Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Venezuela, oil and regime change

Michael Klare weighs in on the current situation of petrostates, including Venezuela, in The Desperate Plight of Petro-States Tom Dispatch 05/26/2016, with an introduction by Tom Engelhardt. Klare writes:

Venezuela claims the world’s largest proven reserves of petroleum, an estimated 298 billion barrels of oil. ...

Today, Venezuela is a nation living under an officially declared “state of emergency,” politically riven, experiencing food riots and other violence, and possibly on the brink of collapse. According to the IMF, the economy contracted by 5.7% in 2015 and is expected to diminish by another 8% this year -- more, that is, than any other country on the planet. Inflation is out of control, unemployment and crime are soaring, and what little money Venezuela had in its rainy-day account has largely been spent. Only China has been willing to lend it money to pay off its debts. If Beijing chooses to hold back when the next payments come due this fall, the country could face default. Opposition leaders in the National Assembly seek to oust Maduro and move ahead with various reforms, but the government is using its control of the courts to block such efforts, and the nation remains in a state of paralysis.
For the Obama Administration and the Latin American conservatives he favors, this makes Venezuela a more plausible object of regime change, by "soft coup" or otherwise:

Diego Ore, OAS head moves to suspend Venezuela from regional group Yahoo! News/Reuters 05/31/2016

Franco Ordoñez, Is OAS move on Venezuela another effect of U.S.-Cuba détente? Sun Herald/McClatchy News 05/31/2016:

The United States has been one of the most outspoken members of the OAS on the matter. Secretary of State John Kerry said in April that the United States supported the idea of invoking the Democratic Charter.

During an OAS meeting in early May to discuss invoking the charter, Michael Fitzpatrick, the interim U.S. ambassador to the OAS, pressed his international colleagues to think about protecting the rights of the Venezuelan people.

“If the OAS, as our region’s pre-eminent institution founded on democratic principles, does not speak out now, when will it?” Fitzpatrick said.

Fabiola Zerpa, OAS Backs Recall Referendum as Spat With Venezuela Intensifies Bloomberg News 05/31/2016

Almagro mueve sus fichas para suspender a Venezuela en la OEA Página/12 31.05.2016

Argentina, Colombia, Chile y Uruguay manifiestaron apoyo al referendo revocatorio en Venezuela Panorama/Reuters 31.05.2016: "En esta ocasión, marcó una diferencia Colombia, cuya canciller María Ángela Holguín firmó el comunicado junto a los otros tres países. El Gobierno de Colombia había mantenido una postura muy prudente frente a la situación que vive su vecino, con el que comparte una extensa frontera."

Levy Martínez, Nicolás Maduro: Venezuela va a combatir, tenemos derecho a defender la soberanía de la patria Panorama 31.05.2016

Maduro: Pretender intervenir Venezuela es un crimen Últimas Noticias 31.05.2016

Ulrich Brand, Lateinamerika: Das Ende der linken Epoche? Blätter 5/2016

Maduro: Nos mantendremos en la mesa de diálogo de Rep. Dominicana TeleSUR 05/31/2016

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