President Donald Trump’s administration is considering placing an embargo on Venezuelan oil, which could be the final blow to an economy and nation that are on the verge of total collapse.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in early February that the administration might impose restrictions on Venezuelan oil imports in order to pressure socialist President Nicolás Maduro to return to a constitutional form of government.
Venezuela can’t afford to lose its trading ties to the U.S. The nation’s oil production is at a three-decade low, producing at roughly half the levels it was in the 1990s, according to a January report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Revenues from oil exports account for 90 percent of the Venezuelan government’s hard currency, and the U.S. is the nation’s largest buyer.
Venezuela will be in a tough spot if the administration goes forward with imposing an embargo. The administration hopes that, in addition to other measures, like a ban on purchasing Venezuelan debt, will force the government’s hand.
Venezuela is already plagued with widespread food and medical supply shortages, causing Venezuelans to die of starvation and treatable illnesses. Venezuelan currency is so worthless that citizens are throwing it away. The nation’s government is bailing out its state-owned bank and its economy is undergoing rampant inflation.
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