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Biden Administration To Ease Sanctions On Venezuela’s Oil Sector

Shift in US Foreign Policy as Biden shows willingness to negotiate with Maduro's regime.

In light of the 2024 election deal between the Venezuelan government and its opposition, there are reports suggesting that the Biden administration is getting ready to ease sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gas sector.

Thvew of the Venezuelan flag over the government building in Caracas, Venezuela. The U.S. eases Venezuelan oil sanctions after the election deal. (KOBBY MENDEZ/UNSPLASHED) 

This development comes after an anonymous senior official from the U.S. State Department informed Reuters of the U.S.’ intention to relax restrictions related to Venezuela’s energy sector.

However, it’s important to note that the official issued a cautionary statement, suggesting that these measures could be reversed if President Nicolas Maduro‘s government fails to lift the bans on opposition presidential candidates and release political prisoners.

The easing of sanctions against Venezuela signifies a significant shift in U.S. foreign policy. It demonstrates the Biden administration’s willingness to negotiate with regimes it has previously criticized, providing they show a commitment towards democratic reforms. The impact on oil prices also highlights the broad economic implications of geopolitical decisions.

“The possibility of any person or company coming to Venezuela to invest is totally open,” said Jorge Rodriguez, a ruling party official who is in talks with the opposition.

This updated stance is in stark contrast to the “maximum pressure” campaign employed by former President Donald Trump against the socialist-led OPEC-member country. The decision to ease sanctions comes after an agreement was reached in Barbados on Tuesday.

This accord, involving Maduro’s administration and the U.S.-backed opposition, commits to providing electoral assurances for a vote scheduled to be internationally monitored in the upcoming year.

“The U.S. was acting consistent with our longstanding commitment to provide sanctions relief in response to concrete steps toward competitive elections and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in response to the U.S. sanctions.

The agreement, however, did not meet U.S. expectations, as it did not lift the bans on opposition candidates disqualified from holding public office or arrange for the release of political prisoners.

The U.S. Treasury Department was ready to revoke authorizations of Maduro’s representatives at anytime if they didn’t honor their commitments. 

The U.S. was seeking ways to boost global flows of oil to alleviates the high price of gas that was caused by the sanctions in Russia and OPEC+ reducing the output.

The national average for the price of gas is currently above $3.50 per gallon. California remains the highest in the nation at $5.50 per gallon where the neighboring states are at $4.00 and above. 

The treasury removed the secondary trading ban on certain Venezuelan sovereign bonds and state run oil compnay PDVSA



Produced in association with Benzinga

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