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Venezuela backs Russia despite tempting US offers

March 10, 2022 at 12:16 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (R) during their meeting at the Kremlin, on October 4, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. Nicolas Maduro has arrived to Moscow to attend the Russian Energy Week. [Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images]

The US has been trying to tempt Venezuela into increasing its oil production, but President Nicolas Maduro insists on standing by his traditional ally and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. US officials have visited the country with the promise of continued access to US markets.

Venezuela and other South American countries were surprised by the visits by the officials from the White House and the State Department as soon as the Russian military operation against Ukraine started. Venezuelan newspapers reported that the American justification was the difference in the vision of the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden compared with its predecessor run by Republican President Donald Trump, who once threatened to wage war against Venezuela’s socialist President Maduro to remove him from power.

Venezuela wants to regain its share of oil sales to the US market, which was its main market before sanctions were imposed by Washington. However, it said that this must be done without engaging in any policy hostile to Russia. US companies increased their imports of Russian oil when the embargo on oil from Venezuela was imposed.

Despite the US offers, Venezuela has stressed that any increase in its oil quota will be made in coordination with OPEC. It will not submit to US demands.

Although it is in contact with the Biden administration, Venezuela has made its support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine very clear. President Maduro, for example, has told Putin that Russia has the right to defend its security in the face of NATO expansion. Moreover, the Venezuelan representative in the Human Rights Council in Geneva has condemned the punitive measures taken against Russia, while his country abstained during the UN General Assembly vote on a resolution condemning the invasion.

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