US renews oil sanctions against Venezuela, doesn’t expect fair elections


The United States has decided to renew sanctions against Venezuela’s oil sector over authoritarian ruler Nicolás Maduro’s restrictions on the opposition’s ability to run in presidential elections. World news agencies reported this today, citing a senior US government official. Washington is tightening sanctions six months after it eased some of the restrictions following Maduro’s agreement with the opposition.

Company PDVSA

U.S. companies and investors will again be banned from doing business or cooperating in any way with Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA. According to the official, they will be given 45 days to comply with the sanctions and to cease all operations.

The US is thus reversing a favourable step taken in October when it eased sanctions on PDVSA. At that time, the Maduro government committed in an agreement with the opposition to allow international observers to be present during this year’s elections or for the opposition to have access to the national press. The government also pledged to allow any opposition representative to run for office.


In March, Venezuelan electoral authorities did not allow the registration of the candidacy of María Corina Machado, who was chosen by the major opposition parties as their joint candidate in last year’s primaries, because the politician faces a ban on holding public office. Machado said she was banned for political reasons. The authorities have not even registered Machado’s replacement, and have also stepped up repression of government critics. The opposition sees this as a clear violation of last year’s agreements.

US officials expressed concern about this to Venezuelan government officials last week. However, according to media reports, the US has been hesitant to renew sanctions against a major oil exporter because of fears that it could lead to a rise in the price of crude on international markets and an increase in the number of Venezuelan migrants trying to reach the US in a year when the US president is also up for election.

Source: čtk


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