17 July 2017   Leave a comment

Last Sunday more than 7 million Venezuelans participated in a symbolic plebiscite that clearly indicated that they do not support the government’s plan to hold a referendum on a proposal to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution.  The government immediately labeled the plebiscite as irrelevant and that it intends to hold its referendum anyway.  The opposition parties to the government are now calling for a nation-wide general strike which would cripple the already devastated Venezuelan economy.  US President Trump issued the following statement:

“Yesterday, the Venezuelan people again made clear that they stand for democracy, freedom, and rule of law. Yet their strong and courageous actions continue to be ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator.

“The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles. If the Maduro regime imposes its Constituent Assembly on July 30, the United States will take strong and swift economic actions.

“The United States once again calls for free and fair elections and stands with the people of Venezuela in their quest to restore their country to a full and prosperous democracy.”

These are important words to say in defense of the Venezuelan people.  We should hope that whatever steps the US decides to take, it does so in coordination with other countries in the world and that it does not act unilaterally.  Unilateral action by the US would probably trigger off a nationalist response among the Venezuelan people against American imperialism.

Venezuelan Plebiscite

South Korea has indicated that it wishes to hold direct talks with North Korea, a dramatic change from previous policy.  The South Korean President, President Moon Jae-in, came to office after the previous President was forced to resign because of corruption and he has long called for a less confrontational approach to North Korea.  China is quite receptive to the possibility, but the US has made it clear that it does believe that direct negotiations should be undertaken at this time.  We will see if North Korea accepts South Korea’s offer.

Last May, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates blockaded all air and sea access to Qatar in retaliation for statements allegedly made by the leader of Qatar in support of radical terrorists.  Today, the US military intelligence released a report that indicated that those statements were concocted by leaders in the United Arab Emirates.  US President Trump was also quite enthusiastic about the blockade.  It remains to be seen whether the three Arab states and the US will change their positions in light of this new information.

Posted July 17, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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