[News] Maduro Reacts to Normalization of US-Cuba Relations as Venezuela Sanctions Loom

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 18 12:04:31 EST 2014

  Maduro Reacts to Normalization of US-Cuba Relations as Venezuela
  Sanctions Loom

By Z.C. Dutka


Santa Elena de Uairen, December 17th, 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- 
During a Mercosur summit held today in Argentina, Venezuelan president 
Nicolas Maduro called Barack Obama’s recent move toward normalizing 
US-Cuba relations “brave,” while the rest of the trade bloc released a 
statement condemning the US leader for approving sanctions against 
Venezuela last week.

“[I am] very happy,” Maduro said, applauding the White House decision to 
release today three Cuban political prisoners and improve diplomatic 
ties with the communist country’s government that have remained frozen 
since the Cold War.

“We must recognize the gesture of president Barack Obama, a brave and 
necessary gesture in history. He has taken a step, perhaps the most 
important one of his presidency,” the Venezuelan president said.

Late socialist leader Hugo Chavez was a staunch ally of Cuba, and 
developed numerous programs for trade and regional development that 
benefitted the island nation whose economy was otherwise crippled by a 
US blockade.

But while Chavez’s successor said he is heartened at this new 
recognition Cuban sovereignty, other news from the White House suggests 
Venezuela may replace Cuba on Washington’s black list.

Last week, Obama approved a bill including sanctions against the South 
American country, officially accusing the Maduro administration of 
endorsing human rights violations in its response to violent 
anti-government protests that racked the country earlier this year.

Pro-revolution Venezuelans responded to this new measure in mass 
demonstrations on Monday <http://venezuelanalysis.com/images/11084>, 
flooding the streets and social media platforms with ant-imperialist 

Members of the government responded similarly, vehemently rejecting the 
sanctions with choice words throughout the weekend.

During today’s meeting, member states of the Mercosur trade bloc, 
including Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, released a joint 
statement condemning the sanctions as “an infringement on the principles 
of no intervention in other states’ affairs.”

The document added that the measures do nothing to “contribute to the 
stability, social peace, or democracy in Venezuela,” despite being named 
the Venezuelan Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act.

Mercosur joined the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America 
(ALBA) in manifesting its “firm support and solidarity” for the 
Venezuelan government.

Some Latin American leaders have been more outspoken in their defense. 
Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega told press last week that U.S. 
Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen had been 
banned from Nicaraguan territory for their role in spearheading the bill.

In an interview with broadcaster TeleSUR yesterday, Bolivian president 
Evo Morales said that the United States had failed to conspire 
politically against both Chavez and Maduro, and were now imposing 
sanctions as a form of “economic aggression.”

Morales made reference to other such US efforts to cripple autonomous 
nations’ economies, such as the embargo which continues to hold Cuba’s 
trade opportunities in a vice.

“We [the countries of this region] have a clear orientation for 
confronting this sort of economic aggression, of which I am convinced 
Venezuela is bearing the brunt of now,” the Bolivian leader said, “But 
as long as we are united, organized and active, it is impossible that 
the empire will dominate us again.”

Maduro has also expressed determination at overcoming the oil nation’s 
economic obstacles, both inherent and imposed, in 2015. While pledging 
to diversify production and reduce dependency on oil revenue, the 
Venezuelan leader explained his plans to delegate more of his political 
agenda and dedicate his time “to fighting the economic war.”

Meanwhile, in an interview this evening with Reuters, Venezuelan 
opposition leader and twice-defeated presidential candidate Henrique 
Capriles scoffed at the apparent new ties between the US and Cuba.

"It looks like Raul is cheating on Nicolas!” he said. "All of the 
Americas going in one direction, and Nicolas doesn't know where he's 

But Morales painted a very different picture to TeleSUR, drawing on the 
recent admission of Caribbean islands Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis to 
the left-leaning ALBA alliance.

“Anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist thought continues to grow, and I 
am sure that it will keep expanding,” the Bolivian president said.

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