Venezuela


#341

Thoughts and prayers, man, thoughts and prayers…


#342

They have assets on the ground already. A couple of Tu-160s I know of as it popped up when i was browsing the other day.


#343

Not that I’m advocating war with Russia or American intervention in Venezuela, but the Russian military is not capable of projecting meaningful power to South America.

Unless it’s a new set, there were two Blackjacks there, but it was just for a short visit (Dec. 10-15).


#344

Oh that will be it.


#345

There really is no foreign policy criminal blundering in American politics that is bad enough to render its perpetrator radioactive to the right.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-25/pompeo-elliott-abrams-venezuela

Because the way you convince Latin American people that you have their best interests at heart is to send them as an envoy an enabler and apologist for right-wing death squads.


#346

OFAC designated PDVSA as a SDN last night, sanctions that cut it out of the financial system and freeze its offshore assets.

I’ll post some thoughts once I’ve finished suspending all its accounts with my company.


#347

This is something.


#348

My positive spin is that Bolton probably doodles.invasions of other countries all the time.


#349

This is really the stupidest administration of all time.


#350

I think I know what that phrase means, after a bunch of google-ing and Wikipedia reading.

I think. Pretty sure. :D


#351

Lets try to ELI5 this.

Sanctions are a means to influence a foreign country to act how you want it to.

OFAC is the Office of Foreign Assets Control, part of the US Treasury and is responsible for issuing and maintaining US sanctions.

SDN is a Specially Designated National. This is the usual way of sanctioning an individual or entity. Being designated means your bank will close your accounts and freeze your assets. You will not be able to make or receive payments. You are now a pariah in the Western financial system. You are now on No Fly lists. You are barred from credit. You cannot send payments abroad, or use any financial product like money exchange. Any regulated business will not be able to do business with you.

Anyone who does business with you risks being fined and censured by OFAC too. Any financial institution that allows your business risks huge fines (up to $7 billion so far) and monstrously expensive remediation work and compliance processes or even loss of licence.

The power is basically, because of the dollar. If you want to use dollars you follow the US rules, and global trade is mainly dollar based. The oil market is in dollars, with some minor euro and other currency trading due to Iranian and Russian sanctions. OFAC power is absolute, unyielding, occasionally arbitrary and if it says jump any company worth its salt will ask how high. The banks that thought they could act as they please got bent over and given a billion dollar seeing to.

PDVSA is Petroleos de Venezuela Sociedad Anónima, the state owned national oil company and is now in this position, cut off from the oil markets. It has some considerable US holdings and a US strategic asset, a refinery (CITGO) that are now only trading and existing under General Licence from OFAC. It will continue to sell to Russia, Iran and China, but there’s all sorts of issues. No access to most global shipping, shipping insurance, ports and ancillary services etc. Banking is done in local currencies and only using their banks, who cant even do this using the existing banking infrastructure (SWIFT) A single molecule of your oil is now out of bounds to the Western energy industry too. No refining, sharing in tanks or pipelines, or using ships that have had it previously etc. There are knock-on effects, relational, affiliate and third party issues that are complex enough to be similar to earning points for the Good Place or Bad Place.


#352

TLDR…

Went from 8 to 80, but the explanation is appreciated. And I did get the gist of it, after figuring out what all the acronyms meant…
Still, a serious increase in hardball playing from the USA, though I was under the impression oil business had mostly collapsed in Venezuela, from all the shenanigans. Guess there’s still enough that making them pariahs is a credible threat.


#353

They have the worlds largest proven oil reserves. They are sitting on wealth and prosperity. They had the opportunity to do a Norway and create a social fund, they did some of that, there is an verified audit trail for the work the existing fund has done, but most of it has been squandered or siphoned off into their offshore accounts.


#354

Pretty good, balanced take on the situation I think:


#355

Really? It’s an execrable column. Who are the leftists who prefer a Russian-backed dictator to a public revolt? Does the column even try to name one? No, instead it implies (to say it argues would do it too much credit) that progressive politicians and parties in the US and the UK will turn those countries into Venezuela.

Krugman’s response to sentiments like this pretty much covers it.


#356

I’ll name some for you:

John McDonnell MP, Diane Abbott MP, Richard Burgon MP, Dan Carden MP, Laura Pidcock MP, Emma Dent Coad MP, Clive Lewis MP, Grahame Morris MP, Kate Osamor MP, Dennis Skinner MP, Laura Smith MP, Chris Williamson MP, Neil Findlay MSP, John Finnie MSP, , Michael Mansfield QC, Owen Jones Journalist and campaigner

Now, I doubt support in the US is anything like that - the US left has not embraced the crazy.


#357

As you appear to have copied and pasted that from a Guardian piece, I’ll add the context, what those people have signed up to:

The far-right governments of Trump and Bolsonaro offer no hope to Venezuela or to the majority of people in Latin America.

Whatever views people hold on Venezuela, there is no justification for backing the US attempt at regime change under way, which, if successful, could go the way of the disastrous interventions in Iraq and Libya.

Instead, the way forward is the call for dialogue from the Mexican and Bolivian presidents.
John McDonnell MP, Diane Abbott MP, Richard Burgon MP, Dan Carden MP, Laura Pidcock MP, Emma Dent Coad MP, Clive Lewis MP, Grahame Morris MP, Kate Osamor MP, Dennis Skinner MP, Laura Smith MP, Chris Williamson MP, Neil Findlay MSP, John Finnie MSP, , Michael Mansfield QC, Owen Jones Journalist *and campaigner


#358

This piece isn’t making the case that Venezuela is the poster child for failed socialist policies and the writer (briefly) addresses this in the opening paragraphs (quoted below) But after the news last week I saw a lot of chatter on twitter about an “American backed coup” against Maduro as if he were democratically elected. He’s not, and so far as I know this isn’t engineered by the US (I could well be wrong on that point though.)

The American right is already using the failure of Venezuelan socialism as a means to attack the socialist movement. Yet Venezuelans are starving, and to weaponize the fact merely to bash the left represents not only the height of bad taste but also the maximum of solipsism. The posturing of pundits is insignificant next to the suffering on the ground.

But while such criticisms are often made in bad faith, the Western left does need to take a serious look at itself over Venezuela—not least because of what it says about the health of leftist elements that, in Britain and elsewhere, are close to attaining real power.


#359

Indeed, that’s the problem. This:

the Western left does need to take a serious look at itself over Venezuela—not least because of what it says about the health of leftist elements that, in Britain and elsewhere, are close to attaining real power.

…is exactly what I’m complaining about. The writer first says it’s dumb to reflexively equate leftism and Venezuela, then he goes on to say that Venezuela is a cautionary tale for leftists. It’s twaddle.

And again, who are the leftists that the author claims prefer the dictator? What evidence does he cite to make that claim?


#360

The “anti-Imperialists”* are basically anti-West organisations with their roots in Soviet attempts at creating fifth columnists. The US branch has turned up in the Tulsi Gabbard thread and also very active via Max Blumenthal and Grayzone. The USSR connection remains, because they are all working arm in arm with the Duginists and Putin. The UK side of things is centred on STWC and I could link pages and pages of horrible facts about them but if you want to see the very worst of the left, this is where you should look. People who would deny a genocide if it meant opposing US, UK or Israel. Would? I mean did.

*but pro-Russian imperialisation