The Biden administration's plan to lift sanctions on Venezuela to ease the global rise in energy prices resulting from Russia's invasion from Ukraine is "a joke," former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley told the Washington Free Beacon.
"The idea that Biden would lift sanctions on Venezuela to punish Russia is a joke," Haley said. "Going from one tyrant to another won't solve our issues—supporting and ramping up American energy production will. Biden must stop buying Russian oil, appeasing dictators, and funding these rogue regimes."
Haley's comments come as senior Biden administration officials travel to Venezuela to meet with President Nicolás Maduro, a dictator whom the United States has heavily sanctioned for seizing power in the country and violently repressing pro-democracy reformers. The Biden administration hopes to soothe tensions with Maduro to help offset the price of oil, which has skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Haley and other top Republican critics of the administration's diplomatic efforts in Venezuela say the United States should not be cozying up to a dictator like Maduro and that this decision is tantamount to abandoning reformers in the country. Maduro is a close ally to Russia and Iran, a sign that he is not likely to help the United States without getting something in return.
The United States is angling to relax sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports—a major source of revenue for Maduro—to offset the global rise in energy prices.
"Joe Biden [is] using Russia as an excuse to do the deal they always wanted to do anyway with the Maduro regime," Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) tweeted in response to the news. "Rather than produce more American oil he wants to replace the oil we buy from one murderous dictator with oil from another murderous dictator."