The Spanish government is set to reveal a “drastic” change in stance towards the Maduro regime tomorrow, when it is expected to announce that it will advocate for the dropping of sanctions against regime officials in exchange for a new rounds of dialogue.
According to El Pais, Foreign Minister Josep Borrell will make the announcement during tomorrow’s European Union council of ministers in Luxembourg. According to the newspaper:
[Borrell] will defend before his European homologues the necessity to stand firm against the regime of Nicolas Maduro in defense of democracy and human rights. But he will bet on dialogue instead of sanctions as the way to solve the political and economic problem that the Latin American country.
Borrell serves in the cabinet of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who took office in June of this year as the head of the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE). He replaced Mariano Rajoy, who served in the position between from 2011, and who headed a hard-line approach against the Maduro regime.
Borrell Faces Uphill Battle at EU
Beatriz Becerra, the vice president of the European Parliament’s subcomission for human rights, suggested to El Nacional today that Spain’s new approach to the Venezuela crisis might not find much support with the rest of Europe.
Becerra said that she does not expect the EU to change its stance against the regime after tomorrow’s meeting, meaning that the sanctions against regime officials and against exporting weapons to Venezuela would remain in place.
Calling Madrid’s change in stance “cosmetic trickery”, Becerra suggested that the government of Prime Minister Sanchez attempted to lend a hand to Jose Luis Zapatero, a fellow PSOE member who has launched several failed attempts at dialogue over the past several years.
Zapatero is a highly divisive figure in Venezuela, given what many consider to be his naked pro-regime stance.
Most recently, Zapatero made headlines when he said that the ongoing Venezuelan migrant crisis was caused by “economic sanctions” and “financial blockade”, suggesting that the international community–not the Maduro regime and chavismo more generally–were responsible for the crisis.
In fact, the socio-economic collapse that is precipitating the largest migrant crisis that the region has seen in decades was caused by nearly two decades of massive corruption and mismanagement at every level of the Venezuelan government. With the exception of sanctions targeting a specific type of government bond, the sanctions in place by Canada, the United States and the European Union target named regime officials, seizing their assets and banning their entry in those jurisdictions.
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