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CELAC Summit: what do you think in the United States about the visit of Nicolás Maduro to Argentina


The president of Venezuela is scheduled to participate next Tuesday in the regional meeting in Buenos Aires.

The Joe Biden government

did not want to comment

on the visit to Argentina of the Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro, who would arrive in our country to attend the CELAC leaders' summit on Tuesday, but experts consulted by


in Washington pointed out that the American leaders should take advantage of the opportunity to pressure him to call

free elections, respect democracy and the rule of law


Maduro, accused of human rights violations and considered a dictator by the United States, was

invited by President Alberto Fernández

, who today leads CELAC, together with leaders from all over the region and everything indicates for now that he will travel.

The head of La Rosada also invited Biden – who will not attend and will send Chris Dodd, his special adviser for the region – and the Chinese Xi Jinping, who will intervene with a video.

Consulted by Clarín, the State Department declined to respond: "No comment," said a spokesman about Maduro's trip.

Venezuela is an

uncomfortable issue for the United States


Although the Biden administration has recently

softened its policy towards Venezuela

– after the evident failure of the "strong hand" that Donald Trump sought to apply - Maduro continues to be

considered a dictator

, has an arrest warrant in the United States for narcoterrorism and is subject to economic sanctions together with his family and main officials.

On the other hand, the

Biden government today sees Venezuela as a possible energy alternative

and has problems with thousands of Venezuelan refugees fleeing the crisis and violence and seeking to enter US soil.

You need a solution.

The expert's opinion

Michael Shifter

, of the InterAmerican Dialogue, said that “Maduro's visit to Argentina will be

painful for the more than 7 million Venezuelans

who, due to their suffering and misery, have had to leave their country since 2014, with a significant number in Argentina.

Maduro has left an unprecedented economic collapse and humanitarian catastrophe in South America.

"However," Shifter says, "it is not surprising that Maduro was invited to the CELAC meeting. With the resounding failure of the 'maximum pressure' strategy against the Venezuelan regime, which consisted of diplomatic isolation and punitive measures, there is a turn of focus towards greater 'engagement' or commitment, in order to influence towards a greater economic and political opening, using the sanctions imposed by Washington as a pressure tool".

The expert added that "

after all, Maduro participated in COP27

, greeting President Emmanuel Macron and John Kerry, the Biden administration's climate change czar, in addition to visits by senior US officials to Caracas and Washington's support for the humanitarian agreement and with Chevron on oil".

"The big question is whether CELAC member countries, and also the United States and Europe, are willing to take advantage of their commitment to Maduro

to pressure him towards respect for the rule of law

and a democratic path, or rather accept and legitimize his dictatorial rule. The second option would be very disappointing and unfortunate," he added.

Geoff Ramsey

, director of the Venezuela department of WOLA, a Washington-based organization that promotes human rights in the Americas, told


that "the region has understood that the policy of maximum pressure is over and that today the commitment strategy with Caracas is that a democratic solution be addressed via negotiations.

The challenge for President Fernández is to be clear that Maduro does not have a democratic mandate

and at the same time commit to the regime."

For Ramsey, "it will be a mistake for the CELAC regional leaders not to use the opportunity in Buenos Aires to encourage Maduro to start negotiations with the opposition for free elections."

"Washington knows that we are in another moment with Venezuela.

The Biden government has begun to communicate with Maduro

, there have been several trips by US diplomats to Caracas, even Colombian President Gustavo Petro has already begun to interact. The Biden administration understands that each country has different approaches to the crisis in Venezuela. And that there is unity in the call for free elections as a solution to the crisis," he added.

The expert pointed out that "Maduro is subject to an arrest warrant from the United States for drug trafficking and other charges and

if he goes to Buenos Aires he assumes legal risks

. He is also being investigated for crimes against humanity. It is important for countries to be clear that in Venezuelan regime is a severe abuser of human rights and that a compromise with Caracas will shed light on the reality on the ground".

Javier Ruiz

, an expert in international criminal law, said that if he travels to Buenos Aires, Maduro suffers

legal risks on two fronts

: first, with the process that is being followed at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and that accuses him of crimes against humanity .

In this case, says Ruiz, "there is only an investigation and a formal accusation against Maduro, but there is no arrest warrant."

"Another legal front is due to an arrest warrant issued by the Department of State, acting in conjunction with the Southern District of New York, for which he has been accused since 2020, and even offers a reward, on charges of narcoterrorism," he explained.

"If there is an arrest warrant in the United States,

any prosecutor or federal judge can execute

it, applying the principle of Universal Jurisdiction, that is, the international criminal jurisdiction that is given by the nature of the crime. Only a federal judge can do it," Ruiz pointed out.

look too

Regional tension: Alberto Fernández lowered the invitation of the head of the OAS to the CELAC summit

Nicolás Maduro reconfirmed to the Government that he is coming to the CELAC summit

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-01-19

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