Venezuela: The United States will reimpose oil sanctions on the Maduro regime for its persecution of dissidence

The Biden administration considers that the Venezuelan dictatorship did not comply with the Barbados Agreement, signed in October 2023 together with the opposition.

The United States is ready to reimpose oil sanctions on Venezuela after the Nicolás Maduro regime did not comply with the electoral route agreed with the opposition in the Barbados Agreement signed in October 2023.

According to the Reuters agency, the temporary license provided by the Biden administration that considerably eased Venezuela's oil, gas and gold sanctions expires this coming Thursday. However, the United States, for the moment, has no plans to renew the easing of these sanctions.

This is because, after the Barbados Agreement, the Maduro regime did not fulfill its promise to respect the electoral route of the presidential "elections" on July 28. Firstly, Chavismo, through its Prosecutor's Office and repressive forces, intensified its persecution of dissidents, especially against opposition leader María Corina Machado, who has been unable to register in the next elections due to an unjust disqualification that weighs on her shoulders.

Given that the electoral authorities did not allow her to register due to the Chavista ban, Machado named academic Corina Yoris as her successor, but the Maduro regime did not allow her registration in the electoral process either.

Likewise, Machado's party, Vente Venezuela, is suffering draconian persecution at the hands of Venezuelan authorities.

According to a State Department spokesperson, the only way for the license that eased sanctions against Venezuela to be renewed is for the Maduro regime to make significant progress in the commitments agreed to in October. This includes holding truly free and fair elections this year, a situation that seems very unlikely between now and Thursday.

"Absent progress by Maduro and his representatives in terms of implementing the road map's provisions, the United States will not renew the license when it expires on April 18, 2024," the spokesperson said Monday.

Just this Monday, the State Department also announced that it will renew protection for the Venezuelan company Citgo Petroleum, based in Texas, until mid-August. The company will remain protected from creditors that seek to enforce court rulings that require payment of more than $20 billion in debts.

The announcement of the reimposition of sanctions comes just after U.S. and Venezuelan officials met secretly in Mexico last Tuesday in a summit that was not very productive for both parties. According to Reuters, there was little or no progress in reducing the differences between the Biden administration and the Maduro regime.

The media reported that the decision not to renew the current license does not rule out the possibility of the United States issuing a new, more restrictive license to replace it. A potential measure that would come after Venezuelan crude oil exports increased in March to their highest level since early 2020.

However, Biden administration officials are still deliberating the nature of the punishment against the Maduro regime for failing to comply with electoral agreements. According to Reuters, potential new restrictions are expected to be less intense than the Trump era's "maximum pressure" policy.

Reuters reports that "Possible steps under serious consideration would be to allow Venezuela to continue selling its crude on world markets but to reimpose a ban on use of U.S. dollars in such transactions, requiring Venezuela to switch to other currencies and expand barter arrangements and swaps, according to people briefed on the discussions."

Likewise, a bipartisan group in the Senate urged President Biden to impose individual sanctions on the repressive actors of the Chavista dictatorship.

In addition to the persecution of Machado and Vente Venezuela, Chavismo also deepened its repression against journalists, human rights activists, non-governmental organizations and other political parties.