Breakthrough in Venezuela talks spurs US to ease embargo

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Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro

The government of Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition broke a political stalemate Saturday with a broad social accord, and the US government responded by allowing a major US oil company to resume operations in Venezuela.

The accord heralded a potential easing of a grinding economic and political crisis in Venezuela.

It paves the way for the United Nations to oversee a trust fund of frozen assets of the Maduro government to be used for a variety of social projects in Venezuela.

“We have identified a set of resources belonging to the Venezuelan state, frozen in the global financial system, to which it is possible to access,” said Dag Nylander, an envoy from Norway, which facilitated the negotiations.

The agreement, which ended 15 months of stalemate between the two sides, potentially could ease a massive flow of refugees from Venezuela throughout the region, and even impact world oil markets.

The accord represents “hope for all of Latin America,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, a sponsor of the talks.

The humanitarian agreement calls for a yet-to-be-established UN trust to finance programs in the education, health, food security, flood response and electricity sectors.

However Saturday’s accord made no headway on a critical issue: How to move ahead toward presidential elections scheduled for 2024.

Venezuela’s political crisis has worsened since Maduro declared himself victor of contested 2018 elections, which were widely seen as fraudulent, and generated widespread street protests.

The US Treasury Department said the accord on Saturday marks “important steps in the right direction to restore democracy” in Venezuela, and responded by issuing a license to Chevron Corp. to resume limited oil extraction operations in Venezuela.

The license will remain in effect for six months while the Biden administration assesses whether the Maduro government meets commitments made in the accord, Treasury said.

The relaxation of curbs on Chevron’s operations in Venezuela, which has the world’s largest oil reserves, would allow the nation to move toward re-entering global oil markets.

International efforts to resolve the Venezuelan crisis have gained strength since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the pressure it has placed on global energy supplies.

A joint statement by Canada, the United States, Britain and the EU pledged “willingness to review sanctions” on Venezuela but demanded that it release political prisoners, respect press freedom and guarantee independence of the judiciary and electoral bodies.

The powerful Democratic chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, said the Biden administration should move slowly.

“If Maduro again tries to use these negotiations to buy time to further consolidate his criminal dictatorship, the United States… must snap back the full force of our sanctions that brought his regime to the negotiating table in the first place,” Menendez said in a statement.

Despite its huge oil reserves, Venezuela suffers grinding poverty and a political crisis that has led a UN-estimated seven million Venezuelans to flee the country in recent years. Food, medicine and such basics as soap and toilet paper are often in short supply.

Maduro’s opposition is seeking free and fair presidential elections, next due in 2024, while Caracas wants the international community to recognize Maduro as the rightful president and to lift sanctions, particularly a US oil embargo and freeze on the nation’s overseas assets.

After the contested 2018 elections, almost 60 countries, including the United States, recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as acting president.

Still to be hashed out at the negotiating table is how the 2024 elections might unfold to ensure that the opposition will take part.

The Unitary Platform opposition group has not reached consensus over the conditions it requires to take part in the vote, a source close to the negotiations told AFP.

Guaido’s influence has waned in recent years, and he has lost key allies both at home and in the region, where many countries have since elected leftist presidents.

SOURCE: AFP

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderful news, and good to hear. Venezuela 🇻🇪 has always been a great friend and allie with Antigua & Barbuda.

    They are suffering now, but we must never forget the finance and medical help we received under their former leader Hugo Chavez.

    Hope that their economy – like ours – will improve!

    • You are such a sad case. Maduro has done more than Chavez for Antigua and Barbuda. Maduro send a military plane to help us evacuate Barbudans after hurricane Irma when the Island was devastated, and another hurricane was on the way. Maduro wrote off $250million of our debt to PDVSA for oil that we bought on credit. And it’s the sanctions of the USA that us causing Venezuela all that hardship. And all that the USA want now from Venezuela is OIL. Because Biden went to Saudi Arabie to talk to the Crown Prins, but he gave him the middle finger. OPEC did not increase production and the oil prices are rising once again. The USA needs to stop being the big bully of the world. If things do not go their way, they are quick to meet sanctions on countries. Bringing them economically to their knees. Look how many years they have sanctions on Cuba. About sixty years now. The entire world is calling on them to lift these sanctions. But might is right and they will continue as long as they want. The same way they will never compensate Antigua and Barbuda, even though the WTO rulling ordered them to do so. The law of the strongest.

      • Where have I criticised the ERUDITE and very knowledgeable Maduro in any shape or form you damn fool.

        You always keep looking for something that
        Just isn’t there – you are hilarious though @ From The Sideline! 😁

        STICK TO ROTARIANISM BOSS …

        • Sometimes it’s not what you said, but what you didn’t say. You never bother to mention Maduro, so I had to bring it to your attention that Maduro did much more for Antigua and Barbuda then Hugo. And try not to get personal. It takes the discussion into the gutter. Maybe you like being there.

          • I only return personal barbs when I receive them @ From The Sideline.

            If you talk sense, and I’ll do the same, play dirty and expect likewise … simple really!

  2. US oil and diesel supply running short, and the Saudi Crown Prince didn’t agree to drill the additional millions of barrels the US wanted/needed so, Venezuela to the rescue. It didn’t matter how devastating those sanctions were to the economy and people of Venezuela before — but an convenient agreement can be reached now because the big bullies needs something from Maduro. Smdh!

    • I hear you @ Cannabis Indica, but the clown-in-chief at the time, Donald “Grab Dem By The …” Trump was running America and that didn’t help Venezuela’s cause!

  3. The big powers will destroy you if you decide to look after the poor in your country. They call it socialism. They care nothing about the hardships they create for the people of the countries they starve and destroy. All of a sudden Venezuela will be welcomed back into the fold because the big powers need Venezuela’s oil. These countries believe in one thing only, what’s good for them.

    • In the USA you have preachers like John Hagee and Ed Young who constantly remind their followers how evil Socialism and Communism is. But I would like to remind them to read and study Act 4: 34-37. The early apostles lived and promoted living in communion. They promote capitalism because of their own selfish greed. They would be like the rich boy that came to Jesus and ask what he needed to do have eternal life. And when Jesus told him to go and sell everything you have and give it to the poor and follow me, he left extremely disappointed. That is why the word Socialism in Amerika is like a cruse word. It is seen as something very evil. While Capitalism is praised. And they even take other parts of scripture to justify their view. But I know one can use the bible in both ways. Just lift out the part of the scripture you want to.

      “Acts 4:34-37 NKJV
      Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

      This is Communism at work.

  4. Oh, before you comment on my post Brixtonian, let me tell you I am a Capitalist. I like to possess things. I work hard for what I have, and I do not believe in selling my hard-earned fortunes and then giving the proceeds to the poor. But as a Rotarian I do believe in having compassion and empathy for the less fortunate in our society. I will never give a healthy body young man a dollar if he begs me for it. But I will always find a job for him so he can earn a living. I respect a working man. No matter what type of work he does. Whether cleaning night soil or garbage, he has my respect. But not a man that stands on the corner of the street or in front of the supermarket looking for an easy way to make a living. As the PM once said, “Go bun Coal”. In other words, do something. Don’t be lazy.

  5. Maduro should make them pay in advance for the oil as they may just take his oil and hold on to the money. Britain gave Venezuela its gold yet that they holding on to?

Comments are closed.