BOGOTA – As the United States looks for fuel sources, the possible search for oil in Venezuela is drawing criticism from a Florida senator.
Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez also expressing disagreement with what appears could be a major shift in US-Venezuela relations.
Rubio, one of the architects of the regime change policy, also criticized the discussions, tweeting that they represent a “demoralizing betrayal of those who have risked everything to oppose Maduro.”
Last night, Nicolas Maduro announced on state television that a delegation of U.S. officials had arrived in Venezuela. It marks the first contact between the two countries since 2019, when the U.S. cut ties and recognized Juan Guaido as President.
White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki also confirmed the announcement.
“The purpose of the trip that was taken by administration officials was to discuss a range of issues, including certainly energy security. But also to discuss the health and welfare of detained US citizens,” said Psaki.
As the U.S. moves to ban Russian oil imports, experts believe President Joe Biden may offer to lift sanctions and resume purchasing Venezuelan crude oil.
It is a move that could ease rising gas prices across the country.
But Psaki’s comments also suggest the U.S. could be negotiating the release of American prisoners in Venezuela like Luke Denman and Airan Berry. Both were arrested in Venezuela in 2020. The government claimed they formed a plot to detain Maduro.
The U.S.- Venezuela negotiations present a dilemma for Maduro, according to Miguel Angel Martinez, a Venezuelan political scientist and expert in peace negotiations.
“I doubt that Maduro can break ties with Vladimir Putin,” said Martinez.
The Venezuelan government is a close ally of Putin. Just last week, the Colombian media reported the Venezuelan and Russian military had installed four radars, capable of intercepting electronic communications on the Venezuela-Colombia border.
The delegation did meet with Juan Guaido and he spoke out against any any possible deal between Maduro and the U.S.