The US empire’s Treasury Department has announced the temporary and partial lifting of certain illegal sanctions that the United States has been imposing on the Venezuelan people. A document published on the official website of the Treasury Department details four general licenses that suspend some of these sanctions, issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
According to the statement, released this Wednesday, October 18, the US entity’s government made the decision “in response to the signing of an electoral schedule agreement between members of the Venezuelan government and the Unitary Platform,” which took place last Tuesday in Bridgetown, Barbados. The statement goes on to indicate that the Treasury Department has issued general licenses authorizing transactions with Venezuela that pertain specifically to operations surrounding oil, gas, and gold, as well as further removing particular prohibitions on secondary trade.
The Treasury Department also clarified that it is prepared to modify or revoke the licenses at any time, “in the event that Maduro’s representatives do not fulfill their commitments.” They also noted that “all other restrictions imposed by the United States on Venezuela remain in effect” and that they will continue to hold so-called “bad actors” responsible for refusing to toe the line of the empire.
Another thing that was not mentioned in the statement is that Washington is in dire need of reliable energy sources, given that their strategic oil reserves are reaching alarming low levels, oil prices are moving closer to the $100 mark, and their gas supply is hanging in the balance due to European authorities’ lack of sovereign decisions following the start of the Russia-Ukraine war.
The licenses are as follows:
- General license for six months, temporarily authorizing transactions involving the oil and gas sectors. The license is conditioned to be renewed only if Venezuela meets its commitments in the upcoming electoral schedule, as well as other commitments regarding those so-called to be “wrongly detained.” It should be noted that the document refuses to take note of the fact that it is the US that does not comply with any moral or agreed-to commitments.
- General license authorizing transactions with Minerven (the Venezuelan publicly-owned gold mining company), which the Treasury Department assesses would have the effect of reducing black market gold trading.
- Two licenses modified to eliminate the prohibition on secondary trading of certain Venezuelan sovereign bonds, debt, and equity of PDVSA. The ban on trading in the primary Venezuelan bond market remains in force. The Treasury assesses that this would also have the positive effect of displacing so-called “nefarious actors” in this market, and notes that it would generate “insignificant” financial benefits for the Venezuelan government, which is an added benefit for the US empire. It does not mention that such a modification benefits big financial corporations that have been affected by these sanctions and have lobbied for the lifting of this sanction.
- A document with answers to frequently asked questions was also published.
“The United States welcomes the signing of an electoral roadmap agreement between the Unitary Platform and representatives of Maduro,” stated the US entity’s undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson. “In accordance with US sanctions policy, in response to these democratic developments, the US Treasury Department has issued General Licenses authorizing transactions involving Venezuela’s oil and gas sector and gold sector, as well as eliminate the ban on secondary bond trade,” Nelson added, ignoring the unlawful and immoral nature of the sanctions in the first place.
Rodríguez: “Partial lifting of sanctions is a good first step”
The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, made a broadcast from Miraflores Palace in which he spoke with the government negotiation team that had traveled to Barbados on Tuesday to participate in the signing of agreements with the opposition’s Unitary Platform.
“Minutes ago, a statement was published in response to the agreements signed in Barbados,” explained Jorge Rodríguez, head of the government’s dialogue commission. “The US Treasury Department grants a broad license for production, marketing, exploration, and sale for PDVSA,” he indicated.
The parliamentarian confirmed that the license also includes “everything that has to do with materials and services” of the aforementioned sectors, which was one of the great difficulties that the oil industry had been dealing with in regards to maintaining its facilities.
The license allows materials, goods, and services to be imported into Venezuela, and for new investments to be made. “The possibility of any company or person coming to invest in Venezuela in oil and gas is now open,” Rodríguez said.
This provision includes the opportunity for Venezuela to sell oil and gas and use the resource as payment of debt to various creditors that the country has, including creditors of the national oil industry. These same provisions were obtained for the production and marketing of gold.
Como presidente de Colombia dí el primer paso para desbloquear a Venezuela y abrir sus fronteras y sus relaciones diplomáticas. Al cabo de un año, el desbloqueo parcial de Venezuela por parte de EEUU es una realidad.
Noa sentimos orgullosos de haber colaborado decididamente en… https://t.co/UrXQgJ3iJQ
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) October 19, 2023
Sanctions lifted against Conviasa
Rodríguez also confirmed that the US empire’s Treasury Department has lifted sanctions on the Venezuelan state airline Conviasa, a publicly-owned company that will now be able to provide services and carry out transactions related to the repatriation of Venezuelan nationals living in various countries in the Latin American region. The provision includes everything that has to do with services, landing payments, catering, and fuel costs for the airline.
Rodríguez highlighted the fact that Venezuela understands that these US decisions should be progressively applied, and condemned that it should even have to be this way in the first place, because the entire country has been asking for the total lifting of the sanctions. However, he did say that it is “a good first step.”
BCV authorized for oil transactions
The vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, commented that the partial lifting of sanctions includes a provision in which the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) is authorized to carry out transactions with the country’s oil assets. “This gives international legality to economic, commercial, and financial freedoms,” noted the senior Venezuelan official, “because ultimately, what is expressed here is the victorious resistance of the people of Venezuela in not recognizing any foreign jurisdiction, but rather the sovereign Venezuelan jurisdiction.”
She said that this step is a sign that the country, the government, and the people, have been right in saying that “we have the right to develop oil, to develop gold, and to export gas, which are the resources that make up the natural wealth of our country.” VP Rodríguez added that this success for Venezuela and the Maduro administration should be the preamble to the complete lifting of the US empire’s illegal sanctions against Venezuela.
Recebi com satisfação a notícia de que o governo dos EUA retirou sanções contra a Venezuela, depois que o governo e a oposição venezuelanos assinaram um acordo para eleições justas no ano que vem. Sanções unilaterais prejudicam a população dos países afetados e dificultam…
— Lula (@LulaOficial) October 19, 2023
Latin American support
Colombian President Gustavo Petro was the first of the Latin American leaders to celebrate the decision of Washington.
“As president of Colombia, I took the first step to remove the blockade between Colombia and Venezuela, and to open our borders and resume diplomatic relations,” Petro stated. “After a year, the partial unlocking of Venezuela by the US is now coming to be a reality. We are proud to have collaborated decisively on this path that can now return, to many Venezuelans who emigrated, their home.”
The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, also showed his enthusiasm upon hearing the news about the US decision.
“I welcomed the news that the US government has lifted sanctions against Venezuela,” Lula wrote in a post on social media, “following the agreement signed between the Venezuelan government and the opposition for fair elections next year.”
Felicitamos al gobierno de #Venezuela por la exitosa conducción del diálogo que conllevó a la firma de acuerdos y al levantamiento parcial y limitado de medidas coercitivas aplicadas por el gobierno de EEUU.
Dichas medidas coercitivas no debieron aplicarse nunca y ⤵️
— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) October 19, 2023
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez also celebrated the efforts made by the Venezuelan government to achieve, through dialogue, the lifting of sanctions that the US empire had imposed against the country.
“We congratulate the government of #Venezuela for the successful conduct of the dialogue that led to the signing of agreements and the partial and limited lifting of the coercive measures applied by the US government,” the Cuban minister published via social media.
Oil price temporarily down
Oil prices recorded a drop this Thursday following the partial lifting of sanctions on Venezuela. According to the Banca y Negocios news outlet, the Brent barrel, which is mainly extracted from the North Sea, fell 2% and reached $89.65 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) registered a drop of 1.87% and was trading at $86.67 per barrel.
(Alba Ciudad) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/December 9, 2023