With the United States leveraging sanctions that directly target the oil industry in Venezuela, President Maduro’s government is now responding by directing its oil exports away from the U.S.
Venezuela’s national representative to OPEC said that while the country faces new illegal sanctions from the U-S, its state-run oil company is redirecting 500 thousand barrels per day to customers in Europe and Asia.
“Yes, we are facing new illegal sanctions from the US. We were exporting about 500,000 bpd to the US. PDVSA will redirect exports to other customers in Europe and Asia,” said Ronny Romero.
Romero said the goal is to do everything possible to minimize the impact of the sanctions. And when asked about whether other major countries would fear U-S backlash for working with Venezuela, he said quote “Russia and China don’t care about U-S sanctions.”
As tensions continue to increase, Venezuela’s interior ministry announced that it has seized a collection of US-made weapons that arrived at the international airport in Valencia.
The shipment included rifles, magazine, and high-caliber ammunition. While the intended destination is not yet clear, Venezuelan officials said they believe the supplies were shipped from Miami, Florida, on Sunday.
During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Trump received a standing ovation when he said that he was recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the president of Venezuela.
“We stand with the Venezuelan people and their noble quest for freedom, and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime,” Trump said.
While the United States has refused to meet with President Maduro and has said that military intervention is an option if he does not step down, other countries are pushing for dialogue between Maduro and Guaido.
The United Nations publicly endorsed a meeting of the international community that intends to search for a political solution to the current situation in Venezuela. The meeting is set to be held in Montevideo on Thursday. It will include countries that support Guaido, such as France, the UK, Costa Rica and Ecuador; and countries that support Maduro, such as Mexico, Uruguay, and Bolivia.
Now it remains to be seen whether the countries that are pushing for peaceful dialogue and political solutions will have any impact on the United States’ aggressive rhetoric, as US officials continue to claim that all options are on the table.