Venezuela's political crisis has reached a boiling point amid growing efforts to unseat authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro. The country has been caught in a downward spiral for years, with growing political discontent fueled by skyrocketing inflation, power cuts, and shortages of food and medicine. U.S. officials have been hesitant to apply sanctions on Venezuelan oil, fearing they would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the country and potentially push up fuel prices in the U.S. But with Maduro and National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó locked in a struggle for control of the streets and the military, it seems they’ve decided it’s now worth the risk.
Media reports are conflicting, some presenting this as a total oil trade cut-off with the United States, but the government shut-down and the rapid nature of the decision-making on Venezuela leaves many experts questioning just how far the sanctions go, and what that might mean for oil markets.
On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Center on Global Energy Policy experts Distinguished Visiting Fellow Minister Mauricio Cárdenas, Senior Research Scholar Antoine Halff, and Senior Research Scholar Richard Nephew to discuss what prompted the sanctions, and their impact on trade, fuel supply and prices.