Washington is willing to impose some fines on Caracas, but will not abandon its sanctions policy.
The United States will continue to try “Maximum pressure” With the embargo on Venezuela, officials have told multiple media outlets that President Joe Biden will maintain a more beleaguered approach than his predecessor, although with some conditions the punishment could be reduced.
Although the Biden administration has expressed a desire to lift some sanctions on Caracas if it agrees to meet with opposition leaders, Washington’s general policy will remain the same, anonymous officials quoted by the Miami Herald, McClatchy and Reuters said Tuesday.
“We want to be very clear about this: sanctions on the Maduro regime will remain in place.” A U.S. official familiar with the matter said. “We are not doing this to overturn Trump’s maximum pressure campaign. Our policy, as a whole, has not changed. “
During his time in office, President Donald Trump launched a series of “maximum pressure” campaigns against a number of countries, most notably Iran and Venezuela, in a series of sanctions aimed at isolating and crippling their economies. Officials say Biden could ease sanctions on Caracas if the Nicolas Maduro government agrees to sit down with opposition lawmakers in Mexico City.
If implemented, relief from the ban would include a license from oil giant Chevron to start negotiations for future business in Venezuela, as US companies are currently banned from any transactions in the country.
“This is a narrow license that allows Chevron to discuss the terms of their possible future activities in Venezuela – but it depends on the positive action of the Maduro government.” A senior U.S. official said. “Chevron will need further approval to enter into any kind of agreement.”
According to Reuters, Venezuelan Vice President Delsi Rodriguez said on Tuesday that his government hopes the partial sanctions will eventually be lifted. “Pave the way for a complete ban.”
Relatives of Carlos Eric Malpika-Flores, a former Venezuelan high-ranking power official and Maduro’s wife, will also be removed from the US sanctions blacklist under a possible deal. Any additional relief would depend on the outcome of negotiations in Mexico City, the senior official said, adding that the current proposal was coordinated with the opposition.
“It is important to emphasize that this was done in coordination with the interim president, Juan Guido, to move the talks forward.” The official said the opposition leader was recognized by the United States and a number of allies as Venezuela’s legitimate president. “It’s something they thought would help move the discussion forward.”
The State Department reiterated Washington’s support for Guido earlier this month, saying it was committed. “Restoring Peaceful Democracy” In Venezuela, the leader of the opposition is considered the leader of the country “Interim President.”
Discussions on easing sanctions came after a meeting with US envoys in Caracas in March, where they successfully discussed the release of two American prisoners. U.S. officials at the time acknowledged that oil was also discussed during the meeting, although then-White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie later denied that Washington was considering an energy deal with Venezuela. The administration has sought an alternative to Russian oil after exports were effectively cut off through heavy sanctions in response to an attack on Ukraine in February.
Although the Latin American country holds the world’s largest oil reserves, its current production is delayed by about 600,000 barrels per day and is largely limited due to a lack of foreign investment as part of US sanctions. Then, a possible deal with Chevron could be attractive to the Maduro government, which has led to a severe economic crisis that has seen large numbers of residents flee the country in search of work.