Venezuela has passed a resolution snapping commercial relations with Panama in the wake of its alleged link in money laundering which has led both the nations to recall their diplomats. The names in the Resolution include President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama, about 24 ministers of Cabinet rank and many other top-ranking officials. Venezuela has stated that all the individuals who have been named in the resolution present a high risk to the financial and economic system of the country.
Earlier in the week, Panama had named President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela along with 50 other Venezuela nationals of sponsoring economic terrorism and being involved in high-risk money laundering. Regional airline Copa of Panama has also been named in the resolution. Copa runs vital international flights.
Panama has recalled its ambassador to Venezuela and has labelled the latest announcement as senseless. Venezuela is facing sanctions from many nations of the world including US, Canada because of its human rights abuses, highly prevalent corruption and drugs. President Maduro has blamed Washington for undermining his government with the help of other nations. He has often said that Venezuela is becoming a victim of an economic war.
Venezuela is a highly divided society with a strong public bent towards Chavismo which was a movement started by the late leader Hugo Chavez. It is the common belief that Chavismo was instrumental in redistribution of the oil wealth of the nation and also became a channel for the expression of poor in politics. 25 percent population of Venezuela support Maduro which is a good number looking at the economic conditions. Regional elections in the nation gave a clear message that about 6 million voters which comprise about one-third of adult population voted in favour of candidates supported by the ruling coalition.
The US seems to have misinterpreted the political sentiment in the country and has resorted to sanctions to bring a change in regime by fuelling a rebellion against it. US sanctions will seriously harm its foreign currency reserves will snowball the current humanitarian situation into a catastrophe.
In 2017, Venezuela has washed off the international markets leading to a major fall in imports by 31 percent simultaneously with an increase in export revenues. This, in turn, spiralled into a mounting external surplus to fund its debt just to avoid a default as the creditors had already issued warnings that in case of a default they will cease other revenue resources which include refineries abroad. The US sanctions further added to the troubles by halting any new debts and blocking all attempts for restructuring the debt obligations.
Majority of people in Venezuela thus oppose US sanctions as they have the understanding that ordinary as they realise that ultimately they will bite into the pockets of ordinary people. People are also opposed to foreign intervention while 58 percent are of the view that a dialogue will be helpful. Sanctions have worsened the availability of basic goods and further lent affirmation to the argument of the government that US sanctions are anti-people.
US has to win the hearts of Venezuelans by extending help and taking to populist measures liking extension of migrant status for Venezuelans in the US. Sanctions are seen in bad taste as, despite the state of the economy and other abuses, Maduro has public support.