Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

The United States Puts Pressure on Venezuela with New Political Sanctions

The United States continues to pressure Venezuela with new political sanctions. On Monday, the Trump administration announced sanctions on Iran and Venezuela for violating an “arms embargo.” Tuesday’s sanctions have been imposed on five political representatives linked to the opposition for allegedly being part of a plan to manipulate the parliamentary elections in December.

Facebook Twitter Share
Image: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joins Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum in talks in Bogotá, Colombia (EFE / Colombian Foreign Ministry)

The new U.S. announcements come as part of a tour by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week of four South American countries, including Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana, to put pressure on the Maduro government.

Pompeo said on Monday that the new sanctions against Iran’s defense ministry and against Nicolás Maduro are for contributing to the violation of the arms embargo imposed on Tehran, warning that anyone who “violates the UN embargo on Iran risks being sanctioned.”

Pompeo added, “For nearly two years, corrupt Tehran officials have worked with Venezuela’s illegitimate regime to circumvent the U.N. arms embargo. Our actions today are a warning that should be heard around the world.” Maduro has long been sanctioned by the United States, though the sanction is focused more heavily on Iran.

On Saturday, the United States announced the imposition of sanctions using the mechanism known as “snapback,” included in the 2015 nuclear agreement that Washington abandoned a few years ago. This action took place even though the UN Security Council refused to extend the embargo on Tehran.

In addition, as reported by some media outlets such as EFE, “the measure goes hand in hand with the effort of U.S. President Donald Trump to limit Iranian regional influence and comes a week after agreements negotiated by Washington for the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel.”

After learning of Washington’s decision, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have warned that the United States’ announcement to reimpose the sanctions has no “legal effect” because the United States withdrew from the nuclear agreement in 2018. Russia, one of the other signatories of the agreement and Iran’s main ally on the international scene, has also rejected this step taken by Washington. For his part, UN  secretary-general António Guterres indicated that the body will not take measures against Iran in the line that the United States has requested because there is no consensus in the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, the sanctioning of Venezuelan individuals announced Tuesday continues the U.S. policy of squeezing Maduro’s government. This comes as negotiations are underway between the Venezuelan government and sectors of the country’s opposition, as represented by Henrique Capriles (Primero Justicia) and Stalin González (Un Nuevo Tiempo), with the participation of European Union.

The newly sanctioned individuals are not from the government or from the upper echelon of Chavismo. They are members of the opposition who sought to take control of right-wing parties through the Supreme Court of Justice. They have thus been sanctioned for “placing control of Venezuela’s opposition parties in the hands of politicians affiliated with the Nicolas Maduro regime, undermining any credible opposition to challenge that regime.” On the list are Miguel Ponente, Guillermo Luces, Bernabé Gutiérrez, and Chaim Bucaran. The United States also imposed sanctions on Williams Benavides, the leader of the Tupamaro movement, which supports Maduro.

Tuesday’s measure freezes the U.S. assets of those on the blacklist and generally prohibits Americans from negotiating with them. These are more symbolic sanctions, since they do not have an impact beyond putting more pressure on and shoring up the opposition sector led by Juan Guaidó and other leaders who are calling for the December elections to be ignored.

More than 20 days ago, the Venezuelan political scene shifted after the announcement of a pardon for 110 opposition leaders, after a negotiation between the government with Capriles and González with the mediation of the Turkish government and which, according to the media, are agreements that would have the approval of the European Union.

In the ranks of the opposition, the political chessboard also shows open divisions, with bitter confrontations and harsh accusations on social media almost daily. One of the main divisions is between those who are calling for the disregard and boycott of the upcoming elections (Guaidó and a group of opposition parties) and those who are still considering participating in the parliamentary elections (Capriles, González) if they can count on the observers of the European Union. There are also divisions among the sector calling for boycotts, as is the case between Guaidó and María Corina Machado, who openly questions the role played by the former throughout 2019 when his roadmap failed: Maduro’s exit.

Many variables are still open, and we will have to wait and see the development of the different political movements, both internal and external. The U.S. elections are ahead of us, and depending on their outcome, they will determine Washington’s policies. Meanwhile, from the White House, the pressure continues, as shown by these recent sanctions on national political figures, while negotiations and pacts are continuing at an accelerated pace — agreements that, as we know, are not good for the workers and the people.

First published in Spanish on September 22 in La Izquierda Diario, Venezuela.

Facebook Twitter Share

La Izquierda Diario Venezuela

Our Venezuelan sister site, part of the international network of La Izquierda Diario

Latin America

Students at UNAM in Mexico raise the Palestinian flag in front of the university in May 2024.

“There Are No Separate Fights”: Interview with a Mexican Student at the UNAM Encampment for Gaza

We interviewed a participant of the student encampment for Gaza at the National Autonomous University of Mexico about democratic assemblies, anti-imperialism, and how Mexican workers and students are fighting to free Palestine.

Samuel Karlin

May 9, 2024

Argentina’s Far-Right President is Once Again Advancing Legislative Attacks on Workers

After a setback in February, Javier Milei, the far-right president of Argentina, is once again pushing a set of laws that would hurt workers. The union bureaucracies and center left parties are containing the ability of the working class to fight back.

Samuel Karlin

May 4, 2024

‘You Have to Change Things from the Root’: Interview With a Young Immigrant

Left Voice interviewed a 23-year-old immigrant, factory worker, and student, who told us about his experience crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. and about the life of Latin American youth in the United States.

Left Voice

April 5, 2024
A square in Argentina is full of protesters holding red banners

48 Years After the Military Coup, Tens of Thousands in Argentina Take to the Streets Against Denialism and the Far Right

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Argentina on March 24 to demand justice for the victims of the state and the military dictatorship of 1976. This year, the annual march had renewed significance, defying the far-right government’s denialism and attacks against the working class and poor.

Madeleine Freeman

March 25, 2024

MOST RECENT

Pro-Palestine encampment at UCLA in May, 2024.

“The Working Class has the Power to Stop this Genocide”: Interview with a UAW 4811 Rank and Filer

On Thursday May 15, 48,000 UAW Academic workers voted to authorize a strike, the largest academic workers union in the country to do so. Left Voice interviewed UAW 4811 member Peter Ross about what sparked this historic vote, and the labor movement’s fight for Palestine

Julia Wallace

May 16, 2024
A rally in Brooklyn, people hold up UAW signs

University of California Academic Workers Authorize Strike to Defend the Right to Protest

48,000 workers are one step closer to going on strike to demand that charges and academic sanctions be dropped for the students and faculty who protest the genocide in Palestine and UC’s financial and academic ties to Israel.

Madeleine Freeman

May 16, 2024

Nakba Day: CUNY Faculty Stand Against Repression and for Palestine

On Nakba Day, faculty across different CUNY schools mobilized for Palestine and against the repression of protesters. The actions, organized through an assembly of workers, point toward the solidarity needed to continue and expand the student movement and fight for a free Palestine.

Fight to End the Genocide in Gaza and the Repression of the Palestine Movement. For an Anti-Imperialist, Internationalist, and Revolutionary Movement of Young People and Workers!

On May 15, or Nakba Day, the youth of the Trotskyist Fraction - Fourth International took part in mobilizations across the globe in protest of the “new Nakba” — Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people which it perpetrates with the complicity of the imperialist states.