Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 25, 2017

Countdown To War On Venezuela - Step II: Trump Imposes More Sanctions

A month ago we warned of the upcoming war on Venezuela. Such a war could blow up huge in many nations of the region.

The U.S. trained and financed opposition has tried to create violent chaos in the streets but failed to gain traction with the majority of the people. The only support it has inside the country is from the richer bourgeois in the major cities which despises the government's social justice program. Workers and farmers are better off under the social-democratic policies of first Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro. The coup attempt as step one of a U.S. takeover of Venezuela has failed.

Last month a new constitutional assembly was voted in and it is ready to defend the state. The opposition boycotted the election to the assembly but is now complaining that it has no seats in it. One of the assemblies first moves was to fire the renegade General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz. She had condemned the government for its resistance to the coup attempts. She now has fled the country together with her husband. The Miami Herald admits that she is on the U.S. payroll:

Ortega, a longtime government insider who became chief prosecutor in 2007, is likely safeguarding some of the administration’s most damning legal secrets. And she’s thought to be working with U.S. law enforcement at a time when Washington is ratcheting up sanctions on Caracas.

Word is that Ortega's husband was blackmailed by the U.S. after he was involved in large illegal transactions.

U.S. President Trump threatened to use military force should the dully elected President Maduro not give up his position. The CIA head Pompeo recently visited countries neighboring Venezuela "trying to help them understand the things they might do". Did he suggest weapon supplies to some proxy forces or an outright invasion?

Today the Trump administration imposed severe sanctions on Venezuela:

The sanctions Trump signed by executive order prohibit financial institutions from providing new money to the government or state oil company PDVSA. It would also restrict PDVSA's U.S. subsidiary, Citgo, from sending dividends back to Venezuela as well as ban trading in two bonds the government recently issued to circumvent its increasing isolation from western financial markets.

Venezuela was prepared for at least some of these sanctions. A few moth ago the Russian oil giant Rosneft acquired a share of PDVSA and at least some oil sales are routed through that company:

Russian oil firm Rosneft has struck deals with several buyers for almost its entire quota of Venezuelan crude for the remainder of the year, traders told Reuters on Wednesday, the first time it has conducted such a large sale of the OPEC member’s oil.
Venezuela's oil deliveries to the United States have declined in recent years amid falling production, commercial issues, and sanctions on Venezuelan officials.

The White House statement calls Maduro a "dictator" and his Presidency "illegitimate". Both descriptions are laughable. Maduro was elected in free and fair elections. The former U.S. president Jimmy Carter called the election system in Venezuela the best in the world. The new sanctions will likely increase the support for the current government. 

The White House hinted at further economic measures:

In a call to brief reporters on the measures, the [senior Trump] official said the United States has significant influence over Venezuela's economy but does not want to wield it in an irresponsible manner that could further burden the already-struggling Venezuelan people.

Venezuela will now have some troubling times. But unless the U.S. launches an outright military attack on the country -by proxy of its neighbors, through mercenaries or by itself- the country will easily survive the unjust onslaught.

With 300 billion barrels the proven oil-reserves of Venezuela are the largest of the world. They are the reason why the U.S. wants to subjugate the country. But neither Russia nor China nor anyone else wants to see those reserves under U.S. control.

Posted by b on August 25, 2017 at 18:21 UTC | Permalink


A very timely and highly relevant article, thanks b.

Another uni-polar vs. multi-polar confrontation. Maduro should immediately seek alliances with China as well as Russia.

Viva Venezuela, and the Venezuelan workers!

Posted by: ben | Aug 25 2017 18:41 utc | 1

Treacherous, slimy Uncle Sam in its relentless mission for world domination .. the unfortunate price that Chavez and Maduro have had to pay for telling Uncle to F*ck Off.

Posted by: chet380 | Aug 25 2017 18:41 utc | 2

Tronald probably thinks, a Venezuela war could be a better possibility for a decisive turning point in his presidency than one in North Corea or Syria or Ukraine. Not as risky. For that reason it is tremendously important that China and Russia react swiftly in favor of Venenzuala making clear the costs would be high and the outcome uncertain.

Posted by: Pnyx | Aug 25 2017 19:03 utc | 3

I know that elections can be boring, but calling someone "dully elected" is a bit too much.

BTW, once I asked in Germany if I could get a savings account with interest, and the young clerk could not understand why I am bored with my account with zero "zinsen".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 25 2017 19:18 utc | 4

Inflation in Venezuala has reached Weimar Germany levels. US policies undoubtedly a key reason. But whatever the cause no government can last long unless hyperinflation bought under control.

Posted by: Ragheb | Aug 25 2017 19:20 utc | 5

As much as I want the US intervention to fail, it will be tough going for Venezuela given Maduro's heavy-handed and incompetent governance. His finger-pointing at the merchant class is a sure sign of a demagogue. Pure command economies don't work, that's why both Russia and China reformed theirs. The best thing that could happen would be a coup from the center left to reboot the currency, free up the economy and make peace with the upper classes. And yes, ally with Russia.

Posted by: Fidelios Automata | Aug 25 2017 19:25 utc | 6

Thank you for keeping this part of the whirling dervish of late empire in focus b.

I agree that Venezuela needs to buddy up to the China/Russia alliance and continue to follow their anti-oligarch direction.

Any here who have not read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein should do so as background to the R2P that the US continues to do to South America....and the rest of the 3rd world.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 25 2017 19:30 utc | 7

thanks b... the usa will do anything for exxon... they have the full backing of all the important industries - financial and military.. same story everywhere..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2017 20:00 utc | 8

Poor Venezuela. US machiavelism is at work to undermine it.
Will the Venezuelians realize that the USA policy in South America is dictated by greed and only greed.

Posted by: virgile | Aug 25 2017 20:45 utc | 9

It is only idiots who think that this is about America caring for the freedom, democracy,and well-being of Venezuelans. Such idiots should update themselves on the history of American foreign policy in Latin America. As b correctly points out: pay attention to the Grand Chessboard.

Posted by: Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 25 2017 20:57 utc | 10

It would seem that with the collapse of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, combined with the prospect of ISIS takfirists returning to their countries of origin, that the US and the EU would opt to use these people as mercenaries and fly them to Colombia, Brazil and Guyana to form a base of terrorists to undermine Venezuela. These people could be trained to attack or hold hostage indigenous groups or rural communities in Venezuela. These would be some of the most vulnerable groups in that country and their treatment would certainly attract the attention of the Western MSM news propaganda networks.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 25 2017 20:58 utc | 11

It is tragic to see so many idiots fall for the American and western canards about promoting "freedom", "democracy" and "human rights". My fellow barflies, please I recommend you go to and read Nassim Nicholas Taleb's blockbuster essay "Intellectual-Yet-Idiot" to understand the stupidity of the American neo-imperialists who are blinded by imperial hubris to even understand their long term objective interests.

Posted by: Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 25 2017 21:08 utc | 12

The recent election of the Constituent Assembly tends to confuse people--particularly Outlaw US Empire Neoliberalcons plus Trump, who just falsely accused Maduro of being a dictator--and what it's designed to accomplish. This article explains it all very clearly--it's potential power is potent and has the US-backed opposition backed into a deep hole since it boycotted the election and has no delegates, which is why Trump just upped the sanctions and aggressive rhetoric,

In counterpoise to that explanatory article, we have an analysis of the Outlaw US Empire's Propaganda System's coverage of what is in fact a very small d democratic act that's mandated by the current constitution, As you'll see, the rhetoric hasn't changed one iota since Bu$hCo and Obomber. The article's parent site--TelesurEnglish--and republication site--Venezuelanalysis--IMO, are the two best English language sources for following events there. Yes, there are others, but they tend to be slower in reporting current events.

I strongly echo Cooke's recommendations.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2017 23:28 utc | 13

Citgo buffed up its ties to Trump before and after his election. Now, it gets exempted from a new round of Venezuela sanctions.

How to grease the hands!

Posted by: Yul | Aug 26 2017 0:09 utc | 14

The point of the war is to do to Spanish South America what was done to the Middle East, that is to plunge the region into perpetual chaos and make it impossible for any government to emerge that is able to resist the will of the Empire.

Very dark days ahead for our Latin friends.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 26 2017 0:57 utc | 15

b-thank you, very timely!
I found an excellent and relatively short video on ZeroHedge(in the comments) just done onsite in Venezula re truth/hype on food shortages, political activism, food shortages, black market. It is really good, recommend to all:

Posted by: frances | Aug 26 2017 1:00 utc | 16

comment 16 edit
Sorry all, that second "food shortages" in my post should have been "paper shortages"

Posted by: frances | Aug 26 2017 1:02 utc | 17

And another hands in his resignation to Trump – over foreign policy -

Sebastian Gorka is resigning his post as Deputy Assistant to President Trump, multiple sources familiar with the situation have told The Federalist.

In a blunt resignation letter, the national security and counterterrorism expert expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the Trump administration. “[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”

Gorka’s letter expressed unhappiness with the direction the Trump administration’s foreign policy has taken, as signaled by the president’s recent speech on Afghanistan: [.]

“Just as worrying, when discussing our future actions in the region, the speech listed operational objectives without ever defining the strategic victory conditions we are fighting for. This omission should seriously disturb any national security professional, and any American who is unsatisfied with the last 16 years of disastrous policy decisions which have led to thousands of Americans killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in ways that have not brought security or victory.”[.]

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 26 2017 1:03 utc | 18

The loss of Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon are making Trump's position very weak. If Trump continues to be the puppet of the neo-cons and the zionists then they will keep him on, otherwise they will kick him out.
Gorka and Bannon will fight against these forces outside the WH, it is yet to see if they will succeed.

Posted by: virgile | Aug 26 2017 1:45 utc | 19

It's beginning to look like Chinese for sure and hopefully Russian assets on the ground in a real big way ASAP might be the only way to put a stop to this nonsense.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Aug 26 2017 1:51 utc | 20

what is MAGA in rightspeak?

Posted by: Robert Beal | Aug 26 2017 2:51 utc | 21

oh, yeah, nevermind--they still say that? don't they know it was a campaign (is it a) meme?

Posted by: Robert Beal | Aug 26 2017 2:53 utc | 22

If this Yankee plot were to be boiled down to its basics it could be articulated as...

AmeriKKKa's Greedy Idle Rich bought and own the US Govt. Venezuela's Greedy Idle Rich, being too cheap and unimaginative to buy Venezuela's Govt, have now accepted a US Govt offer to help them to steal it; at gun point if necessary.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 26 2017 3:25 utc | 23

Sorry Moon of Alabama but this article is full of lies and propaganda.

Maduro is a murderer, tyrant, corrupt and totally inept. The National Constituent Assembly is fraudulent and illegitimate, as only one million people (out of 16 million) voted for it. 90% of Venezuela people hate Maduro, the only reason he is still in power is that the regime corrupted the Army and most of the patriotic officers are in prison or in exile. The role of cuban agents/spies is also well known as they are the ones controlling the upper level of the Army. I welcome anything that helps defeat the thugs that control Venezuela government, they only brought misery to my people.

Posted by: Miguel | Aug 26 2017 3:39 utc | 24

@ Hoarsewhisperer

During the (s)election process Trump said multiple times that to the victor go the spoils. How will the rest of the world react if the US takes over Venezuela like Hawaii and says the oil now belongs to the US?

Venezuela's Greedy Idle Rich will be the caretakers.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 26 2017 3:40 utc | 25

"When the idle poor become the idle rich; how you going to tell, who is which?"
Finian's Rainbow

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 26 2017 5:00 utc | 26

Well, well; as the worm turns, we here in LOS live under a military junta, just like you, there in the U.S..
And both soft coups; little blood shed, mostly in the U.S..

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 26 2017 5:10 utc | 27

Back to business as usual for the US. Regime change in Venezuela, running drugs and setting up ISIS in Afghanistan, and going after the oil wells in Deir Ezzor to set up their Kurdish state.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 26 2017 5:14 utc | 28

Peter AU 1 | Aug 26, 2017 1:14:27 AM | 28

Interesting, this article (link) says SAA is on the verge of winning Deir Ezzor.
Jon Hellevig is the writer at Russia Insider;

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 26 2017 6:02 utc | 29

V. Arnold 29

SAA will take Deir Ezzor city, but the US are going for the Omar oilfiels east of the Euphrates in Deir Ezzor province. The US need this to finance their Kurdish state, and Syria needs it for their own needs plus some export income. The Omar fields are the main developed oilfields in Syria.
This link to wikimap should show it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 26 2017 6:23 utc | 30

Peter AU 1 | Aug 26, 2017 2:23:26 AM | 30

Got it, thanks. Good map also.
Syria is like Thailand; I live in Ratchaburi Province, not Ratchaburi the province's main city.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 26 2017 6:57 utc | 31

@24 Miguel
Sorry my friend you are delusional, maybe you should migrate to South Carolina and get a job as a cleaner and live the American dream, isn't that what most uninformed Venezuelans do when they are against their own country.

Posted by: tantin | Aug 26 2017 7:03 utc | 32

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 26, 2017 2:23:26 AM | 28

Yeah, well if you think the US and the Kurds are going for the Omari oil-fields (as indeed b himself recently said on Sic Semper Tyrannis), there's a small wrinkle which you and he may not have noticed (and almost certainly not the US commanders). The report says that it is 7 Arab tribal units of the SDF who are doing the job. Of course, because the area is inhabited by their relatives. But they are a numerically weak element of the SDF. Rather more significantly, I remember a videoed interview with one of their leaders a year or two back, in which he said quite clearly that the reason they were joining the SDF was to end up reuniting Syria under Bashshar al-Asad! They may have conveniently forgotten to mention this to the Yanks; I know I would have done, had it been me. So the real issue may be, if they do succeed in taking the oil-fields before the Syrians get there (not certain), will they hand them over to the Kurds or the Syrians?

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 26 2017 11:15 utc | 33

Sanctions and their increases are economic warfare, and war is war. The government of Venezuela needs to declare a national emergency of overt economic warfare against the nation and its people. Once on a war footing the state can move to clamp down on sedition while ensuring that at the least the minimum needs of the people are met. Medicines, food, clothing shelter and that normal life carries on as much as possible, schooling, law and order and that any hoarding, the warehousing of goods, by the oligarchs and black marketing of essential and vital goods is stamped out as much as possible. Venezuela must also reach out to any allies it has in seeking assistance under some mutual defense treaty such as NATO's clause 5 as together they are stronger and not as liable to be picked off separately. Russia has her hands full so China needs to step up to the plate, but will she?

Posted by: BRF | Aug 26 2017 14:32 utc | 34

Venezuela is a repeat of the same US playbook, especially in the CIA era. Too many examples to list.

1) Fund an opposition or exploit an existing fault line
2) Find some civilian shock-troops (contras, neoNazis in Ukraine, street gangs in Venezuela)
3) Count on the US media to promote your faked events.
4) Make neighboring countries knuckle under or bribe them.
5) Provoke government over-reaction
6) Intervene forcefully or trigger a prepared military coup
7) Walk away
8) Rinse and repeat

Posted by: daffyDuct | Aug 26 2017 14:53 utc | 35

Suddenly the guarimbas (violent protest) stopped. because the money payments stopped? So much for ¨popular protests¨. Also Trump´s threats had the opposite effect; the opposition now cannot hide their real intentions.

Posted by: Victor J | Aug 26 2017 15:09 utc | 36

Responding to 8, 10, and 35..’s_Secret_Spy_Tool_Steals_Biometric_Data_From_Other_Intelligence_Agencies/60531/0/38/38/Y/M.html Wars. <= traceable according to gas and oil location.. Tillerson Sec of State?

Foreign policy <=Government Subsidies for private for profit business?
locate the oil and gas, identify the war?

Can you find Qatar in the above list, they are the world's largest producer of LNG.

These numbers explain so much.. about wars, sanctions and regime changes.
Leadership exploitation [LE] model Where a nation forces[taxes] its hard working citizens (taxpayers) to finance corporate access, control, and possession of resources-natural[AC_PORN] [oil, gas, precious metals, etc. ], the leadership directs needed TAX PAYER funds from personal and homeland needs to subsidize corporation activities. These subsidies lower cost of obtaining, producing and marketing resources-natural (COPM] and such subsidies make the task of establishing competition-free, corporate-owed monopolies EASY. Hence, corporations have come to expect national leaders to use the wealth of the people of the nations they lead, to guarantee corporate owners "monopoly powers" and subsidized flows of capital. LE subsidies are usually well hidden in war, regime change, and sanction activities, but subsidy form does not change the corruption. It allows the leadership of a nation to fund and license corporations to be stronger than the host nation itself/>.

I believe it is time to stop being surprised by what it was said actually happened, and instead, to devise a model that allows to detect and predict wrongful government subsidy and government leadership self-serving support of corporate monopoly power.

A method needs to be developed to allow the public to uncouple its leadership from corporate subsidy activity and corporate monopoly support. It will take a lot of people from all over the world to evolve that model but in this era of false flag propaganda, fake news, denial of speech, and information hiding, nothing else seems to have a chance to restore citizen level democracy.

Posted by: fudmier | Aug 26 2017 18:48 utc | 37

Miguel@24 -

"...Maduro is a murderer, tyrant, corrupt and totally inept..."

I agree 100! But he's an amateur compared to our Bushes and Obama. Trump? Give him time... Ridding your country of Maduro will change NOTHING. Explain to me how you're going to prevent the next power-seeking psychopaths (and their relatives) from exploiting Venezuela?

"...The National Constituent Assembly is fraudulent and illegitimate, as only one million people (out of 16 million) voted for it..."

So you're arguing illigitimacy and fraud based on what? Broken voting process? Check. No state will to enforce the law when breaking it benefits them? Check. Violating the terms or spirit of your consitution? Check. So the next psychopaths running Venezuela are going to magically obey the constitution, hold the powerful to the same laws as the little people and not exploit 'voting' to legitimize the people they select anyway? You sound just like an American now!

"...90% of Venezuela people hate Maduro..."

Just think of what a paradise your country will be when that bastard Maduro is gone! Ask any Ukrainian about the euphoria they are experiencing after booting that rat, Yanukovyych. What Libyan would still want to live under the cruel dictatorship of that nutjob Ghadaffi rather than the blissful utopia Lybia has become after 'freedomization'? Iraq was an oil-rich country like yours run by the corrupt, murdering despot Saddam Hussein - it is now the shining jewel of stability in Middle Eastern liberty and democracy. Iraqis are thrilled! The US is still working on Assad, but don't all Syrians deserve the nirvana that the US will create by getting rid of him? Or are you suggesting an indigenous Venezuelan do-it-yourselfer project without foreign backers? You know it never works like that!

If nothing else, any opposition that appears to be "US-backed" should be a red flag that you're not ever getting anything close to what they're selling and there will always be strings attached.

"...the only reason he is still in power is that the regime corrupted the Army and most of the patriotic officers are in prison or in exile..."

a) See above
b) This will be the exact same situation under any new Venezuelan leader that replaces him, and the next on that replaces the replacement, and on and on and on.
c) Armies are meant to protect the interests of the leadership and ruling elite. It's just a happy coincidence that - at times - those interests occasionally seem to involve protecting the little people.

"...The role of cuban agents/spies is also well known as they are the ones controlling the upper level of the Army..."

Just the Army? Let me tell you about how the real pros do it: Israeli/Saudi influence on the US Congress, the Department of Defense, US Intelligence Community, Department of Homeland Security,...

"...I welcome anything that helps defeat the thugs that control Venezuela government, they only brought misery to my people..."

Same here! We call the fronts for the biggest ones 'Democrats' and 'Republicans'. Tell me how you're going to prevent a new flavor of psychopaths from replacing the current ones besides worshipping the magical (but non-existent) powers of your intentionally broken tools of democracy - 'voting' and 'the law'? We repeatedly try this in the US and it doesn't seem to fix anything. Us little people seem delighted with the little red steering wheel, but it only seems to take us in the direction we turn it some of the time - and that seems pretty random at best. The old one we had with the blue steering wheel worked the same way - what the hell is up with these things?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 26 2017 18:48 utc | 38

@38 paveway.. brilliant! bang on paveway.. thanks for that dose of reality for anyone wishing to drink of it...

Posted by: james | Aug 26 2017 19:00 utc | 39

PavewayIV @38--

Have you ever considered claiming kinship to George Carlin and become the type of comedian/social commentator he was?

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 26 2017 19:01 utc | 40

Who said this?

" All beat her — because of her backwardness, because of her military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. They beat her because it was profitable and could be done with impunity. "

And who is "her"?

Posted by: chu teh | Aug 26 2017 21:42 utc | 41

Re @41...Same author, on "right" and "wrong"::

You are backward, you are weak — therefore you are wrong; hence you can be beaten and enslaved. You are mighty — therefore you are right; hence we must be wary of you.

Posted by: chu teh | Aug 26 2017 21:49 utc | 42

Such is the law of the exploiters — to beat the backward and the weak. It is the jungle law of capitalism.

That is why we must no longer lag behind.

In the past we had no fatherland, nor could we have had one. But now that we have overthrown capitalism and power is in our hands, in the hands of the people, we have a fatherland, and we will uphold its independence.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 26 2017 21:58 utc | 43

@ PavewayIV who ranted beautifully in response to Miguel

Thank you for the emotional release provided and received!!!!!

We can only hope that Miguel learned less zombie at a time.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 27 2017 0:49 utc | 44

As usual, B is right about the situation in Venezuela. The name of the game is oil, oil and other untapped natural riches in the vast Orinoco and Amazonas basins. The US can't tolerate an independent government in Caracas different to those corrupt and Washington-dependent in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. Yet the class and racial divide is so deep that people like Miguel are yearning for a bloody and expensive Marine invasion. That's what the lackeys and traitors from the "opposition" (the upper and middle classes) want. But a war has the potential to destabilise neighboring Colombia, the Caribbean and Central America, expelling new waves of immigrants and refugees. Is that what the trump regime wants?

Posted by: guy | Aug 27 2017 6:23 utc | 45

@ guy who asks: ".....But a war has the potential to destabilise neighboring Colombia, the Caribbean and Central America, expelling new waves of immigrants and refugees. Is that what the trump regime wants?"

Absolutely! How else to destroy the US social safety net than the model being used in Eurasia....wars are self licking ice cream cones for the elite...some would call it genocide.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 27 2017 6:42 utc | 46

FastFred@49 Just checked back and indeed you nailed it.
Stalin's 1931 speech fspotted the the arrival of US 1929 Great Depression and, of note, foresaw that in 1 or 2 years it would evolve to a global event.
FYI here's the full text, wherein he states the 10-yr deadline prepare for 1941.

Posted by: chu teh | Aug 27 2017 21:03 utc | 47

OOPS- the above ref is to FastFred @ 43

Posted by: chu teh | Aug 27 2017 21:05 utc | 48

Venezuela should offer all its oil to China and should offer oil for cryptocurrencies, bringing in the libertarian, anti dollar tech crowd.

And host a dozen Russian nuclear bombers. That will keep the peace.

As for Maduro, no comment.

Posted by: Daniel Bruno | Aug 30 2017 2:37 utc | 49

The comments to this entry are closed.