10 February 2019 — Counter Currents
Russia, US present rival UNSC resolutions on Venezuela
- Only Venezuelans can solve Venezuela’s issues, reiterates China
- US blockade on Venezuela has cost US$350 billion
- Oil reserves would be opened to foreign investors, says Guaido’s envoy
- US humanitarian aid is a ‘big lie’: Venezuela’s VP
- Independence, sovereignty non-negotiable: Venezuelan VP
- Guaido isn’t ruling out ‘authorizing’ US intervention
- ‘You don’t get to authorize US military interventions’: US Congressman to Guaido
Constitution does not allow ‘transitional’ government
- PDVSA moves accounts to Gazprombank
The world imperialism is intensifying its interventionist activities around Venezuela while resistance to it is strengthening in different areas. The following update prepared based on media reports present the following information:
Russia and the U.S. are trying to push through two rival resolutions at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to address crisis created by imperialist intervention crisis in Venezuela.
Russia in Security Council
In the UNSC, Russia has presented a “peaceful measure” initiative on Venezuela. The veto power wielding country reiterated its support for Nicolas Maduro, the democratically elected President of Venezuela.
Russia’s proposal calls to end outside interference from the U.S. and it’s allied countries.
The proposal calls for “resolving the political tensions in Venezuela through ‘peaceful measures’ based on a ‘political settlement’ without any preconditions or outside interference.”
The Russian proposal expresses “concern over the attempts to intervene in matters, which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction.” It also expresses “concern over the threats to use force against the territorial integrity and political independence of Venezuela.”
US pushes with its interventionist plan
The US, in a rival proposal, demands that the UNSC formally calls for a new presidential election in Venezuela. The US is urging the international community to offer its “full support for the National Assembly as the only democratically elected institution”.
The US plans to vote for a UNSC resolution accuses Maduro’s government of causing “an economic collapse” in Venezuela.
Russia supports Mexico-Uruguay-Bolivia-CARICOM initiative
Nikolai Sofinski, the Russian ambassador to Uruguay, confirmed his country’s support the efforts being made by Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and the Community of Caribbean States (CARICOM), to promote dialogue mechanisms between the Government of Venezuela and the opposition.
“We support all the initiatives that advocate dialogue as a means of solution, which advocate that the opposing sides agree without preconditions or impositions or interference of any kind,” Sofinski told Russian public television network, Rossiya.
Only Venezuelans should solve their problem: China
Venezuela should resolve its own matters itself via peaceful talks and China supports the international community’s efforts in this regard, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
The ministry said while China supports the recent international efforts by some EU countries and others in Latin America China still supports an internal resolution to the conflict away from interference and intervention.
“Venezuela’s affairs should be resolved by its people within the framework of the constitution and the law through peaceful dialogue and political channels. Only this way can Venezuela realizing lasting stability,” said the ministry.
China has lent more than $50 billion to Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements over the past decade.
Evo rejects Guaido’s statement
Bolivian President Evo Morales gave his endorsement for peaceful dialogue.
Evo later Tweeted his displeasure of the U.S.’ attempts at a coup. “We reject the statements by the self-proclaimed Juan Guaido who welcomes a U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. I wonder what the brothers’ presidents who recognized him have to say about such incitement to war in Latin America.”
US blockade costs Venezuela US$350 billion
A report, released on Friday, by the Economic Debates Unit of the Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (CELAG) calculates that the “international financial blockade to Venezuela since 2013 is the main responsible for the economic crisis.”
The report on “the economic consequences of the boycott against Venezuela,” said the financial and economic blockade that was mainly promoted by the U.S., and enforced by its allies, would have cost Venezuela around US$350 billion “in the production of goods and services between 2013 and 2017.”
Blocking a country financially is paramount when trying to asphyxiate the national economy. The external attacks are able to undermine the economic and productive capacity of the country, and therefore, destroy the economy. According to the study, these economic and financial attacks “are usually the prelude to military intervention.”
The U.S. government led by Donald Trump is arguing in favor of military intervention in Venezuela, to allegedly end a so-called “humanitarian crisis,” but the “alleged humanitarian crisis and the migration of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have their origin in the economic boycott of the United States and its allies.”
According to the researchers, the U.S. generated a crisis that would serve as an excuse for military intervention in Venezuela. “The US government justifies an eventual intervention, based in the alleged humanitarian catastrophe and in the massive emigration that its blockade, precisely, would have created.”
Oil reserves would be opened to foreign investors, says Guaido’s envoy
An envoy to the US for Venezuelan opposition leader Guaido has said the country’s oil reserves would be opened to foreign investors, bolstering suspicions that Washington’s support of Guaido is oil-dependent.
Guaido’s representative in Washington, Carlos Vecchio, told Bloomberg that the opposition leader wanted to increase oil production and scrap current requirements that state-owned oil giant PDVSA must keep a controlling stake in joint ventures. Currently, PDVSA must maintain a 51 percent stake in joint projects.
US President Donald Trump threw his support behind Guaido in January and called on “illegitimate” Maduro to step down after the opposition leader declared himself interim president.
“We want to go to an open economy, we want to increase oil production,” Vecchio said during an interview at Bloomberg’s DC office. “The majority of the oil production that we want to increase will be with the private sector.”
Vecchio’s comments will come as no surprise to analysts who predicted Trump is supporting capitalist Guaido against socialist Maduro in order to gain access to Venezuela’s vast natural resources for eager American companies.
Vecchio, who attended Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday as a guest of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, also said that Citgo, the US refiner controlled by PDVSA would not file for bankruptcy despite earlier reports, saying it was “not necessary.”
According to Bloomberg, Vecchio also suggested that the White House might consider issuing an executive order to protect Venezuela from creditors, which the US did for Iraq. He also said it was possible that Venezuela under Guaido might not honor debt agreements made by the Maduro government.
US officials have not been shy about admitting that oil is a major interest and motivating factor in the decision to support Guaido. Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton told Fox News that it would “make a big difference to the United States economically” if US companies could “invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
WikiLeaks cables also revealed that the first “fundamental interest”the US has in Venezuela is continued supply of petroleum imports.
US humanitarian aid is ‘big lie’: Venezuela’s VP
Washington’s decision to send aid to Venezuela now is pure hypocrisy as it was the US that caused the nation’s economic woes with its sanctions, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez told RT. She believes the aid foreshadows an invasion.
The US seeks to create conditions that would allow it to invade Venezuela, Rodriguez said.
Washington seeks to present a distorted view of the situation in Venezuela to create a “false positive” impression about its own policies against Caracas, the vice president said, adding that, although the nation does struggle with social and economic problems, it does not suffer from a full-scale humanitarian crisis and by no means requires any help from Washington.
“This [humanitarian assistance] is a big lie,” she said, adding that Venezuela’s social “wounds” were the result of the US economic “blockade.” What Venezuela does need is a national dialog between the government and the opposition – something that she says the US actively impedes.
Rodriguez said her country has been facing “total political and ideological rejection” by the US and some of its allies. She also accused Washington of directly “giving orders” to the opposition led by Guaido.
“Washington believes that [Venezuelan President] Nicolas Maduro should go. Washington’s response is its distorted doctrine of regime change [in] democratic nations that do not like it when someone twists their arms and forcibly interferes into their internal affairs,” Rodriguez explained.
Washington would be wrong to believe that it still “rules the world,” Rodriguez said, adding that an increasing number of nations seek to establish a multipolar system of international relations.
Venezuelans stay ready to repel a military assault whenever it comes, Rodriguez has said. She was firing back at Trump’s remark that a military invasion is “an option” in Venezuela.
Speaking to the Russian media on Sunday, Rodriguez said Venezuela considers Trump’s remark “unacceptable”. If an attack is mounted on the country’s sovereignty, its army and people are fully prepared to retaliate, she stressed, calling the matter of the nation’s independence non-negotiable.
“The sovereignty is not discussed, it is defended,”she stressed.
On Saturday, US trucks full of food and medicine have arrived at the Venezuelan border near the Colombian city of Cucuta. However, the Venezuelan military reportedly blocked the Tienditas Bridge so that the trucks cannot enter Venezuela.
Maduro welcomes delegation of EU-backed contact group despite rejecting resolution
Maduro said that while he rejects the final declaration of the EU-backed International Contact Group, he would be open to a delegation sent by the group in order to promote peace talks between the government and the right-wing opposition.
Maduro, delivering a press conference Friday, hailed the efforts by the Montevideo Mechanism initiative, which is supported by Bolivia, Mexico and Caricom. He declined to sign the EU-sponsored resolution, which set preconditions that infringe on Venezuela’s self-determination.
“We think it is very important that from Latin America, peace initiatives should emerge respecting Venezuelan sovereignty,” Maduro told a gathering of international journalists at the presidential palace.
Answering questions about the “humanitarian aid” that the United States has sent to Venezuela on the request of Guaido, President Maduro said that such an action is an attempt to violate the national sovereignty.
“We will Defeat the US coup attempt”
Maduro repeated Thursday that Venezuelans were “warriors for peace” and will come out undefeated before the coup attempt promoted by the U.S. government.
“Today, Venezuela is united in one only cry, demanding the assault seeking the asphyxiation of our economy and society to stop,” said Maduro speaking from the Plaza Bolivar in the capital, “As well as the serious threats of military intervention in Venezuela.”
Maduro reminded, “Venezuela is a country that has widely expanded participative and protagonist democracy of the people, and has become one of the countries of the world with the highest number of electoral processes in the past 20 years.”
Guaido isn’t ruling out ‘authorizing’ US intervention
Guaido told AFPhe would not rule out calling on foreign powers, and the U.S. in particular, to intervene militarily to remove Maduro from power.
‘You don’t get to authorize US military interventions’: US Congressman to Guaido
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on Saturday warned Venezuelan self-proclaimed president Guaido against any attempt to authorize U.S. military force to strengthen his claim to power.
“Mr. Guaido, you can proclaim yourself leader of Venezuela but you don’t get to authorize US military interventions. Only the US Congress can do that. We will not,” Khanna tweeted.
The tweet came in response to an interview Guaido gave on Friday in which he refused to rule out allowing U.S. forces to help push Maduro from power.
Khanna, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who describes himself as a “staunch voice for restraint in foreign policy,” slammed the Trump administration last month for recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.
“The United States should not anoint the leader of the opposition in Venezuela during an internal, divided conflict,” Khanna said in a statement last month.”
Constitution does not allow ‘transitional’ government
Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice Juan Mendoza has accused Guaido of trying to usurp presidential powers, noting that the country’s constitution does not include any provisions for forming a ‘transitional’ government.
Mendoza reiterated that Maduro had been re-elected by a popular vote of 67.8 percent in last year’s election, which the opposition coalition voluntarily boycotted, taking to the streets instead.
PDVSA moves accounts to Gazprombank
Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA is moving bank accounts of its joint ventures with foreign companies to Russia’s Gazprombank.
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 been instructed to deposit their payments into Russia-based bank accounts following the latest crippling round of Washington’s sanctions.
PDVSA 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.