US Planing to Grab Venezuela’s Oil

There is a growing impression that Venezuela with its oil riches is the next country on the US hit list. One would have to be a hopeless idealist to believe that – after US crusades swept across Asian and African oil-producing countries – the Venezuelan oil deposits so far remaining beyond the US control would somehow evade Washington’s appetite. According to various estimates, Venezuela’s fuel reserves should last for 100-150 years under the conditions of strenuous exploitation…

The now-permanent US war over oil against Venezuela commenced in December, 2002 when the management of the country’s oil giant PDVSA staged a strike involving a total of around 20,000 personnel. Chavez’s foes expected that a destabilization across the Venezuelan oil sector, lines at gas stations, and problems with gas supply to households would shatter the defiant regime, but its supporters did not give in. The strike ended with a defeat in February, 2003, and PDVSA was converted into a state-run company. The pro-US fifth column entrenched in PDVSA was exposed and many of its leaders fled from Venezuela. Some 15,000 oil sector employees were fired and the losses resulting from the turmoil topped $10b.

Rebuilding PDVSA was an uphill task for the Venezuelan administration and the part of the company’s personnel who had resisted the conspirators’ threats and blackmail. Chavez’s steps aimed at strengthening OPEC, subjecting the oil output to regulation, and maintaining fair prices helped boost the influence exercised globally by the cartel, Russia whose economy is propped up  by oil revenues being among the beneficiaries. Chavez’s support also helped Cuba which was widely seen as a country on the brink to make it through an energy crisis.

Grim forecasts for Chavez and his designs like Venezuela’s original brand of socialism, discount supplies to same-orbit countries, and the establishment of the Petrocaribe alliance were churned out by analysis tightly linked to international energy grands but failed to materialize. The political regime in Venezuela and Chavez’s standing in international politics are largely sustained by the country’s potential in the energy sphere, andVenezuela’s case exemplifies the simple truth that state control over energy resources is in all cases the key to maintaining domestic stability.

It would be naive to accept the explanation that Washington stamped sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector solely to punish PDVSA for sending a tanker with 20,000 tons of gasoline to Iran.  US  Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg stressed that companies from other countries faced similar sanctions as a wider warning message against energy engagement with Tehran.

True, so far the sanctions imposed on Venezuela more or less read as a mere act of intimidation: the Venezuelan oil sector is debarred from contracts with US companies, export and import borrowings, and the acquisition of advanced oil extraction and refinement technologies. PDVSA can easily survive all of the above – it stayed clear of the US administration and finances for ages, and has a serious independent park of technologies.

Chavez responded to pressure from the US Department of State via Twitter: “Sanctions against the Patria of Bolнvar?  Imposed by the gringo imperialist government?  Well then: Bring them on, Mr. Obama!  Don’t forget that we are the sons of Bolнvar!” and projected that PDVSA would not be shut out of the US market. When news about the sanctions spread on May 24, Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolбs Maduro told the media that the country’s government was probing into the potential consequences for the stability of PDVSA and the supply of 1.2m bpd of crude to the US market. Maduro pledged an “adequate response to the imperialist aggression” and said Venezuela would more than ever be committed to fraternal relations with Iran which in no way threatened the world’s peace. The Venezuelan administration subscribed a number of times to the view that the claims concerning Iran’s ambitions in the sphere of nuclear weapons withstand no criticism. Washington is slandering Tehran as it slandered Baghdad when the invasion of Iraq loomed on the horizon. The propaganda made media audiences feel that S. Hussein was an immediate peril but no Iraqi WMDs were unearthed eventually.

G. Bush’s administration was the top manufacturer of anti-Chavez stereotypes. It was a staple for a time that he allegedly supported Arab terrorists and ran secret camps hosting them on Margarita Island in Venezuela,  where a relatively small Arab community is known to reside. Back when I toured the Margarita Island more than once, occasionally talking to the amicable Arab vendors, I could not imagine that some day the CIA would count the folks as Hezbollah guerillas. These days, the myth is given an extensive backing, and every US SouthCom chief reiterates that a terrorist camp on the Margarita Island does exist. Another myth floated by the CIA is that Iran is admitted to cultivate uranium deposits in Venezuela’s Bolivar state and operates secret laboratories in the area.

Recently Germany’s Die Welt came up with yet another curious finding: this time, Iran is supposed to build a missile base on Venezuela’s Paraguana Peninsula to target the US (long ago, the same plan was attributed to Russia, by the way). Chavez was prompt to react by featuring pictures of wind mills at a televised government meeting and saying that there must have been a problem with a US reconnaissance satellite. Vice president Elias Jaua did contribute a comment in earnest, saying that Washington was looking for a pretext to attack Venezuela.

The hypothesis increasingly seems realistic. The 2012 elections are drawing closer, and polls show Chavez’s rivals stand no chance. At least, as of today, Chavez is confronted with no competitors with comparable prospects. In response to the situation, the US is trying to ignite domestic conflicts in Venezuela patterned on those that recently shook Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, relying on social media, pro-US NGOs, radical youth groups, and Columbian guerillas from the ostensibly disbanded AUC. Coordinators of the plot are eyeing potential allies in the ranks of Chavez’s own administration. Scores of ambitious figures have gone through a political divorce with Chavez over years, and all of them are permanently welcomed by the opposition’s Globovision TV channel. The brain-washing campaign waged by the opposition media reached impressive proportions. Venezuelans are taught to believe that their country is the scene of rampant crime, that drug lords meet with virtually no resistance, and that Chavez patronizes corrupt bureaucrats in a hope to secure their support. It is also a cliche that Venezuela’s oil is spent recklessly, mostly to keep ALBA and Cuba afloat while the Venezuelan infrastructures are in disrepair, leaving the population to endure electric power and water supply shutdowns along with recurrent food shortages.

The media are heavily criticizing Venezuela’s economic and military cooperation with Russia and China. At the moment the country’s defense capabilities are bled as a result of the sanctions imposed by Washington on Cavim, the key Venezuelan defense corporation. The explanation is thatWashington hates to see other players eat away at its share of the arms market.

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The assassination of an opposition politician – or of a group of opposition activists – will likely be organized to provoke an outbreak of unrest in Venezuela. The rest of the blueprint is predictable – NATO has the notorious Plan Balboa for the country.


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US oil deal reveals real reasons behind Libya campaign

The first shipment of Libyan oil arrived to the US on July 8th, following a deal signed by the US and the Transitional National Council, the self-proclaimed legitimate government of Libya. The sale finally reveals the true reasons behind the NATO campaign, previously described as an attempt to provide security for Libyan civilians. The said civilians keep suffering, NATO forces keep trying to break the stalemate and America seems to be the only side of the conflict benefiting from the so-called “rescue operation”.  Meanwhile representatives of Arab and Western countries are meeting in the United Arab Emirates to discuss Libya’s future after the presumed end of Muammar Gaddafi. However Gaddafi doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to give up, which was clearly demonstrated by the lack of results of NATO bombardments of Tripoli.
A plan “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas”, declared by the UN Security council resolution is failing miserably. However, while Libyan civilians suffer from the actions of both the rebels and government troops, Libyan oil is getting safely transported to America. As the US State Department confirmed on Wednesday, the rebel government in control of the eastern regions of Libya had made its first sale. The deal followed an April announcement by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department that established a new licensing policy with Libya. The US had to take this measure to facilitate oil-related transactions with the Transitional National Council.

According to a written statement from the State Department, Tesoro, a U.S. oil refiner, signed a deal with the Transitional National Council based in Benghazi, Libya for 1.2 million barrels of Libyan crude oil. The dollar value of the deal is still unknown.

The statement claims that the true reason behind the deal with TNC is an intention to support the Libyan people. However, one must be extremely naïve to believe that any Libyan person caught in the chaotic cross-fire would get a single cent out of this deal.

As the US is successfully solving its oil problem, Western and Arab leaders are preparing to decide the future of Libya. The members of the so called Contact Group – a coalition of various countries and international organizations that have officially recognized the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya – are to meet in the United Arab Emirates. It is the third meeting of the group tasked with discussing the potential development of the country after the end of the Gaddafi regime.

It’s a surprising fact that despite beginning of oil trade with the TNC, the United States has not recognized the new government of Libya. “We are still considering it but there’s no final decision as of right now,” said a US official, commenting on the possible recognition of the TNC.

While the members of the Contact Group are deciding the future of post-Gaddafi Libya, Gaddafi himself expresses no intention to give up his power. “We will not surrender, we will not give up,” the beleaguered leader declared in response to the intensified bombardment of Tripoli by NATO air forces. NATO has to face the fact that all of its strategies to end the conflict remain nothing but empty words, while the country sinks deeper into chaos.

The latest report of the UN Human Rights Council states that war crimes in the troubled country continue and that means the citizens of Libya keep paying a bloody price for European ambitions and American oil.

By : Vladimir Gladkov

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