Over the weekend, U.S. government delegates traveled to Caracas for a dialogue on energy supplies with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.
President Maduro Announces Renewal of Dialogue in Venezuela
On the U.S. side, participants included Security Council Director for the Americas Juan Gonzalez, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, and the Bogota-based Ambassador to Venezuela Jimmy Story. On the Venezuelan side, President Maduro was accompanied by Parliament President Jorge Rodriguez and lawmaker Cilia Flores.
“I thanked the U.S. delegates for their presence and for prompting a diplomatic, respectful, and cordial discussion,” President Maduro stressed.
The U.S. and Venezuela broke diplomatic relations after Maduro was re-elected for a second term in 2019. Besides recognizing opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido as "interim president", Washington shortly after imposed a severe economic blockade against Caracas to prevent Venezuela from negotiating its oil crude —which represented 96 percent of the country’s income— on the American market.
The Maduro administration, however, has received strong support from Russia, China, and Iran to counter such sanctions and export oil to other countries. Currently, the White House studies how to reduce oil imports from Russia without harming U.S. consumers amid an oil price hike, in which the oil barrel exceeded an average of US$115 over the last week.
“To achieve this, the United States will try to replace part of the oil it buys from Russia with the one it stopped buying from Venezuela three years ago,” International Crisis Group Expert on Venezuela Mariano de Alba told the France Press Agency.
De Alba, however, argued that the Bolivarian government won’t betray Russia to approach the U.S., with which it will continue to work carefully on their bilateral diplomatic agenda.