Jacobson tries to walk back what she said, comes up short

Happier times for these two
Happier times for these two

“At the May 8 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Venezuela, the A/S [Roberta Jacobson] made the point that the USG [US government] should not undermine the current dialogue while it still offers a chance of progress.  She noted members of the opposition participating in the dialogue have made that point to us. It is, in part, that concern that informs our belief that the timing is not right for sanctions, although we take nothing off the table.  We wish to clarify that the opposition has not specifically suggested we refrain from sanctions against individuals. Indeed, as the A/S explained in her testimony, some members of the opposition have encouraged it.” (My emphasis)

My take:

  • “The opposition hasn’t suggested we refrain from sanctions” – but yesterday she said members of the MUD had done exactly that. Both ideas are not contradictory. They could, in fact, both be true – “the opposition” may mean one thing, and “members of the MUD” may mean another one.
  • The fact remains that she needs to say “no member of the MUD has suggested we restrain from sanctions. What I said yesterday was not true, and in fact, the opposite is true.” As it stands, her clarification comes up waaaaay short.

Also, Ramón Guillermo Aveledo was on César Miguel Rondón’s radio show. In an uncomfortable interview, this is more or less what he said:

  • He repeats what Jacobson said last night.
  • He does not come out in favor of sanctions against chavistas.
  • He repeats the straw man about the embargo – over and over again.
  • He is agnostic about sanctions on individuals – says that the MUD has no opinion on that. They haven’t even discussed the issue because it is none of their business.
  • He says that he has no way of knowing if particular individuals have come out against individual sanctions.
  • He says that the people complaining about this (I guess it includes me) have always been against the MUD’s efforts.
  • He does not come out in support of sanctions against chavistas.
  • He says he has no idea who could have talked to Jacobson.
  • He comes across very wishy-washy (personally) on whether or not hypothetical people who hypothetically violate human rights should be sanctioned according to the laws of both countries …
  • Changes the subject by saying the US should join the International Court in The Hague.

I think it’s clear that there is a division in the MUD on this issue. Aveledo’s words confirm that there is no consensus – some people probably want sanctions on individuals, others don’t, and these folks have probably lobbied the State Department for that. Ergo, the MUD has no position, as Aveledo says. It’s not that they haven’t discussed it (nobody buys that), it’s that they don’t have a consensus on the topic.

Aveledo is subreptitiously confirming Jacobson’s testimony yesterday. He is basically saying that what Jacobson said in Congress is correct, but that the official position of the MUD is more hands-off.

Whatever. The “official MUD position” is not the issue here. The issue is who inside the MUD has actively lobbied against sanctions, an outrageous act. Somebody has been doing this – he knows it, Jacobson knows it, and we all know it. What we don’t have are names. The Venezuelan public deserves better.