On a day where the United States has already went a few rounds with Iran over oil exports and sanctions, Florida Senator Rick Scott is calling for a US Naval blockade to stop Venezuelan oil from getting to its closest ally, Cuba, according to the Miami Herald.
The US Navy should, according to Scott, employ a naval blockade stop the oil flow from Venezuela in an effort to choke off the influx of money to the country’s contested leader, Nicolas Maduro, to end his “brutal regime.”
“It’s clear that the United States needs to consider using naval assets to block the flow of oil between the two dictatorships,” Scott said on Wednesday, who added that President Donald Trump had already “floated the idea” of a full embargo on Cuba.
Venezuela’s oil flows to Cuba have so far continued largely unabated despite the sanctions, with Venezuela desperate to make good on its oil for goods agreement that dates back to the Chavez/Castro administrations.
Venezuela is Cuba’s largest oil supplier, and at a high point, the oil trade from Venezuela to Cuba reached 100,000 bpd. Maduro’s opponent, Juan Guaido, has long asserted that oil shipments to Cuba must stop as Venezuela is in crisis with repeated blackouts that have plunged the country into darkness.
Guaido said in March that Venezuela was still shipping 47,000 barrels per day to Cuba, despite the current sanctions levied by the United States.
While Cuba has upped its oil purchases from Russia and Algeria, it is unlikely to find a better deal that it has from Venezuela—which is essentially free. The favorable arrangement with Venezuela is likely to fuel a desperation to keep that agreement alive and may prove a difficult habit for the United States to break.