The vice president of Nicolas Maduro’s regime, Delcy Rodríguez, announced this weekend that her country and Cuba create an observatory to follow up on the sanctions that weigh on both countries, the bulk of which decreed by the United States under Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
Obama tried to normalize relationships with Cuba, allowing embassies to be reopened and removing Havana from state sponsors of terrorism list. Also signed an executive order labeling the Havana-ally Maduro regime a threat to the US national security.
Afterward, Trump focused on turning the order from Obama into sanctions against Maduro regime entities such as state oil company PDVSA, and individuals like Maduro and his wife, while terminating normalization with Cuba. Trump’s last official act was to restore Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism by its support to the Maduro regime.
Rodriguez traveled to Havana to present the so-called Anti-Blockade Law, approved in Venezuela to evade US sanctions. Also advanced this new initiative between Caracas and Havana, close political and economic allies for two decades.
Maduro received political cadre training in Cuba in the 1980s before the fall of the Berlin Wall. During official speeches, he has shown ignorance of basic Venezuelan history mysteriously coupled with a mastery of Cuban history and customs that has surprised journalists and other observers.
“We have agreed on the creation of a binational observatory to follow up the unilateral, illicit, and illegal measures on Cuba and Venezuela,” said the Vice President.
Rodriguez declined to comment on whether shipments of Venezuelan subsidized oil to Cuba would continue falling. A direct question about the perspectives in 2021 for shipments of oil to Cuba, which have collapsed in the last five years, forcing the island to look for other suppliers in the international market, went unanswered.
Years of cooperation
Since 2001, the governments of Havana and Caracas have maintained a broad cooperation agreement whereby Havana receives crude oil at preferential prices in exchange for the shipment of professional services, mainly doctors and teachers. Also, include police and military advisers that have been instrumental in political repression in Venezuela.
The drop in Venezuelan aid in recent years has been one of the key factors in the severe crisis currently facing Cuba, a situation also influenced by the tightening of US sanctions, the delay of reforms to alleviate the inefficiency of the Cuban economic model, and, in the last year, the coronavirus pandemic.
The Venezuelan representative did not get into details about the initiative.
“We are sharing relevant information, we are working, nothing has been able to disturb that path despite the criminal imperial blockade against our countries,” she added.
The outgoing Administration of Donald Trump applied strong sanctions on both countries over the last four years. The case of Cuba also has a financial embargo that has been in force for six decades. Washington justified the sanctions by the alleged interference of the island in Venezuela.
Besides the US sanctions on Venezuela, the European Union includes the embargo on arms and equipment, which can be used for repression. Also, the freezing of assets from 36 Chavista leaders in Euro space.
In this sense, Rodriguez described as “immoral” the US decision to include the Caribbean nation again this week in the list of countries sponsoring terrorism from which the island emerged in 2015 during the bilateral thaw
promoted by then-President Barack Obama.
The Anti-Blockade Law was approved in October by the extinct National Constituent Assembly (ANC), composed only of government officials and not recognized by several countries. The 44 articles that comprise the law were not discussed.
The Venezuelan Vice President described her visit to Cuba as “extraordinary” with a “busy agenda.” The diplomatic visit included meetings with President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, and Vice Prime Minister and co-chairman of the Cuba-Venezuela Cooperation Agreement, Ricardo Cabrisas.
During the meetings, “the march of the economic, commercial and cooperation bonds” were discussed, and Diaz-Canel transmitted to the Chavista representative the “invariable solidarity” of her country with Venezuela, according to a brief official note of the Cuban government.