Friday, May 09, 2014

US sanctions against Venezuela?

"Venezuela is Latin America's biggest exporter of crude oil and has the world's largest petroleum reserves." - Brian Ellsworth and Andrew Cawthorne, Venezuela death toll rises to 13 as protests flare Reuters 02/24/2014

This headline illustrates that even McClatchy, who does such good reporting on the Middle East, isn't above hysterical headlines about Venezuela: Chris AdamsAs Venezuela continues crushing dissent, a bipartisan push in Senate for sanctions 05/08/2014.

Yes, just as the G-7 this week were declaring they want to get Europe less dependent on Russian oil, the rightwing Cuban lobby, aka "Miami", and their Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Blue Dog Democrat Bill Nelson think it would be a dandy idea to carry on a mini-Cold War with Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world.

We can only marvel at the geopolitical perception of these foreign policy prophets.

Rubio tried on a little populist rhetoric, although it's hardly good taste in Republican circles to criticize rich people for ostentatious consumption - unless they're libruls, of course:

Citing sanctions against individuals in Russia for that country’s actions in Ukraine, Rubio asked what the difference was between repressive officials there and those in Venezuela.

"We sanction human rights violators all the time," Rubio said. "The only difference between those sanctions, those people, and others, is they spend their weekends in Miami."

He spoke of people connected to the Venezuelan regime who live in Miami and "drive up and down the streets in their fancy cars. They laugh at you and they laugh at us, because they know they can get away with these things."
Yeah, Russia, Venezuela, they both have government, they're big in the oil business and they spread funny foreign languages. They're just alike. All a bunch of rich Commies with big cares. Or something.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, another Democrat who constantly seeks to show he's not one of them thar "bleeding-heart liberals" - he uses the term - is on the bandwagon, too:

The criticism of the administration’s go-slow stance was bipartisan. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said the administration’s hesitancy on sanctions in the Venezuelan crisis could be applied to the use of sanctions in other places.

"I think you continue to make arguments against sanctions, and I have to ask you, 'What’s your alternative?’" he said. "If we start with the premise that we can’t do anything that might affect the Venezuelan economy because it will hurt innocent people, we find ourselves at the end of the day saying, ‘Well, they’re just aren’t many sanctions’" the U.S. could use.

"If we're not going to use military force, what are sanctions that might result in a positive outcome?" Durbin asked.
"What's your alternative?" Uh, not rushing into needless conflicts? Not backing hard-right extremists in Venezuela like Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado in trying to overthrow an elected government? Maybe trying to build positive relationships with the government presiding over the world's largest oil reserve?

Not surprisingly, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has some ideas about sanctions and the alternatives (Maduro a EE UU: "Estúpidos, saquen sus sanciones" Panorama 09.05.2014):

"Ya ni provoca responder las estupideces que dicen las élites imperialistas del norte. Que se queden con sus amenazas y estupideces, dediquemos a construir patria y no dejemos que nadie se meta en los asuntos de nuestra patria. Ahora andan diciendo que nos van a sancionar. ¡Estúpidos, eso es lo que son! saquen sus sanciones, al pueblo de Bolívar no los para las sanciones de ningún imperio”, soltó el Jefe de Estado este viernes.

“Que viva la dignidad del pueblo de Venezuela, abajo el imperialismo. Son luchas de todos los días (…) ante cualquier ataque imperialista tiene que haber una respuesta de organización, que se consolide la fuerza para luchar, que cada quien se defina. Aquí hay un proyecto de patria, el más avanzado de la historia de 200 años de República, un proyecto democrático y profundamente humanista que fue construido sobre la base de la conciencia del país”.

["The idiocies that the imperialist elites of the North say don't even deserve a response. Let them take their threats and idiocies, let us dedicate ourselves to building our homeland and to not allowing anyone to meddle in the business of our homeland. Now they are going around saying that they are going to sanction us. Idiots, that's what they are! take your sanctions, the people of Bolívar are not going to stop because of sanctions of any imperialist power," the Chief of States declared this Friday.

"Hooray for the dignity of the people of Venezuela, down with imperialism. There are struggles every day ... Facing any kind of imperialist attack we have to have an organized response, that consolidates our forces to fight, no matter who is defining it. Here we have a national project, the most advanced in 200 years of the Republic, a democratic project and a profoundly humanist one"] that was constructed on the basis of the conscience of the country."]
By the "national project," he means the political project of the Bolivarian Revolution, as the chavistas refer to their cause.

This is a video of part of Maduro's statement from the state television channel VTV, Maduro a voceros de EEUU: ¡Estúpidos…Al pueblo de Bolívar no lo para sanciones de ningún imperio! 09.05.2014:

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