US Democrats vow to reset Venezuela policy

  • Market: Crude oil
  • 28/07/20

A Democratic administration should abandon President Donald Trump's Venezuela policy and focus on addressing humanitarian needs of the Venezuelan people, according to a draft policy platform unveiled ahead of the party's virtual convention next month.

Policy contours outlined by the non-binding platform suggest that the US could relax its oil sanctions grip on the Opec producer and resume dialogue with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's government if presumptive Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden, is elected president. Party platforms typically reflect preferences of Democratic officials, providing a direction for a future administration.

The document, and statements by Biden and his advisers, does not specify whether the US under his leadership would reconsider its recognition of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido's claim to power. The White House in January 2019 recognized Guaido as the country's interim leader, imposed sanctions on the country's oil sector and declared Maduro's departure from office to be a key US priority. But Maduro remains in charge, and Guaido's authority is manifested, most prominently, in his nominal control of US refiner Citgo.

"We will reject President Trump's failed Venezuela policy, which has only served to entrench Nicolas Maduro's dictatorial regime and exacerbate a human rights and humanitarian crisis," the Democratic party document says.

Guaido's claim to power, in his capacity as Venezuelan National Assembly speaker, may be slipping from his hands. The legislature's five-year terms ends in January. The opposition is divided over whether to participate in a 6 December election organized by a Maduro-controlled electoral board.

Guaido, during a visit to Washington in February, received accolades from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, underpinned by a bipartisan view of Maduro's rule as a dictatorship.

But the Venezuelan opposition's close ties to the Trump administration appear to have cost it some goodwill among Democrats.

"Democrats believe that the best opportunity to rescue Venezuela's democracy is through smart pressure and effective diplomacy, not empty, bellicose threats untethered to realistic policy goals and motivated by domestic partisan objectives," the party document says.

Many Democrats have viewed Trump's Venezuela policy as an electoral ploy to appeal to US voters of Cuban and Venezuelan descent in Florida, a swing state in the US presidential election in November.

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton, the architect of US sanctions policy against Venezuela, in a recent memoir partially validates that view, contending that Trump had Florida politics on his mind as he backed the Venezuelan opposition.

The book revealed divisions within US government agencies on imposition of sanctions and their ultimate goal, with Trump's proposed military intervention being shot down by his advisers.

A Democratic administration is likely to revisit the same issues, but a call for "effective diplomacy" means more active participation in efforts by Norway, the EU, Mexico and Uruguay to settle Venezuela's political crisis through humanitarian aid and dialogue — including with the Maduro government.

In the current context, that may require expanding humanitarian relief exemptions for Venezuela's oil sector and state-owned PdV. Trump's administration, instead, is looking to further tighten the sanctions regime by ending a diesel exemption that enables PdV's foreign partners to supply the fuel in exchange for crude.

The Democratic platform's Venezuela plank also has a domestic US electoral component, vowing to grant 'temporary protected status' to Venezuelan refugees in the US — granting them a path toward eventual US citizenship. Trump's White House has refused to contemplate such a move, which would contradict its restrictive approach to legal migration.

Democrats also vow to restore former president Barack Obama's policy of normalizing relations with Cuba. Trump's officials long complained about Havana's undue influence over Caracas, but their solution has been to gradually restore the once-substantial sanctions against Cuba, which only strengthened Cuban-Venezuelan ties.


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Australian new environment agency to speed up approvals

Australian new environment agency to speed up approvals

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La deuda de Pemex sobresale en el panorama electoral


15/04/24
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15/04/24

La deuda de Pemex sobresale en el panorama electoral

Mexico City, 15 April (Argus) — La campaña presidencial de México termina en menos de dos meses, pero aunque ambas candidatas proponen una revolución verde en el sector de la energía, ninguna de ellas ha propuesto un plan viable para evitar la implosión financiera de la empresa estatal Pemex. Claudia Sheinbaum, candidata de continuidad para la política energética nacionalista del Presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador, anunció el mes pasado su estrategia energética, comprometiéndose a aumentar la producción de petróleo y gas de Pemex, aumentar el rendimiento de las refinerías y la producción petroquímica, desarrollar una industria nacional de litio y buscar un nuevo enfoque en la generación de energía renovable. La antigua jefa de gobierno de la Ciudad de México no ha proporcionado detalles sobre ninguna de estas políticas, pero es difícil conciliar su compromiso con una ampliación de las energías renovables con un límite en la inversión del sector privado sin depender en gran medida del aumento de la financiación de la estatal de electricidad CFE. La política de Sheinbaum en materia de energías renovables es la única desviación de la agenda energética de López Obrador, aunque las agencias de calificación, los inversores y los analistas coinciden en que es probable que Pemex incurra en impago sin una amplia reforma estructural. Pemex tenía una deuda total de $106,100 millones a finales de 2023 y se enfrenta a $10,000 millones en vencimientos de deuda este año. El impulso del gobierno para aumentar el rendimiento de las refinerías ha generado pérdidas de miles de millones de dólares para Pemex. Solo en 2023, la división de refinación de Pemex reportó una pérdida de $4,400 millones, una mejora con respecto a una pérdida de $11,000 millones el año anterior. De 2019 a 2023, la división de refinación de la empresa registró más de $46,000 millones en pérdidas. López Obrador puso el rescate de Pemex y sus refinerías en el centro de su administración. Pero a pesar de no detener la espiral de deuda de la empresa, la disminución de la producción de crudo, el empeoramiento del récord de seguridad y el aumento de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, sus políticas han tenido un coste que Sheinbaum no ha querido refutar públicamente. En su lugar, se compromete a lanzar el proyecto de la refinería Olmeca de 340,000 b/d de la empresa, que ya tiene dos años de retraso y ha costado al menos el doble del presupuesto original de $8,000 millones, dinero que las agencias de calificación afirman que debería haberse dirigido al negocio principal de Pemex en la exploración y producción. El apoyo gubernamental a Pemex, por un total de más de $52,000 millones entre 2019 y 2023, ha sido incapaz de mover la aguja en sus métricas financieras u operativas, y ahora amenaza la calificación crediticia soberana de México. Sheinbaum ha evitado abordar públicamente la carga de la enorme deuda de Pemex, proponiendo únicamente "niveles de deuda aceptables en el sector de la energía". Pero dada la importancia de Pemex para el proyecto político del partido Morena, además los cientos de miles de puestos de trabajo que dependen de Pemex, no se puede permitir que la empresa incumpla. Por otro lado, la candidata de oposición Xóchitl Gálvez pide poner fin al "caos financiero" en Pemex, diversificar su negocio hacia iniciativas de bajas emisiones de carbono, políticas rigurosas de emisiones, el cierre de sus refinerías más contaminantes, un nuevo enfoque en renovables y una reapertura de la industria energética a la inversión del sector privado. Sin embargo, a pesar de su perspectiva más favorable para la inversión privada, Gálvez aún no ha ofrecido una solución detallada para la situación financiera de Pemex. Sus planes para Pemex pueden ser demasiado radicales para los votantes, especialmente dentro del importante sindicato de trabajadores del petróleo, que repudió rápidamente sus llamados el mes pasado para cerrar dos refinerías. Incluso si ganara, la oposición que representa podría tener dificultades para acordar un camino a seguir para Pemex. Si la próxima administración vuelve a abrir la puerta a la inversión del sector privado, el nuevo gobierno se enfrentará a un esfuerzo lento para reconstruir los reguladores de la energía que han sufrido de baja inversión en los últimos seis años. Pero será el tamaño de la posible victoria de Sheinbaum lo que determinará el futuro del sector de la energía mexicano. Una mayoría convincente podría permitirle aprobar las grandes reformas energéticas que eludieron a López Obrador y seguir limitando la participación del sector privado en el sector energético, justo cuando la inversión directa extranjera en México está en auge en otras industrias. Por Rebecca Conan Producción de crudo en México Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Stakes look low in Washington’s Venezuela dilemma


15/04/24
News
15/04/24

Stakes look low in Washington’s Venezuela dilemma

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Crude futures shrug off Middle East turmoil


15/04/24
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15/04/24

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G7 leaders to meet over Iran's attack on Israel


14/04/24
News
14/04/24

G7 leaders to meet over Iran's attack on Israel

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