The second round of contacts between the delegates of Joe Biden and Nicolás Maduro has advanced this Tuesday in Caracas without the expectations of March. “There is still a long way to go, a lot of diplomacy, a lot of dialogue and a lot of understanding”, highlighted the “son of Chávez”, who, on this occasion, has delegated Jorge Rodríguez, president of the Chavista legislative body and head of the revolutionary delegation at the table of the dialogue in Mexico, the reception to the officials of the White House.

The presence in the US delegation of the ambassador, James Story, and the special envoy, Roger Carstens, mark in advance the two main points to be discussed on this trip: the freedom of the US prisoners in Maduro’s prisons and the negotiations in Mexico between government and opposition, suspended for eight months. As soon as he landed in Caracas, Story held a meeting with Juan Guaidó, whom the Democratic administration continues to consider the country’s interim president and his great ally.

The absence of the head of the first delegation, Juan González, Biden’s main adviser for Latin America, has lowered the expectations of the meeting, focusing it, above all, on the hostages, but without forgetting that the fundamental axis of the “mini-thaw” is oil in the midst of the global energy crisis.

“Achieving great progress is difficult, because the (mid-term) elections are upon us. We’ll see something else at the end of the year. From a political point of view, in the US the trip has not reached a greater media impact,” he advanced to EL MUNDO María Puerta Riera, professor of American government in Florida.

The impact of the first visit in March, a few days after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, provoked a strong internal response in the US, which slowed down some progress that has subsequently been produced by drops. While Chavismo initially freed two of the US hostages, Washington later lifted the sanctions on Carlos Malpica, favorite nephew of the first revolutionary combatant Cilia Flores, who served as Vice President of Finance for Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and as presidential commissioner.

The Biden administration also gave the green light for the American oil companies Chevron, Italian ENI and Spanish Repsol to return to producing and exporting black gold to Europe, with the intention of alleviating the current energy crisis. Coinciding with this second round, Maduro has responded to French President Emmanuel Macron that his country is ready to receive French companies “that want to produce oil and gas to sell on the European market.”

“The longer the war in Ukraine drags on and the greater its impact on the oil market is in the daily life of the population in developed countries, especially the US and Europe, the political blockers of the negotiations with Venezuela and Iran will become less relevant. “, highlighted the political scientist Luis Vicente León.

For now, the turn is for Carstens, Biden’s envoy to secure the freedom of hostages abroad. And the one that worries the most today among the dozen prisoners is Matthew Heath, hospitalized after his suicide attempt. Heath, who has denounced torture during his trial, was arrested in 2020 accused of being a spy. The hostage has pointed directly to his torturers, soldiers from the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, who had appeared as witnesses for the accusation.

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