The US Press is spreading a false narrative of the events in Venezuela and the rise of tension between Washington and Teheran. Given the contradictory declarations of both sides, it is almost impossible to discern the truth. After having checked the facts, we need to deepen our analysis and take into account the opposition between the different political currents in these countries.
Covert intelligence groups sowing seeds of destabilization overseas, funding front groups to promote ‘democracy’, engaging in economic warfare, media propaganda campaigns – the playbook is quite familiar to those who know the dark art of unilateral empire building. For the last two decades Neoconservatives and the State Department have, with varying degrees of success, mercilessly pursued a foreign policy of regime change in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine and Iran (among others).
Many will be surprised to learn that Venezuela has been on the dubious list of sovereign nation states targeted by Washington for toppling since 1998.(1)
While this article was written prior to President Moreno’s December 2018 trip to the PRC (securing a new $900 million loan), you may find this article a useful sector-by-sector analysis of the relationship, with a comparison to China’s relationship with Venezuela and Bolivia, as well as discussion of President Moreno’s attempt to secure more equitable contract terms for his country.
The United States has long been a target of hybrid warfare by states seeking to disrupt or influence U.S. decision-making. Hostile activities can be categorized under four paradigms: nullification of political actors – creating discord within a constituency so that it cannot effectively unify around a policy, or undercutting the credibility of a prominent policymaker who champions unwanted outcomes; assistance to anti-government movements – identifying elements in society which are willing to attack (rather than participate in) the policymaking process with vitriol or violence; fomenting distrust of the U.S. policymaking process, in order to sap its legitimacy; and appearing to fill needs / wants that the U.S. government cannot and thereby supplanting the U.S. government in a specific area. (Of course the countries that have been most active in this area – Cuba and Venezuela – have been unable to sustain their own states.)
The head of the regional bloc announced the special committee will meet Monday to examine U.S. intervention in Venezuela.
The Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Ernesto Samper announced that a special a committee will convene next Monday in Montevideo, Uruguay to discuss U.S. destabilization efforts in Venezuela.
Although these alliances will primarily be closer to home, most of Latin America is a naturally ally not only because of its increasing trade and commercial relations with China, but because of its common interest in an international political order that favors respect for national sovereignty and independence over unilateral intervention and military force.
In the last week or so much of the international business press has been focused on the problems of financial stability in developing countries, some of whom have recently become more vulnerable to capital outflows.
The main cause is that investors are trying to get the jump on possible moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve to allow U.S. interest rates to rise, which will draw capital from developing countries and cause their borrowing costs to rise.
Argentina has gotten some of this attention, as it allowed the peso to fall by 15 percent in one day and increased some access for Argentines to dollars on the official market.
Venezuela is not so much affected by these market developments, but is always negatively portrayed in the international media, and more so in the last year since its exchange rate system problems have caused its inflation to rise to an annual rate of 56 percent over the past year.
The two countries face different sets of problems, but they will both likely have to stabilize their exchange rates in order to resolve them.
This is where international help can make a big difference, and there is one country that has both the ability to help and a compelling interest in doing so: China.
China has already helped Venezuela with tens of billions of dollars of loans – much of which has already been repaid – as well as investment.
It has also provided significant lending and investment in Ecuador, Cuba, Brazil, and other countries. But there is more that they could do at this moment.
I am writing to share with you my new article, “Russia, Iran and China in Latin America,” just published by the American Foreign Policy Committee in their e-journal “Defense Dossier.” The work comparatively examines the activities of the three extra-regional actors in Latin America and the Caribbean, including ways in which commercial and governmental initiatives by each compliment (and occasionally conflict or compete with) each other. I emphasize that each actor presents a different type of challenge to US interests in the region, on a different time-scale.
Given the amount of confusion that has existed about the role of external actors in Venezuela, the article seeks to present the key facts and data regarding Chinese loans, oil investment and other support to the Venezuelan petroleum sector, in the context of Indian and Russian activities in the sector as well. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to a number of experts in the Venezuelan petroleum, financial, and other sectors who shared their knowledge and dedicated the time so that I could get the story right.
Dr. Evan Ellis is a professor of national security studies, modeling, gaming and simulation with the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University, with a research focus on Latin America’s relationships with external actors, including China, Russia and Iran, as well as work on populism in the Andes, transnational criminal organizations and gangs in Mexico and Central America, energy security, and non-traditional national security topics. Dr. Ellis has published over 50 works, including the 2009 book China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores, as well as articles in national security, finance, and technical journals.
The America media, like a long chain of administrations, never really seems to understand the South American psyché, in all of its national complexity, nor what is going on there. So there is very little coverage or attention, and what there is trades in stereotypes and shallow commentary. In contrast I think the nations of our Southern Hemisphere, are undergoing an extraordinary transition, which constitutes one of the most interesting geopolitical developments going on. As you read this keep in mind Uruguay’s recent legalization of marijuana.
At last week’s annual summit of the Organization of American States, Latin American leaders distanced themselves from the United States’ drug policies and agreed to consider the widespread legalization of marijuana.
The OAS summit “was really a tipping point for this movement” to end the war on drugs, said Pedro Abramovay, a campaign director for Avaaz, a global nonprofit group that has petitioned the OAS to liberalize its drug policies.
The move comes as Uruguay debates a bill to legalize the production and sale of pot (it is already legal there for personal use) and as Chile considers decriminalizing it. Latin American leaders also have kept a close eye on how Colorado and Washington, having legalized marijuana, will go about regulating its consumption.
At the summit, which wrapped up on Friday in Antigua, Guatemala, delegates reviewed a recent OAS study that explores a range of options for a new regional drug policy that might include legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis, and even abandoning the fight against the coca production in some areas. “Never before has a multilateral organization engaged in such an inclusive and intellectually legitimate analysis of drug policy options,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. The delegates agreed to create a high-level commission to debate the study and make policy suggestions.
This moving letter was sent to me by a friend Janie Rezner who has a radio program in CA. Gen
I have interviewed Lisa Sullivan on KZYX, (born in this country, but moved to Venezuela many years ago) , who is with the organization School of the Americans Watch headed up by Fr. Roy Bourgeois. The goal of SOA Watch is to close down the dreadful School of the Americas, who trains young men to kill and torture, back in their own countries. I too am very very saddened by the death of Chavez and wanted to share it with you. . . . .Janie
Greetings friends and thanks for so many lovely messages from so many of you. We are living through such a painful moment here in Venezuela, but an extraordinary moment as well: the passion, conviction and hope of my friends and neighbors is inspiring.
So many have asked how we are doing, and so I took a few moments to put together some thoughts, which you will find below. Feel free to share, especially with folks whose only news source is the mainstream press. Best to all, abrazos, Lisa
YO SOY CHAVEZ , TU ERES CHAVEZ, TODOS SOMOS CHAVEZ Reflections by Lisa Sullivan on the death of President Chavez Barquisimeto, Venezuela May 5, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.
As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available.
Media may contact Palast at interviews (at) gregpalast.com.
Venezuelan President Chavez once asked me why the US elite wanted to kill him. My dear Hugo: It’s the oil. And it’s the Koch Brothers – and it’s the ketchup.
Last Monday, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) met for its second summit in Santiago, Chile, one year after its founding meeting in Caracas, Venezuela in 2011. The Summit is the culmination of roughly a decade of efforts to create a viable mechanism for greater integration in the Americas, and particularly a year of planning by a “troika” of representatives from, believe it or not, Chile, Venezuela and Cuba. They were able to pull it off successfully, despite their obvious differences, and all 33 presidents or heads of state from the region attended, with the exception of Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, who sent a letter with his Vice-President Nicolás Maduro.
CELAC explicitly excludes the US and Canada, a historic first for a hemispheric organization with huge symbolic importance, because it answers a long-standing dream for unity of the subcontinent that harks back to Simón Bolívar and the struggles for independence from the European colonial powers. Beyond the symbolism, however, it is strategically crucial: It means that there is now a subcontinent bloc of developing nations that can speak with one voice,, and also serve as a counterweight to US political and economic hegemony.