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New Sanctions on Venezuela Oil Likely As Maduro Bans Opposition

The Biden administration is set to potentially renew sanctions on Venezuelan oil in April after the banning of an opposition candidate for this year’s presidential elections, Bloomberg reports. The six-month suspension of sanctions on Venezuelan oil ends in April, and the Biden administration may renew all sanctions at that time due to failure to meet the conditions for their lifting. 

Last week, opposition leader Maria Corina Machado was blocked from running for president by a court ruling in a move she has referred to as “judicial criminality” orchestrated by Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. 

Machado told media that the court’s ruling reflects the fear of Maduro and the ruling party of having to face her in presidential elections. The opposition leader has refused to step out of the race despite being banned, saying that elections will not take place without her, though her leverage here remains unclear. 

The deal that saw the Biden administration suspend, for six months, sanctions on Venezuelan oil were on the condition that Maduro cut a deal with the opposition to hold free and fair elections in 2024. Maduro has now broken that deal, though Venezuela was hoping to increase oil production from 786,000 barrels per day to 1 million barrels per day due to sanctions relief, which has also seen Chevron start drilling to boost production.

According to Bloomberg, the Biden administration is likely to renew sanctions once the easing expires on April 18 this year. The easing of sanctions authorized the production, lifting, sale, and exportation of oil or gas from Venezuela, and the provision of related goods and services, as well as payment of invoices for goods or services related to oil or gas sector operations in Venezuela. Authorization is also granted to new investments in oil or gas in Venezuela. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Commodity giants jumped back into the Venezuela oil game immediately after sanctions were eased last year, 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Gregorio Buser on January 30 2024 said:
    So concerned about Venezuelan democracy, yet not a peep about the banning of political parties in Ukraine, or the complete lack of democracy in places like Saudi Arabia. Maybe Biden should be more concerned with the Potemkin "democracy" in the U.S. where his own party has cancelled any debate or primary challenge.

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