Senior US and Venezuelan diplomats discussed the possibility of easing oil sanctions on Caracas after Washington D.C. banned oil imports from Russia.
The White House announced on March 7 that an American delegation had traveled to Venezuela over the weekend to hold talks with President Nicolas Maduro‘s communist government on energy supplies.
“The purpose of the visit of US officials is to discuss a variety of issues, including energy security,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
The US negotiating team has asked Venezuela to ensure free and democratic presidential elections in the future. Reform Venezuela’s oil industry and condemn Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
In return, the US is ready to ease the embargo on Venezuela.
The US will allow Venezuela to use the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) system, and facilitate financial transactions with banks around the world.
President Maduro demanded that the US lift all sanctions banning oil exports on Venezuela, lifting sanctions imposed on him and the Caracas government.
At the same time, he also proposed to return control of the oil company Citgo Petroleum (a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company – PDVSA) in the US.
The US eases sanctions on Venezuela could help the US, and especially Europe, to buy Venezuelan oil. For a long time, Western oil companies have made their requests to US presidents, but no decisions have been made.
They will reduce dependence on Russia.
Venezuela is the country with the largest oil reserves in the world.
However, Venezuela does not want to be dominated by the US. The country is constantly in political turmoil, caused by the US-backed opposition.
The White House said it was looking at ways to reduce Russian oil imports without harming US consumers and maintaining global supplies.
However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on March 7 said Washington D.C. has not been a definitive decision on the ban on Russian oil imports.
US-Venezuela relations is bad after Washington D.C. led a group of nearly 60 European and Latin American countries that recognized the opposition – President Juan Guaido and imposed sanctions on President Maduro‘s government. They demanded that Maduro should give up power.
Sanctions from the US since 2019 have stopped transactions in Venezuelan crude oil, which accounts for 96% of the country’s GDP.
In contrast to the US and the West, Russia and its allies, China, Syria, South Africa, and Bolivia all support Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela and demand the detention of Juan Guaido.
In response to Russia sanctions, President Maduro called these acts are “madness” and must be stopped.
Vietnam is also a supporter of President Maduro during the 2019 crisis.