US eases Venezuela oil, gas sanctions after election deal

The Biden administration has broadly eased sanctions on Venezuela's oil sector in response to a deal reached between the government and opposition parties for the 2024 election — the most extensive rollback of Trump-era restrictions on Caracas.

The US Treasury on Wednesday issued a six-month general license that would temporarily authorise transactions involving Venezuela's oil and gas sector, another that authorises dealings with Minerven — the state-owned gold mining company — and it removed the secondary trading ban on certain Venezuelan sovereign bonds.

The ban on trading in the primary Venezuelan bond market remains in place, the Treasury said.

The agreement between President Nicolas Maduro's administration and the Unitary Platform came just days before the opposition holds a primary to pick its candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

Venezuela ruling party official Jorge Rodriguez, who leads the government's negotiating team at talks with the opposition, said on state television later on Wednesday that the sanctions relief affected all oil activities.

"The possibility of any person or company coming to Venezuela to invest is totally open," he said.

No false moves

Brian E Nelson, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the US welcomes the signing of the electoral roadmap agreement, but "Treasury is prepared to amend or revoke authorisations at any time, should representatives of Maduro fail to follow through on their commitments."

"All other restrictions imposed by the United States on Venezuela remain in place, and we will continue to hold bad actors accountable. We stand with the Venezuelan people and support Venezuelan democracy," he said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US and the international community "will closely follow the implementation of the electoral roadmap, and the US government will take action if commitments under the electoral roadmap and with respect to political prisoners are not met."

Blinken also said in his statement that the US expects Venezuela to take other steps, including giving a specific timeline and process for the reinstatement of all candidates and the release of wrongfully detained US nationals and Venezuelan political prisoners.

"Failure to abide by the terms of this arrangement will lead the United States to reverse steps we have taken," the statement added.


Source: TRT