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

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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