Yesterday, Joe Biden announced an extended executive order targeted at Venezuela, which according to the Biden administration “continues to represent an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
The original executive order was issued on March 8, 2015 by Barack Obama, implementing and extending sanctions that had been approved by Congress in December 2014. The executive order declared a “national emergency” with respect to the situation in Venezuela and said the country posed an “extraordinary risk” to the security of the United States.
In a letter to Congress, Biden states that “the circumstances described in Executive Order 13692, and subsequent Executive Orders issued with respect to Venezuela, have not improved… I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692.”
Declaring a “national emergency” and that a country constitutes a threat to national security is a tool that allows the president of the United States, under certain circumstances, to go beyond what Congress has already passed to issue additional sanctions against a country.
Everyone knows that a country with the conditions of Venezuela, which has been decimated by one of the greatest economic and social crises of any country in the world, does not constitute any threat to the national security of the United States, which has an enormous military at its disposal. A military, which, by the way is deployed around the globe, and is currently engaged in direct aggression in Syria, carrying out the first military intervention of the Biden era.
The extension of this order shows that Biden is committed to continuing the aggressive policy of the Trump administration, which carried out a brutal offensive against Venezuela, supporting the attempted coup and going as far as to threaten military intervention in the country. Biden’s objective, with the extension of Obama’s executive order, is an attempt to bolster Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, represented by Juan Guaidó, that for some time now has been in retreat and in crisis.
This extension of the executive order also comes after the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, held a video conference with Guaidó on Tuesday and indicated that he continues to consider Guaidó as “interim president” of Venezuela.
We already know the cynicism and hypocrisy of U.S. imperialism, especially when it preaches a discourse of human rights simply to justify its escalating interventionism. We see how even in his own country, in the 21st century, Biden maintains detention centers for migrant children akin to concentration camps, to mention only one example among thousands of others.
U.S. imperialism has never been interested in the situation of the working people of Venezuela, who are suffering the greatest violation of their rights at the hands of the Maduro government, an authoritarian and quasi-dictatorial regime that keeps dozens of workers imprisoned for fighting and condemns them to minimum wages that do not even reach one dollar a month.
While the Venezuelan people are already suffering great hardships due to Maduro’s anti-worker and anti-popular policies, the U.S. has no qualms about imposing imperialist economic sanctions that only aggravate this oppressive situation.
Repudiating Biden’s policy of interference and aggression with the extension of Obama’s executive orders and the maintenance of all the economic sanctions maintained by Donald Trump, which continue to aggravate the suffering of the people, is a fundamental issue. In the confrontation with Maduro and his authoritarian policies that violate the most elementary democratic rights of working people, we cannot rely on the policies of the right-wing opposition, which seeks nothing more than ties to imperialism and policies as criminal against workers as those of Maduro.
First published in Spanish on March 4 in La Izquierda Diario Venezuela.
Translation by Maryam Alaniz