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US reviewing options after Venezuela fails to release detainees

Alicia Diaz, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

The White House is evaluating potential consequences after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro missed an end-of-November deadline to release detained Americans, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Sunday.

“We were extremely concerned that they didn’t take those two extra steps — release of political prisoners and getting our wrongfully detained Americans home,” Kirby said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “That’s something we take very seriously, getting those folks home, and we’re going to keep at it.”

President Joe Biden’s administration announced a deal with Venezuela in October to lift some sanctions, including a six-month authorization of oil and gas transactions in the country.

The license will only be renewed if Maduro begins the release of detainees and meets commitments toward fair presidential elections, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the time. The U.S. will “reverse the steps we have taken” if Venezuela fails to deliver, Blinken said.

Venezuela said that it opened the door for opposition leaders to join presidential elections ahead of the deadline, meeting one part of the agreement, though there has been no release of captive Americans.


A U.S. official said last month that “everything is on the table,” if Maduro fails to meet the requirements set by the U.S., including the removal of licenses allowing the export of Venezuelan oil and gas.


(—With assistance from Justin Sink)

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