October 23, 2023

US suspends certain Venezuela-related sanctions following signature of electoral roadmap agreement

On October 18, 2023, as a show of support for the Venezuelan people and Venezuelan democracy, the US Department of the Treasury issued several general licenses pursuant to Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 591, to suspend certain Venezuela-related sanctions following the recent electoral roadmap agreement signed by the Unitary Platform and Maduro representatives.  Most significantly, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has temporarily suspended certain sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gas sectors (GL 44).  OFAC also suspended certain sanctions on Venezuela’s gold sector (GL 43) and removed secondary market trading bans on the purchase of certain pre-August 25, 2017 Venezuelan sovereign bonds (GL 3I) and certain securities issued by Petróleos de Venezuela SA, also known as PdVSA (GLs 9H).  OFAC has further suspended prior authorizations for certain transactions related to the Petróleos de Venezuela, SA 2020 8.5 Percent Bond (GL 5M), and authorized certain repatriation transactions involving Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronáuticas y Servicios Aéreos, SA (GL 45).  To further clarify the provisions in these general licenses, OFAC updated Frequently Asked Questions 595, 629, 661 and 662, and issued new FAQs 1136 and 1137.  OFAC has also provided further guidance on the suspensions in a document entitled “Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Suspension of Certain US Sanctions with Respect to Venezuela on October 18, 2023.”

Should the Maduro representatives fail to follow through on their commitments, the US Treasury indicated that it is prepared to amend or revoke these authorizations.

Department of Treasury Press Release | Department of Treasury Recent Action – General Licenses and OFAC Guidance Regarding Suspensions | Amended FAQs 595, 629, 661, and 662 | FAQs 1136 and 1137