Venezuelan oil hasn’t seen American shores in three years, and with the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russian oil and gas, American energy security is in flux. As a result, the Biden administration is engaging with sanctioned governments, and a group of senior White House officials recently met with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, a Putin ally, to discuss resuming oil imports.
With rumors circulating in both countries about the possibility of lifting sanctions, we decided to run a survey to gauge ordinary Venezuelan sentiments on the recent meeting.
In under five hours, Premise received submissions from nearly 750 Contributors in Venezuela, providing a window into the view of the public at a time when access to information in Venezuela is extremely limited.
The survey results give us a number of insights that could prove helpful to policy and decision-makers. For example, we found that 54% of Venezuelans either “strongly supported” or “supported” the current talks between the two countries. However, holding talks with Maduro may undermine the legitimacy of Juan Guaidó, whom the US and several other western nations formally recognize as the leader of Venezuela. When asked, 40% of Contributors in Venezuela think that Guaidó’s legitimacy would be reduced if the US lifted some sanctions and began to purchase oil again.
Despite having close ties with Russia, the majority of Venezuelans are opposed to the military actions of Russia in Ukraine. Additionally, they supported US sanctions—the same sanctions Venezuelans have been suffering under for years—against Russia. Evidently, Venezuelans are unable to excuse Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and support drastic consequences for Putin’s regime.
Another consequence of US engagement with Venezuela, would be to disrupt Putin’s influence in the region. A plurality of our Contributors believe that if the US reengages with Venezuela it will displace the influence of Russia and other similarly aligned states.
Understanding public opinion in a place like Venezuela is a challenge, given the reduced presence of global institutions in the country and limited freedom of press. Meanwhile, Premise offers a unique ability to quickly source information from real people on the ground in hard-to-reach places. Monitoring a situation over time gives our customers a rigorous, data-driven approach to timely decision-making.
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