Sunday, March 23, 2008

US blocks Venezuelan purchase of food

US blocks Venezuelan purchase of food

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"The war with the US has already begun and they are blocking our purchases of food", Venezuelan Minister Ramón Rodríguez Chacín told viewers on Venezuelan TV on March 12. His statement came at a time when the US is threatening to add Venezuela to its list of "terror-sponsoring" states and some Senators are calling for a full blockade of the country.


The Venezuelan minister, speaking on the program Counter Coup in Synthesis, accused the US of blocking purchases by the government, especially of food, from foreign sources. Venezuela’s economy is essentially oil-based. It imports around 70 percent of its food products. The blocking of food supplies is just one of the methods being used by the US in its attempts to undermine the popularity of the government and destabilise the internal situation there.

Rodríguez told viewers that for some time the US has exercised an informal blockade against Venezuela. The government has also had difficulty acquiring spares for military equipment and other items important to the national interest.

This, he added, was part of the war declared by Washington on the Bolivarian Revolution and it combines with the paramilitary offensive in Venezuela and the actions of the Opposition.

US President Bush last week accused Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez of backing "terrorists" in Colombia. Since Colombia’s brutal bombing of a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)* camp in Ecuador on March 1, the US administration’s propaganda machine has been churning out lies to discredit the progressive governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.

Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has strongly denied accusations that his country has harboured FARC forces. Those making such accusations were attempting to destabilise Ecuador and force Ecuador to join Plan Colombia, Correa said.

Plan Colombia is part of the US’s bogus war on drugs, where billions of dollars are given to puppet governments to fight progressive forces in their countries.

The Colombian government has since apologised for its actions on the sovereign territory of Ecuador, but diplomatic relations with Colombia are still cool after the bombing of its territory and the deaths (in fact cold-blooded assassination) of around 21 people in a FARC camp, including three Mexican students.

The FARC members killed in the March 1 attack include commander and international spokesperson Raúl Reyes, who was a member of the organisation’s secretariat. They were involved in the humanitarian exchange of prisoners in Ecuador. In the previous week FARC had unilaterally released four prisoners, demonstrating good will and a genuine desire for peace.

On the day of the bombing, three personal envoys of French President Nicolas Sarkozy were in Ecuador and due to visit the camp for negotiations for the release of Ingrid Betancourt who holds dual French and Colombian citizenship.

The Interpress Service News Agency reports that the envoys were phoned on the morning of March 1 by Colombian Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo who warned them not to go to the meeting with Reyes as they would be in danger.

Since the attack, more information has come to light indicating that the precision bombing was a well planned, pre-meditated and high tech operation. Questions are being raised about the capability of Colombian forces to have executed such a strike without the involvement of the US.

Whether the US was directly or indirectly behind the attack, politically it is behind the Uribe government of Colombia.

In addition to receiving billions of dollars in military funding and other assistance, Colombia has sent more than 10,000 soldiers to train at the US’s notorious School of Americas (SOA). SOA Watch reports that its graduates have been involved in massacres, the killing of striking workers, assassinations, torture and other crimes.

The current head of the Colombian Army, Mario Motoya Uribe, is a former instructor at the SOA, and is reportedly associated with the paramilitary that do much of the dirty work for the Colombian government.

SOA Watch notes that nearly four million people have been displaced, mostly by the illegal paramilitary groups. "These vigilante groups, which often work in collaboration with Colombia’s military, are responsible for the ‘disappearances’ of more than 15,000 people. They have murdered more than 1,700 indigenous farmers and organisers, 2,500 union workers and nearly 5,000 members of the Union Patriótica movement. The violence has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Afro-Colombian and independent farmers from their lands. Victims of the paramilitaries are routinely tortured before being killed," SOA Watch reports. (www.soaw.org)

It is these acts of terror and a regime of fear and violence from which FARC is fighting to liberate workers and peasants.

*FARC is both an army and a communist party, fighting for a socialist Colombia. The US and European Union have listed it as a terrorist organisation and spread endless lies about its activities. The true terrorists, the narcotic agencies and those who murder civilians, are to be found in the US-backed Colombian government and government-backed paramilitaries. FARC is a belligerent force in a four-decade long civil war.

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