Dear POAP.XYZ team,
Referring to OFAC sanctions and a necessary better interpretation:
I have promoted sanctions against the criminal structure that kidnapped Venezuela. For this reason I am going to expand on the explanation of why the current position of POAP.xyz is wrong in this vision of sanctions on Venezuela. I gave this explanation to ADOBE before, and they smartly reconsidered their position (Adobe compliance with U.S. Executive Order | Venezuela). I have had to do this with several organizations, with success. I ask you for patience and good will to analyze the process intelligently and to have a fair resolution worthy of the minds that we meet here. It is no longer about my event, it is about my country, for which I have dead friends, persecuted and a lot of suffering in our families. My team and I give our lives for a dream called Venezuela, and this is not metaphorical. We give our lives for this. I do not ask your life, I only ask of you a few minutes to read an extensive but necessary explanation and from there necessarily reconsider your position:
We have promoted sanctions against criminals who subject Venezuelan citizens by taking away their access to global solutions and closing freedoms. The OFAC sanctions are to pressure and force the tyranny of Venezuela to structure a democratic and free state. The sanctions are strictly against the government, not against citizens or companies, or private organizations of any kind, as long as they are not linked to sanctions (and this is public). If an organization with the excuse of sanctions penalizes Venezuelan citizens or private Venezuelan companies, it would be more in line with the behavior of the Venezuelan tyranny than with the objectives of OFAC. Is POAP.xyz with the tyrannical government of Venezuela or with OFAC? Why do I say this? If you are with OFAC, then you should support organizations that seek to promote education, entrepreneurship, and a freer, more democratic society. If POAP.xyz penalizes Venezuelan citizens and private companies or private organizations, then it takes the same position as the Venezuelan government: take away opportunities from good citizens and limit freedoms.
Does poap.xyz do it out of fear or justice? OFAC acts for justice. I make this justification to ask that we act in terms of justice and not out of fear. Fear that is also out of logic, since there is no sanction that prevents what is requested here. None.
I am sorry to be so harsh and place this point of contradiction. I only do it because it is necessary in terms of understanding to take the contradiction to the extreme in order to understand. I have nothing against poap.xyz: on the contrary, I send my love and admiration. I have learned about POAP these days like never before thanks to you. I have been very excited to learn and I have taken a deep affection for this community in a very short time. And I want to continue here, and I want that in Venezuela we can use POAP.
Reading the executive orders referring to the sanctions on Venezuela does not take 1 hour of your time, they are short documents that can be obtained at this link, even with authorizations: Office of Foreign Assets Control - Sanctions Programs and Information | U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctions-programs-and-country-information/venezuela-related-sanctions
However, here I place the executive orders contained in the previous link directly:
13884 - Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela - (August 5, 2019) https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/13884_0.pdf
13857 - Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency With Respect to Venezuela (January 25, 2019) https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/13857.pdf
13850 - Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela (November 1, 2018) https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/venezuela_eo_13850.pdf
13835 - Prohibiting Certain Additional Transactions with Respect to Venezuela (May 21, 2018) https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/venezuela_eo_13835.pdf
13827 - Taking Additional Steps to Address the Situation in Venezuela (March 19, 2018) https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/13827.pdf
13808 - Imposing Additional Sanctions with Respect to the Situation in Venezuela (August 24, 2017) https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/13808.pdf
13692 - Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela (March 8, 2015) https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/13692.pdf
In all the executive orders they are sufficiently clear: The sanctions are on the central government of Venezuela, the Central Bank of Venezuela and PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela), and there are even lists of specific people sanctioned. The only problem that US organizations registered in Venezuela may have is the payment of taxes to the government and other activities that depend on sanctions, and yet this authorization is resolved and no specific authorization is required:
It is worth noting that StartupGrind is not registered in Venezuela. Only other private organizations of their own are registered, which are the ones that finance and are the ones that make it possible to raise the startupGrind flag, also supporting local education in different aspects and promoting entrepreneurs. Therefore, the StartupGrind Mérida chapter does not even have a tax payment relationship or any other type of accountability with the Venezuelan state. Formally, you would be issuing POAPs to an organization registered in the USA. We have the chapter because we are certified by Silicon Valley to use StartupGrind, we are part of the global team, and we are very clear about the context of action based on sanctions. However, even if we had a local registry, there would be no problem due to the aforementioned authorization, there is no excuse: (https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/venezuela_gl29.pdf).
Likewise, there is a specific authorization referring to technology and software: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/venezuela_gl25.pdf;
It is worth noting that the authorization that speaks about software and technology is an authorization to negotiate under certain terms with organizations related to sanctions. It does not speak of authorizing operations with private persons and private Venezuelan companies, because such a thing is not penalized, it does not require authorization, unless they are going to issue POAPs to government or sanctioned organizations. In that case, if there may be problems regarding sanctions, unless they request a specific authorization that is requested here: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/ofac-license-application -page
To issue POAPs to any other organization in Venezuela that is not linked to sanctions, there is no problem. Of course, how can you know if those who are issued POAPs are government allies if you do not know internally the problem of Venezuela? In that case, it becomes important to have Venezuelan curators. If that would help, then I would prepare myself and even people on my team to help.
Thank you for reading something so important to us. I hope you can help us and reconsider your position rationally and fairly.
Hector Alonzo Gomez, Chapter Director