The US-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) recently recorded a conference call during which “experts” discussed the “evolving crisis in Venezuela”. Shannon O’Neil is one of two CFR experts who offered her insights on 30 January 2019. And she made an important admission about US sanctions on Venezuela that the corporate press consistently ‘overlook’.
The “most powerful private organisation”
As The Canary has previously reported, one historian has described the CFR as:
the most powerful private organisation in the United States – and therefore in world history.
Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton once told the CFR:
[I]t’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.
Dismissing the obvious
Questions were submitted from business figures such as William Skidmore, senior geopolitical adviser at BP.
Skidmore asked how the effects of the sanctions on Venezuela may be used to ‘cast aspersions’ on Juan Guaidó, the opposition politician who recently declared himself “interim president” with Western support.
You will hear that this is all Guaidó’s fault, that the U.S. imperialists are working with the opposition and they’re trying to bring us down, and the reason that you don’t have eggs in your refrigerator is because of their political—or their economic pressures, and now their sanctions… I think other people are quite realistic about what has happened about the mismanagement, about the corruption of the regime, about the police that are firing on them. (Laughs.) I don’t think Venezuelans are—you know, they know where the reality is.
With more sanctions, there’ll be “more deprivation” and “more refugees”
But O’Neil immediately followed on by saying:
One thing, though, as we see sanctions tighten… it’ll be more expensive for Venezuela to send their oil to Indian refineries, as compared to Louisiana refineries. (Laughs.) And so there will be costs there. And some of it… will be much harder to do. As there’s less money, I do think you’ll see more deprivation, even given the low base we’re at, more among the population. And I think you’ll see more people leave Venezuela. So you’re going to see more refugees pouring into countries throughout the hemisphere and elsewhere around the world.
And then, almost as though she hadn’t said what she’d just said, she said:
I don’t see this as an easy blame on Guaidó. I think Venezuelans are pretty clear about where the challenges come from.
61% blame economic problems on agents external to the government such as the economic war, the fall of the price of oil, price speculation, and U.S. financial sanctions, while 37% attribute them to the economic policies implemented by the government.
So it seems Venezuelans are indeed “pretty clear” about the challenges they face.
“Make the economy scream”
Earlier on, O’Neil had already said that US sanctions resulted in “a lot less money coming in”. She then made crystal clear the actual purpose of the sanctions. Far from ‘promoting democracy’, she said:
They will cripple the economy… [T]he United States thinks: We put on sanctions. We’ll make the economy scream, as someone unfortunately said back in the 1970s about Chile from the United States, (laughs) … if we sort of stop the economy.
On 1 February, a former UN expert went further, saying “sanctions [on Venezuela] kill”. This confirms what author Tariq Ali told The Canary when he said sanctions on Venezuela have “nothing to do with democracy”; a fact repeated by numerous peace activists and others.
Although experts often couch their rhetoric in the language of “human rights” and “democracy”, every now and then, a bit of truth seeps through.
- In the US: write to your Congressperson and demand that they oppose the coup and end the crippling US sanctions that are exacerbating the humanitarian situation.
- In the UK: write to your MP and ask them to oppose the coup and return Venezuela’s gold to the Maduro government to help alleviate the suffering of Venezuela’s people.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?