Can Eased Sanctions Against Venezuela Lead To A EU-Venezuela Energy-Partnership?

After fifteen months of inconsequential negotiations, a team of Norwegian diplomats was finally able to find a settlement with all parties involved to allow for an UN-managed financial fund to combat the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. This was announced by Dag Nylander, chief facilitator of the negotiations, and later, on the 27th of November, an article was published by Euronews which confirmed this diplomatic breakthrough.

The particular set of lifted sanctions is intended to not, by any means, give Nicolás Maduro either money or power to continue his regime. The Norwegian chief facilitator spoke about it and claimed that, ”[i]n line with UN norms and procedures, the fund’s objective would be to support the implementation of social protection measures for the Venezuelan people.” He continued, ”[t]he parties have identified a set of resources belonging to the Venezuelan state frozen in the international financial system to which it is possible to progressively access, understanding the need to obtain the authorizations and approvals.” The UN secretary-general António Guterres also mentioned the success of these negotiations in a recent UN summit, calling this set of funds an ”[i]mportant milestone.”

This fund could be the ticket that many Venezuelan citizens need to get out of the current Venezuelan humanitarian crisis and could also shape a first set of fair elections that can be supervised by the UN as arbiter. Nonetheless, it is important to take diplomacy step by step, as Venezuela remains one of the most hostile regimes on the South American continent. However, it is within reason to be hopeful that through the continued pressure of the global community over the last years, the Venezuelan regime shows signs of caving in to the sanctions and relent some of its authoritative power in return for economic relief.

The current sanctions that limit much of Venezuelan assets globally are due to the rise of Maduro to presidency in 2013. After this particular year, Maduro has fundamentally, and successfully, changed the Venezuelan institutions to increase his own influence over the nation. As early as 2015 Maduro was ruling Venezuela by decree. The following years were filled with revolts, uprisings and the decline of the Venezuela and its citizens. One of the most shocking data concerning this, is that during Maduro’s reign, Venezuela has dropped 42 places on in the Press Freedom Index, giving the world insights on the turmoil that restrains this country.

It is particularly interesting to understand why only just recently these negotiations have found such a breakthrough. An important point that must have played a pivotal undertone in negotiations is the current energy-crisis of the European Union. Venezuela possesses the largest oil deposits in the world, and the largest gas deposits in the Americas. With the potential of future elections and thereby the decrease of tension between Venezuela and the West, Venezuela could become a potential partner to replace the role of Russia as the main energy-supplier for the European Union. To conclude, it must be stated that the global community has won a victory in finally granting much needed help to the Venezuelan population.