By David Sole
While the nation of Venezuela mobilizes to fight the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world, the United States government is doing everything in its power to overthrow the duly elected socialist government of President Nicholas Maduro.
On March 12 President Donald Trump announced indictments against President Maduro and 13 other high ranking Venezuelan officials for “illegal drug trafficking” and “narco-terrorism.” A $15 million dollar bounty was offered for the arrest and capture of Maduro as well as $10 million rewards for several of the other officials.
On March 26 President Maduro publicly denounced Trump and the entire U.S. imperialist plot against his government and the people of Venezuela. He called Trump a “racist cowboy” and “a miserable human being.”
In his nationally televised address Maduro stated “you manage international relations like a New York Mafia extortion artist you once were as a real estate boss…” but defied the U.S. threats saying “if one day the imperialist and Colombian oligarchy dare to touch even a single hair, they will face the Bolivarian fury of an entire nation that will wipe them out.”
The U.S. escalated its military threats against Venezuela when Trump announced April 1 that the U.S. Navy was moving warships, AWACS spy aircraft and “on ground special forces” into the waters near Venezuela.
Along with military threats and legal action, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) refused a $5 billion emergency loan requested by Venezuela to fight the Covid-19 virus. The IMF claimed there was “no clarity” as to the legitimate government of Venezuela, a phony situation created by the U.S. and its minions. The imperialists have been unsuccessfully promoting a regime change favoring a minor political opposition figure who unilaterally declared himself president in January 2019. It should be noted that the United States has a veto power over IMF loans as it is the largest IMF shareholder.
All of this is in addition to the brutal economic sanctions that the U.S. has been using to strangle Venezuela since January 2019 and before.
In addition to remarkable vigorous and effective medical measures to confront the Covid-19 pandemic in Venezuela the Maduro government announced the following measures on March 22:
- All commercial and residential rent, all capital and loan interest payments suspended for six months.
- Public and private sector workers to get a special government bonus; wages of small and medium size companies to be paid by the government through August; workers cannot be fired due to the quarantine extended to the end of the year.
- Seven million families receiving “food boxes” previously will be guaranteed these rations.
- No cut offs by communication companies permitted for six months.
Broad economic sanctions against Venezuela were added to previous sanctions in January 2019 by the U.S. and its allies. It is estimated that up to $7 billion in Venezuelan assets are also frozen as part of the sanctions, limiting the government funds available for fighting Covid-19 and other necessities for the people.