Are the sanctions flexible?

Are the sanctions flexible?


The price of gasoline has exceeded 5 dollars a gallon in some regions of the United States ° GETTY IMAGES

Once again the issue of international sanctions imposed on our country as such and on some officials or plugged in by foreign governments returns to the fore. Let’s see it in the global context and not only in the parish. The sanctions that the Biden government and its partners or allies in the European area impose on Russia and that are increasing day by day, are producing adverse results for Moscow and for individual characters with greater or lesser proximity to power in that country.

It is evident that an important power such as the Russian Federation, which also has energy, military, food, etc. it is immersed in what is the phenomenon of globalization that has led it to dominate some variables and at the same time be dominated by other variables that it does not control. Let’s see.

In energy matters, for example, Russia has resources and infrastructure that allow it to extract and export enough to leverage its own development at the same time that it can fall – and has already fallen – into the temptation of extorting money from Europe. This being true, it is no less true that a suspension of its exports or the decision of customers to look for other suppliers produces or will produce an accumulation of inventories, a decrease in reserves in dollars, etc.

This has been partially offset by Moscow’s decision to require payment of bills in rubles so as not to depend on the dollar. Such an apparently good decision collides with the undeniable reality that the imports required by Russia to keep its industrial park running are hampered by the fact that they need to be paid mostly in dollars and through bank transfer systems controlled by platforms. (SWIFT) and without access to the North American banking circuit.

As a pertinent example we observe the political confrontation between Moscow and Berlin over the Gulfstream gas pipeline that supplies Russian gas to Germany and other countries. If the gas shipment is cut off, it is very bad for the Germans, but the flow of dollars in the opposite direction is also suspended, which is already beginning to affect the balance of Russian foreign trade. Does one suffer or both?

Russia has sovereign and private bonds placed on world stock markets, especially among North American and European investors. As a result of the sanctions, Moscow’s ability to pay the principal and interest coupons to those creditors who are precisely Western citizens who once did a lawful business and now the restrictive measures of their own governments prevent them from recovering your investments. The sanction is so bad that it is being studied to give it some exception.

The United States has made the decision to prohibit the importation of Russian oil and therefore has turned its eyes, among others, towards a fractious and unreliable Venezuela, in addition to having had to renew the OFAC (United States Treasury) license to allow that Chevron -a 100% American company- can continue to operate in “hostile territory” while at the same time prohibiting its citizens -even if they are ordinary- even from meeting with their Venezuelan counterparts to discuss business issues. All of this, which is taking place within the framework of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has brought the price of gasoline at the pumps in the north from $2.50 a gallon to $5.00, with the natural displeasure of citizens who, for the most part, consider that that war does not affect them and they do not have to pay for it. So much so that in a recent vote in Congress to authorize economic aid to kyiv, 57 Republican representatives and 10 senators from the same party spoke out against the project (which ultimately did come out) alleging that it was not in the interest of their constituents, moreover of the desire in the face of the upcoming partial elections in November, not to contradict Mr. Trump, whose position vis-à-vis Putin is “lukewarm” to say the least.

All of the above leads us to consider the issue of sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela, which it is anticipated may be relaxed. Nicaragua for the moment is a separate chapter.

To this day, this writer does not comment on the advisability or otherwise of such flexibility, but instead highlights what we have already said several times in other articles: this is resolved in the interest of the United States – absolute owner of the effectiveness of the sanctions – which may or may not coincide with any of the biases that are faced in Venezuela without prejudice that as a by-product can be used to encourage the resumption of talks in Mexico or some other benefit.

Precisely on this subject, the person who writes this expresses being pessimistic, anticipating that -if there is any conversation- it will not get anywhere and will serve once again for the occupants of Miraflores to gain time while entangling and dividing the already faltering opposition. The proof is clear: they have not yet sat down and the ruling party is already making the resumption of the meeting subject to the incorporation of Alex Saab into its delegation which, as a message, could not be more eloquent in the negative sense, no matter how clever Jorge Rodriguez and Gerardo Blyde before the social media.

The same is true of the matter of the Summit of the Americas to be held in San Diego, California, at the beginning of June. The host has already said that he will not invite Maduro but has not yet ruled on whether he will invite Guaidó even though he is the authority that he recognizes as legitimate for Venezuela. It will not be strange that after some time poor Juan is left hanging from the brush when interests that neither he nor any Venezuelan controls, so determine according to the convenience of Washington. They are neither good nor bad, they are Americans and not Venezuelans. The gringos will vote in November, the Venezuelans will not. Dramatically obvious!

Pessimism? Yes. Realism? Total.

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The entrance Are the sanctions flexible? was first published in THE NATIONAL.

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