Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ignacio Ramonet on escalating US political pressure on 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

TV Pública argentina interviews Spanish journalist Ignacio Ramonet of Media Watch Global, a former editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, on US policy against Venezuela, V7inter - Estados Unidos con Venezuela en la mira 14.03.2015:

He discusses the evidence that the Venezuelan government has placed in the public record on coup planning by the radical wing of the opposition and of active US collaboration with it. Evidence that Ramonet finds convincing.

The discussion calls attention to the fact that the Obama Administration's softening of the long-time US stance toward Cuba seems contradictory to the current deliberate escalation of tensions with Venezuela.

Romanet talks about a conversation he had with Noam Chomsky in which Chomsky seemed to argue that the explicit language in Obama's anti-Venezuela state of emergency declaration about Venezuela being a threat to the national security was actually purely formal. In Romanet's account, Chomsky seemed to be playing down its significance. The actual Executive Order refers to "the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela."

It's true that Obama needed to issue the declaration to invoke the Presidential power to apply the kind of sanctions he announced against Venezuela. But this is a clear escalation of pressure against Venezuela.

The report includes a recording of Gen. John Kelly, Commander of the US Southern Command that has responsibility for US military action in South America, including Venezuela. In it, he denies knowing about any coup planning, of course. But he talks about the subject in such a way that it seems intended to indicate that he wouldn't mind seeing some kind of coup.

TeleSur reports, US General Says Venezuela Coup Possible, Denies Involvement 13.03.2015:

Contrary to the statements by White House and State Department officials, the head of U.S. Sourthern Command said Thursday that an unconstitutional change in government could be planned for Venezuela.

“A coup? You know, I don't know anyone that would want to take that mess over, but it might be that we see, whether it's at the end of his term or whatever, I wouldn't say -- I wouldn't (say) necessarily a coup, but there might be with -- the same ruling party ... some arrangements to change leadership,” said Marine General John Kelly, Commander of U.S. Southern Command. ...

“I’m certainly not involved in any way, shape or form with coup planning. I don't know anyone who is. And I probably would know if someone was,” Kelly said in a press gathering speaking about Soutcom's 2015 Posture Statement to Congress.

“And as far as the Air Force -- or, they claimed it was a U.S. Air Force pilot. This would really be a question for the State Department. But I believe it was a U.S. pilot,” he continued, referring to Venezuela detaining a U.S. pilot and accusing him of spying and recruiting Venezuelans to join the coup plot.
Glenn Greenwald writes about Obama's latest policy action against Venezuela in Maybe Obama's Sanctions on Venezuela Are Not Really About His "Deep Concern" Over Suppression of Political Right The Intercept 03/11/2015:

Any rational person who watched the entire top echelon of the U.S. government drop what they were doing to make a pilgrimage to Riyadh to pay homage to the Saudi monarchs (Obama cut short a state visit to India to do so), or who watches the mountain of arms and money flow to the regime in Cairo, would do nothing other than cackle when hearing U.S. officials announce that they are imposing sanctions to punish repression of political opposition. And indeed, that’s what most of the world outside of the U.S. and Europe do when they hear such claims. But from the perspective of U.S. officials, that’s fine, because such pretenses to noble intentions are primarily intended for domestic consumption.

As for Obama’s decree that Venezuela now poses an “extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States, is there anyone, anywhere, that wants to defend the reasonability of that claim? Think about what it says about our discourse that Obama officials know they can issue such insultingly false tripe with no consequences.

But what’s not too obvious to point out is what the U.S is actually doing in Venezuela. It’s truly remarkable how the very same people who demand U.S. actions against the democratically elected government in Caracas are the ones who most aggressively mock Venezuelan leaders when they point out that the U.S. is working to undermine their government.
Greenwald writes:

In essence, Venezuela is one of the very few countries with significant oil reserves which does not submit to U.S. dictates, and this simply cannot be permitted (such countries are always at the top of the U.S. government and media list of Countries To Be Demonized). Beyond that, the popularity of Chavez and the relative improvement of Venezuela’s poor under his redistributionist policies petrifies neoliberal institutions for its ability to serve as an example; just as the Cuban economy was choked by decades of U.S. sanctions and then held up by the U.S. as a failure of Communism, subverting the Venezuelan economy is crucial to destroying this success.
Greenwald's article also embeds this video from Democracy Now!, Is Venezuela Really an "Extraordinary Threat"? U.S. Sanctions Top Officials as Tensions Grow 3/11/2015:

No comments: