The outbreak of the Coronavirus in the U.S. appears to have redirected just about all of the Trump administration’s efforts to fight the deadly virus while putting other issues like the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela on the backburner.
Venezuela, like most countries, is dealing with the pandemic and the Trump administration is holding firm with the sanctions it levied on the Maduro regime even as the United Nations has signaled that they would like to see those sanctions eased or removed.
Easing of those sanctions is not going to happen until Maduro is out of office because of fear that money or aid to Maduro’s regime would only line the pockets of those most loyal to him.
Another big issue is the Venezuelan economy. The once-mighty oil-producing nation has all-but been brought completely to its knees.
The Russians and Chinese, along with Iran, have overrun Venezuela at the behest of Maduro, and Maduro himself has anchored his nation’s economy on the drug trade.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made himself the de facto oil sultan of Venezuela, and if the Trump administration decides to not renew the licenses for the remaining U.S. oil companies still operating in Venezuela to continue to do so, Putin will gain full control the oil industry.
With Russia already owning 2 million net acres of Venezuela’s oil fields, Putin’s absolute control of Venezuela’s oil industry poses a national security threat to the U.S.
Vlad and Nicolas
Putin has been Maduro’s strongest and consistent ally, providing financial, military and strategic support, including ways to violate U.S. sanctions through Russian oil giant, Rosneft.
On March 28, Rosneft announced that it was moving it’s Venezuelan assets into a Russian government-owned entity. Although neither Rosneft nor the Russian government would identify the government company that would hold Rosneft’s former Venezuela assets, Reuters later confirmed that Roszarubezhneft was the buyer.
The Rosneft move is a calculated effort to allow Russia to continue to participate unhindered in the Venezuelan oil & gas industry and continue to support Maduro and his cronies.
This lateral move by Putin could also signal that Russian private military contractors are taking even bigger risks to ensure Russian control over oil supplies in destabilized countries, such as Venezuela.
The recent Trump administration indictment of Venezuela’s Dictator Nicholas Maduro and a number of his henchmen for drug trafficking was welcomed by many legislators like Florida Senator Rick Scott (R), who has spearheaded efforts to admonish Maduro as a murderous thug and to press the federal government to levy more sanctions on Maduro’s regime.
In response to The Floridian’s request for comment on the recent developments in Venezuela, Sen. Scott’s office responded that the freshman senator was “encouraged” by the Trump administration’s sanctions against Maduro’s regime and to hold him “accountable for his crimes and the genocide he is committing on the people of Venezuela.”