The US Government and Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, threatened today to continue to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro while continuing the dialogue with the opposition currently being mediated by Norway.
Venezuelan ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada, considered that the only objective of Almagro and Abrams was “to destroy the only possibility that exists within Venezuela to reach a peaceful agreement”, as well as “to push again Venezuela on the brink of war and aggression”.
At a press conference in Washington, the US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams expressed confidence in opposition leader Juan Guaidó and promised to continue with pressure on Maduro; while Almagro was harder and came to believe that the dialogue will only work if Washington continues to sanction Maduro and Cuba.
“That this process will be successful will essentially depend on the pressure that the US puts on all the fundamental factors that oppress the Venezuelan people: the Cuban factor and the criminal and usurping logic factor of Nicolás Maduro,” OAS secretary general said.
“Beyond what is negotiated on the table, if something goes out there, it will be due to the pressure of other credible threats and US pressure,” he added.
Norway began a mediation process between Maduro and Guaidó this May, which this week met in Barbados, in what is the third round of dialogue.
So far, no leader has offered details about these talks, in which opposition calls for new presidential elections, something Chavismo has previously denied, as Maduro took his second six-year term just last January.
In this regard, about the secrecy of the negotiations, Abrams said that “confidentiality” is important for them to succeed.
“The US,” he added, “wants there to be a peaceful return to democracy in Venezuela, we hope these negotiations will be successful. Interim president Guaidó and his team are not negotiating in Barbados because they trust the regime, but are negotiating to end with that regime”.
The person in charge of Venezuela envohad to leave the room a little earlier than expected because he had to return to the State Department to call Guaidó by telephone, he said.
He was replaced by the US ambassador. before the OAS, Carlos Trujillo, who assured that the sanctions that Washington has imposed on Maduro and Havana in recent months – among which is the prohibition of cruises to the island – is “only the beginning and not the end of the measures” they are willing to take.
The press conference, which took place at the OAS headquarters, did not have large announcements and led some journalists to ask why the situation seems to have stalled.
The former chief of security of the Mayor’s Office of Caracas Iván Simonovis, who was an iconic prisoner in Venezuela, influenced this sentiment and took the opportunity to urge the international community to act.
“My question is, what are we going to do? (…) My concern at the moment is what we have to do now, because if people are tired of something it is diagnostic, it is to hear what they already know, what Does the world need more to understand that what happens in my country is something horrible?” he asked.
At 59, Simonovis left Caracas clandestinely in May after spending 15 years in prison and having been sentenced to three decades in prison for his alleged responsibility in the deaths produced during the failed 2002 coup against the then president Hugo Chávez (1999-2013).
Right after the press conference at the OAS ended, Moncada – the highest-ranking official representing Maduro in the US – appeared before the press at the United Nations.
Moncada described the OAS event as a “crazy circus” and a “fright of shamelessness”; and took the opportunity to attack Almagro by saying that he “looks like the secretary of the Department of State” of the US and a “subordinate” of Abrams.
In his appearance, Moncada returned again and again to the idea that Caracas only wants to resolve this conflict peacefully, while part of the international community and at its head the United States and Colombia are only trying to drag Venezuela into a warlike conflict and launch a military intervention.