OFAC Blocks Venezuelan Gold Business, Warns About Upcoming Oil Sanctions

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The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has revoked the license of Minerven, the Venezuela-owned gold company, for commercializing gold in international markets. The sanctions on Minerven, which were eased in October, will be applied again on February 13, with oil and gas sanctions reported to return in April.

OFAC Winds Down Venezuelan Gold Operations in International Markets

The U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has revoked a license that allowed CVG Compania General de Mineria de Venezuela CA (Minerven), the Venezuela state-owned gold company, to be part of gold transactions in international markets. The U.S. convened to revoke the sanctions on Minerven back in October when an agreement was reached with Maduro’s government to review the participation of key opposition figures in the upcoming presidential ballot.

However, according to the Biden Administration, the Venezuelan response has not been the one they expected, as the highest court in the country ratified the prohibition on Maria Corina Machado, the leader of the Venezuela opposition, to participate in the still undecided upcoming elections.

As a result, the transactions of Minerven will be winding down on February 13, and more sanctions will follow if there is no change in the decisions reached by the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal.

According to statements from Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, other sanctions might also return. He declared:

The United States has revoked sanctions relief for Venezuela’s gold sector. The relief for Venezuelan oil and gas sectors will be renewed in April only if Maduro representatives follow through on their commitments.

The Venezuelan government has rejected the Biden administration’s behavior, with National Assembly President Jorge Rodriguez defiantly calling on accelerating the re-enactment of the oil, gas, and gold-related sanctions. Answering National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, who stressed they had not seen any progress in the demands of the agreement, Rodriguez stated:

Save your ultimatum, sh*t Yankees. Kirby, shove your ultimatum where it fits you best.

Maduro’s government is also embroiled in a battle to regain control of roughly $2 billion in gold held in the U.K.

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