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The US reimposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil and gas due to electoral blockade of the opposition

The US reimposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil and gas due to electoral blockade of the opposition

This license, which authorizes the production and sale of oil and gas, “will be replaced” by 44A, which will allow pending transactions to be settled or closed “before May 31”explained on Wednesday morning a US official who requested anonymity in a telephone press conference embargoed until the afternoon.

The president’s government Joe Biden is dissatisfied with the evolution of the electoral process in Venezuela since the signing of the Barbados Agreement last October, because He believes that Maduro has fulfilled part of the deal but has ignored its essence.

The Venezuelan authorities have set an electoral calendar and accepted missions of international observation in the elections on July 28, in which Maduro is running for a third term.

But “they have fallen short in several areas”, such as “the disqualification of candidates and parties due to technicalities”said another US official who requested anonymity at the same press conference.

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Nicolas Maduro

Concern in the US over the disqualification of opponents in Venezuela

Washington is especially concerned due to the fact that Chavismo’s main rival, Maria Corina Machadoremain disabled and Corina Yoris, nominated by her to replace her in the elections, has also been vetoed.

“We have witnessed a disturbing campaign of harassment and intimidation against opposition actors solely for exercising their political rights,” said another senior official who also requested anonymity, referring to the seven members of Machado’s campaign team detained and many others under arrest warrants.

With everything, Washington avoids slamming the door and breaking with Caracas. As part of its sanctions programs, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) can issue “specific licenses” upon request of the companies, which will be evaluated “case by case” and which are not public, the official explained.

The Venezuelan Minister of Petroleum, Pedro Tellechea he takes it for granted. “All the companies that contracted with me until the 18th (…) obtain a private license,” he declared to journalists in Caracas.

These licenses to multinationals such as the French Maurel & Prom, the Spanish Repsol or the Italian Eni “would keep Maduro interested” in a negotiation, Francisco Monaldi, director of the Latin American Energy Program at the Baker Institute, at Rice University, Texas, recently told journalists at a time when the United States and Europe are looking for energy sources to alleviate the effects of war. in Ukraine.

The reactivation of sanctions on the energy sector “should not be seen as a final decision in which we no longer believe that Venezuela can hold competitive and inclusive elections,” added an official at the press conference, specifying that The United States will continue to “engage with all parties”including “the representatives of Maduro, the democratic opposition, civil society and the international community.”

Washington assumes that the Barbados Agreement is the only viable path to achieving electoral progress. But the Maduro government is defiant.

“At no time did we stop producing, marketing, exploiting our reserves,” declared the Minister of Petroleum. “We are not going to stop, license or no license.”

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Venezuela increases oil and gas revenues

The Venezuela production is located around the 800,000 barrels per dayafter hitting its bottom in mid-2020, when it plummeted below 400,000, but is far from the three million it reached 15 years ago.

However, the Income of the state oil company PDVSA went from 3,000 million dollars in 2022 to 6,320 million in 2023according to the Venezuelan government, because the partial and temporary lifting of the embargo allowed shipments to countries like India to be reestablished.

The embargo on Venezuelan oil and gas was imposed in 2019 as part of a battery of sanctions to try to bring about the fall of Maduro after the 2018 elections, considered fraudulent by Washington.

The Biden government, which has already reimposed sanctions on Venezuelan gold, acknowledges having weighed several aspects to decide whether to reverse the relaxation of the oil embargo less than seven months before the US presidential elections, but only one seems to have been decisive. “We focus on the political circumstances of the situation in Venezuela,” said a senior official.

The Migration is one of the central issues of the US elections in November and Venezuela is a red dotwith more than seven million people leaving the country since 2014, according to the UN.

The reimposition of sanctions Does not affect previous licenseslike the one granted in 2022 to the American giant Chevron to operate in Venezuela and collect outstanding debts with crude oil.

Source: Ambito

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