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Are oil reserves the real reason why Barack Obama has levied sanctions on Venezuela?

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US Vene (1)

By Harshmeet Singh

Highlighting its ‘deep concern’ for the Venezuelan citizens, USA has declared Venezuela as a ‘National threat’ and slapped various sanctions against seven top Venezuelan officials. As the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gave a scathing speech on Tuesday, blaming the ‘imperialist’ USA for trying to topple his Government, he found support from the iconic Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.

Castro’s message for Maduro read ‘Dear Nicolas Maduro, I congratulate you for your brilliant and brave speech in the face of the brutal plans by the United States government. Your words will go down in history as proof that humanity can and will know the truth,

US’ love for oil

“Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

  • Jimmy Carter, former US President

Overenthusiastic participation of the US in the Gulf War and almost all the Middle Eastern conflicts ever since under the blanket of ‘war on terror’ has been termed by many as US’ attempt to capture oil reserves around the world.

What is common among Venezuela, Iran, Iraq and Libya? Oil is the easiest answer that pops into the mind. All these countries feature in the list of top ten countries with the biggest proven oil reserves in the world. Secondly, each of these countries has faced strong US interventions in the past few years. US showing ‘deep concerns’ for an oil-rich nation and its citizens isn’t a new happening. With the largest proven oil reserves in the world, Venezuela holds a key position in the South American politics and US knows this well.

Current US Venezuela Crisis

Since February this year, the Maduro Government has been blaming the US of supporting the opposition in carrying out violent protests across the country. according to report published in The Guardian, Maduro said that the US has a tradition of carrying out coups in other nations. He also put forward the case of Edward Snowden and a 2006 WikiLeaks cable, according to which, the US was planning to ‘divide, isolate and penetrate’ the erstwhile Venezuelan Government. In one of his addresses to the media in February, he said “I invoke Obama and his African American spirit, to give the order to respect Venezuela”

Averting any blames that its actions are aimed at denting Venezuela’s oil based economy, the White House maintained that its sanctions aren’t intended to hurt Venezuela’s energy sector. According to the US, the seven officials against whom the sanctions have been approved had played a key role in suppressing the anti-Government protests in any undemocratic manner.

When asked about the need to list Venezuela as a ‘national security threat’, a US official said that this is the first step of the US sanctions program and similar steps were followed with Iran and Syria. If the US plans to put Venezuela in the same bracket as Iran and Syria, this might not spell good news for the South America nation.

Maduro’s plans

Maduro is seeking to buy time to sort the growing mess within the country by terming this as a battle between an ‘imperialistic’ USA and a ‘Socialistic’ Venezuela. Whether he succeeds in his plans remains to be seen.

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Facebook Removes Pages, Fake Accounts Linked to Iran

Facebook said about 1.02 million accounts followed at least one of these Pages, about 25,000 accounts joined at least one of these Groups, and more than 28,000 accounts followed at least one of these Instagram accounts

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Fake News, Facebook, dating
This photo shows the logo for Facebook on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. VOA

Facebook has removed 82 Pages, Groups and accounts for what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” that originated in Iran and targeted people in the US and Britain.

“While we have found no ties to the Iranian government, we can’t say for sure who is responsible,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook said in a statement on Friday.

The people behind these Pages and accounts represented themselves as US citizens, or in a few cases UK citizens — and they posted about politically charged topics such as race relations, opposition to the US President, and immigration on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook said its threat intelligence team first detected this activity one week ago and conducted an internal investigation.

“Despite attempts to hide their true identities, a manual review of these accounts linked their activity to Iran,” Gleicher said.

Facebook
Facebook removes dozens of Iran-linked fake accounts, Pages.. Pixabay

The activities on Facebook were revealed just weeks before the midterm election in the US and while a heated Brexit debate continues in Britain.

“Given the elections, we took action as soon as we’d completed our initial investigation and shared the information with US and UK government officials, US law enforcement, Congress, other technology companies and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab,” Gleicher said.

Also Read- Actress Swara Bhaskar Says “Sexual Harassment Cases at Workplace Are Like an Epidemic”

Facebook said about 1.02 million accounts followed at least one of these Pages, about 25,000 accounts joined at least one of these Groups, and more than 28,000 accounts followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.

This is not the first time Facebook has removed Pages and accounts linked to Iran. In August, the social network removed 600 Pages and accounts originating from Russia and Iran for engaging in “inauthentic behaviour”. (IANS)