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Thread: Venezuela Embargo/Sanctions

  1. #1
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Venezuela Embargo/Sanctions

    From US News & World Report
    https://www.usnews.com/opinion/world...elas-elections

    Apparently the US government is considering an oil embargo ahead of Venezuela's upcoming elections, drawing on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to make up any shortfalls in imports, on top of sanctions that were already imposed last summer. Venezuela's been in a sharp dive these last several years, and they're experiencing an extreme economic crisis since oil prices collapsed several years ago.

    Marco Rubio sent out a tweet about a month ago in support of a coup by the Venezuelan military against the "Bolivarian" government.

    Behind the Scenes in Venezuela

    The Trump administration is intensifying its regime change efforts to potentially include torpedoing Venezuela's presidential election.

    In recent weeks, the Trump administration has stepped up its efforts at "regime change" in Venezuela. In the past, Trump himself has even mentioned military action as a possible option, but the most recent moves appear more likely to be implemented, and some are already operational.

    According to a source with knowledge of the matter, the leading opposition contender for Venezuela's May presidential election, Henri Falcón, was told by U.S. officials that the Trump administration would consider financial sanctions against him if he entered the presidential race. (The U.S. State Department did not return requests for comment.) The U.S. has backed the main opposition coalition decision to boycott the election.

    Falcón is a former governor and retired military officer. He is leading in the latest polls, and according to the most reliable opposition pollster, would defeat Maduro in the election by a margin of nearly 7 percentage points.

    Why would the Trump administration want to prevent an opposition leader who could possibly win the presidency in Venezuela from running in this election? There is no way to know for sure, but high-level sources from inside the administration have stated that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is determining U.S. policy toward Venezuela. Rubio is a hardliner who does not seem interested in an electoral or negotiated solution to Venezuela's political crisis. On Feb. 9, he appeared to support a military coup when he tweeted:

    @marcorubio

    The world would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator
    8:26 AM - Feb 9, 2018
    Now U.S. officials are talking about a more ferocious collective punishment: cutting off Venezuela's oil sales. This was not done previously because it would hurt U.S. oil refining interests that import Venezuelan oil. But the administration has floated the idea of tapping the U.S. strategic petroleum reserves to soften the blow. All this to overthrow a government that nobody can claim poses any threat to the United States.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 06 Mar 18, at 11:17.

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    US embargo would be the 'death knell' for Venezuela's oil industry, analyst says

    • "The imposition of U.S. oil sanctions is now edging closer to reality. Such a move would act as the death knell for Venezuela's oil industry," Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note Wednesday.
    • President Donald Trump is reportedly considering sanctioning Venezuela's crude industry in a bid to ratchet up pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
    • A move to directly target Venezuela's oil industry would be a huge blow to Maduro's socialist administration, which is depending almost entirely on crude sales to try and decelerate a deepening economic crisis.

    The red flags of an imminent U.S. embargo on Venezuelan crude are already apparent, according to an oil analyst, with ramifications of such a move likely to exacerbate an unprecedented economic meltdown.

    "The imposition of U.S. oil sanctions is now edging closer to reality. Such a move would act as the death knell for Venezuela's oil industry," Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note Wednesday.

    President Donald Trump is reportedly considering sanctioning Venezuela's crude industry in a bid to ratchet up pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reported Thursday, citing an unnamed U.S. official.

    This follows a stark warning from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said at the start of February that sanctioning Venezuela's oil or prohibiting the crude to be sold in the U.S. was something the White House was continuing to mull over.

    A move to directly target Venezuela's oil industry would be a huge blow to Maduro's socialist administration, which is depending almost entirely on crude sales to try and decelerate a deepening economic crisis.
    '21st century socialism'

    Last year, Venezuela was the fourth largest supplier of crude oil and products to the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

    Brennock said U.S. imposed sanctions on the oil-dependent state's crude industry would force Caracas to offer steep discounts in a desperate search for new buyers and also leave the country reeling with the prospect of supply restrictions of vital diluents. Such diluents are essential in helping to market and transport Venezuela's tar-like heavy crude, he added.

    Meanwhile, Maduro is running for another six-year term in a general election next month. The current premier is asking supporters to stick with his brand of "21st century socialism" in order to keep the country on track to recover 70 percent of its lost oil production in the first six months of the year.

    In 2017, Venezuela's crude sales to the U.S. slipped below 600,000 — the lowest level of sales to America in almost three decades, according to Reuters.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/01/us-e...lyst-says.html
    Last edited by Ironduke; 06 Mar 18, at 20:47.

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    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    U.S. sanctions and worries of a coup erode Maduro's control of Venezuelan military

    When military counter-intelligence officers went to Fort Tiuna in Caracas on May 2, they found the Ayala Battalion's Russian-made armored vehicles loaded with ammunition, in violation of regulations.

    The battalion's commander was arrested and now faces charges of treason, as do five lieutenant colonels.

    That same day, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez went to Fort Tiuna and ordered all Military Academy cadets to leave immediately. His extraordinary visit was sparked by fears of an insurrection, military sources told el Nuevo Herald.

    Two days earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had ordered 24 officers expelled from the armed forces, including collaborators of the late President Hugo Chávez. He also considered seizing the passports of National Bolivarian Police members to try to stem the massive defections within the institution. Both steps increased the already deep discontent within Venezuela's security forces.

    Those are just the most recent indications that Maduro is losing the loyalty of its military officers amid an economic collapse that has brought hunger to the armed forces, and the possibility of economic sanctions and even trials of officers for human rights violations.

    Recent signals from Washington that it would accept a military coup against an authoritarian regime with links to drug trafficking also have been fueling the uncertainty among security forces.
    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nati...#storylink=cpy

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