United States threatens to ditch oil imports from Venezuela

06 February, 2018, 14:18 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • US Threatens to Ban Venezuelan Oil

At a joint news conference, Tillerson - a former chief of oil giant ExxonMobil - confirmed the ultimate option of sanctioning Venezuela's key oil sector is under consideration, but that Washington shares its allies' concerns.

Tillerson did not push back against the suggestion that sanctions on oil might also hurt USA companies that have built refineries in the southern United States geared to accept Venezuelan crude.

The announcement was made during US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's trip to Buenos Aires where he met with his Argentine counterpart Jorge Faurie.

"In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people", Tillerson said at the University of Texas in Austin on Thursday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro fist-bumps with oil workers during a visit to a facility in the oil-rich Orinoco belt in the state of Monagas, March 21, 2013.

Colombia's ambassador to Washington, Camilo Reyes, said ahead of the visit "as we continue to build a stable and lasting peace, we are grateful for the long-standing bilateral partnership and the bipartisan support of the United States".

“Not doing anything to bring this (crisis) to an end is also asking the Venezuelan people to suffer, ” Tillerson said.

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But such sanctions also pose a great threat to Maduro.

Tillerson said the United States wants "free, fair, and verifiable elections" in Venezuela and emphasized the narrow focus of USA pressure. "As a effect, the people suffer", he said.

President Donald Trump has been in office just one year, so the blame isn't exclusively on him and his protectionist policies.

"Rex Tillerson visiting Argentina just threatened us with a oil embargo", Maduro said on Facebook.

In a prelude to the tour, the secretary of state made thinly veiled reference to US support of a military coup in Venezuela to overturn the Maduro government at the University of Texas at Austin, last Thursday. "We have advocated that they return to the constitution", he stated, adding that Maduro's political fate will depend on the outcome of elections.

Faurie seconded Tillerson's comments, emphasising the need to tackle global crime networks for the interests of both countries.

Experts and analysts have also warned that such sanctions could have negative effects on the United States oil industry and consumers.

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