06-30-2011, 09:51 AM
Last Friday's hearing, devoted entirely to Venezuela, was attended by senior officials of the State Department and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. In testimony before the Committee, the Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Latin America, Kevin Whitaker, revealed the Obama administration is "seriously considering" labeling Venezuela a "terrorist state." "No option is off the table and the Department will continue to study any further action as may be necessary in the future," said Whitaker. . . . According to the State Department, sanctions against PDVSA, while not impacting the country economically, "give a message to the world that it is dangerous to do business with Venezuela and PDVSA," indicating that, in the near future, Washington could act against those who enter into contracts or agreements with Venezuelan companies. . . . The lawmakers also demanded the State Department impose sanctions against the Venezuelan airline CONVIASA because of what they consider "support for terrorism," based on flights between Caracas, Syria, and Iran. . . . To support this dangerous "accusation," they cited a German newspaper, Die Welt, which had falsely published days before that Venezuela and Iran were building a missile base in western Venezuela to "attack the United States." In response to this misinformation, President Hugo Chavez showed footage of a windmill farm in the same location where "sources" had indicated the fictional Iranian military base was located.