Washington issues ultimatum to Venezuela over “humanitarian aid” ploy

By Bill Van Auken

February 07, 2019 "Information Clearing House" -    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an ultimatum to the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday, demanding that it throw open its borders to a US-orchestrated scheme to deliver “humanitarian aid.” Washington’s aim is either to provoke a fissure within the country’s armed forces or set the stage for a US-led military intervention.

“The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid,” Pompeo tweeted. “The US & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.”

The sudden concern for the “starving people” of Venezuela comes from a US government that has systematically worked to strangle the Venezuelan economy, imposing a financial blockade in August 2017 and an oil embargo last week. The embargo aims to block all sales to and from the state-owned energy company PDVSA, threatening the country with the loss of its main source of foreign exchange and its ability to import food and medicine.

Washington’s intention is unmistakable. It seeks to starve the Venezuelan population into submission, render the country ungovernable and carry through a regime-change operation to install a right-wing puppet government.

To that end, the US government sponsored a political coup launched on January 23 with Juan Guaidó’s self-swearing in as “interim president,” a stunt worked out in advance with the Trump administration. Washington immediately recognized Guaidó, an operative of the extreme right, US-funded Voluntad Popular (Popular Will) party, who had been suddenly elevated to the presidency of the opposition-controlled National Assembly on the eve of the coup. The Trump administration at the same time declared the Maduro government “illegitimate.”

The right-wing governments of Latin America, along with Canada and the major European powers, have followed suit in what amounts to a criminal and predatory scramble for control over Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest of any country on the planet.

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