U.S. Threatens Sanctions on Venezuela Over Violation of Barbados Agreement

The U.S. is considering reimposing sanctions on Venezuela over election violations, but faces domestic concerns about oil prices and immigration ahead of the 2024 election.

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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U.S. Threatens Sanctions on Venezuela Over Violation of Barbados Agreement

U.S. Threatens Sanctions on Venezuela Over Violation of Barbados Agreement

The United States government is considering reimposing sanctions on Venezuela after President Nicolás Maduro violated the terms of an agreement signed in Barbados last year to allow opposition candidates to run in upcoming presidential elections. The Biden administration had given Maduro six months to show he would honor the deal, but U.S. officials are struggling to make a decision due to concerns about the impact on immigration and domestic oil prices ahead of the November presidential election.

Maduro has banned popular opposition candidates from running and taken steps to control the election, violating the Barbados agreement. The U.S. had previously eased some sanctions to provide the regime with revenue, but experts argue Maduro has outplayed the administration by gaining concessions while making little progress on free and fair elections. The U.S. is now considering imposing a new sanctions regime that would still allow Venezuela to sell crude oil but in its own currency, the bolívar, rather than hard currencies.

The political crisis in Venezuela remains unresolved, and a negotiated restoration of legitimate and representative state institutions, as well as urgent economic reform, are vital for the country to resolve the crisis peacefully and reduce mass emigration. The U.S. and regional governments have condemned the government's actions, and the U.S. is set to decide by April 18 whether to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela's oil and gas sectors due to Maduro's violations of the Barbados agreement.

Why this matters: The decision to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry could have significant implications for global oil prices and the ongoing political crisis in the country. The situation also highlights the challenges faced by the U.S. in balancing its foreign policy objectives with domestic concerns, particularly in an election year.

Analysts say Maduro will not allow a free and fair election, and that sanctions that "Maduro fears and knows will actually bite" must be imposed to maintain U.S. credibility. The upcoming July 28 presidential election is shaping up to be the most undemocratic since Venezuela became a democracy in 1958. The Biden administration is considering various options, including allowing some oil deals, rather than a full sanctions snap-back, as it weighs the potential impact on immigration and domestic oil prices ahead of the November presidential election.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. considering reimposing sanctions on Venezuela over election violations
  • Maduro banned opposition candidates, violating Barbados agreement on elections
  • U.S. weighing impact on immigration, oil prices ahead of 2024 election
  • New sanctions may allow Venezuela to sell oil in its own currency
  • Upcoming Venezuelan election is seen as most undemocratic since 1958