A delegation of senior U.S. officials is in Venezuela for meetings with President Nicolás Maduro’s government in a bid to peel Caracas away from its ally Russia amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
By Washington Examiner – Greg Wilson
Mar 6, 2022
A Saturday meeting marked the first high-level sit-down between the two nations in years, dating back to well before Maduro succeeded Hugo Chávez in 2013. The United States ended diplomatic relations with Venezuela in 2019 and tried to oust Maduro using oil sanctions and by recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful president. But the U.S. appears to be trying to drive a wedge into Venezuela’s alliance with Russia, and the resource-rich South American nation seems receptive to helping replace Russian oil on the Western market.
“Here lies the oil of Venezuela, which is available for whomever wants to produce and buy it, be it an investor from Asia, Europe or the United States,” Maduro said in a speech Thursday.
Venezuela, which not long ago exported much of its oil to the U.S., formed alliances with Russia, Iran, and China in response to crippling U.S. sanctions. The bid to thaw relations could not only fill energy needs in the West, but it could deprive Russian President Vladimir Putin of a key ally in the Western Hemisphere.
“We need a relationship with Venezuela,” financial journalist Trish Regan said in a tweet Saturday. “We’d be FOOLISH to allow Putin any inroads in a country 3 hours from Miami.”
Read More: Washington Examiner – US courts Venezuela away from patron Russia as Ukraine invasion weakens Moscow