The United States intends to ease some oil and gas sanctions imposed on Venezuela, after the country’s government and the opposition agreed to hold elections in mid-2024. The US Treasury Department announced this on Wednesday local time.
The easing of sanctions means, among other things, that “permits will be issued allowing transactions with the Venezuelan oil and gas sector and the gold sector” and that “the ban on secondary trading (e.g. trading in securities, ed.) will be imposed” and “lifted,” according to a ministry statement. However, the freeze on Venezuelan assets and other sanctions remain in place.
The Americans added that the decision to ease sanctions “can be changed or withdrawn at any time” if the agreement is not implemented. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Channel X that he expects Venezuela to release all “illegally detained US citizens and Venezuelan political prisoners” by the end of November.
President Nicolas Maduro has made some commitments to the opposition under pressure from Washington. For example, previously excluded opposition candidates could run in the next presidential election.
In 2018, the US-backed opposition refused to recognize Maduro’s re-election after elections it considered fraudulent. The following year, Washington tightened sanctions on Caracas that were first imposed in 2015 over the suppression of anti-government protests.
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