Simmering tensions between the United States and Venezuela have entered a new phase with the government in Caracas launching wargames in the face of sanctions and fresh threats of military action by US President Donald Trump. Venezuela has blamed the opposition for lobbying with the US for the imposition of sanctions against the Latin American country. Press TV has asked Daniel Shaw, a Latin America expert, from New York, and Fredrick Peterson, a senior US congressional defense advisor from Virginia, to give their thoughts on the latest developments.
Daniel Shaw said American officials are tightening the screw on the Venezuelan government in a bid to reinstate stooge policymakers in an otherwise independent country.
President Trump’s so-called smart sanctions on Venezuela are in line with Washington’s agenda for “regime change” and “recolonization” of the Latin American country, the analyst said.
America is using a propaganda campaign on elections and democracy in Venezuela as a pretext to hurt the oil-rich country, Shaw argued.
The US Department of the Treasury imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela following the nation’s election of a new assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution.
The expert exclaimed that the United States and “the international community” never had any problem with centuries of corruption and authoritarianism in Venezuela until 1999, when Hugo Chavez was elected president.
The reason behind the US opposition to Venezuela’s new governments, he explained, was that they pursued new social and economic missions and stood firmly for “self-determination.”
According to Shaw, Venezuela’s former and current presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro as well as Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro represented the interests of the vast majority of people and “that is why they earned scorn and the hatred and the enmity of their enemies in Washington and Miami because they stood up for a dignified Latin America.”
He also noted that certain international entities such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are working together to make sure that Bolivar – the currency of Venezuela– is worth nothing.
President Maduro accuses Washington of seeking to foment instability to bring down his government.
Meanwhile, Fredrick Peterson, the other guest on the panel, said that US authorities are putting pressure on Venezuela because they think the Bolivarian “revolution has been exported at the price of freedom, liberty and prosperity of his (Maduro’s) own people throughout the hemisphere.”
The congressional advisor accused the Venezuelan president of holding “fake elections” to “sustain himself” in power.
Peterson claimed that Maduro has resorted to a foreign boogeyman, which is the US, in order to rally the Venezuelan people and distract them from their own devastated economy.
Political tensions in Venezuela rose recently after Caracas announced plans to establish a Constituent Assembly to take over the opposition-controlled parliament and rewrite the constitution.
The United States accuses the Venezuelan government of using excessive force against opponents, whereas the authorities in Caracas see the link between the opposition and Washington as the source of instability in their country.