Blockade Trump not Venezuela

Photo: thegrayzone.com

Big Oil and the big banks want to starve the people of Venezuela into submission. They want to return the independent Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the days when Nelson Rockefeller—the butcher of Attica’s prisoners—had a 100,000 acre ranch there.

That’s why Trump issued his Aug. 5 executive order forbidding anyone from doing business with Venezuela’s government. Neither the United Nations nor the U.S. Congress was consulted.

Among the Venezuelan governmental programs affected will be the Local Supply and Production Committees, known as CLAP, which provide food for 6 million families. Also hit will be imports of medicine for the public health system. 

Two days after Trump’s announcement, a ship carrying 25,000 tons of soybeans destined for Venezuela was told not to deliver the foodstuff by its insurer because of the new sanctions. At the time, the vessel was going through the Panama Canal.

Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodríguez denounced this action: “Venezuela calls on the U.N. to stop this serious aggression by Donald Trump’s government against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food.” 

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza warned that Trump will freeze all of Venezuela’s assets in other countries. The Bank of England earlier seized a billion dollars of Venezuelan gold on U.S. orders.

Despite these acts of economic warfare, the foreign minister declared that Venezuela will not be intimidated by the billionaire in the White House. “It takes much more than a magnate-president to violate the dignity of Venezuela,” said Arreaza.

Bolton cracks the whip in Lima

Trump’s imperial edict came just before an international conference opened in Lima, Peru, on Aug. 7, to supposedly “restore democracy” in Venezuela.  Although the U.S. is ostensibly not a member of the Lima Group that called this circus, Washington is its ringmaster.

Of the 100 countries invited to Lima, 56 showed up. Among those that boycotted it were the People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Uruguay, the Russian Federation, Spain and Turkey.

Who did attend was the death squad government of Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez. Fifty-nine community leaders and human rights defenders were assassinated in Colombia during the first four months of 2019. More have been killed since then. Brazil’s fascist President Jair Bolsonaro also sent a delegation. 

Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross came to the Lima conference to give marching orders. While Bolton has a worldwide reputation as a warmonger, Ross is a vulture capitalist who stole health care benefits from thousands of Bethlehem Steel retirees. 

Bolton declared that the U.S. government was “sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: Proceed with extreme caution.” He added that those that continue to trade with Venezuela “risk (their) business interests with the United States.” 

Bolton is threatening to cut off foreign companies and banks, including those belonging to imperialist rivals. Companies like Air France and the Spanish oil company Repsol could have their U.S. assets seized. 

Washington can do this because the U.S. dollar is world money. The world’s most traded commodity—oil—is traded in dollars.

This is applying Trump’s rules to the 96 percent of humanity who do not live in the U.S. It’s a complete violation of international law. As Thomas Walkom, a columnist for the Toronto Star newspaper, described it, “This is known as extraterritorial application of (U.S.) law and it drives the rest of the world nuts.” 

Venezuela will never surrender

Across Venezuela on Aug. 10, Venezuelans demonstrated against Trump’s blockade. Venezuela’s elected President Nicolás Maduro Moros encouraged people to come to public squares named after the Liberator, Símon Bolívar. A few days before, on Aug. 7, was the 200th anniversary of Bolívar’s victory at the  Battle of Boyacá, which helped lead to Latin America’s independence.

People around the world are denouncing the Trump administration’s acts of economic warfare and threats of military intervention. Protests took place on Aug. 10 in Australia, Angola, Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, Ethiopia, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Portugal, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey and the U.S. 

In New York’s Grand Central Station. SLL photo: Anne Pruden

In New York City, supporters of Venezuela gathered in Grand Central Terminal on Aug. 9 during the evening rush hour. They carried signs and distributed leaflets to commuters. The demonstration was called by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York.

Among those interested were tourists visiting from the People’s Republic of China. They were glad to see people in the U.S. protesting against Trump. Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, called Trump’s embargo a serious violation of the fundamental principles of international relations.”  

Bolívar never surrendered and neither will the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.