Biden Administration Reverses Trump Policy, Reignites Venezuelan Oil Sanctions

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It happened again. The Biden administration has been forced to backtrack on one of its ill-advised “carrot and stick” foreign policies with an authoritarian regime because the thugs who run it–unsurprisingly–continue to act like they hate democracy.

Via the Hill:

The Biden Administration announced on Wednesday that it is reimposing its sanctions against Venezuelan oil.

Officials stated that Venezuela had not made enough progress toward fair and free elections. As a result, they are reimposing sanctions lifted in October.

Companies have 45 days to close their oil and gas transactions.

In October, Venezuela lifted the sanctions after it agreed to certain electoral reforms. Officials say that although the country has made some progress, it still needs to go further.

They criticized Nicolas Maduro’s government specifically for blocking Maria Corina Machado, the leader of the opposition, and Corina Yoris as her designate.

The Biden White House lifted the sanctions against Maduro’s government in October 2023. It also did him a favor by giving back one of Maduro’s key allies as part of a prisoner exchange in December.

Guess who first imposed oil sanctions against Maduro. Former President Donald Trump

The Trump administration has imposed new sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company to press Maduro into giving up power.

Biden’s Wednesday move won’t completely dry up Venezuela’s oil revenue. In 2022, I wrote that they were able to get an exception to allow Chevron’s oil production to resume to support the democratic process in Venezuela.

The sanctions that were reimposed Wednesday are distinct from an authorization for 2022 which allowed Chevron Venezuela to resume certain operations. This authorization will not be affected.

Venezuela’s next elections will take place in July. We’ll watch to see if they are free and fair. The Biden administration may want to consider that old saying about not doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.