Maybe it is because the soap-opera factor of the puppet proxy civil war in east Ukraine is dying down, it is time for another major geopolitical diversion, and it appears that the administration's attention this time has fallen on Venezuela.
Perhaps he was tired of being accused for being too soft and engaging in a detente with not only Iran but Cuba, and so he decided to turn his attention on the one country he knew had absolutely no way of retaliating especially now that Venezuela's only asset, has become a liability and all production at current prices is a loss maker for Caracas.
Whatever the reason, as Reuters reported yesterday, the United States on Monday yesterday declared Venezuela a national security threat and ordered sanctions against seven officials from the oil-rich country in the worst bilateral diplomatic dispute since socialist President Nicolas Maduro took office in 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued and signed the executive order, which senior administration officials said did not target Venezuela's energy sector or broader economy. But the move stokes tensions between Washington and Caracas just as U.S. relations with Cuba, a longtime U.S. foe in Latin America and key ally to Venezuela, are set to be normalized. Declaring any country a threat to national security is the first step in starting a U.S. sanctions program. The same process has been followed with countries such as Iran and Syria, U.S. officials said.
The presented reason for the latest escalation was that, according to the White House, there are people whose actions undermined democratic processes or institutions, and who had committed acts of violence or abuse of human rights, and were involved in prohibiting or penalizing freedom of expression, or were government officials involved in public corruption. So just your run on the mill generic excuse to exercise waning superpower status.
"Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
"We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government's efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents. Venezuela's problems cannot be solved by criminalizing dissent," he added.
And to think that in reality Maduro is perhaps the closest ideological peer to the US president.
As for the Venezuela president, he wasn't going to take this assault on his persona by the "imperialist" US president lying down. According to RT, he promptlyt accused the US of trying to “defeat” and “intervene in” his government.
Maduro called the sanctioned officials heroes. "President Barack Obama, representing the US imperialist elite, has personally decided to take on the task of defeating my government and intervening in Venezuela to control it,” Maduro said in a national TV address. “That’s why they have taken today’s measure.”
Maduro called the move a “colossal mistake” and “imperialist arrogance” similar to that of former US leaders such as Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
Not surprisingly, Maduro promptly tried to turn Obama's action into his advantage by rounding the population "around the pole" of imperialist overreach, and casting himself as the tragic protagonist:
“I congratulate them,” he said, adding “it’s an honor” to be included on the US sanctions list. Maduro even named one of the sanctioned officials – national intelligence head Gustavo Gonzalez, the new interior minister.
And the biggest punchline: the Venezuela ruler will use the Obama executive order precisely as the catalyst to grant himself even more powers, because as Bloomberg reports, today Maduro will request the passage of an ‘anti-imperialist’ enabling law.
"I have put together a special law that gives me special powers to preserve the peace, the integrity and the sovereignty of the country before any situation that presents itself due to this imperialist aggression,” Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro says on state television.
Vice President Jorge Arreaza to deliver request tomorrow to National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello for a “special and extraordinary enabling law to defend the peace, the sovereignty, the tranquility and the integrity of our homeland,” Maduro says
“I will request an anti-imperialist enabling law to prepare us for all the scenarios,” Maduro said, adding that “I am obligated as head of government to apply the constitution in its entirety.”
Just like that with the stroke of a pen, Obama succeeds in cementing the public opinion against the US of yet another nation. And perhaps just to show where Latin America's socialist allegiance really lies, despite Obama's "shift in policies" moments ago we saw this: CUBA SAYS `UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT' FOR VENEZUELA AGAINST US: AFP.
Well, as long as Putin is the one who is isolated...