Nicolás Maduro
President Nicolas Maduro is seeking a third term in office AFP

The Biden administration reimposed on Wednesday a set of sanctions on Venezuelan oil, as the relief it had provided some six months ago has not had the effect it intended on the government moving toward freer and fairer elections.

Authorities said that the Nicolas Maduro government has "fallen short" on its commitments, agreed in October last year in Barbados.

The Treasury Department gave companies with related operations 45 days to "wind down" its business and transactions.

Officials stressed that even though the Venezuelan government upheld some commitments, like setting a date for the presidential elections, updating the electoral register and "starting a process to allow international election observation". However, it has failed to do so with many others, like allowing an opposition candidate to run.

"The areas in which they fell short includes the disqualification of candidates and parties due to technicalities and what we see as a pattern of continued harassment and repression against opposition figures and civil society," an official said about the decision.

Washington will, however, allows U.S. company Chevron to continue a joint venture with Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA. The decision comes as oil prices increase at a global level, potentially impacting the Biden administration's standing with voters given its impact on inflation as the presidential elections get closer by the day.

A few hours before the announcement, Maduro took to X (formerly Twitter) to say that Venezuela has "taken its own path and economic model." "Nothing is going to stop us because we're no one's colony. The empire is hurting itself by trying to hurt us. We are stronger and stand tall! Nothing and no one will stop Venezuela!" He also said on Monday that he would "never close the door on dialogue" with the U.S.

Venezuela could lose a total of $2 billion in oil revenues by the end of 2024 due to the renewed sanctions, according to Luis Barcenas, the head of Caracas-based economic firm Ecoanalitica.

Despite promises of a free and fair race from Venezuela as part of last year's Barbados Agreement, the recent barring of Maria Corina Machado, opposition favorite, and her substitute, Corina Yoris, has all but quashed expectations of the kind.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.