Venezuela Pursues BRICS Membership Amid U.S. Sanctions and Geopolitical Tensions

Key Points:

  • Venezuela petitions BRICS membership to bypass U.S. sanctions.
  • Potential BRICS entry offers Venezuela economic rejuvenation opportunities.
  • BRICS membership challenges persist amid geopolitical tensions.

On August 3rd, Venezuela officially applied to join the BRICS alliance. This proactive step is Venezuela’s attempt to sidestep U.S. sanctions and strengthen its relationships with multiple countries. The move is particularly significant as the country currently faces challenges using the U.S. dollar and accessing traditional international banking channels because of U.S. imposed restrictions.

Venezuela Pursues BRICS Membership Amid U.S. Sanctions and Geopolitical Tensions
Venezuela Pursues BRICS Membership Amid U.S. Sanctions and Geopolitical Tensions

Venezuela’s Strategic Pivot to BRICS for Economic Revival

The Venezuelan government sees a golden opportunity in BRICS membership to broaden its oil and energy trade, particularly given the soaring demands of BRICS nations like India and China. Moreover, with OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE shifting their focus to renewable energy sources, Venezuela aims to capitalize on these evolving energy dynamics.

Backing from BRICS members like Brazil, China, and Russia could significantly bolster Venezuela’s bid. Such support can invigorate its oil industry and other sectors, breathing life into its economy. Moreover, aligning with these powerhouse nations may offer Venezuela alternative payment mechanisms not tethered to the dollar. However, despite Venezuela’s push to diversify its payment methods, the U.S. dollar continues to dominate the local economy. Efforts to popularize the Bolivar, Venezuela’s native currency, and the euro remain on the periphery.

Speculations about Venezuela’s possible proposal for a military alliance within BRICS are rife, reminiscent of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Such an alliance might counterbalance NATO’s ambitions, especially considering U.S.-led naval drills in the Caribbean. This potential move is not off the table, given Venezuela’s recent military ties with nations like Iran.

Geopolitical Implications and Challenges Ahead

With Venezuela potentially joining BRICS, the bloc stands to gain access to the world’s largest oil reserves, abundant natural gas, and other vital resources. This move also positions Venezuela strategically at South America’s gateway. Notably, this comes when Venezuela and the U.S. exhibit signs of mending their strained oil relationship.

However, challenges abound. Like Russia and China, several BRICS members face economic headwinds and restrictions in global capital markets. Venezuela must tread cautiously despite this backdrop and the evolving global oil landscape. Balancing its BRICS aspirations with recent U.S. overtures, especially in the oil sector, will take much work. This balancing act becomes even more crucial as President Nicolas Maduro visits China, seeking renewed ties and investments, particularly with Venezuela’s 2024 presidential elections on the horizon.


While BRICS membership could be a game-changer for Venezuela, the nation and the bloc must address several internal and external challenges. If Venezuela gains entry, it could redefine the geopolitical landscape, but the nation’s current stance necessitates a well-thought-out strategy for the future.

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Raymond Munene