MIAMI – After U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted at an oil embargo on Venezuela last week, the European Union announced Friday they will follow in the steps of the U.S.
EU parliamentarians passed a resolution calling for more sanctions on high level officials and their family members. They are also looking into "sanctions on Venezuelan oil including on dealings with the state-owned company PDVSA."
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro didn't respond to the threats even though they could have a serious impact on the oil-dependent country, but Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.'s tweeted pictures of a meeting with representatives from China.
As a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela had cut oil production in a Russian strategy to boost prices. Reuters reported PDVSA had resorted to bartering as a solution to the lack of U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, experts say the Trump administration has pushed the U.S. petroleum industry to become the world's top exporter and turn China into a major buyer.
"We now don't hardly import oil from Venezuela," Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said during Tillerson's news conference. "With the new dynamics in the global trade and energy and the United States becoming a net exporter of energy resources, Jamaica can in this new paradigm benefit from that."
Maduro is running for reelection April 22, and neither the U.S. nor the EU will be recognizing the results amid criticism that the Venezuelan Socialist Party's candidate will not be running against any of the main opposition candidates.
"Venezuela won’t be threatened by anything, not by one Rex Tillerson or a thousand of him," Maduro said Monday during OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo's news conference. "If the United States decides to sanction oil, our ships will go to other places and we will continue to sell."