[News] Timeline of Half a Decade of US Economic War Against Venezuela

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 22 10:33:46 EDT 2019


  Timeline of Half a Decade of US Economic War Against Venezuela

May 22, 2019

As of January 23, 2019, the aggressiveness of the U.S. blockade against 
Venezuela increased remarkably following the unconstitutional 
actions taken by U.S.-backed opposition congressman Juan Guaido, who 
self-declared as "president in charge" in a new attempt to destabilize 
the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

However, the latest sanctions by Washington against Venezuela come as a 
culmination of almost half a decade of U.S. aggression by multiple 
successive administrations seeking to put an end to decades of leftist 
rule in the oil-rich South American country.

While the recent U.S. sanctions are blocking the Venezuelan people from 
using over US$11 billion from Citgo Petroleum, a corporation owned by 
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), total damages are estimated at US$130 
billion for the period between 2015 to 2018, as the Venezuelan 
Ambassador to Russia, Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa, said Tuesday.

While the Venezuelan government, human rights organizations and experts, 
as well as economists,  warn that such sanctions are directly affecting 
the Venezuelan people, U.S. officials seem to have little care to their 

In October 2018, during an exclusive interview with VOA media, former 
U.S. ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield said the "best solution" 
would be to "accelerate" the collapse of the Bolivarian Revolution even 
if that implied a greater burden of human suffering.

teleSUR put together a timeline of economic sanctions and hurdles placed 
on the Venezuelan government by both the United States government 
and the U.S. banking system, revealling a strategic escalation of 
aggression by the U.S. government over the past few years.

        December 2014

The U.S. Congress approves Law 113-278: "Public Law for the Defense of 
Human Rights and Civil Society in Venezuela", which establishes the road 
map for unilateral coercive measures by the U.S. and the countries that 
operate within its sphere of influence.

This law expressly established "sanctions" against the Central Bank of 
Venezuela and Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), the main state company 
that has a monopoly on the exploitation of all the Nation's hydrocarbons 
and generates more than 90 percent of the revenues in the country.

With this legal instrument, the United States opened the doors for 
unilateral measures to block and freeze assets, funds, property and 
Venezuelan properties; suspension of entry, revocation of the visa or 
other documentation to officials and officials who hold public office, 
military officers and diplomatic representatives.

All these actions were aimed at creating the conditions of an economic, 
financial and commercial embargo on Venezuela, as well as to hinder the 
participation of state representatives in international relations.

    Venezuela has the Means to Defeat the US Blockade

        March 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama signs a decree which designates Venezuela as 
an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the U.S. National Security." As 
a result of this decision, Citibank refused to receive Venezuelan 
funds seeking to purchase 300,000 insulin doses required for the 
treatment of Venezuelan diabetic patients.

        May 2016

Due to pressures from the U.S. Treasury Department, the German bank 
Commerzbank unilaterally closed the accounts of Venezuelan public 
institution and companies.

        *July 2016*

Citibank unilaterally ceased the service of correspondent accounts in 
foreign currency of Venezuelan institutions in the US, including those 
of the Venezuela's Central Bank (BCV).

Risk rating agencies assigned Venezuela the world's highest financial 
risk (2,640 points), well above countries at war, despite having 
fulfilled its external debt commitments. Venezuela had paid US$63.4 
billion in debt service since 2013; however, the financial risk 
increased 202 percent during the same period, rising from an average of 
768 in 2012 to 2,323 in 2016.

        August 2016

Portugal's Novo Banco reported the impossibility of conducting 
dollar-denominated operations with Venezuelan banks, due to pressures 
exerted by its correspondent banks.


    /*Chavistas March in Caracas to Mark Nicolas Maduro’s Re-election*/

        September 2016

In order to partially refinance its financial obligations and reschedule 
its debt amortizations, the Venezuelan government makes an offer to 
exchange US$ 7.1 billion in PDVSA bonds. The U.S.-based risk rating 
agencies threatened investors with declaring default if they agree to 
the Venezuelan proposal.

        November 2016

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. issued a false default alert about an alleged 
US$404 million PDVSA debt default.

        December 2016

Venezuela did not receive a shipment of new banknotes from the Crane 
Currency company, which is a U.S. Treasury Department's supplier and was 
contracted by the Venezuelan state to print currency cone pieces.

        July 2017

The Delaware Trust company, an agent of payments of PDVSA bonds, 
announced that its U.S. correspondent, the PNC Financial Services Group, 
refused to receive funds from the Venezuelan oil company.

        August 2017

The U.S. Executive Order 13808 prohibited all transactions aimed at 
financing Venezuela, banned direct or indirect purchases of Venezuelan 
government securities, which included bonds, loans, credit extensions, 
loan guarantees, credit letters, drafts, bankers acceptance, invoices or 
discount notes, and commercial papers.

With this order, the U.S. blockade against the Bolivarian government 
became official and granted legal status to the financial boycott, 
making private banks an openly active partner of the U.S. isolation policy.

The Swiss multinational investment bank Credit Suisse prohibited its 
clients from carrying out financial transactions with Venezuela.

The Bank of China at Panama informed that it would not carry out any 
operation in favor of Venezuela due to both instructions from the U.S. 
Treasury Department and pressures coming from the Panamanian government.

Similarly, Russian banks refused to make transactions towards Venezuelan 
banks due to restrictions imposed by correspondent banks based in the 
U.S. and Europe.

Claiming administrative reasons, the BDC Shandong's correspondent 
paralyzed a US$200 million transaction towards Venezuela even though the 
People's Republic of China had already rotated the corresponding funds.

        October 2017

Venezuela could not deposit money in the Swiss UBS Investment Bank to 
pay for vaccines and medicines purchased through the Pan American Health 
Organization (PHO). This caused a delay of four months in the 
acquisition of vaccines and altered the Venezuelan vaccination schedules.

    Reverend Jackson understands that starving Venezuela into submission
    with a blockade is inmmoral and inhumane. Trump’s international
    policy is dangerous and does not make rational sense.

    Stop Trump’s war! pic.twitter.com/kzOFsz8OhD <https://t.co/kzOFsz8OhD>

    — Samuel Moncada (@SMoncada_VEN) May 16, 2019

        November 2017

The Deutsche Ban, the main correspondent of the Central Bank of 
Venezuela (BCV) main correspondent, definitively closed all Venezuelan 

International banks refused 23 Venezuelan operations, worth US$39 
million, aimed at purchasing food, basic supplies and medicines.

The Standard and Poor's rating agency declared Venezuela to be in 
"selective default," a  condition which was fabricated by not 
registering a payment process on time.

Wilmington Trust, a company managing bonds, accused the Venezuelan 
company Corpoelec of not paying US$27 million in debt interests. This 
happened in a moment when Venezuela's means of payment were going 
through a full blockade within the U.S. financial system.

        December 2017

U.S. banks arbitrarily blocked 19 bank accounts through which Venezuela 
had been making payments to land transport cabotage services. This 
caused fuel shortages in several states and also hindered transactions 
related to 471,000 vehicle tires which had already been paid.

European banks delayed a US$29.7 million transaction through which the 
Venezuelan Committees for Local Supply and Production (CLAP)'s food 
program was paying its suppliers.

J.P. Morgan Chase delayed accepting resources for US$28.1 million which 
were destined to pay services from vessels transporting food supplies to 

        January 2018.

About US$ 1.2 billion in Venezuelan sovereign bonds and PDVSA bonds 
could not be repaid to their creditors due to the Trump administration's 

        February 2018

The U.S. Treasury Department extended financial penalties established in 
the August 2017 Executive Order 13808. The renegotiation or 
restructuring of the Venezuelan debt, issued by the government and its 
public enterprises before August 25, 2017, was impeded.

        March 2018

President Trump renewed executive orders 13692 and 13808 for an 
additional year. He also prohibited debt restructuring in favor of Citgo 
Petroleum and prevented the repatriation of this company's dividends.

The U.S. issued executive order 13827 which prohibits any citizen or 
institution from making financial transactions with 'Petro', a 
Venezuela's state-owned cryptocurrency.

        April 2018

During the Summit of the Americas, Peru's Foreign Minister announced 
that Lima Group has decided to create a follow-up group to study further 
political and economic measures against Venezuela.

In the same event, Colombia and the U.S. agreed to accelerate mechanisms 
to chase Venezuela's financial transactions and hinder basic products 
supply lines.

        May 2018

In retaliation for the victory of Nicolas Maduro in the 
presidential elections on May 20, 2018, to assume a 2019-2025  term, in 
which the Bolivarian leader received 67 percent of 9 million votes, the 
U.S. issued executive order 13835 which prohibits purchasing debt and 
accounts payable by Venezuelan state-owned companies. In addition, the 
Trump administration sanctioned 20 Venezuelan companies for alleged ties 
to drug trafficking.

Thus the U.S. government banned all kinds of operations related to the 
sale, transfer, assignment, or granting as guarantee performed by any 
U.S.-based company in which the Venezuelan government had a share of 50 
percent of more.

Due to this, over 15,000 hemodialysis patients received no supplies, for 
US$9 million aimed at purchasing dialysis supplies were blocked. The 
Colombian government blocked a 400,000 kilos supplies shipment for the 
Venezuelan food subsidy program.

        August 2018

The Brazilian government did not pay US$40 million to the Venezuela's 
Electricity Corporation for its energy supply to the Roraima state. 
Brazil's Foreign Minister, Aloysio Nunes, had declared that his 
country's debt could not be canceled due to "the economic and financial 
blockade imposed by the U.S. and the European Union."

        November 2018

Through a new coercive measure, the Trump Administration prohibited U.S. 
citizens from trading gold exported from Venezuela.

        January 2019

The Trump Administration approved new sanctions against PDVSA, which 
included freezing US$7 billion in assets owned by its U.S. subsidiary 
company, CITGO. This measure will bring about US$11 billion estimated 
export-related losses in the coming years.

On Jan. 28, the State Department and the Department of the Treasury 
ceded control of CITGO and Venezuelan bank accounts in its territory to 
Guaido's representatives.

In Europe, as a result of an extraterritorial and illegal application of 
coercive measures, the Bank of England announced the confiscation of 
Venezuela's gold reserves valued at US$ 1.4 billion.

        March 2019

As a consequence of executive order 13850, the production and trading 
operations of the Venezuelan Guyana Mining Corporation (Minerven) were 

This executive order also compromised the operations of the Venezuelan 
Economic and Social Development Bank (Bandes) and the institutions over 
which it retains the 50 percent ownership, namely, Bandes Uruguay, 
People's Bicentenary Bank, Universla Bank, Bank of Venezuela and Prodem 

        April 2019

The operations of more than 30 PDVSA oil tankers were blocked.

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