BRIEFING: Venezuela: Elections & Sanctions Risks

Wednesday 17 April @ 1600hrs BST (London) / 1100hrs EDT (New York)

The Venezuelan presidential election, slated to take place on 28 July, comes against the backdrop of escalating repression and intimidation by the regime of incumbent President Nicolás Maduro. The barring of opposition leader María Corina Machado underscores that the Maduro regime is unwilling to engage in even marginally competitive elections. Meanwhile, Maduro's government has instrumentalised the threat of conflict with Guyana to manipulate political opinion ahead of the election, raising substantial threats to the oil and gas sector. In response, the scope of US oil and gas sanctions will be a defining factor (with an 18 April deadline set for the renewal of the country's general license). While the election is highly unlikely to be free or fair, it will shape political and security risks in Venezuela - the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves - for the long term. 

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