By Katu Arkonada


November 24, 2018


Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s imminent visit to Mexico has aroused the indignation not only of the right, but also of some sectors of AMLO’s Morena Party.

Although Lopez Obrador has made it clear that all presidents of the world, including Maduro, are welcome, it is striking that the neoliberal right and the liberal lite progressives have not protested the arrival of Mike Pence, vice president of the United States, serial violator of human rights (both at its borders, as in other regions of the world, from Latin America to the Middle East) or Iván Duque, Uribe’s annointed heir, whose legacy in Colombia of disappearances and false positives leaves more human remains in mass graves than all the military dictatorships of the Southern Cone as a whole. It is a Colombia where today, during Duque’s government, dozens of social fighters continue to disappear (more than 150 since the recent peace accords with FARC-EP were signed).

None of the above happens in Venezuela, whose government has no military bases in foreign territory, does not promote coups d’état nor does it carry out political interference in other countries, nor do social leaders disappear; however, the opinion matrices that are constructed, above all around two axes, economic crisis and migratory exodus, to permanently force us to have an opinion about Venezuela.

Let’s talk and debate then, about the two matrices around Venezuela that people who have never been to that Caribbean country, which has the largest certified oil reserves in the world (added to the very high gold or coltan reserves, as well as a south-south link with China or Russia), think from what they see or read in the mass media.

There is no doubt that Venezuela is immersed in a serious economic crisis. What is perhaps not so well known is that it is the result of Barack Obama’s March 2016 executive order declaring Venezuela a danger to the national security of the United States. Obama’s order has allowed a multidimensional attack on the Venezuelan economic structure.

On the one hand, through the economic sanctions that incorporates the accounts managed by the Venezuelan government for its purchases abroad to the financial investigation unit that examines, and blocks if necessary, accounts of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. This has allowed, for example, banks like Citibank to block the purchase of 30,000 units of insulin in September 2017, or that on May 18, 2018, two days before the presidential election, Colombia blocked the arrival of 15 containers with 25,000 CLAP (Local Supply and Production Committee, a reinforcement of the Venezuelan government to guarantee the food security of its population) boxes containing 400,000 kilos of food.

And for those who still doubt the existence of a blockade, the Brazilian foreign minister recently admitted that they cannot pay a debt of 40 million dollars to the Venezuelan state company Corpoelec (for the supply of electricity to the state of Roraima) due to the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

This blockade has two more components. First, the surgical operation of the US economic elites through their rating agencies Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s, is placing Venezuelan debt (as JP Morgan does with a risky country) at the level of African countries in war. The objective is clear: to repel any possible foreign investment. And the circle initiated by Obama in 2016 is closed in 2018 by the Trump administration, with sanctions against PDVSA with another clear objective, to reduce the income capacity of a country that lives and moves from the oil rent.

To this media matrix against Venezuela we must add that of the so-called migratory exodus. While Televisa’s star journalists go to the Venezuelan border to show us the reality of the border, no media will go to nearby Honduras to make a report that explains why thousands and thousands of Central American brothers and sisters flee their country carrying only a backpack, crossing rivers, mountains and entire countries, risking kidnapping and murder in the vast areas of Mexican territory controlled by criminal mafias and narcos.

One important fact: while Honduran migration belongs to the lowest socioeconomic strata, direct victims of the neoliberal shock doctrine, the majority of the Venezuelan population that migrates (52%), according to the National Survey of Living Conditions of the Venezuelan Population, belongs to the upper-middle and upper classes. Eighty-two percent of the total say they migrate in search of better economic prospects.

It is therefore a lie that Venezuelan migration is due to political issues (very few requests for asylum and refuge are granted by the member countries of the belligerent Lima Group). The Venezuelan migrant population does it for economic reasons, seeking a better future, something as dignified and legitimate as when more than 20 million people in Mexico and Colombia do it.

In short, we hope that Nicolás Maduro’s visit to Mexico will help us to debate the Venezuelan reality in an objective way, taking distance from the media noise produced by geopolitical interests.

Source: La Jornada, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau