Thirty deaths in thirty days: This is the devastating human toll of ongoing street violence in Venezuela, which the country’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Yoel Perez Marcano, told the media at a press conference held at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City Thursday morning, was engineered by what he termed the “political and economic elite” – backed, he said, by the United States of America. Marcano furthermore charged that a move by the local elite and the US to regain control of Venezuela’s oil is at the heart of the conflict.
Marcano charged that the administration of Barack Obama—president of the United States, which he said controlled Venezuela for 100 years with an oil-based economy, before revolutionaries forged the creation of a new socio-economic model—is behind what he said is this new attempt to fracture the political administration of Venezuela president Nicholas Maduro, who was elected to office after Venezuelan revolutionary Hugo Chavez died last year, in 2013.
The Ambassador said, “We have to talk with Obama and we are willing to talk with Obama,” and if the US joins Venezuela in a dialogue for peace, “the crisis situation created by the elite will end immediately.”
Amandala called Joseph Boski, US Embassy Political Affairs Officer, for comment but we were unable to reach him.
Despite these allegations, trade between the US and Venezuela has not stopped. Marcano said that Venezuela exports 1 million barrels of petroleum daily to the US – this at 100 bucks a barrel.
Marcano said that he does not anticipate an economic crisis, and the PetroCaribe program, under which countries such as Belize receive fuel on concessionary financing terms, would remain intact for as long as the need exists to aid the countries of the Latin American and Caribbean regions. He said that the Government of Venezuela remains committed to energy for integration and development.
The Ambassador said that while there are currently shortages of basic commodities in his home country – flour, rice, sugar and diapers listed by the international press – the shortages have been engineered by those he calls “the political and economic elite” – whose primary agenda is to overthrow the government, so as to reestablish their control over the government and state.
That social elite, he said, receives financing from US millionaires via USAID, and they also finance the media, which spread lies about the government, Marcano alleged.
The Ambassador said that while he does not expect Obama to handle the matter personally, he would not be surprised if at this moment, through different means, there are moves on the diplomatic front to work towards a return to peace in Venezuela. He said that Obama knows that it would be in his favor and that of the US government to talk with the Maduro government to arrive at a politically stable accord for peace, democracy, development and social welfare.
Marcano said that they are also calling on the US Government to send an Ambassador to Caracas, as Venezuela continues to retain its diplomatic ties with Washington. It was reported last month that the Obama administration had expelled three Venezuela diplomats from the United States after the Maduro administration kicked out three US diplomats, on allegations that they were instigating unrest in Venezuela.
Marcano said today that among several persons implicated in fomenting the unrest – which include members of its own national guard – are three US officials registered as US agents, who were enlisting the youth to participate in the civil unrest.
The Ambassador thanked Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow for joining 29 states in voting for peaceful dialogue at the Organization of American States (OAS) earlier this month – in a vote only opposed by Panama, the USA and Canada. He thanked Barrow and the people of Belize for supporting peace and democracy in their country.
Marcano said that today, they believe that this third state coup attempt by the political and economic elite, which he again insisted is being done with the assistance of the US, has been overcome, with the majority of Venezuelans having returned to normal life. He said that they will rise out of this a stronger nation.
Marcano also said that Venezuela is willing to initiate a dialogue of mutual respect with the US government, in order for them to find a permanent solution to their differences, and to establish a harmonious relationship.
Evan Tate, Coordinator of the Belize Solidarity Committee for Venezuela, told Amandala that, “What we ask is for the Belizean people to recognize that when other countries come and try to create destabilizing conditions in our country as well, through various means, people need to recognize that there are these external groups that will try to push their own agenda on our country and …we must, as people in this region, stand together, because we’ve sort of stood under the same oppression for so many years.”