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The Second Coming of Sanctions

The United States reinstalled sanctions on Venezuelan gold after the Supreme Tribunal of Justice ratified the bans on opposition candidates. The U.S. also said that oil and gas sanctions will return in April if the government doesn’t commit to the Barbados Agreement and lift the bans.

A Stick After Many Carrots

Jorge Rodríguez said the government was ready for Norway’s proposal to install a commission for verification and monitoring of the agreements after the ratification of the bans from running for office. “We are going to make a new attempt to sustain and maintain the postulates of the Barbados Agreement, despite how attacked it has been”, he said. Nevertheless, both Rodríguez and Nicolás Maduro insisted that the bans are “final.”

Soon after, the United States reimposed sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned gold company Minerven. The State Department followed: “Absent progress between Maduro and his representatives and the opposition Unitary Platform, particularly on allowing all presidential candidates to compete in this year’s election, the United States will not renew the license [on oil and gas] when it expires on April.”

Vicepresident Delcy Rodríguez described the move as “blackmail” and said that if the license is not renewed, “repatriation flights [for Venezuelan migrants in the U.S.] would be revoked and any cooperation mechanism would be reviewed.” Talk about using migrants as weapons.

Meanwhile, María Corina Machado -surrounded by other opposition leader- said she would remain in the race. “Nicolás Maduro is not going to choose the people’s candidate (…) The substitute candidate is the plan of those who do not want change.” But Jorge Rodríguez called for all “pre-candidates” to meet on Monday to define a date for the elections, which could be earlier than expected.

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