Chatham House, the Atlantic Council and Inter-American Dialogue convened an event in Washington DC on 18 September to discuss sanctions, human rights, and free and fair elections in Venezuela.
The event, ‘What’s Next for the International Response to Venezuela?’, was moderated by Dr Christopher Sabatini, Chatham House’s senior research fellow for Latin America.
Speakers included Geoff Ramsey of the Atlantic Council, Francisco Palmieri the US Chargé d’Affaires in Colombia, Tamara Taraciuk-Broner of the Inter-American Dialogue, Beatriz Borges of the Venezuelan human rights organization CEPAZ, and Rodrigo Naranjo of the Venezuelan energy association CONAPRI. Colombian Ambassador to the US, Luis Gilberto Murillo, provided closing remarks.
The discussion ranged over human rights conditions, models that could help balance accountability for abuses and reconciliation for peaceful change, and the role of the private sector in generating economic growth and jobs in Venezuela.
The event was held as part of an ongoing Chatham House project on negotiations, human rights and economic prosperity in Venezuela supported by the Open Society Foundations and Pax Sapiens.
Christopher Sabatini said:
‘In the past months, the path for free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections in Venezuela during 2024 and 2025 has narrowed. At the same time negotiations between the political opposition and the government remain stalled, and the US maintains the Trump-era maximum pressure policy of sanctions on the government and the state oil sector.
‘Amid the stalemate, governments in Latin America and the EU are voicing interest in a coordinated multilateral response and questioning US policy.
‘This important meeting contributed to that debate by identifying the need for a more detailed, nuanced understanding of sanctions to avoid overcompliance in humanitarian assistance, help the private sector generate employment and incentivize positive political change.
‘The next step for this project is to develop targeted working groups to research and propose recommendations to support human rights and reconciliation in Venezuela, and to identify ways to strengthen the private sector in the country.’