US begins to ease Venezuela sanctions allowing propane deals

Photo: The Associated Press

 

The U.S. government has begun to ease the crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration against Venezuela by allowing companies to export propane to the troubled South American country, a step that could mitigate a shortage that has pushed people to cook on charcoal or wood grills.

By Independent

Jul 13, 2021

The long-awaited first policy reversal of the Biden administration toward Venezuela comes as the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro has begun to allow foreign aid into the country and taken other steps to signal it is willing to engage with Washington.

The regulation from the U.S. Department of the Treasury authorizes non-U.S. companies to export liquefied petroleum gas to Venezuela without risking sanctions. The authorization is valid for one year.

“It is obviously a humanitarian gesture to the Venezuelan government because in the country with the largest oil reserves in the world, people are cooking with wood on wood stoves instead of with propane,” said Russ Dallen, managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets.

But the U.S. move was announced on the same day that opposition leaders claimed to have been the targets of Maduro’s security forces. “The timing could not have been worse” for Washington, Dallen said.

Maduro’s opposition in a statement accused armed security forces of seeking to detain leader Juan Guaidó. The bloc said security forces also arbitrarily detained a former congressman.

Guaidó told reporters from the basement of his residence in Caracas that members of the Venezuelan security forces intercepted his vehicle and threatened to arrest him. He said the agents “pointed long weapons” at the vehicle and ordered him to open the doors, but then withdrew amid protests from neighbors.

Read More: Independent – US begins to ease Venezuela sanctions allowing propane deals

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