[News] Maduro Reacts to Normalization of US-Cuba Relations as Venezuela Sanctions Loom
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 18 12:04:31 EST 2014
Maduro Reacts to Normalization of US-Cuba Relations as Venezuela
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
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
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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