A crucial element in the neoconservative crusade against Venezuela is the sanction program, designed to block the legitimate government from selling Venezuelan oil on the global market. For once, the mainstream media has no doubts about the ultimate goal of the US-imposed sanctions. According to a CNN report, “Trump administration imposed sanctions on PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. The penalties are meant to speed the demise of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s regime by starving his government of cash.”
Given that the US is the main export destination for the Venezuelan oil, it is easy to see why such a measure would be effective, however, there is a serious problem with this plan. A strict embargo would send the price of oil and gas skyrocketing because the sanctioned nation is America’s No. 4 oil supplier, and now the Trump administration desperately needs someone to fill the deficit, created by the Trump’s sanctions.
Asked about the risk of fuel price increases, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “I’m sure many of our friends in the Middle East will be happy to make up the supply”.
That’s an overly optimistic assessment of the situation and most oil analysts are rather sceptical too. Mnuchin seems to believe that Saudi Arabia, the only oil producing country in the Middle East with sufficient spare production capacity, will replace the missing oil imports. Theoretically, that’s possible, but it’s quite improbable. The problem is that the Trump administration used the Saudi help in 2018 in the context of Iranian sanctions, basically duping Riyadh to flood the market with oil, while simultaneously secretly handing out “sanction waivers” for privileged US allies.