Twenty Senior US Officials Push Back After Biden Admin. Signals it will not Impose Sanctions on Venezuela

Twenty Senior US Officials Push Back After Biden Admin. Signals it will not Impose Sanctions on Venezuela

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
April 5, 2024

President Joe Biden is expected to not reinstate oil sanctions imposed on Venezuela during President Donald Trump’s term, according to recent reports

Renewing sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports would raise domestic gasoline prices given OPEC production cuts have increased American reliance on alternative sources, such as Venezuela. 

Consequently, US officials are reportedly concerned that limiting access to Venezuelan oil would raise gas prices during an election year, severely undermining President Biden’s reelection prospects. 

A group of twenty former senior US Officials has responded to Biden’s expected continued sanctions relief through an open letter requesting the US commit to renewing sanctions.

“We believe the moment calls for more decisive U.S. leadership to preserve any chance that the Venezuelan people may have to seek a democratic future,” reads the letter

Conservatives have also criticized Biden’s Venezuela strategy, claiming it is financing Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s murderous regime. 

The White House has argued sanctions were not "advancing the situation".

In October of last year, the Biden Administration lifted sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gold sectors in exchange for assurances the country would be committed to holding fair elections.

As Dictator Maduro jailed opposition figures and barred candidates from running for office, the Administration reimposed gold sanctions and announced it would consider ceasing the oil and gas sanctions relief provided, which expires on April 18.

However, it now seems increasingly probable Biden will extend the April 18 deadline. 

US Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller recently refused to answer when asked if sanctions would be reimposed.

“So the only thing I’ll say is we’ve made clear that that general license with respect to oil expires in April, and you heard us say some months ago that that’s an important date to watch,” said Miller. 

US Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) defined Biden’s Venezuelan sanctions strategy as “ridiculous.”

“Lifting U.S. sanctions and allowing money to flow into Venezuela because you’re counting on the word of a mad dictator is one of the most ridiculous things I could have imagined from this president,” said Senator Scott. 

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

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

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