By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS – The Nicolas Maduro regime will not get its sanctions lifted in the foreseeable future as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau expressed their support to Juan Guaido for a “return to democracy in Venezuela” in a conference call.
Guaido is the “Venezuelan Interim President,” Blinken said Tuesday night, after a conference call with the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela.
“Today Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido and I discussed our unwavering support for democracy in Venezuela and our efforts to improve the lives of the Venezuelan people,” Blinken tweeted just after 9:00 pm Caracas time.
Earlier Tuesday, Garneau tweeted about also having had a conference call with Guaido. Canada “is committed to strengthening democracy in our Hemisphere and across the world. Today, I spoke with Juan Guaido to express Canada’s solidarity with the people of Venezuela as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic and reiterate our support for a peaceful return to democracy in Venezuela.”
Guaido claimed the mantle of interim President of Venezuela in January 2019; however, embattled strongman Nicolas Maduro has managed to hold on to power by force of arms. The United Nations, the International Criminal Court and the Organization of American States are all investigating and/or denouncing Maduro for several and varied allegations of crimes against humanity.
Replying to Blinken’s tweet, Guaido stated “We thank (Secretary Blinken) with whom we just had a conversation and President Biden for their firm commitment with the restoring of democracy and stopping the suffering of millions of Venezuelans. The United States is still one of our main allies in achieving this transition.”
This is the second high-level contact between the Guaido and Biden administrations since the 46th US President’s January inauguration, when Carlos Vecchio, the interim administration’s Ambassador to Washington, attended the ceremony in an official capacity.
In his call with Guaido, Blinken “stressed the importance of a return to democracy in Venezuela through free and fair elections,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. In one of Blinken’s first official statements, he called Maduro a dictator.
It was expected by observers in Caracas that Biden would lift the sanctions Donald Trump imposed on Maduro, his wife, the national oil company, the central bank, their children and several other hundred Venezuelan present and former officials, which range from Visa cancellations to, in Maduro’s case, a $15 million bounty.
Biden, in office for over a month, has not yet hinted in lifting the Venezuelan sanctions.
The European Union also has been piling sanctions over sanctions on the Maduro regime. Last week, it sanctioned another 19 Venezuelan officials, bringing the grand total of specially designated regime figures to 55, making the EU second only to the US in terms of number of people sanctioned. Canada has also sanctioned several dozen Maduro regime-linked figures.