The Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, reported on the latest progress made by the interim government of Venezuela in the struggle to achieve a transition to democracy in Venezuela, as well as the efforts made by the Venezuelan diplomatic representation to achieve a protection measure of immigration for Venezuelan citizens in the United States.
The diplomat highlighted in an interview with the Venezuelan media EVTV Miami that he and other embassy officials are promoting a mechanism that offers Venezuelans a legal status in the United States, the internal dynamics of the country have delayed the possibilities.
“It is a priority for us that we can have immigration relief that allows Venezuelans to be here legally and that they can work and that none of them are deported,” Vecchio said.
He added: “I have found from the Administration, Congress and the Republican and Democratic parties, a need and a support so that we can move towards a TPS or any mechanism that allows that protection to Venezuelans, who are living a very complex situation and that would allow them to be in better condition in front of the crisis. He said that right now the ideal conditions are in place to speed up its approval and that is what the embassy is working on.
Transparent management of assets by the Interim Government
Vecchio also noted the achievements of the interim government with respect to the protection of Citgo and other Venezuelan assets in the United States.
“The first thing I have to say is that if the interim government did not exist today we would not have Citgo, we would have lost it already,” the ambassador said.
He noted that the last hearing in the trial in Delaware the U.S. government presented its position and said Citgo is being handled in an autonomous and transparent manner.
He stressed that the Interim Government has only recovered $340 million that is in the U.S. Federal Reserve, resources that can only be used with the authorization of the National Assembly and with a license from the U.S. Treasury’s OFAC.
“Of those resources, today was made the transfer of 14 million dollars to PAHO and the Red Cross to attend to the pandemic in Venezuela, and in the next few days the direct benefit will be paid to the Heroes of Health, which has also been authorized. All this under the transparent supervision of the United States.
Regarding humanitarian aid, the ambassador said that the dictatorship continues to hinder efforts to distribute it to those who need it most.
“As long as we have Maduro in power, who has (actively) limited access to humanitarian aid, for example he does not give the licenses for goods and services to go and deliver them to Venezuela,” Vecchio said. “He does not give visas to international organizations so that they can implement these projects. It does not allow access to the ports and airports for all the aid we have.”
Venezuelans stranded by the regime
“The regime calls those who are trapped outside (overseas) biological weapons, oppressing them and stigmatizing them,” Vecchio said.
The Ambassador explained that the Legitimate Government has been clear since day one of the pandemic: “Don’t close the airspace to our nationals and they did the opposite, no country has done this with its nationals. We have a census of our citizens, who number close to 1,000, and we manage two totally free airplanes that depart from Miami, stop over in Mexico and arrive in Venezuela, complying with all health and security measures. We also talk to private airlines so they comply with citizens, but the regime prohibits the entry of any option, not only from the U.S. but from any country.
He added that an effort is being made with the State Department to waive the fee for requesting an extension of stay.
No negotiation process ongoing with the dictatorship
He explained that there is no negotiation process with the regime sponsored by Norway or any other country. “We have made it clear that the only discussion is and must be the exit of Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship from the power it holds. This has also been reinforced by our main ally, the United States”.
He highlighted the case of Maduro’s front man, Alex Saab, who is being held in Cape Verde by local authorities and is awaiting an extradition warrant.
“The right steps have been taken to ensure the extradition of Alex Saab to the United States,” Vecchio said.
He recalled that Interim President Juan Guaidó has evaluated all options for Maduro’s departure and, more importantly, is pushing them, even if it is not done publicly.
“We have seen the criminal accusations of the United States against Maduro’s dictatorship, the investigations and accusations on the subject of drug trafficking and international terrorism.”