Bolivarian Republic defies imperialist sanctions: Venezuela Roundup – 14

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  • Oil exports stable in March
  • Venezuela surviving the world’s first cyber war, says Maduro
  • Venezuela won’t become 2nd Syria and S. America won’t back military invasion, says Lavrov
  • Criminal case against Guaido
  • Washington is concerned over Maduro’s stay in power
  • China slams reports of sending troops to Venezuela

Venezuela, the Bolivarian republic, is defying imperialism imposed sanction. The imperialist camp is searching reasons that keep the Bolivarian republic vibrant.

Media reports said:

Stable oil export

Venezuela managed to have stable oil output for exports in March although imperialism imposed harsh economic sanctions, carried on series of sabotages of the country’s electricity system.

Defying U.S. sanctions and cyber-attacks on its electricity generation system that crippled Venezuela’s state-run energy company PdVSA’s main export terminal PdVSA managed to keep oil exports at around 1 million barrels per day (bpd). PdVSA documents and Refinitiv Eikon data found the encouraging fact.

Exports in March stabilized after sales fell by around 40 percent in February following economic sanctions by the U.S.

The motive behind the sanctions was to cut Venezuela off its main source of revenue.

Without much success, the U.S. is now looking into secondary sanctions to target any foreign firms that are conducting business directly with PdVSA.

March’s exports of 980,355 bpd of crude and fuel were only slightly below February’s shipments of 990,215 bpd, with most shipments destined to the Asian market. Until the sanctions, the U.S. was Venezuela’s largest crude buyer.

Cargoes sent to India, China and Singapore – a hub for storage and re-exports – made up 74 percent of total exports in March, compared with almost 70 percent in February.

Meanwhile, exports for Europe dropped by 5 percent, from 22 percent to 17 percent in March.

India was once again Venezuela’s main destination for exports in March, with a third of total cargoes sent to refineries operated by Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy.

U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil have dropped to zero since mid-March due to sanctions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The largest individual recipient of Venezuelan barrels last month was China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and its subsidiaries with some 234,000 bpd, followed by Russia’s Rosneft, which received 214,000 bpd, according to the data. New customers including trading firms Sahara Energy and MS International also received access to Venezuelan crude.

Rosneft has increased its share of Venezuelan oil shipments since the sanctions, mainly for reselling to refiners. Venezuela’s oil minister, Manuel Quevedo, last month traveled to Moscow to negotiate larger sales of Venezuelan oil to Russian companies.

Rosneft has also boosted fuel supplies to Venezuela, according to the data.

Venezuela imported 184,500 bpd of fuel last month, with the largest portion provided by the Russian company, followed by cargoes sent by Reliance and Spain’s Repsol.

Venezuela surviving the world’s first cyber war, says Maduro

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday that Venezuela is experiencing the first cyber-war in the world. The cyber-war is directed against the electrical system to destabilize the country and impose a regime change from the United States.

“Venezuela is living the first war of unconventional dimensions with attacks on public services to impose a regime change from the U.S.,” said Maduro.

The Venezuelan President was referring to the series of cyber sabotage at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Power Plant, in the Guri Dam, and the attacks with electromagnetic pulses against transmission lines.

Maduro said: “They said that in an analysis four or five years ago they found that they could attack the electrical system of a country and leave it disabled, to weaken it in the global dispute of power.”

Maduro informed: School activities began again Wednesday throughout the country, but “in a sensitive schedule, adapted to the conditions of each educational unit and municipality.”

Homes, communes, pension: Plan 2019-2025

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in its Tuesday’s session approved the 2019-2025 Homeland Plan (Plan de la Patria).

The plan set a number of policies, goals and targets to be achieved during President Maduro’s second term.

The targets include constructing 5 million homes to be built by the Housing Mission, organizing 8,000 communes, and extending the pension system to the entire elder population.

The session also came on the heels of a cabinet shuffle on Monday.

Maduro announced setting up of Ministry for Science and Technology. Earlier, the Science and Technology section was with the Higher Education Ministry.

The most significant change was the replacement of Electricity Minister Luis Motta Dominguez with Igor Gavidia. Igor Gavidia is considered as someone with extensive knowledge and experience in Venezuela’s electricity sector having risen through the ranks of the state-run electrical corporation, CORPOELEC.

Venezuela’s electric grid suffering from under-investment, lack of maintenance and emigration of qualified personnel was repeatedly sabotaged. Prior to these sabotages, the U.S. imposed series of sanctions. These cyber-attack and sanctions have compounded the problem of power supply. Sanctions have closed ways for Venezuela for procuring spare parts and servicing equipment for its electricity generation and transmission system. The sanctions have shut down access to credit lines, and caused shortages of fuel needed to operate thermoelectric plants.

Venezuela won’t become 2nd Syria and S. America won’t back military invasion

Tensions over Venezuela won’t escalate into a new Caribbean Crisis or turn the country into “a second Syria,” said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The Russian FM bashed the US for treating the Western Hemisphere as its backyard.

“We don’t accept the methods, with which the US is trying to improve the life of the Venezuelan people,” Lavrov said in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

Lavrov pointed out that even those countries on the continent that oppose Maduro and want a snap election in Venezuela got “really stressed out” when the Americans mentioned the use of force.

“I guarantee you that if there’ll be an attempt of a military intervention, the vast majority of Latin American states will outright reject it,” he said.

Lavrov assured that South American countries would not risk a military escalation in Venezuela. The stakes for such interference would be too high.

Despite the strong rhetoric from Washington, “I don’t think that the Caribbean Crisis will be recreated,” Lavrov said, adding, “there can also be no talk about ‘a second Syria’ in Venezuela.”

The Caribbean Crisis put the US and Soviet Union on the brink of a nuclear war in 1962 after Moscow placed its missiles in Cuba in response to Washington deploying ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey.

The top Russian diplomat also stressed that it was “insolent” of the US to treat the Western Hemisphere as its own backyard – one which other countries shouldn’t have access to.

The minister also responded to US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who commented on reports of 100 Russian troops and cargo landing in Venezuela in late March, by saying that “the US will not tolerate hostile foreign military powers meddling with the Western Hemisphere’s shared goals of democracy, security, and the rule of law.”

Lavrov again clarified that the Russian military hardware was supplied to Venezuela legally under the 2001 military-technical cooperation with then president, Hugo Chavez.

This equipment requires scheduled servicing by Russian specialists and “now the time has come for such maintenance. That’s it”, he said, explaining the arrival of the Russian military specialists.

According to Lavrov, the United States does not want Venezuela to reach a national consensus. “It wants its puppet who will do everything they [the Americans] will tell him, primarily regarding oil, to rule the country,” he added.

Criminal case against Guaido

Criminal proceedings, which will be led by the Supreme Court and the prosecutor general, have been launched against Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself the country’s “interim president”. This was informed by Julio Garcia Zerpa, the member of the ANC.

On Tuesday, the assembly ruled to extend judicial proceedings against Guaido. On Wednesday, head of the ANC Diosdado Cabello, said that the move meant stripping Guaido, who is the head of the opposition-led National Assembly, of his parliamentary immunity.

“The justice system will make a decision [in Guaido’s case] on the basis of the relevant evidence. He will have a right for defense. Justice will be served. He will have to pay for betraying the country,” said Garcia Zerpa, head of the ANC’s legal committee, on Wednesday. TV channels in Venezuela aired this.

On January 5, Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly that all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016. The Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election; two days after Guaido declared himself the country’s “interim president”. He is backed by the U.S. some 50 of its allies while China, Russia, Bolivia, Iran, Turkey, some other states have expressed their support for constitutionally elected Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

President Maduro, who won the May 2018 election and was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January, said that Guaido’s move was an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

The lifting of parliamentary immunity of Guaido has opened door for criminal charges to be brought against him.

The ANC based its move on article 200 of Venezuela’s constitution, which gives the Supreme Court the power to rule over parliamentarians’ immunity from prosecution.

Guaido violated a court-ordered travel ban on February 22 when he crossed into Colombia to lead efforts to force so-called humanitarian aid across the border. He later attended a Lima Group meeting in Bogota and travelled to Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Argentina before returning to Venezuela March 4.

The travel ban against Guaido and freezing of his asset were reinforced by the ANC Tuesday, both extended “until the investigation [against him] is over.”

Two criminal investigations being led by the Attorney General’s office are currently open, one relating to his unconstitutional behavior as a public official, and the other regarding his alleged role in what the Venezuelan government describes as sabotage against the electric grid, which has led to rolling blackouts across Venezuela in recent weeks.

Very serious measure, tells Guaido

Guaido told his followers that the legal measure was “very serious”.

The U.S.-backed politician identified as proxy of imperialism asked his followers to show their strength “on the streets.”

“When I started this struggle in the student movement I didn’t have parliamentary immunity and we confronted the dictatorship on a daily basis,” he told reporters.

“This is simply the political response from some cowards who cannot even give an effective response to problems of water supply around the Presidential Palace,” Guaido claimed, promising to continue his struggle “come what may.”

Guaido has called his followers to carry out a “dry run” of what he has named “Operation Freedom” on Saturday, April 6. While further details are unknown, opposition leaders have claimed that it will end the usurpation.”

Foreign governments, which have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate president also reacted to the lifting of his parliamentary immunity, with Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell demanding “[Guaido’s] freedom and physical integrity be respected.”

US officials also weighed in, with Florida Senator Rick Scott “warning” Maduro that the US “will not stand by” if something happens to Guaido. Fellow Florida Senator Marco Rubio claimed that any attempt to arrest the opposition leader would amount to a “coup d’état” which would face “consequences.”

The recent statements echo earlier threats by U.S. officials against any attempts by Venezuelan authorities to arrest or bring charges against Guaido.

U.S. concerned over Maduro’s stay in power

The U.S. has to reevaluate the situation in Venezuela, after being caught by surprise over Maduro’s stay in power, says a report.

It says, Maduro’s stay in power has worried the U.S. and its regional allies. It seems that Venezuela’s neighbors followed a false promise by the U.S. to get rid off Maduro quickly.

According to the report, allies of the U.S. are disappointed with the result and are now questioning their decision to recognize Guaido as “interim president”.

According to the report, a military invasion seems to be the only method available to accomplish the goal, and such a scenario doesn’t sit all too well with countries like Colombia and Brazil.

Guaido has also upped his rhetoric on a foreign military intervention as people start to question his own intentions.

During a rally in Los Teques, near Caracas, Guaido spoke to his followers expressing his will to have a foreign power bomb his own country. “Of course, we will refer to 187. We did not speak here between the lines, here we spoke very clearly.”

The imperialist proxy referred to article 187.11 of the Venezuelan constitution, which regulates the authorization of a foreign military mission in the country.

The U.S. has shown to be growingly desperate over the situation in Venezuela.

China slams reports of sending troops to Venezuela

The Chinese government has issued their official response to the allegations that claimed Beijing has sent the People’s Liberation Army to Venezuela.

Geng Shuang, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that all reports claiming Beijing sent troops to Venezuela are untrue.

When asked if the People´s Liberation Army had deployed to Venezuela, Shuang told the reporter that he was unaware of such a deployment by his country’s military.

“As for the second question, I don’t know where you got this information or for what purpose it was produced, but I can tell you this: what you said is simply not true,” Shuang said, adding that “the Chinese government’s position on the Venezuela issue is consistent and clear-cut.”

Shuang stated that China objects to any kind of international interference in Venezuelan affairs including any form of intervention.

“We firmly uphold international law and the basic norms governing international relations, object external interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs and believe the country’s government and opposition need to seek a political solution through peaceful dialogue. Following the principle of equality, win-win cooperation and common development, we will continue to advance China-Venezuela relations and cooperation in various fields,” he added.

Last week, China delivered 65 tons of humanitarian aid to Venezuela as part of their strategic partnership with the Latin American country.

China has untill now delivered humanitarian aid to Venezuela on at least two occasions this year, with their previous delivery taking place in February.

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