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Biden removes sanctions on Venezuela after energy and mining sector pacts with the opposition.

Updated: Jan 3

In an article published by the newspaper "El País" on October 19, 2023 by Miguel Jiménez, it is reported that the United States has decided to ease the sanctions imposed on Venezuela in the oil, gas and gold sectors in response to a political agreement between the Government of Nicolás Maduro and the Unitary Platform of the opposition. This agreement aims at respecting the constitutional calendar and holding elections next year.

The partial lifting of sanctions has an immediate effect, but in the case of oil and gas, it is temporary and its renewal is conditioned on progress towards the restoration of democracy by the Maduro government. Washington is also demanding the release of Americans detained in Venezuela and Venezuelan political prisoners as part of this process.

According to a U.S. government source quoted on condition of anonymity, the purpose of these sanctions is to induce a positive change in behavior. Although some sanctions have been relaxed, other restrictions imposed by the United States on Venezuela remain in place, and the Government of Joe Biden retains the authority to revoke the authorizations in the event of non-compliance by the Maduro government.

In addition, temporary licenses are granted for operations related to the oil and gas sector in Venezuela, including financial transactions and new investments. Operations with Minerven, the Venezuelan state-owned gold mining company, are also authorized in order to reduce the illegal gold trade. However, restrictions are maintained on purchases of Venezuelan bonds in the primary market, while they are allowed in the secondary market under certain conditions.

The lifting of sanctions has been done with precautions to avoid benefiting Russian companies or investments, and does not affect sanctions related to Iran.

The agreement signed in Barbados between the Government and the opposition also addresses the authorization for all presidential candidates and political parties to participate in the presidential elections, provided they comply with the requirements established by law. This maintains the possibility of vetoes for certain candidates, such as María Corina Machado.

Finally, the United States has begun deporting Venezuelan immigrants who crossed the U.S. border without authorization as part of a parallel agreement to the lifting of sanctions on the energy sector. This measure is considered essential to discourage the arrival of immigrants to the United States.


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