740.31112 RP/10–245: Telegram
The Ambassador in Venezuela (Corrigan) to the Secretary of State
[Received 9:44 p.m.]
905. Department’s telegram 660, September 29. Venezuelan Government has not yet approached Embassy re partial abrogation decree 241. Background follows:
Embassy’s despatches 7481, July 10, and 7563, August 7,91 reported it had reached impasse with Govt. concerning further implementation economic warfare measures where Venezuelan citizens involved; Embassy still awaiting instructions requested in latter despatch.
General attitude of Venezuelan Government re economic warfare measures is that they were instituted for “duration of hostilities” now past. Viewpoint exemplified by issuance decree 292 September 15 (reported in despatch 7748, September 1992) restoring certain constitutional guarantees to public and stating that period of emergency is over. Official circles tend to feel that maintenance existing decrees is now untenable especially wherein they affect Venezuelan citizens. Suit has been filed against Government in Supreme Court to declare emergency decrees invalid and Government is unsure it can defend its position.[Page 1440]
Minister of Finance93 confidentially sent emissary to Embassy last week who stated Government was under tremendous pressure to re lease certain funds owned by Venezuelan nationals and voluntarily blocked by them for duration hostilities. After consideration of three cases involved the Embassy replied yesterday that there was no objection to unblocking one case in which individual is not on Proclaimed List and if and when other two names are removed from Proclaimed List those funds might also be unblocked. Reply will probably be unsatisfactory to Minister.
Government feels it is in awkward and embarrassing position during present pre-election period re further economic warfare action against Venezuelan nationals. Long delay in reducing Proclaimed List to hard core cases has created impatience and irritation. It may be that firm reply given to Venezuelan Chargé in Washington will cause Government to drop projected modification of decree 241 and not to raise issue with Embassy. On other hand administration might, for political reasons, unilaterally and without further consultation, take action contemplated. Embassy will not initiate discussions with Venezuelan Government unless instructed specifically to do so.