Venezuela-US Barbados Sanctions Agreement Fails

Venezuela-US Barbados Sanctions Agreement Fails

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
January 30, 2024

The US has announced it will consider imposing new sanctions on Venezuela after Venezuelan Autocrat Nicolas Maduro banned democratic opposition primary winner Maria Corina Machado. 

President Joe Biden had spearheaded an effort to convince Maduro’s regime to permit for democratic elections to occur in Venezuela later this year.

As part of President Biden’s initiative, the US was leveraging sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports to pressure Maduro into permitting elections. 

Effectively, Maduro eventually signed the ‘Barbados Agreement’ with Venezuelan opposition representatives where he pledged to permit democratic elections if oil sanctions were lifted. 

However, the Maduro-controlled Venezuelan Supreme Court’s decision on January 26 to indefinitely disqualify opposition leader Machado effectively nullifies Maduro’s commitments.  

According to a US State Department press release, Machado’s disqualification is “contrary to the commitments made by Maduro and his representatives under the Barbados electoral roadmap agreement to allow all parties to select their candidates for the presidential election.” 

Biden had been repeatedly warned by sundry lawmakers of Maduro’s lack of credibility and intention to flout any deal reached but chose to press ahead with sanctions relief nonetheless.

Despite such warnings, Brian Nichols, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs from the U.S. State Department, said in early December that sanctions on Venezuela were “not advancing the situation.”

Now, while not specifying to what extent, the latest statements from the State Department suggest a return to sanctions is imminent. 

Representative Maria-Elvira Salazar (R-FL) has continuously called for the imposition of sanctions, claiming they should have never been lifted in the first place. 

“We should have never negotiated with Maduro,” said Representative Salazar (R-FL) in response to Maduro’s latest affront to his political opponents. 

Similarly, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recalled comments he made earlier in January, where he alleged Maduro would not live up to his promises. 

“Let there be no doubt: Maduro had no intention of upholding the Oct 17th agreement & the result of the elections. The U.S. should reverse all sanctions relief,” said Senator Rubio. 


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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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