Various statements leaked over the past few days suggest that the specific commitments reached in the second partial agreement signed by the Venezuelan Government and the Unitary Platform at the National Dialogue and Negotiation Table (MDN) in Mexico in November 2022 are being indirectly boycotted by the United States.
On January 17, the Spanish newspaper El País revealed that the Venezuelan funds illegally seized by US sanctions, amounting to some $3 billion to be released after the agreement in Mexico, continue to be withheld. The outlet reported about a letter sent to the UN by James Story, a United States "ambassador" who is not recognized by Venezuela, where he indicated that these funds could fall into the hands of foreign creditors.
According to El País, this signifies "an earthquake in the heart of the negotiation." It can be understood as a covert maneuver to prevent the release of the funds from taking place in order to weaken the credibility of the MDN in the eyes of the nation and undermine the trust built between the two sides.
On January 16, according to an EFE report, an unidentified State Department spokesperson asserted: "As long as Maduro and his followers continue to repress the Venezuelan people and divert resources for corrupt practices, we will continue to pressure the regime with sanctions."
The declaration occurred amid demonstrations called by the education sector in some states of Venezuela. Washington seeks to make this situation politically profitable to justify the extension of illegal sanctions. These moves come just as the definitive disarray in the opposition bloc lead to the fall of Juan Guaidó and the latest confessions of Leopoldo López, which leaves the US very little room for a maneuver to correct their strategy.
These events and the release of financial resources, as agreed upon in Mexico, would represent a consolidation of Nicolás Maduro’s power and a way to strengthen the political and economic stabilization of the country – threatening US interests. With Maduro gearing up for a re-election campaign, he would start with an advantage against a divided opposition that is fragmented and lacks an identity.
The US interest in weakening the MDN and preventing the release of funds seems to be aimed at intensifying the country’s precarious economic situation, thereby, indirectly affecting the viability of Maduro’s economic recovery plan. However, they cannot openly and insistently tighten the noose, as that could compromise Chevron’s recently approved operations in Venezuela and the very electoral concessions that the Unitary Platform hopes to achieve in Mexico.
Translated by Orinoco Tribune.