The United States welcomes the dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition with an easing of sanctions. The United States Department of the Treasury has announced that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has granted a license authorizing the oil company Chevron Corporation to resume limited oil extraction operations in Venezuela. “This action reflects the long-standing policy of the United States to provide targeted sanctions relief based on concrete measures that alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and support the restoration of democracy,” Treasury said in a statement.
Although the United States maintains the bulk of its sanctions, this first step shows its willingness to gradually withdraw them if the dialogue advances with concrete results. “We have long made it clear that we believe that the best solution in Venezuela is a negotiated solution between the two parties. And to foster it, we have said that we are willing to provide selective sanctions relief based on concrete measures that alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and move them closer to the restoration of democracy,” said a senior US government official who has participated in a call with journalists.
The same source has indicated that this license will be valid for six months and the United States Government reserves the power to modify or revoke the authorizations at any time if the Nicolás Maduro regime does not negotiate in good faith or does not comply with its commitments. .
The Unitary Platform and the Government of Maduro have formally announced the resumption of talks in Mexico City. They have reached humanitarian relief agreements that they had already worked on beforehand focused on education, health, food security, flood response, electricity programs and also an agreement on the continuation of talks focused on the elections of 2024. The dialogue has also allowed an agreement to unfreeze between 3,000 and 5,000 million state funds abroad.
“The announcements by the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime are important steps in the right direction to restore democracy in the country. The United States welcomes and supports the reopening of negotiations between the Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime, as part of our long-standing policy to support the peaceful restoration of democracy, free and fair elections, and respect for rights. rights and freedoms of Venezuelans,” the Treasury said.
US government sources disconnect the measure from the international geopolitical context, in which the war in Ukraine has caused a rise in oil prices, before which the recovery of the Venezuelan crude supply would have a beneficial effect. “This action is not taken in response to energy prices, this is a limited license. As we have said in the past, it is about the regime taking the necessary measures to support the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” said a senior US official.
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The license granted (GL 41) authorizes ordinary transactions necessary for certain activities related to the operation and management by Chevron Corporation or its subsidiaries of its joint ventures involving the blocked Venezuelan state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (PDVSA ) or any entity in which PDVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a participation of 50% or more, the Treasury has explained.
The text of the license, a two-page document, specifies that it extends to the production and extraction of petroleum and petroleum products, including maintenance, repair, or related services; the sale, export or import to the United States of petroleum and derivatives, as long as they are first sold to Chevron; operations to guarantee the health or safety of personnel or the integrity of the operations or assets of Chevron and its subsidiaries in Venezuela, and the purchase and import into Venezuela of goods or supplies related to the above activities, including diluents, condensates, oil or products of natural gas.
The authorization prevents PDVSA from receiving benefits from Chevron’s oil sales. GL 41 only authorizes activity related to Chevron’s joint ventures in Venezuela, and does not authorize any other activity with PDVSA. Specifically, the license prevents the payment of any tax or royalty to the Government of Venezuela, the payment of any dividend, including a dividend in kind, to PDVSA or its subsidiaries; Chevron’s sale of Venezuelan oil or oil products to any country other than the United States; any transaction involving an entity located in Venezuela controlled by a Russian entity, and Chevron’s expansion into new oil fields in Venezuela beyond what it had on January 28, 2019.
“Other sanctions and restrictions related to Venezuela imposed by the United States remain in force; The United States will vigorously enforce these sanctions and will continue to hold accountable any actor who engages in corruption, violates US law, or abuses human rights in Venezuela,” the Treasury said.
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