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Venezuela Braces for the Return of U.S. Sanctions


Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

Offshore Yemen, in the Red Sea shipping lane, it was status quo this week, with the Houthis launching a close-range ballistic missile targeting the USS Laboon, but missing the mark, while U.S. and allied forces continued to strike Houthi targets. At the same time, reports emerged of backdoor talks between Washington and Tehran, during which the former appealed to the latter to step in and convince the Houthis to cease and desist.

Maduro is in trouble, and waiting to see if the U.S. will renew full-on oil and gas sanctions in April when the current conditional deal expires amid the Venezuelan leader’s sidelining of the opposition ahead of this year’s elections. The pending return of sanctions has sent Venezuela back to Iran to repair relations that soured when Maduro couldn’t make good on an oil swap deal, partly because when the U.S. eased sanctions, it redirected Venezuelan oil to cash buyers and away from the Iran swap obligations. Now Maduro is playing catch up on the deal to shore up relations with Iran when sanctions-lifting expires.

Russian presidential elections take place on Friday and Saturday, with Putin (running unopposed in reality) wrapping up his campaign on Thursday. There are only three other candidates, and no one outside of Moscow has probably ever heard of them. Together, the three could potentially muster 20% of the vote at best, with a resilient economy further bolstering Putin despite…

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