Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez Responds to Biden Outreach to Venezuela Amid Rising Gas Prices

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez responded to a report Sunday that the Biden administration was beginning discussions with the government of Venezuela related to oil imports

“Rather than making America energy-independent, Biden wants to buy oil from Maduro — yet another murderous thug. Troubling pattern from this administration as they continue to embolden our enemies,” said Nuñez.

Nuñez was born in Miami and her parents lived under the reign of Fidel Castro. She was elected as Florida’s first Hispanic female lieutenant Governor of Florida in 2018.

Nuñez was referring to a New York Times report which indicated that senior U.S. officials with the Biden administration traveled to Venezuela on Saturday to meet with the government of President Maduro. The purpose of the meeting was to step up efforts to separate Russia from its remaining international allies amid a widening standoff over Ukraine.

The meeting was also related to oil.

According to the Times report, when the “U.S. and its allies began considering sanctions on Russian oil and gas exports this month to punish the country for devastation wrought in Ukraine, prominent voices affiliated with both major American political parties pointed to Venezuela as a potential substitute.”

The reference to “prominent voices affiliated with both major American political parties” by the Times did not include any currently elected Republican officials.

Based on the report, it is unclear how long the U.S. delegation, which includes senior officials from the State Department and the White House, will remain in Venezuela. Spokespeople for Mr. Maduro and for the State Department and the National Security Council in Washington did not respond to requests for comment by the Times.

Before the U.S. imposed sanctions, Venezuela sent most of its oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast, whose refineries were built specifically to process Venezuela’s heavy grades of crude. Experts indicated that if the United States curtails the imports of Russian oil, Venezuela would be able to replace some of the lost supplies.

The comments by Nuñez – encouraging energy independence – come during the same weekend that reports note the cost of a gallon of gas has reached $4.00.

CNN reported that the average price for a gallon of regular gas hit $4 Sunday, the highest level since 2008. The AAA national average stands at $4.01, up 9 cents a gallon since Saturday’s reading, and up 47 cents, or 13%, since before Russia invaded Ukraine 11 days ago.

According to pricing trends, the daily weekend increases are larger than any one-day jump in price since Hurricane Katrina slammed the U.S. Gulf Coast and damaged much of the nation’s oil and gas producing regions in 2005, sending prices soaring.

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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Jeanette Nuñez” by Florida Governor’s Office. Photo “Joe Biden” by The White House. CC BY 3.0 US. Background Photo “Venezuela” by Wilfredor.

 

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