More Weaponized Trump Regime Sanctions on Venezuela

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June 7, 2019

More Weaponized Trump Regime Sanctions on Venezuela

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Republicans and undemocratic Dems use sanctions on targeted nations as weapons of war by other means.

Imposing them unilaterally is flagrantly illegal. World community nations observing them are complicit in the criminal action.

They’re a favorite US tool against nations targeted for regime change to make their economies scream and immiserate their people — while falsely claiming they’re imposed to help them.

On Thursday, the Trump regime’s Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) threatened sanctions on nations and enterprises supplying naphtha and other diluents to Venezuela — blended with its heavy oil to make it marketable to world markets.

The move aims to fully ban world community support for state oil company PDVSA, an illegal action Russia, China, Turkey, and other nations reject.

Earlier Trump regime sanctions prohibited exports of diluents from the US alone to the Bolivarian Republic. Russia’s policy of supplying them surely will continue.

According to an unnamed Trump regime official, “(w)e are tightening the loop on any potential workarounds on the standing sanctions that allow (Maduro) to still find ways to exploit PDVSA as a cash cow,” adding:

“The changing of the language puts international companies on notice that any continued engagement or transactions they have with PDVSA selling diluents is at risk, or subject to future potential sanctions.”

Trump regime hardliners intend further tough measures against the Bolivarian Republic in the weeks ahead, the official stressed — without explaining their actions flagrantly violate the UN Charter and other international law.

Weeks earlier, Sergey Lavrov expressed full Russian support for Venezuela’s sovereign rights, saying the Kremlin is “mobiliz(ing) efforts of the states that respect the UN Charter for countering the US plans on Venezuela.”

“The issue is…very simple,” he added. It’s all about “protect(ing) the basic norms and principles of international law, the way they are enshrined in the UN Charter.”

Russia vowed to continue helping Venezuela “resolv(e) social and economic problems, including through the provision of legitimate humanitarian aid,”  Lavrov explained.

In Moscow with Vladimir Putin before both leaders headed to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Chinese President Xi Jinping said his government intends “help(ing) Venezuela return to a normal development path as soon as possible.”

Putin made similar comments, both leaders seeking to “stabilize” Venezuela, expressing strong opposition to hostile US intervention in the country.

According to Bloomberg News, PDVSA “imported almost 1 million barrels of Agbami crude from Nigeria (in 2019) to be used as a diluent by blending it with Orinoco (heavy) oil, making it acceptable to foreign refiners.”

It’s unclear if Nigeria will continue exporting diluents to Venezuela or bow to Trump regime demands in response to newly announced sanctions.

Waivers letting oil giant Chevron and four US-based oil service suppliers to Venezuela expire July 27, almost surely not to be renewed.

Reported Venezuelan oil exports in May were 874,500 barrels. It’s unclear how much more may be produced and sold because of unreported cooperation from Russia, China, and other countries.

On Friday, Tass reported that Moscow may send more military specialists to Venezuela, according to Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin America director Alexander Shchetinin, saying the following:

“We have got contracts on maintenance works for what has been supplied to Venezuela. Any works demand a certain involvement of people. If more (personnel) are needed, we will send them,” adding:

“This is an absolutely technical issue related to implementing certain contracts on a particular volume of work. Some of them will leave and the others will come.”

On Thursday, Putin said “(w)e aren’t building any military bases (in Venezuela). We aren’t sending troops there,” adding that US military intervention would be “catastroph(ic),” longterm guerrilla war likely to follow, along with a regional refugee crisis and protracted internal chaos.

“If we consider the conditions in which millions of people live in Venezuela, a question arises whether (the Trump regime is) fighting Maduro or the population,” Putin added. 

“We…condemn such actions, let alone a military intervention,” he stressed. Russia strongly opposes meddling by any nations in the internal affairs of others — what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said “(f)or more than two years now, Venezuela has been forced to live under the actual Damocles sword of looming US aggression.” 

What’s unthinkable is possible because of US rage to gain control over the nation and its vast oil reserves.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.