by Stephen Lendman
It's not new. It's longstanding. Washington targets Bolivarian principles. They shame American injustice.
Both countries are constitutional worlds apart. They're polar opposites. Venezuela reflects government of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly. America serves wealth, power and privilege alone.
Venezuela's proudly independent. Chavez deserves full credit. Nicolas Maduro carries his torch. He's well qualified to do so.
Chavez called him Venezuela's most capable administrator and politician. His leadership experience prepared him well. His credentials are impeccable.
On July 5, Venezuela's independence day, he granted Edward Snowden asylum, saying:
"As head of state and of government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden."
"To be independent, we must feel it. We must exercise our independence and sovereignty. Our discourses are meaningless if they aren't exercised with force at the national level."
"I announce to the friendly governments of the world that we have decided to offer this statute of international humanitarian law to protect the young Snowden from the persecution that has been unleashed from the most powerful empire in the world."
"Let's ask ourselves: who violated international law? A young man who decided, in an act of rebellion, to tell the truth of the espionage of the United States against the world? Or the government of the United States, the power of the imperialist elites, who spied on it?"
"Who is the guilty one," he added. "A young man who denounces war plans, or the US government which launches bombs and arms the terrorist Syrian opposition against the people and legitimate president, Bashar al-Assad?"
In response, John Kerry threatened Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua. He did so irresponsibly. He did by phone. It was shortly after Maduro's announcement.
Bullying is standard US practice. Diplomacy is iron fist. Kerry's like all the rest. He's irresponsible. He gives no quarter. He's all take and no give.
Defy America and face unconscionable threats. Face consequences for acting responsibly. More on that below.
During Friday's State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Marie Harf said "we don't normally comment on private diplomatic communications."
She lied. She denied Kerry threatened Jaua. She said he "conveyed to the Foreign Minister that Mr. Snowden is accused of serious criminal offenses and be returned to the United States to face those charges if he were to come into Venezuelan jurisdiction."
"Should Venezuela assist Mr. Snowden or receive him, we will consider what the appropriate response should be at the time."
On July 19, Russia Today (RT) headlined "Kerry vows to put the screws to Venezuela over Snowden - report," saying:
He "reportedly promisedâ€¦to close NATO airspace to (Venezuelan) flights and stop crucial oil product deliveries if Caracas grants" Snowden asylum on its territory.
Spain's national daily broadsheet ABC reported it. A source familiar with the conversation said so.
"Kerry reportedly threatened to ground any Venezuelan aircraft in America's or any NATO country's airspace if there is the slightest suspicion that Snowden is using the flight to get to Caracas," said RT.
Venezuela's Air Force One isn't immune. Maduro will be treated like Bolivia's Evo Morales.
Washington gives no quarter. Nothing too outlandish is too much. Anything goes is policy.
Rule of law principles don't matter. UN Charter provisions are quaint and out of date. They're systematically spurned.
Article 2 (1) states "(t)he Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members."
According to Article 2 (3):
"All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."
Article 2 (4) states:
"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
Under no circumstances may one nation, or combination thereof, intervene against another without lawful Security Council authorization.
Article 8 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention of Rights and Duties states "(n)o state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another."
Under Article 10, differences between states "should be settled by recognized pacific methods."
Doing otherwise is the American way. It's longstanding policy. It's why worldwide displeasure grows. It's for good reason.
Kerry also threatened to revoke US entry visas for Venezuelan officials and businessmen associated with Chavez.
Prosecutions will follow. Targeted Venezuelans will be charged with drug trafficking, money laundering, and other criminal offenses.
Innocence is no defense. Guilt by accusation is policy. They'll be tried and convicted in absentia. Perhaps America will try abducting them. Nothing Washington does surprises.
Venezuela's oil reserves are the world's largest. At the same time, it requires refined oil imports. It lacks enough domestic capacity.
It relies on around 500,000 barrels of gasoline monthly from America. It needs another half million barrels to fuel power plants.
It imports about 350,000 barrels of MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether). It's a gasoline additive for increase octane.
Kerry warned Jaua. Supplies will be halted if Snowden's given refuge on Venezuelan territory.
Its Foreign Ministry so far hasn't commented. Don't expect Jaua and Maduro to cave. It's not their style to do so. Chavez didn't. Nor will they.
In June, Obama nominated Samantha Power as Washington's new UN envoy. She'll replace Susan Rice.
She shifts from ambassadorial duties to National Security Advisor. Power called her selection "the honor of a lifetime to fight for American values and interests at the United Nations."
She stopped short of explaining her interventionist advocacy. It showed in her July 17 Senate confirmation hearing testimony.
She had much to say about Israel. She promised to support its worst crimes. She's committed to "stand up for Israel and work tirelessly to defend it," she said.
"I commit to you wholeheartedly to go on offense as well as playing defense on the legitimation of Israel, and we'll make every effort to secure greater integration of Israeli public servants in the UN system," she added.
She'll oppose Palestinian self-determination. She'll deny long oppressed people rights they deserve. She'll continue America's inglorious history. She'll support might over right.
She claimed America's entitled to intervene militarily anywhere without Security Council authorization.
"When US national security is threatened and the Security Council is unwilling to authorize the use of force but the president believes that it is judicious to do so," she said, "of course that is something he should be free to do."
She called Security Council failure to intervene against Assad "a disgrace that history will judge harshly."
She's vying to exceed the worst of Susan Rice. Both officials represent iron fist diplomacy. They spurn rule of law principles. They support imperial lawlessness. Obama chose them for that reason.
Power bashed Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani. She called Iran's democratic electoral process "the furthest thing from free, the furthest thing from fair."
She lied saying so. Iran's system shames America's illegitimate process. Previous articles explained.
Iranians voted freely. Americans have no say. Democracy's a four-letter word. It's more illusion than reality. Monied interests run things. Duopoly power rules.
Power disgracefully called America "the light to the world." She'll "never apologize" for its actions, she stressed.
She bashed Venezuela's Maduro. She vowed to stand up against "repressive regimes." She mentioned Cuba, Iran, Russia and Venezuela. She claimed they "crackdown on civil society."
On July 18, Maduro responded, saying:
"Power says she'll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression?
"There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth."
Maduro demanded an "immediate correction by the US government."
And they "want to have good relations," he asked? "What tremendous relations they want."
Venezuela's always been open to diplomatic rapprochement. Since Chavez took office in February 1999, it's been systematically spurned.
Nothing's different now. Venezuela's democratically free. Bolivarian fairness is policy. America's a rogue state.
It's waging war on humanity. It's doing so at home and abroad. It demands all nations observe Washington rules.
It accepts no outliers. It cracks down hard on resisters. It targets them for regime change.
Maduro said Venezuela's "fascist right" applauded Powers' comments. So did supportive Senate committee members.
On July 19, a Venezuelan Foreign Ministry statement said:
"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hereby ends the processâ€¦of finally normalizing our diplomatic relations" with Washington.
In early June, efforts began to do so. They were doomed to fail. America demands total subservience. Venezuela rejects bullying. It won't roll over irresponsibly.
It fiercely defends its sovereignty. Its independence matters most.
In 2010, Venezuela and Washington suspended normal diplomatic relations. They haven't exchanged ambassadors since then.
In March, Caracas expelled two US military attaches. They irresponsibly tried fomenting instability.
Washington doesn't recognize Maduro's legitimacy. It supports right-wing opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
He lost. Maduro won. He did so openly, freely and fairly. America claims otherwise. It's typical US policy.
Heavy-handed bullying is standard practice. It substitutes for responsible governance. America reflects rogue state lawlessness. Its legitimacy is sorely lacking.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.