An important point on the Venezuelan "threat"

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A friend from the States calls me up to say:

the word ‘threat’ and the declaration of an emergency is a technical requirement. The legal body that gives the President the authority to impose sanctions on Venezuelan human rights violators is the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, known in Washington by its acronym IEEPA. In it, the President can only impose sanctions after declaring a national emergency due to a threat. The ‘threat’ portion of Obama’s Executive Order was a legal requirement, and although the language is harsh, the public shouldn’t read too much into it.”

I’m no legal expert, so I’ll take his/her word for it. Surprisingly, this is a point also made by Telesur

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1 COMMENT

  1. Not only that, but a potential military action is not a part of this decision.The language is only related to individual or country economic sanctions. Unfortunately, most of our politicians are lazy and/or ignorant. From Eduardo Fernandez to Henri. Falcon, the old, stupid, ultra-nationalistic complexes again outcropping. Will we ever grow up?

    • Because populism is much better at getting the ignorant people to vote rather than explaining them an actual plan to improve their lives and become more productive people.

  2. The irony is that in the interpretation of the boilerplate, some robolutionaries may find redemption to their bravado: “We are a threat to the imperialism. We scared them.” It may not be a widespread reaction, but it will play out nicely with some of the colectivos.

    Was it a wrong move for Obama to impose specific sanctions? Does it create opportunities for the narco-state to become meaner? I don’t think so. It has become meaner without any need for sanctions. I see that individuals will experience the weight of the sanctions and others may take notice. Not a big deal, but at least seven sons-of-bitches will have a bad day.

  3. Under the IEEPA President Obama ““…may, under such regulations as he may prescribe, by means of instructions, licenses, or otherwise—
    (A) investigate, regulate, or prohibit—
    (i) any transactions in foreign exchange,
    (ii)transfers of credit or payments between, by, through, or to any banking institution, to the extent that such transfers or payments involve any interest of any foreign country or a national thereof,
    (iii)the importing or exporting of currency or securities,
    by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;

    (B)investigate, block during the pendency of an investigation, regulate, direct and compel, nullify, void, prevent or prohibit, any acquisition, holding, withholding, use, transfer, withdrawal, transportation, importation or exportation of, or dealing in, or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to, or transactions involving, any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; …..”

    The above powers are expanded even further where a state of war exists between the US and the country to which the measures apply .

    This is an extremely broad range of measures which President Obama can take using the above law as a basis , note that it covers not only activities or assets located whithin US territory but those which are under the control of persons (outside the US) who are under the jurisdiction of the US. ( US banks and financial institutions) .

    The use which the president has made of the above powers in this case is very limited but the scope of the law allow him to go much farther in the future . This time the US govt appears to mean business .

    • Yes, and I go back to an earlier point–to what extent do U. S. companies want to continue doing business in Venezuela, considering this IEEPA action, not to mention they’re not getting paid in hard currency and are price-controlled? And, if they don’t continue doing business, what happens to already-critical scarcity of a vast array of consumer goods/packaging materials/industrial machinery parts/etc.?

      • The point is, the resulting unstated additional economic pressures on Venezuela can easily be as great/or greater than the additional political pressures.

    • The way I am reading this from the language and from Andorran bank report that released by the Treasury Dept. the following day is that the “threat” is the massive corruption and illicit funds emanating from Venezuela through drug money and official corruption. Venezuela has gone beyond merely damaging itself and is damaging the institutions of the world.

      I think we can expect to more scandals involving Venezuelan officials and PDVSA in the very near future.

  4. So much whining from chaburros…
    “Oh! We can’t go to Disney Land now! Waaahh!”
    “Ah! I can’t buy anymore at GAP nor MGM nor any of those super expensive shops to sate my marginalismo complex!”
    Somebody please get the waambulance for those morons, hahahaha!

  5. What is the US´s aim in making economic life more difficult for Venezuela? Answer: to get a regime change.

    Fact: It will not lead to a regime change: See Cuba and Zimbabwe.

    Conclusion: Obama made a mistake / it is futile with no real effect.

    Venezuela may simply become Cuba 2 giving the US president in 50 years’ time a “legacy” opportunity to take VZ back into the international fold with a lifting of sanctions – in 50 years time.

    VZ is not Iran: Iran is a real Middle Eastern power with a stable internal political situation and such a resilient economy that it can survive even operating outside the international banking and financial system, so much so, that the US is on the brink of a new deal with Iran. That is not the case with VZ and never will be the case with VZ.

    What is the right solution then?

    I don´t know. But I do know that Obama´s executive order will not do the trick.

    • You’re right, the U. S. should just sit on its hands, and let Narco-State Venezuela continue transiting drugs to them/world, as well as disrupting democracy in the Region, until it becomes so bloody as to necessitate U. S./international military peacemaking intervention, or becomes a bleeding open Cuba2 sore on their backside.

    • How about adjust to the fact that it is the 21st century and the US is neither aiming nor aiding for regime changes -anywhere-. You might just not like the current US administration and here is another reason to decry it.

      Though, you are right about something. The executive action is an expensive investment for what it gets us Venezuelans and them Americans. Maduro during the crisis has been dancing around one-legged but now they are a ‘threat’ to the US, so everyone will rally around Maduro -at least temporarily-, and give him some much needed political oxygen, and further distracts everyone from the shortages and the upcoming gas price hike.

      My gut tells me this was a domestic political maneuver to appease republicans from further undermining the executive branch on matters of foreign policy (Iran-US nuclear talks)

      • Too short-sighted–foreign policy must look much farther ahead–it’s better to begin to try to stop the storm when it’s still a squall, than when it becomes a tempest.

    • “Iran is a real Middle Eastern power with a stable internal political situation and such a resilient economy that it can survive even operating outside the international banking and financial system, so much so, that the US is on the brink of a new deal with Iran. ”

      Iran is certainly a real regional power. However, a ‘resilient economy’ is not quite the case. Iran has been hit very hard by these sanctions, which is why they may agree to a deal they otherwise might not. Part of their interim deal involved a relaxing of some of harder sanctions. There is a great demand for dollars in the black market in Iran as buying imported goods is very difficult (sound familiar?).

      • Imagine maintaining a 403 Billion USD nominal (1.2 Trillion USD Purchasing Power Parity) economy when the US excludes you from the world banking system? It requires using Canadian, instead of US banks – for international clearing operations and it requires strong men carrying physical gold – received in payment for oil – at night from Turkey to Iran, to keep your economy going. To me that is “resilient”. Yes, they have been hit hard, but, they make plans to survive against heavy odds.

        However, I must admit that I have changed my position as regards to Iran since I learnt that their supreme religious leader wants to “eliminate” Israel. I do not accept that position. As a result of this “elimination” mania, I think they should not be allowed any nuclear power – till they drop the “eliminate Israel” language.

        Well, we both agree: VZ is not the same as Iran.

    • The situation is a lot worse than publicly known. The United States government is aware of what’s going on. To keep ignoring is complicity. The USGov is as realistic as anyone on this forum about regime change in venezuela.

    • Sanctions over venezuelan individuals don’t affect the venezuelan economy. If the US government really wanted to affect and desestabilize the venezuelan economy they had shutted down oil imports, and stopped gas exports. The economic balance between the countries haven’t and won’t be affected by this sanctions. The only event that had influenced on the trend of the balance is the lack of strong currency on Venezuela and the imposing of more and more controls on the venezuelan customs.

      I’m glad to see that the US government enacted those sanctions as it reveals who from the chavizm government and party has goods, properties, interests and businesses in the States; it will seed this simple question in some chavizts minds “How and why these people have had properties, bank accounts and businesses in “the Empire” if there have been exchange control, and political refusal from the chavizm since 12 years ago?” “Weren’t the Empire the evil over Earth?, Why they have their economic safeguards there?

      A blockade like the one on Cuba won’t happen, as it will be totally inneffective in a pluripolar world as of today, more is you have in mind the weight China represents over the South American commercial exchanges.

      Don’t mess yourself. Sanctions applies only to those 60 people, not the entire country. Don’t repeat the empty populist and pseudo-nacionalist argument of the regimme and its colaborators.

  6. Call me here the skunk at the graden party, but this is utter nonself on the part of the US administration. So the logic goes like this. If we want to do XY or Z, we must declare something an unusual and extraordinary threat. So, we do so declare (I think the technical term for this is reification). But, wait, think nothing of it. It’s just legalese. We really don’t mean by our words that you are an unusual and extraordinary threat. No worries.

    WTF? Seriously?

  7. “In it, the President can only impose sanctions after declaring a national emergency due to a threat. The ‘threat’ portion of Obama’s Executive Order was a legal requirement, and although the language is harsh, the public shouldn’t read too much into it.””

    Whatever… This is just nitpicking.

    To say that the public “shouldn’t read much into it” is like saying that a patient with metástasis should really be concerned, because metástasis is just the technical term for cancer spreading around his body, it doesn’t really mean that the turmors have already taken over his whole body…

    The cold hard fact is this: the US just lumped Venezuela together with other pariah states like Cuba,
    Iran, Myanmar, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Syria, Belarus, North Korea and Russia. Certainly a very select group which do represent different levels of threat to the US.

  8. Chavistas will get some mileage from this, just look in aporrea for the grandiose articles planning “La Résistance Venezuelan”. Inasmuch as la “Guerra Economica” has been sold, after a while all lies run thin. The fact that no Marines will visit Venezuela except for the ones at the embassy will be clearer even to the most credulous Chavista in due course.

    The next big things to buffet Chavismo are going to be the electoral thumping or defaulting on the debt whichever happens first.

    I am certain Washington naming names is be quite unsettling if Noriega is any reference. They stand in a “Breaking Bad” / “Walter White” situation. They indulged, just a little in their mind, with shady stuff and now have no where to run. And what is the point of amassing the fortunes they have if they cannot spend it Miami? (they dream it as an improved Caracas, with Spanish and areperas).

    Yesterday, someone was pointing out of the Minister’s siblings in el Imperio in NC. I bet they aren’t feeling to warm and fuzzy. I suspect the list of of such suspect characters is far longer than this.

    And yet, as much as I wait for some split within Chavismo out of self preservation, they show incredible discipline while they sink together.

  9. Obama never does something before understanding the medium and/or long term outcomes. This is the step one on a broader approach to the Venezuelan case.
    On the pure side of the people end’s of the US action there is not a lot to fear at face value. Not going to Miami or Disneyworld or even get their money seized is the lesser of their worries. I believe the real message is that now “I can touch you” and now you can affront international prosecution because I am setting a precedent. Maduro is shaking the whole thing off as a country vs. country but the reality is that anyone more or less rational GNB Commandant may think twice before ordering “dale plomo y gas del bueno”.
    In the geopolitical spectrum, it shows the end of the pax Americana with Latam. The true is that US has been convert in their issues with Venezuela and always have publicly chosen accommodation and appeasement (even when the Russians landed those strategic bombers in Maracay). Not anymore. The action is sending a message to the uncommitted Caribbean nations and a warning to the Correas, the Evos and the Rousseffs of our world that are in a pragmatic economical relationship with the US.
    At home, it helps Obama to show a stronger diplomatic overture with Latam as international policy has always been his weakness. It helps his case with the Republicans as the Venezuelan agenda has always being on the table since W. Bush. It also opens a way to squeeze a little bit more the Venezuelan oil exports to US and push Maduro to send oil farther and farther with even less revenue due to the shipping costs. It will effectively reduce even further any sense of investment in Venezuela, assuming that there still some with guts to invest, particularly in oil and gas.
    He knew Maduro was to use the US action to deviate the attention of the plethora of domestic issues. He knows Cuba will only fuss about but it will not take any other action as its overall survival is now more tied to US than to Venezuela. He also know that Maduro/Arreaza/Diosdado triunbirato is not sophisticated and their reaction will be guttural rather than smart.
    I think phase 2, which already started, is to continue exposing the international corruption of the Venezuelan government, to put more pressure on Maduro and to force more reactions. Hopefully, there may reach a point where Maduro’s illegitimacy as democrat may finally resonate with the rest of Latin America.

    • None of the mentioned travel here of have assets here. They are small fry. Not sure Obama understands the outcome because nobody can predict Venezuela-Cuba outcomes but yes the decisions are educated and thought out. I don’t read too much into this in that it’s natural progression. The Chavistas are behind the wheel and driving the agenda. The United States is just responding. The US has been slow in responding. Again, it’s just where we are in time.

  10. Do chavistas NEED an excuse to behave like thugs?, we already know is not the case, so, why bother?, let them spew crap.

    Regardless of U.S policy, Maduro’s agenda consists in becoming meaner with dissidency.

    With no nickel to appease, brass and lead make good substitutes.

  11. Many of us so that fine use of specific words but many others specially on the Chavismo side used the term to imply a declaration of war to Venezuela.
    Good job getting the facts out!!!

  12. The missing elephant in the room is whats now happening in the minds of the hundreds of thousand if not million of people waiting in miles of interminable lines and queues arround Venezuela , they are not thinking much of Maduros call to defend the fatherland against imperialist threats , they are thinking of their own discomfort and suffering at the lack of stapples , and thecrazyly rising prices. these are issues closer to their skin , having to go arround 4 or 5 different stores to find nothing or only part of what you need to eat and feed your family or medicate your young ones . There is little in the official media about this reality but it is the most poignant thing in peoples mind right now . and the mood is ugly and getting uglier, some diehards may balk and now they will be able to entertain themselves wailing and shrieking about the insult to the fatherland but for the most , they have had enough of maduros bloated verbiage . What they think is that the govt bosses have stolen the money the country had and leaving them to the misery of their current situation . Maduro is not a hero to anyone no matter how much he appears wearing those glaring tricolor coats to braye his insults against the enemies of the country . Something happens to inflated words and streams of pompous oratory when you use it to much. that they lose their effect and start sounding like BS or as we say locally ‘habladera de paja’. !! I dont know whether the sanctions of the words used are going to change the regime , but it may get it to suffer plenty for every abuse they continue to perpetrate, you strike not necessarily to kill your opponent ( though that may happen too) but to exact the maximum amount of pain from their crimes and abuses.

    The war may be waged using many means that dont touch on the use of the specific terms of the law , the Andorra disclosure may just be a beggining , just think of it , people are suffering and you have Pdvsa officials in Andorra making away with 2 billion dollars of the peoples money……!! Cant you imagine how many andorra cases there are in Venezuela right now ?? I can and there are plenty …….let them start coming out and we will see what happens as the mood against the regime turns even more sour.!!

  13. It is surprising that we are discussing if the U.S. decision is good or bad, will do or won’t do the trick, although it is a move in favor of democracy and freedom in Venezuela. Venezuelans alone are not doing the job, so, why the doubts and rejections from Falcon, Fernandez, Primero Justicia and MUD when we get some support, even if it is symbolic/moral support from the outside? UNASUR and OAS are keeping quiet when not biased in favor of Maduro and here comes Obama breaking a lance for us and we start arguing about its effectiveness yes or no. Will we have to wait 50 years for the sanctions to work? I don’t know. I am just glad that someone made a gesture.
    And I agree that this is just the starting point of more to come. No invasions. No need for that. But it should not be too difficult to push Maduro over the edge before he pushes Venezuela over the edge.

    • It is not going to be that easy to “push Maburro over the edge” when he is in power in an economy the size of VZ´s and with USD receipts of 90 billion USD per annum. Remember: “Possession is 90% of the law” and Maburro has possession. Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe had no USD receipts as such, but, he was in possession of sovereign power – and still is.

      • N. I dont know that this will cause a regime change , not inmmediately predictable but it might , it makes for trouble for the regime anyway , sometimes you dont go for a knock out blow , you just want to hurt the other guy again and again and weaken him to see what happens . they are on warning that the purpose of the measures ( and this is just the first one ) is to incentivate them to improve their behaviour . Financially the regime is very vulnerable and every blow counts . What needs correction is the notion that the regime has 90 billion USD in yearly revenues , thats way off , do the math and they might have about 30 bln and they owe 10.2 just this year. Much of the so called reserves or external assets are iliquid or tied down with all sort of commitments . I dont know the result of this but whatever the propaganda use which the govt will make of this , its heavily hemorraging political capital every day that the crisis spreads and deepens .

        I have a feeling that Maduro was going to drop the elections and replace them for some sort of communal council meetings , and that this alarmed neighboring countries and led to the Unasur visit , I gather this from the way a few days before the visit arrived Maduro and others insisted that the elections would be held , and how many times Unasur mentioned that the elections would be held and even specified that in september , just today the CNE said that the US was trying to force the regime not to hold elections but that they would never succeed in that .

        The pressure is on to make the regime not go for the most extreme repression , The US govt has changed its past stance very noticiable which is something that they would not do unless they knew something that made it necessary or advantageous and which is not of general knowledge. One thing I understand is that the US Govt has a system of check and balances , a working infrastructure of experts that make it difficult for a president to change course on a whim . Something is brewing and we just dont know what it is .!!

        • B.B., The U.S. has good analysts. I think that they are reading the financial and logistics picture in Venezuela and concluding that Venezuela is very near to not being able to feed itself if the country does not do something to fix their systems very quickly.

    • No matter what the U.S. does or does not do, it will still be criticized and blamed. It comes along with the “empire” territory. Two thousand years ago, Rome was probably blamed for crop failures in England.

      Probably some in the Opposition are secretly cheering, but publicly criticizing the U.S. No doubt some genuinely think that it is a bad idea. Certainly, the whole “meddling gringo” narrative still has some traction in Venezuela, though probably not as much as the Oppo thinks. I am sure the U.S. took all that into account and decided to go ahead based on their own calculations. The Opposition’s track record on political decisions hasn’t exactly been stellar.

      • Or could it simply be that reducing the US embassy staff (spies are present in all embassies) in Caracas from 100 to 17 (the VZ DC equivalent) really would make the US´s surveillance of VZ that much more difficult?

  14. There’s a whiff of a step-by-step geopolitical strategy, long in the planning by the US, as one would expect. In regards to the Latin American thug club, I think that strategy began to get underway in April 2009. Here’s how I see it.

    1. Obama’s mandate: Make nice with armpit leaders of Latin America at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain; shake Daniel Ortega’s hand while giving his right shoulder a little squeeze; smile at Chávez as the Commandant lowers his eyelids and blushes, Maduro nearby glowing with admiration for Barack. The next day, in a coordinated photo-opp, graciously accept Chávez’ present: “The Open Veins of Latin America”.
    Consequence: feed the narcissists and their delusions to distract from the real program.

    2. Allow fracking on US soil.
    Consequence: re-build U.S. oil reserves and ensure less dependence on Vz.

    3. Coordinate with the Saudis to ensure OPEC imposes minimal, if any restrictions on supplies.
    Consequence: oil prices fall dramatically, hurting Russia and Vz.

    4. Talk to escaped generals from Venezuela.
    Consequence: build a dossier of shady and cross-verified activities, many of them related to drug deals and money laundering.

    5. Keep following the money and draw intersections where Venezuelan officials and military personnel are concerned, and where these have engaged in unlawful activities, while enjoying the perks of the “imperialist” host they so love to hate — in public.

    6. Renew relations with (gasp!) Cuba. Don’t tell Venezuela.
    Consequence: Knock Vz off its political perch at a time when it is feeling vulnerable.

    7. Impose economic sanctions on 7 Venezuelan officials … more to come.

    8. Sing: “It has only just begun”.

    • I agree to an extent, however, you make it sound like Venezuela is a high priority for the U.S. Really, it doesn’t even make the short list. It is just a happy coincidence that the global strategies that have forced Iran to the negotiating table and that are hurting Russia, are also putting Maduro & Co. in a tight spot. Since, the conditions are right, the U.S. is doing its part to ease Venezuela along way to what would happen anyway, but perhaps in time to avoid a major humanitarian catastrophe.

      • I agree that Vz and the thug club in Latam are of a lower priority than, say, the events in the middle east, and especially in Iran. But, I don’t easily subscribe to the notion of coincidences. In the case of the US-Vz, there was/still is dependence on supplies of oil from a close-by neighbor that engages in strengthening a drug corridor, to the detriment of US Americans, especially its youth. On top of the economic and administrative chaos, in Vz, there are violations of Human Rights that lead to the exodus of Venezuelans abroad, many to the U.S., exerting pressure on the host economy.

        • Left wing latin american regimes are currently in a rout , they ve known better days , Look at Dilmas situation as a result of the Petrobras scandal, look at Cristina Kitchner and the scandal produced by the murder/ suicide of the public prosecutor, look at the deepening Venezuelan crisis. At the same time Obamas approach to cuba is making attacks on his administration from the latam left more difficult to sell .!! The US is in the best situation its been in years to advance a more aggresive agenda against the Venezuelan regime , on top of that US reliance on Venezuelan oil imports is at an all time low .!!

          • For the last 8 weeks US crude oil inventory has grown by 1 million barrels or more. Venezuela supplies less then 700,000 bbls/d at the moment. And I would imagine a quick phone call to the Saudi’s to say ‘we are cutting off Venezuelan oil completely, could you step in’ would be met with a strong affirmative right now. The US doesn’t need these idiots any more, let them hang in the wind.

          • Not so easy, there are long term contracts with the refining complexes in Louisiana and Texas: Chalmette (193kbbls/day), Lake Charles (428k bbls/day) and Corpus Christi (156k bbls/day). The refineries are precisely designed to refine Venezuela’s heavy oil formulation and are obviously managed to supply Citgo. You can certainly see that the previous PDVSA was quite savvy on managing the market and understood how to balance oil market risk.

            Not all refineries use Venezuelan oil and certainly not all oil refined in US is fully available to sell. The key there is that the tank supply is about to be overwhelmed so the refinery feedstock will have to be restricted. The perfect storm as Maduro’s PDVSA boys will have to start shut-in the wells in Venezuela or attempt to sell more to non-traditional markets. The real point is that US is the only customer that is paying hard currency for the oil. China is exchanging oil for debt (that they already paid and Maduro &Co squandered), Petrocaribe is a soft credit line that is now become quite heavy for the Vzla gov., and let’s just not talk about how Cuba pays for oil.

            So, there are few ironies here:

            1. More than ever Venezuela is in the need of hard cold cash from the only customer that can only provide that, the US.

            2. The old PDVSA acquired Citgo to reconcile any market challenges coming from the middle east oil. They were fully aware that the lower quality Orinoco Oil will be hard to market unless refined. They also knew that the lower cost of shipping to US will make it more resilient to low oil prices. Remember that the old heavy oil JVs of the 90’s hinged on a $10-14/bbl oil price and it was still profitable with the only condition of export to US for refining. China was once upon a time a potential market for Orimulsion but Chavez killed it.

            3. Chavez and his intellectually challenged successor never truly understood that CITGO was acquired for this market environment (low oil price). High oil prices allowed them to bypass US as primary customer because oil was still profitable even with the high shipping costs. Nowadays the story is quite different.

            4. Since day one the dumb chavistas have been trying to sell Citgo. Maduro will be on a bigger world of crap if the Citgo sell would have been successful 6 months ago.

          • Good points. PDVSA bought CITGO in 1986, when oil had fallen to $10/BBL from its 1981 peak of near $40/BBL.

          • Very good points. You obviously know a lot more about the details and mechanics of the oil industry in the States then I can get just by reading about it.

          • B.B.,

            I agree that the conditions to mount a more aggressive stance are good right now, but I think that what is driving the timing of this particular effort is that the U.S.’s analysis of Venezuela’s economics/logistics are saying that Venezuela is facing a grave humanitarian crisis that will spill over its borders into Colombia if it continues on its current course.

    • 2. Allow fracking on US soil.Consequence: re-build U.S. oil reserves and ensure less dependence on Vz.
      This did not come about from any of President Obama’s initiatives. Obama has long been hostile to- or ignorant about- the oil industry. For hostility, consider his vetoing the Keystone pipeline. As if a thousand miles more of pipelines in a country that already has ~50,000 miles of pipelines is a radical step which requires a decade of consideration. This indicates both hostility and ignorance. For gross ignorance about the oil industry, consider Obama’s statement from the 2008 campaign.

      There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!

      What is even more amazing is that after it was duly pointed out to Obama how absurd his claim was- that inflaing tires properly w tune-ups would save the equivalent amount of oil that would be gotten from increased drilling- Obama doubled down and still claimed he was correct.

      Consider what Obama said in 2012.

      But you and I both know that with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas[oline] prices – not when consume 20 percent of the world’s oil.

      [Guess what, Mr. President? Drilling DID result in lower gasoline prices.]
      These are not the statements of someone who wants increased drilling in the US to rebuild reserves and reduce dependence on imported oil. Obama lucked out.

      • That’s true.

        Oil industry tax reductions and promotion of the industry was a policy of Bush’s government. A very direct way to fullfil the strategy of the U.S. to guaranteed their energetic independence.

        It ressulted in fracking and the exploitation of Dakota’s petrol-sands, but also in many other investments and developments less known and commented by the political lobby of Rafael Ramirez’s PDVSA.

      • BT, I know that Obama’s constituency includes the tree-hugging set (and I by no means disparage tree huggers). But one thing is to emit words to please a constituency and another is to act in an opposite way, moreover with the suasion from Congress.

        I am aware that geopolitical plans are, more often that not, very long in the making, long before Obama’s presidency. The plans can even include international partners of which most of us are unaware, and can affect those states with seemingly non-strategic importance.

        Witness the aperture towards Cuba. Was that one of strategic importance? I would say, indirectly insofar as Venezuela and the Latam thughegmony are concerned, or low-lying fruit, as BB noted.

        Not one US or Euro or Cdn paper predicted that thaw. And while the US got top billing in the news, the world over, other lesser power brokers were contributing ‘their grain of sand’, notably Canada, even the Vatican — who knew?

        Finally please don’t take my words as set in stone. I wrote them merely to reflect “how I see things”.

        • BT, I know that Obama’s constituency includes the tree-hugging set (and I by no means disparage tree huggers). But one thing is to emit words to please a constituency and another is to act in an opposite way, moreover with the suasion from Congress.
          Consider Obama’s vetoing the Keystone pipeline. That veto comes from the tree-hugging set, and probably also from megabucks Obama supporter Warren Buffet- whose Burlington Northern railroad transports a lot of the oil that would be going through the Keystone pipeline. Ironically, there are a lot more safety issues transporting oil by pipeline.

          Obama has tried to take credit for the increase in domestic oil production, but it came about from no thanks to him. The increase in domestic production has come from privately owned land, not from government owned land.
          Yes, I see that you are thinking out loud, not writing a policy paper.

          • Correction:
            Ironically, there are a lot more safety issues transporting oil by railroad than by pipeline.

  15. The are watching and observing. The DEA, the joint task force, the Southern District, Southern Command – US mililtary, NSA, FBI, Justice Dept, State Dept, estan metidos observando y preparando expedientes. Not aware of plan or strategy specific to country but do see circumstances and legacy playing a role.

  16. The word “threat” was obviously used lightly. A mistake by the US. But what do they care or what do they know? They don’t know our population is extremely uneducated and alarmist. They didn’t know (and probably still don’t) that it was just what Chavismo wanted to divert the attention to the “imperio” instead of the dire needs of the people.

    Exactly was the regime needed as an excuse to crack down even more on the rights and “liberties” , if any, left in Vzla. Now the Masburros can continue to blow that up, great excuse to even cancel elections, etc, etc.

    Dumb, dumb move by the gringos, unless they really mean it to impose severe economic sanctions to push our people to the streets, con HAMBRE, I might add, which is the only way out now.

      • Wrong. There are cracks between the military (hundreds of “generals”) and Disdado’s thugs, and the Chavistas themselves. Masburro does not have absolute power.

        The “Imperio” smoke screen was needed more than ever. To divert the public opinion away from the crisis economica y escasez, AND to unite a bit the Chavistas themsleves.

  17. “I agree that Vz and the thug club in Latam are of a lower priority than, say, the events in the middle east, ”

    Vzla is a lower priority now than even Hilary Clinton, or the weather. Read any news page here in the USA, or turn to any channel, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, locals, Vzla is not even mentioned in the 3rd page.

  18. I would guess these sanctions are just a first step. The US is well aware of the narco-trafficking being conducted by those in government positions, funding of and cedulas/passports granted to terrorists, etc. I would characterize these things as a “threat” to any country outside Venezuela.

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