Trump Continues US Imperial War on Venezuela
by Stephen Lendman
Secretary of State Tillerson has a troubled history with Venezuela, notably over its nationalization of ExxonMobil's Orinoco River region oil fields, despite fair compensation offered as payment.
The company balked. Before an international arbitration court, it sought $10 billion in compensation, in the end settled for $1.6 billion, not without lingering hard feelings.
Before taking office as secretary of state,Tillerson said "(i)f confirmed, I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela's neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela" - code language for lawless regime change.
He ignored ongoing US political and economic war on the country, bashing President Nicolas Maduro, calling current made-in-the-USA conditions "largely a product of its incompetent and dysfunctional government, first under Hugo Chavez, and now under his designated successor…"
He outrageously urged imposition of sanctions for what he called human rights abuses and "anti-democratic practices."
He blasted Cuba the same way, calling it an "oppressive regime," saying he'll "support human rights defenders and democracy activists…empower civil society, defend freedom of expression," and continue meddling in the country's internal affairs along with all others.
"There will be a comprehensive review of current policies and executive orders regarding Cuba to determine how best to pressure Cuba to respect human rights and promote democratic changes," he added.
On Monday, the Trump administration imposed illegal sanctions on Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami over fabricated drugs trafficking allegations.
Assets, if any, held in America were frozen under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
A Treasury Department statement lied, saying El Aissami allegedly "facilitated shipments of narcotics from Venezuela, to include control over planes that leave from a Venezuelan air base, as well as control of drug routes through the ports in Venezuela."
No evidence was presented. None exists. The action represents the Trump administration's first shot across the bow against the oil-rich sovereign independent state, suggesting much more to come.
Responding sharply, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez called the move "lamentable and highly dangerous," adding Maduro's government "will not tolerate any aggression on our soil against our ability to be free."
"These actions, which attempt to validate the vulgar and inadmissible existence of an imperial law, granting special police powers to US government entities, lacks the most minimum legality under international law."
El Aissami categorically denounced allegations against him, calling Washington's action "miserable and vile aggression," taken for "acknowledge(ment) (of his) status as an anti-imperialist revolutionary."
Earlier as Venezuela's interior minister, he directed the country's war on drugs, arresting scores of traffickers, confiscating over 50 tons of illicit contraband heading for America, along with extraditing 21 drugs trafficking suspects wanted by the US.
Targeting El Aissami is part of Washington's war on Venezuela, ongoing since Hugo Chavez's 1998 election, assuming office in February 1999, poisoned to death or infected with incurable cancer causing substances by Obama, continuing regime change efforts since Maduro's election as president.
Trump appears to be continuing what Bush/Cheney and Obama sought - part of its longstanding imperial policy, wanting all independent states transformed into US vassal ones.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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