May 19, 2024

Biden’s Sanctions Forgiveness Triggers Spike in Venezuelan Oil Exports to U.S.

CARACAS – Venezuela’s oil exports rose in July to the highest levels in almost three and a half years thanks to new supply contracts and increased oil shipments by California-based Chevron, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The administration of leftist President Joe Biden recently eased oil sanctions on the socialist regime of dictator Nicolás Maduro meant to punish it for years of human rights atrocities against its own people.

Reuters cited internal documents and tanker tracking data in its report on Wednesday, finding that, since the Biden administration eased oil sanctions, Chevron increased Venezuelan oil exports to the United States to some 160,000 barrels per day (bpd), up from 134,000 bpd in June.

Biden’s new policy granted Chevron a license in November to resume oil production and exports from Venezuela to the United States. As a result, the report stated, Venezuela’s oil production and shipments have “stabilized” to levels seen before the imposition of secondary sanctions in 2020, reinforcing the initial 2019 ban on buying oil from the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) company imposed during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Reuters’ report stated that Venezuela’s exports of crude and refined oil products averaged 877,032 barrels per day (bpd), representing a 22 percent increase from June’s total exports. According to internal documents and data reviewed by Reuters, most of Venezuela’s oil shipments were destined for Asia.

PDVSA’s oil output also reportedly increased, according to dozens of supply contracts and the signing of new agreements to avoid failed payments. The Maduro regime has reportedly received Chinese aid to evade PDVSA’s oil sanctions.

Reuters’ report also states that Cuba, the Venezuelan socialist regime’s longstanding authoritarian ally in the region, received some 53,000 bpd in July, down from 75,000 in June.

Venezuela’s Oil Minister and President of PDVSA, Pedro Tellechea, stated in July that he projects Venezuela’s oil output will reach one million bpd by the end of 2023 and 1.7 million bpd by 2024 — amounts that fall short of the two million bpd that Maduro promised to OPEC in March that his regime would produce.

Venezuela was able to put out upwards of 3.2 million bpd between 2002 and 2012, ending with the collapse of Venezuela’s socialism that began more than a decade ago.

Maduro asserted in November that the Biden administration’s sanctions relief was not “enough,” insisting that he would not support “free and fair” elections in Venezuela unless all sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, Canada, and other countries are first rescinded.

Maduro and members of his socialist regime have repeatedly claimed that the Trump-era sanctions on PDVSA are the cause of the collapse of Venezuela’s so-called “Bolivarian Socialism,” despite the country’s socialist model having already long ago collapsed by then.

The Maduro regime accused Trump of having committed “crimes against humanity” against Venezuela, launching a formal criminal case against the former president in July. Venezuelan socialist lawmakers are presently conducting an “investigation” into the crimes allegedly committed by Trump and have not yet stated publicly what sentence they may seek to impose if they find him “guilty.” The regime officials have expressed their intention to “formally denounce” Trump at international venues such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Biden Administration, through the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), issued the license to Chevron in November, when representatives of the Maduro regime and Venezuela’s “opposition” Unitary Platform held talks over potential sanctions relief for the rogue socialist regime as part of a quest to hold “free and fair” elections in 2024.

The negotiations were suspended shortly afterward and have remained suspended since.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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