On Monday, July 12, 2021, the US government allowed shipments of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Venezuela, which is mainly used as cooking fuel, amid a general shortage.
Although preparing meals with coal or wood was a common practice only in ancient times, the lack of household gas made this sporadic habit the only alternative for many Venezuelans.
Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but the economic crisis in which it has sunk, exacerbated by a series of sanctions from the United States, has made derivative resources such as gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas scarce.
In an expected move to change US policy with the new Joe Biden administration toward Venezuela, that country’s government on Monday allowed shipments of liquefied petroleum gas to the South American country, also known as propane.
This move, significantly, does not allow PDVSA to “swap” the crude oil for any potential imports of cooking gas. The Maduro government will have to pay potential suppliers in cash, not in kind. https://t.co/XCYSzsir3T
– Luke Cohen 12 July 2021
However, the rule is limited to non-US companies, which will no longer run the risk of being penalized for doing direct business with the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
Sanctions relief at a tense political moment
While allowing companies to export propane to the South American country is one step that could ease shortages that have prompted people to cook on charcoal or wood-burning grills, the US move was announced at a tense political moment.
This Monday, opposition leaders claimed they were the target of Nicolas Maduro’s security forces in an attempt to arrest opposition leader Juan Guaido. The bloc said it arbitrarily detained former MP Freddy Guevara, and later, the Attorney General’s Office confirmed this.
Under President Donald Trump’s administration, the United States imposed severe sanctions that sought to impeach Maduro. These restrictions have made it difficult for Venezuela to develop, sell, or transport its oil, the backbone of its economy. The European Union also imposed sanctions.
With the Associated Press and Reuters