Oil and refugees: the United States turns Venezuela into Libya
Trump does not exclude military intervention in Venezuela, which fell into international isolation
At the present stage of history, the words "crisis" and "war" are more associated with the Middle East: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. But the tension in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Latin America, has no less potential.
The internal political crisis in Venezuela, which began in 2014 on the wave of falling oil prices, has reached the international level.
This is evidenced not only by the flight of Venezuelans to neighboring countries, but also by frequent statements of military intervention.
Nicholas Maduro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, recently spoke about possible "military intervention to overthrow (the president of Venezuela) Nicholas Maduro" Luis Almagro.
The same topic was touched upon by Donald Trump at a meeting with his colleague from Colombia and, according to US Vice President Mike Pens, did not rule out military intervention.
"The Venezuelan crisis" was formed with the fall in oil prices in 2014. More than 90% of export earnings and a quarter of Venezuela's GDP depend on the sale of "black gold". You do not need to be an economist to represent the negative effect of reducing the cost of a barrel of oil from 110 to 26 dollars per barrel.
The situation was aggravated by the incompetent reaction of the Maduro government and the constraints of the planned economy. The Venezuelan authorities tried to freeze prices, which led to a huge budget deficit.
According to the IMF, inflation in the country in 2018 will be one million percent. From 2012 to 2017, the Bolivarian Republic's imports fell six-fold, from $ 66 billion to $ 11 billion. The economy has shrunk twice. Air services were interrupted with a number of countries, including Mexico, Italy and Germany. Large foreign companies such as Italian Pirelli and American Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark and Clorox are leaving.
Together with the economic worsened intra- and foreign policy crises. Periodically, thousands of anti-government demonstrations take place. At one of these rallies in 2017, dozens of people were killed.
The re-election of Maduro in May this year added fuel to the fire. A number of European countries and the United States imposed sanctions on the Venezuelan leadership. Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Chile sent a proposal to the International Criminal Court to investigate the "crimes" of Maduro, who is accused of the execution and detention of thousands of his political opponents.
New refugee crisis
On August 4, during the military parade on Maduro, an unsuccessful attempt was made with the use of a drone. He accused Colombia, where the opposition deputy Julio Borges is hiding, in participating in a conspiracy against him and suspects Mexico and Chile in this too.
Relations with the Latin American countries are rapidly deteriorating because of the outflow of about 7% of the Venezuelan population (2.3 million) to Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. Maduro for Latin America is like Bashar Assad for the Sunni countries of the Middle East. His only allies are Bolivia and Cuba.
Although the OAS countries were skeptical of the statement of military intervention and even issued a joint statement on its condemnation, the overthrow of Maduro, which creates big problems in the region, remains a priority objective for them.
It is advisable to do this with someone else's hands. In September, the White House staff held secret meetings with the opposition military from Venezuela and discussed with them a coup against the Venezuelan president. The US "has a lot of options for Venezuela," said Mike Pence last year.
Interventionism in the Middle East for the United States is fraught with unpleasant consequences, and in Latin America, they can afford it. But, most likely, they will have very few allies. It is unlikely that Colombia will take an active part, although it is the main political and ideological opponent of Venezuela and the Maduro government in the Western Hemisphere.
The Maduro regime irritates the US and its allies not only with its anti-American rhetoric, but also with its proximity to Moscow.
The authorities of Venezuela in 2007 began to fight the hegemony of American oil companies. Then former President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalization of oil fields in the Orinoco River Basin and demanded from American ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil to sell the state oil company PDVSA 60% of its shares in these projects.
The dispute continues to this day. ConocoPhillips filed a lawsuit in international courts, and Caracas now needs to pay $ 2 billion in compensation. Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves and the largest gas reserves in Latin America and creates additional problems for selling more expensive fuel from the United States.