In Venezuela, the United States puts politics aside to unlock more oil exports

(L to R) US Secretary of State Antony Blinkin, US President Joe Biden and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque at the White House on March 10, 2022, following a recent meeting between US and Venezuelan officials where the possibility of easing oil sanctions was discussed.

(Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Although a full lifting of sanctions is unlikely, the new US openness to Venezuela could lead to a narrow agreement allowing new exemptions for some Venezuelan oil exports, as Washington seeks to ease oil shortages and consecutive price increases created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The US State Department announced on March 9 the release of two Americans detained in Venezuela, including Gustavo Cardenas, a former oil executive detained in Venezuela since 2017. On March 5, senior US officials traveled to Venezuela to meet directly officials from the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. The two sides reportedly discussed easing US sanctions on oil and gas exports from Venezuela in exchange for small political concessions from Caracas, which could include the release of political prisoners or an end to discriminatory practices against party members. of opposition. Little progress has been made in reaching such an agreement, although negotiators have agreed to continue talks. Separately, United States…

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