Oil Workers Exodus Could Complicate Efforts To Reverse Venezuela's Collapse

Frederick Owens
February 8, 2019

The US military is prepared to "protect" US personnel and diplomatic facilities in Venezuela if needed, the admiral in charge of American forces in South America says.

The Times noted that there were other border roadways that were open where vehicles could cross, calling the blockade "a show of defiance by the government of President Nicolas Maduro".

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in NY, "humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives".

Representatives of the European Union and a group of Latin American governments met in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

Craig Faller claimed Venezuela had about 2000 generals and the majority of them were loyal to Maduro because of the wealth they have amassed from drug trafficking, petroleum revenue and business revenue. Venezuela's chief military attache to the United States also said he was defecting late last month.

"He's got friends in places like Cuba and Russia", Abrams said.

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"I think it is very unsafe, because it means that the actions that they propose are far out of proportion of, you know, really what is necessary to preserve us security interests", said Alexander Main, a Latin America political analyst and director of International Policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

The U.S. official said that Washington had every tool available to apply pressure on Maduro and his associates "to accept a legitimate democratic transition".

Washington last week implemented crippling sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, which are expected to exacerbate the hyperinflationary economic crisis. The sanctions freeze $7 billion in US -based assets and target $11 billion of USA revenue to Venezuela's national oil company.

Guaido has galvanized the opposition since taking over as head of Venezuela's National Assembly in January. His opposition rival, Juan Guaidó, now recognised as the rightful president by the USA and most South American and European nations, says that up to 300,000 people are in danger of dying for want of humanitarian assistance.

"If the White House's goal is regime change in Venezuela, which appears to be the case, then they should be concerned that their actions are generating a backlash against the U.S.in Venezuela and in the region", said Main.

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