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Biden sparks backlash after giving Chevron green light to resume oil pumping in Venezuela

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President Biden’s shift in energy and foreign policy has sparked outrage. Critics accuse the administration of hypocrisy for promoting a green agenda domestically while lifting oil sanctions on an adversary and allowing Chevron to resume production in Venezuela.

The Treasury Department called the move “significant steps in the right direction to restore democracy to the country.” The White House insisted it had nothing to do with trying to bring down inflated gasoline prices. Republicans found the explanation hard to believe.

“We have abundant and untapped natural resources to make the United States energy independent,” tweeted Sen. James Risch of Idaho, the most Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The president simply refuses to use them.”

“Building Venezuela back better,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, tweeted.

The Treasury Department has granted Chevron a license to pump Venezuelan oil in partnership with the country’s state oil company that will have to be renewed every six months, marking the first time the company can operate there since the Trump administration took over. implemented sanctions as part of an offer. overthrow his dictatorship.

The policy shift was also the latest example of how Mr Biden has struggled to balance priorities for tackling climate change and soaring energy costs.

The sanctions relief was prompted by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition party reaching an agreement on $3 billion in humanitarian aid using funds released by the United States and to pursue talks to reform the Venezuelan political system.

The Chevron license stipulates that the far-left regime is prohibited from receiving oil profits and that any production must be sold to the United States.

Democrats and climate activists, meanwhile, have remained largely silent on the administration’s decision, though they have advocated for the United States to curb its fossil fuel production at a time when climate officials the White House called on the industry to produce more. Lifting oil sanctions should have minimal impact on oil markets, a notion the White House has conceded.

Chevron CEO Mike Wirth has warned that it will take months or more to resume production in Venezuela’s already existing oil fields, and the roughly 200,000 barrels a day of oil the company was producing with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. before the sanctions in 2019. represent only a fraction of the nearly 20 million barrels consumed daily in the United States

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, sounded cautiously optimistic while avoiding direct mention of Chevron.

“If Maduro tries again to use these negotiations to buy time to further entrench his criminal dictatorship, the United States and our international partners must remove the full force of our sanctions that brought his regime to the negotiating table in first place,” he said. said in a statement over the weekend.

Analysts said after another strong GOP performance in Florida midterm, Republicans’ grip on the Sunshine State helps explain Mr. Biden’s latest policy shift. Because Florida is no longer considered a swing state, its large population of anti-socialist Latinos have far less political clout.

“The Biden administration’s decision to ease sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector prioritizes U.S. geostrategic interests over domestic political pressure,” the Atlantic Council’s Diego region wrote in an article. blog.

Research firm ClearView Energy Partners said the same, writing in a memo that following “decisive re-election victories by Florida Republicans like Governor Ron DeSantis and Rep. María Elvira Salazar (who represents a large diaspora Venezuela), Democrats may see little political benefit in keeping a hard line against Caracas when crude supplies are tight.

Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican whose South Florida district spans both coasts and includes part of Miami, described Mr Biden’s latest move as “unconscionable”.

“It is unconscionable that the Biden administration canceled the Keystone pipeline and banned domestic production of CLEANER in North America only to greenlight the pumping of blood oil from #Venezuela, further enriching the narco-terrorist regime of Maduro,” he tweeted.



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