'Aid’ tipping point or flashpoint point in VZ? updated

(6 minutes, and a map with the bridge)

Venezuelan military blocks bridge as ‘aid’ arrives, CNN  From cnn.com Feb. 6:

“The Venezuelan government, led by embattled President Nicolás Maduro, blocked a bridge connecting the nation to Colombia as humanitarian aid, called for by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, was due to arrive.

(Could someone tell those Spanish speakers that it’s not CoLUMbia, but Colombia?)

Oddly, earlier today no one else had ‘the story’, neither Telesur English nor RT, come to that: nor the Tankie Twittersphere.  But by noonish MST it’s rather ubiquitous at the corporate news sites: the Grauniad, WaPo, Reuters in general, and the Telegraph UK. their coverage is a bit more expansive:

” The Colombian Foreign Ministry says a second crossing in the northern department of La Guajira has also been blocked.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, reacted angrily to the blockade, tweeting: “The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The US & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE. #EstamosUnidosVE”

[Here’s the CoupCalling Mob Boss’s Tweet in person.]

John Bolton, the US national security adviser, echoed his comments, and lashed out at Mr Maduro for seeking only to look after himself.

Maduro and his cronies live lavishly in Europe and enrich their Cuban patrons while plundering Venezuela’s wealth,” he said. “Meanwhile, they are physically blocking the Venezuelan people, including the military rank and file, from receiving humanitarian assistance.”

He said the US would protect any senior military official who accepts Mr Guaido’s legitimacy.”

But that’s been part of the ‘Humanitarian Aid’ delivery plan all along: to turn the military by hoping they can call to their ‘consciences’ about their hungry families.  At the same time Guaido, Trump and his team are virtue-signaling their ‘help to The People’ and hoping for some false flag even that well lead to a true R2P invasion.  But more Bolton Bombast:

“The US will consider sanctions off-ramps for any Venezuelan senior military officer that (sic) stands for democracy and recognizes the constitutional government of President Juan Guaido,” he said. “If not, the international financial circle will be closed off completely. Make the right choice!”

Most of the rest is by way of Guaidoista innuendo against Maduro, but there are a few exceptions, one that notes both the Int’l Red Cross and the UN have called out the ‘aid’ for being politicized; neither organization likes it, nor will be involved in distributing it, and this:

“And the aid delivery represents the latest attempt by Mr Maduro’s political rival, 35-year-old national assembly president Mr Guaido, to weaken the Venezuelan regime by forcing members of the military to disobey Mr Maduro’s orders.”

In his Feb. 7 ‘Washington issues ultimatum to Venezuela over “humanitarian aid” ploy’, wsws.org  7 February 2019, Bill Van Auken again smacks the hell of the bourgeois Mauro government, but does add some salient details, some already known:

“The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid,” Pompeo tweeted. “The US & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.”

The sudden concern for the “starving people” of Venezuela comes from a US government that has systematically worked to strangle the Venezuelan economy, imposing a financial blockade in August 2017 and an oil embargo last week. The embargo aims to block all sales to and from the state-owned energy company PDVSA, threatening the country with the loss of its main source of foreign exchange and its ability to import food and medicine.

Washington’s intention is unmistakable. It seeks to starve the Venezuelan population into submission, render the country ungovernable and carry through a regime-change operation to install a right-wing puppet government.” [snip]

“The right-wing governments of Latin America, along with Canada and the major European powers, have followed suit in what amounts to a criminal and predatory scramble for control over Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest of any country on the planet.

Guaidó and the Venezuelan right, working in close collaboration with the CIA and the State Department, have launched a noisy public campaign over the aid promised by Washington ($20 million), Canada (US$40 million) and the European Union (US$5 million), demanding the opening of a “humanitarian corridor” and declaring that supplies are on the verge of arriving in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta and must be brought into Venezuela under the right-wing opposition’s control, without hindrance.

The Twitter account of the National Assembly led by Guaidó has kept as its lead message: “Now is the time, soldier of the fatherland! Are you going to deny humanitarian aid to your mother?”

Van Auken calls that paltry amount of food and medicine ‘aid’ a pretense, a Trojan Horse, given the scale of the profound social and economic crises are absurd, and not about alleviating suffering, but instead provoking either a military coup or armed confrontation.

Oddly, the Telegraph story had named ‘tents’ in the humanitarian aid sitting in warehouses in Bogata, yet to ‘cross the bridge.  Tents?  But more from Bill:

The US president reiterated his recognition of the “legitimate government” of Guaidó in his State of the Union address Tuesday, to applause from both Republicans and Democrats, whose principal leaders have endorsed the US coup attempt.

The American corporate media, meanwhile, has fallen into line behind Washington’s regime-change operation in the same manner as it did in advance of the US wars in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. On cue from the State Department, the White House and the CIA, it is broadcasting reports on hunger in Venezuela and casting Maduro as a villain for failing to throw his borders open to the US “aid.”

Now this wasn’t the flashpoint I’d been imagining in the title, but:

“Underlying this intransigence is the determination of US imperialism to assert its hegemony over the most oil-rich country in the world and to roll back the influence of China and Russia, which both have extensive economic and military ties with Caracas.

The threat of Venezuela becoming a flashpoint for a major confrontation between the world’s principal nuclear-armed powers is real and growing. The New York Times published an editorial Wednesday generally supporting the overthrow of the Maduro government, but expressing the nervousness that exists within sections of the US ruling establishment over the extremely bellicose policy being pursued against Venezuela.”

Venezuelan troops blockade bridge to stop aid from Colombia; Opposition uses humanitarian shipment to test army’s loyalty but government sees it as prelude to military intervention’, the Guardian/Grauniad, Feb. 6

“Mejía denied that the opposition hoped to provoke a military incident which some fear could be used to justify international intervention to unseat Maduro. “That’s not our goal. That is not what we are looking for. Basically, the strategy … is to show people that humanitarian aid is real, [that] it is not only a discourse … and it is close and it can be here soon.”

Mejía added: “We are a non-violent movement. We do not have weapons and we do not want to have them. We are absolutely certain that violence benefits the government and we cannot win a violent struggle against the government.”

[But with help from Colombia and Brazil they sure could.]

“On Tuesday, Diosdado Cabello, another top Chavista, depicted the aid effort as part of a hostile foreign military intervention that would be rebuffed.

“Our territory must be respected. As our brother President Nicolás Maduro has said: any military unit that tries to penetrate our territory will be repelled and our Bolivarian national armed forces will defend our territory. There should be no doubt about it.”

‘Venezuela as the pivot for New Internationalism?’, Feb. 6, 2019, michael-hudson.com, Michael interviewed by the Saker.  As had Hudson’s Feb. 1Trump’s Brilliant Strategy to Dismember U.S. Dollar Hegemony’, it put me in mind of Percy Bysshe Shelly’s:

‘Wake the serpent not—lest he
Should not know the way to go,–
Let him crawl which yet lies sleeping
Through the deep grass of the meadow!
Not a bee shall hear him creeping,
Not a may-fly shall awaken
From its cradling blue-bell shaken,
Not the starlight as he’s sliding
Through the grass with silent gliding.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

RT still doesn’t have this story, but has this WTF weirdness: ‘Pompeo: America ‘obligated’ to fight ‘Hezbollah’ in Venezuela to save ‘duly elected’ Guaido

“Straining to explain Washington’s eagerness for regime change in Caracas, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Cuba was already occupying Venezuela, misunderstood how democracy works, and claimed Iran had a presence in the country.

After making the expectant accusations of Russian and Chinese interference in Venezuela, Pompeo decided to mobilize his go-to excuse for US meddling – Iran!
“People don’t recognize that Hezbollah has active cells — the Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America,” adding that “We have an obligation to take down that risk for America.”

ah, here it is:

also, in my last diary on the coup in galloping in progress, i’d mentioned that bill van auken had claimed that maduro had death squads killing protestors and strikers, iirc, and hadn’t found it a bit credible.

Also Feb. 6 at the Guardian, ‘They are murderers’: special forces unit strikes fear in Venezuelans; Activists suspect Nicolás Maduro has tasked Faes with pacifying the city’s barrios in bid to snuff out protest in areas once considered the cradle of Chavismo.

but i still don't find it the least bit credible, do you?

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So is Guaido going to be the Shah of Venezuela? About as legitimate as the Shah that replaced Mossadeigh...

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wendy davis's picture

@Dalum Woulu

'the enemy of our enemy is...oh, hell, i forget. but given it's time for me to shut down for the night, to put away and wash up after 3 loaves of bread day, let this be tonight's closing song as a tribute to the US empire, and it's puppets:

gimme money, that's what i want...

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The US puts Venezuela under harsh sanctions and steals their oil income and then offers "humanitarian" aid. What a joke, it's all politics designed to implement yet one more viscous right wing coup. But we love those, don't we? God forbid anyone should be a socialist and really care about the welfare of the people. The message: trickle down from your overlords is better than a government run for the people.

If the US was so concerned about the people of Venezuela it would remove the sanctions, pay for the oil it stole, give them back their gold, and if they wanted to give aid it should be through the UN. But aid to the people is not what this is about.

What amazes me is how most of the Western pissant countries fall in line with this crap. Not even the slightest attempt for analysis to come to an ethical conclusion. The US has really succeeded in creating a Western world of vassal states. Capitalism at its peak. Fortunately countries representing most of the world's population don't buy into American Hegemony. It's like the Wizard of Oz, don't pay any attention to that little man behind the curtain. The US has created an image of itself that is far greater than reality. When has the US given significant aid to any country, other than military? It turns out that we actually can't afford it.

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Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

wendy davis's picture

@The Wizard

has convinced far too many that guaido as prez really IS for the 'benefit of the people', tragically/disturbingly. but no, most don't even care to look past the evil empire's diatribes against 'dictators', do they? they don't even care that guaido has already opened VZ's resources to the highest foreign bidders, plans to privatize everything, nor what that will mean for the citizenry. two things i'll add, then try to weave them together if i can.

from vijay prashad's feb. 1 ‘The U.S. 12-Step Method to Conduct Regime Change, What is happening to Venezuela is nothing unique in American history, common dreams, portions from three steps:

Step Nine: Who Controls the Narrative? The monopoly corporate media take their orders from the elite. There is no sympathy for the structural crisis faced by governments from Afghanistan to Venezuela. Those leaders who cave to Western pressure are given a free pass by the media. As long as they conduct “reforms,” they are safe. Those countries that argue against the “reforms” are vulnerable to being attacked. Their leaders become “dictators,” their people hostages. A contested election in Bangladesh or in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in the United States is not cause for regime change. That special treatment is left for Venezuela.

Step Ten: Who’s the Real President? Regime change operations begin when the imperialists question the legitimacy of the government in power: by putting the weight of the United States behind an unelected person, calling him the new president and creating a situation where the elected leader’s authority is undermined. The coup takes place when a powerful country decides—without an election—to anoint its own proxy. That person—in Venezuela’s case Juan Guaidó—rapidly has to make it clear that he will bend to the authority of the United States. His kitchen cabinet—made up of former government officials with intimate ties to the United States (such as Harvard University’s Ricardo Hausmann and Carnegie’s Moisés Naím)—will make it clear that they want to privatize everything and sell out the Venezuelan people in the name of the Venezuelan people.

Step Eleven: Make the Economy Scream. Venezuela has faced harsh U.S. sanctions since 2014, when the U.S. Congress started down this road. The next year, U.S. President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a “threat to national security.” The economy started to scream. In recent days, the United States and the United Kingdom brazenly stole billions of dollars of Venezuelan money, placed the shackles of sanctions on its only revenue-generating sector (oil) and watched the pain flood through the country. This is what the United States did to Iran and this is what they did to Cuba."

now arthur silber (the power of narrative)is still dying dying, but did put together an essay on feb. 4. 'Concerning Moral Judgment, and Moral Monsters'. a few excerpts:

"So we are left with a procession of moral monsters, who are "honored" as leaders of a "great" nation. The newest members of this procession are Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump. Make no mistake: they are both moral monsters. They both have the blood of innocents on their hands, many times over. Some may conclude that the depravity evidenced by their actions exiles both of them to the underworld of the damned and further moral distinctions are meaningless, and even offensive."

"I also discussed how the Obama administration claimed it had the "right" to murder anyone in the world, any time it wished, for any reason it chose or invented, and that it need never tell anyone about its actions or the reasoning behind them. The Obama administration claimed absolute power, the power of life and death itself."

"As I reread my previous essay (and there is much more detail in the full article), one thought kept repeating in my brain, growing steadily louder and more insistent: Why, Obama is far worse than Trump. It's obvious! Because Obama knew what he was doing.

In this way, the Times makes such a judgment of Obama unavoidable. In its own way, it's perfect, and a powerful example of unintended just desserts: in its unceasing attempts to justify and idealize Obama, it presents all the evidence necessary to pass the most severe of negative judgments against him. Of course, such a judgment requires that one identify fully and truthfully the nature of Obama's policies -- and this, above all, is the identification that the Times, and most mainstream commentary, is resolutely determined to make impossible.

The most common criticisms of Trump reinforce the judgment that Obama is far more culpable than his successor. According to most commentary critical of Trump, he is either an idiot or crazy. Or both. Let's take those criticisms seriously: how much does an idiot or a crazy person understand about the nature of the policies he pursues? Any such understanding will be incomplete and even accidental, at best. But the Times and most commentators endlessly insist that Obama was brilliant, "prudent," and "restrained." Obama was aware of the great dangers represented by the policies he championed -- and yet he did all he could to make certain that those policies would be protected from all legal challenges, and that those policies would be permanently grafted onto the operations of the State. As for Trump, if his critics are to be believed, an achievement of that kind would be entirely beyond his abilities, strictly limited as they are by his idiocy and lunacy.

So there you have it: on the one hand, an idiotic lunatic who unquestionably represents great and lethal danger, given the immense, terrifying powers at his command -- and on the other, a thoughtful, knowledgeable, reflective and exceedingly careful president who made certain that such powers would be available to all subsequent Commanders in Chief. Who do you think is the guiltier of the two?"

the kafka quote he says he was remembering at the opening f his essay:

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief."
-- Franz Kafka, in a letter to a friend

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wendy davis's picture

US commander says Pentagon prepared to intervene to defend Venezuela embassy’, Bill Van Auken, 8 February 2019, wsws.org

“Amid rising tensions generated by the US-backed coup in Venezuela, the head of the US Southern Command, responsible for the Pentagon’s operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, told a Senate panel Thursday that the US military is prepared to intervene in defense of Washington’s embassy in Caracas.

The phony pretext of defending US personnel from alleged threats was used as justification for the last two major military invasions carried out by US imperialism in the hemisphere: Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989.

SOUTHCOM commander Admiral Craig Faller, who appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee alongside his AFRICOM counterpart, Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, made clear the active involvement of the US military in the ongoing regime-change operation in Venezuela, launched on January 23 with the US-coordinated self-swearing-in by a previously virtually unknown extreme right-wing legislator, Juan Guaidó as “interim president.”

“We think the population is ready for a new leader,” the admiral told the Senate panel, on which both Democrats and Republicans expressed support for the Trump administration’s bid to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

Pressed by senators about the state of the Venezuelan military, which Washington is appealing to incessantly to consummate regime change by means of an armed coup, Faller described the country’s army as “a degraded force, but still a force that remains loyal to Maduro.” He promised to provide more information during a closed session on US efforts to win over sections of the military command to the regime-change operation.
The admiral linked the US drive to oust the Maduro government to the Pentagon’s global security strategy of preparing for “great power” conflicts with nuclear-armed China and Russia.

“Russia and China are expanding their influence in the Western Hemisphere, often at the expense of US interests,” he told the committee. “Both enable —and are enabled by—actions in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba that threaten hemispheric security and prosperity, and the actions of those three states in turn damage the stability and democratic progress across the region. As the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, Iran’s activities in the region are also concerning.”

"Admiral Faller announced that he is going to Brazil on Sunday for meetings with the military brass of the newly installed government of the fascistic ex-army captain, Jair Bolsonaro, which is collaborating closely with Washington on the coup in Venezuela.
Brazil is supposed to serve as one of the entry points for “humanitarian aid” being organized by Washington in a bid to provoke a confrontation on Venezuela’s borders and spark a revolt in the country’s military.”

and of course they'd asked for moar dollars for defense in the 'southern hemisphere'....

but yeah, i went to southcom's site it's all there. and here:

fucking hypocrite faller:

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wendy davis's picture

lol, but snoopydawg had just asked about this on her thread:

@cordeliers Feb 5 “It's blindingly obvious that @aoc's "response" is being held in reserve by her handlers for release in an opportune moment. A likely scenario: after US intel pulls off a spectacular false flag, she'll reluctantly endorse the coup "for humanitarian reasons."

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While Russians flying bombers, US showing compassion.

Russia to supply 600,000 tonnes of wheat to Venezuela: minister

How much is all this wheat worth? Just looking up the internet tubes, people to sustain needs require about 100 lbs a year. Doing the calculation, Russia is sending enough wheat to feed 12 million people for a year.

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wendy davis's picture

@MrWebster

and russia had sent a hospital ship to VZ, and cuba had sent boatloads of doctors. i didn't quite understand the reuter's piece as to delivery? but if it's by sea, will the ships be allowed in by the guaido/bolsanaro/colombia (i forget his name...)forces?

this may not have much significance in the end, but i'll add: ‘Venezuela Reveals Evidence, Plotters Behind Recent US-backed Coup Attempt’, telesurenglish.net Feb. 7, 2019

"Venezuelan Minister of Communications Jorge Rodriguez offered a press conference Thursday in which he showed evidence of the coup attempt by the right-wing opposition against the constitutional President Nicolas Maduro, with the participation of the United States and other governments.

The official revealed that thanks to a Venezuelan intelligence operation, retired Colonel Oswaldo Valentín García Palomo was arrested after he wanted to enter the country to organize a military coup.

He denounced that the U.S. and Colombian governments supported the coup attempts, once in May 2018 in the framework of the presidential elections; and another in January 2019, which have already been defeated.

Rodriguez reported that García Palomo coordinated from Cucuta the regime change operation and had had numerous trips to Miami, despite an Interpol's request for capture by the Venezuelan government.

After his capture, García Palomo has given numerous statements and in view of the seriousness of his confessions, the Venezuelan prosecutor approved showing part of his confessions to the public and the media."

dunno that he made a case for it, but b at MoA is up with 'Venezuela - U.S. Aid Gambit Fails - War Plans Lack Support

it's far from over, imo.

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wendy davis's picture

'Venezuela's Guaido won't rule out authorizing US intervention', AFP news, today
it's long but a few bits:

"National Assembly President Guaido told AFP he would do "everything that is necessary... to save human lives," acknowledging that United States intervention is "a very controversial subject." Guaido, 35, is trying to bring in food and medicines from the US but the supplies are stuck in warehouses in Colombia because the Venezuelan military has blocked their entry.

Guaido says 300,000 people could die if desperately-needed aid isn't brought in.

"We're going to do everything that has a lower social cost, which generates governability and stability to deal with the emergency so we can recover public services," he said.

Failing public services including water, electricity and transport are among Venezuela's worst problems, while there is also a shortage of doctors and medical supplies in hospitals.

Helping the needy is not Guaido's only aim, though. He has dismissed Maduro as illegitimate over his reelection last May in polls branded a fraud by the US, EU and many Latin American countries.

Guaido says the constitution allows him to assume power, set up a transitional government and hold new elections -- one of his key demands that has received widespread international support.

"We'll do everything we have to in a sovereign and autonomous manner to end the usurpation, (establish) the transitional government and (hold) free elections," he said.

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wendy davis's picture

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wendy davis's picture

muy gracias to those of you who've commented. tonight's closing song's just gotta be from the awesome bruce cockburn:

(the lyrics, including):

Here comes the helicopter - second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they've murdered only God can say

If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay

I don't believe in guarded borders and I don't believe in hate
I don't believe in generals or their stinking torture states
And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would retaliate

g' night.

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wendy davis's picture

"On the heels of the hard-line anti-Maduro Lima Group meeting in Ottawa, countries favoring a negotiated solution, including Uruguay, Mexico, and Bolivia, met in Montevideo on Thursday. The final declaration, however, compromises Venezuela’s sovereignty, according to Bolivia. We discuss the outcome with Miguel Tinker Salas and Greg Wilpert”, the real news network (w/ transcript)

"An important meeting on Venezuela concluded in Montevideo, Uruguay today. Representatives from Uruguay, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK, Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Ecuador gathered and formed what is now being called the International Contact Group on Venezuela. EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini presented the final declaration. Here’s what she said.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI: The group aims to forge a common international approach to support a peaceful, political, democratic, and Venezuelan-owned resolution to the crisis, excluding the use of force through free, transparent, and credible presidential elections, in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution. To that end, the Group, through the co-chairs of the meeting–that is, the two of us–will proceed with the necessary contact with relevant Venezuelan actors, as well as with regional and international partners, with the aim of first establish the necessary guarantees for a credible electoral process within the earliest timeframe possible. And second, enable the urgent delivery of assistance in accordance with international humanitarian principles.

To implement these goals, the International Contact Group will send a technical mission to the country. The group will reconvene at ministerial level by the beginning of March to take stock of progress, and in between we will have a senior officials meeting in the next couple of weeks.

SHARMINI PERIES: However, it is important to note that this declaration was not signed by Mexico and Bolivia. According to Bolivia’s foreign minister, his government did not agree with the Contact Group’s call for early elections. He said this could only be an end result of such negotiations. Just prior to the International Contact Group meeting, Mexico and Paraguay came to a different agreement on Venezuela which came to be known as the Montevideo mechanism. This agreement focuses on four steps of the negotiation strategy for overcoming the crisis in Venezuela.’

lest you think the 'four steps' have anything to do with end the killing sanctions, give us our gold back, take john bolton and eliott abrams to the hague, get the mercenaries outta VZ! well, not so much. small wonder mauduro's aleady rejected them. thanks, AMLO, you obomba clone.

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wendy davis's picture

'the international contact group' on twitter. frigging fascists.

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wendy davis's picture

Venezuela’s oil giant PDVSA moves joint ventures’ accounts to Russia’s Gazprombank – report’, via RT via Reuters, today

"Amid the tightening noose of US sanctions, Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA is reportedly moving bank accounts of its joint ventures with foreign companies to Russia’s Gazprombank, Reuters reports, citing documents and sources.

Customers of PDVSA’s joint ventures with US-based Chevron Corp, France's Total SA, Norway's Equinor and other projects with foreign companies have reportedly been instructed to deposit their payments into Russia-based bank accounts following the latest crippling round of Washington’s sanctions, Reuters reports.

Imposed on January 28, the fresh round of sanctions are aimed at cutting the government of Nicholas Maduro off from oil proceeds, after Washington recognized the self-proclaimed ‘interim’ president Juan Guaido and claimed that Venezuela’s state funds and profits should be controlled by the ‘legitimate government.’

The state oil giant has also been urging its foreign partners to make formal decisions on whether they want to bow to US pressure and bail out or preserve stakes in the joint projects and continue their business in Venezuela, the agency reports. Besides dozens of joint ventures with Western companies, PDVSA also has many projects with Russian companies and Chinese investors, who, according to some assessments, might lose the most from US economic pressure on the Latin American country.

In addition to $7 billion of the assets of PDVSA –and of its US subsidiary Citgo– that Washington seized “on behalf of Venezuelan people,” the US expects its sanctions to affect some $11bn-worth of the country’s exports in 2019. Venezuela is home to the world’s largest oil reserves, and oil sales account for 98 percent of export earnings and as much as 50 percent of its GDP.

Dispelling the Trump administration’s hopes that Maduro's government would quickly run out of cash and crumble under pressure from the opposition and the US-led international ‘regime change’ endeavor, the state company has vowed to diversify its sales and reroute exports to customers, particularly those in Europe and Asia, who are not afraid of Washington’s unilateral sanctions."

lord luv a duck. if true, this is war.

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