Last Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the U.S. is still considering restricting the sale of oil from crisis-torn Venezuela and that the U.S. would call for fair and verifiable elections in Venezuela. Presidential elections in Venezuela are to be held on the 30th of April this year and Tillerson claims his actions are to end the crisis in Venezuela and make President Maduro “return to the constitution”.
Tillerson also stated that he is looking for ways to soften the repercussions sanctions would have on U.S. oil companies, Venezuelans and other countries relying on Venezuelan oil. The U.S. oil industry says that a ban on petroleum imports from Venezuela would hurt U.S. jobs and drive up gasoline costs. Such sanctions pose a great threat to Maduro, since Venezuela is highly dependent on U.S. oil exports, particularly for importing food and medicine, which are extremely short in supply.
Standing next to Tillerson at the news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said his country would follow the possibility of oil and fuel sale restrictions, but said sanctions “must never harm the Venezuelan people.”
Just a few days ago, the Spanish head of government Mariano Rajoy, instead of focusing on the independence issue, stated that the actual problem in Venezuela is the country’s President Maduro since he is not only disregarding the rules of democracy but thereby pushing people to their limits. The inflation rate has risen above 1,000% and the GDP has fallen drastically, posing great problems such as accessing food and medicine.
Concerning malnutrition, the Caritas Foundation of Venezuela registered an increase of 72% in Venezuela’s poorest regions this year. According to nutritionist Susana Raffalli, necessary measures to solve this problem have not been implemented and many consider the current crisis to be the worst in the country’s history.