Caracas, September 15, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—Washington warned the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela on Thursday, September 15, that its patience is not “infinite” and threatened one more time to intensify sanctions if Venezuela does not resume negotiations with the opposition in Mexico City, which were interrupted last year after White House’s controversial extraction of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab from Cape Verde.
“Nicolás Maduro makes a serious mistake if he thinks that our patience is infinite and that delaying tactics will serve him well. We are prepared to respond with exhaustive sanctions and measures,” the US Department of State Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Nichols promised that, if there is no progress, his government will continue to work in coordination with its partners “to ensure that the regime does not have access to the assets that are frozen” and will promote “investigations” by various organizations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) on human rights violations in Venezuela, where paradoxically the US is not a member state due to the long list of criminal violations that it might be held responsible for.
In recent weeks, the Venezuelan political environment has been agitated within opposition circles by the preparations for primaries, where according to opposition sources, the list of candidates exceeds 40 aspirants to run against President Maduro in the 2024 presidential elections.
The Venezuelan opposition resuming negotiations with the Venezuelan government is key in order to negotiate a possible lifting of legal restrictions or pardons to some opposition leaders who have been involved in criminal acts and who might aspire to run against Maduro in the 2024 presidential race.
A question for Brian Nichols @WHAAsstSecty, "Don't you feel ridiculous referring to Juan Guiadó as President Guiadó?" Time to stop the charade. Like it or not, Maduro is president of Venezuela. Guiadó is nothing but a US puppet. pic.twitter.com/Ftjttnoi1U
— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) September 15, 2022
Meanwhile the Venezuelan government has shown a capacity to overcome harsh US and European sanctions and to advance along the path of economic recovery, thanks to its alliance with China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and, in recent months, with a positive Latin American environment of new progressive governments decisively interested in ending the diplomatic siege promoted by Washington against Venezuela.
President Maduro couldn’t care less
President Nicolás Maduro, in response to the new attack coming from Washington, said on Thursday night that the US threat to intensify sanctions is lost “deep in the sea of contempt.”
“They will scream threats, the US empire, but they must know that their threats are lost at the bottom of a sea of contempt and oblivion and their arrogance remains as a sad fable of what they were and will never be again, a unique empire,” said the Venezuelan president during a televised ceremony in a Venezuela-Iran scientific exposition held in Caracas.
Unstoppable US aggression
Despite all rhetoric coming from Washington about a rapprochement with Venezuela in their need for oil due to their wild and irresponsible sanctions strategy against Russia, facts show it’s Venezuela that is giving signals of willingness to have a necessary, but not indispensable, dialogue with a US in desperate need of energy.
Last March, Venezuela released two US naturalized citizens who were jailed in Venezuela under criminal sentences. Gustavo Cardenas, a former CITGO executive accused of embezzlement, along with 5 other CITGO executives, and José Alberto Fernández, a Cuban American captured while entering Venezuela illegally and flying a drone near a border checkpoint, after the visit of a high level US delegation to Caracas meeting with President Maduro.
Since those negotiations, not a single decision has been taken by the US to show an easing of sanctions besides a timid Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license allowing some oil operations with European countries. While at the same time, a Boeing 747-300 belonging to the Venezuelan state owned cargo company EMTRASUR was seized in Argentina along with a 19 member crew, following an incident of typical US bullying.
Meanwhile Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab will soon mark one year of captivity in a US prison famous for human right abuses against its inmates, without a single advance in his irregular judicial process, currently stuck in demonstrating that he is invested and has been invested with diplomatic immunity since the moment of his unlawful detention in Cape Verde while he was returning from Iran after securing, food, medicine and oil industry parts to circumvent US sanctions.
President Maduro is showing a steady recovery in approval ratings while opposition leaders in Venezuela move in the other direction and are desperate to receive some oxygen from anywhere. Their only hope is to resume an international dialogue negotiation process with Maduro’s government, but political analysts in Venezuela do not see him in need of such a move while additionally his government is having regular dialogues with all the various opposition leaders inside Venezuela.
In this context, no one in the government sees incentives to go back to the negotiation table when the only card the Venezuelan opposition can play is asking its masters in Washington to apply more sanctions. At the same time, Venezuela has been learning, at a very high cost to its population, how to evade them.
Orinoco Tribune special by staff
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