Caracas, May 10, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com)—Lawmakers within the US House of Representatives are calling on President Joe Biden to end Trump-era illegal sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela, “which serve as push-factors for the humanitarian crisis seen at our southern border.” They argue that the failed strategy has been counterproductive, as the citizens of those countries, who suffer illegal US sanctions first-hand, choose the United States as their destination.
This initiative is promoted by 21 members of the Democratic party, and comes as the Biden administration expects a significant influx of migrants at the US-México border, following the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday, May 11. Title 42 was a rule imposed by the US government during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to quickly expel large numbers of migrants at the border, says a Washington Post report by John Hudson, a US national security reporter with a clear partisan approach, published on Wednesday.
Among the signatories are Congress-members from border states such as Nanette Barragán (California), Raúl M. Grijalva (Arizona), and Greg Casar (Texas), as well as members of the Democratic Party’s so-called progressive wing, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ro Khanna (California), Jesús “Chuy” García (Illinois), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).
“As members from border states, states that have received increasing number of migrants, and others from across the country,” wrote the lawmakers, “we strongly agree with the views expressed during the Summit of the Americas in June 2022 that we ‘need to identify the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement’ and commit to ‘supporting countries across the Western Hemisphere to create the conditions to improve quality of life, especially in marginalized communities.'”
“While the number of migrants coming to the Southern border has dropped somewhat from its peak, experts both inside and outside of the Department of Homeland Security expect arrivals to increase sharply with the expiration of Title 42 on May 11,” reads the initiative.
“Experts widely agree that broad-based U.S. sanctions — expanded to an unprecedented level by your predecessor — are a leading contributing factor in the current surge in migration,” the letter adds. “In light of their grave humanitarian toll on the peoples of those countries, and the significant logistical challenges that the resulting increase in migration is causing for [US] federal, state, and local authorities, we urge you to act swiftly to lift the failed and indiscriminate economic sanctions that were imposed by the prior administration, and engage in a broader review of pre-existing sanctions policies that your administration inherited, which exacerbate hardship for innocent civilians and serve as additional push-factors for migration.”
Today, @RepRaulGrijalva and I sent a letter to @POTUS urging him to review and rescind broad-based sanctions in Cuba and Venezuela.
Most of the Trump administration-imposed sanctions remain and continue to exacerbate our challenges at the border 👇🏽https://t.co/CgrRkIdML4
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) May 10, 2023
The lawmakers also recognized the initiative of Colombian President Gustavo Petro in organizing the International Conference on Venezuela in Bogotá in late April of this year, and urged President Biden to improve dialogue with regional partners.
“We are heartened by recent steps that your administration has taken in this direction,” the lawmakers’ letter reads on this issue, “but most of the Trump administration-imposed sanctions remain, and continue to exacerbate our challenges at the border. We hope that dialogue with regional partners, like your meeting with Colombian president Gustavo Petro, will communicate a willingness to consider a new approach.”
The initiative was led by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, a Democratic Party lawmaker from Texas, “a co-chair of Biden’s re-election campaign.” This sets up “a major clash with another influential Democrat, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey,” who belongs to the extreme right-wing of the Democratic Party.
US Government Orders Confiscation of Venezuelan Cargo Plane Detained in Argentina For Nearly a Year
Some Texas cities, including El Paso and Laredo, have declared states of emergency, and are renewing anti-migration laws, as authorities expect an influx of thousands of migrants, mainly from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua because they would get preferential treatment to receive asylum.
A number of organizations have endorsed the 21 Democrat lawmakers’ initiative, such as the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Center for International Policy, Demand Progress Education Fund, Just Foreign Policy, Families for Freedom, and the National Immigrant Justice Center.
The call to lift the blockade against Venezuela is not only coming from President Nicolás Maduro’s government, it has been joined by some Venezuelan opposition groups and now some US Congress members.
In recent days, coincidentally after Colombian President Petro’s conference on Venezuela, the Biden administration has tightened the illegal sanctions regime on Venezuela by authorizing the liquidation of CITGO Corporation, the most valued asset abroad of the Venezuelan state, estimated at $11 billion and generating revenues above $1 billion a year. The illegal sanctions measures also include the transfer of $342 million from frozen Venezuelan accounts to opposition politicians, and the seizure of a Boeing 747 belonging to Venezuelan state-owned cargo airline Emtrasur, subsidiary of Conviasa, that has been detained in Argentina for over a year.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
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