By Ben Norton
US President Donald Trump’s hyper-militaristic National Security Adviser John Bolton spilled the beans in an interview on Fox Business, admitting that the United States government is working with corporations to target Venezuela’s massive oil reserves.
“We’re looking at the oil assets,” Bolton said. “That’s the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We’re looking at what to do to that.”
“We’re in conversation with major American companies now,” he continued. “I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here.”
“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela,” Bolton admitted.
On January 23, the US government initiated a political coup attempt in Venezuela, seeking to replace the government of socialist President Nicolás Maduro with Juan Guaidó and a neoliberal capitalist opposition that has pledged to privatize state assets and welcome in corporate partnerships.
Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, and the democratically elected leftist government of former President Hugo Chávez kicked out US oil corporations and used his nation’s natural resources to fund social services for poor and working-class Venezuelans.
The Trump administration has seized control of Venezuelan state assets in the US and given them to supposed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, in a bid to fund his coup regime. On January 28, the US also imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, in an attempt to transfer control to the right-wing opposition.
A full transcript of Bolton’s exchange with Fox Business host Trish Regan on January 24 follows below:
JOHN BOLTON: “We’re looking at the oil assets. That’s the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We’re looking at what to do to that.
We want everybody to know, we’re looking at all this seriously. We don’t want any American businesses or investors caught by surprise. They can see what President Trump did yesterday. We’re following through on it.”
TRISH REGAN: “So if you think of a company like Citgo, which is owned by PDVSA, which is the state-run oil company there in Venezuela, we have a lot of those Citgo assets right here in the US. Is that something, for example sir, that you are looking at?”
JOHN BOLTON: “Yeah look, we’re in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela, or in the case of Citgo here in the United States. I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here.
Venezuela is one of the three countries I called the ‘Troika of Tyranny.’
It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.
It would be good for Venezuela; it would be good for the people of the United States. We both have a lot at stake here making this come out the right way.”