The White House confirmed this Monday that a high-level US delegation traveled to Caracas last weekend to hold meetings with the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro and discuss “energy security”, when oil prices skyrocket. dizzying due to the war in Ukraine. Washington is looking almost desperately for alternatives to the Russian gas it imports.
The spokeswoman for the US president, Jen Psaki, had to face multiple questions at Monday’s press conference regarding agreements between the Joe Biden Administration with oil countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela and has ratified the direct talks between Washington and Caracas last weekend. “The purpose of the trip that the administration officials took was to discuss a variety of topics including certainly energy, energy security,” she stated. Psaki reported that the discussions with members of the Maduro regime “have taken place in recent days” and said that they are still ongoing.
The spokeswoman did not specify who made up the Biden government delegation. But according to Agence France Presse, it included Juan González, director for the Americas of Biden’s National Security Council; and Jimmy Story, US ambassador to Venezuela, based in Bogotá. republican senator blond frame let your opinion be known via Twitter expressing that this would be changing the oil of “a murderous dictator with oil of another murderous dictator.” “For Biden to organize secret meetings with the narco-terrorist Maduro without even informing Venezuelans that they have suffered and risked everything opposing Maduro is a vile betrayal,” the Republican tweeted.
The United States and Venezuela broke off relations at the beginning of 2019, after Maduro assumed a second term in elections that were considered fraudulent by the opposition and fifty other countries. Then, Washington recognized the opposition leader Juan Guaidó, president of the Legislative, as the only legitimate authority. From that moment on, Washington imposed harsh sanctions on the Bolivarian government, with the aim of forcing the fall of Maduro. Among those measures is the embargo in force since April 2019 that prevents Venezuela from negotiating its crude oil, the Venezuelan economic engine. When Biden arrived at the White House in 2021 he kept the sanctions.
The weekend, the daily The New York Times published exclusively that a high-level delegation from the US government had traveled to Caracas on Saturday with the intention of proposing an economic agreement to Nicolás Maduro to meet some energy demands in its economy, after the imposition of sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine . The initiative would contemplate the introduction of measures to relax international sanctions on Venezuela, also giving Caracas options to recover its oil production in a global context of volatility and record prices. The United States thus moves a first token to try to mitigate Russia’s geopolitical influence among its Latin American allies.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
While confirming one trip, the White House spokeswoman denied another. Psaki denied that Biden was planning a trip to Saudi Arabia in search of an increase in oil extraction, although he is maintaining contacts with Riyadh amid the escalation of prices in the US. “The president has no plans to travel to Saudi Arabia,” said the spokeswoman, thus denying the information published on Monday by the Axios portal.
The Biden administration is in a very delicate position as it faces a bipartisan call to turn off the tap on Russian oil imports, a move that would disrupt markets in a global economy still reeling from the pandemic. To all this, while the White House weighs its next move, inflation dominates settles like a nightmare in the minds of Americans who suffer the pressure of rising prices, especially at gas stations.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region.