Daily Review: U.S. Reimposes Oil Sanctions on Venezuela

Daily Review: U.S. Reimposes Oil Sanctions on Venezuela
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a ceremony marking the start of the judicial year at the Supreme Court in Caracas, Venezuela, Jan. 22, 2021 (AP photo by Matias Delacroix).

The U.S. allowed sanctions relief on Venezuela’s oil and gas sector to expire yesterday. The relief had been granted in October as an unofficial part of an election deal between the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s opposition. The U.S. State Department said Maduro failed to comply with the deal, which was meant to improve the opposition’s ability to freely contest this year’s presidential election. (Washington Post)

Our Take

As we’ve written before, the Venezuela election deal has been on life support virtually since it was signed. Still, while few observers expected the Maduro regime to uphold the agreement in its totality, there was room for cautious optimism that the deal would at least level the playing field in this year’s election enough to give the opposition a fighting chance.

Now, with the sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gas sectors reimposed, the election deal has officially unraveled, and that optimism has vanished entirely. That leaves Venezuela’s opposition in exactly the same position it has been in since 2015, in which elections are the only hope of unseating Maduro, but are so undemocratic that they offer no hope at all.

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