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Why are US sanctions against the Maduro government limiting relations with Colombia?

Why are US sanctions against the Maduro government limiting relations with Colombia?
Venezuela sanctions
A truck crosses the Simon Bolívar Bridge from Venezuela during an operation to reopen the border between Colombia and Venezuela in Cúcuta. Photo: EFE/Mario Caicedo

Obviously, reestablishing Colombian-Venezuelan relations will be a somewhat difficult vehicle, at least to begin with. US sanctions against Nicolás Maduro’s government, affecting companies and people in Venezuela, would be a stumbling block and would trouble the triangle of Washington, Caracas and Bogotá, especially the latter.

Both countries have shown interest in their own way to restart the broken relationship. The formal reopening of the border is evidence of this, but the backlash regarding flights between the two capitals seems to be the tip of the iceberg of the depth associated with Venezuela.

Colombia, not Iran, Russia, or China, acts without much thought in the United States. Instead, it remains an important partner in Latin America, but wants to re-engage its neighbors not only in trade balance, but also in the region.


The first disagreement is due to these so-called obstacles The Clinton ListUnder the Office of Assets Control (OFAC) state conviasa was unable to send the first flight to Bogota.

From 2020 onwards, the airline is allowed. At the time, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “the illegitimate Maduro regime relies on Kanviaza to move corrupt officials around the world and garner support for its anti-democratic efforts”.

Conviasa will be the first airline to fly to Colombia in restoring ties. Photo: Facebook, Conviasa

“Therefore, there is a desire between Venezuela and Colombia to normalize their relationship as much as possible, but there is that tension between the United States and Venezuela. If it continues like this, if it is possible, the maintenance of economic sanctions may hinder the objective of normalizing relations,” he said. TimeMiguel Velarde, economist and political consultant.

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For Carlos Paparoni, deputy of the National Assembly in 2015 and investigating corruption cases related to the Maduro government, he considers the situation between Colombia and Venezuela to be beyond a political situation, because he told the neighbor that “it will happen. It is wrong that these companies associated with money laundering entered the Colombian system.

“I think it’s up to Maduro to see how he fits into that system.”

Gustavo Pedro on the reopening of the border with Venezuela. Photo: President

45 companies have been sanctioned

OFAC’s list includes 45 recognized companies, which, in addition to Conviasa, include the Central Bank of Venezuela, Banco de Venezuela, Banco Bicentenario, National Institute of Aquatic and Insular Spaces, Petroleos de Venezuela and other suppliers. and services..

“One concern is whether Colombia will relax security measures for its banks and allow regime officials to open accounts,” comments Paparoni. TimeThere are 32 open court cases in the United States for money laundering by PTVSA, which add up to $16,000 million, so he does not believe Conviasa’s actions toward Colombia will be resolved at this time.

For Miguel Velarde, the airlines are a sign of the care Colombia has in reaching out to its neighbors. “Pedro’s government has given the first indications that it will not risk the consequences of violating these sanctions by Venezuela.”

Stress is the cause

Canviaza’s example can be extended to other institutions, or so political scientist Anderson Sequeira believes. “Colombian companies are going to be very careful about over-compliance with sanctions. In other words, if there is doubt, they will lose business rather than being allowed. This will cause tension between the Petro administration and President Biden.

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Although the two capitals already have ambassadors appointed, the border has been launched and there are plans for the future, not everything is clear about what the path of travel between Colombia and Venezuela will look like.

*Grupo de Diarios America (GDA), from El Nacional, is a leading media network founded in 1991 that promotes democratic values, free press and freedom of expression in Latin America through quality journalism to our audience.

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