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The US announces that it will reactivate sanctions on Venezuelan oil and gas

The US announces that it will reactivate sanctions on Venezuelan oil and gas

USA announced this Tuesday that it will reactivate sanctions on the Venezuelan oil and gas sector, after the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) maintained the political disqualification of opposition member María Corina Machado.

Washington “will not renew” as of April a license granted in support of the Barbados agreement agreed in October between the opposition and the government of President Nicolás Maduro, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller reported in a statement.

The United States has punished the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro by reactivating sanctions on Petroleum, gas Iror from Venezuela in retaliation for the maintenance of the political disqualification of the opposition Machado.

The new stage between Washington and the Maduro government lasted just over three months, opening with the partial relaxation of economic sanctions decided in October.

Then the United States made a gesture in support of the Barbados agreement agreed between the opposition and Chavismo to promote free elections in the Caribbean country. But he warned that he would take action if Maduro reneged on his part of the deal: freeing political prisoners and establishing electoral guarantees.

No sooner said than done.

This Tuesday, four days after the pro-government Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), upheld Machado’s disqualification, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller announced that “the United States will not renew the license” that provides relief to the oil and gas sector when it expires on April 18, 2024.

The announcement comes hours after the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) gave until February 13 to “settle any transaction” pending with Minerven, Venezuela’s state-owned gold mining company.

“Lack of progress”

Washington takes these measures “in the absence of progress” between the government and the opposition Unitary Platform, “particularly in terms of allowing all presidential candidates to compete in this year’s elections,” Miller specified.

The American authorities are very unhappy.

Since October there has been an exchange of prisoners, but in recent days 36 people, including civilians and soldiers, have been detained, including three collaborators of Machado. Venezuelan authorities accuse them of being linked to five “conspiracies” to assassinate Maduro.

The actions of Nicolás Maduro and his representatives in Venezuela, including the arrest of members of the democratic opposition and the banning of candidates from competing in this year’s presidential elections, are inconsistent with the agreements signed in BarbadosMiller complained.

The TSJ sealed a 15-year political disqualification against Machado, who swept the primary elections of the main opposition alliance. She reacted by saying that “Nicolás Maduro is not going to choose the people’s candidate, because the people have already chosen their candidate”.

Machado’s entourage applauds the American reaction.

“Alternability”

“What I know is that the United States is increasingly getting involved in the constitutional and democratic solution that Venezuela must give and is forcing the regime in that sense to open elections, transparent elections that allow the alternation that for 24 years Venezuela has not had,” Perkins Rocha, the opposition leader’s lawyer, told AFP.

Maduro does not give in.

Who asked for maximum pressure? Who asked for an invasion of US troops into Venezuela? Who asked for the oil industry to be destroyed? (…..) Who asked for that? The Venezuelan people know the surnames: the Guaidó, the López, the Machado, the Borges”, he stated on Monday night on his television program, citing the surnames of several opponents.

And then they turn around and say ‘I am a candidate’, ‘I am a candidate’ (…) Either their whims are fulfilled or they ask for sanctions again.”he protested.

For the moment, the United States sees no alternative to the Barbados agreement, which it continues to consider “the most viable mechanism to resolve Venezuela’s long-standing political, economic and humanitarian crisis and hold competitive and inclusive elections,” Miller insisted.

And for that it is essential – he added – that the opposition can “freely choose their candidates for the 2024 presidential elections″, which should be held during the second half of the year on a date to be determined, under international supervision.

Biden had been under pressure for days, including from his Democratic Party, to reimpose the sanctions.

Some Republican congressmen go further and urge the government to “seek international cooperation for the arrest and extradition of Nicolás Maduro”, whom Washington has accused of drug trafficking for years.

The US Department of Justice has even offered a reward of US$15 million for information leading to his capture.

Source: Gestion

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