Op-Ed: Biden Backs Enemy Dictatorship in Venezuela, Over Ally Democracy in Guyana, with Oil Grants
By Mark Demetropoulos
Last month, the Biden administration granted US oil companies the license to drill for oil in hostile Venezuela – while blocking oil development loans to a neighboring US ally, Guyana. This upside-down policy shows a foreign policy confusion and incoherence at the heart of the Biden policy team.
The Biden actions occur against a backdrop of US domestic oil and gas production shortages, and high energy prices.
Under the Trump administration, the US loosened Federal energy exploitation regulations which allowed US companies to drill domestically. This included fracking for natural gas, the opening up of new energy exploration leases, and for internal US and Canadian oil pipelines.
However, the Biden Administration, upon taking office reversed most of these policies, including the cancelling oil and gas sales on federal lands and revoking of permits. This policy forced US companies to rely more on foreign oil and natural gas production. The rationale for this policy move was to fulfill Biden’s campaign promise of “ending fossil fuels” as part of his climate agenda.
America is now facing an oil and gas shortage. But the Biden administration, instead of allowing companies to tap US reserves, is now granting licenses to pump in Venezuela.
Venezuela is currently run by a communist dictator, Nicolas Maduro, who has violated his people’s human rights, destroyed democracy and basic liberties, and destroyed the country’s economy. Maduro has stolen billions from the country – including over $1 billion in gold reserves – while children starve in the growing slums of the country’s capital Caracas.
What makes the Biden policy particularly perverse is that there is an alternative source of oil – right next to Venezuela: the peaceful multi-racial democratic nation of Guyana.
Oil was first discovered in Guyana in 2015, and new massive oil and gas reserves have been discovered in every year since then. Guyana now has over 11 billion barrels of untapped oil reserves off its coast - the largest proven oil and gas reserves per capita of any country in the world. It is the “new Kuwait” – except right next door in the Caribbean.
And Guyana is a pro-American democracy, with a large Guyanese diaspora in New York and Florida.
Through the help of Exxon Mobil, Guyana has begun to use offshore oil rigs to tap into that oil potential. According to a Reuter’s business report, Guyana’s economy will grow by as much as 48% in 2022 – with even larger growth in the coming years. It is the fastest growing economy in the world.
So when the Biden administration last month blocked a $180 million oil development grant to Guyana, energy experts concluded that US policy was incoherent.
“Guyana has 11 billion barrels of proven oil, significantly cleaner than Venezuela. We won’t give Guyana the loan money because we won’t fund fossil fuels,” noted Charles Payne of Fox Business. “Small countries such as Guyana are desperate for financial independence, and we – the USA - won’t help them either.”
The illogic of the Biden administration giving grants to oil companies to drill for dirty oil in hostile Venezuela – when it should instead be encouraging and granting more US Oil companies to tap the clean oil in Guyana - or allow more domestic oil production – is profoundly damaging America.
The net effect is to hurt America: Hurt human rights and undermine democracy; Support an enemy dictatorship; Alienate American allies; Raise questions and doubts from friendly nations about whether America can be trusted; Cause more pollution and environmental damage by choosing dirty oil over clean oil; and Reward a kleptocratic thug dictator who lets children die, while he grows fat.
One has to wonder whether the Biden administration is actually trying to hurt America - and the environment - by doing the exact opposite of what should be sound foreign and energy policy.