Oil Production Up In Venezuela 18%

Good news for Venezuela’s authoritarian regime: According to a report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), their oil output increased by 18 percent in the first quarter of 2024.

This massive boost in production is thanks to the recent sanctions relief package granted by the Biden administration, effectively restoring the regime’s primary source of revenue. The socialist dictatorship, led by Nicolás Maduro, has been desperately trying to revive their ailing oil industry, enlisting the help of their close ally Iran.

Iran has been providing much-needed assistance in repairing and restoring Venezuela’s rundown oil refineries. They have also begun to refine their own oil in Venezuelan refineries, creating a profitable partnership for both anti-American regimes.

In addition, the two countries are making plans to build a new refinery in Syria, further bolstering their oil cooperation. It’s no surprise that the Biden administration, acting as a mediator during negotiations between the regime and the Venezuelan opposition, awarded the ruling socialists with a six-month oil and gas sanctions relief package in October.

But despite this generous gesture from the US, Maduro has continuously violated the terms of the agreement. He has replaced the “Barbados Agreements,” a document with vague promises of holding a free and fair election in 2024, with a sham electoral roadmap that will ensure his continued grip on power.

In fact, Maduro has banned legitimate opposition figures from participating in the upcoming presidential “election,” effectively solidifying his dictatorship. Yet despite his blatant disregard for the agreement, the oil and gas provisions of the sanctions relief package remain active.

Fortunately, it seems that the Biden administration is starting to see through Maduro’s facade. Sources say that they are considering not renewing the sanctions relief package unless Maduro makes “progress” toward holding fair elections.

But don’t worry, the US isn’t planning to completely go back to Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy – they may just stop the regime from using US dollars in their oil transactions. Oh, except for Chevron, who will likely have their special license renewed. And other European oil companies who have been trading with Venezuela will also be unaffected.

This is just another in a long line of failures and appeasement by the Biden administration. They had a chance to truly punish Maduro for his human rights violations and corruption. Instead, they have once again shown weakness and allowed him to continue to oppress his people.

Maduro seems aware of this, as he boasted on his Monday evening television show that his regime doesn’t need the US anyway. “By now, the United States should have lifted all sanctions on Venezuela,” he declared.

“We do not depend on you gringos. They want to hurt us with public information, but you lose more. By hurting us you hurt yourselves more, with license and without license,” he stated.

But let’s not forget that Venezuela’s oil production is only increasing because of the sanctions relief granted by the US, not because of the regime’s own efforts. And as long as Maduro remains in power, the people of Venezuela will continue to suffer under his authoritarian rule. This latest episode only serves as a reminder of the Biden administration’s failed foreign policy and unwillingness to stand up to oppressive regimes.