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Venezuelan officials criticized the United States’ decision this week to reimpose oil sanctions, after Washington said that the government of President Nicolas Maduro has failed to allow “an inclusive and competitive election” to take place this year, the Financial Times reported.

In October, the Biden administration offered temporary authorization that would allow transactions with Venezuela’s national oil and gas sector without fear of sanctions – formally known as General License 44.

The license – which expired Thursday – was issued after Maduro and the US-backed opposition coalition signed an election agreement in Barbados that month that would allow free and fair presidential elections later this year.

Under the deal, Venezuelan authorities would set an election date, update the electoral register and allow international observers to monitor the vote.

US officials noted that while Maduro upheld “certain aspects” of the agreement, he had “fallen short” on commitments to hold a free and fair election scheduled for July 28.

Since the relief was issued, Venezuelan officials have barred the main opposition candidate María Corina Machado from running, arrested members of her campaign team and refused to allow Machado’s replacement candidate to register for the election.

Following the US decision to reimpose sanctions, the president of Venezuela’s congress, Jorge Rodríguez, accused Washington of breaking a commercial agreement reached with Caracas.

Oil Minister Pedro Tellechea told CNN that Venezuela was ready to bear the cost of levies.

Holding the largest oil reserves in the world and once a top oil producer, Venezuela’s industry collapsed to producing below 400,000 barrels per day in 2020 following years of economic mismanagement and Trump-era “maximum pressure” sanctions intended to oust Maduro.

The temporary authorization helped boost crude production this quarter and allowed Caracas to sell its oil directly without using black market intermediates charging massive fees.

Analysts noted that the reintroduction of sanctions would have a limited short-term impact on Venezuela’s current production and exports, but would hurt its long-term recovery.

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