GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida revealed that the Biden administration offered the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela the relief of sanctions in exchange for the South American country selling oil to the United States.
Rubio labeled the offer as “shameful and ridiculous.” “Joe Biden sent two individuals from his White House staff (to Venezuela) and they made an offer to Maduro and it is the following: The United States is willing to lift sanctions if he is willing to sell us oil and if he (Maduro) announces a future date for negotiations with the opposition,” Rubio revealed in a video posted on his social networks.
“It is a ridiculous offer, a dangerous offer, a shameful offer. We should be ashamed that a U.S. government would make an offer like that,” he said.
The Republican senator said that negotiating with Maduro “is ridiculous” because the tyranny has used negotiations as a tactic to buy some time for making propaganda and to divide the opposition in Venezuela.
Rubio explained that Venezuela does not produce enough oil to meet U.S. demand and criticized the Biden administration for going against the recommendation of experts.
“Because of corruption and mismanagement happening now and for years to come in Venezuela, that country is not going to produce enough oil to replace what we buy from Russia,” the Republican senator said in reference to Biden analyzing banning oil imports from Russia to sanction the Putin’s regime for the invasion of Ukraine.
“What a ridiculous offer, they must be laughing at us and at this Administration! This has nothing to do with Russian oil but with individuals from this government who have been desperate from the beginning to get along with Maduro and with Cuba,” the senator noted.
“That’s why Maduro wanted Biden to be seated in the White House, because he knows that having him in power, they were eventually going to get to this. It is a betrayal of those who have opposed Maduro, those who have marched in the streets and who have sacrificed, suffered so much and lost so much,” Rubio denounced.
“It’s embarrassing and I’m going to do everything I can to prevent this from happening,” he said.
If Biden’s offer to Maduro is carried out, the regime stands to gain. Not only would the sanctions against it be eased, but also its revenues from oil sales would increase.
As Biden seeks to isolate Russia for its crimes in Ukraine, he also reaches out to one of Putin’s main allies in Latin America.
The Democratic administration confirmed this Monday March 7, that a delegation traveled to the South American country to address “a variety of issues”, including “energy security” in the face of the crisis in Ukraine.
Biden is examining the reduction of Russian oil imports after the invasion of Ukraine, so he would be looking for alternatives so as not to affect the global supply; however, this would be the beginning of negotiations with a tyranny that the United States has already sanctioned by prohibiting it from doing business with any American entity or organization.
The United States broke diplomatic relations with Venezuela in 2019 and imposed a battery of sanctions for its ongoing human rights violations. The measures include an embargo in place since April 2019 that prevents Venezuela from trading its crude oil – which accounted for 96 % of the country’s revenues – on the American market.
Lifting sanctions on Maduro, adding a setback in the pressure that had been achieved on the regime and its accomplices, means that, it is going to be negotiated with a tyranny that destroyed the Venezuelan oil industry and embezzled public money through the state-owned PDVSA, which today is in ruins.
Experts assure that even if Biden lifts sanctions, Maduro will not be able to lift crude oil production in Venezuela in the short or medium term. In addition, the South American country’s exports are mostly aimed at paying off debts with Russia and China.
According to a 2021 Reuters report, more than 80% of the shipments are destined for Asian countries, including China and Malaysia. In addition, PDVSA also exports barrels of crude oil and fuel to Cuba.
Lifting sanctions on Venezuela will not increase oil production
Venezuelan economist Jose Toro Hardy, who was also an executive of the state oil company PDVSA, explained that “if Venezuela’s oil production had not fallen, it would have been difficult for the Russians to increase theirs”.
“Russia was the big beneficiary of the destruction of our oil industry and the stalling of openness to the market,” Hardy said.
Economist Francisco Monaldi, director of the Latin American Energy Program, also explained that “in the short term, relaxing oil sanctions on Venezuela would not have any relevant effect on the crude oil market world, but it could perhaps help refineries in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to replace Russian oil imports after the invasion of Ukraine”.
“The U.S. mission that visited Caracas was unexpected. But everything indicates that the reason was the possible authorization for Venezuela to export oil to the United States,” said Monaldi.
“Venezuela produces about 750,000 barrels of oil per day. That is only a fraction of the more than 3 million barrels it once produced. Assuming sanctions were completely lifted, there is very little Venezuela can add to the market, perhaps it could increase production by about 100,000 barrels. That is nothing compared to the 11 million barrels that Russia produces per day and the 7 million that it exports”, he added.
“Venezuela is an irrelevant actor in this regard. The only logic it could have, is that barrels that Venezuela stopped sending to the United States, which were half a million until 2018, will arrive again in the short term,” he added.
“There is no doubt that Venezuela has the reserves to increase production and also much of the necessary infrastructure, but you have to attract tens of billions of dollars having a government that at the historic peak of prices, it destroyed its oil industry,” the economist explained.
“In the most successful periods of increased investment and production in Venezuela’s history, a sustainable average of more than 200 thousand bpd of annual increase was barely reached. Undoubtedly, it is technically possible to surpass those records, but the obstacle is not below the surface, it is above…. And it is red, very red”, said Monaldi in reference to the deplorable management of the Maduro regime in oil matters.