Venezuelan Parliament President Defies US Ultimatum on Political Disqualifications
In a staunch display of defiance against the United States, the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, announced on November 17 that his country would not succumb to external pressures or ultimatums, especially when it comes to the internal political affairs of Venezuela.
Venezuela’s Firm Stance on Sovereignty
Rodríguez made it clear during a press conference that the sovereignty of Venezuela’s political processes would not be compromised. “Venezuela does not accept ultimatums from anyone, we do not care, we do not accept ultimatums,” he said emphatically. He further referenced an existing agreement, the Barbados accord, which was signed with a political faction of Venezuelans, indicating that this was the only agreement Venezuela had sanctioned and would honor.
US Threatens Sanctions amid Electoral Tensions
The backdrop of Rodríguez’s declarations is a recent ultimatum from Washington. The US government gave the administration led by Nicolás Maduro until November 30 to lift the disqualifications imposed on opposition politicians, notably María Corina Machado, who emerged as the opposition’s front-runner for the 2024 presidential elections. The ultimatum also demands the release of political prisoners and adherence to electoral guarantees.
In a bid to ensure compliance, the US has dangled the threat of reinstating sanctions on Venezuelan oil, gas, and gold. This move comes after a six-month easing of such sanctions by the US Treasury Department, which indicated that license renewals would be contingent upon the Venezuelan government’s adherence to its commitments under an agreed electoral roadmap.
Dialogue in Barbados: A Commitment to Electoral Guarantees
The political tussle between Venezuela and the United States originates from a partial agreement reached on October 17, where the Venezuelan government and opposition parties agreed to promote political rights and electoral guarantees. This agreement, signed after renewed dialogue in Barbados, included provisions for inviting technical electoral observation missions from authoritative entities like the European Union, United Nations’ panel of experts, African Union, Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations, and the Carter Center.
As a precondition to the presidential elections slated for the latter half of 2024, these measures aim to establish a fair and transparent electoral environment in Venezuela. They align with the broader political agreement that Venezuelan sectors adopted after reinstating dialogue efforts in Barbados.
Addressing Media Misrepresentations
Rodríguez also took this opportunity to address what he termed inaccuracies being reported in the media and vowed to disclose the details of the discussions at the dialogue table if necessary. “I know what was discussed with foreign agents, I did not say only with the United States (…) and if they force us to point out inaccurate things to the media, we are going to have to point out what is the truth of what was discussed, what was agreed upon, and what was not,” he stated.
Conclusion: A Showdown on Political Autonomy
The Venezuelan parliament’s rejection of US ultimatums serves as a bold statement on political autonomy and emphasizes the country’s determination to preserve its sovereign decision-making process. As the November 30 deadline approaches, the international community is watching to see how this political impasse will evolve and what implications it holds for the future of Venezuela’s political landscape.
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