The United States and Venezuela secretly meet in Mexico to discuss the possibility of reimposition of oil sanctions

The Biden administration has attempted to negotiate with Nicolás Maduro to promote free and fair presidential elections, but efforts have been unsuccessful.

This week, U.S. officials held clandestine meetings with members of Venezuela's dictatorial regime in a new attempt to address possible democratic reforms before the deadline to reinstate sanctions against the country's oil industry arrives this April.

According to a Bloomberg report, representatives of the Biden administration met with Maduro's chief negotiator, Jorge Rodriguez, last Tuesday in Mexico City to discuss electoral conditions. However, the specific details of these talks have not yet emerged, as both the U.S. National Security Council and the Venezuelan Ministry of Information have refrained from commenting on the matter.

Despite the lack of details, it is well known that the Biden administration has been trying to negotiate with Venezuela's dictator to promote free and fair presidential elections. But so far, U.S. efforts have been unsuccessful.

Since the Biden administration lifted oil sanctions on the Venezuelan regime in October 2023, Maduro has, on multiple occasions, violated agreements reached with the United States in Barbados.

As part of that agreement, the Venezuelan dictator committed himself to ensuring fair presidential elections and resolving political disqualifications in exchange for the relief of sanctions affecting the oil, gas and gold sectors that weighed on the dictatorial regime.

However, Maduro flagrantly breached the agreement by illegitimately disqualifying María Corina Machado, who won the primaries organized by the opposition with more than 90% of the votes. In addition, he intensified the persecution and repression against other opponents and activists and prevented the registration of candidates endorsed by Machado.

The Biden administration has been strongly criticized for not reimposing the sanctions, especially by several U.S. Republican congressmen. These legislators have also called for not recognizing the results of future elections, arguing that the electoral process is being manipulated and directed by the dictatorship.

Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott has been particularly firm in his stance on the matter, calling the elections illegitimate and directly controlled by Maduro. "The U.S., our allies and all freedom-loving countries can't recognize this as a free and fair election unless these conditions change," Scott said.

Senator Marco Rubio has also stressed that the actions of "Maduro's criminal narco-regime" are clear evidence that the dictatorship is willing to do whatever it can to keep itself in power illegitimately. Accordingly, Rubio argues that the Biden administration should cease negotiations with Maduro.

But despite violations of the agreement, Biden seems reluctant to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela's authoritarian regime.