In the aftermath of yet another election in Venezuala that US backed candidates failed to win, the US Dept of State is imposing more sanctions on Venezuala and multinational oil company Conoco-Phillips is attemptiomg to sieze Venezualan oil assets including tankers. Here in DC, protesters showed up at Conoco-Phillip’s lobbying office to denounce this brazen attempt at piracy
Any attempt by Conoco-Phillips or any other corporation to sieze ships at sea is literal piracy as it has been defined for over 2,000 years. Due to the pirate threat, Venezuala has been forced to recall and hold all of their oil tankers in domestic ports, out of reach of armed thugs hired by Conoco-Phillips. By law the captain and crew of any ship may use any amount of force to resist attack by pirates.
Since in this case, the pirates have offices and gas stations all over the US, bringing political pressure to bear is easy. Protesters will be descending on a variety of targets associated with Conoco-Phillips as long as they continue to attack Venezuala, and a boycott of Phillips 66 gas stations is also in order. No matter what happens politically in Venezuala, US sanctions or shutting down CITGO by blocking oil exports can only increase the severity of the economic distress felt by the people of Venezuala.
The current round of economic problems began not with any political event inside Venezuala but rather with the 2014 collapse of oil prices. That collapse was triggered by Saudi attempts to put the US fracking and Canadian tar sands nightmares out of business. It made the tar sands unprofitable, but frackers concentrated on only the most profitable areas, thus staying in business and glutting oil markets even further. Now oil prices are going back up, driven by Trump’s saber rattling against Iran. This could stabilize Venezuala’s economy and put a stop to food shortages, as the whole economy relies on oil. Of course, if Trump and Conoco-Phillips’s pirates force Venezuala’s oil tankers to sit out high oil prices in home port, this windfall will be missed, and Trump at all want instability and regime change.