Axis of Logic
By JOAQUÍN RIVERY TUR
WITH imperial arrogance, the government of Barack Obama has undertaken a new offensive, unilaterally imposing economic sanctions, completely unsubstantiated, on the company which provides the Venezuelan people a significant portion of its resources: Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
The issue is the danger that these sanctions represent, that the U.S. government is unleashing new attacks on the Bolivarian Revolution precisely when Latin American and Caribbean countries have reached a new level of unity and integration.
The sanctions issued by the Obama administration presume to punish PDVSA for its trade relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. At this rate, all countries will have to ask permission of the U.S. State Department when they carry out these kinds of activities with any nation not to the liking of Washington. This is clearly a violation of the international free trade agreement for oil and other minerals, which the government of Venezuela has taken upon itself to reject with the unconditional support of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
The sanctions which the U.S. intends to impose state that PDVSA is not allowed to sign contracts with the U.S. government, or receive any financing from the country for its operations.
This is laughable, since the document itself indicates that this is no way affects the delivery of Venezuelan oil to the U.S. As far as financing goes, the body in charge of such transactions within that country is the governmental Export-Import bank, an entity to which Venezuela owes not a single cent and which Venezuela can do without. Clearly the decree doesn’t carry much weight, but does reveal the true U.S. concerns in opposition to the process unfolding in Venezuela led by Hugo Chávez.
The sanctions are an indication that the objective, established by the United States, is the control of all areas rich in energy resources and Venezuela has vast oil reserves in the Orinoco Belt.
In any event, the Venezuelan oil company can easily do without its U.S. customers, although Caracas is interested in maintaining the best possible relationship with the people of the United States and continuing its traditional supply, given that it even owns refineries within U.S. territory, under the name of CITGO.
There are already numerous transnational corporations based in a variety of countries which have accepted the conditions set forth by the Bolivarian government in contracts for oil exploration, extraction and sales. The principal emerging powers in the world, such as China, Brazil and India, whose developing economies are large consumers of oil, and others less strong, are drawn to Venezuela’s energy resources, now a key component of the global energy market.
For example, on September 16, 2010, the Venezuelan official gazette published Law 39.511 which ratified a long-term trade agreement between the governments of China and Venezuela, including a credit of 20 billion dollars to finance 19 development projects. The payment of this line of credit will be effected through the sale of oil to the Asian country, of no less than 250,000 barrels daily in 2011 and 300,000 in 2012. Oil tankers are already leaving Venezuelan shores with half a million barrels of oil for China a day.
Making the announcement, Chávez clarified that it is not just about the amount, but also, "It must be read as a political, geopolitical document, one of confidence."
Within a few years, more than a million barrels of oil will depart every 24 hours headed for China, the same amount sold to the United States. This cannot be much to the liking of Washington, as fuel available at a minimal distance which U.S. transnationals have always aspired to controlling.
Nevertheless, it must be repeated, the major concern of the United States is the Latin American current committed to unity and integration led by Bolivarian Venezuela. It will be extremely difficult for the U.S. to dominate the rest of the world without control of Latin America and the Caribbean, with their extensive energy, water, mineral and land resources, as well as their biological diversity.
It is no accident that the United States is trying to develop a neoliberal economic block along the Pacific coast of South America which it hopes to counterpoise to Mercosur and the Bolivarian Alliance, ALBA.
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