Canada announced today that it was sanctioning an additional 14 regime officials today “in response to the illegitimate and anti-democratic presidential elections” of May 20, which resulted in a victorious Maduro taking the helm of the country until at least 2025.
The sanctions target individuals “responsible for the deterioration of democracy in Venezuela”. The sanctions freeze all of the assets of the named individuals in Canada, and prohibit Canadian entities from conducting business with them.
Among the sanctioned individuals are first lady Cilia Flores and Tania Diaz, one of the heads of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), the regime’s electoral body. The CNE is an integral part of Maduro’s efforts to remain in power, since it has a history of rubber-stamping even the most obscenely unfair electoral processes as long as they benefit the regime.
Below, the list of sanctioned individuals:
- Tania Diaz Gonzalez
- Fidel Ernesto Vasquez
- Carolys Helena Perez
- Cilia Adela Flores
- Erika del Valle Farias
- Christian Tyrone Zerpa
- Fanny Beatriz Marquez
- Malaquias Gil Rodriguez
- Indira Maira Alfonzo
- Jhannett Maria Madriz
- Carlos Enrique Quintero
- Xavier Antinio Moreno
- Carlos Alberto Rotondaro
On the sanctions, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said:
These sanctions send a clear message that the Maduro regime’s anti-democratic behaviour has consequences. Today’s announcement is evidence of our commitment to defending democracy and human rights around the world and our rejection of Venezuela’s fraudulent presidential elections. Canada is as determined as ever to support the people of Venezuela as they seek a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous future.
Canada has been one of the most vociferous critics of the Maduro regime’s human rights abuses. The country has played a key role in the Lima Group, and has issued a number rounds of sanctions against regime officials.
Maduro Delays Roll-out of New Currency
Maduro announced yesterday that the Bolivar Soberano (Sovereign Bolivar), the country’s new currency, will not roll-out on June 4 as originally scheduled. Maduro made the announcement during a televised speech that he gave from the Miraflores Palace in Caracas in which he said:
We’re asking that the [monetary] re-conversion be delayed for at least 90 days, and to watch for the possibility that the two kinds of currency can co-exist for a determined amount of time so that there will be no conflict in terms of payment.
Venezuela’s current currency is called the Bolivar Fuerte, but the name is often shorted to simply Bolivar (Bs.). The Bs. is currently suffering from the highest inflation rate on the planet, which is estimated by the National Assembly to reach as high as 100,000% bu the end of this year.
In an effort to mitigate the destruction of the Bs., Maduro announced in late March that he would introduce a whole new currency, the Bolivar Soberano, on June 4 of this year. The Bolivar Soberano would enter circulation with three fewer zeroes than the Bolivar. This would mean that, for example, an item that costs Bs. 100,000 on June 3 would have cost BsS. 100 on June 4.
MUD To Restructure Following Fall From Relevance
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the country’s largest political opposition bloc, announced today that it was undergoing restructuring in a bid to become a viable challenger to the Maduro regime. After winning a stunning electoral victory in the 2015 parliamentary election, the MUD became largely irrelevant due to a combination of incessant pressure from the Maduro regime and an apparent lack of leadership and vision.
The MUD will now be made up of six opposition parties: Primero Justicia, Accion Democratica, Voluntad Popular, Un Nuevto Tiempo, La Caura R, and the Movimiento Progresista de Venezuela. The number of member parties is down from nine, after Vente Venezuela, Alianza Bravo Pueblo and Avanzada Progresista dropped out of the coalition.
National Assembly deputy Simon Calzadilla spoke in a press conference on the MUD’s new form, saying:
In this new stage, we are going to start to set out a strategy for change so that we can march alongside side a people who are suffering, but who have also decided to take a step forward to rescue their country and orient it towards dignity.
The MUD lost a considerably amount of legitimacy following a number of political blunders. Most recently, the MUD made a series of announcements which it said were part of a “zero hour” strategy, which made vague allusions to general strikes and an intensification of street protests against the Maduro regime were the Constituent Assembly election to take place.
When the election took place, the country discovered that the MUD’s “zero hour” strategy had been a bluff, and that the coalition had no plan to confront the Maduro regime.