Venezuela: Economic Warfare Brings Nation To Its Knees

Featured article from Mint Press News.

Which is mightier; the pen or the sword? In the case of the recent upheaval in Venezuela, the pen is the obvious answer.

The bankers fight using the pen — the pen that signs the paperwork to impose the sanctions that incur mass starvation, dissolve order, hike prices, and bring nations to their knees — Venezuela is in the crosshairs this time.

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a determination that singled out Venezuela for failing to adhere to counternarcotics obligations. The accusation came – perhaps not so coincidentally – on the same day that Venezuela declared it would no longer participate in the U.S.’ petrodollar trade system.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro made his position clear, he had stated earlier in that month that the country would look to “free” itself from the dollar within a week’s time, following the U.S.’ sanctions against the embattled nation.

The decision is similar to that once made by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who dropped the dollar in favor of the euro a few years prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, we all know how that ended.

International markets thus far have failed to noticeably react to the policy shift, despite the threat it presents to the petrodollar system. The system, created in the 1970s, calls for OPEC nations to sell their oil in dollars in order to create artificial demand for the U.S. currency, a fiat currency based on thin air — held together by force.

Venezuela, home to the world’s largest oil reserves, is likely to exert some effect on the demand for dollars through its new policy, though the extent of the potential damage remains unclear. What is clear is that it means enough for the U.S. to declare a financial soft war in retaliation.

Millions of Venezuelans have seen their living conditions vastly improved through the Bolivarian process which shifted the focus away from compliance to the Western Banking Cartel.

The problems plaguing the Venezuelan economy are not due to some inherent fault in socialism, but to artificially low oil prices and sabotage by forces hostile to the revolution.

Starting in 2014, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flooded the market with cheap oil. This is not a mere business decision, but a calculated move coordinated with U.S. and Israeli foreign policy goals. Despite not just losing money, but even falling deep into debt, the Saudi monarchy continues to expand its oil production apparatus. The result has been driving the price of oil down from $110 per barrel, to $28 in the early months of this year. The goal is to weaken these opponents of Wall Street, London, and Tel Aviv, whose economies are centered around oil and natural gas exports.

Venezuela is one of those countries. Saudi efforts to drive down oil prices have drastically reduced Venezuela’s state budget and led to enormous consequences for the Venezuelan economy.

At the same time, private food processing and importing corporations launched a coordinated campaign of sabotage. This, coupled with the weakening of a vitally important state sector of the economy, has resulted in inflation and food shortages. The artificially low oil prices have left the Venezuelan state cash-starved, prompting a crisis in the funding of the social programs that were key to strengthening the United Socialist Party.

Corruption is a big problem in Venezuela and many third-world countries. This was true prior to the Bolivarian process, as well as after Hugo Chavez launched his massive economic reforms. In situations of extreme poverty, people learn to take care of each other. People who work in government are almost expected to use their position to take care of their friends and family. Corruption is a big problem under any system, but it is much easier to tolerate in conditions of greater abundance. The problem has been magnified in Venezuela due to the drop in state revenue caused by the low oil prices and sabotage from food importers.

Venezuelans told of how the privatizations mandated by the International Monetary Fund made life in Venezuela almost unlivable during the 1990s. Garbage wouldn’t be collected. Electricity would go off for weeks. Haido Ortega, a member of a local governing body in Venezuela, said: “Under previous governments we had to burn tires and go on strike just to get electricity, have the streets fixed, or get any investment.”

Chavez took office on a platform advocating a path between capitalism and socialism. He restructured the government-owned oil company so that the profits would go into the Venezuelan state, not the pockets of Wall Street corporations. With the proceeds of Venezuela’s oil exports, Chavez funded a huge apparatus of social programs.

After defeating an attempted coup against him in 2002, Chavez announced the goal of bringing Venezuela toward “21st Century Socialism.” Chavez quoted Marx and Lenin in his many TV addresses to the country, and mobilized the country around the goal of creating a prosperous, non-capitalist society.

In 1998, Venezuela had only 12 public universities, today it has 32. Cuban doctors were brought to Venezuela to provide free health care in community clinics. The government provides cooking and heating gas to low-income neighborhoods, and it’s launched a literacy campaign for uneducated adults.

During the George W. Bush administration, oil prices were the highest they had ever been. The destruction of Iraq, sanctions on Iran and Russia, strikes and turmoil in Nigeria — these events created a shortage on the international markets, driving prices up.

Big oil revenues enabled Chavez and the United Socialist Party to bring millions of Venezuelans out of poverty. Between 1995 and 2009, poverty and unemployment in Venezuela were both cut in half.

After the death of Chavez, Nicolas Maduro has continued the Bolivarian program. “Housing Missions” have been built across the country, providing low-income families in Venezuela with places to live. The Venezuelan government reports that over 1 million modern apartment buildings had been constructed by the end of 2015.

The problems currently facing Venezuela started in 2014. The already growing abundance of oil due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was compounded by Saudi Arabia flooding the markets with cheap oil. The result: massive price drops. Despite facing a domestic fiscal crisis, Saudi Arabia continues to expand its oil production apparatus.

The price of oil remains low, as negotiations among OPEC states are taking place in the hopes that prices can be driven back up. While American media insists the low oil prices are just the natural cycle of the market at work, it’s rather convenient for U.S. foreign policy. Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and the Islamic Republic of Iran all have economies centered around state-owned oil companies and oil exports, and each of these countries has suffered the sting of low oil prices.

The leftist president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, has already been deposed due to scandal surrounding Petrobras, the state-owned oil company which is experiencing economic problems due to the falling price of oil. Although much of Brazil’s oil is for domestic consumption, it has been revealed that those who deposed her coordinated with the CIA and other forces in Washington and Wall Street, utilizing the economic fallout of low oil prices to bring down the Brazilian president.

The son of President Ronald Reagan has argued that Obama intentionally drove down oil prices not just to weaken the Venezuelan economy, but also to tamper the influence of Russia and Iran, Trump has continued this foreign policy.

Writing for Townhall in 2014, Michael Reagan bragged that his father did the same thing to hurt the Soviet Union during the 1980s:

“Since selling oil was the source of the Kremlin’s wealth, my father got the Saudis to flood the market with cheap oil.

Lower oil prices devalued the ruble, causing the USSR to go bankrupt, which led to perestroika and Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Empire.”

Read more here.

 

U.S. On Iran Nukes Allegations: Another Fabrication

Recently in a presentation, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu allegedly revealed the “secret atomic archive” of the Globalist opponent and the Chinese and Russian affiliated state of Iran, a nuclear weapons programme which was allegedly ended in 2003, Netanyahu claims to cite 55,000 pages of documents and another 55,000 files on 183 CDs, outlining four ways the Iranian government was lying. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the documents proved “beyond any doubt” that Iran had not told the truth.

In response to the allegations, Tehran accuses Netanyahu of lying — with an Iranian spokesman describing Mr Netanyahu as an “infamous liar who has had nothing to offer except lies and deceits”.

To bolster Iran’s counter-claim, The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it has “no credible” evidence Iran was working on developing a nuclear “explosive device” after 2009.

Furthermore, Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, has described state possession of nuclear weapons as contradictory to Iran’s “fundamental religious and ethical convictions”.

Craig Murray, a British Journalist, was censored by Facebook for criticizing Israel’s hypocrisy.

Hostility between Israel and Iran, already diametric enemies, has grown as Iran builds up its military in Syria, on Israel’s doorstep in defense of Syria’s territorial sovereignty in the wake of Israeli occupation of the Golan heights and wider U.S. occupation of Syria, occupying nearly one third of Syria’s sovereign territory.

Now, the 2015 JCPOA between Iran, the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain, a deal that agreed on limiting Iranian nuclear activity in return for the lifting of crippling international economic sanctions looks as if it may be coming to an end as Trump warns the US will abandon the deal on 12 May if his concerns are not addressed.

It’s too soon to say whether this will constitute an excuse to invade Iran and spark a hot conflict — but it will likely mean resumed economic sanctions on Iran for not playing ball with U.S. & Israeli foreign policy.

The U.S. loves to posit fake disarmament deals that it always breaks, gaining an independent nation’s trust then betraying said trust, sponsoring instability in said nation, advocating regime change in said nation, and, if all else fails — a false-flag backed ground invasion. The U.S. has already tried to sponsor a false uprising in Iran.

If we just look to how Iraq under Saddam Hussein received arms and support from Washington to attack and invade Iran. This de facto agreement, encouraged the Iraqi leader to assume that collaboration between nationalist Iraq and imperial Washington reflected a shared common agenda. Subsequently Baghdad believed that they had tacit US support in a territorial dispute with Kuwait. When Saddam invaded, the US bombed, devastated, invaded, occupied and partitioned Iraq.

The attempt by Iraq to collaborate with Washington in the 1980’s against its nationalist neighbor Iran, led to the invasion, the destruction of the country, the killing of thousands of secular leaders including Saddam Hussein as well as the entire secular and scientific intelligentsia, and the transformation of Iraq into a toothless vassal state of the empire.

Other examples of Washington’s duplicity in its “deal making”.

With the elections of Donald Trump, the US rejected the agreement (‘it’s the worst deal ever’) and in compliance with the Israeli Prime Minister B. Netanyahu’s military agenda, demanded the total restoration of sanctions, the dismantling of Iran’s entire military defenses and its submission to the US, Israeli and Saudi Arabian dictates in the Middle East.

In other words, President Trump discarded the agreement in opposition to all the major countries in Europe and Asia, in favor of Israel’s demands to isolate, disarm and attack Iran and impose a puppet regime in Tehran.

“The strategic goal is disarmament in order to facilitate military and political intervention leading up to and beyond defeat, occupation, regime change; the impositions of a‘client regime’ to facilitate the pillage of economic resources and the securing of military bases, international alignment with the US empire and a military springboard for further conquests against neighbors and independent adversaries.” — Prof. James Petras

These recent allegations from Israel backed by the U.S., in light of recent Iranian military posturing following the April 7th Syria strikes seems more suited to a “back off” gesture from the Western alliance, in essence, saying “we can and will hold your feet to the fire” (by reimposing crippling sanctions) over these allegations. If they have any further, graver, implications in targeting Iran — these will unfold with time.

Syria is Determined to Retake Occupied Golan Heights, Afrin, Raqqa and Idlib

Syria is determined to retake control over other its terroritores occupied by terrorists or hostile foreign powers, according to the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari, during a session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Syria.

Al-Jaafari added that Syria rejects any “armed presence” and “occupying forces” on its territory and accused Israel, Qatar, Turkey, the US, the UK and France of waging a “terrorist war” against Syria.

The Syrian diplomat noted that Eastern Ghouta is about to be liberated from militants and praised efforts of the Syrian Arab Army and help from the country’s allies.

Despite being in a complicated situation, the Syrian government stays strong on its goal to pursue the country’s territorial integrity and to oppose foreign forces operating within its borders.