Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Biden Chose Venezuela Over Canada for Oil; Venezuela Breaks a Promise to Biden: Dictator Nicolás Maduro Disqualifies His Democratic Opposition Two Weeks After Signing a Deal That Eased U.S. Sanctions

Presidencia El Salvador, Wikimedia Commons
Biden Chose Venezuela Over Canada for Oil:
The United States needs more heavy oil for a whole series of reasons. President Joe Biden could have chosen to have that oil come from a close friend and ally, environmentally-conscious Canada, or from one of the world’s nastiest regimes, Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela, which doesn’t give a toss about the environment. Which did he choose?
Venezuela, of course.
In exchange for modest concessions on electoral reform, the Biden administration just lifted sanctions on Venezuela, allowing them to export hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of vital heavy oil to the United States. The shale oil revolution has not and cannot change the fact that the US produces virtually no heavy oil, yet many of this country’s refineries, especially on the Gulf Coast, were set up to refine that kind of oil. Most of their heavy oil is from Canada, which is why that country is far and away the largest exporter of oil to America— more than twice as much as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Russia, and Colombia combined. If America is now a net exporter of oil, it can thank Canada.
The war in Ukraine caused unpopular price hikes at the gas pump. In response, the Biden administration has drawn down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). That drawdown focused on medium and heavy crudes. OPEC responded with supply cuts aimed at throttling the supply of these strategically important crudes.
The drawdown of the SPR is reaching its limits but the risk of higher gas prices in an election year is rising. To OPEC and Ukraine, we must now add the heightened risk of conflict spreading in the Middle East.
In this context, recall that one of the very first acts President Biden took on reaching office was to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, a permit issued by his predecessor. Keystone XL was intended to provide 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian heavy crude to those Gulf Coast refineries. Pipe was already being laid.
Had President Biden allowed KXL to proceed, the supply of heavy oil to the US industry would have been secure, risky drawdowns of the SPR unnecessary and America would have been much less vulnerable to global supply disruptions and OPEC’s manipulations. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg News
WSJ: Venezuela Breaks a Promise to Biden:
Dictator Nicolás Maduro disqualifies his democratic opposition two weeks after signing a deal that eased U.S. sanctions.
Ronald Reagan said “trust but verify” when making deals with adversaries. Joe Biden’s variation on the theme, “trust and hope for the best,” is failing America’s friends. Latest example: Venezuela’s democratic opposition.
At issue is the Biden Administration’s Oct. 18 decision to lift sanctions in exchange for promises by the regime in Caracas to allow a free and fair election in 2024. Two weeks later dictator Nicolás Maduro has already broken his word. Who would have thought?
Venezuela’s Oct. 22 opposition presidential primary drew some 2.4 million voters to the polls. Vente Venezuela party candidate Maria Corina Machado won more than 90% of the ballots cast. This is strong evidence that Mr. Maduro would lose an honest election.
Mr. Maduro seems to agree because on Monday his handpicked Supreme Court suspended the primary results. It ordered the primary commission to turn over voter information, ballots, tally sheets and other documents. Organizers were summoned before the attorney general, who launched a criminal investigation last week. The high court also ratified the regime’s ban on Ms. Machado’s candidacy.
This crackdown on Venezuelan democrats is business as usual for the dictatorship. But it’s not the script the Biden Administration has been rehearsing. On Oct. 17 Caracas and the opposition signed an electoral agreement. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called it an “election roadmap” and “a concrete step toward resolution of Venezuela’s political, economic, and humanitarian crisis.” --->READ MORE HERE
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