Why Does The United States Need Nicolás Maduro?

The Joe Biden administration met with Maduro officials in Venezuela. What does the US president want from the Chavista regime? 

Nicolas Maduro and Joe Biden

Photo: TW-NicolasMaduro, TW-POTUS

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué Estados Unidos necesita a Nicolás Maduro?

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine, assuring that there is a threat against his country from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an organization of which the United States is a part. and to which the Ukrainian Government would have insinuated to enter.

"Let's imagine that Ukraine, as a NATO country, starts a military operation. What do we do? Do we fight with NATO? Has anyone thought about that? It seems not, " Putin said during a press conference held in Moscow on February 1, in which he also assured that there was a clear threat from NATO to Russian sovereignty.

The same day that the attacks on Ukraine began, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, announced a series of blockades and economic sanctions against Russia, as a way to counteract and categorically reject the Russian attack on Ukrainian territory.

“We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros and yen. We are going to prevent their military forces from growing (…) we will disrupt their ability to grow in the world economy, we will sanction Russian banks that have more than a trillion dollars in assets and we will attack the assets of Russian millionaires,” said the president . of Americans at a press conference.

However, in the midst of the blockades there is still a decision that has not been made but that, according to Biden, is on the table: to ban the import of oil from Russia to his country. "Nothing is ruled out," Biden said in a conversation with the media.

It should be remembered that, according to the Federation of Fuel and Petrochemical Producers of the United States, Russia represents at least 3% of crude oil imports that reach the North American country each year. In more exact figures, this can be translated into at least 209,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), as well as some 500,000 bpd of other types of products derived from this hydrocarbon.

Bearing in mind this situation, ,it is important to ask: why is the White House talking to Venezuela, apparently, so that the South American country is the one that satiates the lack of crude that the blockades would leave to Russia?

This theory was born after a meeting between representatives of the US government and their peers from Venezuela, on March 5. This was reported by various US media such as the New York Times, which also assured that the trip of high-ranking US officials to Venezuelan territory was in order to "pay more attention to President Vladimir Putin's allies in Latin America, than Washington believes they could become security threats if the confrontation with Russia deepens.”

With this, a new question arises: how would imports of Venezuelan crude to the United States be formalized? The answer is simple: by easing the sanctions that currently exist against Venezuela.

In order for PDVSA (Venezuelan state oil extraction company) to be able to export its crude oil to North American lands, the first thing the United States should do is partially or totally remove the blockades on Venezuelan oil that have been in place since 2019; and it seems, according to various media in that country, that this would be a proposal that Biden would not be leaving off the table.

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And Guaido?

However, one of the surprises of this trip was the fact that Juan Guaidó, whom the United States considers interim president of Venezuela, had not been informed of the visit of high-ranking US officials to his country; which of course calls into question his power and importance before the United States.

In fact, this whole situation has made Republican politicians (who represent the opposition to Biden) brand the visit of government officials to Venezuela, not only as a slap in the face for Guaidó, but also as a plan in which Biden would be using the crisis in Ukraine to do what “he wanted from the beginning": get closer to Nicolás Maduro. Or so conservatives have interpreted it.

“Biden is using Russia as an excuse to make the deal he always wanted to make anyway with the Maduro regime,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio wrote on Twitter.

In addition, the congressman assured that it seems unheard of that “instead of producing more American oil (Joe Biden) he wants to replace the oil that we bought from a murderous dictator (Putin) with oil from another murderous dictator (Maduro).”

Could the crisis in Ukraine really open a door, which was thought to be closed, for Nicolás Maduro in business with the United States? What is Biden's true intention with Venezuelan oil? These are questions that only time and progress in the war in eastern Europe will answer.