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Threading the Needle in Venezuela

The Biden Administration is set to let expire a general license to buy Venezuelan crude oil after Venezuela failed to uphold a deal that required free and fair elections this summer.  In a move many saw coming, the Maduro regime disqualified the opposition's leading candidate, who appeared to have a good chance of winning. The Administration seems to be trying to walk a fine line of defending democratic norms while encouraging oil and gas companies to apply for licenses to buy Venezuelan oil.  As the Post details, domestic political pressures in a US election year may be at play, along with the reality that strict sanctions did not work - they simply strengthened Venezuela's trade with China and Iran.  Already a difficult place to do business because of corruption and government interference in the private sector, the changing and more complicated sanctions landscape in Venezuela is likely to create more challenges for international businesses interested in the country.  A clear understanding of the risks and dynamics at play are a must for anyone seeking opportunities in Venezuela.

“The administration is leaving the door open for U.S. and other Western companies to maintain a footprint in’s a delicate balance, but one that ensures that the White House retains leverage.”