Rubio: Biden officials meeting with Maduro gov on oil 'betrayal' of Venezuelans seeking freedom

White House reportedly considering easing oil sanctions on Venezuela amid calls to cut off oil imports from Russia over Ukraine invasion
Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republicans are slamming the Biden administration for a purported "secret" meeting with Venezuelan government officials about the easing of sanctions, amid calls to stop Russian oil imports. 

Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats have repeatedly criticized Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro for human rights violations and other matters. About 1.7 million Venezuelans have fled to neighboring Colombia during his rule.

However, the White House now appears to be considering easing sanctions on Venezuela in the wake of calls to cut off oil imports from Russia over their invasion of Ukraine, says Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and others.

"Venezuela’s oil industry is in shambles. Because of marxist incompetence & corruption, it will takes years before they can produce enough to even come close to replacing #PutinOil," Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted Monday. "Biden is just using this as an excuse to cut the deal with the #Maduro he has wanted all along."

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, said it is "wrong for the Biden Administration to beg for oil from Venezuela & legitimize Maduro’s communist regime during an official visit."

"The U.S. should hold Maduro accountable while increasing domestic energy production so we won’t need to rely on hostile regimes for energy," he also said.

Rubio referred to Maduro as a "narco terrorist."

"Apparently Biden thinks producing more of our own oil in America is bad for the climate but somehow producing more oil in #Venezuela is not," Rubio also tweeted, referring, in part, to the president cancelling in the first hours of his presidency the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

"Biden Admin secret meeting with #Maduro was a huge PR boost for #MaduroRegime and a demoralizing betrayal of those who have risked everything to oppose Maduro & weren’t even told this was happening. And for what? The amount of oil #Venezuela can produce right now is insignificant," he also wrote.