DAVID JAMES. Venezuela beset by American dirty tricks (Eureka Street, 30 January 2019)

For those wishing to peer into the heart of darkness, the nexus between big oil and big money is a good place to start. Those who control the energy market and the financial markets control the world.

For the last 70 years that has been the United States, which has possessed the world’s reserve currency, the US dollar, and has maintained control over oil markets. They have done this either through alliances, with countries such as Saudi Arabia, or through war, as with the Iraq conflicts, which led to the killing of over one million people, mostly civilians.

The latest victim of this brutal intersection of big oil and big money is Venezuela, a country that has made the mistake of having the biggest oil reserves in the world, which are also of a very high quality.

The undermining of Venezuela by American dirty tricks has been going on for a long time. But now the lies and propaganda are being ratcheted up. Just as in the Iraq war or the wars with Libya and Syria, mindless media outlets are blaring out a narrative in which the ‘bad guys’ have to be taken out with extreme prejudice so that America and its allies can rescue the long-suffering people of that nation.

In essence, the argument (if one can call it that) is that to liberate these people we have to turn their country into rubble — and then they will have peace and democracy. A bit like bashing someone on the head with a baseball bat in order to improve their health.

Such horrible illogic, which dresses up extreme violence as the ‘right thing to do’, is now being used by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. He has said of President Maduro that ‘his regime is morally bankrupt, it’s economically incompetent and it is profoundly corrupt. It is undemocratic to the core.’

It seems to scarcely matter that these claims are largely false. Yet it is worth pointing out that it is the US that is the country that is morally bankrupt — as has been seen with the series of aggressive, illegal wars they have fought this century. There was never any apology, for example, for invading Iraq on a false pretext, even though it was a crime of aggression. Venezuela, meanwhile, has invaded no-one.

Venezuela has experienced economic problems, and the nation’s leaders could be described as economically incompetent to a degree, although that was largely because their attempts to redistribute wealth were not as successful as they might have been. But how, exactly, does this constitute a reason to destroy the country?

Venezuela has corruption, especially after the sanctions were imposed, but most countries are corrupt, at least to some degree. That is no reason to destroy them.

In America there is a $US21 trillion hole — ‘unsupported adjustments’ — in the accounts of the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015 (that is not a typo). Total US government debt is only about $US16 trillion; it is more than the US has spent on its military in its entire history. So should we start bombing the US to teach it a lesson about the need for government to be transparent and accountable, the absence of which is an invitation to corruption?

Some of Pompeo’s lies are so blatant one wonders how this self described ‘evangelical Christian’ can look at himself in the mirror. Venezuela is not ‘undemocratic to the core’. Maduro won an election less than a year ago.

The west’s thievery is intensifying. The Bank of England is refusing to hand over $US1.2 billion of the country’s gold, while the UK foreign office urges the bank to give it instead to the opposition leader Juan Guaidó. America has confiscated all the Venezuelan money it can get its hands on.

It adds up to a callous bid for control of the energy resources in the Caribbean Basin designed to gain more influence over the world energy markets. The aim is to grab hold of Venezuela’s oil in order to establish a competitor to OPEC, which is dominated by the Saudis and the Russians.

Much will depend on which side the Venezuelan military sides with. At the moment, that looks to be Maduro. His efforts to get around the sanctions using a Petro cryptocurrency have also had some success, although it represents a threat to the hegemony of the US dollar, which will only make America more aggressive. Two other superpowers, China and Russia — both also targets of America — have an obvious interest in developing some alignment, if only to provide new markets.

America’s greed and appetite for self righteous, astoundingly hypocritical violence — to date, mainly through sanctions in Venezuela — will not go away any time soon.

Yet amidst all the lying, there is an occasional glimmer of truth. John Bolton, America’s National Security adviser, explained what it is really all about. ‘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.’ Goodness, there is a buck to be made.

David James is the managing editor of businessadvantagepng.com. He has a PhD in English literature and is author of the musical comedy The Bard Bites Back, which is about Shakespeare’s ghost.

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