A group of Venezuelan civil society leaders, economists and analysts have called on the United States, the administration of President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition to restart political talks to ease oil sanctions that would ease the humanitarian crisis.
In a letter to US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ambassador to Venezuela James Story, the group called on the US government and lawmakers to overcome “domestic political pressures” which they say , hampered the progress of negotiations with Maduro. They also called for agreements that allow the return of Western oil companies and other private companies to recover the Venezuelan oil sector and contribute to energy security in the hemisphere.
Among the signatories are Ricardo Cusanno, former director of the Fedecamaras chamber of commerce, political analysts Michael Penfold and Luis Vicente León, and economists José Guerra, José Manuel Puente, Francisco Rodríguez and Luis Oliveros.
“Let’s face it: the policy of maximum pressure and economic sanctions against Venezuela have not achieved their goals,” the group said in the letter, released Thursday. “Although the sanctions did not cause the humanitarian emergency in Venezuela, they have seriously worsened the conditions of the average Venezuelan.”
A rare meeting between Maduro and senior US officials in Caracas last month sparked a strong bipartisan backlash over speculation that sanctions relief was on the table to free up oil supplies following Russia’s invasion of China. ‘Ukraine.
While the United States insisted the meeting focused primarily on the release of several political prisoners held in Caracas, the Venezuelan opposition led by Juan Guaidó also spoke out against the possibility of sanctions relief. without “concrete steps” towards a return to democracy in South America. country.
The group’s stated intention is to promote Venezuela’s return to global oil markets through a design that would ensure that revenues would be used to fight widespread poverty.
The letter also calls on the Maduro administration to return in good faith to the negotiating table with the opposition and seek political and electoral, not just economic, agreements.
The opposition should “unite around fundamental and realistic principles that underpin potential agreements”, according to the letter. “We encouraged the opposition not to be held hostage by extreme positions that only prolong the painful status quo.”
by Nicolle Yapur & Andreina Itriago Acosta, Bloomberg
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