A So-Called Embargo

Photo: Sebastian Castañeda / ACNUR retrieved

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) informed  about the Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on Monday night, an order that freezes all assets of the Venezuelan government in the U.S. and forbids any transaction with the Venezuelan government, unless it’s been exempt. This is in line with imposing a total economic embargo to exert more pressure against Nicolás and the countries that keep supporting him, as a high-ranking executive explained to the WSJ. 

The measure puts Venezuela alongside countries like North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba in the category of countries subjected to extreme economic measures by the U.S. The new order threatens to sanction companies and individuals (American or otherwise) that support Maduro’s regime or do business with it. The new sanctions, when they target third party companies that do business with the Venezuelan company, are intended to cause an effect not only in those companies, but also in banks, insurance companies and other types of businesses, but the sanctions aren’t designed to affect citizens’ access to remittances. Is this evidence of the Norwegian dialogue failing? 

Chavismo’s ‘agenda’

Nicolás’s vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, has been uttering the word “prevarication” for days. She learned it in order to insult the Attorney General appointed by Guaidó, José Ignacio Hernández, and give her version of the Crystallex-Citgo case: “We’re looking at the worst republican plundering in history,” she said without mentioning her government, not even when she made accusations about forming criminal gangs. However, the audacious vice-president dared to claim that, for Trump, Guaidó’s political project is a failure.  

Once more, Diosdado Cabello declared for chavismo that the next elections in Venezuela will be the legislative elections in 2020, and informed everyone that the ANC would work until December 31st that year. He also repeated that Claudio Fermín should be part of the opposition delegation in Barbados, as well as Chúo Torrealba and Kiko Bautista. 

Nicolás’s Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, competing against El Chigüire Bipolar’s humor, asked Venezuelans residing or traveling to the U.S. to take extra precautions or move their trips, because of the shootings in the U.S. this weekend. He lies, as always. In the end of this memo, he says that several cities in the U.S. are among the 20 most dangerous cities in the world, citing an article in Forbes magazine, dedicated especially to the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Venezuela has really won the sad record of having many cities among the most dangerous on the planet. 

The non-country

Nine states in the country report diphtheria cases, informed the Panamerican Health Organization, in its epidemiology report. In 2019, so far, only two countries have reported cases of this disease, preventable with a vaccine: Haiti and Venezuela. 

Sonia de Quevedo, Anabel Quevedo’s mother, the journalist that has been missing for over 40 days, said on Twitter that she went to CICPC headquarters and nobody listened to her. Commissioner Douglas Rico replied: “It doesn’t matter how many times you doubt and question our work, or how many times you insult us. We’ll give you an answer,” he said, forgetting he’s a public officer and he should stand with victims and families, and that his arrogance only hurts his performance. 

Nicolás’s Culture minister, Ernesto Villegas, informed that Roque Valero was appointed head of CNAC. This happened a few days after Nicolás praised the show Bolívar on Netflix, even though we’re not sure what credit card he’s using to pay for this service. 

On Sunday night, PNB officers detained actors Aisak Ovalles and Pedro Huice, from the play Dos policías en apuros, for using PNB uniforms. They also detained Leunam Torres, director of the play and producer Johana Villafranca. They used Twitter to explain that they were detained for “usurping public functions” and that they play “seeks to ridicule and distort police functions.” If they were doing a play, how could they be usurping functions? They were released on Monday, August 5th. 

Journalist Víctor Salmerón explained on Twitter: “The Central Bank admits to a debt of  $131,000 million,but when you add other things, like what’s owed to foreign companies expropriated by Chávez, the amount is $168,000 million. Venezuela is behind on capital and interest payments on Finance Ministy bonds and public companies like Pdvsa by  $11,900 million. And debt is over 600% of our annual income from exports: the country’s bankruptcy is a fact.” 

Little Colombians

On Monday, President Iván Duque announced that Colombia will give citizenship to over 24,000 children of Venezuelans parents born in their territory since August 2015, a measure to guarantee their fundamental rights and prevent them from falling into the stateless condition. The measure will be in place for two years and will guarantee the children’s citizenship, access to healthcare and education, among other benefits: “Today, we stand with these defenseless creatures who want to have the right to citizenship and we proudly say, they are Colombian,” said Duque that morning. The children of Venezuelan parents born in Colombia won’t be able to be registered as Venezuelans because Venezuela closed down its diplomatic mission in the country, and weren’t able to be registered as Colombians up until now, because the rules stated that only foreigners with legal residence could do so. Most Venezuelan refugees left the country without passports. Identity is another right cruelly violated by chavismo. That’s why the fact that Brazil accepted the extension of expired Venezuelan passports for five years is also in the news. 

Movements on the board

The rest of the new U.S policies to pressure for overthrowing Nicolás, as well as the projects for economic and political solutions after that happens, will be revealed on Tuesday, August 6th to the countries that attend the International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela that will take place in Lima. 59 countries will attend, excluding China, Russia, Cuba and Turkey. 

Besides, the U.S. is opposing a potential election in Venezuela with Nicolás still in power, according to a statement by John Bolton, the White House security advisor. He also said that the chavista government “knows” the electoral system and because of it, it could manipulate the elections. He also said that the conversations taking place between the government and the opposition in Barbados, “aren’t serious” and they allowed Nicolás to buy some time. 

Bolton also warned China and Russia to not bow before Nicolás, that Venezuela could not pay the debt with them after the regime falls, for considering them hostile powers that backed Nicolás’s “criminal regime” and choose not to pay back millions of dollars in loans. 

Venezuelan ambassador before the Lima Group, Julio Borges, will lead a Foreign ministers summit with the goal of creating a final siege, in the short term, against Nicolás’s regime: “The goal of this conference is having the countries that continue to support Maduro’s regime join the Latin American agenda and understand that the only solution for Venezuela is the end of the dictatorship,” he said. 

Lima will be the stage yet again, for an international effort to find a way out of our political crisis. The goal, according to the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, is to “appreciate Venezuela’s dire situation and its regional impact from several points of view, in a space for dialogue and plural reflection.” So far, all the efforts have failed to provide convincing results. By not having countries that keep backing Nicolás (Russia, China, Iran, Bolivia and Cuba) in attendance, it looks like this conference will only deliver another document suggesting a pacific solution and demanding free elections, and nothing more. 

 

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