(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 19, 2011
which goes much beyond the sanctions mandated by the UN Security
beginning of the
pressure from the
West on Teheran to scrap its peaceful nuclear programme has increased,
American officials and heads of thinktank have been consistently
harping on the
OBAMA PANDERING TO
AMERICAN RIGHT WING
In the case
WHY US IS UNHAPPY
has other reasons to be unhappy with the developments in the region.
Due to the
initiatives by Chavez and the many likeminded leaders who had since
power, regional integration has received a fillip. Trade ties between
countries of the region have increased tremendously --- slowly but
replacing the traditional economic links with the
Santos and Chavez recently played a key role in facilitating the return of Manuel Zelaya back to Honduras in the last week of May. Zelaya was ousted from the Honduran presidency in a military coup in 2009. Under the agreement, the Honduran government agreed to allow Zelaya to function freely and participate in the politics of the country. As a quid pro quo, Honduras was readmitted into the Organisation of American States (OAS) after its suspension from the organisation in 2009. The majority in the international community had refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Honduran government after the military coup. The Colombian president publicly praised the role of Chavez in bringing about national reconciliation in Honduras.
Under the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Venezuela, the PDVSA, which is a significant contributor to the oil driven Venezuelan economy, is barred from competing for the US government contracts and prohibited from seeking aces to the US Export-Import Bank. The sanctions, however, do not affect the PDVSA subsidiary, CITGO, which owns oil refineries and gas stations in the US. These days CITGO supplies 1.4 million barrels a day to the US, which is significant, as it amounts to 10 per cent of America’s annual oil imports. The American economy continues to be heavily dependent on the Venezuelan crude. Despite the ups and downs in the relationship between the two countries since the late nineties, the oil trade between the two countries has never been adversely impacted so far.
But Chavez has warned that if push comes to shove, he will retaliate by cutting off Venezuelan oil from the American market. Washington and Caracas are currently engaged in a diplomatic tug of war involving Obama’s choice of ambassador to Venezuela. The Venezuelan government has refused to receive Larry Palmer as the American envoy because of his stated views on Venezuela. In remarks to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last July, Palmer had made disparaging remarks about the government of Venezuela. He had said that Venezuela is supporting the leftist rebels in Colombia and said that the country poses a danger to America’s national interests.
Sparing the CITGO while imposing sanctions on the parent company has in no way appeased the Venezuelan government. Senior government officials including the petroleum minister, Rafael Ramirez, have described the US action as a gross interference in the domestic affairs of the country and a violation of its sovereignty. Joined by ordinary Venezuelans, PDVSA workers have already staged two massive demonstrations in the last week of May in the capital Caracas to protest against Washington’s latest provocations. The PDVSA is no ordinary state institution. It is directly involved in running hospitals and schools in the poor neighbourhoods. The PDVSA has also used the money it has gained from high oil prices to fund social programmes. In his speech at a protest march on May 29, the Venezuela’s oil minister said that the PDVSA symbolises “universal health care, free education and food cooperatives.” Venezuela’s oil, he said, “brings justice to our people.”
THE WORLD OIL SUPPLY
Ramirez said that the real motive of the US in targeting PDVSA was to monopolise the world’s oil supply. He said that it was not an accident that Libya was singled out for invasion among Arab countries. He pointed out that Libya was the biggest oil producer in Africa. He said that oil is the real motive of the US to single out Iran as well. The nuclear issue is only a pretext, Ramirez emphasised. Iraq too, the minister added, was invaded for its oil. Member states of the regional grouping, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA), expressed their “indignation and rejection” of the US government’s actions against Venezuela. The eight-member grouping, which includes Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia, called for a “definitive end” to the US acts of aggression against Venezuela.
In a separate statement, the government of Ecuador has described the US government’s decision as a “violation of international law.” Chilean parliamentarians said the US action was an aggression not only against Venezuela but “against all Latin American countries.” The Chilean legislators said that the US policy towards Venezuela and other OPEC nations like Iraq, Libya and Iran “has only one name, one objective, one common denominator --- oil.”