Venezuela parliament chief rejects ‘ultimatums’ as US threatens sanctions review

The US is calling on the Venezuelan government to lift political bans on opposition leaders, including presidential candidate María Corina Machado

Venezuela’s National Assembly President Jorge Rodríguez on Friday said the country would not accept “ultimatums from anyone,” after the U.S. warned it would review plans to ease sanctions if progress is not made toward fair elections.

Washington eased some oil sanctions last month after an electoral deal between President Nicolás Maduro’s government and the political opposition was signed in October.

The US has said it would further ease sanctions from next April if the Venezuelan authorities lift political bans on opposition leaders, including a 15-year ban from public office on presidential candidate María Corina Machado. Opposition parties consider these bans illegal.

The easing of U.S. sanctions is also conditional on release of political prisoners and “unjustly detained” U.S. citizens. U.S. officials have said they expect Venezuela to take action this month on concrete steps.

But Rodríguez, who also heads the government delegation in the opposition negotiations, told a press conference on Friday that Venezuela would not accept ultimatums.

“Venezuela does not accept ultimatums from anyone, by now everybody should know that, we don’t care”, he said.

State oil firm PDVSA has been in talks with contractors on increasing production and analysts have said an easing of sanctions in view of the 2024 elections would allow the government to gradually increase its income.



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