LatinNews Daily - 31 January 2024

In brief: US sets date for return of Venezuela oil sanctions

*The US State Department yesterday announced that it will not extend General Licence 44, which suspended sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gas sector, after it expires on 18 April, unless President Nicolás Maduro’s government lifts bans on opposition presidential candidates. This warning came after the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) reimposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned gold mining company Compañía General de Minería de Venezuela (Minerven) on 29 January. These measures from the US come in response to a 27 January ruling by Venezuela’s supreme court upholding the disqualification of María Corina Machado, the chosen presidential candidate for the opposition coalition Plataforma Unitaria Democrática (PUD). Venezuela’s Oil Minister Pedro Tellechea, who is also president of the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), yesterday indicated that the Maduro administration is bracing for the return of sanctions. “If they apply more sanctions, we will prepare for them,” Tellechea said, adding nonetheless that “the world is currently experiencing energy problems and Venezuela… is open to resolving and putting an end to the energy problems on a global scale”. Pdvsa yesterday stated on social media that Venezuela has proven oil reserves amounting to 300.88bn barrels, which it said was the largest in the world.

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