US Warns Nations As Sanctions-Hit Venezuela Turns To India For Oil Export

United Nations: The hardline US National Security Adviser John Bolton has issued a warning to India against buying Venezuelan oil, saying it "will not be forgotten" and that Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Alberto Arreaza has countered that it was an attempt to impose Washington's global "dictatorship".

Bolton tweeted on Tuesday: "Nations and firms that support (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro's theft of Venezuelan resources will not be forgotten", and displayed with it a news story about Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo visiting India to sell more oil.

His tweet continued with the warning: "The US will continue to use all of its powers to preserve the Venezuelan people's assets and we encourage all nations to work together to do the same."

John Bolton made a similar threat against India buying oil from Iran when Trump placed a more stringent international trade embargo on Tehran last year after withdrawing from a nuclear disarmament agreement made with it and five other countries (AFP)

President Donald Trump's administration and its allies have recognized opposition leader and National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the Latin American nation's President and have called on Maduro to quit.

The US does not consider that Maduro's government has the right to sell the country's oil -- and hence, calls the oil exports "theft".

Reacting to Bolton at a news conference, Foreign Minister Arreaza, who represents Maduro, said: "What he (Bolton) is trying to do here is give orders. This is a dictatorship that they are trying to impose on the world. Unilateralism at its maximum expression."

He asserted that because of Bolton's attitude, "there was a rebellion against this, this dictatorship" at a meeting of the representatives of the Non-aligned Movement earlier Tuesday at the UN.

Bolton made a similar threat against India buying oil from Iran when Trump placed a more stringent international trade embargo on Tehran last year after withdrawing from a nuclear disarmament agreement made with it and five other countries.

However, Trump gave India a temporary exemption from the embargo, which carried economic penalties for violations.

5r2vd05oJohn Bolton made a similar threat against India buying oil from Iran when Trump placed a more stringent international trade embargo on Tehran last year after withdrawing from a nuclear disarmament agreement made with it and five other countries (AFP)

Facing an embargo on its oil exports by the US and most western countries, Venezuela is trying to increase sales to India and other countries.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo, who is in New Delhi to attend the Petrotech 2019 trade event, told reporters there on Monday that his country wanted to double the current oil exports of 340,000 barrels per day to India.

Venezuela is the third largest supplier of oil to India. Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy are its biggest customers.

Quevedo, who also heads the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, met India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday.

Venezuela has the world's largest known reserves of oil estimated at more than 300 billion barrels - bigger than Saudi Arabia's 266 billion barrels.

India, which is wary of foreign interference in internal affairs, has refused to go along with the US and recognize Guaido as the President and stop dealing with Maduro's administration.

"India and Venezuela enjoy close and cordial relations. We are of the view that it is for the people of Venezuela to find political solutions to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and discussion without resorting to violence," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said last month.

The simmering dispute over the May 2018 presidential elections, which the US and the Venezuelan opposition say was not fair, erupted into a crisis when the National Assembly on January 10 declared it invalid and Guaido proclaimed himself as the interim President.

Since then there have been massive protests by supporters of both the government and violence has claimed more than 40 lives, according to the UN. The oil-rich country is also facing a humanitarian crisis with severe shortages of food and medicines.

At his news conference, Arreaza said the Maduro government was ready to talk with the opposition, but without preconditions.

"Let's sit down together. We have our Constitution. Let us sit down and engage in dialogue. Let us try to find a solution without any kind of strings attached, or any kind of preconditions," he said.

Trump has ratcheted up Venezuela to his top foreign policy issue and said that US military intervention was an option. One of the problems for Venezuela's trade is that international banks are coming under increasing international pressure from the US.

"How payment is made is for the buyer and seller to decide. It can be in currency, it can be through other transferable methods and channels," Quevedo told reporters in New Delhi.

He floated the idea of a trade group with Venezuela, India, China and Russia whose commerce "doesn't necessarily have to be within the dollar".

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Who Benefits from the Tornado of Lies in Facebook?

Fake News are now plentiful in Facebook and seek to reaffirm the already old opinion trend on the uselessness of the state to solve national problems that has been used by Cuba’s enemies to justify the blockade and other aggressive politics against the Island.

The last electric poles had not yet reached the ground in the different neighborhoods affected by the tornado on January 27th and Facebook was already pondering the great "humanity and solidarity" of alleged freelancers opposed to the inexistent inaction of the state.

Nothing more biased and ridiculous if we take into account the role that has always played the Cuban government in the face of similar catastrophes which is exemplary for almost all countries worldwide and it has been recognized, more than once by different international organizations. Cubans, like nobody else, has not just demonstrated to be solidary with its own people, but also, with the peoples of other countries.

Likewise, the presumed disorder and "inaction" of the state becomes motive for certain donations that rather than solidarity hide the manipulation of the topic of the so-called "humanitarian help", a plot largely used in the past by the U.S. to give reason for invasions against those countries that don't bend to their hegemony.

The best example in this sort of media approach is evidenced right now in Venezuela, where after a cruel economic battle directed from the U.S. against that country, now the puppet stringed from the White House seeks to use the unfortunate help offered by the U.S., and the nations rallied behind them to pull the Venezuelan people out of the crisis.

Needless to say that after almost 60 years of relentless blockade against Cuba, worsen in the last weeks it’s at least revolting to become an accomplice of such trick.

Let’s not forget that, shortly before the passing of the devastating tornado in Havana, the Task Force for the internet in Cuba directed from the United States had activated the campaign to influence the referendum of the Constitution scheduled for next February 24th therefore is not strange to see in social networks associated to the lies about the tornado the hashtag #yovotono.

We must repeat that shortly before the end of last year, in a budgetary report of the Broadcasting Board of Governors of the United States, it became public the plan of using «native» and «unmarked» Cuban Facebook accounts to spread content fabricated by the U.S. government.

The objective of these contents was to set confusion among those who still naively believe that social networks are a trustworthy source of news. Neither humanitarian, neither solidary, their true objective is to incite dissatisfaction and cause riots and public disobedience that, besides attempting against the civic harmony, pouring fuel to new campaigns of lies against Cuba.

We must bear in mind the international context in which this tornado of lies occurs. Last Friday, the fascist U.S. National Security Advisor, John Bolton, was crystal clear when he repeated that the publicized massacre against the Venezuelan people is only the first step of the war of that country against what he calls the "troika of tyranny" that also includes Nicaragua and Cuba.

US: Pentagon Outlines Options for Military Strike in Iran

A report commissioned by Trump's National Security Advisors last year outlines military options to strike Iran.

For the first time a request made by the White House on “military options to strike Iran” was reported on Sunday by the Wall Street Journal.

RELATED: Pompeo's Middle East Visit Contradicts Trump Admin Policy

The request was initiated by President Trump’s National Security Council which asked the Pentagon to produce the report, a move which seemed unusual, “It definitely rattled people,” stated a former senior U.S. administration official describing the hawkish intentions behind the report, “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran,” the official added.

The move also received criticism from Iranian-American diplomatic relations lobbyists in Washington D.C, who believe the Trump administration is bent on torpedoing the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal.

John Bolton and fellow Iran hawks believe they have two years left to collapse the Iran nuclear deal and trigger a disastrous war that the American people want no part of,” said the President of the National Iranian American Council Jamal Abdi.

The petition was allegedly made in response to attacks carried out last year by militants firing mortars into Baghdad’s diplomatic quarter in which the U.S. Embassy is located.

However, this alleged justification based on the Iraq attack it appears to be an excuse to carry out an agenda consisting in removing the Iranian government held by longstanding officials with hawkish intentions: “We know that Bolton and other administration officials preferred an Iran war to negotiations prior to serving Trump. Now there is confirmation that they are still seeking out opportunities to fulfill their war agenda,” added Abdi.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, there are some blind corners on the specifics of the White House request. Two things stand out. First, if President Trump was aware of the request at the time of submission, and second if these plans were seriously concocted.

Nonetheless, there are clear causes of concern related to the people in charge of handling Iran policy who are quick to call for military intervention. Key officials in the current White House Administration, such as National Security Adviser John Bolton have been outspoken about their position on removing the government of Iran, “To stop Iran’s bomb, bomb Iran,” said Bolton in 2015.

The attack perpetrated on Iraq’s diplomatic quarter in September 2018 did not lead to any casualties. The United States government claimed that Iran did not stop its allies from carrying out the attack, according to a White House press statement. The accusation was categorically rejected by Iran’s foreign ministry and described it as “astonishing, provocative, and irresponsible,” according to Iran’s media reports.

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Venezuelan President Renews Calls for Regional Integration Amid Diplomatic Attacks

President Maduro insisted on the need of a high-level regional meeting to discuss all subjects of common interest, including Venezuela. 

The newly-inaugurated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a call for Latin American and Caribbean unity and proposed a special regional presidential summit to debate all issues of common interest.

RELATED: UN Chief Assures Will Continue Working With Venezuelan Gov't

Since Maduro was sworn in Thursday, Venezuela has had to endure a series of diplomatic attacks from countries aligned to United States foreign policy in the region. Paraguay severed diplomatic relations, Argentina issued a statement reiterating the government’s belief that Maduro’s second term is illegitimate, etc.

Despite the attacks, Maduro urged for a high-level meeting to “allow us to overcome the environment of intolerance, of ideological aggression that hurts our continent, that counters the dream of our liberators, that betrays the dream of unity of our liberators.”

President Maduro ratified Venezuela’s commitment to sovereign regional integration and a “diplomacy of peace.” However, the rise of right-wing government in the region has undermined what was once a regional goal. Last year, six countries temporarily withdrew of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). Colombia announced its permanent withdrawal and over 6 months later there has been no diplomatic solution and Unasur remains paralyzed.

ANALYSIS: How Lima Group Undermines Unasur's Regional Sovereignty Mission

The disintegration of Unasur, led by members of the Lima Group, was crucial to further isolate Venezuela. Buth the Maduro administration has not been passive, instead it has strengthened ties with Caribbean nations and geopolitical players like China and Russia.

On Friday, he is expected to hold several bilateral meetings.

Latin American governments, accompanied by U.S. or Canadian representatives, often meet to discuss Venezuela. President Maduro wants a high-level meeting where they can discuss Venezuela before him, to speak “face to face.”

In regards to the government of Colombia, which has been particularly aggressive, Maduro said he wished to talk to President Ivan Duque “so he can talk about Venezuela and I’ll talk to him about Colombia.”

Maduro has been a vocal critic of the systemic murder of social and community leaders in Colombia’s rural areas. Last year, over 400 were killed with impunity. The Venezuelan head of state also said he was willing to explain to Duque how, after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) left the country, Venezuela was capable of eradicating coca cultivation.


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US John Bolton: Palestine Not a State

Bolton referred to Palestine a "so-called state,” adding that denying Palestine’s statehood does not undermine the Trump Administration’s plans for peace in the Middle East.

United States National Security Adviser John Bolton, on Wednesday, reiterated that Palestine was “not a state,” during an address at the White House.

RELATED: Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner is Supporter of BDS, Palestine

"It's not a state now. It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood," he said. "It doesn't control defined boundaries. It doesn't fulfill normal functions of government. There are a whole host of reasons why it's not a state," the security adviser said.

Bolton was resolute in referring to Palestine a "so-called state,” also adding that refusing to acknowledge Palestine’s statehood does not undermine U.S. President Donald Trump Administration’s plans for peace in the Middle East. Last week, the U.S. president said his administration will offer a Mideast peace plan within the next two to four months.

"It could become a state, as the president said, but that requires diplomatic negotiations with Israel and others," Bolton added, doubling down on his remarks, saying there was nothing historically remarkable about U.S. officials denying that Palestine is a state.

"Calling it the so-called state of Palestine defines exactly what it has been, a position that the United States government has pursued uniformly since 1988 when the Palestinian authority declared itself to be the State of Palestine," he continued. "We don't recognize it as the State of Palestine, we have consistently across Democratic and Republican administrations opposed the admission of Palestine to the United Nations as a state because it's not a state."

The Trump administration, in a controversial decision, moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem - Palestine’s capital - from Tel-Aviv in May.

The Palestinian Authority filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a United Nations tribunal, to contest the United States’ action.

The Palestine Liberation Organization declared independence in 1988 and 137 United Nations member states recognizes the declaration.

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