US sanctions on Venezuela 'part of campaign to overthrow government, nothing to do with democracy'
US Vice President Mike Pence in his speech to the Organization of American States on Monday called for other nations to increase pressure on Venezuela, slamming the country's upcoming election as illegitimate. He called on Venezuela to suspend its presidential election scheduled for May 20.
The US also announced sanctions on three Venezuelans and 20 companies with ties to socialist President Nicolas Maduro for alleged narcotics trafficking.
Robinson, professor of sociology and global and Latin American Studies at the University of California, told RT the new sanctions are a blatant form of election meddling intended to bring about regime change.
RT: Apart from imposing new sanctions on Venezuela, Mike Pence has called on Nicolas Maduro to suspend presidential elections scheduled for May 20. What do you think of this demand from the US Vice President?
William Robinson: First of all, these new sanctions have absolutely nothing to do with drug trafficking, nothing to do with the lack of democracy or electoral fraud in Venezuela. The US, since year 2000 and intensified every year, has been carrying all-out destabilization campaign against Venezuela. And part of that destabilization campaign is to undermine the Venezuelan economy. And in that way generate master's contempt that the US hopes it can then harvest into political opposition to the Venezuelan revolution. The biggest traffic point for drugs now in the US is coming from Mexico…And the US does almost nothing about this. The Mexican army, the Mexican police and significant portion of the political establishment in Mexico is involved in drug trafficking. It really has nothing to do with eradicating drug tracking. It is specifically targeting out Venezuela because it is trying to overthrow its government.
Now, with regard to election, again it is a complete farce…Ever since the Venezuelan-Bolivarian revolution took place, it has had a series of elections and [they] have been declared by objective international observers to be completely free and fair… And let's just look again by way of comparison about the fraudulent elections in US allies in Latin America. The Honduran government carried out blatant fraud in the November election and mass repression, and yet the US instantly recognized the Honduran government because it is a close ally of the US in Latin America.
The US strategy for this election coming up in Venezuela, it is very important to note this – there is an opposition candidate running, Henri Falcon, and in fact, he is increasing in the polls. Who knows, he might win this election. But the US strategy and the majority of the far-right wing opposition in Venezuela which is aligned with the US policy of overthrowing the revolution is boycotting these elections. This is a boycott strategy because it does not want the Venezuelan government legitimated by another election that it wins. And I fear that its strategy is to first, push this boycott, delegitimize the elections internationally and in that way legitimate a strategy of intensified violence and street protests in Venezuela.
RT: What kind of reaction will we see from Maduro regarding the demand from Mike Pence?
WR: Obviously, Venezuelan government will ignore this demand. It is absolutely absurd and outrageous demand. The Maduro government has made it clear from the very beginning, it is not going to succumb to this US intervention but neither it is going to take such interventionist demands seriously. The Venezuelan government has not changed in its systematic rejection of US intervention in the country. And at the same time the Venezuelan government has already been collaborating with international organizations and regional eradication of drug trafficking. Venezuelan government is certainly not going to take seriously Pence's nonsense in the Organization of American States.
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