It’s a tale as old as time: the US vs. Venezuela. But this is not just a story of US aggression and Venezuelan resilience; it’s also a story of US hypocrisy and the devastating effects of sanctions on the Venezuelan people. Today, we’ll explore the ultimatum issued by Rodríguez and its implications for the future of US-Venezuela relations.
On 9th March, 2023, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN), Jorge Rodríguez, issued an ultimatum to the United States of America: Lift economic sanctions or there will be no talks with the Venezuelan opposition.
The ultimatum comes amid increasing tensions between the US and Venezuela, and follows the failed Mexico talks between the Venezuelan government and its opposition.
The ultimatum was made during a speech at an Anti-Imperialism Day event in Caracas, held to mark the eighth anniversary of the US Executive Order that declared Venezuela an “Unusual and Extraordinary Threat” to the US security.
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Rodriguez said, “Venezuela is not going to sign any agreement with that sector of the Venezuelan opposition until we are 100% free of sanctions, until the 765 unilateral coercive measures signed by Donald Trump and Barack Hussein Obama are lifted.”
#09Mar || Día del Antiimperialismo|| Presidente, diputado Jorge Rodríguez:
"Con toda responsabilidad digo, no vamos a firmar ningún acuerdo hasta que no levanten las 765 sanciones impuestas. ¡Si queremos elecciones justas libres de sanciones" pic.twitter.com/RiVsfZVMfB
— Asamblea Nacional 🇻🇪 (@Asamblea_Ven) March 9, 2023
Rodriguez said that Washington’s pressurizing sanctions have only helped Venezuela. He said, “They wanted to erase the Bolivarian revolution from the face of the earth. But on the contrary: they made us stronger, they made us more dignified, they made us love our independence, our socialism, even more.”
Rodríguez accused the US of orchestrating a “true plan” to put an end to the Bolivarian revolution, and recalled the cruelty of the US aggression, especially in the way they took advantage of the illness of Commander Chávez.
The President of National Assembly furthermore mentioned that a social contract was authorized by the Venezuelan Government and the opposition in November of last year, outlining the retrieval of over 3 billion dollars in Venezuelan State funds that are blocked in the international financial system. He also expressed his disappointment that this contract has yet to be fulfilled.
The US has constantly tried to undermine Venezuelan sovereignty. It is highly critical of Nicolas Maduro and doesn’t recognise him as the legitimate President. It recognised Juan Guaido as the President of Venezuela in 2018 who has lost the position lately. It imposed hundreds of sanctions to impede Maduro’s government.
Sanctions on Venezuela
The US sanctions on Venezuela have been far-reaching and devastating, restricting the country’s access to basic goods and services. The US has also implemented a de facto financial blockade, with US-led sanctions resulting in the theft of billions of dollars from Venezuelan assets.
These include the $4 billion in CITGO profits, $2 billion in gold held at the Bank of England, and $7 billion in reserves held at US and European banks. The sanctions have also blocked the sale of four billion barrels of oil, resulting in the loss of $232 billion. In total, since the sanctions were imposed, the country has lost more than $630 billion.
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The US has also been accused of attempting to destabilize Venezuela, with an electricity blackout sabotage in 2019 and multiple assassination attempts on President Maduro.
Despite the US aggression, the Venezuelan people, Armed Forces and President Maduro have managed to resist and thwart the US’s draconian plans.
The US has also failed to honour a social agreement made with the Venezuelan opposition in November 2020, which would have allowed the release of $3 billion in frozen assets. Instead, the Biden administration sent a letter to the UN stating that they did not guarantee the safety of those funds.
In his speech, Rodríguez also noted the lack of credibility of the opposition and its failure to comply with agreements and promises made within the framework of the México Talks.
The ultimatum issued by Rodríguez serves as a reminder of the devastating effects of US sanctions on Venezuela, and the need for the US to lift these sanctions for any dialogue with the Venezuelan opposition to take place. It also highlights the resilience of the Venezuelan people in the face of US aggression, and their commitment to defending their sovereignty and freedom.
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