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Shannon Shares Thoughts on Unravelling of U.S.-Venezuela Agreement

February 20, 2024

Senior International Policy Advisor and former U.S. Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., was quoted in the Financial Times article, “How the Biden administration’s plan to engage with Venezuela unraveled.” The article discusses the recent unravelling of the Biden Administration’s agreement with the Venezuelan government, which was signed between the Venezuelan opposition and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro last October. The formal agreement, which resulted in the Biden Administration’s lifting of U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil, gas, mining exports, and secondary market trading in Venezuelan debt, reflected the Administration’s eagerness to steer away from the Trump Administration’s “maximum pressure” financial penalties which aimed to unseat Maduro.

However, Maduro’s crackdown on opposition activists, as well as his other authoritarian actions surrounding Venezuela’s elections, recently led the Biden Administration to reimpose its sanctions on Venezuela’s mining sector. Shannon told Financial Times that “the Biden Administration will end up owning a failed Trump policy and will make it theirs.” Maduro “will argue that foreign powers are attempting to define how Venezuelan electoral institutions work and who is a candidate and who isn’t,” Shannon predicted. “It‘s a weak argument but it’s one that resonates in Latin America.”

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