Former Venezuelan official removed from the U.S sanctioned list

The United States removed a former Venezuelan official from the sanctioned list

The United States removed a former Venezuelan official from the sanctioned list, a move promised by Biden administration officials after an attempt was made to persuade President Nicolas Maduro at a March meeting to renegotiate with political opponents.

Malpica Flores, nephew of Maduro’s wife, Cilia Flores, was sanctioned in July 2017 along with 12 other Venezuelans.

Carlos Erik Malpica Flores, a former national treasurer and vice president of Venezuela’s state oil company, was removed from the list of Specially Designated Nationals by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), according to a statement posted on its website Friday.

Removing Malpica Flores was one of the options presented by Biden administration officials after a trip to Caracas in March in which they met with Maduro in an effort to convince him to restart negotiations with the political opposition. Those talks stopped last year.

The decision on Malpica Flores marks the first lifting of individual sanctions since the meeting.

The U.S. has also allowed Chevron Corp. to start direct talks with state oil company PDVSA and Italy’s Eni SpA and Spain’s Repsol SA to ship Venezuelan oil to Europe.

Gerardo Blyde, chief negotiator for a bloc of opposition parties, said on Twitter that they have worked closely with the U.S. “on specific actions aimed at reactivating the negotiation process.”

Representatives from the government’s Ministry of Communications did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maduro was traveling to Azerbaijan on Friday as part of a tour of Eurasian countries, while his vice president, Delcy Rodriguez, met with the Russian Foreign Ministry in St. Petersburg.