By Peter Bolton – Jun 27, 2021
Western governments have recently expressed a willingness to “review” sanctions against Venezuela’s democratically elected government. Of course, this should be welcomed given the huge harm that sanctions have caused to Venezuela’s civilian population. But, as always, we must be skeptical of these governments’ motives. This latest move could simply be the next chapter in the ongoing regime change saga.
Lifting sanctions as prelude to negotiations
On 25 June, the US, Canada, and the European Union (EU) indicated they’d potentially be willing to lift sanctions against Venezuela as part of negotiations with president Nicolás Maduro’s government. US secretary of state Antony Blinken, Canadian minister of foreign affairs Marc Garneau and EU high representative for foreign affairs Josep Borrell said in a joint statement that sanctions could be lifted in exchange for restoring “the country’s institutions” and “credible, inclusive and transparent local, parliamentary, and presidential elections”.
The statement follows meetings between Juan Guaidó’s representatives and Washington officials on 23 June. Guaidó is the leader of the attempted coup against Maduro. Meetings were held with Biden administration personnel from the White House, the State Department, the Treasury, and several congress members. Amongst the latter were senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez, both of whom are known for their hardline stance against the US’s adversaries in Latin America.
Guaidó finally relenting on negotiations, which government supported all along
As The Canary reported in May 2021, Guaidó indicated willingness to enter into negotiations last month. Much of the corporate-owned media characterized this as some kind of generosity on his part. But Maduro’s government has, in fact, been willing to negotiate ever since the coup attempt began in January 2018. Guaidó’s about-face on the issue appears to be a result of his weakened position.