Latin America, As a Whole, Refuses to Embrace Total Economic War Against Russia

Even as the pressure rises to endorse the West’s sanctions against Russia, most countries, including U.S. neighbor Mexico, prefer to sit on the fence. 

On March 2, only four out of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries — Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Bolivia — abstained in the vote to condemn Russia’s invasion during the emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. The real number would have almost certainly been five if Venezuela’s diplomats hadn’t been barred from attending the vote after Maduro’s cash-strapped government had fallen behind on its subscription fees.

On the other side of the divide, a small number of governments in the region have publicly endorsed the West’s paralyzing economic sanctions against Russia. They include Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Guatemala. The rest of the countries occupy the vast middle ground between the two polar extremes. Despite condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they have expressed opposition to the US-NATO-led push to isolate Russia from the global economy.

Most importantly, they include the two heavyweight economies of Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, which together account for roughly 60% of the region’s GDP. To put that in perspective, the two largest economies of the European Union, Germany and France, account for just under 40% of the total GDP of the European Union.

Treading a Cautious Line

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador trod a very cautious line when the war broke out, refusing even to mention Russia or Ukraine by name in his first public response: “We are not in favor of any war,” he said during his morning press conference. Since then the tone has risen. On February 24, Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Manuel Marcelo Luis Ebrard justified Mexico’s rejection of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by citing Mexico’s experience of losing roughly half of its territory to a neighboring state:

“Due to our history and tradition, the way we formed as a nation, we must forcefully reject and condemn the invasion of a country like Ukraine by a great power like Russia.”

But while Mexico’s government has intensified the language it uses regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it still refuses to apply sanctions against Russia. “We are not going to take any sort of economic retaliation because we want to maintain good relations with all the governments of the world,” Lopez Obrador told reporters.

Ebrard said six days ago that the only way that Mexico would back economic sanctions is if they were endorsed by a majority of members of the United Nations’ Security Council, which is unlikely given that its permanent members include both Russia and China while its non-permanent members include Mexico itself, Brazil, India and the United Arab Emirates. Also sitting on the Council as temporary members are Ghana, Kenya and Gabon, which all supported the condemnation of Russia but whose position on UN sanctions is not entirely clear.

At home and abroad Mexico’s government has come under a barrage of criticism for not taking part in the international pile on to sanction Russia. Enrique Quintana, a veteran columnist at El Financiero, Mexico’s most widely read financial newspaper with close ties to Bloomberg, warned that AMLO’s Mexico risked being caught in the middle of two advancing armies in the escalating economic war:

On a battlefield, staying in the middle of two armies is not the most advisable choice, but it is what the government of President López Obrador seems to be doing.

It is even less so when commercial and financial relations are so asymmetrical. We are strongly integrated into North America and tremendously distant from Russia commercially and financially. And even less so, when the likelihood is that in the end the Putin government will lose the war economically.*

Today, acting ambiguously, pretending that there is a military conflict between two countries rather than a unilateral, cruel and disproportionate invasion, ultimately means siding with Russia.

Whether this is so or not, the fact that Mexico’s attitude could be perceived in this way by some of our main trading partners is highly risky.

You can talk as much as you want about the good relations we have with the United States, but the reality is that we are opening completely unnecessary fronts that can bring us incalculable costs.

[*NC: this, in my view, is not nearly as obvious as the author suggests. I refer readers to Yves’ recent article, Russia Sanctions Blowback Only Beginning: Globalization in the Crosshairs, Russian Retaliation Coming? Since that was posted, the FT has revealed that the sanctions have so far cost BlackRock $17 billion in losses on its Russian exposure]

Mexico is not the only major Latin American economy that is refusing to apply economic sanctions against Russia. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said his nation “will not take sides” in the conflict days after criticizing the indiscriminate nature of the economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

Like AMLO, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro said his country was “not going to take sides… We are going to continue to be neutral and help, however possible, to find a solution.”

Economic and Financial Reasons

Many countries also have important economic and financial reasons to oppose the sanctions. Latin America is hugely dependent on Russia for fertilizer components. According to Statista, nitrogenous, potassium and mixed fertilizers together accounted for almost 40% of all Latin American imports from Russia in 2019. Other key imports include semi-finished steel (15%) and petrol (12%).

Higher prices and prolonged shortages of Russian fertilizers could have a severe impact on agriculture in the region, which is already from spiraling input costs. If Russian fertilizers stop arriving in the region, the result will be even higher food prices for the foreseeable future. As Quartz reports, Brazil, whose economy is already mired in a stagflationary recession, is the largest importer of fertilizer in the world:

Its top supplier is Russia—providing Brazil 22% of its imports. In October 2021, Russian fertilizer exports were restricted, following a fear of a shortage. The smaller export supply led to higher prices. In fact, right before the invasion, Brazilian authorities were in Russia trying to negotiate a deal. Now with war and sanctions, Brazil’s buyers may need to look elsewhere.

The type of fertilizer Brazil imports is a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium known as NPK. Farmers rely on the potassium, to prevent diseases in their fields. In Brazil, it’s used to grow soybean, coffee, and other crops. Soybeans are the biggest money-maker for Brazil, the majority going to China, and shortages could reverse recent gains in the relationship’s growth.

Food Shortages Already Critical

Latin America was already in the grip of a major food crisis before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, largely but not only due to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting supply chain crisis. According to an IMF paper published in November 2021, food prices started surging long before the pandemic and have risen more than 18% on average in LA5 countries since January 2020.

“We must say it loud and clear: Latin America and the Caribbean is facing a critical situation in terms of food security,” said Julio Berdegué, FAO’s Regional Representative. There has been an almost 79 percent hike in the number of people living in hunger from 2014 to 2020.”

As I reported in “As Debt, Inflation and Hunger Rises, Latin America’s Fate Lies Once Again in Wall Street’s Hands,” a total of 267 million people — the equivalent of 40% of Latin America’s entire population — experienced moderate or severe food insecurity in 2020, 60 million more than in 2019.* It was the highest rise of any world region.

Another global supply chain shock, such as that caused by the loss of exports of fertilizers from one the world’s biggest producers, would send agricultural costs and by extension food prices spiraling even higher, especially given the current tightness of the global fertilizer market. This partly explains why so many countries in Latin America are loath to publicly support the economic war being waged against Russia.

Declining Strategic and Economic Influence

Another reason why most Latin American countries are not embracing the West’s economic war against Russia is that the U.S. and to a lesser extent the EU have lost significant influence in the region over the past two decades, as I documented in my August 17, 2021 article, The US Is Losing Power and Influence Even In Its Own Back Yard. Mainly it has been lost to China, but also to a much lesser degree to Russia:

China’s rise in the region coincided almost perfectly with the Global War on Terror. As Washington shifted its attention and resources away from its immediate neighborhood to the Middle East, where it frittered away trillions of dollars spreading mayhem and death and breeding new terrorists, China began snapping up Latin American resources. Governments across the region, from Brazil to Venezuela, to Ecuador and Argentina, took a leftward turn and began working together across various fora. The commodity supercycle was born.

China’s trade with the region grew 26-fold between 2000 and 2020, from $12 billion to $315 billion, and is expected to more than double by 2035, to more than $700 billion. In the last 20 years China has moved from an almost negligible position as a source of imports and destination of exports within the region to become its second trade partner, at the expense not just of the US but also Europe and certain Latin American countries such as Brazil whose share of inter-regional trade has fallen. According to the World Economic Forum, “China will approach—and could even surpass—the US as LAC’s top trading partner. In 2000, Chinese participation accounted for less than 2% of LAC’s total trade. In 2035, it could reach 25%.”…

China is [also] reaping the dividends of its vaccine diplomacy, including in Washington’s own backyard. Earlier this month, Beijing announced that Chinese vaccine developers had provided over 230 million vaccine doses to 18 countries in Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru, mostly through exports. In a virtual press conference with international press agencies, the director general of International Foreign Economic Affairs, Wang Xiaolong, said that China has so far provided 700 million doses to over 80 countries — “more than all other countries combined.”

While China was flooding Latin America with vaccines, Pfizer, one of three US vaccine makers whose product has been granted emergency use authorisation, was essentially shaking down countries in the region, demanding that they put up sovereign assets, such as federal bank reserves, embassy buildings and military bases, as insurance against the cost of any future legal cases involving Pfizer BioNTech’s vaccine…

China is not quite supplanting the US in Latin America just yet — the US is still top dog, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean — but it is eroding its influence. And the political sands in the region are not exactly shifting in the US’ favor right now. Even historically closely aligned countries such as Peru and Mexico are now governed by people and parties that are somewhat less disposed to US influence.

A New World Order?

Russia has also been expanding its influence in Latin America, partly through vaccine diplomacy but also by extending loans to countries such as Venezuela and Argentina. In fact, Argentina was scheduled to receive another loan just before the U.S. and EU imposed sanctions on Russia. Vladimir Rouvinski, Director of Interdisciplinary Research Center at Icesi University, who currently lives in Colombia, recently told Newsweek:

“Russia’s relationship with Latin America varies by country, but diplomatic meetings between leaders, large-scale shipments of Sputnik V vaccines and the growing influence of social media have all helped to strengthen Moscow’s position in the region.”

“The idea the Russian government is selling to Latin Americans is, ‘Look, we are entering a new kind of world.'” Rouvinski told Newsweek. “‘We don’t know what the rules will be, but let’s be partners in the construction of this new world order.'”

Some of these Russian tactics have proven very effective, particularly in countries where American popularity is low.

“With the level of Anti-Americanism that still exists here in Latin America,” Rouvinski said, “this narrative is very attractive for some parts of our society.”

It is not clear what will happen in the coming days and weeks as the US and its allies increase the pressure on Latin American countries to get off the fence and support sanctions against Russia. On Tuesday, Brian Glynn, the managing director for the Americas of the EU’s European External Action Service, said the EU will be working “closely” with the countries of Latin America to “isolate Russia” and show that the world is united in agreement that this war is not just.

Will Washington’s recent courting of the Maduro government — which it has not recognized since anointing Juan Guaido president of Venezuela in 2019 — bear fruit? According to the latest report out of El País, the only thing the Biden’s administration’s attempts to persuade Venezuela to begin selling oil to the U.S. again after eight years of crushing sanction appear to have achieved so far is to annoy the government of Washington’s closest ally in South America, Colombia, which in turn prompted the Biden Administration to clarify that it still does not recognize the legitimacy of the Maduro government.

While the West’s sanctions on Russia are likely to make life even harder for Venezuela’s hyperinflation-ravaged economy, by cutting off Venezuela’s state-owned oil company from its bank accounts in Russia, that does not mean the Maduro government will be willing to cut its ties with Moscow, one of its closest allies, and bend the knee to Washington, which has hardly earnt its trust over the past decade. During his whistle-stop negotiations with his Ukrainian counterparts in Turkey on Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov found time to hold talks on the sidelines with Venezuela’s vice president Delcy Rodríguez.

Rodríguez said she was “happy” to be able to talk with Lavrov and stressed that this is “a key moment for all of humanity: Russia has always played an important role in history.”

Even more importantly, the two giants of Latin America, Mexico and Brazil, continue to sit firmly on the fence. It’s also worth noting that three of the BRICS countries — India, China and South Africa — abstained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the UN General Assembly. One obvious reason for this is that they, like many other countries in the world, are justifiably terrified by the precedent the U.S., EU and friends have set by attempting to banish Russia, one of the world’s largest commodity producers and exporters, from the global financial system. If successful, they know they could be next.




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  1. The Rev Kev

    Washington seems determined to make it a you-are-with-us-or-against-us moment but when your country has solid if not vital ties with Russia and China, trashing your economy and thereby overthrowing the government seems to be a poor trade in exchange for what exactly? The good will of the west? That is really only North America and Europe and which won’t even buy you a Cerveza. A lot of those governments voted with the west but I bet that most of their people had their own ideas on who to support like mentioned in that article about support for Russia among Indonesians. Memories are probably too fresh and too raw about what has been done economically to Southy America by the west through organizations like the IMF and they probably do not feel any loyalties to them here. So I would expect Russian ties to remain as a counterbalance to the west.

  2. simjam

    Russia is rich in natural resources and through history Western nations have sought to obtain this wealth, The French did in 1812, the Germans in 1940, and now, the Americans in 2022. What will the outcome be? We don’t know, but it seems to be a fight to the finish.

      1. Sausage Factory

        oil, gas, fertilizers, rare metals, rare earths, wheat, gold, military technology, those are just off the top of my head. Nuland and Kagan have had plans to Balkanise Russia for a long time many of which take the nod from Brzezinski. Russia is practically (and soon will be thanks to western sanctions) the worlds largest Autarky.

      2. NNPaul

        I think that this frames the problem incorrectly. The goal is not so much to ‘go after’ the resources of another country (if you mean acquire them for oneself), but rather to shape and control the terms and patterns of as much of international trade as possible.

  3. WJ

    One thing that is glaringly obvious is that every major politician in europe can be blackmailed by the US, whereas this is less obviously the case with central and south american politicians. I think this is the simplest explanation as to why so many european countries have decided to commit economic seppuku for the sake of the image of the US.

    1. commit

      I believe the EU makes the blackmail easier, countries in Europe have limited sovereignty. It wasn’t the case in 2003, since then, national sovereignty got eroded.

  4. Wukchumni

    I never quite understood why Latin America didn’t come out of the aftermath of WW2 smelling like a rose, with the rest of the developed world largely wrecked?

    It took awhile to fall apart financially, with EVERY country going through bouts of hyperinflation by the 70’s, some basket cases such as Argentina & Venezuela have been at it for decades now, old pros in the game of lack of financial stability.

    If you were a Latin American, would you want more IMF shenanigans or maybe its time to try something different?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Latin America did have an extremely good period of growth and development in the post war years which only ran out of steam in the aftermath of the 1970’s and then the imposition of the Washington consensus. Argentina and Brazil had periods of China scale growth in the late 1960’s. It was widely thought at the time that they’d catch up with or even exceed the Old World as it was called then. Comparisons with Europe and Japan can be a little deceptive as much of the latter growth was essentially catch up growth making up for the loss of wealth during the war. ‘Real’ growth is always harder than ‘catch up’ growth.

      The ultimate problem with those countries seems structural. Quite simply, a combination of a rotten political system and an over dependence on resource extraction has caught them in the middle income trap. When resource rich countries trade with industrial countries there is nearly always a process where the former get trapped into a cycle where they can’t develop their own industries, and the productivity of industry is almost always higher than resource values, so they fall behind almost inevitably. This of course, is, as our host would say, a feature, not a bug from the point of view of the US.

    2. upstater

      That’s the price of being within the Monroe Doctrine sphere of influence. Every single Latin American country has been subject to US inspired coups, dirty wars, military “advisors” and/or rampant election interference. Plus the legacy of European colonialism followed by “investors” (looters) from places like the UK. But we’re the good guys, I’m told. The Ukrainians might’ve got a better deal from the Russians when you compare.

      1. Acacia

        > The Ukrainians might’ve got a better deal from the Russians when you compare.

        Evidently, Yanukovych thought so, and then there was the 2014 coup, that of course the US had nothing to do with. Nothing. It was a “Revolution of Dignity” and purely a coincidence that the people Nuland liked then took power.

  5. Arizona Slim

    Methinks that the USA is going to learn that it isn’t the worldwide bully boss that our government thinks it is.

    Funny thing about other countries: They tend to go their own way.

    On a personal note, here’s a story from the Arizona Slim bicycle touring file:

    In 1980, I was riding in Canada and I kept seeing these boxy compact cars. They didn’t look anything like the cars I knew from the States. Where in the heck were these things from?

    The answer: Those were Ladas. From the Soviet Union.

    Never would those cars ever be sold in the United States. But, obviously, they were sold in Canada.

    1. tegnost

      Maybe so (re: bullies)… I don’t know if it will be an “all at once” kind of thing like with hemingway, or a long drawn out disintegration.
      i was counting on biden crashing it faster due to the dems complete lack of self awareness. The paper airplane thing is an epic example of said lack.
      “Anti war left” is a thoroughly meaningless stance in a country that only allows centrists or right wing politics. Promises and Hope are all any left leaning person will ever get from these imperialist control freaks. Defy the centrists and be cancelled. The frame of acceptable discourse is to be forever narrowed to “my way or the highway.”
      Imperialism is what globalization with it’s concomitant finance and patent shackles aspires to.
      My favorite quote from the above post?
      “”… Russia has always played an important role in history.””
      USA? A spoiled 13 year old by comparison.

      1. jsn

        It strikes me the people with the pronouns aren’t the people with the projectile weapons.

        How exactly will our Absolutely Right Thinking elite get the guns behind them, that is as in supporting them, not shooting them in the back?

        At home, as the truckers loop the beltway, elite legitimacy decays with every orbit, abroad even Bolsonaro isn’t on board anymore.

    2. Pat

      I think the people in charge are finding out daily that they vastly overestimated everything about America’s position and state except for its hold over media presentation, both traditional and social media.
      And not for nothing, but I think the media will also regret going all in before everything shakes out. Although I’m betting most of Europe will get there much quicker (even if it will hurt to realize that Central America was smarter than they were).

      1. flora

        The people currently in charge are the inheritors of the WWII generation of pols. GHWBush (pres Bush Sr.) was the last WWII pres with personal hot war service experience (active duty pilot in WWII). He famously called neocons “the crazies”, people who should never be entrusted with foreign policy decision making because they’re “crazy.” The “crazies” have been running US foreign policy for the past 25 years, beginning in the C admin, imo.

        1. the last D

          You seem to be giving bush 1 a pass. Perhaps you might take a second look at the record, and see that he played an important role in establishing ‘a new world order.’ The disintegration of the ussr signaled the triumphant beginning of this new world order. It installed the ‘crazy’ economic systems of reagan and thatcher, that bush had once called “voodoo economics.” This is the neoliberal model that has been wrecking world economies, and the world itself, ever sense. It controls foreign policy, as well as domestic policy. This is the same order, I think, being played out right before our eyes that accepts without question that the usa alone must be the preeminent, exceptional nation. And no, it didn’t start with clinton, but took full throttle during ww 2. Bush 1 did not die with clean hands.

          1. flora

            Not giving him a pass. Bush Sr. was onboard with neoliberal economics. However, the neocon warhawks – who have zero real politik understanding, imo – weren’t given effective control of foreign policy until later administrations. Neoliberals and neocons aren’t the same interest group.

            1. flora

              adding: you might enjoy reading Kevin Phillips’ 2004 book “American Dynasty: Aristrocacy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush”

              It covers the rise of the Bush family fortune over four generations, beginning with WWI. Phillips contends the family has focused on three areas: intelligence (Bush Sr was head of the CIA at one point), energy, and national security, all with the view of increasing the family’s power and wealth.

    3. wilroncanada

      Not only Ladas, there were Yugos too, and lots and lots of those VW vans that had to creep up the mountain roads in second gear, with the drivers of big North American sleds honking behind them. We had one.

  6. oledeadmeat

    Vaccine politics have certainly rubbed a lot of salt into Latin American wounds, and Biden’s near rudderless foreign policy has not helped. Yet over the long term a rapprochement between Venezuela and the US has a lot to offer Venezuela.
    This includes one thing neither China nor Russia can give – broad technical support for Venezuela’s abysmal oil production. Yes, Iranian help last year boosted production in the short term up to roughly 800,000 bpd. That level may not be sustainable even with Iran’s help, and it remains a far cry from its production levels even thru 2017 when it was still producing more than twice as much.

    Given the de facto destruction of Ukraine as a food exporter as a direct result of Putin’s war, increasing oil production and lowering the price of oil will lower the cost of worldwide food production and distribution. Venezuela has an opportunity now that it has not had for some time.

    1. britzklieg

      Other than an opportunity to tell the West to go f%&*^ itself, the only other would be for Venezuela to be double-crossed by fake US promises. Do you think Maduro and his supporters will easily brush off the fact he was targeted for assassination and believe anything emitting from the pie holes of their oppressors? Once the oil is secured, the sanctions would return, lacking a fullthroated disavowal of “socialism” coupled to a jingoistic “rah-rah” for a blood-soaked Uncle Sam. Personally, I think it won’t happen. I could be wrong.

      What evidence can you share that Russia and China can not offer technical support to the “abysmal” Venezuela (I see what you did there) or that Venezuela even wants or needs to produce as much oil as you want it to? You speak of opportunity that Venezuela has not had for some time and I agree it is now in a position to ask for everything which has been stolen from it be returned. But since that won’t happen the opportunity you refer to is a moot point, imho

      Besides, how will Biden deal with his powerful Democrat friends?

      “Senator Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took a dim view of any accommodation with the Maduro government. “If the reports are true that the Biden administration is brokering the purchase of Venezuelan oil, I fear that it risks perpetuating a humanitarian crisis that has destabilized Latin America and the Caribbean for an entire generation,” Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said in a statement on Monday night. “Nicolas Maduro is a cancer to our hemisphere and we should not breathe new life into his reign of torture and murder.”

      torture and murder? Whatabout Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Homan Square?… as for murder, whatabout the millions killed, civilian men, women and children, journalists, wedding parties – a LONG AND DEVASTATING LIST- during 70 years of our choice and aggression wars promising democracy and delivering bone crushing, civilization destroying chaos?

      …and finally, it’s Biden/NATO’s war.

      1. oledeadmeat

        britzklieg – I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

        Vis a vis abysmal – the reference was to Venezuela’s oil production which last decade reached levels well over 2 million bpd and now only reached 800k bpd with Iranian assistance, and whether it got to that level is a bit questionable.

        Vis a vis technical support – while Russia possesses some experience and expertise with conventional oil production, delivering that and the extensive material needed to rebuild Venezuela’s infrastructure will be an enormously heavy lift in the face of transportation difficulties and the sanctions on both nations. This is not a matter of smuggling a freighter or two – it requires a sustained effort of a lot of material.

        China is the more logical choice and indeed that would be Maduro’s easiest play, but to date China is only buying oil, not investing in production in Venezuela. The current situation raises the possibility that China will get more aggressive and seek to open engage with Venezuela in the face of sanctions. Will they? I don’t know. Again, it’s one thing to smuggle a few shiploads out, it’s another to have continually put in the sustained effort. Gaining an easing of sanctions seems the easiest/fastest route.

        Lastly, yes, Maduro would/will still have a hard time negotiating with the US, but has there been a better time for him, especially in light of Biden opening up the issue?

        1. Polar Socialist

          Negotiating requires at least a modicum of trust, and I doubt there’s any left in Venezuela. Nothing in the recent history gives them any reason to believe that USA will respect any agreement.

    2. Thuto

      I hope Maduro’s assessment of America’s sudden rapprochement and the cynical motives behind it isn’t as rosy as yours, otherwise he’ll soon discover, as Guido has recently, that once that “broad technical support” has been offered and the Venezuelan oil industry is firmly in US corporate hands (with full veto rights on where the oil goes), how quickly he’ll be tossed aside. And you make a pretty bold claim that Russia, the world’s second largest oil producer with a solid, multi-decade reputation for running a tight shop and being a super-reliable supplier, cannot provide technical support to a backwater like Venezuela to help optimize its production.

      1. oledeadmeat

        Thuto, who is to say Maduro would engage with a US oil company? There are others he might deal with, if he and Biden agree to some easing of the Venezuelan sanctions currently in place, as Biden has signaled is a possibility.

        I don’t see Russia as a realistic possibility because of sanctions on Russia – especially transportation issues.

        China might be, it has bought Venezuelan oil under the table but is not helping Maduro with production, at least so far.

        1. Thuto

          US companies of all stripes have lately proven to be conduits for US foreign policy and de facto organs of the state department, so it matters little which face shows up at the negotiating table, corporate or government, they’re for all intents and purposes one and the same. Also, the easing of those sanctions will come with a truckload of snapback provisions (Iran knows a thing or two about snapback provisions) that can, and most likely will, be triggered at the earliest opportunity using the flimsiest of pretexts. With Bloomberg now declaring that Venezuela is ready to ditch socialism and embrace capitalism (just because it aligns with current US interests to make overtures), providing broad technical support will be the Trojan horse used to open up the country for maximal rent extraction by US multinationals. To Maduro I say caveat emptor, this movie has had a multi-decade run in many countries and its executive producer and director, the USA, only knows one way to write an ending.

  7. Tom Stone

    The West and especially DC is being run by very stupid people.
    The current US sanctions are testing the brotherhood of NATO ( One big happy family!), Turkey gets a hit to their economy,the European Auto makers get tossed under the bus, chipmakers start wondering about substitutes for Sapphire substrates,looking at their inventory and considering where to cut production profitably…
    Food production will be seriously affected by fertilizer shortages.
    And the MENA Countries are going to get a lot less stable because famine does that.
    The US may not be making any friends with this policy but we certainly are influencing people.
    The apparent lack of any thought being given to the obvious consequences that imposing these sanctions will have is astounding.
    And that’s not even considering Russia’s options in imposing their own sanctions.

    And I seem to have missed the congressional vote, when was war declared on Russia?

    1. Pavel

      Wait until Russia starts requiring payment in gold for its oil, fertilizer, minerals etc.

      So long to King Dollar!

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      lol. yeah.
      that’s like the short version of the entire article.

      does biden or his handlers think that maduro(or any of a great number of leaders who’ve felt the lash) just fell off the turnip truck, and can’t remember a week ago?
      that may indeed be the case…given that the vast majority of PMC Land seems to live that way….waking up every morning to a new world, all dewy eyed and fresh.
      the “pivot” on Venezuela looks like desperation, to me.

      and rather idiotic, to boot….but perhaps not as idiotic as a few other things i’ve come across today while trying to avoid news:

      1. Alice X

        Well, the essence of things is what I try for (hee-hee)!

        Couldn’t even read the Hill piece past the headline…

        It’s terrifying that so many people believe such
        idiocy. The Bernays effect.

  8. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Beyond the self interest of economic and financial reasons there is also the possibility of a collective historical memory of past influence and the coordinated insurgencies and counterinsurgencies directed from Washington, that relied on both terror and its close affiliations with war criminals as overt methods used to pacify local populations that sought self determination. For example,

    “His (William Blum) Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II, remains his best and potently dispiriting affair, one in which Washington and its Christian warriors sought to battle the “International Communist Conspiracy” with fanatical, God-fearing enthusiasm. In this quest, foreign and mostly democratically elected governments were given the heave-ho with the blessings of US intervention. Food supplies were poisoned; leaders were subjected to successful and failed assassinations (not so many were as lucky as Cuba’s Fidel Castro); the peasantry of countries sprayed with napalm and insecticide; fascist forces and those of reaction pressed into the service of Freedom’s Land.”

    See also,

    “The greater part of The Real Terror Network was devoted to describing an alternative terror network of US client states in Latin America, enumerating their terror practices, tracing the network to US training and support systems, and showing how this worked out in accord with a “development model” that
    stressed providing a “favorable climate of investment” for transnational corporations.”—-“Terrorism: the struggle against closure”

    These are things that are now seemingly historically obvious, as they are fairly well documented, as is the case of Klaus Barbie and others of his kind, where, for example:

    “The CIA reports show that U.S. officials knew they were subsidizing numerous Third Reich veterans who had committed horrible crimes against humanity, but these atrocities were overlooked as the anti-Communist crusade acquired its own momentum. For Nazis who would otherwise have been charged with war crimes, signing on with American intelligence enabled them to avoid a prison term. . . . The decision to recruit Nazi operatives had a negative impact on U.S.-Soviet relations and set the stage for Washington’s tolerance of human rights abuses and other criminal acts in the name of anti-Communism. With that fateful sub-rosa embrace, the die was cast for a litany of antidemocratic CIA interventions around the world.”

    The most current example that is the Ukraine proxy war seemingly demonstrates that past behavior and strategies are the best predictor of future behavior and strategies, where; the ulimate goal remains the same, full spectrum dominance and unilateralism in an ideologically unipolar world..

  9. oledeadmeat

    Two thoughts to bear in mind as the world order changes.

    1- A nuclear armed power invaded its neighbor with the intent of conquering and subjugating it. And its primary partner, China, has signaled willingness to accept armed conquest as acceptable policy for the 21st century.

    Many people beyond the US and Europe aspire to a world where that is not acceptable policy. This aspiration will temper their interest in entering China’s economic orbit.

    2- Follow the food. China has been hoarding grain, which also contributed to the increase in global food prices. Now they have announced that their grain harvest will be poor and they are reducing barriers to importing Russian grain.

    So China grabs Russian grain, and the Russian invasion has savaged Ukrainian grain exports. How is this going to look to Latin America and the 3rd world as it collectively starves?

    1. Darthbobber

      Tee hee. The United States and Europe have already demonstrated that armed conquest is acceptable policy in the 21st century.

  10. Susan the other

    Funny thing (speaking of irony) about the “freedom to choose” – people usually choose in their own best interest. So how can neoliberalism continue to exist? It looks like the only control we have left is shutting down freedom of the press. Our last effort at manufacturing is manufacturing propaganda. When everything is falling apart. Our politics is in a shambles. Inequality is destroying us. Imperialism is a burden we cannot justify. We are incapable of facing reality. Climate change and overpopulation are overtaking human events. Congress does not even know how to legislate. Our healthcare system is going bankrupt. Last year we fluffed off the failure of Aramco’s IPO. Yesterday there was an equally casual blurb about how strange it was that Saudi Arabia was buying diesel from other producers. Followed by the above – Biden is asking Maduro for oil. Of course, we’ve got plenty of oil, as soon as we defeat Russia. But we might have to ask them for jet fuel. wtf?

  11. Cesar Jeopardy

    “The West”…”The West”…”The West” Biden tells us that “the West” is unified in sanctions against Russia. “The West” mainly only includes the old colonial powers of Europe and their offspring. Those are the countries that invaded regions around the world, committed genocide against the people in those regions, enslaved them, and pilfered their natural resources. And countries in those regions are still at the mercy of new colonial powers, same as the old colonial powers. But as this article points out, they are breaking away slowly. The countries of Central and South America, Africa, and most of Asia are not part of “the West” and they know it. So why would they follow the U.S.? Some are walking the fence, but not many, and because they feel they have to. The biggest countries of the world know that when the U.S. is done with Russia, they are next in line. No wonder so many countries in the world are arming themselves to the teeth and considering nuclear weapons. The cause is U.S./NATO aggression, not defense, around the world. They want full spectrum global economic and military dominance. I still have some hopes that Russia’s action in the Ukraine will somehow stifle those plans. I/we can support Russia w/o supporting the “special military action.”

  12. Punxsutawney

    So we have spent 40+ years moving manufacturing and wealth (consumption of same manufacturing) outside of this country, especially China the last 20 years. Now that wealth is being used to buy resources and friends leaving us with what? Helped a great deal by Washington’s own greed and heavy handedness in dealing with our neighbors.

    Who’d have thunk?

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