Earlier this year the U.S. all but cut off oil imports from Venezuela to put more pressure on the country’s authoritarian regime. Now another major importer looks like it’s turning its back on Venezuela.
In January the Trump Administration said it would no longer make oil import payments directly to the Venezuelan government. That heavy sanction is meant to squeeze Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his authoritarian regime out of power.
To make up for those billions of dollars of lost revenue, Maduro hoped to increase exports to India.
But according to Bloomberg and other media – quoting India’s ambassador to the U.S. – even India is now stopping imports from Venezuela. If so, it’s a huge blow to Venezuela’s collapsing oil industry, which relies on India for a third of its exports.
Russ Dallen, a Venezuela oil expert who heads the investment firm Caracas Capital here in Miami, says data show Venezuelan oil ships are stil making deliveries to India. But he says if India is indeed suspending future Venezuelan contracts, Maduro’s regime has few if any other places to sell that oil.
Dallen also says one of the ironies of the drama is that Russia – a country that's helping Maduro stay in power – is now supplanting Venezuela as a major oil exporter to the U.S.