After the failed US-led coup d’etat attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on the 30th of April of this year, President Donald Trump has once again taken the lead in the offensive against Venezuela by incurring in a series of destabilizing and illegal actions that are putting at risk both the political dialogue that is currently taking place in Barbados between the Venezuelan Government and the several oppositions and the peace in the wider Caribbean region.
Firstly, the US Government issued an executive order on Monday (5 August 2019) enforcing a full economic blockade on Venezuela by further freezing all Venezuelan assets in the US and prohibiting US citizens and companies to make transactions with Venezuela.
This US executive order was preceded by an extraordinary and appalling decision by a US court which ruled that Canadian company Crystallex International could attach CITGO to its portfolio (CITGO is a Venezuelan oil company legally based in the US). Through this illegal move, the US has stolen the Venezuelan people and government over 18 billion US dollars (CITGO assets in the US are worth 7 billion US dollars, while an additional 11 billion US dollars represent the amount incurred in transaction losses that CITGO would have normally made annually and reported to the nation as revenues for its functioning in normal circumstances).
Nonetheless, illegal, coercive and unilateral sanctions by the US against Venezuela, as well as an economic blockade, totaling over 150 billion US dollars in losses for Venezuela, have already been in place since 2014. In fact, a study released in April of this year by Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) states that over 40,000 Venezuelans have died due to US sanctions since 2017.
In addition, President Trump has decided to put more military pressure against Venezuela.
On the 1st of August of this year, Trump announced that he would place Venezuela in a quarantine regime, meaning that he would not allow any ship going in or out of Venezuela, reminiscent of a similar imperialistic naval blockade suffered by Venezuela in 1902 at the hands of Germany, Italy and the UK (mainly).
Blockades are acts of war and serious breaches of peace. In addition, according to Article 42 of the UN Charter, only the Security Council of the UN can actually mandate any blockade against any country, no one else.
In an attempt to provide actual military content to such threat, the US has been busy dispatching military jets to fly over Venezuelan air space, thus violating our sovereignty and international law, risking a major military escalation that would have disastrous consequences for the whole region. Starting on the 29th of July, 2019, US military aircrafts have violated the Venezuelan air space over 55 times.
It is also unfortunate that all this is taking place less than 500 kilometers away from Barbados and yet the Barbadian people and institutions here have been kept completely unaware about it.
Considering the seriousness of the situation and that so much is at risk, including regional peace and stability, it is utmost important that all Caribbean people reject such hostile actions by Donald Trump and support the progressive, peaceful, law-abiding and democratic government and people of Venezuela.
Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (Barbados)