The Trump Administration surgically leveled upwards of $7 billion in sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos De Venezuela S.A., in a move that would have been economically unviable during previous presidencies.
As turmoil swells in the South American country that has politically ousted its corrupt and illegitimate Pres. Nicolas Maduro, the country’s National Assembly has sworn in a constitutionally-legitimate leader. Protestors have stormed the streets and civilians have reportedly been shot by Maduro-run military forces. More than 20 nations have denounced the Venezuelan dictator. President Donald Trump was happy to take the lead.
“We have continued to expose the corruption of Maduro and his cronies, and today’s action ensures they can no longer loot the assets of the Venezuelan people,” national security adviser John Bolton reportedly said at a White House news conference.
His statement was followed by U.S. Treasury Secretary announcing a wide range of sanctions that targeted oil, the regime’s lifeblood, and other revenue-generating resources totaling $11 billion.
For the first time in more than a half-century, the United States does not need to tip-toe around who controls the crude oil flow. President Trump promised “energy independence” en route to “energy dominance”, and the U.S. reached the first goal in less than two years due to his America First policies.
Under the Trump Administration, U.S. crude oil production has soared to 11.7 million barrels per day. The industry dipped below 4 million barrels in 2005 and began to rebound during the Obama years when massive U.S. reserves were discovered. However, laboring under the onerous Obama Administration regulations, oil production was hamstrung.
Since Trump untied the industry’s hands, America no longer relies on foreign powers to drive the economy. That has spelled bad news for oil-producing Arab nations and Venezuela.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin pointed out that the Venezuelan people have not enjoyed the benefits of a country that sits on the world’s largest reserves. Since Hugo Chavez seized control and socialized the oil corporations, production has steadily declined by two-thirds to just more than 1 million barrels daily since the boom in 1999. Lack of training, upkeep and reinvestment have caused the socialized industry to fall into disrepair.
“This is a country that is very rich in oil resources,” Sec. Mnuchin reportedly said. “There is no reason why these resources shouldn’t be used for the economic benefit of the people there.”
In a turn of events that would seem improbable 20 years ago, Venezuela has lost all of its oil-based bargaining power with the U.S. The South American nation is in deep debt to countries such as Russia and China, who recoup their failed investment through reduced oil prices. Until recently, the U.S. accounted for 41 percent of Venezuela’s oil export revenue or approximately 500,000 barrels per day.
The hard truth for Maduro is that the U.S. has become its cash cow, and now controls the purse strings. Repaying its debt to Russia and China means it gets below market value revenue for its oil trade.
Since a rigged election, Maduro’s military-backed regime has been exposed as incompetent and corrupt. People are living in abject poverty despite its oil wealth. Reports have emerged that the country has declined to a barter society and violence is commonly used to secure necessities such as food and water. It’s clear that President Trump has secured the high ground and sanctions are likely to ramp up pressure on the dictator to resign.
“Things are going to get difficult,” a Venezuelan man reportedly said requesting anonymity. “The United States is one of the few buyers who pay for the oil up front, and it’s probably where most of our income comes from.”
With American companies producing record oil in Texas and other places, the U.S. won’t even notice the Venezuelan oil and Maduro and Arab enemy states such as Iran understand they have no leverage when negotiating with President Trump. Since the U.S. sanctions hit Maduro, he has reversed course.
‘Maduro is willing to negotiate with the opposition in Venezuela following U.S. sanctions and the cutting off of oil revenues,” Trump tweeted.
The Venezuelan incident proves that Obama’s targeting of the fossil fuel industry only weakens national security and American influence around the world. Were it not for Pres. Trump’s bold energy initiatives, South American dictators such as Maduro would hold sway over the U.S., not the other way around.
~ Conservative Zone