MSJ: The problem with the Rio Treaty; and how gov’t, opposition and media got Venezuela imbroglio wrong

The following statement on the imbroglio involving Venezuela, the United States of America and Trinidad and Tobago was issued to Wired868 by David Abdulah, the political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ):

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (left) and Venezuela President Nicholás Maduro during a meeting in Port of Spain on 23 May 2016.

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) views the entire imbroglio surrounding the United States, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago as one where we can easily lose focus on the most critical issues that face us. This is because statements made by the government, the Opposition and even the reporting by the media have created the space for confusion and mischief.

Central to this entire issue is the United States’ agenda with respect to Venezuela. If the US had not imposed sanctions on Venezuela there would be nothing for the government to explain about a visit by the vice-president of Venezuela, nothing to explain about the sale of fuel by state-owned Paria Ltd to a Swiss-based oil trading company, there would have been no need for the US ambassador and the minister of national security to discuss the Rio Treaty; and there would certainly be nothing for the UNC to latch onto in its bid to please Marli Street.

As in cricket, if you take your eye off the ball you will be in trouble. So before we address the failings of our national leadership—government, Opposition and others—we must address what can only be described as the imperialist policies of the United States.

It is well established that the US, especially under Donald Trump’s Presidency, is intent on regime change in Venezuela, by any means necessary. They have imposed unilateral sanctions on Venezuela—these sanctions are not recognised by the United Nations and are only enforced by the economic power of the US.

It is therefore wrong for the UNC, the media and others to refer to the sanctions as ‘international’ sanctions. They are not! These are unilaterally imposed and no international body such as the United Nations has given them approval.

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