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LatAmOil: US moving toward revival of oil sanctions on Venezuela

The US government began re-imposing punitive trade restrictions on Venezuela on January 29, signalling a potential end to the six-month oil sanctions waiver granted last October under a deal for moving toward free and fair elections. Washington took this step after Caracas’ top court confirmed a previous ruling that barred Maria Corina Machado, a prominent opposition figure, from being a candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

Sanctions relief is contingent on specific conditions, including the release of certain prisoners by President Nicolas Maduro’s administration and movement towards lifting bans on various opposition figures.

In the first wave of reinstated sanctions, the US Treasury Department stated on January 29 that any US entities engaged in transactions with Venezuela’s state-owned gold mining firm Minerven would have to wind down operations by February 13. It did so shortly after a US official indicated that the Treasury licence permitting the broad restoration of dealings with Venezuela’s oil industry would expire on April 18 unless the Maduro administration permitted Machado and other opposition figures to participate in elections.