Venezuela And Iran Are Getting Cozy On World Stage
Venezuela And Iran Are Getting Cozy On World Stage
Well, I don’t know about you, but the idea of Venezuela and Iran becoming close international buddies and trading partners does NOT give me the warm fuzzies.
We already knew that Venezuela and Iran have a military relationship, with an Iranian military presence likely helping out dictator Nicolas Maduro keep his claws in the presidential chair. This guy was supposed to be toast years ago, as everyone will recall. President Trump even had Juan Guaido at the 2020 State of the Union speech. So, what happened? Well, Maduro has paid off the military with lucrative posts.
His most important backing comes from the Venezuelan military, which in recent years has put down anti-government protests and stymied coup-plotters within its own ranks. Maduro has rewarded this loyalty by naming current or former military officers to head some ministries and to handle government food distribution.”
These tasks provide openings for corrupt officers to fill their pockets, says Benjamín Scharifker, the former dean of Metropolitan University in Caracas. Another reason for sticking with Maduro, he says, is that military commanders fear that under a new government they could go to prison for human rights violations, drug trafficking and other abuses.”
And by keeping inflation down and finding a new market for oil, there are goods in stores. What else? Those who could, left Venezuela altogether.
To stop hyperinflation, the Maduro government has allowed the U.S. dollar to circulate as Venezuela’s de facto currency. It has also relaxed state controls on the private sector. Both moves appear to have reactivated some areas of the economy. (The IMF estimates the economic contraction is slowing to -5% this year.)”
Caracas is now full of warehouses selling imported goods, which have alleviated some of the nation’s food shortages. Also taking pressure off Maduro is the fact that nearly 6 million Venezuelans — about one-fifth of the pre-crisis population and many of whom oppose the president — have fled the country.”
And who are they selling oil to? Turns out, Iran is happy to do business with Venezuela – so much so that Maduro announced that he is planning on visiting Iran.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he will soon visit Iran to finalize new agreements on cooperation with the Middle Eastern country, which has become Venezuela’s top ally in boosting oil output amid U.S. sanctions.”
Venezuela and Iran have strengthened their ties since last year.”
Maduro’s government has received vital equipment for its oil industry from Iran, which in return has received crude and other primary resources from the South American country. Iran has been crucial for Venezuela’s rising oil production in 2021.”
“I am going to Teheran very soon, for a visit that President (Ebrahim) Raisi offered me, so that we meet in person, to hold conversations and sign new agreements … and speed up processes of cooperation,” Maduro said during an interview with satellite news broadcaster Al Mayadeen in Spanish, which was later broadcast on Venezuelan state television.”
While the United States was busy with COVID-19, Iran (who had COVID issues of their own early on) wasn’t sitting still in regards to strengthening their own hand in the Western Hemisphere. Being very buddy-buddy with Venezuela gives Iran an “in,” and just strengthens that general feeling of danger when it comes to how the bad guys of the world are aligning. Iran reaching out to Venezuela, who already has ties to Russia, with China looking to make friends via the “Belt and Road” initiative.
And on the other side of things, we have… Joe Biden. Wow. That’s encouraging. Remember how Jake Sullivan, Biden’s National Security Adviser who almost dislocated his shoulder while patting himself on the back with how fantastic the withdrawl from Afghanistan was? Well, Sullivan admitted during that same speech that Iran really doesn’t want to talk to the Biden administration at all.
“It’s not going well in the sense that we do not yet have a pathway back into the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA],” Sullivan said at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.”
Sullivan said the past few days have brought “some progress” at the negotiating table, but Iran has “raced” its nuclear program since the U.S. pulled out of the deal in 2018 under then-President Trump.”
The deal called for Iran to dismantle much of its nuclear program and open facilities to inspections in exchange for sanctions relief. But Tehran largely stopped complying with the terms of the deal in 2019 after the U.S. left.”
“Getting that program back into a box through a return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA has proven more difficult through the course of this year than we would have liked to see,” Sullivan said. “And we are paying the wages of the disastrous decision to leave the deal back in 2018.”
Hey, Jake, you shouldn’t even have a job right now, much less complain about how Trump left the crap deal that you helped negotiate under Obama. But here he is, talking to Israeli Prime Minister Bennett just recently about the Iran Deal. Surprise, Israel is not a fan of the Iran Deal.
And while Iran is actively ignoring Biden and Sullivan, they are embracing Maduro. Venezuela is just one more piece in their puzzle, and an important foothold in the Western Hemisphere. And we have a declining old man who is having his strings pulled by a White House staff who is desperate to relive their glory days under Barack Obama. Everyone feel confident about the Biden administration’s foreign policy strategy right now?
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