The US has eased sanctions against a relative of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, just weeks after the US announced it was taking efforts to promote talks between Maduro’s government and the US-backed Venezuelan opposition.
Carlos Erik Malpica Flores, Venezuela’s former national treasurer, was removed from a US Treasury Department blacklist created in 2017 on grounds of subverting democracy, the US Department of Treasury said on Friday.
Malpica Flores, the nephew of First Lady Cilia Flores, previously held a high position at the national oil corporation PDVSA.
The decision comes after a meeting in Caracas in March between a group of top US officials and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which was considered as an attempt to kick-start dialogue between the government and opposition politicians.
As part of the effort to foster discussions, the Biden administration eased certain economic sanctions against Venezuela last month.
Malpica Flores would be removed off the sanctions list, according to two senior US government sources at the time.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that he hoped talks between the government and the opposition led by Juan Guaido will restart shortly in Mexico City, and offered more sanctions relief if Maduro compromises.
However, Maduro, along with the presidents of Nicaragua and Cuba, was left out of the recent Summit of the Americas, drawing condemnation from other leaders in the region.
Analysts also noted that US President Joe Biden’s efforts to address migration in the Americas may be hampered by Venezuela’s absence from such discussions.
According to the United Nations, more than 6 million people have fled the nation in recent years due to escalating violence, poverty, and a terrible socioeconomic crisis.