US to retain ‘maximum pressure’ on Venezuela – media — Analysis
Washington appears to be open to lifting some Caracas sanctions, but does not intend on abandoning its sanctions-based approach.
America will keep its influence. “maximum pressure”Multiple media outlets were told by officials that sanctions had been imposed on Venezuela. They stated that President Joe Biden would continue the aggressive approach of his predecessor but could relax penalties under certain conditions.
While the Biden administration has expressed willingness to scale back some sanctions on Caracas if it agrees to meet with opposition leaders, Washington’s general policy will remain the same, unnamed officials cited by the Miami Herald, McClatchy, and Reuters said on Tuesday.
“We want to be very clear about this point: Sanctions on the Maduro regime will remain in place,”One US official who is familiar with this matter said that. “We are not doing this to reverse Trump’s maximum pressure campaign. Our policy, overall, has not changed.”
President Donald Trump embarked on ‘maximum pressure’ campaigns against a number of countries during his time in office, chief among them Iran and Venezuela, imposing layer after layer of penalties intended to isolate and cripple their economies. According to officials, Biden may ease Caracas sanctions if Nicolas Maduro government is willing to have dialogue with Mexico City’s opposition lawmakers.
This sanctions relief, if implemented, would allow Chevron, an oil company, to start negotiations with Venezuela for its future business. US companies have been barred from doing business in Venezuela.
“It’s a narrow license authorizing Chevron to negotiate the terms of their potential future activities in Venezuela – but this is all contingent on steps being taken that are positive by the Maduro regime,”A senior US official stated the following: “Further authorization would be needed for Chevron to get into any sort of agreement.”
According to Reuters Delcy Rodriguez, Venezuela’s Vice President said Tuesday that she hopes her country will receive partial relief from sanctions. “pave the way for a total lifting of restrictions.”
A former high-level Venezuelan energy official and relative of Maduro’s wife, Carlos Erik Malpica-Flores, would also be removed from the US sanctions blacklist under the prospective agreement. According to a senior official, any additional relief will depend on how talks are going in Mexico City. He also said that there was no coordination with the opposition.
“It is very important to stress that this was done in coordination with the interim president, Juan Guaido, to move the talks forward,” the official said, referring to the opposition leader recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate president by the US and a number of allies. “This is something that they thought would be helpful for the talks to move forward.”
The US State Department reiterated Washington’s support for Guaido earlier this month, saying it remains committed to “peaceful restoration of democracy” in Venezuela while deeming the opposition leader the country’s “interim president.”
Discussions about loosening sanctions follow a meeting between a US delegation and counterparts in Caracas, which saw them negotiate the release of two American prisoners. While the US government at that time admitted that oil had been discussed in the meetings, Jen Psaki (then White House Press Secretary) later said that Washington wasn’t considering an energy deal. Following the February attack on Ukraine, heavy sanctions effectively stopped oil exports from Russia. The US administration is now looking for alternatives to Russian oil.
While the Latin American nation holds some of the world’s largest oil reserves, its current output lags at around just 600,000 barrels per day and is heavily constrained by a lack of foreign investment, thanks in part to US sanctions. A potential deal with Chevron, then, could be attractive to the Maduro government, which has presided over a dire economic crisis that’s seen large numbers of residents leave the country in search of work.
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