BIDEN NOT RUSHING TO LIFT SANCTIONS VS VENEZUELA
President Joe Biden’s administration is in “no rush” to lift US sanctions on Venezuela but would consider easing them if President Nicolas Maduro takes confidence-building steps showing he is ready to negotiate seriously with the opposition, a White House official told Matt Spetalnick of Reuters.
Signaling that the new U.S. president may be unlikely to loosen the screws on Venezuela anytime soon, the official emphasized that existing sanctions have enough special provisions to allow for humanitarian aid shipments to help Venezuelans cope with economic hardships and the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Maduro’s Socialist government has been “actively preventing the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”
This suggests that for now, Biden is prepared to stick with the specific sanctions, including crippling oil-sector penalties, imposed by former President Donald Trump on the OPEC nation, despite the failure to force Maduro from power.
But Biden, by contrast, intends to move away from the mostly unilateral approach of Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign and enlist more countries to help seek a diplomatic solution, the official said in an interview.