The Biden administration rejected proposals to ease sanctions against Venezuela in order to let American companies operate there and unfreeze crucial financial assets.
Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in a statement that “our sanctions stance on Venezuela remains unchanged.” “We’ll keep carrying out and enforcing our sanctions against Venezuela. As we have repeatedly stated, in response to the Maduro regime’s positive efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela and lessen the suffering of the Venezuelan people, we will reconsider our sanctions policies.”
According to people familiar with the plan, A report in the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration had begun negotiating with Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro to hold talks with the opposition about how to hold free and fair presidential elections in 2024 in exchange for the United States releasing hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen state funds.
However, some claim that any agreement with Venezuela is a mistake for a government that places a high value on human rights.
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According to reports, the agreement would also permit Chevron Corp. to restore oil production at a time when the United States still requires oil supplies to keep pressure on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. The amount of oil would continue to be “limited” and would only be helpful “in the short term,” according to the WSJ.
On Thursday, President Biden acknowledged that the United States must look at “alternatives” to traditional oil delivery routes. The president responded, “There are a lot of choices, we haven’t made up our minds yet,” when asked if that included Venezuela.
After the language and actions Biden used to back Ukraine against Russia, the idea will undoubtedly face severe criticism and intense scrutiny if it is implemented. A contract with Venezuela won’t be in good faith, according to Pedro Burelli, managing partner of Bandamp;V Advisors and a former employee of the PDVSA, the nation’s state-owned oil and gas corporation, especially in light of the growing body of information about Maduro and his administration. Additionally, he thinks that any oil gains from the agreement will have “zero difference” on Americans paying for gas.
Burelli told Fox News Digital, “I don’t think you can negotiate a deal.” “Once you define the beast, and you have identified it by sanctioning Maduro and unsealing charges that lead to him as a narco trafficker – and most of the people around him – it’s very hard.”
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“You’re going to tell me, after all, that you’re going to make a deal with people whose major goal is to maintain their position of authority because, if they lose it, they’ll probably lose their impunity. What then is the logic in this?”
In addition, Burelli brought up the pressure campaign against Iran, which is still being subjected to new sanctions after months of talks on a revived Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, generally known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. Last month, U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken issued penalties against the Morality Police and seven people he claimed were responsible for the killing of Mahsa Amini, 22, whose death sparked weeks of demonstrations that Tehran has yet to quell.
In the meantime, the United States and Venezuela last week completed a prisoner swap in which the State Department secured the release of seven Americans, the majority of whom worked as gas company executives in Venezuela, in exchange for the release of two of Maduro’s nephews who had been detained on suspicion of drug trafficking. This may be a sign of improving ties between Washington and Caracas.
However, the U.N. Human Rights Council report from last month documented Venezuelas “responsibilities for crimes against humanity ‘s use of several institutions, including civilian intelligence organizations and federal authorities to maintain control, to stifle dissent, particularly in remote mining areas.
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According to Marta Valias, head of the UN fact-finding mission on Venezuela, “Our investigations and analysis demonstrate that the Venezuelan State relies on the intelligence services and its operatives to control opposition in the country.” “In doing so, serious crimes and abuses of human rights, such as acts of torture and sexual assault, are being committed.”
She continued, “These practices must end right away, and those accountable must be looked into and dealt with legally.”
Isaias Medina III, a lawyer and former senior Venezuelan diplomat to the U.N. who resigned from his position due to the Maduro regime, criticized the Biden administration for even considering a deal with the Maduro regime because of its “hypocritical” behavior, including denouncing Russia and imposing sanctions on it for its actions in Ukraine before making a deal with a government that a U.N. fact-finding mission determined was responsible for human rights abuse
“How can Biden fund Ukraine’s defense against Russia spending more than $54 billion of taxpayer money, then turn around and begin negotiating oil deals with Putin’s go-to man in Venezuela who holds narco-kleptocratic bank accounts under Moscow’s control some with joint ventures depositing oil sales proceeds in an account opened at Russia’s Gazprombank?” Medina spoke to Fox News Online.
He said, “Does it make sense to increase sanctions against Russia while removing sanctions against Russia’s criminal cartel that aids Venezuela?” Venezuela is in control of 400 to 500 metric tons of drugs through the Super Cartel of Suns conglomerate, which controls about 25% of the global market. Overdose deaths in 2021 totaled around 142,135 lives. Maduro has waged asymmetric warfare against the United States through the weaponization of drug trafficking.