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US reimposes sanctions on Venezuela after court upholds candidate ban

Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Maria Corina Machado looks on as she addresses the media, after a court upheld a ban preventing her from holding office, in Caracas, Venezuela, January 29, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

The United States has started to reimpose sanctions on Venezuela by restricting its mining sector after the South American nation’s top court upheld the disqualification of an opposition presidential hopeful.

A statement by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control on Monday said any US companies doing business with Venezuela's state-owned mining concern Minerven have until February 13 to complete a “wind down of transactions” with the company.

US President Joe Biden's administration broadly eased sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector in response to a deal reached between the government and opposition parties for the 2024 election in October in Barbados.

The deal included setting up a process to lift bans on opposition presidential candidates.

On Friday Venezuela’s Supreme Court, upheld a 15-year ban on opposition leader Maria Corina Machado and also confirmed the ineligibility of her possible replacement, two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.

Earlier Monday White House spokesman John Kirby said members of President Nicolas Maduro's government “haven’t taken those actions” promised in Barbados.

“So we have options available to us,” he said. “We certainly have options with respect to sanctions and that kind of thing.”

The US imposed harsh sanctions on Venezuela to punish Maduro’s government following his 2018 re-election, which the US and other Western governments rejected as a “sham.”

Since 2019, US sanctions have banned state-run oil company PDVSA from exporting to its chosen markets.

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