Venezuela, a Potential Supplier

Among other news, Guaidó warned that sanction relief must be conditioned to real progress towards a democratic transition and freedom.

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked about the work of American officials when they met with Maduro: “We have common interests with Venezuela, including supporting the democratic aspirations of the Venezuelan people, securing the freedom of Americans that are unfairly imprisoned there.” He added there’s an interest in “maintaining a steady supply of energy, even though our diplomatic efforts. He celebrated the freedom of Gustavo Cárdenas and Jorge Fernández and confirmed their return to the U.S., “escorted by Roger Carstens, our special envoy for hostage situations.” Carstens was negotiating their freedom in December and El País journalists think he’s still in Venezuela, waiting for other prisoners. 
  • Maduro assured that PDVSA will increase production: “We’ll reach 2 million barrels per day this year,” even though the severe deterioration of the oil industry can’t support that claim. 
  • “Sanction relief must be conditioned to real progress towards a democratic transition and freedom (…) and must translate into direct solutions for Venezuelans’ lives. Lifting any measure, if it’s not oriented towards democratization, will only strengthen authoritarianism,” warned Guaidó, while he ratified his disposition to restart the negotiation process. “Only a country with democratic, institutional and transparent guarantees can be a reliable energy supplier.” The White House called it an “encouraging sign.” Economist Asdrúbal Oliveros said that the U.S. aspirations for Venezuela could be tied to a political agreement that brings institutional reform, freedom for political prisoners, electoral improvements and that they expect that these agreements contribute to the synchronicity of political reform and opportunities in the oil sector. 
  • Senior citizens protested in several cities against their low pensions. Most signs were about the figures being too low to survive. In February, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Finance, the basic food basket surpassed 350 dollars, while pensioners receive 7 bolivars per month. At the current BCV exchange rate of 4.30 bolivars, that’s 1.62 dollars. In Caracas, protestors met with representatives of the IVSS and gave them a document with their demands. 
  • NGO Una Ventana por la Libertad said that at least 123 prisoners died in preventive prison centers in 2021, 95 of them of health complications.  The NGO reported that prison overcrowding was 161% in 2021. 
  • Journalist Roland Carreño has been in prison for 500 days after his arbitrary arrest and human rights activist Javier Tarazona for 250. He’s been a victim of torture. Their health is severely compromised because of the conditions they’re kept in. 
  • The director of Coalición por los DDHH, Ana Leonor Acosta, demanded the release of over 300 political prisoners in the country. 
  • Foro Penal assured the regime is still using political prisoners as negotiating tools and said that there are still eight Americans in prison in Venezuela. 
  • Venezuela will receive 6.5 million doses of the vaccine through COVAX, announced the PAHO. 
  • 13,500 Venezuelans that registered to legally live and work in Trinidad and Tobago in 2019 can extend their permits until December, 31st, 2022. Nobody has said anything about the investigation on the baby who was murdered by the Coast Guard. 
  • Russia bombed a maternity hospital in Mariupol, said Ukrainian president Volodimir Zelensky and assured that “this was the definitive proof that what’s happening is Ukrainian genocide.” He asked for tougher sanctions against Russia, a no-fly zone and more fighter jets to defend his country. Ukraine warned about the risk of having a radioactive leak because of the failures of the electric system that supplies Chernobyl. The World Economic Forum, which will take place in Davos in May, suspended its relationship with Russia and cut ties with all sanctioned persons or institutions. 
  • Between 2.1 and 2.2 million Ukrainians have left the country, according to UNHCR. 
  • The UN reported that over 516 civilians have been killed, including 37 children. 
  • Russia said that the U.S. is waging “economic war” against them and the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that her country will achieve Ukraine maintaining a neutral status and that they “rather achieve it through dialogue” and that their plan doesn’t include overthrowing the Ukrainian government. In addition to confirming that Russia used thermobaric missiles against Ukraine, the U.S. and the UK are concerned they’ll use chemical or biological weapons too. 
  • Ignoring all the violence until today, Maduro said that there’s the danger a “military war” will come, asking to de-escalate the “economic war” and prevent nuclear war. He also asked for support for his recent decisions, meaning with the U.S., because “Venezuela humbly plays a part in the world’s geopolitics.” 

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.