President Nicolás Maduro’s backsliding on his promise of free and fair elections is likely to prompt the return of some US sanctions, though the Biden administration will probably refrain from imposing the stiffest penalties related to oil, according to analysts.

Maduro has jailed aides to the opposition presidential candidate, María Corina Machado, and Venezuela’s top court last week upheld a ban against her and others holding office. That dimmed the glimmer of hope that Maduro would face real competition in his quest for reelection this year.

Yet the US, which suspended sanctions last year after Maduro committed to a democratic process, has plenty of incentives to continue negotiating with the Venezuelan leader and to keep more lenient policy in place, experts say.

Venezuelan government bonds and those of state-owned oil company PDVSA fell on Monday, with government bonds maturing in 2027 sliding 1.6 cents, the most since Oct. 31, according to traders and indicative price data compiled by Bloomberg.

“From the Biden administration’s perspective, sanctions were not working in the first place,” said David Voght, managing director at IPD Latin America, an energy research group. And easing sanctions, he said, has “achieved certain key wins.”

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