Not even a month after the United States decided to relax oil and gas sanctions against Venezuela following the Maduro government agreeing with the opposition to conduct free and fair elections, it seems the country is already violating the deal.
The government subsequently refused to accept the results of an opposition primary election to select a presidential candidate. This primary election, which took place earlier this month, was won by María Corina Machado, 56, who is currently barred from holding office for 15 years.
The Maduro administration has initiated an investigation into the primary election, alleging that it was marred by fraud. In addition, a dissident opposition lawmaker, Jose Brito, who has faced accusations of colluding with the Maduro government, has lodged an appeal against the primary election with the Supreme Court.
“Monday’s ruling suspends all outcomes of the various stages of the electoral process,” stated a spokesperson.
The highest court also reasserted its ban on Machado, citing alleged corruption and her support for international sanctions against Caracas.
Venezuelan officials are insisting that the opposition provide all documents related to the primary election, including records that could identify the voters.
“US will take action”
The United States has called upon Maduro’s government to “adhere to the commitments they made when signing the political roadmap agreement in Barbados.” This agreement, reached between Caracas and the opposition, outlined the plan to hold presidential elections in the latter half of 2024, as noted by a State Department spokesperson.
The spokesperson further stated, “The US government will take action if Maduro and his representatives fail to fulfill their commitments under the electoral roadmap.”
Following the decision to ease some oil and gas sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the need for Venezuela to “establish a specific timeline and process for the swift reinstatement of all candidates” by the end of November. “Everyone desiring to run for the presidency should be afforded the opportunity,” he emphasized.
Venezuela, home to the world’s largest proven oil reserves, is grappling with a severe political and economic crisis characterized by hyperinflation and a scarcity of essential goods, forcing millions to leave the country.
However, despite all the trouble gone through in relaxing the sanctions on Caracas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that the expected effect of the said relief will “only lead to a limited increase in oil production.”
The opposition, with the support of various countries, including the United States, did not acknowledge Maduro’s reelection in 2018, a vote that was widely discredited as fraudulent, prompting Washington to impose additional sanctions.
Amidst the global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, renewed international efforts are underway to address the crisis in Venezuela.
Information for this briefing was found via France24 and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.