Venezuela accuses U.S. of breaching Qatari-brokered agreement on lifting sanctions


Venezuelan and American officials discuss alleged breach of Qatar-brokered deal, with tensions rising over sanctions and electoral concerns, according to reports.

Venezuelan and American officials have met to discuss what the former described as the latter’s breach of a Qatari-brokered deal, according to a report by Bloomberg on Saturday.

A meeting took place in Mexico City between Venezuelan and American delegations to review immigration matters and the agreed-upon terms outlined by negotiations spearheaded by Qatar.

The meeting was confirmed by a communique published by Jorge Rodríguez, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly.

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“Based on what was agreed in Doha, we point out the failure of the American administration to comply with the agreed schedule for lifting sanctions,” the statement added.

Reports from Washington also indicate a separate secret meeting took place in Mexico with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and American representatives, such as Daniel P. Erikson, whose security and defence expertise expands to South America.

The purpose of the clandestine meeting was for America to air out her “concerns about Venezuela’s electoral process” and decide whether or not to reinstate sanctions against the South American nation.

Venezuela sanctions programme

Crippling sanctions against Venezuela were initially set to be lifted on April 18.

As recently as March, U.S. President Joe Biden described Venezuela as continuing to “ pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

The President then extended the 2015 national emergency declared in Executive Order (E.O) 13692 for an additional year.

The American Office of Foreign Assets Control chronologises the sanctions, dating as far back as the Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations, against Venezuela.

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This includes E.O.s embargoing property associated with the Venezuelan government, as well as restrictions against the South American nation’s oil sector.

The E.Os came within the American framework of a “national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela.”

This national emergency aims to target what America deems as “the erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as significant public corruption by senior government officials in the country” spearheaded by the Venezuelan government.

In March, the U.S. State Department accused the Maduro administration of unlawfully detaining two key figures from the oppositional campaign team led by former Venezuelan National Assembly member, Maria Corina Machado.

Matthew Miller, the department’s spokesman said, “The decision by Maduro and his representatives to detain two members of the leading opposition candidate’s campaign and issue warrants for seven others represents a disturbing escalation of repression against Venezuela’s opposition parties.”

Miller added that America will continue to work with her international allies to uphold democracy in Venezuela.  

‘Quiet’ Qatari negotiations in 2023

In October 2023, reports emerged of ‘quiet’ negotiations taking place in Qatar between the United States and Venezuela resulting in a “tentative agreement” for free and fair elections in Caracas, to roadmap the easing of American sanctions. 

Reports from the Miami Herald added that the US delegation stressed that international monitors must oversee Venezuela’s elections, which would also lift a ban that prevented opposition figures from running for elections, such as Machado.

Andreas Krieg, an Assistant Professor of Defence Studies at King’s College London, had pointed to Doha’s neutral position as Caracas faces Western and American sanctions.

“Qatar has maintained a very neutral relationship in this regard. Plus, Qatar has really extended its networks in Latin America over the last couple of years. So for Latin Americans, Qatar increasingly appears to be also a trusted partner, particularly when it comes to energy,” Krieg told Doha News.

Source: Doha News