Biden administration issues warning to halt sanctions relief to Venezuela


(MENAFN) The Biden administration has issued a stern warning to Venezuela, indicating that it may suspend the recent sanctions relief granted to the oil-rich nation unless significant progress is made on key demands set by Washington. The sanctions relief, announced in October, had eased restrictions on the trading of Venezuelan oil, natural gas, gold, and government bonds. In exchange, President Nicolas Maduro's government was given until November 30 to release imprisoned politicians and initiate the removal of bans on oppositional presidential candidates for the upcoming 2024 election.

With the deadline having passed, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby addressed reporters on Friday, acknowledging some positive developments, such as the announcement allowing barred opposition candidates to appeal their cases to Venezuela's highest court. However, Kirby expressed deep concern over the lack of progress regarding the release of detained American citizens and Venezuelan political prisoners.

In response to the stalled negotiations, United States officials are set to engage in diplomatic efforts with Caracas on these specific issues. Kirby emphasized that the United States is prepared to take action in the coming days, hinting at a potential pause in certain sanctions relief unless substantial progress is achieved.

One notable incident contributing to the strained relations between the two nations involves the sentencing of two former American soldiers to 20 years in prison by a Venezuelan court.

They were accused of playing roles in a 2020 coup plot aimed at capturing President Maduro.

Former President Donald Trump, denying any United States involvement in the alleged conspiracy, imposed additional sanctions against Caracas just days before leaving office in January 2021.

As tensions rise and diplomatic efforts intensify, the Biden administration faces a critical decision on whether to maintain the recently relaxed sanctions or take a tougher stance against Venezuela, placing human rights concerns at the forefront of the geopolitical landscape. The international community watches closely as the United States government navigates the complex dynamics in its pursuit of justice and accountability in the Venezuelan political landscape.

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