Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has opened up to discussing a relaxation of the sanctions imposed by the United States on the government of Nicolás Maduro. The initiative that the politician proposes to Washington especially covers the economic measures adopted against Chavista leaders and has the purpose of setting an agreed electoral schedule for Venezuela. This turn, advanced by Bloomberg, seeks to resume the dialogue in Mexico, suspended after the extradition and imprisonment of Alex Saab. The Colombian businessman, a figure very close to Maduro and the Miraflores Palace, faces several accusations of corruption and money laundering and is awaiting trial in the United States.
Until now, sources from the negotiating table linked to the opposition assure that Maduro has not wanted to listen to any proposal from the opposing side and that any decision to return to dialogue is conditional on Saab’s release. In recent days, it has also become known that a negotiating delegation from the Kingdom of Norway, which promoted these talks, will visit the country in the coming days to test the terrain.
The news of the rethinking of the sanctions was initially denied by Guaidó’s entourage. Opposition politicians do not want to talk about “easing” because it does not seem like an appropriate term, but rather about a “progressive uprising” that is the result of the dynamics of the talks in a shared framework of guarantees. Some officials consulted, such as Freddy Guevara, have insisted that the removal of international sanctions on the Chavista regime will only be lifted if it is possible to reach a political agreement that allows the calling of clean elections that open the doors to a return to democracy in Venezuela. No more than that, in his opinion.
Juan Guaidó himself has issued a statement on his personal Twitter account. The other spokespersons did not want to stray from this line: “We ratify our position, and that of our international allies, to return as soon as possible to the process in Mexico to achieve a Comprehensive Agreement. The progressive lifting of sanctions remains subject to complying with the points of the agreement. We are ready to do it.”
This information is known at a time when Nicolás Maduro, Diosdado Cabello and part of the leadership of the official United Socialist Party of Venezuela have eloquently hardened their threatening tone against opposition leaders, particularly those of the so-called interim government, once the electoral result of the State of Barinas, birthplace of Hugo Chávez and one of his most precious symbolic fiefdoms, was finalized, in which there was an electoral victory for the anti-Chavista parties.
Added to this is the fact that Vladimir Putin’s emboldening against the West in the Ukrainian crisis is also making its influence felt in the behavior of Caracas. The threats have included politicians such as Henrique Capriles Radonski and Stalin González, resolute supporters of dialogue with Chavismo, and behind closed doors, internal adversaries of Guaidó in the opposition. A few days ago, a commission of pro-government deputies, headed by Pedro Carreño and Tania Díaz, went to the Attorney General’s Office to ask the prosecutor, Tarek William Saab, to speed up the application of justice against “Juan Guaidó and his accomplices.” ”, under the accusation of attacking the patrimonial assets of the nation, breaking the public treasury and colluding against democracy and the rule of law. Saab has promised to comply with them and in a tweet he went so far as to affirm that the judicial files of his office “compromise hundreds of people.” The National Assembly held a session in which it supported the investigations of the Prosecutor’s Office.
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On social networks, some Chavismo spokespersons have formulated broader accusations on their own, aimed at harassing professional sectors and civil society activists. Guaidó responded to Maduro’s threats by confronting him with the investigations against him in the International Criminal Court and raised the possibility of a tightening of international sanctions on his regime. He then made a new call for dialogue in Mexico. The president of the Chavista parliament, Jorge Rodríguez, recently declared that his party, the PSUV, “reserved legal action” against citizens who unsuccessfully tried to propose a recall referendum against Nicolás Maduro, and called it “stupid” and Guaidó “imbecile” for a statement in which he expressed his potential willingness to accompany the recall initiative if it took flight as a possibility among the population.
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