January 23, 2018

United States Imposed Severe Economic Sanctions Against Venezuela

President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order imposing strong, new financial sanctions on the dictatorship in Venezuela.

The Statement by the Press Secretary on New Financial Sanctions on Venezuela

The statement by the White House press secretary stated the following:

“The Maduro dictatorship continues to deprive the Venezuelan people of food and medicine, imprison the democratically-elected opposition, and violently suppress freedom of speech.  The regime’s decision to create an illegitimate Constituent Assembly—and most recently to have that body usurp the powers of the democratically-elected National Assembly—represents a fundamental break in Venezuela’s legitimate constitutional order.”

“In an effort to preserve itself, the Maduro dictatorship rewards and enriches corrupt officials in the government’s security apparatus by burdening future generations of Venezuelans with massively expensive debts.  Maduro’s economic mismanagement and rampant plundering of his nation’s assets have taken Venezuela ever closer to default.  His officials are now resorting to opaque financing schemes and liquidating the country’s assets at fire sale prices.”

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in the City of Doral in South Florida on the future economic sanctions against the communist regime of Venezuela. This picture was taken by this writer who attended the event and spoke with the Vice President.

The Statement by the Press Secretary also said the following:

“As Vice President Mike Pence has said, in Venezuela, we’re seeing the tragedy of tyranny play out before our eyes.  No free people have ever chosen to walk the path from prosperity to poverty.  No free people have ever chosen to turn what was once, and should still be, one of South America’s richest nations into its poorest and most corrupt.”

“We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.  The President’s new action prohibits dealings in new debt and equity issued by the government of Venezuela and its state oil company.  It also prohibits dealings in certain existing bonds owned by the Venezuelan public sector, as well as dividend payments to the government of Venezuela.”

“To mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people, the Treasury Department is issuing general licenses that allow for transactions that would otherwise be prohibited by the Executive Order.  These include provisions allowing for a 30-day wind-down period; financing for most commercial trade, including the export and import of petroleum; transactions only involving Citgo; dealings in select existing Venezuelan debts; and the financing for humanitarian goods to Venezuela.”

“These measures are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule, protect the United States financial system from complicity in Venezuela’s corruption and in the impoverishment of the Venezuelan people, and allow for humanitarian assistance.”

“The United States is not alone in condemning the Maduro regime.  Through the Lima Declaration of August 8, 2017 our friends and partners in the region refused to recognize the illegitimate Constituent Assembly or the laws it adopts.  The new United States financial sanctions support this regional posture of economically isolating the Maduro dictatorship.”

“The United States reiterates our call that Venezuela restores democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression of the Venezuelan people.  We continue to stand with the people of Venezuela during these trying times.”

On August 25, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order which was implemented by the Treasury Department. It imposed economic sanctions against the bloody communist regime in Venezuela. The Treasury Department prohibited the purchase of bonds issued by the Venezuelan regime and its state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PEDEVESA).

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated the following: “Maduro may no longer take advantage of the American financial system to facilitate the wholesale looting of the Venezuelan economy at the expense of the Venezuelan people. These measures will undermine Maduro’s ability to pay off political cronies, and regime supporters, and increase pressure on the regime to abandon its disastrous path.”

On August 26, 2017, Patricia Mazzei and Franco Ordoñes wrote an article titled “U.S. imposes first economic sanctions against Venezuela” which was published by the Miami Herald. The reporters explained that the Trump administration stated on August 25, 2017 that it will not help to underwrite “tyranny” and restricted Venezuela’s ability to borrow money from American banks, a prohibition intended to deny the regime of dictator Nicolás Maduro of much-needed funds. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that “Maduro may no longer take advantage of the American financial system to facilitate the wholesale looting of the Venezuelan economy at the expense of the Venezuelan people.”

Venezuela is almost bankrupt and the prohibition by United States of purchasing Venezuelan debt could push Venezuela closer to complete economic collapse. This writer has recommended the imposition of a total economic embargo against the Venezuelan regime. However, such a measure, which has been threatened by America, has not been implemented yet. The communist regime in Venezuela, which has been denounced by the United States and its Latin American allies as a dictatorship, will now have to turn to China and Russia to finance their billions of debt.

In this picture appears Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro (left), next to his vice president, who is a drug-trafficking Islamic terrorist, Tarek El Aissami. Maduro appears presenting Russian dictator Vladimir Putin with the Key of the City of Caracas in April 2010.

Mazzei and Ordoñes pointed out that Venezuela is suffering an unprecedented economic collapse “caused by plunging oil prices and rampant mismanagement that has led to hyperinflation, violent crime and widespread food and medicine shortages.” Dictator Nicolás Maduro stated the following: “The illegal measures President Donald Trump took today against the Venezuelan people simply violate international law. They ratify an imperial path of aggression against Venezuela.”

Venezuelan dictator Maduro said on August 25 that he will prosecute for treason his opponents, who he accused of being behind the sweeping U.S. financial sanctions. Maduro accused President Donald J. Trump of trampling with international law and relations with Latin America by taking actions that he said would cause “great damage” to the Venezuelan oil economy as well as to American investors who own the country’s bonds.

Maduro singled out the president of Venezuela’s freely-elected National Assembly, Julio Borges, as being the “mastermind” of the financial and economic “blockade.” He further called on the communist regime-stacked Supreme Court and a new, all-powerful and illegal Constitutional Assembly to initiate proceedings against opponents who have lobbied in favor of the sanctions. “You’ve got to be a big traitor to your country to ask for sanctions against Venezuela,” Maduro said, “You’ve got to be a big traitor to your country to ask for sanctions against Venezuela, he added.”

President Trump’s Executive Order also restricts the Venezuelan oil giant’s American subsidiary, Citgo, from sending dividends back to Venezuela — a move that Maduro said would lead to the “virtual closure” of a company responsible for thousands of American jobs. “They’re committing robbery, fraud,” dictator Maduro stated, adding that Venezuela would reach out to its American partners to make sure decades of business relationships are not broken. If necessary the government would find new markets for the roughly 700,000 barrels of oil it sends daily to the U.S.,” he added.

The Venezuelan regime and its state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PEDEVESA), have about $4 billion in debt payments due before the end of the 2017 with only $9.7 billion in international reserves on hand, the vast majority consisting of gold ingots that are hard to trade immediately for cash.

The Department of State was ignored by the White House on the issue of Venezuelan economics sanctions

The Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon serves as the day-to-day manager of overall regional and bilateral policy issues, and oversees the bureaus for Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and Eurasia, the Near East, South and Central Asia, the Western Hemisphere, and International Organizations.

Tom Shannon was go-between for Caracas and Washington of the then-Secretary of State John Kerry. On June 14, 2015, it was reported that Shannon met with the oppressive Venezuela’s second-most powerful official the then- National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello and the then-Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodríguez in Haiti. Shannon also met a few times with dictator Nicolás Maduro in Caracas.

Prior to the meeting in Haiti, Venezuela accused the United States of plotting a coup d’etat and ordered Washington to reduce its embassy staff and imposed a visa requirement on U.S. visitors. America in turn declared Venezuela a national security threat and ordered economic sanctions against seven chavistas officials accusing them of corruption and human rights abuses.

Shannon’s meetings with Maduro and other regime officials were failures as the communist regime continued to assassinate and incarcerate members of the peaceful opposition and elected officials. Venezuela continued to send part of the millions obtained by exporting drugs to America and many other countries to Iran’s Hezbollah militia in Lebanon and Syria and uranium to Iran.

In spite of the increased repression and genocide against the people of Venezuela, Shannon wanted more dialogue with the mass-murdering communist regime. He also opposed strong economic sanctions against Venezuela. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supported Shannon and previously called him his best advisor at the department. Secretary Tillerson allowed Shannon to deal with Cuba and Venezuela while he concentrated in North Korea and other nations.

Diosdado Cabello had been accused of plotting the assassination of Senator Marco Rubio. He is the head of the Cartel de los Soles, the drug-trafficking enterprise, which is run by high-ranking generals and regime officials.

On August 26, 2017, Franco Ordoñez and Nora Gámez Torres wrote an article titled “U.S. diplomat’s effort to save dialogue fell flat” which was published in the Miami Herald. The reporters explained that on July 23, 2017, as the White House and Senator Marco Rubio and his allies in Congress were drawing up plans for a broad and strong set of economic sanctions against the Maduro regime, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon was meeting in private with the then Venezuela’s foreign minister Samuel Moncada. As explained earlier, Shannon implemented the failed policy of Obama with Venezuela and Cuba and met frequently with officials from the communist regime from Venezuela. Shannon is an appeaser of both regimes and always insists on more dialogue with the tyrants of those two countries.

Ordoñez and Gámez Torres said that even though President Donald Trump had promised “strong and swift” economic sanctions, including potentially oil sanctions, against Venezuela, Shannon opposed it. The inter-agency group was nearly agreed on what that package of punishments would be. Tom Shannon, however, kept advocating a more limited punishment that could allow dialogue to continue.

Shannon wanted the lines of communication with the Venezuelan brutal regime to remain open. He kept fighting for more dialogue with Caracas and pushing back against pressure from the White House National Security Council (NSC) and Senator Rubio.

Shannon warned that aggressive economics sanctions could close diplomatic channels with Caracas. However, Shannon was fighting a losing battle since Senator Rubio was aligned with a group at the White House that included National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in arguing for strong economic sanctions.

What is there to dialogue with the bloody dictator Maduro and with his boss the assassin-in-series Raúl Castro? The time to talk to these tyrants is over. The time to act forcefully has arrived!

During the discussions between Shannon and the National Security Council officials in the White House were intense. At one point, Fernando Cutz, the NSC’s Director for South America Western Hemisphere Affairs, criticized strongly at State Department officials, in front of approximately 30 senior officials.

Fernando Cutz is the NSC’s Director for South America Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Ordoñez and Gámez Torres concluded their article by stating the following:” Ultimately, Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly joined Pence and McMaster to overrule Shannon and encourage Trump to sign off on the sanctions package announced on August 25, 2017. According to several sources, Tillerson joined in their decision. And the White House delivered the tougher, broader set of sanctions that NSC wanted. And in the end, rather than be there to witness his own defeat, Shannon went on vacation.”

Dictator Nicolás Maduro’s nephews, Franqui Flores and Efraín Campos Flores are found guilty of trying to send 800 kilograms of cocaine to America

The Miami Herald reported on August 29, 2017, that Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efraín Antonio Campos Flores were found guilty to trying to send 800 kilograms of cocaine to America by a New York jury. The two criminals are nephews of Maduro’s wife, Cilia Flores, and both of them are also implicated in assassinations. Franqui Flores and Efraín Campos Flores are expected to be sentenced to life in prison in September 2017.

Conclusion

This writer is in agreement with the economic sanctions implemented by the Trump administration against the Maduro dictatorship. The Department of State is filled with globalists who served under the Obama administration. Secretary Tillerson has not replaced them. One of the worst is State Department Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.

There are still no nominees for assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, or for director of the Office of Cuban Broadcasting who is responsible for Radio and Television Marti. Tillerson should recommend individuals for these two positions.

Defense Secretary James Mattis needs to fill the position of deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs. Both the communist regimes of Venezuela and Cuba represent national security dangers to America. After more than 200 days in office, the president needs to recommend qualified individuals for these positions.

This writer would like to see a complete economic embargo against the genocidal Maduro regime. The United States has called for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela. The Maduro regime needs to hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression of the Venezuelan people.  Since obviously the communist regime, with the assistance of a Cuban Occupation Army, will not restore freedom and liberty, the United States needs to implement regime change strategies.

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