Expert: Cuba Owes Venezuela over $11 Billion in Oil Payments

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Cuba owes its close ally Venezuela more than $11 billion in oil payments, an analysis by the economist and director of the NGO Petroleum for Venezuela Francisco Rodríguez revealed Monday.

Posting his findings on Twitter, Rodríguez explained how Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime has continued to prop up the Cuban economy despite the unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis in his own country.

“During the month of July, the government of Nicolás Maduro sent 24,269 barrels of crude oil and condensed gas to Cuba per day,” he wrote. “This represents 8.4 percent of our exports and makes Cuba the fourth most important destination for our oil. So far this year, shipments to Cuba have averaged 32,147 barrels per day or 5.6 percent of our total exports. The estimated value of these exports is approximately $230 million.”

Rodríguez’s data, from the files of the state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), originated at the oil monitor Tanker Trackers.

Rodríguez went on to explain that the two countries try to hide these debts, which date back over the past two decades, by having Venezuela paying ludicrously high prices for Cuban services. The most common service rendered was the importation of slave doctors sent by Havana to prop up Venezuela’s collapsing health service.

“So far this year, shipments to Cuba have averaged 32,147 barrels a day, or 5.6% of our exports. The estimated value of these exports is approximately 230 million dollars,” he wrote, accompanied by several sets of data. “That fraction that is not financed is paid for with exports of Cuban services, including medical services, billed at highly inflated prices.”

“By 2013, we estimate that Venezuela was paying around 200,000 a year for each doctor,” he continued. “The fraction financed has accumulated over time, although it has recently stabilized with the drop in production. We estimate that, by the end of the first quarter of 2020, Cuba owed Venezuela 11.7 billion dollars.”

The unwillingness of Venezuela, a country that is effectively bankrupt and currently experiencing widespread gasoline shortages, to properly chase up large debts underlines the extremely close relations between the two countries, which were developed between Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro following the former’s rise to power in 1998.

Following Maduro’s aggressive transformation of Venezuela to an effective communist dictatorship in recent years, many analysts now consider the South American country to be a mere satellite of the Castro regime, despite the former being far larger with a population almost three times the size of Cuba.

Last year, the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba released a report detailing how Castro had effectively invaded his Latin American neighbor by installing tens of thousands of secret agents to help increase drug trafficking, alliances with terrorist groups, and theft of natural resources.

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