How to create a confrontation between two nations: Tying the loose ends

Exxon-Mobil, the world's largest oil company, has sued Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), in the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), but we should remember that only in a very few occasions has the ICSID ruled in favor of a Third World government.

The news that Exxon-Mobil, one of the world’s largest oil companies, had sued Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) in a New York court before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has been closely covered by the international media.

Exxon-Mobil “arranged” for the New York court to order the freezing of about $300 million of PDVSA’s funds in the United States. According to other information, there is a possibility that it will order the seizure of about $12 billion in PDVSA assets.

For its part, PDVSA announced the suspension of the delivery of 40,000 barrels of oil a day to Exxon-Mobil. The ICSID has not ruled on the matter, but we should remember that only in a very few occasions has it issued a ruling that favors a Third World government.

The ICSID is an instrument of the big transnationals and the visible portion of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), a monstrosity that the centers of world economic power tried to create in secret to render sacred and untouchable the investments of the big corporations in underdeveloped countries.

As is known, Exxon-Mobil’s lawsuit claims as its “justification” the Venezuelan government’s decision to nationalize some of the concessions held by oil transnationals in the Orinoco Basin, so the Venezuelan state may hold a majority of the shares. That is the right of any independent state. The United States government itself has exercised it on several occasions recently.

Exxon-Mobil refused to accept indemnification on the basis of value in its accounting books and demanded a larger sum of money. At the end, there was no agreement. Other oil transnationals accepted and are being paid by the Venezuelan state.

As expected, the U.S. State Department announced its support for the Exxon-Mobil lawsuit. We should remember that one of the large oil tankers owned by the company was named after Condoleezza Rice. A gesture of recognition? A community of interests?

But that’s a secondary issue. In reality, support from the State Department is part of the White House’s plans to destabilize and destroy the Bolivarian Revolution headed by President Hugo Chávez. To prove this, I will ask you to tie some not-so-loose ends.

In his last “Hello, President” for January, Chávez said: “I alert the world about the following. The U.S. empire is creating the conditions to generate an armed conflict between Colombia and Venezuela.” The Venezuelan leader was not talking just to talk. The preparations for a conflict between the two countries are very evident.

First, the chief of the U.S. armed forces’ Southern Command, visited Colombia. That same week, on Jan. 19, 2008 in Bogotá, Drug Enforcement Administration chief John P. Walters accused Chávez of having become “a great facilitator of cocaine trafficking to Europe and other parts of the hemisphere.”

In other words, according to Mr. Walters, the Venezuelan government is part of the traffic in drugs, even though the United Nations and other international organizations say exactly the opposite.

On Jan. 24, 2008, Colombia’s Minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, declared that at least three chiefs of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) live in Venezuela. He gave no details.

At the same time, Colombia’s Vice President, Francisco Santos, accused the mayor of Maracaibo, Gian Carlo Di Martino, of furnishing weapons to the Colombian guerrillas, specifically the National Liberation Army (ELN), on the basis of a video that appears to be false.

For his part, Di Martino denounced “the plot that reveals a plan by the United States and the Colombian government to unleash a process of destabilization on the Venezuelan border.”

Almost simultaneously, the Colombian intelligence services accused the Venezuelan government of delivering weapons and munitions to the FARC and the ELN. The U.S. State Department had formulated similar accusations in the past. The message is obvious: the Venezuelan government protects the drug traffickers and the “terrorists.”

What’s most interesting in all those accusations is that they are made without presenting any proof. As it happened with Iraq and now with Iran, it is a way to prepare national and international public opinion, to discredit Hugo Chávez and to create a suitable environment to start a war between two Latin American nations.

These accusations are echoed by the main U.S. and European media and the press throughout Latin America. They grandly forget the proven links between the Central Intelligence Agency and drug trafficking. If this is not a conspiracy by the highest levels of world and regional oligarchy, it’s the closest thing to one, in my opinion.

Something that has drawn the attention of observers is the fact that the famous march of Feb. 4 against the FARC became, in some Colombian public squares, an act of repudiation against Hugo Chávez and Venezuela. The objective is obvious: to create an anti-Venezuelan, anti-Chávez sentiment among Colombians that could justify any action.

To the above, add the internal campaign to destabilize the Bolivarian Revolution. More than 150,000 tons of food were removed from Venezuela through the border with Colombia. Meanwhile, the opposition media promoted hoarding of foodstuffs to create an artificial shortage and stir the population into anger. If that reminds you of Salvador Allende’s Chile, you’re not far off the truth.

The rumors about internal problems within the ranks of the Bolivarian Revolution are numerous. One states that President Chávez is a drug addict and needs to cure himself. Those rumors come regularly from abroad, from the Empire’s think tanks, and are spread by its allies in Venezuela and the rest of the world.

Apparently, it’s a new version of Operation Pincers, intended to keep the Constitutional referendum of Dec. 2 from succeeding. On one hand, an internal crisis is created; on the other, an aggression inside Venezuelan territory is prepared.

In this sense, it is opportune to note the presence on the Venezuela-Colombia border (2,200 kilometers long) of Colombian paramilitary groups, linked to the Colombian military high command, that act in coordination with Venezuelan land-holders. An unspecified number of revolutionary, peasant and labor leaders have been murdered in that region.

Those groups could provoke an incident that might “justify” a confrontation between the two countries. Needless to say, Colombia would receive total support from the White House, which is interested in quashing the Bolivarian Revolution, which today is the principal force of the process of Latin American integration, the struggle against neoliberalism and the true independence of Latin America.

In recent days, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared that he hoped that the Colombian people would prevent a confrontation between the two countries and defined Colombia as a country occupied by the United States. The Venezuelan side should also do all it can to prevent a confrontation.

That’s because a war between the two countries would be a harsh blow for the process of integration of Latin America. You don’t have to be a fortune teller to realize that a chasm would split the regional governments, because some would support Colombia and the United States, others would back Venezuela.

In the end, the big losers would be the Latin American people. I believe that today, more than ever, common sense must prevail. Our people must not play the game of the imperial and oligarchic interests. They must not be tricked by provocations and must make it very clear that the cost of a military adventure against Venezuela would be unpayable from every standpoint.

Empires are usually more dangerous in decadence than while in full power. In the case of Venezuela, there is a dual situation that is not at all convenient for the imperial interests. On one hand, Venezuela is a great producer of crude oil. On the other, it heads the process of integration, independence and social justice in Latin America.

Venezuela is an obstacle to the Empire’s desire to control Latin America’s wealth and markets. Therefore, the Empire will do everything possible to eliminate that obstacle, no matter how much blood is spilled. Only if the progressive peoples and governments of Latin America (which so far have not taken a stand) join in common cause, can that awful intent be prevented. I invite you to meditate.

Source: Progreso Weekly