Partial agreements with dictatorships are only useful to sustain them, Venezuela is proof of that

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

By: Carlos Sánchez Berzaín - 30/03/2024

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Factual reality again shows that the only possible agreement with dictatorships is for them to leave in order to give back freedom and democracy to the peoples. Venezuela’s situation is proof, manipulated by the 21st Century Socialism dictatorship’s State-terrorism that, once again, perpetrates the commission of crimes to falsify the results of polling they call “elections,” through which they seek to legalize organized crime in the government. Partial agreements with dictatorships are only good to sustain them as demonstrated by the Agreements from Barbados.

With the auspices, presence, and endorsement of the governments from Norway, Barbados, Russia, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States, on 17 October of 2023, in the capital city of Barbados, two agreements were signed; “A Partial Agreement on the Promotion of Political Rights and Electoral Guarantees for All,” and “A Partial Agreement for the Protection of Vital Interests of the Nation.” The signatory parties were “the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” and the “Unitary Platform from Venezuela.”

In its first article, the aforementioned political agreement states “the parties acknowledge and respect the right of every political actor to freely choose, in accordance with its internal mechanisms, its candidate for presidential elections…” The successive articles are guarantees and procedures from which Article 6 stands out, as it states: “The parties shall continue the process of dialogue and negotiation regarding other measures aimed to the strengthening of an inclusive democracy…” An agreement to conduct “elections under a dictatorship” that grants the condition of inclusive democracy to the Venezuelan dictatorship as “strengthening an inclusive democracy!”

The agreement for the “Protection of Vital Interests of the Nation” refers to; the “territory of Guyana Essequibo” or “the defense of assets and properties of Citgo,” or “efforts for the preservation of the assets of the Republic abroad,” and “the defense of Venezuelan territorial integrity and national sovereignty.” Generic pronunciations, aimed at the lifting of sanctions against the Venezuelan dictatorship by the United States, something that occurred, exactly as they had anticipated, the next day 18 October of 2023, when the U.S. Department of the Treasury “issues four general licenses lifting for six months -or until 18 April of 2024- a set of prohibitions against the fuel, natural gas, and gold mining industries, and removing prohibitions against secondary trading.” The secondary market includes “the stock exchange, public debt entry book trading, and the official futures and options markets.”

The Secretary of State from the United States declared “it is expected that by the end of November (2023) there will be a definitive electoral chronogram, as well as the qualification of all candidates to the presidency, along with the release of political prisoners” something that did not occur. The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury issued a press release indicating that the licenses, valid until 18 April of 2024, “will be renewed if and only Venezuela fulfills its commitments as stated in the electoral roadmap agreement, as well as other commitments regarding the people unjustly detained;” Venezuela’s noncompliance is proven and the licenses continue to be valid.

Reality shows that nothing that was agreed upon has been neither met nor fulfilled by Venezuela’s dictatorship who has benefited and continues benefitting from the lifting of sanctions, all of this while openly and flagrantly commits crimes to prevent the candidacy of Maria Corina Machado, the “sole candidate from the opposition” who won the opposition’s primary elections with 92.5% of votes and who has been disqualified by a dictatorial decision. The dictatorship has released some of the political prisoners, but it has also imprisoned a greater number of political leaders, arresting; the chiefs of campaign of candidate Machado, defenders of human rights, and civic leaders, applying the “revolving door” policy of Castrochavism whereby they release some political prisoners but apprehend even more because they are tokens for negotiation.

In the aftermath of the Barbados agreements the reality is that Venezuela does not have any remote possibility of having free and fair elections. The dictatorship prevents the candidacy of Maria Corina Machado the sole candidate from the opposition, there are greater numbers of political prisoners, the regime has been empowered with the resources generated by the lifting of sanctions, and has rescued several of its criminals. The only “winner” is the dictatorship that gains strength.

Faced with the facts and flagrant crimes committed by the wielders of power in Venezuela who continues benefitting from the economic advantages stemming out of the Barbados accords, it urges all democratic actors to implement measures before 18 April. Agreements with dictatorships are only useful to help sustain them and deceive the people.

*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Translation from Spanish by Edgar L. Terrazas

Published in Spanish by Sunday March 24, 2024

«The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author».