Sanctions Against Accomplices

OFAC issued new sanctions on three businessmen, 14 companies and six oil tankers, accused of assisting PDVSA in evading U.S. sanctions; Amnesty International designated five workers of NGO Azul Positivo as prisoners of conscience.

  • OFAC issued new sanctions on Tuesday on three businessmen, 14 companies and six oil tankers, accused of assisting PDVSA in evading U.S. sanctions imposed to block Maduro from benefiting from oil sales. They sanctioned Francisco D’Agostino, Philipp Paul Vartan Apikian, owner of Swissoil Trading and Alessandro Bazzoni, Swissoil Trading manager. 
  • Maduro’s AN unanimously approved the start of the process to appoint new CNE authorities, to substitute the ad hoc board of directors that the TSJ imposed in 2020 to illegitimately elect this same AN. 
  • The vice president of Maduro’s AN, Iris Varela, said that the special committee to investigate actions against the country approved exhorting the Judicial Branch and the Public Ministry to issue warrants for the arrest of deputies of the 2015 AN within 48 hours. 
  • Former minister Hugbel Roa said that the commission exhorted the Public Ministry to issue warrants against the deputies elected in 2015 who are still “committing crimes”. 
  • The Consejo del Alba – TCP approved creating a humanitarian fund to constitute a bank to buy coronavirus vaccines. 
  • The Delegate Commission approved suspending Decree 4,391, with which Nicolás created the Economic Zone of Forest Development, an authorization for military officers to grant permits on forests. 
  • The AN will investigate claims about the sex trafficking network in Apure. Juan Guaidó asked several committees to investigate and file the corresponding suits. 
  • The Delegate Commission also debated on the situation of Venezuelan teachers: deputy Marianela Fernández said seven out of ten teachers had to resort to informal commerce to survive, three out of ten have emigrated and that teachers’ salaries range from $1 to $1.5. 
  • The report by the Venezuelan Finance Observatory states that the average price of Merey oil last $28.12 per barrel last year; a 48% drop compared to 2019. 
  • SIDOR didn’t produce a single gram of steel in 2018 and in 2020 they managed to produce 17,000 tonnes of liquid steel, 1% of the installed capacity, reported Correo del Caroní. The entire production of 2020 was achieved in one and a half days in 2007, just before Chávez expropriated it. 
  • Sundde reported that officers have visited stores to “make sure they’re in compliance with the rate established by the BCV in the cases when customers are paying in foreign currency.” 
  • Amnesty International designated five workers of NGO Azul Positivo as prisoners of conscience. They demand their immediate release. 
  • A letter signed by resident UN coordinator Peter Grohmann states that, considering the country’s institutional weakness regarding the distribution of financial humanitarian aid, it’s time to contemplate using other alternatives to minimize the impact of previous measures on the lives of beneficiaries. 
  • FundaRedes director Javier Tarazona said that violence on the Colombia-Venezuela border is the true pandemic impacting citizens, and that during the last three months of 2020 there were 284 murders in the area; at the hands of officers of different security forces. His report Curva de la Violencia also reported 69 disappearanxes and 86 armed clashes in states like  Táchira, Zulia, Bolívar, Apure, Amazonas and Falcón in the last quarter of 2020. 
  • Anthony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, confirmed in a Senate hearing that they’ll continue to recognize the caretaker government of Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly elected in 2015, seeking to “increase the pressure against a regime led by a brutal dictator like Maduro, and work with our allies,” he said. Blinken admitted that Washington hasn’t obtained the expected results with their pressure on chavismo: “We need an efficient policy that can bring democracy back to Venezuela.” 
  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Joseph Borrell assured that the bloc will continue exerting “calibrated and selective” pressure on Maduro’s regime in order to achieve a democratic solution for Venezuela. He reiterated that “the opposition’s united action is fundamental” and that they’ll keep pushing for dialogue with all sectors, especially with Guaidó and the AN elected in 2015.
  • The Industry and Security Office of the Department of Commerce imposed new controls on any American technology that might help military intelligence in China, Cuba, Russia and  Venezuela.
  • Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno warned about “the dangers of having a narco-government like Venezuela’s” in a region where the hemisphere and the world’s main drug cartels operate. 

“I want you to know that the movement we created is only getting started (…) I’m especially  proud of being the first president who didn’t start a war in decades (…) Serving as your president has been an honor beyond what I can describe. 

We’re a peaceful society that only wants the country to succeed,” said Donald Trump in his last speech as president. Last night, it was reported that Trump granted Venezuelans a temporary protection from deportation for the next 18 months. It’s not TPS, but it helps.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.