US eases oil, gas and gold sanctions on Venezuela after electoral roadmap signed

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with Saint Lucia's Prime Minister Philip Joseph Pierre at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix) (Matias Delacroix, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – In response to Venezuela’s government and a faction of its opposition formally agreeing to work together to reach a series of basic conditions for the next presidential election, the U.S. agreed Wednesday to temporarily suspend some sanctions on the country's oil, gas and gold sectors.

Tuesday's agreement between President Nicolás Maduro’s administration and the Unitary Platform came just days before the opposition holds a primary to pick its candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

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The U.S. Treasury issued a six-month general license that would temporarily authorize transactions involving Venezuela's oil and gas sector, another that authorizes dealings with Minerven — the state-owned gold mining company — and it removed the secondary trading ban on certain Venezuelan sovereign bonds.

The ban on trading in the primary Venezuelan bond market remains in place, Treasury says.

Brian E. Nelson, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the U.S. welcomes the signing of the electoral roadmap agreement but “Treasury is prepared to amend or revoke authorizations at any time, should representatives of Maduro fail to follow through on their commitments.”

“All other restrictions imposed by the United States on Venezuela remain in place, and we will continue to hold bad actors accountable. We stand with the Venezuelan people and support Venezuelan democracy,” he said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. and the international community “will closely follow implementation of the electoral roadmap, and the U.S. government will take action if commitments under the electoral roadmap and with respect to political prisoners are not met.”

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