Venezuelan gov’t: No deals with opposition till sanctions are lifted
Caracas, Mar 9 (EFE).- Talks in Mexico between the Venezuelan government and an opposition coalition will not produce agreement as long as the oil-rich Andean nation remains subject to hundreds of economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the National Assembly speaker said here Thursday.
“Venezuela is not going to sign any accord with that sector of the national opposition until it is 100 percent free of sanctions,” Jorge Rodriguez said at an event for the Day of Bolivarian Anti-imperialism. “Until the 765 unilateral coercive measures signed by Donald Trump and Barack Obama are lifted, we’re not going to do it.”
Rodriguez, who leads the leftist government’s delegation to the dialogue in Mexico, complained that the opposition has not fulfilled the agreement the two sides signed last November for the recovery of more than $3 billion in Venezuelan funds frozen by the US.
The opposition, he said, continues to obstruct the creation of a trust fund administered by the United Nations for the purpose of channeling the funds toward alleviating hunger and improving health care.
Rodriguez used the word “immoral” to describe opposition sectors who previously appealed for US and European sanctions against Nicolas Maduro’s government and are now clamoring for a free and fair presidential election in 2024.
“The dialogues are not for pardons, the dialogues are for agreeing – in the terms in which we can agree – free, competitive, democratic, and without neglect,” the assembly speaker said.
In August 2021, the Maduro government provided the International Criminal Court (ICC) with evidence of the damage done to Venezuela by the US sanctions, arguing that the punitive policies constituted a crime against humanity.
The approach to the ICC followed statements from the UN special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, Alena Douhan, describing the effect of US and European Union sanctions on Venezuela as “devastating.”
Sanctions-driven shortages of electricity, water, fuel, food and medicine are having “enormous impact over all categories of human rights, including the rights to life, to food, to health and to development,” Douhan said.
In a study released in April 2019, the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that the US sanctions caused more than 40,000 deaths in Venezuela in 2017-2018.