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Opposition businessmen and politicians call on the US to end

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Opposition businessmen and politicians call on the US to end

The US sanctions against Venezuela, constantly condemned by the Venezuelan government, are one of the main elements explaining the causes and consequences of the economic crisis that the Latin American country has been facing since 2014, when the first actions of this kind were taken. from Casa White. Whether they affect the economy or diplomatic relations, the set of these coercive measures, constituting a financial and commercial blockade, was demanded and encouraged by the Venezuelan opposition, especially the one that gained strength in 2019, after the self-declaration of Juan Guaidó “interim president”.

However, after nearly eight years of a blockade that has cost the country billions of dollars, some Venezuelan businessmen, researchers and political activists opposed to the government of President Nicolás Maduro have begun to gather to call for an end to the sanctions and denounce the damage. what such measures caused to the society.

Since the first decrees issued by the US government against Venezuela, researchers have drawn attention to the fact that the blockade is part of a strategy called “hybrid war” that uses unconventional methods, in addition to military conflicts and direct actions aimed at destabilizing and overthrowing governments. opposed to US interests in the region.

In a narrative crafted by the local opposition and amplified largely during the reign of former President Donald Trump, when sanctions were tightened, the measures were meant to serve as a “punishment” for the Venezuelan government’s “lack of democratic conditions”, thereby forcing regime change.

Venezuelan businessmen and academics who are now calling for an end to the blockade argue that these strategies promoted by Washington “have not achieved their goals” and that “they have seriously worsened the plight of Venezuelan citizens.” These statements were made in magna charter addressed to US President Joe Biden in early April and signed by a group of 25 Venezuelans who oppose the Chavista government but call for the lifting of “economic sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure.”

In an interview with Brazil de factoEconomist Victor Alvarez, former Minister of Basic Industries, former director of Hugo Chávez’s state oil company PDVSA and one of the letter’s signatories, says the group that led the document is diverse, consisting of “voices that have already warned that sanctions won’t work.” , as well as figures who supported the blockade in the past but changed their minds.

“There are voices in this group who really believed that the tightening of sanctions could provoke a change of power in the country, but it turns out that years passed, the sanctions did not give the expected results, and finally, the facts themselves, so obvious, showed that the sanctions actually gave rise to undesirable side effects for private companies and that it is time to move on to a strategy review,” he says.

Also, according to Alvarez, opponents who are now calling for an end to the blockade and condemning the damage it has done to the country’s economy have no ties to a group associated with “self-proclaimed president” Juan Guaidó, a figure, supported by the United States, which defends the current blockade and control several Venezuelan state assets abroad because some countries recognize them as “legitimate authority”.

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“The Guaido Group depends on these assets, it depends on direct financial assistance from the US. Of course, the lifting of sanctions would mean the removal from this group of these privileges and control over these assets, on which their remuneration and wages depend, since these assets will again be in the management of the republic, ”he argues.

:: Juan Guaido used Venezuelan public money to pay lawyers in England ::

In addition to Alvarez, the letter was signed by Jorge Botti, a businessman and former president of the country’s largest employer Fedecamaras, José Antonio Yepes, director of research and statistics company Datanalisis, and Reinaldo Quintero, president of the Venezuelan Chamber of Petroleum.

Calls for lifting the blockade were also made US Chamber of Commerce in September 2021, when the organization asked President Biden to reconsider the current sanctions imposed on the Latin American country, given that the strategy “has only harmed North American businesses.”

The latest call for an end to sanctions was made on Tuesday (05.10) by a group of Congressmen from the US Democratic Party in magna charter sent to Biden. The document, signed by lawmakers such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, said that “the suffering of Venezuelans is a tragedy” and that “several studies show that US sanctions are one of the main reasons.”

“President Nicolas Maduro seems determined to resume negotiations with opposition forces. […] we ask you [Biden] suspend all financial and sectoral sanctions that aggravate the humanitarian situation,” the congressmen said.

How do sanctions affect the economy?

Nearly 8 years later, the list of sanctions imposed by the US government against Venezuela is long and includes government agencies and companies, vehicles such as planes and ships, and even citizens accused of “appropriating Venezuela’s wealth for their own corrupt purposes.”

The country’s main source of foreign exchange, the oil industry was one of the sectors hardest hit by the sanctions, which make it difficult to purchase parts to maintain the infrastructure and resources needed for production. In 2019, the US government, under the chairmanship of Donald Trump, tightened the blockade of PDVSA and froze the assets of the $7 billion subsidiary Citgo, owned by the Venezuelan state but now controlled by figures appointed by the former MP. , Juan Guaidó with permission from the White House.


US and Brazil recognize Guaido as President of Venezuela / Yuri Cortez / AFP

The tightening of sanctions against the Venezuelan oil industry caused the sector’s productivity to drop by more than 41% in 2019 compared to 2018, according to the non-governmental organization Sures, the worst performance in a decade. In addition, sales of Venezuelan oil to the US were completely halted in May of that year, causing exports of the product, which in 2016 accounted for 95% of the country’s total income, to fall to 71% in 2019.

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According to sociologist Eleazar Mujica, the recovery of any sector of the country’s economy, whether oil or not, will depend on negotiations to lift the blockade, which “affects all productive sectors” of the economy.

“To achieve a full recovery of the Venezuelan economy, the first requirement will be the restoration of the oil industry, but this fundamentally requires an end to US sanctions. Without the lifting of sanctions, or at least without their easing, it will be very difficult to achieve the recovery that is predicted for 2022, ”Mujica estimates in an interview with the publication Brazil de facto.

The US coercive measures against Venezuela not only deal a blow to the country’s main raw materials, but also limit the ability of the Venezuelan government and companies to carry out financial transactions. The country has billions of dollars locked up in banks like Citibank, North Capital and Sumitomo, as well as $2 billion in public gold held at the Bank of England.

More according to ONG SuresBy the end of 2021, seven executive orders had been issued against Venezuela, Congress passed two laws, 173 sanctions affecting citizens, 161 sanctions against public and private companies, 56 sanctions against aircraft, and 65 sanctions against ships. “It is worth noting that among individuals there are several leaders of the Venezuelan political opposition, as well as many private entrepreneurs,” the organization’s study notes.

“Most private companies have closed their US bank accounts, making it difficult to pay suppliers and receive payments from their customers. Funding has been cut, suppliers have also cut lines of credit, meaning Venezuelan companies that could previously buy raw materials, spare parts and equipment with loans up to 90 and 120 days have lost those opportunities because no one wants to do business anymore. with Venezuela,” says Alvarez.

The Economist also explains that with the Anti-Lockout Act’s import incentives to combat product shortages and circumvent the US blockade, national companies, already weakened by the crisis generated by sanctions, are not able to compete favorably with imported goods.

“Agriculture and domestic industry suffer not only from the severity of the sanctions, but also from this competition from imported products that come from China, Iran, Russia, that is, from competing countries in the United States. I am saying that the problem is also geopolitical, since the void created by the sanctions is being filled by the rivals of the country that applies the same sanctions,” the former minister defends.

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End of blockade and political dialogue

The suspension of the coercive measures imposed by Washington was one of the main topics advocated by the Venezuelan government during negotiations with the far-right opposition held in 2021 in Mexico. While the parties have reached certain agreements, dialogues have been suspended Caracas after the extradition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab to the United States.

For Alvarez, the current political climate in the country is conducive to dialogue, as “the extremist opposition is considering negotiating with the government” – the only way, according to the economist, to achieve an end to the sanctions.

“We are getting closer and closer to a process of dialogue that can end in a political solution, an electoral solution and, above all, a peaceful solution. It was a negotiation process with successes and failures, with ups and downs, which was very often interrupted, but this option remains the most convenient for national interests,” he says.

In March of this year, Maduro announced the resumption of dialogue with opponents of the so-called G4, a group that unites the far-right parties Ação Democrática, First Justice, A New Time and Popular Will. The move came after a meeting between Venezuelan government officials and a US delegation sent by Biden to Caracas to discuss the lifting of sanctions and possible energy deals in the oil sector. It was the first public meeting between the two countries since the U.S. recognized Guaidó as the “legitimate authority” of Venezuela.

The decision to end the blockade, defends Mujica, lies in the future of dialogues between the government and the opposition, even if the actions of the right-wing parties that unite the negotiating tables are guided by the interests of the White House.

“I am fully convinced that the path of dialogue is the right path to resolve political differences that will lead to the lifting of sanctions in the future. However, we must be aware of the fact that there are sectors of the opposition that are fully in the interests of the United States and in this sense will demand and defend interests that are convenient for the government of President Biden, ”says the sociologist.

Even with most of the sanctions imposed over the past eight years, Venezuela is showing strong economic performance, with institutions predicting strong growth. In January of this year, the country abandoned a four-year hyperinflation cycle, in addition to recording eight consecutive months of single-digit monthly inflation readings. The Venezuelan economy is expected to grow by 5% in 2022, the highest in South America and the third highest in all of Latin America, according to ECLAC.

Editing: Thales Schmidt

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Barbudo defends CPI Petrobras and refutes the political point of view argument: when it was CPI Covid, nobody cared, right? :: News MT

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Barbudo defends CPI Petrobras and refutes the political point of view argument: when it was CPI Covid, nobody cared, right?  :: News MT
Federal MP Nelson Barbudo (PL) said the issue of protecting the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) to investigate the actions of Petrobras has been appeased within the PL, the party of President Jair Bolsonaro. According to him, the group wants transparency and does not have a political view: “When it came to the opening of the CPI on Covid, no one was worried, right? If there were pre-election elections, if there weren’t any, the Senate, in my opinion, to the detriment of Bolsonaro’s election campaign, opened [a CPI]”.

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The secretary says the creation of the consumer price index is a “political decision” but points out that the pricing of Petrobras must change.

As for Barbudo, Petrobras needs to explain the successive increases and explain why it is not using its “social purpose”. He even stated that he even considers the adjustments “a diversion that is carried out before the presidential campaign.”

“Is it not possible to increase oil by 14%? The dollar did not rise in price by 14%, the barrel of oil did not rise in price by 14%, so why did it rise in price by 14%? In 1.4%, 14%. We did everything with the leaders to remove ICMS, which is 24% in some places, the other day Petrobras gives a 14% increase, I mean … Petrobras also has to analyze the social function, this is what I hit hard,” he defended.

MP Bolsonaro also said that Bolsonaro’s point of view has not changed, he first said that high prices are due to taxes, and now he is turning to Petrobras. Barbudo said the government has held a task force and is trying to act on all fronts.

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“The government had a task force to remove ICMS from the states and replace it in the hope that the price would drop at the gas station. So Petrobras comes in and doesn’t cooperate? We will work on Petrobras and see what happens, because we need people to have a working position, regardless of the election period. Now Petrobras is growing by 14% every 30 days… in 90 days Brazil is not viable,” he lamented.

In yet another attempt, the MP said he would submit a proposal to the President to submit a PEC or LP for Petrobras to pay the fuel freight with a portion of the profits made in the first two quarters of 2022. Thus, according to him, all municipalities will receive fuel at the same price.

“Let’s take this idea from the president to see if the board accepts… [] another way to try download. What we are trying to do is to provide working conditions for the Brazilian people, especially for agriculture in Mato Grosso, tractors, big machines, agriculture. [usam gasolina e] Soon it will be unbearable. We, representing our people, must take action, whether it is with the CPI, with the PEC, with the PL, no matter what happens, we need to lower the price of oil,” he concluded.

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For Damaso, politicians must act transparently and honestly in order to earn the respect of the population.

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For Damaso, politicians must act transparently and honestly in order to earn the respect of the population.

“I want to be a politician only as long as I have the respect of the population, and there is only one way to earn respect: to do serious work, transparently and honestly.” The statement was made by pre-gubernatorial candidate Osires Damaso (PSC) in a press interview in Araguaín during his last visit to the city, this Friday 24. In addition to meeting with communication specialists, he met with the authorities and political leaders of the municipality to strengthen his name in a dispute for state government.

Asked about his motives for running for president, Damaso talked about his experiences as a three-term state deputy, Legislative Assembly president, as a businessman, and the beginnings of his personal journey. “And this experience allowed me to get acquainted with the resources that reach the state, their potential and the real needs of the inhabitants of Tocantins,” he explained.

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“We need a government that truly runs an administration focused on economic development, growth and the quality of life of our people. We need industrialized, modern and respected Tocantinas. I am sure that with my experience I will have excellent management, giving people real opportunities,” Damaso said.

The pre-nominee also advocates a partnership between state government and municipalities to develop public policies that primarily benefit those living in situations of social vulnerability. “I want to implement the program in partnership with city halls, municipal councils and leaders so that we can deliver basic food packages to the population, restoring the mood of many families. But, in addition, we need a state program so that these people can enter the labor market,” he stressed.

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As for the progress of the campaign, Damaso stressed that he was “very pleased with the receptivity of the population and the support received.” Among his main supporters are state deputy Junior Geo (PSC) and former mayor of Palmas, Carlos Amastha (PSB), who served two terms. The joints are in full swing and new weight bearings should be announced soon.

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Marcos Braz responds to social media politics after Maracanã controversy

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Marcos Braz responds to social media politics after Maracanã controversy

BUT Negative disagreement with Vasco over the use of Maracana rocked social media on this Sabbath day. Tarcisio Motta, Councilor of the City of Rio and federal candidate, published a publication saying that the stadium is for all fans. An irritated Marcos Braz, Vice President of Flamengo Football Club and also an adviser, responded to the politician.

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– Maracana is public! It was built and renovated (several times) with government money! Its concession cannot run counter to the interests of all citizens. Denying the consortium is baseless, absurd and FORCE US TO ACTIVATE MP. Maraca for all fans,” Tarcisio wrote on Twitter.

– When it comes to paying operating costs, no, – said the vice-president of Flamengo.

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The controversy began after Vasco applied for the loan of Maracanã against Sport in a match valid for Serie B on 3 July. A stadium consortium led by Flamengo and Fluminense rejected the request.

The clubs’ decision caused a huge uproar, and the state government decided to connect to the track. The stadium soap opera is divided and promises to open new chapters in the coming days.

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