five republican senators are proposing the Venezuela Democracy Act, which calls for more sanctions and a “transitional government.” In other words, regime change is still on the agenda.
Venezuela is just one of many nations suffering under unilateral economic coercive measures. The people of Cuba and Eritrea and Zimbabwe and Iran and other nations suffer without medical equipment or technology or food because the U.S. has declared them to be enemies. What makes another nation an enemy? The answer to that question isn’t complicated.
Resisting U.S. economic, military, or diplomatic domination puts any country at risk of attack. The question is what if anything will people in this country do about it? What are the ways in which the CITGO auction could possibly be stopped? How do we make more people aware of these aggressions and then mobilize against them?
Every step taken to ensure U.S. control accelerates the decline as the rest of the world seeks protection from Washington’s actions. In the meantime the U.S. will use dollar domination and it’s 800 military bases to its advantage. The least we can do is to resist as Venezuela has been doing for so many years.