Wednesday (March 9th): Maduro Opens the Oilgates

Name? Nicolás Maduro

Westphalian identity? Venezuelan

Age? 59

Why is he in the news? Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is one of many who have been affected by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Yesterday, US President Biden announced an embargo on Russian oil to further pressure Putin in the Western sanctions regime, which poses the question … where will the US get its oil from now? A potential answer is Maduro’s Venezuela

Why do we care? Since The EU and the US no longer legally recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate head of state after was not reelected as the head of parliament, Maduro has regained importance to Western leaders. This past weekend, the US sent officials to hold the first US-Venezuela high-level meeting in over 5 years. This morning, Maduro released two jailed U.S. citizens in an apparent goodwill gesture toward the Biden administration. 

Why should you care? Maduro rising from the ashes like a phoenix is yet another example how Putin’s invasion impacts international relations almost everywhere! A Black Swan event like this is going to defrost frozen situations all over the planet. Look out for Syria, Mali, Libya, Armenia and others over the next few weeks. You should care 10/10. 

Who else cares? Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Eleven months of talks to restore the deal which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme have reached their final stages. Now that Maduro has become an option for Western energy markets, maybe the current energy disruptions will create another incentive for a new nuclear deal with Iran. Only Putin could decide to sabotage any further advances from now on. 

Any further comments? Three years ago Russian oil was used as a substitute to Venezuelan oil when the US imposed sanctions on the Maduro government. Three years later, the tables have turned… However, the Biden administration still seeks changes on democratic deficiencies in Venezuela.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator