Thomas Massie Calls Out the Biden Administration for Turning to Venezuela for Oil Imports

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie is in disbelief at how the Biden Administration sent officials to Venezuela to try to convince the economically embattled country to open up its oil sector. 

The Biden administration sent White House and State Department officials to Venezuela on March 5 to discuss how Venezuela could bail the United States out when it comes to oil imports. 

Venezuela is an ally of Russia’s and has pursued military cooperation agreements with it over the past few decades. 

Massie tweeted on March 6, 2022 “SMH. Can we focus on domestic energy development already?”

The Biden administration is attempting to capitalize on Russia’s delicate economic state in order to strike a deal with Venezuela.  Western countries have put Venezuela in a financial pickle through sanctions. Now, there are talks about oil import bans which could shake things up in Russia even further in the short-term.

Previously, in 2019, countries like China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey lent economic and diplomatic support to Venezuela during its presidential crisis. At that time, the Trump administration attempted to internationally isolate it in both economic and diplomatic terms. The Trump administration implemented sanctions on oil exports, which predominantly went to the U.S in previous years. 

During Venezuela’s presidential crisis of 2019, Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro accused the U.S. of electoral interference in its recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s president. 

The Biden administrations’ hope is to detach Venezuela from Russia’s influence. According to a Fox News report, Venezuela is apparently distancing itself from Russia’s controversial invasion of Ukraine.

The Biden administration’s decision to send emissaries to Venezuela was the most high-profile visit an American official has made to the South American country in recent years.

In the past week, Venezuela and its allies such as Cuba and Nicaragua voted to not condemn Russia during an emergency meeting of the United Nations’ General Assembly on Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine. 

Due to the uncomfortable energy situation the U.S. is facing, it has now turned to countries like Iran and Venezuela as substitutes for Russian oil imports. The American political class has come to a consensus that it must end its dependence on Russian oil imports. The general view is that Russian oil help’s finance Putin’s war machine.

Per a New York Times report, Maduro said in a speech on March 3 that “Here lies the oil of Venezuela, which is available for whomever wants to produce and buy it, be it an investor from Asia, Europe or the United States.”

Massie is correct in mocking the Biden administration for desperately going to Venezuela for oil. While relatively open trade is a good thing, the U.S. has a ton of resources it can exploit if it’s economy wasn’t so shackled by regulations. In fairness, the U.S. may not be able to achieve full-blown energy independence. 

But it can still produce enough oil and natural gas to be able to reduce its reliance on corrupt petrostates for its energy needs. The best way to do that is through a prudential deregulation of the energy sector.