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#TrumpUnblockVenezuela: US Sanctions, Violations Against Venezuela.

Sputnik International | 20 May, 2019

US-imposed sanctions against Venezuela are a part of a bipartisan campaign to obstruct the Latin American nation's independence, both financially and politically, and have grown into a full economic blockade, according to a list of actions and executive orders documented by Caracas.
18 December 2014: Under the pretext of cracking down on protesters during opposition rallies in February, the US Congress passes Public Law 113-278 to outline the blueprint for sanctioning Venezuela, including the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) and state oil firm Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), which generates 90 percent of revenues for the South American country. 

The bill unilaterally blocks and freezes assets, funds, goods and properties owned by Caracas, as well as suspends entry to or revoked visas and documentation for Venezuelan public, military and diplomatic officials, sparking the current economic, financial and commercial embargo on the Latin American country. 

8 March 2015: Former US president Barack Obama converts Public Law 113-278 into Executive Order 13692, also known as the "Obama Decree", which designated Caracas as an "unusual and extraordinary threat to US national security", increasing his power to implement coercive measures used to intervene in Venezuela's internal affairs, and was renewed in March 2016.

May 2016: German financial firm Commerzbank concedes to pressure from the US and closes accounts for the PDVSA and other Venezuelan public banks and institutions. 
July 2016: US bank Citibank stops issuing foreign currency accounts to Venezuelan institutions in the US, affecting the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), placing Venezuela with the highest financial risk in the world at 2640 points, despite Caracas paying off 63.6bn in external debt obligations. 

August 2016: Portuguese bank Novo Banco ceases dollar operations with Venezuelan banks amid pressure from the US. The Portuguese bank would later suspend $1.2bn in funds transferred by the US in February 2019, at the request of US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaidó. 

September 2016: The Venezuelan government agrees to exchange 7.1bn USD in PDVSA bonds to restructure its finances, with three major US risk rating agencies later announcing they will default Caracas if investors enter Venezuelan markets.

November 2016: US finance firm JP Morgan alleges that Venezuela failed to make payments on PDVSA debt of roughly $404m, which was instead caused by a "technical mistake", according to Torino Capital.

July 2017: Delaware Trust, the PDVSA's bonds payment agent, states that US-based PNC Bank refused to take funds from Caracas, with Citibank later refusing to receive funds used to import 300,000 insulin doses. Swiss bank Credit Suisse would later ban clients from conducting financial transactions in August on behalf of National Assembly president Julio Borges. 

24 August 2017: The US imposed additional sanctions on Caracas via EO 13808 which prohibits direct or indirect purchases of securities from the Venezuelan government, including bonds, loans, credit extensions, and others, officially legalising the blockade. 

August 2017: Bank of China in Panama announces that it cannot conduct financial transactions in foreign currencies for Venezuela amid pressure from the US Treasury Department and Panama government. The news comes amid a China-Venezuelan oil-for-loans deal struck in May aimed at restructuring the country's finances. Russian banks issue warnings for similar reasons.

October 2017: The US blockade prevents Swiss bank UBS, Pfizer, Novartis and others from accepting Venezuela money deposits used for vaccines and medicines by the Revolving and Strategic Fund of the Pan-American Health Organisation, causing a four-month delay in receiving vaccines.

The block follows a 2015 US probe into alleged ties to Venezuelan "money laundering" schemes, forcing 18 Swiss banks to turn over records to the US Department of Justice, despite Venezuela arresting five Citgo officials accused of funnelling money to accounts in the US.

November 2017: Deutsche Bank, the Venezuelan BCV's main correspondent, closes its account. 23 Venezuelan financial operations used for food, medicines and supplies totalling $39m are blocked by international banks. Standard and Poor (S&P) later declares a "selective default" after accusing Venezuela of missing a payment. As the blockade further damages Venezuela's economy, US bond manager Wilmington Trust alleges state electric company Corpoelec of not cancelling $27m in debt interests. 

December 2017: European banks return $29.7m in transactions used by the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP) food programme, with JP Morgan delaying $28.1m in funds used to pay for food vessels transporting supplies to Venezuela. Product shortages surface in several states across Venezuela after US banks close a further 19 bank accounts, causing 471,000 vehicle tyres to be retained abroad.

January: 2018: The Venezuelan government cannot repay 11 debt and PDVSA bonds worth $1.2bn due to sanctions. 

February 2018: The US Treasury Department extends powers of EO 13808, blocking the restructuring of state and PDVSA debts issued on 25 August 2017. 

March 2018: The Trump Administration renews Obama-era EO 13692 and EO 13808 for a year, and imposes six new measures aimed at blocking use of the Petro via EO 13827, Venezuela's state cryptocurrency, aimed at blocking the repatriation of dividends from Citgo Petroleum. The order would also prohibit citizens or institutions from using the Petro.

April 2018: The Peruvian Foreign Ministry, acting on behalf of the pro-US Lima Group, announces during the Summit of the Americas that it would launch a group aimed at studying political and economic measures against Venezuela (original statement in Spanish). The US and Colombia agree to increase measures against Caracas. 

21 May 2018: The US issues EO 13835 after Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro is re-elected by 67 percent of the electorate (9m citizens). The order expands the blockade against Caracas and sanctions 20 Venezuelan companies for alleged drug trafficking ties, and blocks the purchase of debt of Venezuelan companies, including the sale, transfer, or granting guarantees to shares of capital owned 50 percent or more by the Venezuelan government, in the US.

The Trump Administration later blocks $9m in supplies for 15,000 hemodialysis patients, with Bogota blocking shipments of 400,000 kilos of food for Caracas' Clap food subsidy programme. 

November 2018: US president Donald Trump issues a measure blocking US citizens from trading Venezuelan gold. 

January 2019: President Trump approves sanctions against PDVSA which freezes $7bn in Citgo assets, in addition to roughly $11bn in exports. The UK's Bank of England later announces the extrajudicial seizure of $1.4bn in gold deposited in London as reported by Bloomberg, four days after Venezuelan gold holdings spiked following a swap deal with Deutsche Bank. 

January — April 2019: The US blocks Venezuela's MINERVEN gold production and seller via EO 13850, targeting operations in Bandes, including Uruguay Banco Bandes Uruguay SA, Banco de Venezuela SA and others. The measure also blocks PDVSA and over 30 of its oil tankers from 28 January to 12 April, legalising the seizure of assets from Caracas in nations friendly to the US.

Relations have soured between Caracas and Washington since the Trump Administration recognised opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president against international law. Mr Guaidó, the US and its allies urged Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro to step down and seized billion in Venezuelan assets. Maduro has slammed the US, accusing its North Atlantic neighbour of violating international law and orchestrating a coup aimed at seizing Venezuela's natural resources. The Venezuelan government has been backed by China, Russia, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey and others, all whom have stated Mr Maduro is the Latin American country's only legitimate president. Sanctions have led to the deaths of nearly 40,000 people from 2017 to 2018, and cost the Venezuelan government $30bn in state revenues, according to a scathing April 2019 report from the Centre for Economic Policy and Research. SOURCE



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Venezuelan Military Deserters adrift in Colombia.

Orinoco Tribune | March 18, 2019.


Uploaded by TeleSUR English Published on Mar 18, 2019.

After a group of military deserters from Venezuela denounced the abandonment by the Colombian authorities, the right wing Venezuelan politicians and the Agency for Refugees of the United Nations (UNHCR), the supposed “ambassador” appointed by the deputy Juan Guaidó in Colombia, Humberto Calderón Berti, spoke about it.

Through a statement, Calderón Berti caught up with the statements and claims of the troops and said their problems will be addressed. He even stressed that these “have been given temporary assistance consisting of accommodations and food.

This Monday, March 18, a multidisciplinary meeting will be held with national and local authorities (from Colombia), as well as with the Embassy of Venezuela (that means him), to advance in the search for a definitive solution for the needs of these young soldiers and their families”, details the letter.

The Venezuelan defector in question, let’s remember, told the media of the neighboring country that they were given a maximum period of four days to exit from the facility they have been using in the border area, specifically in Cúcuta. They also stressed that in exchange they were offered 350 thousand Colombian pesos (US$ 112), a mattress and bed-sheets for each one.

We are adrift, we do not have the support of anyone. We want Juan Guaidó to come face-to-face”, said the Venezuelan Army’s second sergeant Luis González Hernández, who served as spokesperson for the group. SOURCE

The Venezuelan military and police personnel who had transferred their loyalties to the "interim president" in February and had crossed the border into Cucuta, Colombia, were being hosted in hotels there at the expense of the insurgency and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Several of these defectors were accompanied by their families. Some days ago they were evicted from the hotels because according to some sources, no funds were forthcoming to continue paying for their accommodation. The complaint by some of the deserters is that they have been used by the "interim president" who has ruined their lives. Others express a continuing willingness to support the coup.

“You must go. Leave in 3 days. Here are 350 thousand pesos and a mat for each one,” 
this is what they said today to the Venezuelan military deserters in Cucuta. 
They no longer have any use. The time of your scene is over. The curtain goes down.”

Meanwhile the Colombian Government, in agreement with the "Interim Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," has devised a plan to integrate these persons into the civilian life of Colombia.  A translation of the the official communication on this matter from the Colombian National Unit for Disaster Risk Management is presented below.

UNGRD
Unidad National para la Gestion de Riesgo de Desastres
Disaster Risk Management in Colombia
Sistema Nacional de Gestion del Riesgo de Desastres.
Bogotá,
05/14/2019

Translation
Colombia establishes service plan for ex-servicemen and ex-Venezuelan policemen who are in the national territory.

The Government of Colombia, through a memorandum of understanding with the Interim Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, established a scheme for addressing former members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces and Police located in the Colombian territory, in order that they can develop a life as civilians and in complete normality while the conditions in their native country allow them to return to exercise their functions in the public force.

In this regard, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a representative of the Government of Colombia headed by Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo and the Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Colombia, Humberto Calderón Berti, a memorandum was signed, where they will coordinate inter-institutional way, between the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management, Chancellery, the Ministry of National Defense, Migration Colombia, the National Service of Learning -SENA-, the Ministry of Education and other entities considered necessary, the actions for the attention

Thus, under this memorandum, the Colombian National Government will determine the beneficiaries based on the information collated with Migración Colombia, which will include its family nuclei, this with the purpose of determining the total number of people who are under these conditions in the country.

Later and after the process of validation and updating of the information, the former members of the Military and Police Forces of Venezuela who are in Colombia and who meet the conditions set forth in the memorandum will have access to the PEP, a support for basic assistance, training. Appropriate efforts will be made to find quotas in the education system for minors who require it.

Under this line, the basic care actions will be coordinated with the support of the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management.

Also, through the National Service of Learning, SENA, complementary training will be done according to the institutional offer in each region.

Migration Colombia, for its part, will issue a work permit for up to two years, which will authorize them and them families to be able to exercise a remunerated work activity that allows them to maintain and support them while they remain in Colombia.

Finally, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs inter-institutional efforts will be made to include infants in the education system depending on the quotas in each of the regions.

It is important to clarify that because of the quality and training of former members of the Armed Forces and Police of Venezuela and for reasons of national security for Colombia, they require special attention, which also indicates that these people cannot exercise military functions, nor police or security or defense, they cannot carry their weapons or wear their uniforms, and after benefiting from the benefits implemented by the Government of Colombia they will assume the status of civilians. SOURCE



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