Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Not to speak of minerals like gold, iron and diamonds. Why is it suffering today from an economic and humanitarian crisis? Actually, the crisis was created by our own U.S. government and its Latin American policies.
Hugo Chavez was Venezuela’s president from 1998 to 2012. He was re-elected several times by large majorities. Because he proclaimed himself a socialist, the CIA began trying to bring him down from the moment he took office, the most notable event being a failed coup attempt in 2002 when President Bush was in the White House.
What were the most terrible things Chavez did? First, he nationalized the country’s oil industry; second, he attempted to use other international currencies, like the Chinese Yuan, as reference currencies for selling Venezuelan oil, rather than the U.S. dollar.
Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro used their oil revenues for social programs like expanding health care, education and housing, and the country briefly had one of the highest standards of living in South America. Venezuela’s music education program for poor children received international recognition. But this kind of “socialism,” financed by oil revenues U.S. companies thought should be coming to them, was unacceptable.
Over the last five years the U.S. has imposed economic sanctions aimed at crippling Venezuela’s economy. Venezuela has been frozen out of the international oil market and the international banking system. Per capita income has decreased by 40 percent. This is worse than the depth of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, when the decline in income in the U.S. was only about 30 percent.
How generous is it of us to offer “humanitarian” aid to Venezuela, when that country’s humanitarian and economic crisis is of our own making?
There would be no crisis in Venezuela were it not for U.S.-imposed sanctions. We say we are trying to “save” them. The only ones they really need saving from is us.
Arno Vosk, MD
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom