In a surprising turn of foreign policy, the United States announced on Tuesday a relaxation of the sanctions that weigh on Venezuela in an attempt to revive the dialogue between the Nicolás Maduro regime and the opposition grouped as the Unitarian Platform.
Specifically, the relief of sanctions against the Caribbean country refers to a kind of “limited license” granted to the US oil conglomerate Chevron, which authorizes it to ” negotiate the terms of possible future activities in Venezuela “, while ruling out ” closing any new agreement with PDVSA (the state firm) ”. This was stated by a senior US official in a call with journalists, according to the AFP agency.
A second measure that the US government will impart will be the elimination of Carlos Erik Malpica Flores, a former high-ranking official of the state oil company and nephew of Cilia Flores, first lady of Venezuela, from the blacklist of sanctioned people.
These are part of a battery of sanctions applied to Venezuela since 2019 to pressure the departure of Nicolás Maduro and to support the figure of the interim presidency of Juan Guaidó, recognized by Washington and more than 50 countries as Head of State.
Regarding this, the senior US official confirmed that it is not a question of a change of recognition of the Chavista regime, but rather of supporting a process of talks between the parties.“None of these pressure reliefs would lead to an increase in income for the regime,” said the senior Biden official, in statements collected by AFP.
And he insisted: ” Our approach has been to support the interim government and the Unitary Platform to get the regime to take measures to achieve free and fair elections, through negotiations .”
This individual, still unidentified, had commented that these actions had been agreed between the US government and the interim government of Juan Guaidó, the latter who had even requested them,something that the opposition coalition later denied in a public document.
Biden’s main adviser for Latin America, the Colombian Juan González, warned that the restrictions could return if “democratic advances” are not registered in the country.
This rapprochement between the parties, explains Iesa teacher José Manuel Puente, derives from the first meeting that González himself held with Nicolás Maduro and Jorge Rodríguez, president of the National Assembly, to talk about “energy sovereignty” and being able to replace Russian crude, hit by sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine.
“The problem is that Venezuela is at its lowest level of production, about 700 thousand barrels per day when in 1998 it reached 3.2 million. Recovering production requires many years, human capital that has been lost, and gigantic investments, at least US$12 billion per year to recover those 3.2 million in eight or ten years. In the short term, there is no possibility that Venezuela will produce enough oil to substitute Russian crude for Venezuelan, according to the calculations of a colleague , ”said Puentes.
On the other hand, Andrés Guevara, director of the Omnis consultancy, agrees that this partial survey “is directed towards a greater relaxation of sanctions in the energy area, which in practice would imply a greater margin of maneuver for companies of American origin in the Venezuelan market ”, something that, “will have repercussions in the industry and should lead to a further growth of the economy .”
“ As it is a partial uprising, one can think that it is a pilot test, a gesture of good faith, in the understanding that it serves as an incentive to deepen an eventual redemocratization process in Venezuela. It will work? It is something that remains to be seen , ”he specified.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.