US Reinstates Sanctions on Venezuela

( – The Biden administration may be willing to tolerate Trump being kicked off the ballot in the U.S., but it is telling Venezuela that if it bans opposition party leadership from its elections there could be more oil sanctions coming down the pike. Biden restored sanctions on January 29th after previously removing them in October 2023 after reaching a deal over Venezuelan elections and the release of some American prisoners.

The deal was contingent on President Nicholas Maduro allowing his political opposition to run in the upcoming elections. After freeing prisoners in December, the Maduro-aligned Venezuelan Supreme Court upheld prior rulings to keep Maria Corina Machado off the ballot, suggesting she was in favor of sanctions and financially corrupt.

Additional opposition members were arrested on the very same day as the ruling.

Treasury Department officials gave U.S. corporations until February 13th to conclude business with Minerven, Venezuela’s nationalized gold mining venture.

Authorities also added that Venezuela’s oil licensure would be allowed to expire on April 18th if Machado was blocked from the ballot.

An anonymous White House official said that Venezuela must allow opposition figures to run in elections if they want American support for the oil and natural gas industries, otherwise the support will stop after the plan expires. The official added that additional penalties may be in the offing if Venezuela continues to block opposition members from the ballot. He wasn’t clear as to what those penalties might be, however.

He suggested that there’s still several months where Venezuela can weigh its options and make the proper decision.

Machado, 56, is incredibly popular within her own party winning a primary in October with a wide margin. She said she’s unwilling to stand aside and offer a substitute. Machado added that there would be “no retreat” and suggested the opposition party had a popular mandate.

Machado called the ruling a “judicial crime” and said she anticipated additional obstacles before winning the next election.

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