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Venezuela: Let’s Cut to the Chase

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Written by Pepe Escobar; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

Cold War 2.0 has hit South America with a bang – pitting the US and expected minions against the four key pillars of in-progress Eurasia integration: Russia, China, Iran and Turkey.

It’s the oil, stupid. But there’s way more than meets the (oily) eye.

Caracas has committed the ultimate cardinal sin in the eyes of Exceptionalistan; oil trading bypassing the US dollar or US-controlled exchanges.

Venezuela: Let’s Cut to the Chase

Remember Iraq. Remember Libya. Yet Iran is also doing it. Turkey is doing it. Russia is – partially – on the way. And China will eventually trade all its energy in petroyuan.

With Venezuela adopting the petro crypto-currency and the sovereign bolivar, already last year the Trump administration had sanctioned Caracas off the international financial system.

No wonder Caracas is supported by China, Russia and Iran. They are the real hardcore troika – not psycho-killer John Bolton’s cartoonish “troika of tyranny” – fighting against the Trump administration’s energy dominance strategy, which consists essentially in aiming at the total lock down of oil trading in petrodollars, forever.

Venezuela is a key cog in the machine. Psycho killer Bolton admitted it on the record; “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” It’s not a matter of just letting ExxonMobil take over Venezuela’s massive oil reserves – the largest on the planet. The key is to monopolize their exploitation in US dollars, benefitting a few Big Oil billionaires.

Once again, the curse of natural resources is in play. Venezuela must not be allowed to profit from its wealth on its own terms; thus, Exceptionalistan has ruled that the Venezuelan state must be shattered.

In the end, this is all about economic war. Cue to the US Treasury Department imposing new sanctions on PDVSA that amount to a de facto oil embargo against Venezuela.

Economic war redux

By now it’s firmly established what happened in Caracas was not a color revolution but an old-school US-promoted regime change coup using local comprador elites, installing as “interim president” an unknown quantity, Juan Guaido, with his Obama choirboy looks masking extreme right-wing credentials.

Everyone remembers “Assad must go”. The first stage in the Syrian color revolution was the instigation of civil war, followed by a war by proxy via multinational jihadi mercenaries. As Thierry Meyssan has noted, the role of the Arab League then is performed by the OAS now. And the role of Friends of Syria – now lying in the dustbin of history – is now performed by the Lima group, the club of Washington’s vassals. Instead of al-Nusra “moderate rebels”, we may have Colombian – or assorted Emirati-trained – “moderate rebel” mercenaries.

Contrary to Western corporate media fake news, the latest elections in Venezuela were absolutely legitimate. There was no way to tamper with the made in Taiwan electronic voting machines. The ruling Socialist Party got 70 percent of the votes; the opposition, with many parties boycotting it, got 30 percent. A serious delegation of the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) was adamant; the election reflected “peacefully and without problems, the will of Venezuelan citizens”.

The American embargo may be vicious. In parallel, Maduro’s government may have been supremely incompetent in not diversifying the economy and investing in food self-sufficiency. Major food importers, speculating like there’s no tomorrow, are making a killing. Still, reliable sources in Caracas tell that the barrios – the popular neighborhoods – remain largely peaceful.

In a country where a full tank of gas still costs less than a can of Coke, there’s no question the chronic shortages of food and medicines in local clinics have forced at least two million people to leave Venezuela. But the key enforcing factor is the US embargo.

The UN rapporteur to Venezuela, expert on international law, and former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council, Alfred de Zayas, goes straight to the point; much more than engaging in the proverbial demonization of Maduro, Washington is waging “economic war” against a whole nation.

It’s enlightening to see how the “Venezuelan people” see the charade. In a poll conducted by Hinterlaces even before the Trump administration coup/regime change wet dream, 86% of Venezuelans said they were against any sort of US intervention, military or not,

And 81% of Venezuelans said they were against US sanctions. So much for “benign” foreign interference on behalf of “democracy” and “human rights”.

The Russia-China factor

Analyses by informed observers such as Eva Golinger and most of all, the Mision Verdad collective are extremely helpful. What’s certain, in true Empire of Chaos mode, is that the American playbook, beyond the embargo and sabotage, is to foment civil war.

Dodgy “armed groups” have been active in the Caracas barrios, acting in the dead of night and amplifying “social unrest” on social media. Still, Guaido holds absolutely no power inside the country. His only chance of success is if he manages to install a parallel government – cashing in on the oil revenue and having Washington arrest government members on trumped-up charges.

Irrespective of neocon wet dreams, adults at the Pentagon should know that an invasion of Venezuela may indeed metastasize into a tropical Vietnam quagmire. The Brazilian strongman in waiting, vice-president and retired general Hamilton Mourao, already said there will be no military intervention.

Psycho killer Bolton’s by now infamous notepad stunt about “5,000 troops to Colombia”, is a joke; these would have no chance against the arguably 15,000 Cubans who are in charge of security for the Maduro government; Cubans have demonstrated historically they are not in the business of handing over power.

It all comes back to what China and Russia may do. China is Venezuela’s largest creditor. Maduro was received by Xi Jinping last year in Beijing, getting an extra $5 billion in loans and signing at least 20 bilateral agreements.

President Putin offered his full support to Maduro over the phone, diplomatically stressing that “destructive interference from abroad blatantly violates basic norms of international law.”

By January 2016, oil was as low as $35 a barrel; a disaster to Venezuela’s coffers. Maduro then decided to transfer 49.9% of the state ownership in PDVSA’s US subsidiary, Citgo, to Russian Rosneft for a mere $1.5 billion loan. This had to send a wave of red lights across the Beltway; those “evil” Russians were now part owners of Venezuela’s prime asset.

Late last year, still in need of more funds, Maduro opened gold mining in Venezuela to Russian mining companies. And there’s more; nickel, diamonds, iron ore, aluminum, bauxite, all coveted by Russia, China – and the US. As for $1.3 billion of Venezuela’s own gold, forget about repatriating it from the Bank of England.

And then, last December, came the straw that broke the Deep State’s back; the friendship flight of two Russian nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers. How dare they? In our own backyard?

The Trump administration’s energy masterplan may be indeed to annex Venezuela to a parallel “North American-South American Petroleum Exporting Countries” (NASAPEC) cartel, capable of rivaling the OPEC+ love story between Russia and the House of Saud.

But even if that came to fruition, and adding a possible, joint US-Qatar LNG alliance, there’s no guarantee that would be enough to assure petrodollar – and petrogas – preeminence in the long run.

Eurasia energy integration will mostly bypass the petrodollar; this is at the very heart of both the BRICS and SCO strategy. From Nord Stream 2 to Turk Stream, Russia is locking down a long-term energy partnership with Europe. And petroyuan dominance is just a matter of time. Moscow knows it. Tehran knows it. Ankara knows it. Riyadh knows it.

So what about plan B, neocons? Ready for your tropical Vietnam?

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  • alejandro casalegno

    I hate the US policy………but the chavism was a economic disaster, they confiscated all private property, when the oil fall…………all was over, only misery and hiperinflation.

    Chavez and Maduro destrroyed Venezuela….not the USA.

    “Economic War”???……….was against Iran, not Venezuela, but Iran is a serious country and survive the US attack,

    • Tommy Jensen

      Chavez was a capacity and a personality. Unfortunately Maduro and his team dont seem capable. Guiado is a complete duffer. Dont they have them any better in Venezuela?

      • alejandro casalegno

        Chavez was a silly with the barrel over 100 dollars, a “Boludo con plata” as we say in latin america…..Maduro is a silly broken…………

        • Sinbad2

          If he was so silly, why did the US have to murder him, couldn’t the Americans outwit him?

      • Sinbad2

        I tried politics once, I found voters to be so stupid that I would never do it again.
        You have to be made of stern stuff to try and improve things for a rabble that would sell their children’s future for 2 bucks a week.
        The 2 bucks is a real number, I can remember a politician who was going to lose the election, so he offered a 2 dollar a week tax cut, and won.
        He never did give the rabble their tax cut, people are so cheap and shallow.

        • Tommy Jensen

          It took myself too long time to figure that out. If a politician only has 2 braincells its because his/her voters only have 1.
          So its tragic when someone ask for the sheeple to wake up. Stay at sleep pls :-D.

    • verner

      the more than destitute states of morons (aka usa) has a long line of failed wars and regime change operations and the idea is or might be that venezuela, in the morons own backyard, would be a quick
      fix to restore confidence in the washington dc’s ability to take sound decisions and also execute them soundly – so far this is not the case , no walk in the park and execution wise, worse than poor.

      even the choice of guaido was poor, worse than poor, in actual fact a fecking catastrophie

    • Sinbad2

      BS Chavez raised millions out of poverty. People got to see a doctor for the first time in their lives because of Chavez.

    • Marko
    • Marko

      Note that if you set the Venezuela line to zero in 1999 , as for the other two lines , the graph would show that Venezuela outperformed both the Latin American/Caribbean countries as a whole and also Brazil for most of the 12 years shown. The notable underperformance period surrounded the US-orchestrated but short-lived coup in 2002 :

      https://abcnews.go.com/images/ABC_Univision/cc_graph_chavez_wmain.jpg

  • Pave Way IV

    Venezuela is not about small-time Khazar Mafia asset-stripping.

    Venezuela is about debt, and debt denominated in either USD or Euro – both are major reserve currencies controlled by central banks. International bankers are not DEPENDENT on USD-denominated debt – any debt will do. The problem is that any other Khazar Mafia controlled central banks simply don’t have enough of their currency already printed. There are not enough Yuan (or even Euros, for that matter) on earth to cover all the USD-denominated debt if everyone wanted to convert away from USD.

    This is 100% a banker’s war. The ‘prize’ is Khazar Central Bankers getting the privilege to convert past Venezuelan into USD (or Euro) denominated debt, and ensure all future debt is USD/Euro. Why? Because all that money Venezuela needs to pay off old non-USD debt will have to (will certainly) come from the usual Khazar loan sharks: World Bank, IMF, OECD, etc. THOSE loan-sharks get their money from member states, and the U.S. happens to own those loan-sharks for now.

    This is NOT a scheme to collect interest from the debt-slave countries, it is a scheme to get big, reliable nations to print more money and get it in circulation. The IMF, World Banks, etc. are not profitable – they are an expense. But central banks love them because new currency (USD or whatever) is created to make the loans, and new USD is probably used to forgive the loans and clear World Bank/IMF books. Either way, the U.S. gets more political control via financial control. And central bankers (not just in the US) have a steady demand for new fiat, which is eventually consumed by their commercial banks.

    Venezuela gets massively screwed because if they are freedomized by the U.S., their debt will slowly be exchanged for USD debt. Unnecessary and expensive – money the Venezuelans don’t have to spend on a useless exchange with zero benefits. Except the ability to borrow even more USD in the future. The scheme could have been accomplished just as easily with the Euro because central bankers print those, too. US central bankers won’t lose a dime because they own the European central banks, too.

    • verner

      saw somewhere that Salvini wants to do away with the independent central bank in Rome and also the financial regulator. I suppose the effect is that the independence will come to an end and that the government will decide what the central bank shall do.

      • Pave Way IV

        I applaud Salvini, but he might as well stand in the middle of the street with a target on his back and beg to be assassinated. Nobody gets to disobey the money-changers.

    • Tommy Jensen

      Europe is not free from regime change operations, invasions like Iraq and Syria exactly because of that.

      • Pave Way IV

        But bankers already own most of the European governments. That’s who they depend on to authorize more new fiat. Besides – at some point – the bankers need to teach the little people their place. They rely on member state’s armed thugs to beat some sense into the debt slaves. Macron killing his own angry little people isn’t an anomaly. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Until it doesn’t.

    • You can call me Al

      I agree totally, but I had it down to the IMF or WB, as opposed to the individual central bankers directly.

      • Pave Way IV

        IMF and WB are just government fronts and supply conduits for Golman Sachs, Deutche Bank, HSBC, BNC Paribas, Mitsubishi and Bank of American. They can’t loan fiat if there isn’t an ocean of available fiat sloshing about.

        • You can call me Al

          They are both “owned” by the US / Israel per se.

        • You can call me Al

          I think I did mention that the name used was the only difference, just games.

  • ©igare☘☘e👽Sm⚽️k🚬ng🦉Man️🎲

    Collusion News Network was right ! There was collusion :

    CNN’s Russian fish stick story instantly sparked a debate on social media, with many users sniffing out the familiar gimmicks of the network’s regular Trump-Russia collusion claims. Jokers flooded the CNN Twitter account comments section, quipping that the network had uncovered “Putin’s masterplan” and suggesting that “collusion has been proven at last”.

    😂

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201902101072293333-trump-russian-fish-sticks-collusion/

    https://screenshotscdn.firefoxusercontent.com/images/55060abf-65f2-4e30-ba87-a6b9c9f58dc0.png

  • verner

    within say three years all oil traded and addressed for destinations east of the saudi peninsula will be priced in petroyuan on the chinese futures market and that will hurt the american soul all the way to the wallet. and what is the better part of the situation is that the morons from moronistan (aka usa) can’t do much about it, except that the trade war now being waged against china by the morons,is waged for exactly that reason, the greenback is sacrosanct and can’t and won’t be challenged!!!!

  • Douglas Houck

    from Sputnik:

    “How does the US benefit from this? It’s much more than just getting oil. It’s a chance to control the area, and to try to take China and Russia out of Venezuela. The investments from these countries are really big in Venezuela; they are keeping the government afloat. They are keeping a socialist government afloat and the United States just can’t allow that ‘in its own backyard.’ So they keep on doing it, and they really don’t care what the other powers think. They think that’s their prerogative.”

    https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201902101072295702-venezuela-crisis-maduro/

    • You can call me Al

      + force Venezuela to take out IMF loans and become Babylon whores for life.

      • Pave Way IV

        I think more like those John of God slaves in Brazil that he kept in his mines. Used as sex slaves and breeders, infants sold off to westerners or organ-harvested, some kept to replenish sex slave stocks. After the breeders have something like five kids, they are killed.

        A regular old Babylon whore isn’t exploited in nearly as many profoundly evil ways, so I’m voting for “+ force Venezuela to take out more IMF loans and become John of God sex slaves for life”

        • You can call me Al

          OK, pint taken.

  • Sinbad2

    The way to stop America destroying your country is to give your wealth to them.
    That’s what we do in Australia, we export 70 million tons of LNG a year, and at a thousand bucks a ton that’s $70 billion dollars.
    However Australia is only paid $10 million dollars a year, the other 69 billion 990 million dollars goes to the Chevron corporation.
    For that money, and sucking American dick on command, they don’t kill us.

    • χρηστος

      my calculations are a bit different to yours. 70million tons of LNG equal 3.45 billion MMBtu. the average price in 2018 was 10USD/MMBtu so that means that you sold 34.5billion of LNG. if you were paid 10million…..come on …this is what?0.000000000000000000000001%? what kind of deal is that?

      • Sinbad2

        Yes my numbers are a bit rubbery, because the Australian government hides the truth in a mass of confusing data like quoting revenue from 2005 to 2012 and also quoting estimated revenue in 2020 etc.
        The key is Chevron only has to pay a percentage of their profit, and by profit shifting, they never make a profit.
        The single Australian company in the business does pay tax.
        Somebody like Joe Biden or John McCain gets on the phone threaten our leaders and they just obey their American masters.
        We even have to pay over a billion dollars a year, for US troops we didn’t want stationed here.
        The British were the same when they owned Australia, but now we have an American masta.

        • Bob

          In mid 50-60’s British government used the South Australian outback as a nuclear weapons test/ plutonium dump site. After UK retreated from Commonwealth into European common market, US government assumed dominance and from late 60’s has used the Northern Territory outback for its global surveillance network. In both cases that’s some notable foreign control of a dominion.

    • Albert Pike

      It’s called living under protection of the fathers of democracy, and that is going to, and has, hit a lot of countries:

      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-10/south-africa-oil-discovery-could-be-game-changer

  • Sinbad2

    American oil companies need $65 dollars a barrel to be profitable, but oil prices are falling, so the US destroys other oil producers.

  • El Mashi

    The United States and its minions have imposed a medieval economic siege designed to starve the people of Venezuela into submission. The consequences are clearly evident.

  • RichardD
  • RichardD
  • marcusbond

    What’s been happening in Venezuela will meet many strategic purposes for the different players. But its always just about the rich and powerful wanting to maintain or increase their wealth or power, doesn’t matter whomever is hiding behind the US, UK, Russia, China, Colombia etc. at any particular time. It’s just richies and powerful doin their thing, and they don’t care two hoots about the little people who are so poorly educated and propagandarized that their degrees of freedom seem nonexistent.

    • Pave Way IV

      When the little people realize that the rich and powerful are sick human beings – psychopaths – they can begin to eliminate the problem. The little people are way too easily distracted, though. They will attribute EVIL to anything but the disease of psychopathy. That makes any attempts to contain or eliminate psychopathy about as effective as wearing a beak filled with herbs to ward off smallpox.

      • marcusbond

        I don’t think there is a lot that can be done. Personally I just try to consume less of other people’s stuff (media, news, goods), and instead to try and create more of my own (find my own information, make my own associations).

        I do have to dip back in from time to time (like now), otherwise I become too isolated.

        It can be a mad house world, but I just try to make my way through it as best as I can… and stay sane… I think.

  • RichardD

    Russia has a cruise missile launched torpedo that has a pretty limited range. But it’s not very heavy and it wouldn’t surprise me if there is a version with considerably more range that could be an effective counter measure against submarine launched cruise missile platforms that might be used to attack Venezuela.

    “The land attack variants, the 3M14T and 3M14K (NATO designation SS-N-30A), appear to lack the boost to Mach 3 on terminal approach. In compensation, the inertia-guided missiles have a range of between one thousand and 1,500 miles. A third class of Kalibr missiles—the 91RT and 91RE—is used to deploy antisubmarine torpedoes to ranges of around thirty miles.”

    – Why Russia’s Enemies Fear the Kalibr Cruise Missile –

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-russias-enemies-fear-the-kalibr-cruise-missile-19129

  • Luke Hemmming

    Excellent summation of the US agenda there Escobar. Very good article.