‘Bolivar Act’ to tighten U.S. sanctions against elected Venezuelan government
Right wing extremist GOP Rep. Michael Waltz is leading the fight for passage of a law that will tighten sanctions against the democratically elected government of Venezuela. Here at home he is backing the insurrectionists and Trump who tried to overthrow the results of our free and fair election. | AP

On January 28, a group of U.S. Congressmen, led by former Green Beret and now Republican Party legislator, Michael Waltz, introduced into the Congress a new bill dedicated to smashing democracy in Venezuela, cumbersomely entitled the “Bipartisan Banning Operations and Leases with Illegitimate Authoritarian Regime (BOLIVAR) Act.”

The creators of the law tendentiously established the contradictory acronym, “BOLIVAR Act,” cynically using the name of a freedom fighter for a bill dedicated to anything but freedom and democracy.

The precedent for this undemocratic measure dates back to 2019, when GOP Sen. Rick Scott, obsessive opponent of the freely elected Venezuelan Government since his years as governor of Florida, sponsored, together with Sen. Marco Rubio and Waltz himself, the Venezuelan Restriction on Contracting Act, which at that time did not even pass a committee vote to be taken up by the full Congress.

Scott is one of the most active operators in the anti-Venezuelan lobby, a character who has led the charge in the U.S. to intensify the unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela. He has been assisted by Rubio.

Scott rejoices about it in his web portal, rickscott.senate.gov, where he highlights his impressions after the signing by Donald Trump of the executive order that imposed an additional economic embargo on Venezuela in August 2019: “I have been asking the [then] [Trump] Administration to use all available options, including an embargo,” commented the Republican senator referring to the fact that months earlier, during that same year, he had urged Mike Pompeo and Steven Mnuchin, the then Secretaries of State and Treasury respectively, to implement stricter “sanctions” than those that already existed against Cuba, Venezuela and their international allies.

The focus of the new mutation of the title in the bill (“Contracting Restriction”) alludes to another operation of the well-known plan to make impossible the financial transactions of the Venezuelan State with any entity, subject, or company prominent in international trade. According to the document, the purpose is to prohibit the president of the U.S. Government from granting contracts to persons who have any commercial operations with the “Maduro regime.”

GOP Sen.Rick Scott, the criminal behind the biggest Medicare fraud scheme in history, has long been a leader in the charge against the freely elected Venezuelan government. | Corey Perrine/AP

At a time when the world watches the Senate trial of a former president who tried to destroy democracy in America, the proponents of this bill try to use U.S. policy to destroy democracy in Venezuela and elsewhere.

Who are the promoters?

Most of the U.S. congressmen in the House of Representatives who are pushing the legislative proposal against Venezuela represent Florida districts where they hope to garner support from right-wing elements in the Venezuelan and Cuban communities.

As is typical for right-wing politicians in the U.S. who promote anti-communism in order to further their own goals, Rick Scott has an impressive list of his own criminal inclinations.

Scott is implicated in the largest Medicare fraud in the United States when he was CEO of the health care company Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). That controversial matter gravitated to the FBI investigation, later made public in 1997, in which the company in question admitted to felony billing and fraudulent practices three years later. Most of these events occurred under Scott’s leadership.

According to Sun Sentinel columnist Randy Schultz, Columbia/HCA gave kickbacks to doctors to refer patients to make them look sicker than they were, so Medicare would pay more.

With his false concern for the people of Venezuela and a questionable track record, Scott used the Fifth Amendment 75 times in order to avoid testifying in the case and he walked away with $300 million in stock and a $5.1 million severance package.

Who is Rep. Michael Waltz?

  • He served for 20 years in the U.S. Army Special Forces, known as the Green Berets, participating in the invasions of Afghanistan and other missions of interference in the Middle East and Africa.
  • He then went on to serve in the White House as a counterterrorism advisor to then Vice President Dick Cheney during the George W. Bush administration.
  • Waltz voted for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelans in the United States.
  • On February 1, he signed a petition to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to reconsider his possible plans to close the Guantanamo prison.
  • He is president of METIS, a firm dedicated to advising and strategizing for the U.S. defense, national security, and intelligence community.
  • He is also a co-founder and partner in an international consulting firm, Askari Associates, which provides consulting and strategic advisory services to foreign governments.
  • At the end of 2019, he stated that he was promoting the plan to create the zone of distension or strip on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, managed by the Lima Group with support from the U.S. armed forces.
  • Likewise, he added a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit the U.S. Department of Defense from signing contracts with companies working with the Venezuelan State.

Waltz’s discursive and repetitive line on Venezuela is no surprise, nor is the list of co-sponsors joining him on the bill. Some Florida Democrats, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have joined Republicans in putting forward the lie of labeling Venezuela as a terrorist state.

Implications of the Bolivar Act

The United States has a history of using “humanitarian aid” as a weapon of war against the Bolivarian Republic and unscrupulous financing of the Venezuelan opposition.

The bill allows certain types of “aid” to Venezuela, as long as that “aid” serves to undercut the democratically elected government there.

Under the guise of “humanitarian aid”, the U.S. government through agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has channeled funding to the Venezuelan anti-Chávez leadership in order to stimulate the strategy of “regime change” in Venezuela.

Some of this “aid” was given to criminal right-wing activists, among them Julio Borges, Carlos Vecchio, and Lilian Tintori in September of 2019, admitted by Mark Green, director of the agency pic.twitter.com/mb0iMWTFQG.

Sen. Marco Rubio, pandering to right-wing Venezuelans in Florida, has also been attacking the democratically elected government of Venezuela. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The #USAID reported that it has delivered $654 million to the opposition #Venezuela government to overthrow it.

On the other hand, and in light of what characterizes the proposed Bolivar Act, when mention is made of “business operations,” it refers to engaging in commerce in any form, including the acquisition, development, maintenance, possession, sale, lease, or operation of equipment, facilities, personnel, products, services, personal property, real property, or any other apparatus of business or commerce.

Based on this, it is evident, that oil and service companies internationally are being pressured to cut all connections with the state owned Venezuelan oil industry whose profits are used to improve social conditions in that country. The result of passage of the Bolivar Act would be to further strangle the democratically- elected government of President Maduro.

The bill forces international companies to choose whether to do business with Venezuela or with the oil companies of the United States. The bill forbids all commerce including acquisition of drugs, medical supplies, and, in the midst of the pandemic even vaccines. Not to mention the food sector where the same premise applies. Companies must decide between doing business with the United States or with Venezuela.

In practice, the U.S. Government has prevented imports in the food and pharmaceutical sectors by the Venezuelan State through executive orders. Through the “BOLIVAR Act,” it intends to make this official. The idea is to legally impose untold suffering on the Venezuelan people for exercising their right to choose their own government.

The U.S. political class continues to apply its economic and financial gunboat diplomacy disguised as progressive humanitarianism. These Republican congressmen, including the Democrats who join them, continue the macabre attack on democracy in Venezuela. The Bolivar Act must be exposed for what it is and defeated.

Misión Verdad

Translation from Orinoco Tribune


Misión Verdad
Misión Verdad

Grupo de investigación y análisis.