US Could Sanction Spain Over Maduro Support
The U.S. is targeting the aid that the Bank of Spain grants Maduro by allowing the Central Bank of Venezuela to make transfers
According to Bloomberg, the Treasury Department is examining economic sanctions for the European country, which, if implemented, would be a severe blow to the Spanish economy.
LATEST: Officials in Trump admin are pushing for sanctions against #Spain for what they say is its financial support of @NicolasMaduro’s regime in #Venezuela. Some oppose move, citing Madrid’s recognition of @jguaido & sheltering of @leopoldolopez.https://t.co/CHXLh7DyLz
— Ben Bartenstein (@BenBartenstein) October 31, 2019
The government of Pablo Sanchez has adopted an ambiguous position regarding Venezuela. On the one hand, it provides economic aid to Maduro’s dictatorship, allows former officials complicit in the theft of the nation to live in its territory, has prevented the European Union from taking stronger measures against Maduro, and condemns US sanctions. However, on the other hand, it protects opposition leaders such as Leopoldo Lopez and offers migratory options for those fleeing the dictatorship.
For example, recently, we have only seen actions in favor of Nicolas Maduro: the justice system gave conditional bail to drug trafficker and former Chavista intelligence chief Hugo Carvajal and has also allowed hundreds of Venezuelans, who are linked to the dictatorship and have enriched themselves at the cost of Venezuelan money, to live in its territory.
Bloomberg’s anonymous sources maintain that if sanctions are applied, it would only be after the Spanish elections on 10th November, and this would be the first time that the US has imposed sanctions on a NATO partner.
But the sanctions that the U.S. would issue are based on the possible aid that the Bank of Spain is granting Maduro by allowing the Central Bank of Venezuela to make transfers of funds, thereby somehow circumventing international sanctions.
Although Bloomberg assures that the U.S. would be analyzing these sanctions, Spain’s ABC indicated that a source from the State Department finds it unlikely because the government of Pedro Sanchez recognizes Juan Guaido as the president of Venezuela.
Earlier in September, Bloomberg had reported that the regime is moving money through the Bank of Spain, facilitating million-dollar transactions for Chavismo and contravening U.S. sanctions.
Despite human rights violations, theft, and corruption by Chavismo, and the fact that Maduro illegitimately holds power, Spain prefers to defend its economic interests rather than act to bring Venezuela out of the dictatorship.
Repsol, for example, stopped sending gasoline to Venezuela in March, but still supplies low-sulfur diesel in exchange for crude oil.
Europe is also complicit
Like Spain, the European Union too has decided to reinforce and maintain its relations with the Cuban dictatorship, which is principally responsible for what is happening in Venezuela.
The United States has called on the European Union to increase pressure and sanctions against the dictatorships of Maduro and the island. However, the international organization has decided to do the opposite.
“In these uncertain times, we greatly value the fact that our partners, such as Cuba, share our commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based international system,” said Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Since 2008, the European Union “has committed more than 200 million EUR to support Cuba’s development” in sustainable agriculture and food security, the environment, and climate change, “as well as the country’s modernization,” Mogherini said. “Cuba is a key partner for us,” she added, “because it can serve as a bridge between Latin America and the countries of the Caribbean.”
The head of European diplomacy ignores in her statements that the Cuban regime has maintained itself for years in Venezuela, supporting human rights violations, corruption, money laundering, the buying and selling of arms, and even drug trafficking in the region. Cuba is one of the countries that supports Maduro’s dictatorship with military and intelligence officials.
The European Union, although it validated Michelle Bachelet’s report on the violation of human rights in Venezuela, has refused to extend sanctions against the regime. Meanwhile, Maduro is increasing the number of political prisoners, deepening the humanitarian crisis, and consolidating power.
The EU refuses a military intervention in Venezuela. It wants to avoid at all costs the use of force to overthrow Maduro, and paradoxically, it decides not to issue more sanctions and instead advocates dialogues that have evidently failed in recent years.
They do not freeze assets of the corrupt Chavistas; they do not restrict the migratory movements of Maduro’s high officials, and they do not punish those guilty of embezzlement in Venezuela.
It is noteworthy that when Donald Trump raised the possibility of a “complete embargo” against Cuba for supporting and sustaining Maduro, the EU threatened retaliation because it could be a major blow to the hospitality sector on the Cuban island, which has a very significant Spanish presence.