Venezuelan Opposition Representative in US Urges Biden to Ease Oil Sanctions

Tue Apr 04 2023
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MIAMI: The Venezuelan opposition’s new representative in the U.S. is urging the Biden administration to relax the currently enforced oil sanctions on Nicolas Maduro’s government; otherwise risk seeing the country transform into another Cuba where Washington would be scapegoated for economic hardships and increasing authoritarianism.

Fernando Blasi made these comments to The Associated Press, which are a sharp break from the opposition’s “maximum pressure campaign” of the last 4 years when it was relying on the US to force Maduro out of power.

The hardline approach’s failure led the opposition leaders in January to remove the ex-lawmaker Juan Guaido from his role as “interim president.” Guaido had claimed the title of head of the National Assembly elected in 2015, which is widely regarded as Venezuela’s last democratic election.

The opposition has since shifted to a leadership of mostly exiled politicians.

Blasi, who was designated in January as the National Assembly’s envoy in the US, stated that he did not speak for the entire opposition Unity Platform.

He acknowledged that many of the members of the opposition coalition get furious at the idea of rewarding Maduro sans upfront commitments to make the next year’s presidential election where no candidate has an undue edge.

US has allowed Chevron to resume restricted oil production in Venezuela

The Biden administration has hinted that it is prepared to the idea of providing relief in sanctions in exchange for concrete measures by Maduro, like making a commitment not to ban the eventual candidate who emerges from the opposition primaries that are to be held later this year.

However, apart from issuing a license to energy giant Chevron so it could resume restricted oil production in Venezuela on a 6-month trial basis, it has largely left in place an array of sanctions inherited from the Trump administration.

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