By Javier Alexander Roa
The governments of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have worked hard to weaken and overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro using all possible tools, from misrepresentation and manipulation of laws through international bodies, to economic attrition from sanctions to block the country’s international trade, to the indirect dirty war evidenced in the hiring of paramilitaries, infiltration of weapons, creation of false dossiers, a strong negative propaganda campaign in the mass media against the government and repeated attempts to assassinate the Venezuelan president.
The conspiracy of the United States and of domestic forces against the Bolivarian political process began in the first mandate of President Hugo Chávez. They were able to carry out a coup d’état in 2002, carry out an oil strike and other violent attempts to overthrow the government.
The plot has been continuous and has redoubled its bad intentions against President Nicolas Maduro since he assumed his first term in 2013.
Is the United States using Venezuela as a laboratory to experiment with its coercive methods and then use them against other governments that do not bow to its interests?
Some analysts and military experts have called this persecution and harassment against the Venezuelan political process “low-intensity war,” where a large number of elements and events that take place simultaneously to destabilize, cause chaos, discontent, weakening and psychological anguish among Venezuelans.
To do so, they use a combination of negative media propaganda, blockade and commercial and financial sanctions, blackmail through international organizations or political means for bribery and aggression.
President Nicolás Maduro is perhaps the most besieged and attacked presidential figure in contemporary history.
The enemies have not had enough tools to try to overthrow his government or assassinate him. Since 2015 (the year in which the Venezuelan opposition won the parliamentary elections with a large majority), setting aside the violent demonstrations in Venezuela carried out by the opposition in 2014, they have burned people because of their Chavista “outlook” as, because of their skin color, way of dressing or because they come from popular areas.
At least eight fundamental events of international conspiracy (without adding up the expulsion of Venezuela in 2017 from Mercosur) have sought to overthrow the government, destroy the Bolivarian political project or weaken the bases of the Venezuelan state.
CHRONOLOGY OF UNILATERAL COERCIVE MEASURES AGAINST VENEZUELA
1. On March 9, 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama (extending the sanctions issued by the U.S. Congress on December 10, 2014) signed an executive order declaring Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy.” Consequently, he ordered economic and coercive sanctions against the high government and progressively against the country as a whole.
According to the Obama administration’s explanations at the time, the sanctions responded to a commitment to “advance respect for human rights, to protect democratic institutions, and to protect the U.S. financial system from illicit financial flows of public corruption in Venezuela.”
This executive order, year after year, has been extended both by the government of Barack Obama and the government of Donald Trump, being the pretext to sanction and block the Venezuelan economy, and limit the movement of Venezuelan government officials.
The executive order issued by Barack Obama in 2015 represents an aggression that undermines the development and peace of Venezuelans. This executive order has been the basis for expanding sanctions against Venezuelan companies and officials and the pretext for interrupting transactions, trade and financial negotiations.
2. In December 2017, President Nicolás Maduro announced the creation of the crypto currency the Petro, while at the same time reporting in parallel on the formal creation of Venezuela’s Blockchain Observatory.
President Nicolás Maduro declared to the media: “Venezuela announces the creation of its crypto currency. It will be called Petro (…) this will allow us to advance towards new forms of international financing for the economic and social development of the country” (…), and will be backed by Venezuelan reserves of gold, oil, gas and diamonds”.
On March 19, the U.S. government issued an executive order to prohibit US citizens or any person in its territory the acquisition or trading with any digital currency, or digital asset issued by the Venezuelan government.
3. On August 4, 2018, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, suffered a terrorist attack when two drones loaded with explosives exploded near the presidential platform. In spite of the fact that the attack images were captured by the media present, where people got injured, homes were damage and the perpetrators were arrested, many governments distorted and doubted the attack that could have ended the life of the Venezuelan president and the high authorities present.
The terrorist attack was frustrated by the timely action of the Presidential Guard of Honour in using signal-inhibiting equipment that managed to disorient “both units, which resulted in the explosives being activated outside the planned perimeter. However, it could not prevent some people in the act being wounded and damage to a home hit by the explosion of one of the drones.
The New York Times, September 8, 2018, revealed that the government of Donald Trump held secret meetings with Venezuelan ex-militaries to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, which confirm the link with the attack on the Venezuelan president and that it was orchestrated, and that this would not be the only time.
The U.S. media CNN published a report that would prove that a group of deserters from the Venezuelan Army was behind the drone attack to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in August 2018.
Days after CNN’s revelation, a U.S. State Department spokesperson confined himself to pointing out to the U.S. network that his country’s policy is “to support a peaceful transition in Venezuela.”
4. On January 23, 2019, there was an attempt to usurp public powers by the deputy of the National Assembly (in contempt), Juan Guaidó, who in the presence of some supporters of the Popular Will party, proclaimed himself president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, an action that recalled the coup d’état against Hugo Chávez in 2002, when Pedro Carmona Estanga, president of the employers’ organization, Fedecámaras and member of the opposition, was sworn in as president of Venezuela.
Minutes after the swearing-in, U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, and the president of the United States, Donald Trump, recognized Juan Guaidó as the “interim president” of Venezuela: “Today, I am officially recognizing the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, as the interim president of Venezuela. In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the Constitution of its country to declare Nicolás Maduro illegitimate and, therefore, the presidency vacant,” Trump said.
In the same speech, Donald Trump openly stated that he will use “all the economic and diplomatic power of the United States to achieve the restoration of democracy in Venezuela” and invited other governments of the continent to recognize Guaidó as president in charge.
5. As part of the coercive measures imposed against the government of Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan people, on February 1, 2019, the United States, through the Department of the Treasury, issued a new order prohibiting negotiations on bonds of the Republic of Venezuela on U.S. territory and with U.S. citizens.
The resolution states that papers or bonds may continue to be traded “provided that any disinvestment, facilitation of disinvestment, transfer or any participation in such bonds,” are made far from the U.S. market.
President Donald Trump had already signed in August 2017 an executive order that “forbids new debt negotiations issued by the Venezuelan government and its state oil company PDVSA. It also prohibited transactions in certain existing bonds owned by the Venezuelan public sector, as well as dividend payments to the Venezuelan government.”
The new measure of February 2019 is an adjustment to the resolution issued on August 24, 2017 and other coercive resolutions in the economic and commercial spheres to limit negotiations and foreign exchange inflows to the Venezuelan state.
More recently and within this illegal framework of extraterritorial U.S. sanctions against Venezuela, which are part of a series of “crimes against humanity,” the Treasury Department issued on April 17, 2019, sanctions against the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), which prevents it from obtaining, transiting or negotiating with the currency dollar or more specifically as stated by U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton: “aimed at limiting U.S. transactions with this bank and closing access to U.S. dollars.”
The measure, as well as others previously imposed, limits the social, educational, economic and human development of all Venezuelans.
6. On February 23, 2019, the United States attempted to introduce alleged “humanitarian aid” from Colombia without the consent of the government of President Nicolas Maduro and without the participation of the United Nations, which has its entities to facilitate the delivery of “humanitarian aid” in accordance with the recipient country or countries.
Unreliable organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID and the Colombian National Disaster Risk Management Unit were responsible for administering, controlling and managing the operation of the collection centre.
Unable to introduce “humanitarian aid” into Venezuelan territory, demonstrators chose to burn the contents of the first three trucks on the Colombian side of the border.
Days after the event, the United States convened the United Nations Security Council to deal with the case of Venezuela.
On April 10, 2019, the Trump administration, for the second consecutive time, returned to the issue of Venezuela in a session of the UN Security Council seeking to impose a resolution to intervene in the internal affairs of Venezuela or perhaps to initiate a military aggression.
That same day, April 10, 2019, President Nicolás Maduro held a meeting with the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, where they agreed on the entry of humanitarian aid into Venezuela.
7. On March 7, 2019, the Venezuelan government reported on the attack on Venezuela’s electricity system, specifically on the Guri hydroelectric plant, the country’s main electricity generating power plant, which left the entire country without electricity for five days. The attack was carried out in three phases: A cyber attack on the Automated System of the Guri Hydroelectric Plant; an electromagnetic attack with mobile equipment with high frequencies; and finally, a physical attack on substations and sensitive power stations.
This situation was repeated at the end of that month, with the introduction of computer viruses in the computerized systems that regulate the electricity service and several physical attacks using war weapons on the transmission lines.
These aggressions, of multiform characteristics, produced significant levels of destruction of equipment and interruption of integrated processes necessary for the constant provision of the service.
Forbes, a magazine specializing in the world of business and finance, published in the United States, stated that not only was it possible, but that there had been a cyber attack against the electricity system: “the idea of a foreign nation state manipulating the electricity network of an adversary to force a governmental transition is very real.”
On March 26, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to defend against attacks or occurrences of events using electromagnetic pulses that have the potential to disrupt, degrade and damage technology and infrastructure systems. Electromagnetic pulses of human or natural origin can affect large geographic areas, altering elements critical to the nation’s security and economic prosperity, and could negatively affect trade and global stability.
8. On April 9, 2019, the Organization of American States (OAS) approved “replacing” the legitimate representative of the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with an opponent proposed by the United States, even knowing that the Permanent Council of the OAS does not have the authority to recognize governments, nor does it have the power to choose who should occupy the membership of a country within the multilateral organization, since no one can impose on a state the recognition of another state or government. That is a non-transferable sovereign right.
The OAS Charter, in none of its articles, states that an authority appointed by a sovereign government can be supplanted by a decision of the Permanent Council or by a “resolution” submitted to a vote for approval by the majority of its members. This legal concept is neither part, reflected, nor is there an article or document to recognize a “self-proclaimed” president.
Coercive action joins all the other elements of low-intensity warfare that have been tried to overthrow the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Happily, April 27, 2019 arrived and Venezuela ceased to belong to that multilateral organization, a procedure that had begun in 2017 with the denunciation of the OAS Charter.
The U.S. conspiracy, plots, blackmail, pillage and coercive measures against Venezuela in the economic, political, social, military, technological and communication spheres will not stop in the short term. They have put on the table “all the options,” including the military one.
The strength of the revolutionary process is the cohesion that exists between the people, the Bolivarian National Armed Force and the government. This union should not be neglected.
The governments of the United States, Europe and part of Latin America do not know the strengths of unity that exist within Venezuela, they do not know that there is a National Armed Force and a militia (which is the people in arms) that cohabit and that jointly develop social programs to solve the country’s problems through communal councils, large missions and other social assistance programs.
Unlike the policies of progressive governments and right-wing governments worldwide, in Venezuela there are policies that the people themselves elaborate, control and execute.
The governments of Comandante Hugo Chávez and President Nicolás Maduro have made possible the visibility of a people that hitherto was subjected to oblivion and marginality. The people were included in social life and participate under equal conditions in the development of programs, policies and actions of the government or the proposals of the communities themselves.
It is the people, who the governments of the United States, Europe, Latin America and the Venezuelan bourgeoisie itself refuse to acknowledge, is the one who maintain a bond of civilian-military union around the revolutionary government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The mainstream media, police intelligence groups of the United States and Europe, landowners and the bourgeoisie of America, have looked for a way to divide that civilian-military union, which they derogatorily have called “collectives”.
They have tried all their tools to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro, they have endeavoured to propitiate a civil war, they have used the media to create negative opinion narratives to undermine the credibility of the structure of the government and of the Bolivarian National Armed Force, they have elaborated laws and have dictated extraterritorial resolutions to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
In the same way, they have plotted within international organizations to sanction and attack Venezuela, they have created a parallel government directed from abroad, they have stolen billions in assets that belong to Venezuelans, they have sabotaged their oil, gas, mining, electricity, water, food and medicine production industries, and they have provoked the migration of an important part of the country’s professional. But within Venezuela, the people remain unscathed, resisting.
Who does not believe that a new generation war is underway in Venezuela with sophisticated weapons, such as the use of electromagnetic pulses to interrupt the country’s electricity supply, the massive removal of its national currency, the blockade on the acquisition of raw materials for the production of food and medicine, the obstruction of its imports and exports, the freezing of its bank accounts abroad, the infiltration of mercenaries to sow divisions in the population, the buying off of military and diplomats to generate negative narratives in the media?
The elements used in this fourth generation war are developed in parallel to create chaos, make state structures vulnerable and create uncertainty and discontent in the population.
Venezuela has suffered all these attacks and many are yet to be overcome.
The government of President Nicolás Maduro has sought alliances and help from friendly governments to solve and overcome the continuous attacks, in the economic, industrial, financial, social, military and diplomatic spheres.
Venezuela does not need “humanitarian aid”, Venezuela has the resources and the infrastructure; what it needs is that the blocked, frozen and stolen economic resources are released. It needs the United States to abandon its policies of interference in our internal affairs. It needs the Colombian state to contribute to the control of its border to prevent the infiltration of paramilitarism and drug trafficking.
There is no “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela, as the media would want us to believe. What exists, are coercive measures, an economic and financial blockade that impedes the free development of the economic and social policies of the government towards the Venezuelan people.
Venezuela is not willing to accept foreign interference nor is it going to fall into the provocation of generating a civil war. It does not want the experiences in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya or Syria, where the wounds have not yet been healed, to be repeated in its territory.
Venezuelans know that the way, no matter how adverse the circumstance may be, is peace.