The United States lifts sanctions on a nephew of Nicolás Maduro's wife

The United States lifted sanctions on a nephew of the president’s wife Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro, weeks after Washington announced that it was taking measures to promote dialogue with the opposition, the Treasury Department reported this Friday.

Carlos Erik Malpica Flores was included in a sanctions blacklist in 2017, for allegedly being linked to acts of corruption.

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According to press reports, he is 49 years old and has held three of the most important financial positions in Venezuela: national treasurer, financial director of the state oil company PDVSA and director of the Development Bank of Venezuela. He has also worked in the Foreign Ministry, the Parliament and the secretariat of the Presidency.

The administration of US President Joe Biden said in May that Venezuela’s opposition, which Washington considers the interim government, had requested a series of measures to pave the way for dialogue with Maduro.

Among other measures, Washington authorized Chevron, the only US oil company that still has assets in Venezuela, to negotiate with PDVSA.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that he believed negotiations in Mexico City between the government and the opposition, led by leader Juan Guaidó, would resume soon.

This Friday, Gerardo Blyde, a member of the Unitarian Platform, stated in a tweet that this opposition political alliance “has worked very closely with the United States on specific actions aimed at reactivating the negotiation process in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Mexico City, in search of solutions to the serious crisis that affects the Venezuelan people”.

Last year, the opposition and the Maduro government began an attempt at dialogue in Mexico City, but the Venezuelan president suspended the negotiations in October in retaliation for the extradition from Cape Verde to the United States of a businessman accused of being his figurehead.

The United States recognizes Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, after calling Maduro’s re-election in 2018 “fraudulent”, although in practice power in the country is exercised by the Chavista president.

That year, after the elections, former Republican President Donald Trump launched a pressure campaign to oust Maduro from power.

But Maduro has survived, with the support of the armed forces, as well as Russia, China and Cuba. As a consequence, some congressmen from the left wing of the Democratic Party ask that the United States dialogue with him, but there is still reluctance among others and among Republicans.

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