Trump Regime Illegally Sanctions Venezuela’s Oil Giant
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
On Monday, the Trump regime upped the stakes in Venezuela, imposing sanctions on state-owned oil giant PDVSA, seizing $7 billion of its assets. More on this below.
Unilaterally imposed US sanctions against Venezuela and other countries are flagrantly illegal. Security Council member states alone may impose them, not one country on its own against another.
Rule of law principles don’t deter Washington, operating by its own rules, Venezuela in its crosshairs, wanting control over the country and its world’s largest oil reserves, a prize it covets.
John Bolton admitted it’s what the Trump regime’s attempted power grab is all about, saying:
“We’re in conversation with major American companies now…It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
Its revenues are heavily earmarked for social benefits. If controlled by Big Oil, they’ll be largely or entirely eliminated, the US and its oil giants benefitting at the expense of the Venezuelan people.
The attempted coup also aims to eliminate the threat of a good example – Bolivarian social democracy, serving all Venezuelans, not just its privileged few, the way the US, other Western countries, and most others operate.
Republicans and undemocratic Dems oppose democratic governance at home and abroad, wanting it eliminated everywhere by whatever it takes to achieve their objectives.
That’s what US imperialism is all about, a diabolical aim for dominance over all other nations, their resources and populations, exploiting ordinary people everywhere to serve privileged interests, mainly US corporate giants, aiming to rule the world.
On Monday by executive order and message to Congress on Venezuela, Trump cited Obama’s EO on March 15, 2015, declaring a “national emergency” when none existed, saying at the time:
“(W)ith respect to the (nonexistent) unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela, (w)e are committed to advancing respect for human rights, safeguarding democratic institutions, and protecting the US financial system from the illicit financial flows from public corruption in Venezuela.”
At the same time, his press secretary Josh Earnest lied claiming Venezuela’s government “intimidat(es) its political opponents…criminaliz(es) dissent, (and) violates human rights and fundamental freedoms…”
Again on the phony pretext of a US national emergency over crisis conditions in Venezuela, created by Washington, citing a litany of Big Lies about democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro, Trump said the following:
“The executive order I have issued accounts for the swearing in of a(n) (illegitimate usurper) interim president of Venezuela, and addresses actions by persons affiliated with the (legitimate) Maduro” government.
US actions against Venezuela are illegal, flagrantly breaching international and US constitutional law – issues never deterring Washington’s imperial aims.
Trump illegally handed over control of Venezuela’s central bank and state-owned oil company PDVSA to US designated puppet Juan Guaido – a figure elected by no one as president, a usurper with no legitimacy.
On the same day, US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, citing Trump’s executive order, said his regime “will continue to use its (imperial power) to support (puppet) interim president Juan Guaido, the National Assembly, and…democracy” in Venezuela the US is going all out to eliminate.
Revenues from the state-owned US subsidiary CITGO will be held in a blocked account, unavailable to Maduro’s legitimate government and the Venezuelan people.
On Friday, all US diplomatic personnel left Venezuela. Maduro recalled his government diplomatic staff from the US. Both countries agreed on establishing so-called “interest sections” in Washington and Caracas within 30 days.
Maduro called the latest Trump regime’s actions “criminal,” vowing to act against them, saying:
“I have given specific instructions to the head of PDVSA to launch political and legal action, in US and international courts, to defend the property and assets of CITGO.”
It won’t matter. On the one hand, legal action takes time. On the other, if US courts, including majority Supreme Court justices, rule for Maduro, an unlikely prospect, majority House and Senate can legislatively override the ruling, Trump signing a measure into law.
If Maduro again sues for redress, the process would repeat with virtually the same outcome. If the International Court of Justice rules for him, it won’t matter. Trump hardliner will ignore the ruling, doing as it pleases, the way the US always operates under Republicans and undemocratic Dems.
As directed by the Trump regime, Guaido intends illegally naming new PDVSA and CITGO directors, usurping control over Venezuela’s foreign assets.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freedland announced that on February 4 Ottawa will host an “urgent meeting” of the so-called (US controlled) Lima Groups of 14 Latin and Central American countries – part of the Trump regime’s aim to legitimize Guido’s illegitimacy, along with an attempt to tighten its grip on Venezuela.
During a Monday press conference on developments in the country, John Bolton’s notepad included the words “5,000 (US) troops to (neighboring) Colombia.” Both countries share a common border.
Separately, Bolton said “(a)ll options are on the table for Trump in Venezuela,” DLT earlier saying the same thing, indicating possible military intervention.
New Zealand joined Russia, China, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey in refusing to recognize US designated puppet usurper Guaido as Venezuelan president.
At the same time, New Zealand’s foreign minister and president tried having things both ways, expressing concern about last May’s Venezuelan presidential election – refusing to admit it was judged scrupulously open, free, and fair by international observers.
Venezuela’s social democracy is gravely threatened by the Trump regime’s actions – so far backed by the country’s military, key to preserving and protecting it along with majority public support.
Sanctioning PDVSA upped the stakes, making the struggle to preserve Venezuela’s sovereign independence, free from US control, all the harder.
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