Biden Admin Won’t Commit To Immediately Reinstating Venezuelan Sanctions After Court Suspends Opposition Leader’s Win

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The State Department appears hesitant to immediately reinstate oil sanctions against the socialist regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after his government suspended the results of the opposition’s primary election.

Venezuela’s top court suspended the results of opposition leader María Corina Machado’s victory in last week’s primary elections, stating that it must do so in order to collect information for an investigation into the primary organizers’ alleged identity theft, money laundering and conspiracy, Axios reported Monday. The Biden administration provided the Maduro regime oil sanctions relief in exchange for agreeing to hold fair and monitored elections next year and stated that it could reinstate the sanctions if Maduro does not follow through.

However, the State Department has yet to commit to reinstating the oil sanctions in response to the suspended primary results.

The agency does “not preview sanctions action,” a spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday.

“The democratic opposition primary on October 22 was an important milestone in Venezuela’s progress toward a competitive presidential campaign in 2024,” a State Department spokesperson told the DCNF on Tuesday regarding the implications of the Venezuelan court’s decision. “The United States and the international community are following the electoral roadmap implementation. The U.S. government will take action if Maduro and his representatives do not meet their commitments under the electoral roadmap. The United States stands with the Venezuelan people and actors who want a democratic future.” (RELATED: ‘Stop Negotiating With Terrorists And A Dictator’: GOP Lawmakers Rip Biden’s Move To Ease Venezuela Oil Sanctions)

The State Department did not directly address a question regarding its stance on whether or not the suspension of the primary election’s results constitutes a situation that would trigger the reimposition of the oil sanctions in Tuesday’s correspondence with the DCNF.

“The Secretary’s October 18 statement clearly articulated the expected next steps toward the restoration of democracy in Venezuela,” a State Department spokesperson told the DCNF on Wednesday. “Failure to abide by the terms of the agreement will lead the United States to reconsider steps we have taken, including the easing of sanctions.”

Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab, a member of Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, has stated that his office will spearhead the investigations into the opposition, according to Axios. Machado and other opposition politicians have said that the suspended results are fair and legitimate.

“We expect them to uphold those commitments, and if they do not meet those commitments under the electoral roadmap, we have the ability to take steps – we have the ability to take steps of our own,” State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said in response to a reporter’s question at a Tuesday press briefing. “I don’t want to announce what those would be. I’ll leave it at this point that we expect them to uphold their commitments.”

Maduro was a strong ally of the late socialist dictator Hugo Chavez, and, like Chavez, Maduro’s regime has been known to weaponize the country’s legal system against political dissent and opposition leaders, sometimes using force or violence, according to Amnesty International.

Upon taking and consolidating power, Chavez staffed the state-owned oil company with loyalists, according to Forbes, after which the industry’s output fell by 50%, according to another Forbes article. Machado has pledged to privatize the crucial industry if she becomes president, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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