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Group of Self-Proclaimed Maduro ‘Opponents’ Call on Biden to End Sanctions Against Regime

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AP journalist Joshua Goodman published on Thursday a list of 25 people who call themselves Venezuelan opposition businessmen and who ask Joe Biden, through a letter, to end sanctions against the regime of Nicolás Maduro.

“We call on the U.S. Government to continue promoting substantive and productive negotiations to resolve the Venezuelan crisis, and urge the Government of Venezuela, opposition political parties and the Platform of the United Opposition to resume negotiations without delay,” the open letter reads.

The letter is also addressed to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Secretary of State Antony Blinken; Senate leaders, Biden advisors, and U.S. envoy to Venezuela, James Story.

In addition to calling for an end to sanctions, they urge Biden to allow Western oil companies to return to Venezuela.

Among the signatories, who describe themselves as “representatives of Venezuela’s private sector and civil society,” are economists Francisco Rodríguez, Manuel Sutherland, Luis Oliveros, Víctor Álvarez and José Guerra, who was also elected in 2015 as deputy of the opposition Primero Justicia party.

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Also signing the letter are Jorge Botti and Ricardo Cussano, who led Venezuela’s main business organization, Fedecámaras; oil expert Rafael Quiroz; and political analysts Michael Penfold, Luis Vicente León and José Antonio Gil, directors of the firm Datanálisis.

Approaches between Nicolás Maduro and the U.S.

The situation takes place in a context in which there have already been rapprochements between the Democratic administration and officials of the regime of Nicolás Maduro. In March, it was known that top Biden officials held a secret meeting with Maduro in the Miraflores Palace, in Caracas.

El American reported that the Biden White House asked Maduro for some electoral guarantees, broad reforms in the Venezuelan oil sector, and a public reprimand of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in exchange for the temporary lifting of some financial sanctions imposed on the Chavista regime. The secret meeting with Maduro ended without an agreement.

Republicans such as Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) criticized the meeting. Via Twitter, DeSantis stated that it was wrong for the Biden administration to ask Venezuela for oil and legitimize Maduro’s communist regime during an official visit.

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) also attacked the White House’s secret meeting in Caracas, saying that “the only thing the Biden admin should be discussing with Maduro is the time of his resignation. Nicolás Maduro is a genocidal tyrant just like Putin.”