San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ortega Calls for Unity against U.S. Offensive

President Daniel Ortega this week renewed his called for a regional unification against an alleged campaign by the United States to launch “a greater offensive against the countries that form ALBA, in particular Venezuela and Nicaragua.”

In comments to Venezuelan media outlet TELESUR, Ortega accused the United States of attempting to “destroy the project of justice, equality and solidarity” represented by Venezuela’s alternative cooperation pact, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), and PETROCARIBE, the Venezuelan oil alliance with 12 Caribbean nations plus Honduras and Nicaragua.

Ortega argued that the U.S. offensive was being launched on several fronts and with the use of several proxies, namely Colombia and U.S. oil giant Exxon, which is currently in international litigation against Venezuelan oil company PDVSA over the terms of compensation for a nationalized oil project in Venezuela last year.

Nicaragua, meanwhile, is currently in the midst of its own diplomatic tussle over maritime border limits with Colombia, and last week presented a complaint against the South American country before the United Nations (NT, Feb. 15). Ortega again elevated the rhetorical war against Colombia this week, accusing it of “provoking” Nicaragua and Venezuela, and of “playing the role of Judas” in Latin America and being a “U.S. peon.”

Ortega also blasted Exxon as being an “instrument that is being utilized by the Yankees to try to destroy and weaken” Venezuela by compromising its oil assets, which he called “the principal instrument that Venezuela has to promote solidarity and equality.”

A U.S. federal judge in New York upheld a ruling Feb. 13 to freeze more than $300 million held by PDVSA in U.S. accounts as part of a case brought against the Venezuelan firm by Exxon in the compensation case. A separate hearing will be held today, Feb. 22, in London, where Exxon is attempting to put a freeze on an additional $12 million in PDVSA assets, including the Citgo Petroleum Corp. refining network.

Ortega called the international litigation against PDVSA an “atomic bomb” that the United States is using against the Latin American unification process under ALBA.

Ortega also warned that the United States is trying to “steal” the natural resources of Latin America, and that it is a “life or death” matter that these resources be recuperated by the countries in the region.

The president ended with a call for unity among the countries of PETROCARIBE to confront “this aggression against all of us.”

“I consider that we are in a war against the empire and we need to unite…because this is a war!” Ortega said.

PDVSA, for its part, said Feb. 13 that its dispute with Exxon would not affect supplies to PETROCARIBE members.


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