By Ángel Guerra – March 15, 2020
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza warned this week, in a meeting with the diplomatic corps accredited in Caracas, that a new phase of aggression against his country includes a naval blockade.
This talk of a naval blockade, an action recognized by the UN as a use of force and an act of war, is now being discussed in the Oval Office and in the US Defense and State Departments.
Arreaza said that the Pentagon and the Southern Command have held the latest meetings against Venezuela while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed military agreements with the head of the Southern Command, Craig Faller, after meeting with Trump -when he allegedly caught Covid-19- and that among the issues discussed Venezuela was top on the list.
Similarly, he referred to a workshop held at the OAS in Washington on how to apply coercive measures in Venezuela, organized by the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR). He noted that TIAR is supposed to be based on defense against an extra-regional threat, not to attack a country within the region. The workshop was attended by officials from Washington and members of the Lima Group and discussed possible attacks on CLAP, a government program that distributes vital food to some 6 million Venezuelan families.
The foreign minister also referred to the recent international tour of the self-proclaimed Juan Guaidó, where he asked for increased sanctions against his country. He cited as an example the immediate US punitive measures against the Venezuelan airline Conviasa and the Swiss subsidiary of the Russian company Rosneft Trading.
Hours before Arreaza’s meeting with the diplomatic corps, the second phase of the exercise Bolivarian Shield 2020 began, with regular troops and militia deployed in strategic points of the country. Bolivarian officials warned of the likelihood of an intensification of paramilitary operations against Venezuela from Colombia and Brazil. However, the naval blockade appears permanently in the councils of the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon.
Featured image: Bolsanaro signs military agreement with US Southern Command