On October 18, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced it had taken additional steps in its approach to ease sanctions on Venezuela. The announcement stated that in response to the October 17 signing of an electoral roadmap agreement between the administration of President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela’s opposition parties, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had issued four general licenses suspending select sanctions against Venezuela. The licenses target Venezuela's oil and gas and gold mining sectors. Two licenses remove the secondary trading ban on certain Venezuelan sovereign bonds and state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela’s debt and equity. It is important to note that these sanctions relief measures will not impact ongoing judicial proceedings related to certain Venezuelan assets frozen in the United States or other international jurisdictions. The agreement encompasses the conditions for the upcoming presidential election in Venezuela next year, coupled with the promise of some sanctions relief. Nevertheless, as it stands, some opposition candidates remain banned from assuming office, even if they secure a potential victory in the election.
The U.S. government has made it clear that the pathway to realizing this agreement and receiving continued sanctions relief lies in the release of political and military prisoners and ensuring free and fair elections by removing current bans on specific candidates and political parties opposed to the Maduro administration. Furthermore, a senior U.S. official, speaking on background during a briefing with reporters, indicated that Washington may reevaluate the incentives offered to Venezuela if the conditions for a genuinely fair election in 2024 are not met.
This development continues the dynamic shift in the relationship between the U.S. and Venezuela and holds important implications for businesses operating in the Venezuelan oil and gas and mining sectors. It's advisable for organizations with interests in this sector to closely monitor the situation and consider its potential impact on their operations.
As events unfold in the next 13 months, Kroll is here to assist you in navigating any challenges that may arise from this situation. We offer comprehensive services in three key areas:
- Sanctions Compliance Advisory: Our experts provide guidance on staying compliant with evolving sanctions regimes.
- Human Intelligence: We offer vetted and Kroll-curated information tailored to your needs with real-time information affecting the latest shifts in this dynamic scenario.
- Digital Chatter Monitoring: Our advanced monitoring tools keep you informed about online discussions and sentiments related to external events impacting business, such as elections.
Please feel free to reach out to us for personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs. We will continue to keep you updated on this matter as new information becomes available.