US eyes removal of sanctions on Venezuela
With Venezuela's current output of approximately 700,000 barrels per day, Biden's administration hopes it would alleviate the effects of OPEC+'s recent decision.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Biden administration is contemplating removing certain sanctions on Caracas's oil exports as migration and energy crises deepen.
According to NYT, certain individuals within Biden's administration are pushing for the restoration of diplomatic and economic ties with Caracas so that the migrant crisis may be contained, as well as the energy crisis dealt with.
It added that the relief of sanctions particularly targets the Venezuelan petroleum sector and that it would only happen if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro decides to restore "democracy" in his country and resume talks with the opposition.
Chevron oil company is likely to benefit from these measures as it is the only remaining US company producing oil in Venezuela.
But obviously, the decision to make such a move was not born out of thin air.
The US has recently entered a tug-of-war against Russia over its most strategic allies, the Gulf countries, for the provision of oil to the US's allied consuming countries.
US officials have recently reached out to their counterparts in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers with an appeal to delay the decision. However, the answer was nothing else than a resounding "no".
Earlier today, US President Joe Biden threatened Saudi Arabia with "consequences" due to Gulf countries' resistance to Washington's pressure.
The current output for Venezuela is approximately 700,000 barrels per day in comparison to 2.3 million barrels back in 2002. However, Maduro insisted that the country’s oil industry has “recovered” despite historic low-level productions that have resulted from a lack of maintenance and investment.
As is well known, Venezuela is a small oil-rich country that suffered years of imperialist meddling.
Since the imposing of financial sanctions in 2017, the US has spearheaded the blockade against Venezuela, with countries such as Switzerland, the UK, the EU, Canada, and Panama following suit by freezing assets, implementing trade embargoes, as well as unilateral measures against international trade payments.
The country has been on the frontline of the fight for socialism in Latin America, a massive class struggle that has seen Chavista governments channel oil wealth into social programs such as universal free health care, education, 2.5 million units of social housing, systems of participatory democracy and cooperative production, communal councils and communes.
Despite these gains, the commanding levels of the economy remain in private hands and the PSUV government has been under immense pressure from hyperinflation, strangling sanctions, foreign intervention, and fascist violence - particularly the opposition group that the US referred to.
In 2019, former President Donald Trump added PDVSA, the country’s state oil company, to OFAC's blacklist in a bid to topple Maduro by straining Caracas's cash flow.