Late, Friday afternoon before the Juneteenth holiday weekend, President Bident quietly removed Carlos Erik Malpica Flores, a Venezuelan oil oligarch, from the list of sanctioned individuals overseen by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). 

It’s clear the Biden administration is doubling down on an energy strategy whereby they look to dictators and despots to increase domestic supply rather than our own American producers.

According to reports, Flores’ removal from the sanctions list  is a part of the Biden administration’s broader efforts to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Part of the plan includes appeasing the Maduro regime known for a range of humanitarian crimes including the extrajudicial killings of political detainees. 

Carlos Erik Malpica Flores is the nephew-in-law to Maduro himself and officially served as the national treasurer and vice president of Venezuela’s state oil company. Earlier this year, when the Biden administration announced efforts to reestablish ties with the authoritarian regime, Senator Marco Rubio warned how there is nothing to be gained by Venezuelan oil:

“Corruption and incompetence have driven Venezuela’s energy industry into the ground… If we want to increase our energy supplies, the logical thing to do is enable American oil and natural gas production, not look for help from an illegitimate thug.”

While President Bident is making life easier for nephews of dictators and considering lifting broader Venezuelan oil sanctions, life as an American oil and gas worker continues to get worse. 

Earlier this week, President Biden sent a threatening letter to U.S. oil and gas companies demanding they produce more oil but did nothing to alleviate his whole-of-the-government effort to stop domestic production and put them out of business. 

In a recent interview, U.S. Energy Secretary Granholm also demanded oil companies produce more while promising to shut them down  in as little as five years, curbing the potential for additional investment. 

When questioned about the $5 national average price of gas and our growing state of energy vulnerability, our international climate czar John Kerry stated “we absolutely don’t” need more drilling of gas or oil. 

Have we learned nothing from Russia? The U.S. Congress just sent $40 billion to help Ukraine fight a brutal authoritarian regime funded by Europe’s dependence on their oil and gas yet we are in the process empowering an equally brutal dictator that resides immediately to our south by becoming dependent on a steady stream of their oil. 

While team Biden is busy making concessions to the worst people on the planet, they continue to put a knife in the back of U.S. oil and gas. Instead of appeasing petro-dictatorships and seeking out their crime-ridden oil, the Biden administration should look within the U.S. itself. The oil industry and its workers have made clear that they are ready, willing, and able.