United States Eases Some Venezuela Sanctions

The United States government has eased a few economic sanctions on Venezuela to encourage continued negotiations between the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the US-backed opposition.

The move followed the meeting in March with representatives of the US administration and a recent gathering in Central America between US officials and the main Unitary Platform opposition coalition to discuss a path forward.

“These are things that … the Unitary Platform negotiated and came to us to request that we do in order for them to be able to return to the negotiating table,” one of the officials said.

However, sanctioned Venezuelans, including the country’s attorney general and the head of the penitentiary system, and more than 140 entities like Venezuela’s Central Bank, will remain sanctioned.

The US Department of the Treasury said it would continue to prohibit transactions with the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company (PDVSA) within US financial markets.

For the past five years, the US has used financial and personal sanctions to remove Maduro and restore what it sees as Venezuela’s stolen democracy.

However, in March, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US officials traveled to Caracas to meet with Maduro, which eventually led to the freeing of two American prisoners and promised to resume negotiations with his opponents.

The senior US officials said the government would calibrate sanctions based on concrete outcomes at the negotiations and would reimpose them in the event of backsliding in the dialogue process.

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