Venezuela's Crisis Compromises U.S. National Security. Here's What You Can Do
For many Americans, Venezuela's humanitarian crisis is a news story piped in from a faraway place. I'm here to tell you otherwise.
This blog post is long but it explains the crisis in simple terms and has three main sections outlining how:
1. VENEZUELAN'S CURRENT REGIME IS A REAL, THROBBING THREAT TO U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY AND NEEDS TO BE STOPPED
> A RUSSIA TAKE-OVER OF A MAJOR U.S. OIL COMPANY IS A RESULT
> VENEZUELA'S GOV. IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S BIGGEST TRANSIT POINTS FOR COCAINE
> VENEZUELA'S GOV. IS A MAJOR FUNDER FOR HEZBOLLAH
2. YOU CAN ALLEVIATE FOOD AND MEDICINE SHORTAGES IN VENEZUELA - HERE'S HOW
3. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CAN HELP THE SITUATION - YOU CAN HELP PRESSURE THEM
1. WHY VENEZUELA'S CRISIS IS A THREAT TO U.S. NATL' SECURITY
•••RUSSIA MIGHT TAKE OVER A U.S. OIL COMPANY, PUTTING THE RUSSIAN DARTH VADER IN CHARGE OF A WHOLE LOT IN THE U.S. •••
Summary: Venezuela borrowed money from Russia, cannot pay back and will soon default. They put Citgo, a U.S. energy company as collateral. When Venezuela defaults, the company will be controlled by Russia.
Let's start from the beginning. Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves. Petróleos de Venezuela SA, the Venezuela state-owned oil company is known as PDVSA.
PDVSA sells a lot of oil to the United States.
Citgo is a U.S. energy company based in Houston, and the largest foreign owned of U.S. domestic refinery capacity. PDVSA owns Citgo, which means Venezuela owns Citgo. Citgo has three refineries in the U.S., and a network of terminals and pipelines running across 24 states.
Venezuela used Citgo as collateral to get a $1.5 billion loan in November 2017 from Russian state-owned Rosneft. That is 49.9% of the equity in Citgo Petroleum Corp.
Venezuela is running out of money and has been falling behind on oil-for-loan deals, not just with Russia, but also China.
Venezuela's default on the Rosneft loan would hand Russia the Citgo shares, which controls 800,000 barrels of petroleum the U.S. uses everyday to fuel the economy - it's , CNN Money reported.
WHAT EXACTLY WILL RUSSIA CONTROL?
Specifically, a default would give Rosneft's CEO, Igor Sechin, known as the "Russian Darth Vader" and one of the most feared men in Russia, ownership and control of Citgo, the following, without any U.S. government oversight:
- Several refineries
- Nine pipelines
- Distribution terminals all across the Eastern U.S., from Texas to Maine, without any government oversight.
What would Russia do with these refineries? I'm not sure but I don't think it's something I'm curious about. Rosneft would essentially be using American consumers to fund their autocracy and Assad’s brutality in Syria. Read more here.
MORE MATTERS OF CONCERN - DRUGS & TERRORISM LINKED TO VZLA:
Venezuela gives fake Venezuelan passports to terrorists - story here.
Venezuela's VP is persona non grata in the U.S. and the gov't acknowledges he has a significant role in international narcotics trafficking. Here is the White House's Press Release on the matter. Also, The Hill: Meet Venezuela's VP
The nephews of Venezuela's first lady were convicted in New York for trafficking drugs into the U.S. Read more here (NY Times).
Read the White House's Press Release "White House Targets Hizballah in Venezuela": https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp1036.aspx
••• THE SOLUTION - SEE SECTION 3•••
The solution is to remove the current, crooked Venezuelan government who have absolutely zero economic and moral responsibility.
Many Venezuelans linked to the government have made billions and are living comfortably in New York City and Madrid, seen at nightclubs spending thousands of dollars on table service. One even bought Aristóteles Onassis' old apartment and lined the bathroom with GOLD. And of course, they have dumb sunglass start-ups like this one and hire digital agencies to keep the truth out of their Wikipedia pages and news coverage.
The beautiful thing about social media is that these crooks cannot hide. Their egos and peanut brains make them crave attention and fame - but the comment sections say it all in their likely paid news articles.
2. YOU CAN ALLEVIATE FOOD AND MEDICINE SHORTAGES
Summary: 75% of the population in Venezuela lost 20 lbs. in the past year. There is no food, electricity, water. The Venezuelan government is refusing international aid. You can still help, scroll down and see the donate button.
President Nicolas Maduro's government has met commitments to Wall Street investors for years by slashing imports of basic goods such as food and medicine, spurring chronic product shortages. Maduro says the country is victim of an "economic war" led by opposition businesses.
Today in Venezuela, families can wait in lines at the supermarket for 18 hours at a time to get the right to purchase small quantities of oil, rice or pasta, according to Foreign Policy. There is no medicine, that means rubbing alcohol, equipment, chemo treatment.
Outside of active war zones, the murder rate in Caracas is the highest in the world.
Last year, 18,000 Venezuelans sought asylum in the United States. That is more than any other country.
YOU CAN DONATE - EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS - The government is refusing and blocking international humanitarian aid efforts. Therefore, we must rely on organizations run by civilians - clearly that means the efforts are less efficient and fragmented. I know the people who are running the below initiatives and are trust-worthy - their respective sites have more information:
Comparte por Una Vida is sending relief for children in hospitals and orphanages - $130 gives a meal to 300 kids. Watch Comparte Una Vida Ana Isabel Otero's interview with NBC News here.
Heal Venezuela sends pop-up clinics and medical supplies
3. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST INTERVENE, PRESSURE THEM
There is a well written and easy to understand article by Moises Rendon for the Center for Strategic & International studies - read it here. I paraphrase:
"The international community has found it difficult to agree on a unified response. Finding a way out of this crisis, and eventually a road toward a transition, ultimately needs to be a Venezuelan-led effort.
However, the United States and international community have an important role to play.
The OAS and United Nations should be utilized as the main avenues to bring regional diplomatic pressure against the regime... The United States can help by actively encouraging the Maduro government to open a humanitarian channel. The people face an urgent need to find the most basic medicine and food supplies."
You can pressure U.S. government officials & international institutions demanding - I suggest you pick one topic below and communicate via social media:
1. Urge the United Nations to apply the Inter-American Democratic Charter to reestablish the peace, law and order in Venezuela. You can write to them here. Tweet at them using #SOSVenezuela. This is their Twitter.
2. Demand the U.S. freeze all commercial relationships with Venezuela immediately, including commercial accounts with refineries in the United States until Maduro’s government calls for free and fair elections in Venezuela AND revoke U.S. visas and freeze the assets of the Venezuelan officials. Let's flood President Trump's Twitter feed, use the hashtag #SOSVenezuela
Tweet to anyone, celebrities, government officials - some ideas:
- The President
- State Rex Tillerson
- Sen. Marco Rubio
- Ivanka Trump (why not)
3. Pressure the U.S. President to drive humanitarian help. Let's flood President Trump's Twitter feed, use the hashtag #SOSVenezuela
A LITTLE BACKGROUND TO GET YOU UP TO SPEED IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH VENEZUELA
- For the U.S., the country was once considered one of the juiciest markets for US businesses, boasting the biggest oil reserves in the world, a free-spending middle class with a taste for American products, and proximity. My grandparents called it "la sucursal del cielo" or heaven's satellite office - it used to be a pleasant country to live in.
1999 presidency of Hugo Chávez, who attracted supporters with a socialist revolution, promising to help the poor and establish equality within the country. And for a while, he kept his word, using revenue from selling oil to focus on building social reform programs that expanded access to food, medication and housing. Chavez also did inefficient trade deals with other countries in the region, such as Cuba, basically giving away oil in exchange for "intelligence," and Improvements continued until 2010 when Chávez and his government years of overspending plunged Venezuela deep into poverty.
Today, Rolling blackouts are causing infant deaths in hospitals where backup generators have ceased to function.
Corrections are welcomed.