The United States threatens to toughen sanctions on Caracas again

The United States threatened yesterday to once again tighten sanctions against Venezuela due to the lack of progress towards the release of Americans and “political prisoners” detained “unjustly”, an announcement that comes after Washington lifted sanctions against Caracas.

In a press release issued by the State Department, Washington welcomed Thursday’s announcement of an agreement to allow opposition leaders who want to challenge leader Nicolás Maduro in the 2024 presidential election to challenge his political disqualification.

“This is an important advance,” said the spokesman for US diplomacy, Matthew Miller, who recalled that his country demands the “reestablishment of all candidates.”

“However, we are deeply concerned about the lack of progress in the release of unjustly detained US citizens and Venezuelan political prisoners,” he added in a statement titled “Reconsider easing our sanctions against Venezuela.”

“We continue our active diplomatic engagement on these issues and will say more about next steps in the coming days, given the state of the situation,” the spokesperson added.

The United States announced in mid-October a reduction in sanctions imposed against Venezuela in the gas and oil sectors, in response to an agreement between the Maduro government and the opposition with a view to holding presidential elections in 2024.

In the process, Caracas released five political prisoners, including two figures, former deputy Juan Requesens and journalist Roland Carreño, detained in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

Washington also expressed its “firm commitment” to the Venezuelan people and their “aspirations for a democratic future.” “We are going to continue working with the international community to restore democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela,” explained the State Department spokesperson.

The Norwegian Embassy in Mexico, which acts as a mediator between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, announced on Thursday that both parties have agreed to review the disqualifications of opposition politicians, among whom are the unity candidate, María Corina Machado, according to the agreements signed in mid-October in Barbados.

Machado is subject to a 15-year disqualification order issued in June by the Comptroller General’s Office following the request of a Chavista deputy and based, among other reasons, on alleged administrative irregularities and his support for sanctions approved by other governments. against Venezuela.

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