Venezuela Dialogue Offers Way Out of Crisis

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      eridani
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      https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/09/01/venezuela-dialogue-offers-way-out-crisis

      Despite the intense pressure imposed by the Trump administration, the Maduro government enters the talks in its strongest position in years. The governing PSUV party swept legislative elections in 2020. The response to the pandemic has been successful, despite dire prognostications. Left-wing victories in presidential elections in Mexico (2018), Argentina (2019), post-coup Bolivia (2020) and Peru (2021) have eased regional pressure. Currently, the threat of an invasion or coup is almost non-existent.

      Conversely, the opposition faction in these talks—extremists because they supported the sanctions and attempted several coups while boycotting elections—enters divided and weakened. This coalition includes various opposition parties, including Juan Guaidó’s Popular Will and Henrique Capriles’ Justice First. Capriles, a two-time losing presidential candidate, has broken with Guaidó and no longer recognizes the “interim government,” while fellow party member Julio Borges continues to pretend to be Guaidó’s foreign minister.

      For his part, scandals continue to plague Guaidó. It was recently revealed that Guaidó’s team spent $6.5 million in legal fees to challenge ownership of $2 billion in Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England. The money to pay the lawyers came from accounts frozen by the U.S. government and handed to Guaidó. The legal challenge blocked the gold from being used to buy food and medicine for the Venezuelan people in a deal that President Maduro and the UN Development Programme agreed to in May 2020.

      Citgo was among the other assets handed to Guaidó by the Trump administration. The oil company posted $667 million in losses in 2020. Due to the sanctions, its charitable wing, the Simon Bolivar Foundation, was initially blocked from financing treatment for Venezuelan children with rare cancers. The Venezuelan government also saw its attempts to pay blocked by the international finance system. Once Citgo was given to Guaidó’s people, the Foundation was free from the sanctions, yet it decided to stop paying for the treatments. Fourteen children have died while waiting for treatment, victims of both cancer and an economic war.

      Guaidó repeatedly defends U.S. sanctions, while 71% of Venezuelans believe they’ve had a negative impact on the country. He also attempted several coups, authorized a contract with mercenaries that could have sparked a civil war, his appointees are mired in corruption scandals and he was photographed with Colombian paramilitaries. It’s no wonder he’s polling at 4%.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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