The White House has assured this Monday through its spokesman that the United States is not maintaining “for now” contacts with Venezuela or launching any plan to import oil from that country and thus balance prices after closing the tap on Russian crude for the invasion of Ukraine. “It’s not something we’re actively talking about right now,” Jen Psaki said, at her daily news conference. Last week, a high-level delegation from the US government traveled to Caracas with the intention of proposing an economic agreement to Nicolás Maduro to meet some energy demands in its economy, which sparked harsh criticism from several legislators of both parties in Congress. . Democratic Senator Bob Menéndez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the purchase of Venezuelan oil could perpetuate the humanitarian crisis in that country. “We should not breathe new life into the reign of torture and murder [de Maduro]”, Menendez said in a statement.
The trip to Caracas also created tension with one of Washington’s allies on the continent. The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, arrived on an official visit to the White House after knowing the contacts with Maduro and without him having been notified of it. After meeting with the US president last Thursday, Duque revealed that he had offered Biden the supply of more Colombian oil to stabilize energy prices, as an alternative to Venezuelan crude.
Psaki confirmed on Monday that Biden discussed this issue with Duque in the context of “global energy security” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but said he had no further details on any decision in this regard. “We continue to talk to a number of growers about the importance of maintaining global supply. This is not just about supply in the United States, but about securing supply to the global market, and we appreciate our relationship with Colombia,” the spokeswoman said.
A senior US official, who requested anonymity, denied last week that there were direct talks between the White House and Chavismo, despite the fact that the delegation met face to face with Maduro. “I think there are no talks between us and the regime. We traveled there to ensure the release of the Americans, which is something that the international community and even representatives of the opposition had urged us to do,” said the Administration source, referring to the 10 Americans imprisoned in Venezuela, of whom two were released shortly after the visit. “There is no dialogue, the dialogue has to be between Venezuelans to decide the future of their country, and we have made it clear that we are willing to lift the pressure [sobre el chavismo] if there is progress in those conversations”, concluded that official.
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