By Demion McTair. Updated 5:00 a.m., Thursday, August 18, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
The member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) says it strongly condemns a request by the United States of America to seize a Venezuelan aircraft.
The ALBA-TCP group made the announcement in a communique dated August 8, and sent to the media on August 17 by the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Vincent which is an ALBA-TCP member.
In the communique, the group said it strongly condemned the “illegal request of the U.S. Department of Justice made on August 2, 2022, to seize a Boeing 747 aircraft owned by the Venezuelan Empresa de Transporte Areocargo del Sur (EMTRASUR), a subsidiary of the Venezuelan airline CONVIASA, which is located in Buenos Aires”.
ALBA-TCP said: “the illegitimate and illegal seizure order of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia is a result of the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the government of the United States that attack the sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and violate the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations and International Law”.
“The Alliance strongly repudiates the continuation of unilateral coercive measures against the Venezuelan people and Government and once again calls on the international community to demand their immediate lifting,” the communique added.
The communique further stated that “ALBA-TCP supports the legal measures undertaken by the Venezuelan government to safeguard its assets”.
Strained relations and sanctions
Relations between the U.S and the Nicolas Maduro-led government in Venezuela have been strained.
Much of the strained relations have resulted from the U.S refusing to accept the results of presidential elections in Venezuela which saw Nicolás Maduro and his socialist regime returning to power.
In response, the U.S announced a series of economic sanctions on Venezuela and recognized capitalist – Juan Guaido as the legitimately elected president.
The Maduro-led regime said the elections were free and fair and urged for non-interference in the affairs of the oil-rich South American nation which has one of the largest oil reserves in the world.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “On January 28, 2019, the Treasury Department, following from consultation with the Department of State, determined that persons operating in Venezuela’s oil sector may now be subject to sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13850. As of January 28, Treasury has designated PDVSA for operating within this sector. This action extends to entities that are majority (50% or greater) owned by PDVSA.”
In Executive Order 13857 the U.S said it recognized the swearing-in of interim President Juan Guaido and amends the above-mentioned E.O.s to define “Government of Venezuela” to ensure that the Maduro regime remains the focus of our sanctions measures.
The new definition includes the state and Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank, PDVSA, and any person who has acted for or purported to act on behalf of, any of the foregoing, including as a member of the Maduro regime, the U.S. Department of State says on its website.
Easing of some sanctions
On May 17, 2022, during the ongoing oil crisis, the U.S announced the easing of some energy sanctions on Venezuela.
The Biden administration will begin to ease some energy sanctions on Venezuela to encourage ongoing political discussions between President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition, two senior administration officials told CNN.
The first step, to be announced on Tuesday, will allow Chevron — the last major US oil company still operating in Venezuela — to negotiate its license with state-owned oil company PDVSA to continue operations in the country, the officials said.
The US has for months been in talks with the Venezuelan government and opposition leader Juan Guaidó about moving toward a political settlement following Maduro’s contested election victory in 2019, which the US did not recognize as legitimate.