The White House is holding talks to determine the next steps regarding the recently announced lifting of sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector. Sources with knowledge of the deliberations told the Voice of America that the Biden administration is considering at least “two fronts.”
At the end of November, the US government can “break” sanctions if the government of Nicolás Maduro does not allow the opposition María Corina Machado, selected on Sunday as a presidential candidate for the 2024 election.
According to sources with knowledge of internal discussions at the White House, US officials are evaluating “deepening the dialogue” so that the government of Caracas agrees to the conditions imposed by the United States.
Another group, the sources said, is to assess, from a local perspective, the impact that the reimposition of sanctions may have on the immigration crisis, especially on the US southern border, where in the past year record numbers have been recorded at irregular crossings.
Within the Biden Administration, there are those who will maintain that the return of the sanctions scheme “will take us to the same place where we were before,” he commented on VOA, an official who asked not to be identified.
The “roadmap” is still unclear, the source added.
In an interview with Americas Quarterly, the advisor to President Joe Biden, Juan González, confirmed that there is a “political debate within the US government” about this issue.
“Should we re-impose complete sector sanctions, or is there a better and more specific approach?” González asked. “These are questions that I think should be discussed in Congress, the Unitary Platform, and others to find out what the right path is,” replied the top official.
A group of Republican lawmakers criticized Biden for lifting the sanctions, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who called it “adaptation.”
“Nothing is written in stone.”
The chief negotiator of the Maduro government with the opposition, Jorge Rodríguez, strongly rejected Washington’s condition of suspending political disqualifications. Responding to the statements of Juan González, he considered the expectations of Washington “false and false.”
“By now, you should know that Venezuela will not accept pressure, blackmail, bribery, or interference from any power or country,” the president of the ruling National Assembly also insisted in a television broadcast.
Sources consulted on VOA admit that “nothing is written in stone.”
Maduro emphasized the establishment of a “new era” in relations with the United States after announcing the limited lifting of sanctions on Venezuela’s energy sectors.
Among the expectations of the White House is the progressive release of Americans detained by the government in Caracas. Senior officials in Washington may see a final concession on this issue as a step in the right direction.
The Maduro government has left the negotiating table with the opposition on several occasions.
In a VOA interview last week, González indicated that they do not know if the current strategy will be successful, but he is in favor of “trying something new.”