Democrat Lawmakers Urge Biden to End US Sanctions Against Venezuela and Cuba (+Title 42)
Orinoco Tribune, May 11, 2023 —
Caracas, May 10, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com) — Lawmakers within the US House of Representatives are calling on President Joe Biden to end Trump-era illegal sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela, “which serve as push-factors for the humanitarian crisis seen at our southern border.” They argue that the failed strategy has been counterproductive, as the citizens of those countries, who suffer illegal US sanctions first-hand, choose the United States as their destination.
This initiative is promoted by members of the Democratic party, and comes as the Biden administration expects a significant influx of migrants at the US-México border. This is following the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday, May 11; this order was a rule imposed during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic that allowed the US government to quickly expel large numbers of migrants at the border, according to a Washington Post (WAPO) report published this Wednesday, that was signed by John Hudson, a US national security reporter with a clear partisan approach.
“As members from border states, states that have received increasing number of migrants, and others from across the country,” wrote the lawmakers, “we strongly agree with the views expressed during the Summit of the Americas in June 2022 that we ‘need to identify the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement’ and commit to ‘supporting countries across the Western Hemisphere to create the conditions to improve quality of life, especially in marginalized communities,’”
The initiative involves a letter campaign written by its proponents. “While the number of migrants coming to the Southern border has dropped somewhat from its peak, experts both inside and outside of the Department of Homeland Security expect arrivals to increase sharply with the expiration of Title 42 on May 11,” reads the letter.
“Experts widely agree that broad-based U.S. sanctions — expanded to an unprecedented level by your predecessor — are a leading contributing factor in the current surge in migration,” the letter adds. “In light of their grave humanitarian toll on the peoples of those countries, and the significant logistical challenges that the resulting increase in migration is causing for [US] federal, state, and local authorities, we urge you to act swiftly to lift the failed and indiscriminate economic sanctions that were imposed by the prior administration, and engage in a broader review of pre-existing sanctions policies that your administration inherited, which exacerbate hardship for innocent civilians and serve as additional push-factors for migration.”
The US lawmakers also recognized the initiative of Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, in organizing the International Conference on Venezuela in Bogotá in late April of this year, and urged President Biden to improve dialogue with regional partners.
“We are heartened by recent steps that your administration has taken in this direction,” the letter reads on this issue, “but most of the Trump administration-imposed sanctions remain, and continue to exacerbate our challenges at the border. We hope that dialogue with regional partners, like your meeting with Colombian president Gustavo Petro, will communicate a willingness to consider a new approach.”
According to the news outlet owned by multimillionaire Jeff Bezos, the letter initiative was led by Representative Veronica Escobar, a Democratic party representative from Texas, “a co-chair of Biden’s re-election campaign,” which sets up “a major clash with another influential Democrat, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey,” seated in the extreme right-wing of the Democratic party.
The letter, signed by 21 members of US Congress, includes the names of border states representatives such as Nanette Barragán (California), Raúl M. Grijalva (Arizona), and Greg Casar (Texas), as well as members of the party’s so-called progressive wing, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ro Khanna (California), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (Illinois), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).
A handful of Texas cities, including El Paso and Laredo, have declared states of emergency, and are renewing anti-migration laws, as authorities expect an influx of tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, because they have preferential treatment to receive asylum.
Organizations that have endorsed the letter include the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Center for International Policy, Demand Progress Education Fund, Just Foreign Policy, Families for Freedom, and the National Immigrant Justice Center.
The call to lift the blockade against Venezuela is not only on the part of the Maduro government; this call has been joined recently by some Venezuelan opposition groups and now some US congresspeople.
In recent days—coincidentally, after Bogotá’s conference on Venezuela—the US administration has tightened the illegal sanctions regime on Venezuela by authorizing the liquidation of CITGO Corporation, the main asset abroad of the Venezuelan state, valued on $11 billion and generating revenues above $1 billion a year. These illegal measures also include the transfer of $342 million from frozen Venezuelan accounts to opposition politicians, as well as the seizure of a Boeing 747 belonging to Venezuelan state-owned EMTRASUR, a subsidiary of Conviasa, that has been seized in Argentina for over a year.