USSA: Biden Turns To Venezuela & Cuba To Help Solve An American Economic Problem He Created

By Roberta Elliot | Saturday, 21 May 2022 14:10
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The Biden White House announced on Tuesday that it would ease its sanctions on Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro as well as Cuba's ruling Castro family to help facilitate oil sales to the United States. Biden canceled United States oil leases and is now looking to the impoverished Socialist nation Hugo Chavez created to bail him out.

According to sources close to the matter, this marks a dark turning point in Washington’s pressure campaign on Caracas and a pivot towards the despotic regimes that have ruined once-vibrant economies.

The Miami Herald reports that the new U.S. sanctions relief will allow energy giant Chevron to begin talks about future investments in the oil-rich nation. Sanctions will be raised by Carlos Erik Malpica-Flores, a former high-ranking energy official in Venezuela, the nephew of Maduro’s wife.

Efforts were made last fall to speak with Maduro, though those ended with the President walking away from the talks with the opposition.

A senior Administration official told The Miami Herald that the sanction relief was coordinated with Venezuela’s opposition.

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“It is very important to stress that this was done in coordination with the interim President, Juan Guaidó, to move the talks forward,” the official announced. “This is something that they thought would be helpful for the talks to move forward.”

The U.S., along with 60 other nations, recognizes Guaido as the nation’s interim President and says that Maduro has been a critical player in destroying Venezuela’s economy over the past decade.

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The Herald reports that “The sanctions relief grants Chevron a license to begin negotiating future activity in Venezuela. Chevron would need additional authorization to begin new production.”

“It’s a narrow license authorizing Chevron to negotiate the terms of their potential future activities in Venezuela — but this is all contingent on steps being taken that are positive by the Maduro regime,” the official announced. “Further authorization would be needed for Chevron to get into any sort of agreement.”

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President Joe Biden has continued Trump’s maximum pressure campaign since taking office. Though Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February created an opening for the Administration to engage directly with Caracas. The White House hoped to splinter Venezuela’s alliance with Moscow and bring oil output into the marketplace as the war disrupted energy prices. In early March, a White House official led the first U.S. delegation to meet with the Maduro government, primarily to negotiate the release of two American detainees. But at the time, officials acknowledged that energy was another topic of discussion at the meeting.

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Sanctions relief would be tied to progress at the talks in Mexico City, one official familiar with the matter announced. “We want to be very clear about this point,” the official continued. “Sanctions on the Maduro regime will remain in place. We are not doing this to reverse Trump’s maximum pressure campaign. Our policy, overall, has not changed.”

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