French Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reported yesterday morning that the Venezuelan government and the opposition will hold a round of talks in the Dominican Republic, remarking that the government risks being sanctioned by the European Union if they don’t participate. Le Drian issued his statement after meeting with his counterpart Jorge Arreaza in Paris, explaining that the talks will be hosted by president Danilo Medina and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, saying that he expects swift, concrete results.

Conditions

The MUD issued a statement saying that dialogue hasn’t restarted, but that they’ll send a delegation to meet with president Danilo Medina to present their demands, taking the opportunity to reiterate their conditions for a potential negotiation: restoring the vote, setting a fixed electoral schedule including dates for gubernatorial, municipal and presidential elections; releasing political prisoners; dismissing political disqualifications and ending persecution; respecting branch autonomy and providing immediate attention to the economic and social emergency. Nicolás announced that mayor Jorge Rodríguez will be his representative.

Another chance

Spanish José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Dominican Foreign minister Miguel Vargas urged the government and the opposition to start negotiations, as they’re convinced that there’s “a chance for a process of understanding, of mutual recognition and reconciliation.” According them, the process “must uphold the highest respect for democratic principles, human rights, social commitment and national sovereignty” and should be based on formal negotiations with guarantees.

Those are really appropriate words for a Foreign minister, but cynical when coming from Zapatero, after all the time he’s bought for Nicolás.

Mediation

The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Christos Stylianides, said that the European Union is working to find a “credible and significant” regional mediation between the government and the opposition, restating that the EU is considering sanctions, and adding that they believe in dialogue because “it’s the only way to relieve the suffering of the Venezuelan people.” He said they’re demanding urgent measures to reduce tensions and prevent the situation from declining even further.

UN head António Guterres expressed his support for dialogue and called on both parties to “take this opportunity to show their commitment to solve the country’s problems through mediation and peacefully.”

Unlikely

The United States believes that there will be no democratic solution for Venezuela’s political and economic crisis, as long as drug-trafficking pervades the State. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics, William Brownfield, expressed this opinion during a hearing before a Senate committee.

The U.S. ambassador in Venezuela between 2004 and 2007, said that our country poses a colossal threat for the region’s security and that 13 years after he first began working here as an ambassador, he believes that “there will be no long-term, democratic, prosperous and secure solution in Venezuela until there is a solution to the drug trafficking organization presence.”

Dialogue and rabbits

Nicolás said that his trip to Argelia was successful. Claiming that he accepted the meeting in the Dominican Republic (as if it wasn’t him who requested it in the first place) because he supports dialogue. He said he trusts his own word, something that the international community clearly isn’t willing to do, as they insist on the need for a credible process. He spoke of finding “a middle ground” between State controls and fully unrestricted prices, promising that he’ll set the first prices for Plan 50 this week. He announced a special plan of agricultural production so that thousands of young people head to fields to produce food.

Minister Freddy Bernal proposed the relaunching of the Urban Agriculture Plan and the Plan Conejo, calling for a campaign so that people understand that “[rabbits] aren’t pets, but two and half kilos of meat.”

Aside from that, Evo Morales announced that he’s coming to Caracas to participate in the “World Summit of Solidarity with Venezuela,” unknown to most. Perhaps he’ll hold it by himself.

Less oil

OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report shows that Venezuela’s output suffered its biggest drop of 2017 in August, and is currently down to 1,9 billion barrels per day (bpd), a 32,000 bpd decrease compared to July. The report shows that just between August 2016-2017, PDVSA’s output suffered a sustained 8.93% drop.

Professor Francisco Monaldi tweeted:

“According to official source reported to OPEC, Venezuela’s output has dropped by more than 550,000 b/d since 2015. 17,000 b/d in August. Collapse.”

For Inter-American Trends head Antonio de la Cruz, “PDVSA is producing at 1989 levels.”

In the U.S., the National Center for Complex Operations of the University of National Defense requested before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control to open an investigation on ALBA Petróleos’ financial operations and on alleged money laundering within PDVSA.

Human Rights

This Tuesday, countries took turns in the UN Human Rights Council to respond to high commission Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s speech. The chamber was split between the countries who supported the Jordanian and his report on Venezuela and those who accused him of meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs. The U.S. supported the Lima Group’s statement, which took the stage once again to denounce how badly the situation has become in recent weeks due to the ANC’s moves.

The European Union said that the crisis is intensifying and demanded the release of political prisoners.

Meanwhile, the International Commission of Jurists denounced yesterday that the TSJ is subordinated to Nicolás and has stopped operating with autonomy to enforce law and order, and is now bent on serving the administration’s whims.

Nicolás is clinging to old strategies (fueling abstention, trials for treason, certificates of good conduct, political disqualifications, etc.) to increase his low probability of success in regional elections. The cost of EU sanctions would be different to the one he’s “paid” so far with those imposed by the U.S. As oil output keeps faltering, he won’t be able to blame Trump or imaginary wars and blockades for the coming default: the financial mess is his responsibility, just as much as negotiations in the Dominican Republic are his lifeline.

We go on.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The oil output report shows how ineffective sanctions are… because Maduro is sanctioning himself and VZ with less oil production!!!

    But the “negotiations” that will take place are nothing short of a victory for him. MUD will cave or be forced to cave through mediation & arbitration. The ANC already hold all the cards, so, there is little to be gained by going this route.

    MUD and AN should send weekly notices to all bond holders and creditors that the deals struck with the ANC and with Maduro are unenforceable since they violated the constitution. And repayment will be impossible.

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