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The US and Venezuela get closer again with a new visit by Biden officials


The bid of the international community for the reactivation of the negotiating table in Mexico with the opposition continues

The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.- (AFP)

Officials from the Joe Biden Administration are back in Venezuela, on their second visit in 2022 after years of broken relations and hostilities.

Nicolás Maduro confirmed that the envoys had arrived in the country and were meeting with Jorge Rodríguez, president of the National Assembly and representative of the Chavista government in the negotiations with the opposition.

"Jorge Rodríguez at this time is receiving an important delegation from the United States Government that arrived in Venezuela two hours ago," said the president in a televised act on Monday night.

This is a new move in the approach chess game that Washington has been attempting since last March, when it began to exert public pressure so that Chavismo and the opposition resume negotiations in exchange for concessions in the sanctioning regime that has cornered the Maduro government and to the South American country.

The AP announced that the delegation includes Ambassador James Story and the envoy for hostages, Roger Carsten, who also came to the first visit in which, within the most immediate steps, the United States managed to free two of its citizens. prisoners in Venezuela.

Last week it became known that the American John Mathew Heat tried to commit suicide.

He has been imprisoned in a military prison since September 2020 on the alleged charge of being an American spy.

His relatives had previously denounced the serious health situation of the detainee and that the White House had not acted with the urgency that it deserves.

The visit of Biden officials also occurs after delegations from Chavismo and the opposition saw each other at the Oslo Forum, invited by Norway, last week.

For a couple of months, a return to the talks that began in Mexico in August 2021 with the intention of finding a way out of the Venezuelan crisis that leads to fair and free elections has been underway.

Several pieces have been moved during this time to create the moment in which the parties sit down to negotiate again.

Last October, Chavismo kicked the table and stopped the talks after Colombian businessman Alex Saab was extradited, designated as a front man for Maduro's entourage and who awaits a trial for money laundering in Miami.

Chavismo has not abandoned its demand for the freedom of Saab, whom they describe as a diplomat.

But a few weeks ago, the US made an important concession to Maduro by removing Carlos Malpica Flores, former treasurer of the nation, director of PDVSA and nephew of the first lady Cilia Flores, linked to several corruption cases, from the sanctioned list. .

In addition, he authorized European oil companies such as Eni and Repsol to return to the country and resume operations to pay off their debts and opened the field for Chevron to maneuver in Venezuela.

The other side has not capitalized on anything concrete on the part of Chavismo, which has continued to persecute opposition dissidents.

The latest report by High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, presented last week, once again includes serious human rights violations in the country.

The bid to return to negotiations has been slow and while waiting for Washington to open up, Maduro has strengthened his relations with Iran.

The scenario of energy geopolitics, disrupted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, seems to be mediating these new approaches.

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, advocated at the G7 summit that Venezuela and Iran - countries with US oil sanctions - return to the market to stabilize the price of crude oil that has led European powers to look towards coal.

This same Monday on television, after announcing the visit of the Americans, Maduro acknowledged receipt of the French president's comment with thanks.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-06-28

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