Caracas Confirms that Washington Authorized U.S. and European Oil Companies to Restart Operations in Venezuela

May 17, 2022

Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodríguez confirmed on Tuesday that the U.S. government authorized U.S. and European oil companies to “negotiate and restart operations” with the South American country, this amid a complex package of sanctions that Washington has imposed against Caracas for at least a decade.

“The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, has verified and confirmed, the news published in the sense that the United States of America has authorized U.S. and European oil companies to negotiate and restart operations in Venezuela,” Rodriguez said via Twitter.

The high official pointed out that her country “aspires” that this type of U.S. decision will “start the way for the absolute lifting of the illicit sanctions” that affect the Venezuelan population.

Rodríguez added that the international community is aware that Venezuela has achieved an “economic recovery with its own efforts” despite “the illegitimate sanctions” and “the inhumane blockade” imposed against the country by the U.S., the European Union and other allied governments.

“Our people feel proud of the work and achievements of recent times”, said the Vice-President, who stressed that the Venezuelan Government, “attached to its deep democratic values, will continue to tirelessly promote fruitful dialogue in national and international format”.

What had the media said?

Prior to the confirmation from Caracas, the AP news agency reported -according to statements made by senior US government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity-, the changes that Washington would apply with respect to the sanctions, and announced that the administration of Joe Biden would allow Chevron Corp. to negotiate its license with the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), but not to drill or export Venezuelan oil.

Other agencies, including EFE, citing a high-level official of Biden’s administration, stated that during a call with journalists he confirmed the lifting of the ban on the U.S. oil company Chevron from negotiating with PDVSA, and that the easing of the sanctions seeks to try to reactivate the dialogue between the opposition and the Venezuelan government.

“I want to clarify that the government is doing this in response to the talks that are taking place between the regime and the interim government (of Juan Guaidó),” the official commented.

Sanctions relief would also include the removal of some Venezuelans close to the government from the list of people sanctioned by the US.

For its part, The Wall Street Journal, in an article of its Editorial Board entitled “Biden’s dance with a Latin dictator”, published on Monday, refers to moves that would be advancing the US Government and the Democrats, with the aim of restoring their relations with Venezuela and President Nicolás Maduro.

In the text they quote Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who last week, in one of his morning press conferences, said that “there was already an agreement with Venezuela for a US company to extract one million barrels per day”. “This is good for Venezuela, it is good for the US, it is good for the world”, added the president.

With conditions

A rapprochement between the US and Venezuela began last March. That month, a US delegation was received in Caracas by President Maduro, who described the meeting as “respectful, cordial” and “very diplomatic”.

After that, Venezuela released two imprisoned U.S. prisoners: Gustavo Cárdenas, convicted of fraudulent embezzlement and conspiracy of official with contractor, as well as for the crime of association to commit a crime; and Jorge Fernández, accused of terrorism.

After the meeting, the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Ned Price, stated that Washington would “review” some sanctions policies, but under certain conditions.

“We will reconsider some sanctions policies if, and only if, the parties were to make significant progress in the Venezuelan-led negotiations in Mexico, to achieve the fulfillment of the Venezuelan people’s aspirations for real, genuine democracy,” he commented.

For his part, the then Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Félix Plasencia, stated that Caracas would be willing to cooperate with the U.S. regarding oil trade, as long as “the sovereignty and legitimacy” of the Venezuelan government is respected.

“I expect them to respect the sovereignty and legitimacy of my government. President Maduro is the sole and legitimate head of government of Venezuela. We can do a lot together in the oil trade by convincing them to respect that,” he said.

Source: RT