On December 3, 2023, a large number of registered voters in Venezuela voted in a referendum over the Essequibo region that is disputed with neighboring Guyana. Nearly all those who voted answered yes to the five questions. These questions asked the Venezuelan people to affirm the sovereignty of their country over Essequibo. “Today,” said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, “there are no winners or losers.” The only winner, he said, is Venezuela’s sovereignty. The principal loser, Maduro said, is ExxonMobil. In 2022, ExxonMobil made a profit of $55.7 billion, making it one of the world’s richest and most powerful oil companies.
The unilateral coercive measures have a physical and a psychological component, and that’s why we talk about a “5th generation war.” In addition to the damage to people’s bodies, particularly the bodies of children and adolescents, so-called sanctions are part of a colonial endeavor in which the colonists feel entitled to dictate the lives of others. Additionally, the use of the term “sanctions” implies that if someone or some country is targeted, it must be because they did something wrong. So what is our sin? To struggle for our liberty and our independence as a nation. During the 2015 to 2019 period, even UNICEF bought into the US government’s discourse. They would say: It’s okay to sanction the Venezuelan government, but children should be protected. But that is simply not possible!
Attacks on Venezuela by the USA and its allies include 930 illegal sanctions that shut the country out from international finance blocking it from buying medicines, food or producing or selling its oil. Also there have been direct and indirect support for coup d’etat attempts, street violence leading to murders and injuries, cyberattacks on its electricity grid, sabotage of oil and infrastructure, financing criminal bands, corruption of officials, assassination attempt against the President and his cabinet, setting up a false presidency, appropriating CITGO oil company and billions of Venezuelan assets in banks, blocking the country from obtaining Covid-19 vaccines during a pandemic, and a brutal attack on the currency.
The government of Guyana is trying to militarize the country with the help of the United States. This escalation serves the interests of oil company ExxonMobil which intends to appropriate the oil and gas resources of the Essequibo region disputed between Venezuela and Guyana. The Guyanese press recently reported that a “ceremony of incorporation” of the patrol vessel GDFS Berbice (1039) into the Guyanese Coast Guard took place after the vessel arrived in the country. The patrol ship, built by US-based naval manufacturer Metal Shark Boats, sailed from Louisiana, United States, to the naval station Ramp Road Ruimveldt in Georgetown, Guyana on October 30.
The British company Kellogg Latin America Holding Company Limited has launched a fresh legal offensive against Venezuela by filing an investment arbitration claim with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) based in Washington DC. As reported by the Ibero-American Arbitration Center’s magazine, the claim was filed on November 9, 2023, and the multinational corporation is invoking the Venezuela – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bilateral Investment Treaty of 1995. In 2018, the company unilaterally ceased operations, abruptly leaving over 500 workers jobless.
In the 1940s, a Hollywood movie called “Gaslight” left us a few lessons on how psychological terrorism and manipulation work. In this black-and-white thriller, an unscrupulous man convinces his young wife she is crazy through a campaign of false accusations and fabricated problems. Quite literally, the husband spends the movie secretly hiding objects and dimming the gaslights in the house, then accusing the wife of being forgetful and imagining things, thus diminishing her self-worth and distorting her sense of reality. The goal was to get rid of her while maintaining his image of a good, caring husband, a hero who only tried to save her.
Activist and founder of the CODEPINK women’s group, Medea Benjamin, stated that the Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, kidnapped by the United States, “has a commitment to himself, to his dignity, to his honor and his major commitment is with the Venezuelan people.” Benjamin, who had the opportunity to visit the special envoy in the Miami federal prison recently, commented on her impressions during the most recent webinar of Hands Off Venezuela, organized by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign of the Fire This Time Movement of Canada. Medea Benjamin highlighted that Saab remains “firm, with his head held high.”
Venezuelan Vice Minister for Anti-Blockade Policies William Castillo explained that as a consequence of the decisions announced by the United States Department of the Treasury regarding sanctions against Venezuelan Oil, the auction of the Venezuelan company CITGO planned for 2024 has been prevented. Castillo said to Últimas Noticias this Thursday, October 19, that the decision extends the prohibition on the sale of PDVSA bonds that are tied to CITGO. “That is very important because it has implications for the auction. While it is in force, and is extended until January, the CITGO auction cannot be held,” he added.
The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) presented the suspension of key sanctions on Venezuela late on Wednesday. The announcement followed an agreement between the Venezuelan government and opposition on Tuesday in Barbados, and negotiations between Washington DC and Caracas last month in Qatar. What we see is that the main reason for these sanctions waivers is not about giving concessions to Maduro. Instead, the Biden administration was trying to implement these suspensions regardless, out of its own concerns—migration, energy prices, geopolitics, and others.
High up in Venezuela’s Andes, the township of Mucuchies is home to a campesino-led initiative striving for sustainable agricultural production. Integral Producers of the Highlands [PROINPA, for the organization’s Spanish-language initials] is widely recognized not only for its top-notch seed potatoes but also for its scientific initiatives such as a state-of-the-art biotechnology lab, a germplasm bank, and, most recently, an aeroponic seed production facility. One of the secrets to PROINPA’s success is its democratic organization and its emphasis on education. Founded 24 years ago, the organization’s structure has an assembly of associated producers as its topmost level of decision-making, meaning that the producers themselves are in charge.
UN experts* today urged the government of the United States of America to end the prolonged pre-trial detention of Alex Nain Saab Morán, a Venezuelan Special Envoy, arrested and extradited to the US on money laundering charges. Saab was appointed as a Special Envoy by the Government of Venezuela in April 2018 to undertake official missions in Iran to secure humanitarian deliveries to Venezuela, including of food and medicine. In July 2019, he was placed under US sanctions for allegedly being responsible for inter alia engaging in transactions or programmes administered by the Government of Venezuela. On 12 June 2020, during his third trip to Iran, while in transit through Cabo Verde, he was arrested and detained by local authorities.
As the first-ever simultaneous strike at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis continues, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is being cheered on not only by a majority of Americans, but also by much of the international labor movement. Over the past two weeks, the UAW has received messages of solidarity from worker organizations in multiple countries, including a letter from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and an email from Malaysia’s National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers — both of which represent autoworkers in their respective countries. “The world is watching, and the people are on our side,” UAW President Shawn Fain said last Friday.
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro took a historic trip to China this September. There, the two nations signed 31 comprehensive agreements and formally “upgraded” their relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership”, one of Beijing’s highest designations. China and Venezuela jointly blasted the “hegemonism” of the Western powers. Beijing formally condemned the illegal sanctions that Washington has imposed on Caracas. Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized this his government will “firmly support” Venezuela’s “just cause against external interference”. The global political and economic order is changing rapidly.
The president of China, Xi Jinping, hosted a welcoming ceremony for the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and the Venezuelan delegation accompanying him, held at the entrance of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two heads of state announced the elevation of the China-Venezuela relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership,” as reported by the Xinhua news agency. The ceremony, held this Wednesday, September 13, began with a roll of drums, signaling the arrival of Xi Jinping and his wife. They descended the stairs of the People’s Palace and took their seats of honor next to the red carpet. Shortly after, President Maduro arrived in a presidential motorcade.