Maduro hails ‘significant’ US moves

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday hailed the “small but significant measurestaken by the United States togrant licensesto oil companies so they can operate in Venezuela as part of an easing of economic sanctions against the South American country.

A week ago, the United States took small but significant steps by granting licenses to (the American company) Chevron, (the Italian) Eni and (the Spanish) Repsol to begin the processes of production of gas and oil in Venezuela in order to export them to its natural marketsthe president said in an interview with an Argentinian radio station, excerpts of which were posted on the presidential Twitter account. The White House announced on May 17 the easing of some of the sanctions imposed in 2019, including an oil embargo, aimed at ousting Nicolas Maduro from power after the controversial 2018 elections that led to his re-election.

This easing of sanctions was part of the promotion of dialogue between power and the opposition, supported by Washington, suspended last October and which has not yet resumed. A senior American official had, however, hammered home that American policy towards Venezuela remained unchanged: the sanctions will be “lightened“in the event of progress towards democracy and elections”free“, and “weighed downif the process goes off the rails.

This senior official of the Biden administration had stressed that this “sanction relief“concerns above all a “limited derogationgranted to the American oil group Chevron within the framework of the embargo. This company maynegotiate the terms of potential future activities in Venezuela“, without however concluding a new agreement with the Venezuelan national company PDVSA, explained this official. This source did not name Eni or Repsol, but Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said she had “verified and confirmedthat the measure included European companies.

A Summit of the Americas is being organized from June 6 to 10 in Los Angeles to which the United States, as host country, has not invited Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua. US authorities explained that the “commitmenttowards democracy would be the factor that would be taken into account in deciding who would be invited to the Summit.

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