Biden reverses major Trump-era policy regarding Venezuela

The Associate Press reports that President Joe Biden has struck a deal with Venezuela, completely reversing the Venezuela policy instituted by the administration of former President Donald Trump. 

Per the outlet:

On Saturday, Venezuela’s government and its opposition agreed to create a U.N.-managed fund to finance health, food, and education programs for the poor, while the Biden administration eased some oil sanctions on the country in an effort to boost the newly restarted talks between the sides.

It’s a complete reversal of the “maximum pressure” strategy imposed on Venezuela by the Trump administration.

Trump implemented the strategy in response to the corrupt practices of Venezuela’s socialist government, particularly under the leadership of Nicolas Maduro.

Some specifics

Reports of a possible deal between the United States and Venezuela emerged over the weekend. One of the initial reporting outlets was the Wall Street Journal. 

The Journal reported that the Biden administration was willing to unfreeze Venezuela’s funds and allow Chevron Corp. to pump oil in Venezuela in exchange for humanitarian commitments from Venezuela.

Per the Journal:

Granting the new license is contingent on the Venezuelan government and its political opponents’ announcement, expected Saturday, to implement a $3 billion humanitarian program using Venezuelan funds unfrozen by the U.S. as well as an agreement to resume talks in Mexico City next month on resolving the country’s political crisis through free and fair elections, people familiar with the matter said. The talks would quickly set in motion U.S. authorization for Chevron’s return to Venezuela’s oil fields, according to the people.

This appears to be the exact deal that was reached on Saturday.

It’s clear what Venezuela is getting from the deal. But, the question is what is in it for the U.S.

“Social protection measures”

The Biden administration is pushing back on any claims that it entered the deal in order to help address the ongoing energy crisis.

The Associated Press reports:

A senior U.S. administration official, briefing reporters about the U.S. action under the condition of anonymity, said that easing the sanctions was not connected to the administration’s efforts to boost global energy production in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that the decision was not expected to impact global energy prices.

The Journal reports, “some analysts have said Venezuela’s oil production is likely to hit a ceiling of about 1 million barrels a day in the medium term.”

The United Nations, instead, is promoting the deal as a way to implement “social protection measures” for the people of Venezuela, who have been victimized by Venezuela’s government.

“In line with U.N. norms and procedures, [the fund’s] objective would be to support the implementation of social protection measures for the Venezuelan people,” the U.N.’s Dag Nylander said.

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