Biden to Reinstate Oil, Gas Sanctions on Venezuela; Maduro Threatens Retaliation

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The Biden administration has chosen to reinstate the sanctions that were initially put in place in 2017 and progressively tightened in relation to Venezuela’s exports of gas and oil. If the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, and the opposition do not make headway, the US State Department has indicated that it plans to reimpose oil and gas sanctions starting in April.

Responding to the Biden administration’s move to reinstate sanctions on its gas and oil exports, Venezuela on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, threatened to cease taking deportation flights for its undocumented migrant citizens living in the United States.

“All of Venezuela rejects the rude and improper blackmail and ultimatum expressed by the US government,” Vice President Delcy Rodriguez wrote on her X account.

After the Venezuelan high court rejected the candidature of Maria Corina Machado, the leading Venezuelan opposition candidate for the 2024 presidential election, Matthew Miller, a US State Department spokesman, announced on January 30 that the Biden administration would revoke the relief from the sanctions against Venezuela granted last year.

The statement said that the actions of President Nicolas Maduro and his counterparts in Venezuela, such as the detention of opposition members and the exclusion of candidates from running in this year’s presidential election, are incompatible with the agreements made in Barbados last October.

The US had lifted sanctions against Venezuela in recognition of a deal signed in Barbados with Maduro’s administration that set conditions for a fair presidential election.

The Venezuelan government declared in a news release on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, that the country “repudiates the most recent attempts at blackmail and interference in its internal affairs by the Government of the United States of America, which constitute an ultimatum against the entire Venezuelan society.”

Jorge Rodriguez, the head of Venezuela’s government delegation in talks with the opposition, threatened harshly with retaliation if the US restored the sanctions against his country, which had been halted for six months in October of last year.

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