Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog #6: Venezuela Slams US Sanctions and Claims the Start of A "Rumor War"

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has claimed there is a new international “psychological war campaign” waged against his country by Colombian authority, along with the U.S. and Spain. 
The new war includes a much more uncontrollable force: the spreading of rumors about Venezuela’s security and economic problems: violence, kidnappings, and shortages of food and other goods.
Maduro blames the campaign on Venezuelan right-wing political advisor Juan Jose Rendon, saying that Rendon was organizing the program’s operation in Miami and Bogota, while Felipe Gonzalez, Spain's former Socialist prime minister, coordinates the campaign from Madrid. Maduro explained that the campaign, from his view point, could make Venezuelans disregard the recent US sanctions against the country, and also President Barack Obama's March executive order that placed Venezuela as a country in national emergency. 
In Venezuela, a different campaign was launched to combat the alleged rumors; citizens are collecting 10 million signatures against President Obama’s executive order before the beginning of April 9, when the Summit of the Americas (which is a sequence of meetings between the heads of state in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean), will open in Panama. This will allow the opportunity for President Obama and President Maduro to discuss the terms of the sanctions and potentially put an end to the negative light that has been casted on Venezuela.
According to Maduro, over 1.5 million signatures have been collected, and once the campaign was voiced on social media, it generated 3 million messages of support for the country. His concerns especially wish to address the US pointing out “serious” violation of human rights and policies that “undermine” democracy in the Venezuela.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attacked the US sanctions against the seven Venezuelan officials. Initially I was slightly surprised by Lavrov’s intrusion on the subject, but I can see why. This gives Russia an excellent opportunity to play peacemaker between the U.S. democratic machine and sovereign Venezuela. For Russia, it must feel good to be able to point out a bit of the self-righteous attention the U.S. is throwing around in regards to Ukraine. With a small investment Russia could, without a doubt, make things very troublesome for the U.S. in Venezuela. I think this is where the term "spheres of influence" applies, as in if the U.S. doesn't want Russia meddling in Venezuela, it should take a few strides back from Ukraine. As for President Maduro and the rest of the Venezuelan people, this campaign is definitely highlighting their non-violent intent, and I hope this action serves as a basis of change for other nations as well.

Salwa Majeed
7:53 PM

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