Venezuela government, opposition sign ‘social protection agreement’

26 Nov 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Hopes are that the agreement will end the political crisis that has engulfed the nation since the 2018 presidential election.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

The leftist government of Venezuela and the opposition resumed talks on Saturday and inked what they referred to as a “social protection deal,” as per reports by AFP.

Venezuela’s government and opposition restarted negotiations on Saturday in Mexico and signed a rare deal to work together on a humanitarian spending plan and setting the stage for the US to ease restrictions on Chevron Corp. to operate in the country.

The accord held in Mexico represents “hope for all of Latin America,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.

Representatives of the Venezuelan government and the opposition signed the humanitarian agreement in an attempt to get access to some of the country’s frozen funds abroad and use them to reinforce the public health system and the electrical grid, among other purposes.

The parties also agreed to request support from the United Nations with the implementation of the program in the country, which includes the “establishment of a single trust fund for the protection of the Venezuelan people,” according to the agreement. Compliance will be monitored by various representatives of the agreement.

In return, the United States is allegedly gradually lifting the oil sanctions it had put in place against Venezuela, declaring it will permit Chevron to resume small-scale oil extraction operations there.

The US Treasury said the accord is “a humanitarian agreement focused on education, health, food security, flood response, and electricity programs that will benefit the Venezuelan people.”

It marked a breakthrough after 15 months of stalemate between the government and the opposition in Venezuela. 

International efforts to resolve the Venezuelan crisis have gained strength since the war in Ukraine and the quest of the west in search of energy supplies elsewhere.

Read more: Eyeing its own interests, the US considers easing Venezuela sanctions

US issues expanded license to allow Chevron to import Venezuelan petroleum

After the Venezuelan government and the opposition said they would resume political talks, the United States on Saturday issued an expanded license allowing Chevron Corp CVX.N to import petroleum or petroleum products produced by its ventures in Venezuela, of course eyeing its own interests after President Putin shut the taps of oil and gas. 

“This action reflects longstanding US policy to provide targeted sanctions relief based on concrete steps that alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people and support the restoration of democracy,” the US Treasury Department claimed in a statement.

A Chevron spokesperson said the company was reviewing the license terms.

The US Treasury granted Chevron a general license that permits the energy giant based in California to conduct transactions that support oil production in Venezuela and its export to the US.

Sale to, exportation to, or importation into the US of petroleum produced by the Chevron JVs will be allowed as long as it is first sold to Chevron, as per the Treasury statement. 

Joint ventures will also be permitted to purchase and import products related to petroleum products into Venezuela, such as diluents, condensates, petroleum, or natural gas.

Among other restrictions, the license does not permit transactions if the oil is exported outside of the US, payments of taxes or royalties to the Venezuelan government, or “dealings with organizations with ties to Russia.”

Read next: US eyeing Venezuela for crude without plans for sanction relief

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