By Javier Herrera
HAVANA TIMES – Negotiating with a dictatorship is often an unpleasant task whose outcome is almost certain to be disappointment. Dictatorships only think about ways to perpetuate themselves, and regardless of the commitments they make at a given moment, they are always ready to violate agreements if they feel their status is threatened. The regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela is currently demonstrating this by strongly undermining the “Barbados Agreements,” which could lead to the re-imposition of economic sanctions that were lifted at some point.
On October 17, 2023, the Maduro government and the Unitary Democratic Platform (Venezuelan opposition political alliance) signed two provisional agreements in Bridgetown, Barbados, focusing on the promotion of political rights, electoral guarantees for all, and the protection of the nation’s vital interests.
Delegations, represented by Jorge Rodríguez and Gerardo Blyde, accompanied by diplomatic representatives from Norway, Barbados, Russia, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States, agreed on points such as respect for the right of each political grouping to select its presidential candidate, the implementation of electoral guarantees, and the holding of presidential elections in the second half of 2024.
On October 18, 2023, after the treaty was signed, the United States Treasury Department issued four licenses to ease certain sanctions against Venezuela’s oil, natural gas, and gold industries for six months, until April 18, 2024, and removed secondary trading restrictions.
The Treasury Department warned that the decision would be revoked if the Venezuelan government does not honor its commitments in the agreement. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken clarified that they expect the definition of an electoral schedule, the enabling of all presidential candidates, and the release of political prisoners by the end of November. The license would only be renewed if Venezuela fulfills its commitments under the electoral roadmap and other obligations related to unjustly detained individuals, according to the statement from the Treasur