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The U.S. Offers To Lift Crippling Sanctions Against Venezuela In New Plan, But There’s A Major Catch

The coronavirus isn’t stopping the United States from continuing its maximum pressure campaign on Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela. 

For well over a year, Venezuela has suffered from a massive political crisis. President Nicolas Maduro clings to power as a growing number of foreign countries (including the U.S.) recognize his main competitor, Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim-President.

But as the country struggles to confront a growing Coronavirus pandemic, the international community is imploring the Trump administration to ease sanctions of the struggling nation. Many are concerned over its spread amid a collapsing health care system and a deep economic crisis, aggravated by U.S. sanctions and low oil prices.

The Trump administration is prepared to lift crippling sanctions on Venezuela in support of a new proposal to form a transitional government.

Credit: Kenneth Rapoza / Getty

However, getting both Maduro and Guaidó to buy into the plan – let alone millions of Venezuelans – will be an immense challenge. Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó would both have to step aside in favor of a five-person governing council, according to U.S. officials familiar with the plan.

Under the “democratic transition framework”, all political prisoners would be released, and all foreign – mostly Cuban – forces would leave. A five-member council would be selected, with two members chosen by the opposition, two by Maduro’s Socialist party, and the fifth member picked by the other four.

“The hope is that this set-up promotes the selection of people who are very broadly respected and known as people who can work with the other side,” the US special representative for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, told the Associated Press.

The U.S. has long pushed for regime change in Venezuela and this could be a major step towards achieving this policy.

“The United States has long been committed to finding a solution to the manmade crisis in Venezuela,” the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said.

“The urgency for this has become all the more serious in light of the Maduro regime’s failure to adequately prepare for and address the global Covid-19 pandemic. This framework demonstrates our commitment to helping Venezuela fully recover and ensures that the voice of the Venezuelan people is respected and included.”

The plan would mean the end of the Maduro regime and the likely withdrawal of his largest competitor.

Credit: Elizabeth Melimopoulos / Getty

Since early 2019, Venezuela has been in the throes of a political crisis with two clashing sides vowing to take back control of the country. Millions of people have poured into the streets in support of one side or the other – often resulting in violent flare ups that have left thousands dead.

But could the promise of zero sanctions against a struggling economy be enough to make the plan work?

Credit: @carmses_in / Twitter

The US and EU would then lift sanctions on the current leadership. Broader sanctions on the country’s oil business would be lifted after all foreign forces had left the country. All sanctions would be lifted after free elections, to be held within six to 12 months.

“The basic outline is simple: We call for a transitional government that would govern for nine to 12 months and hold free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections,” U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams told reporters Tuesday. “The United States will recognize the result of a free and fair election no matter which party wins.”

The proposal comes five days after the U.S. indicted Maduro and top members of his government and army for drug trafficking and money laundering.

The Department of Justice indicted Maduro and many of his right-hand men on a range of charges, all but guaranteeing they will not be part of any potential democratic transition in Venezuela down the line.

The indictment for crimes ranging from drug trafficking to corruption to narcoterrorism puts the spotlight on the horrendous acts Maduro and his associates have allegedly perpetrated.

In addition to giving the U.S. additional leverage over Maduro, the indictment also acts as an incentive for the 14 individuals charged along with him — and others close to him — to cooperate with U.S. authorities.

The plan has his critics on both sides of the aisle.

Skeptics of the plan said it provided few incentives for the incumbent officials to give up power, days after they were charged with serious offences and multimillion-dollar rewards put on their heads.

The ultimate focus must be on alleviating the suffering of the Venezuelan people, and though it will not be eased by these recent actions alone, the only way forward is to address the root causes of the crisis, starting with Maduro.

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Venezuelan Rising Star Carmen DeLeon Talks Break-Up Inspired “Pasado” and How Her Abuelos Inspired “Cafecito”

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Venezuelan Rising Star Carmen DeLeon Talks Break-Up Inspired “Pasado” and How Her Abuelos Inspired “Cafecito”

Courtesy of Carmen DeLeon

Carmen De Leon is a rising star hailing from Caracas, Venezuela. The 20-year-old singer moved to Tampa, Florida when she was 10 years old and then two years later moved with her family to Barcelona, Spain and lived there for six years. While in Spain, Carmen found success participating in La Voz, and started to build a following that would tune in every week to see her perform. Then she lived in Mexico for a year, Los Angeles for another year and is now settled in Miami working on her music career.

In an exclusive interview with Latido Music by mitú, Carmen De Leon talked to us about her latest single “Pasado” with Cali y El Dandee, from which she drew inspiration from her very own break-up and reminiscing about the past. We also touched on “Cafecito“, the bittersweet song in memory of her grandparents, her dream collab, and more.

Pasado” is inspired by Carmen De Leon’s real-life breakup.

Carmen recruited Colombian singers Cali y El Dandee for her latest single “Pasado,” blending 80s synthpop with reggaeton, a true popetón hit you can dance to and perhaps cry to.

On working with Cali y El Dandee, Carmen has nothing but praise for the Colombian duo, “they are like my brothers, they’re insanely talented, genuine and humble.”

It was Dandee who actually wanted her to let her feelings all out for the song.

“At that moment while I was writing the song, I was actually breaking up with my boyfriend, and I had Mauricio (Dandee) saying to me: ‘Just tell me more. Whatever you’re texting him, say it out loud so we have the right words for the song’ and that’s what we did,” Carmen says.

Just like the lyrics of the song long about the past, so did the music video which was purposely made in the film to capture the “old vibe” they were seeking to portray.

Carmen feels like this is the best song that she has made in her entire life. “It’s changed my life in a way because it’s opened me up to new audiences and I love seeing people react to it and relate to it.”

Earlier this year, Carmen released “Cafecito” which isn’t about your beloved morning beverage.

Most of us would read the title “Cafecito” and think it’s just an upbeat morning pick-me-up song, but it isn’t. “Cafecito” is a bittersweet single that Carmen says she wrote, “at 4 a.m. in the middle of a hurricane because I missed my grandparents so much, and I wanted to write about what it feels like to lose someone.”

While her abuelitos were the main inspiration behind the lyrics, the song does capture the feeling of loss that could apply to those of us losing a friendship, relationship, etc.

Before I even finish the question about her dream collaboration, Carmen excitedly yelled “Camilo!,” which also happens to be one of her favorite covers she’s posted on her YouTube channel.

Carmen’s dad chimed in the interview as well to plug in his favorite cover, which is “Graveyard” by Halsey.

We can only hope that Carmen DeLeon and Camilo collab happens and that this article serves as manifestation for it.

Good luck with everything, Carmen!

READ: Mon Laferte Talks Regional Mexican Album ‘Seis’ and Singing With Gloria Trevi

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Alex Wong / Getty

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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