Senior United States officials traveled to Venezuela on Saturday (03.05.2022) to meet with the government of Nicolás Maduro, at a time when Washington seeks to isolate Russia from its allies as the conflict with Ukraine intensifies, the US press reported.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted the United States to pay more attention to allies of President Vladimir Putin in Latin America, who Washington believes could become security threats if the confrontation with Russia deepens,” the New York newspaper said. York Times citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
Spokesmen for the government of Joe Biden and Maduro consulted by AFP did not immediately return requests for comment.
The United States and Venezuela severed diplomatic relations in 2019 after Maduro took on a second term in widely disputed elections and imposed a battery of sanctions on Caracas in an effort to force Maduro out.
The measures include an embargo in force since April 2019 that prevents Venezuela from trading its crude – which represented 96% of the country’s income – in the US market.
Since then, Maduro has received strong support from Russia to be able to continue exporting oil despite US sanctions.
According to the newspaper, the current visit to Caracas by high-ranking officials from the State Department and the White House responds to Washington’s supposed interest in being able to replace part of the oil it currently buys from Russia with the oil it stopped buying from Venezuela.
The White House said on Friday it was examining how to reduce Russia’s oil imports after the Ukraine invasion without hurting American consumers while maintaining global supply.