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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb 11, CMC –The Speaker of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament, Jomo Thomas, says the United States is determined to snuff the revolutionary experiment in Venezuela and control the resources of the South American country.
Thomas, who is also an attorney and social commentator, said that over the last 100 years, the United States has turned Latin American into its playground, its backyard in which only yard fowls are allowed.
“If a leader emerges that asserts self-determination and upholds his country’s right to independence, the United States takes an aggressive stance in an attempt to deform, derail or destroy such an example,” Thomas wrote in his commentary titled “US actions immoral, unethical and illegal” and published over the last weekend.
He said this is “precisely what is taking place in Venezuela,” where Opposition Leader, where Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó, backed by the United States and several other western countries, has declared himself the interim leader of the South American country.
But Russia, China and Cuba are among countries that are supporting President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn into office last month for a second consecutive term as head of state.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has already said that the Montevideo Mechanism adopted in Uruguay last week presents “the only objective mechanism” to address the complex political situation in Venezuela.
CARICOM chairman and St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, who led a CARICOM delegation to the talks in Uruguay, said that the mechanism is the only initiative available for international actors “who want to see peace in Venezuela”.
CARICOM has been pushing the need for a non-interventionist policy in Venezuela, saying the matter should be settled by Venezuelans themselves.
In his column, Thomas, said the US sanctions, embargo and threat of military invasion, as witnessed in Cuba, Libya, Iraq, and so many other countries in the world “is not about democracy, but about a mad craving for other people’s riches”.
He recalled that in 2002, the George W. Bush administration, aided and abetted an attempted coup in Venezuela in an attempt to overthrow Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution.
“Then the Bush administration worked behind the scenes to back in a coup d’état an anti-Chavez opposition with political and financial support. This time around, the Americans and Europeans are opening funding and supporting a military coup or foreign intervention. The United States is leading the regime change effort from in front.”
Thomas said that when Chávez died in 2013, President Maduro won the elections and pledged to continue the policy of Chavez who used “Venezuela’s vast oil wealth to eradicate illiteracy and poverty, and to provide education and universal health care”.
He said that following Maduro’s second victory in 2018, the pressures mounted to bring down the administration and the naming of Elliott Abrams to oversee the Venezuela operation, the public threats against Venezuelan leaders by John Bolton of “consequences” should they defy the empire and President Donald Trump’s own multiple statements that a military option is “on the table” for Venezuela, “clearly show that the table is set for regime change”.
He said that Guaido and other opposition figures have already met with senior Trump administration officials who have pledged support for removing Maduro from office.
Thomas said that the decision to place the embargo on Venezuela and institute various penalties are projected to deprive Venezuela of seven billion US dollars in assets, resulting in US$11 billion in export losses during the next year.
“Clearly, the sanctions will hurt and seriously harm government’s standing but not ordinary Venezuelans. But this is virtually impossible since 95 per cent of Venezuela’s export revenue comes from oil sold by the state-owned oil company. Cutting off the government’s access to dollars will leave the economy without the hard currency needed to pay for basic necessities.
“Therefore, starving the Venezuelan economy of its foreign currency earnings risks turning the country’s current humanitarian crisis into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe,” he wrote, noting that Washington used the same flawed strategy in 1960 when the Eisenhower administration imposed an embargo on Cuba.
“The US National Lawyers Guild said the US action in Venezuela is illegal under international law,” Thomas said, noting that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, and the United States is its biggest customer.
“Indeed, the United Nations Charter requires that countries settle their disputes peacefully and forbids the use or threat of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of another country. Military force is only permissible in self-defence or with the assent of the Security Council. Further, the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) says no country can intervene, for any reason, in the internal or external affairs of another country.
“US imposition of economic sanctions against Venezuela is also illegal. The OAS Charter proscribes the use of coercive economic or political measures to force the sovereign will of another country and obtain any advantages from it,” he added.
“Clearly, the US and its allies do not care how many Venezuelans starve or die. It does not care about democracy, human rights or international law. Washington’s sole concern is to snuff the revolutionary experiment in Caracas and control its resources,” the Speaker of the Parliament here wrote.