The Biden Administration is reportedly set to announce that it will lift several sanctions and other restrictions on Venezuela, allowing for the purchase of oil from the socialist dictatorship.
As reported by The Daily Caller, two anonymous administration officials said that the federal government will soon ease up some of the energy sanctions against the Latin American country, and will allow the American oil company Chevron to enter into negotiations to purchase oil from the state-owned firm PDVSA. In return for the lifting of sanctions, dictator Nicolas Maduro has tentatively agreed to talks with opposition leader Juan Guadio, who has claimed that Maduro’s rule is illegitimate and that he is the rightful president of Venezuela.
The agreement was made “on the basis of ambitious, concrete and irreversible outcomes that empower the Venezuelan people to determine the future in their country through democratic elections,” according to one of the officials.
Biden’s decision marks yet another reversal of widely-praised Trump-era policy, during which the government imposed a round of new sanctions on the Venezuelan regime, which has been accused of political suppression and the elimination of individual rights, while the population starves due to deliberate government mismanagement and corruption. In 2019, sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration aimed to reduce Venezuela’s oil exports by as much as $11 billion. As a result, the U.S. has not imported oil from Venezuela since May of 2019.
The move was criticized by Republicans as emboldening dictators, with some drawing comparisons to the American purchase of Russian oil even amid the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“Our experience buying Russian energy should have taught President Biden that buying energy from tyrants is a dangerous proposition,” said Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “Yet President Biden continues to reward our enemies by waiving sanctions while his administration does its best to kill American energy production. Funding despots isn’t in the national interest. Supporting American energy is.”
Biden is also facing criticism after having just announced the cancellation of several more oil and gas leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. Since taking power, Biden has made it a top priority to pander to the so-called “green energy” crowd by shutting down all domestic production of oil and natural gas, which has directly led to the ongoing spike in gas prices across the country. Biden has since attempted to blame the rise in gas on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and released the strategic oil reserves to combat rising prices, though both strategies thus far have failed.
In March, Biden first attempted to turn to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as foreign sources of oil to make up for the decline in American production. But according to reports, government officials with both nations refused to take Biden’s calls.