Major League Baseball (MLB) issued a statement today announcing a halt to all of its operations in Venezuela, namely the Winter League Agreement, which allows for its players and other staff to play in the Venezuelan professional baseball league in the off-season.
The news was broken by The Wall Street Journal.
According to the MLB, it made the decision as a result of recent White House sanctions against the Maduro regime, the broadest of which generally prohibit US entities from conducting business with the Venezuelan government.
The MLB statement partially states:
Base on our review of the facts, we have made the decision to suspend our participation in the Winter League Agreement with respect to the Venezuelan Winter League until such a time that the [US Treasury] provides us with guidance.
Local Media: Gov’t Trading Subsidized Food for Political Support
Radio Fe y Alegria, a local media outlet in Apure state, published reports today that residents of the Achaguas municipality are being denied access to CLAP subsidized food unless they agree to sign a petition expressing their outrage at US sanctions against the Maduro regime.
According to the outlet, a local resident named Edward Castillo said that regime officials tasked with delivering the food boxes to residents arrive at their homes with the food, but
… then they tell the person that is supposed to get the food that they will only sell it to them if they sign a paper speaking out against the president of the United States.
Castillo’s testimony is far from unique. In early July, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet published a report on the human rights situation in Venezuela in which she included evidence of this very practice. According to the report:
On 13 May 2016, the Government declared a “state of exception and economic emergency” and created the Local Committees for Supply and Food Distribution (CLAP) as part of the local structure of “community councils”. These structures, along with military and security forces, were mandated to distribute food assistance, known as CLAP boxes, which according to the Government, reaches 6 million households. OHCHR received accounts of people, who despite not having adequate access to food, were not included in the distribution lists of the CLAP boxes because they were not Government supporters.
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