Venezuela is in the middle of a crisis. Currently, thousands of citizens have fled the country because of a failing economy, a humanitarian crisis, and an authoritarian government. However, as a petrostate, current conditions are perfect for the country to rebuild its economy. With the war in Ukraine breaking trade deals and driving up demand for oil, Venezuela could benefit from being a highly resource-rich country. However, US sanctions against Venezuelan oil won’t be lifted for free. Nicolas Maduro will have to compromise with the US.
KJ 1 – It is highly likely that Nicolas Maduro will remain President of Venezuela through sanctions and foreign support for his opposition.
- Nicolas Maduro holds a tight grip on Venezuelan society. He is supported by loyal government officials and the military who keep him in power. [source]
- Venezuela’s lack of judiciary independence allows Maduro to maintain control over the population, granting him and his officials complete impunity. [source]
- Venezuelan security forces are responsible for extrajudicial executions, short-term forced disappearances, jailing opponents, prosecuting civilians in military courts, torturing detainees, and cracking down on protesters with force. [source]
- Talks between Maduro and Guaidó broke down with any concessions made by the government being ignored soon after. [source]
KJ 2 – It is highly likely that Venezuela will sign trade agreements with countries outside of the US sphere of influence.
- Venezuela is going through an economic and humanitarian crisis. The country needs investment to repair its struggling oil sector which it heavily relies on. [source]
- Investment has already come in from Turkey who are looking to increase their previous years’ investment of $150 million to up to $3 billion. The two countries signed new deals on agriculture and tourism. [source]
- Venezuela and Iran are boosting ties as Venezuela attempt to increase its oil production. Iran sends heavy crude oil to Venezuela to maintain Venezuelan oil production to alleviate the crisis in both countries from US sanctions. They signed a 20-year cooperation deal. [source]
- Venezuela could also look towards China and Russia, as Iran has, to help heal from the COVID-19 pandemic and the following economic crisis. Maduro could follow Iran’s trade models to stand up to US hegemony. [source]
KJ 3 – It is likely that US sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports will have to be lifted to curb the current oil crisis.
- The war in Ukraine has led to a worldwide fuel crisis. Although Venezuela-US relations are turbulent, Venezuelan oil could force the US to stop sanctions to alleviate the current oil crisis. [source]
- Talks began again between Iran and the US over a nuclear deal that could see the US lifting sanctions on Iranian oil exports. Venezuela and the US could make a similar deal. [source]
- Venezuela will look for foreign investment to rebuild its struggling economy, and central to this is the petrostate’s oil industry. Reigniting oil exports could provide the perfect conditions for the economy to restart. [source]
Intelligence Cut-off Date 10-08-2022