On February 23, the organizations participating in the Conference on the Integration of Latin American and Caribbean Peoples approved the “Letter to the People for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean”. The letter contains a summary of the event’s discussions and notes for advancing the integration of the people of the region. The Conference, which began February 22, ended February 24. In total, 4,000 people, from more than 20 countries in the region, participated in the event. Colombian Vice President Francia Marquéz was also present at the Conference.
The gradual recovery observed in Venezuela’s economy can be seen in the increase in agricultural production, which has recorded 14 consecutive quarters of growth despite the blockade and unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro explained this last Wednesday, February 21, during a work day dedicated to national production. He highlighted that this progress towards a productive and independent economy has been carried out through Venezuela’s own efforts amid the difficulties caused by illegal US sanctions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just concluded a three-country regional tour of Latin America this week. He kicked off his tour on Monday in the Cuban capital of Havana, and also visited Venezuela and Brazil, where he concluded his tour with participation in the G20 Ministers’ Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, where he met with several other Latin American leaders. During his time in Cuba, the Russian diplomat discussed various topics with President Miguel Diaz Canel and his Cuban counterpart, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, including the decades-long blockade on Cuba imposed by Washington and strategies to boost economic cooperation, commerce, and investment.
After the failure of the Lima Group, Latin American right-wing former presidents created a new group to continue interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, such as attempting to overthrow the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. This new Lima Group is named Liberty and Democracy Group, which includes the former presidents Iván Duque of Colombia, Mauricio Macri of Argentina, Jorge Quiroga of Bolivia, Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador, and Mario Abdo Benítez of Paraguay. The idea for creating this Lima Group 2.0 came from the late Sebastián Piñera, former president of Chile.
Officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Secret Service raided the residence of the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington. The diplomatic building was illegally occupied by the fugitive from Venezuelan justice Carlos Vecchio with complicity from US authorities since he declared himself Venezuela’s ambassador during the failed US “regime change” operation led by former deputy Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself “interim president” of Venezuela in 2019. According to a report posted by photojournalist Kyle Mazza on social media on Thursday, February 15, police activity could be seen in the area, and FBI officers were wearing bulletproof jackets and carrying long guns.
Venezuela reported that it will file complaints against Argentina and the United States before the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for violating international regulations following the brazen theft of the EMTRASUR Boeing 747 cargo jet. This was announced on Monday, February 12, after the United States stole the Venezuelan state cargo airline’s jet in collusion with Argentina. The plane had been illegally and arbitrarily retained for over 20 months in Argentina while a barrage of fake news was directed against Venezuela to criminalize the nation and legalize the theft by the US.
Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution marks its 25th anniversary this month, despite continuous US-led hybrid warfare to overthrow the socialist project. The Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro has successfully forced the US to de facto engage with it, although Washington still maintains the fiction that the defunct 2015 National Assembly is the “last remaining democratic institution” there. The US has been relegated to vetting candidates for the upcoming Venezuelan presidential election. While still egregiously interventionist, the imperial power has failed to achieve outright regime change. The appearance of Venezuelan opposition politician Maria Corina Machado before a US congressional committee is the latest in the empire’s quest for a trustworthy confederate.
On 2 February 2024, the people of Venezuela celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Bolivarian Revolution. On that day in 1999, Hugo Chávez took office as the president of Venezuela and began a process of Latin American integration that – because of US intransigence – accelerated into an anti-imperialist process. Chávez’s government, understanding that it would not be able to govern on behalf of the people and address their needs if it remained tied to the 1961 Constitution, pushed for deeper and deeper democratisation. In April 1999, a referendum was held to set up a Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting a new constitution; in July 1999, 131 deputies were elected to the assembly; in December 1999, another referendum was held to ratify the draft constitution; and, finally, in July 2000, a general election was held based on the rules set out in the newly adopted constitution.
This Wednesday, Venezuelan vice minister for anti-blockade policy, William Castillo, made a presentation to the visiting delegation from Burkina Faso. Castillo’s presentation covered the impact on Venezuela’s economy of the illegal coercive measures—euphemistically referred to as “sanctions”—imposed by the US and its vassals and spoke about how Venezuela has overcome them. In a statement, Castillo wrote that both parties agreed that “the sanctions are part of an illegal and criminal foreign policy and of a model of neocolonialism that uses attacks on the economy as a spearhead for the geopolitical control of free nations.” Burkina Faso also faces sanctions imposed by the European Union.
Numerous reports in major media outlets have documented how the US government has used the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in order to spy on and try to destabilize left-wing governments in Latin America. DEA meddling schemes have targeted Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro, Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales, and Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In these scandals, the DEA has collaborated with known criminals, including drug traffickers and money launderers, to launch sting operations against leftist politicians. The Associated Press revealed this February that the DEA “sent undercover operatives into Venezuela to surreptitiously record and build drug-trafficking cases against the country’s leadership”.
Even the US business magazine Forbes expressed surprise at the reimposition of US sanctions on Venezuela’s gold sales and its threat to do the same with oil. The oil sanctions especially, if reinstated, would precipitate higher gas prices and further debilitate the Venezuelan economy, forcing more people to leave the country out of economic necessity. The Venezuelan government, for its part, has not been contrite. Vice President Delcy Rodríguez protested “the wrong step of intensifying economic aggression against Venezuela.” She warned that if Washington takes the threatened measures, Venezuela will cancel repatriation flights returning Venezuelan immigrants back from the US.
The United States revoked a general license granted to the Venezuelan state gold company, Minerven, after Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) confirmed the disqualification of María Corina Machado from exercising public functions for a period of 15 years. The license (number 43) was issued in October 2023 along with others granted to the oil and gas industries within the framework of negotiations conducted in Barbados between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and sectors of the Venezuelan far-right opposition. The operations authorized in the license to Minerven must be liquidated before February 13, states the document from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury.
Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information Freddy Ñáñez stated that the Venezuelan government condemns the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to ratify the dispossession of CITGO Petroleum Corporation. Through a social media post published Tuesday, December 9, Minister Ñáñez wrote that the action violates the agreements signed in Barbados last year. According to his social media post, the measure is seen as another step in the ongoing aggression by United States institutions against Venezuela, seizing the assets rightfully belonging to the Venezuelan people.
The government of Venezuela spoke up this Tuesday to confirm its support for South African authorities who, in a case filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), have accused Israel of genocide in Gaza, Palestine. In a statement, the foreign minister of Venezuela, Yván Gil cited the Israeli entity’s repeated violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. “Venezuela, as a country committed to peace diplomacy, recognizes South Africa’s firm and historic step in defense of the Palestinian people and international law,” wrote Gil. Likewise, he stated that Venezuela advocates that South Africa’s case be supported by the entire international community.