Donald Trump-Exxon regime change in Venezuela?

This video says about itself:

Trump’s Administration is All About Regime Change

24 January 2017

Trump‘s nominee for the United States State Department, Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil (which has a long conflict with Venezuela about nationalised oil which it wants privatised), is already talking about regime change in Venezuela.

Washington has intensified pressure against the Maduro government in an attempt to open the country to oil corporations like ExxonMobil, whose former CEO is Trump’s secretary of state: here.

See also here.

If you remember one thing about Venezuela in the coming months, it is that the context to every story in the media is the Donald Trump administration cranking up intervention aimed at regime change. To give a clear example, a recent press leak revealed that US senators have submitted another Bill calling on the government to add more sanctions on Venezuela and to isolate it internationally: here.

With a brutality that would make even Cambodia’s Pol Pot blush, Venezuela’s dictator-in-chief, Nicolas Maduro, continues his onslaught against the Venezuelan people, enforcing mass starvation on the defenseless population. Or such is the alternative reality that Organization of American States (OAS) General Sectary Luis Almagro has conjured up for himself: here.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP TO CRACK DOWN ON CUBA He’s expected to tighten the tourism rules former President Barack Obama loosened. [HuffPost]

Trump Prepares To Halt Syrian Refugee Admissions, Limit Muslim Entry. The president plans to make good on one of his most discriminatory campaign promises. 01/24/2017 10:38 pm ET: here.

‘DEMOCRATS WANT TO PICK THEIR BATTLES WITH TRUMP. THEIR BASE WANTS ALL OUT WAR’ A look at the debate you can see play out in the confirmation hearings. [Jennifer Bendery and Sam Stein, HuffPost]

Though they reap the benefits of low-wage workers, Trump’s billionaire cabinet does not respect their humanity, writes MARZENA ZUKOWSKA.

35 thoughts on “Donald Trump-Exxon regime change in Venezuela?

    > Donald Trump Never Gave Business Documents To Ethics Office, Democrat Says
    > Where did these folders go?
    > WASHINGTON ― Before he was sworn in, President Donald Trump disappointed ethics experts by refusing to sell his business empire . Instead, he presented stacks of manila folders that supposedly contained “some of the many documents” he’d signed to give control of his companies to his adult sons.

    > Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
    > Not even the Office of Government Ethics has seen what’s in these folders.
    > Reporters weren’t allowed to see those documents. And according to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the Office of Government Ethics hasn’t seen them, either.
    > Cummings met on Monday with Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, along with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, and other committee Democrats to discuss OGE operations and other issues.
    > Reports suggest that the meeting was amicable. But Shaub also told committee members that the OGE “never received copies of the documents that then-President-Elect Trump brought to his press conference … regarding his conflicts of interest,” according to a Monday press release from Cummings’ office. “The Office of Government Ethics has received no new information since this press conference.”
    > Shaub nonetheless remained “willing and ready” to help Trump address his business conflicts, Cummings’ office noted. The OGE chief did not respond to a request for comment.
    > Norman Eisen, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer under former President Barack Obama, told The Huffington Post that the president is subject to disclosure rules under federal law that are within OGE’s jurisdiction. According to Eisen, ethics lawyers for president-elects and presidents have always worked closely with OGE on their finances during transitions and after assuming the presidency ― which includes sharing documents. “That does not seem to have happened here,” he said.
    > The Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment.
    > Trump is the first president in the modern era to refuse to divest or separate himself from business holdings that may pose conflicts of interest. The Trump Organization released a letter on Monday — dated the day before inauguration — that said he’d resigned from hundreds of corporate entities. But ethics experts say Trump’s move to stop managing his companies fails to alleviate problems that may stem from his continued ownership of his business empire.
    > For months, Shaub sought to connect with the Trump transition team. OGE even resorted to getting Trump’s attention over Twitter : “Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, good for America!” the office wrote in a series of seemingly sarcastic tweets .
    > After Trump failed to divest, Shaub went public with his concerns. “This is not a blind trust, it’s not even close,” he said at the Brookings Institution on Jan. 11. His comments, as well as his office’s tweets, prompted Republicans to go after OGE.
    > Chaffetz accused Shaub of refusing to come in and meet with his staff, going so far as to threaten a subpoena. But it was Chaffetz who missed a previously discussed meeting in early December, according to Office of Government Ethics emails The Huffington Post obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. Cummings said that based on the HuffPost report , it seemed that Chaffetz owed Shaub “an apology for these inaccurate public attacks against him.”
    > Although lawmakers reportedly scolded Shaub on Monday about his office’s tweets, the meeting — which was closed to the public — appears to have eased some of the tension. Chaffetz indicated that it went well. “I think we understand each other better,” he told reporters . His office did not respond to a request for comment.
    > Still, Cummings said the meeting left him “more concerned than ever about President Trump’s refusal to follow the advice of Republican and Democratic ethics experts.”


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  4. Thursday 9th February 2017

    posted by Morning Star in World

    US Congress members from both parties have urged President Donald Trump to slap fresh sanctions on Venezuela.

    The Associated Press (AP) said yesterday that 34 legislators had written to Mr Trump, repeating claims made against Venezuela’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) government in an earlier AP report.

    The news agency claimed the Venezuelan army was responsible for the black market in government-sponsored food and fuel, much of which is smuggled to neighbouring Colombia in what the President Nicolas Maduro calls economic warfare directed from Washington.

    The letter was co-written by Republican representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.

    It called for a probe into alleged drug-trafficking and support for Middle Eastern terror groups by Venezuela’s new Vice-President Tareck El Aissami — whose responsibilities include combating terrorism by US-backed far-right extremists.


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  6. Monday 27th February 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    The United States has been trying to oust Venezuela’s Chavista government since 1998. The Trump administration is continuing the trend, writes Ian Richardson

    DONALD TRUMP’S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently confirmed his support for regime change in Venezuela, stating that he would seek to work with right-wing governments and organisations in the region to replace the elected Chavista government of Nicolas Maduro.

    The former ExxonMobil CEO said: “I would urge close co-operation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbours Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS (Organisation of American States), to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela.”

    When it comes to Tillerson’s stance on Venezuela, it’s also worth noting that he lost a World Bank arbitration battle against the Venezuelan government over the nationalisation of ExxonMobil assets.

    The US oil executive also hinted that financial restructuring would swiftly follow any change in Venezuela’s government, which he said would “pave the way for the kinds of reforms needed to put Venezuela on the path to economic recovery.”

    This is, of course, what is at stake in Venezuela — whether the country determines its own future or goes back to US domination and the neoliberal policies of the IMF, which have so devastated the country and the region in the past.

    Emboldened by the coup in Brazil and Mauricio Macri’s victory in the Argentinian elections, the right in Latin America and the US clearly see this as their window of opportunity to get their hands back on Venezuela’s oil and reclaim their “backyard.”

    During his presidential campaign, Trump publicly attacked Venezuela’s progressive government, saying: “The next president of the United States must stand in solidarity with all people oppressed in our hemisphere. And I will stand with the oppressed people of Venezuela yearning to be free.”

    It didn’t take long for Trump to turn these hostile words into action and it looks like more intervention is on the way.

    The Trump administration has already put sanctions on Venezuelan Vice President Tarek El Aissami, citing drug trafficking allegations.

    The US Treasury Department froze all of El Aissami’s alleged assets in the US under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, making the vice-president the top-ranking official of any country to be sanctioned in this way.

    Venezuela points out, however, that the Trump administration has yet to release any evidence in support of these accusations, while the US Justice Department has not publicly opened investigations into El Aissami.

    Decrying the sanctions as an “unprecedented act” in US-Venezuelan relations, Venezuela argues that the Trump administration is violating international law.

    In fact, Venezuela has made great steps in tackling drug trafficking under the Hugo Chavez and Maduro governments.

    In the last decade it has increased its efficiency in drug seizures by 60 per cent, confiscating an annual average of 55.7 tons of narcotics.

    During El Aissami’s own time as interior minister, he oversaw the arrest and prosecution of 102 drug kingpins, even extraditing as many as 21 accused drug traffickers to the United States itself.

    Unsurprisingly, hawkish members of the US Congress from both the Democrat and the Republican parties welcomed the move, as they continue to push for yet more sanctions on the oil-rich country.

    Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez issued a joint statement saying the step was “long overdue,” while Republican Senator Marco Rubio could not have been clearer when he said he hoped the sanctions were “only the beginning.”

    These latest escalations come on top of the Barack Obama administration’s executive order against Venezuela which claimed the country was an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the US.

    Prior to these latest sanctions, 34 US legislators had submitted a statement to President Donald Trump advocating greater sanctions, writing that “decisive, principled action in response to unfolding developments in Venezuela as one of the first foreign policy actions of your administration would send a powerful message to the Maduro regime and the Venezuelan people,” stated the letter.

    Additionally, the signatories argue for increased US funding for “democratic political processes, institutions and values that support human rights, freedom of information and independent civil society until the country returns to democratic governance.”

    Currently, US funding to Venezuela’s anti-democratic opposition under the Economic Support Fund stands at $6.5 million annually but this is probably just the tip of the iceberg as in 2012 alone, it is thought the US funded the right-wing opposition to the tune of $20m.

    The US has, of course, been trying to get rid of Venezuela’s Chavista governments since 1998, with the US Office of the Inspector General conceding that the George W Bush administration provided “training, institution building and other support” to groups involved in a military coup that briefly ousted the late Chavez in April of 2002.

    Responding to the latest wave of US hostility, Venezuela’s Maduro said: “I do not want to fight with Donald Trump, Venezuela wants respectful relations … but if they attack us, we are not going to remain silent.”

    Progressive voices internationally shouldn’t be silent either. Whatever problems Venezuela and other countries in the region face, we can be sure that US intervention and IMF-imposed neoliberalism will not provide a way forward.

    The future of Venezuela is for Venezuelans to decide, not Donald Trump — international solidarity is needed now more than ever.

    On March 11, the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign is hosting a day school entitled Trump’s US, Venezuela and the new Latin America — Regime Change Up the Agenda? from 11am- 5pm at the International Transport Workers’ Federation, 49-60 Borough Road, London, SE1 1DR. Speakers include the Venezuelan ambassador Rocio Maneiro, Julia Felmanas from the Brazilian Workers’ Party, the writer and journalist Richard Gott, former London mayor Ken Livingstone and general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Kate Hudson. More info and register at


  7. Thursday 23rd March 2017

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    President says State Dept paving way for foreign intervention

    VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro accused the US diplomatic corps on Tuesday of fomenting foreign intervention against his country.

    He called for a mass demonstration on Sunday in opposition to Washington-backed destabilisation.

    Speaking at a televised cabinet meeting, Mr Maduro said the US State Department had instructed its embassies in the region and beyond to press governments to turn against Caracas.

    “The State Department has activated all its embassies … all its ambassadors, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.

    Washington was “pressuring all the governments … to aid a global intervention against Venezuela.”

    Last month, the US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on Venezuelan VicePresident Tareck El Aissami, claiming that he was involved in drug trafficking.

    In January, outgoing president Barack Obama renewed his decree branding Venezuela a threat to US security for the second time.

    During the cabinet meeting at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Mr Maduro said the US aim was to “convert our country into a species of neocolony … governed from abroad, governed by US magnates, Venezuelan magnates from Miami.”

    He reiterated his United Socialist Party (PSUV) government’s commitment to prevent foreign powers from seizing Venezuela’s riches.

    “We have confronted them and we are going to keep confronting them, with the law, with the constitution in our hand… with the truth, with reason, with morals,” Mr Maduro insisted.

    And he laid into the rightwing Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mud) opposition, which has boycotted internationally mediated talks with the government since January after failing to force a presidential recall referendum.

    “They are senseless. They are ones who sell out their country, who beg the North American empire and the right to come and intervene and govern Venezuela,” the president said.

    Mr Maduro countered claims by the US and Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the Washington-based Organisation of American States (OAS), that his government was frustrating the democratic will of his people by refusing to call an early presidential election.

    On Monday, PSUV ally the Communist Party of Venezuela urged the government to reconsider its membership of the OAS and to hold talks on uniting the country’s antiimperialist forces.

    Politburo member Carlos Aquino said Mr Almagro was solely dedicated to attacking Caracas, while ignoring far worse problems across the region.


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  14. The International Action Center is calling for Emergency Days of Solidarity with Bolivarian Venezuela to stop the US attempt to destroy the Revolution, from Thursday, June 1 through Saturday, June 10.

    Make no mistake; what has been happening for the last two months in Venezuela is a counterrevolution by the most reactionary forces of the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. It is no different from what the US did with Pinochet in Chile in 1973, with the “contras” in Nicaragua in the 80’s and more recently against Libya and now in Syria. It is a ‘regime change’ effort.

    The corporate media – the voice of the Pentagon and White House – has set up an international campaign of blatant lies that try to present the terrorist actions of the fascist hoards as repression from the Revolutionary Government. The truth is that these terrorist acts are directed against state’s buildings and agencies and against the supporters of the revolution. The aim of these protests is to create chaos to declare a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and demand US intervention.

    State agencies’ buildings have been destroyed, an entire float of public buses burned, a health facility for women and children attacked. Over sixty people have died and hundreds wounded during these protests. These are not ‘pro-democracy peaceful’ protests as the media tries to portray. Criminal groups and thugs are involved, Children paid by the opposition with US aid money are also involved. The fascist, hateful and racist character of the attacks include setting people on fire, stabbing and beating them while shouting racist insults.

    The OAS has been the principal body working on behalf of the US, to launch an international campaign against Venezuela. As a result, Venezuela left the OAS.

    Now there is a real danger of a military intervention. Two days after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with President Trump in Washington, Colombian army tanks were mobilized to the border with Venezuela.

    Key opposition figures – Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed right wing leader Leopoldo López, and National Assembly president Julio Borges – have met separately with Trump to request US intervention.

    During these days, we aim to: Expose the US government and media’s role; Show the truth behind these demonstrations; and express solidarity with the Bolivarian people and their government.


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