Venezuela Stops Sending Oil to U.S. Citgo Branch

Venezuela is pumping less oil, giving other producers breathing space
AFP Federico PARRA

The socialist regime in Venezuela announced on Thursday it will stop sending oil to its U.S.based oil refinery Citgo after the Trump administration handed control of the company to President Juan Guaidó.

Appearing on state television on Thursday, senior socialist official Diosdado Cabello announced that the company would no longer receive a “drop of oil” after Guaidó was handed control of the company.

“Donald Trump said that whoever wants help from the United States has to pay,” said Cabello. “Well, that payment is from Citgo. The payment he offered (Juan) Guaidó is in exchange for something. The ‘bad’ thing for them is that these refineries are made especially for Venezuelan oil and from here they will not receive a drop of oil.”

PDSVA chief Manuel Quevedo argued that Citgo’s crude oil distilleries only work with a particular type of Venezuelan oil.

On Venezuelan state propaganda outlet VTV, the regime accused the Venezuelan National Assembly, of which Guaidó was the head before becoming president, of “continu[ing] to allow the theft of Venezuelan assets by illegally appointing” José Ignacio Hernández, a Venezuelan attorney in the United States who previously worked as a lawyer for the company Canadian gold mining company Crystallex, to hand over Citgo’s assets in an American court.

“They have given him the power to seize Citgo, a company of all Venezuelans in the U.S., to seize Citgo for an alleged debt in a trial that Venezuela had won,” said Maduro, after a U.S. federal appeals court rejected an appeal by the PDSVA to set aside an order allowing Crystallex to seize shares in Citgo.

Citgo, which is based in Houston and majority-owned by the Venezuelan state oil company Petroleum of Venezuela (PDSVA), has long provided a vital source of revenue to the cash-strapped Maduro regime.

Under the Trump administration’s sanctions against the regime in January, the Treasury Department froze Citgo’s bank accounts. The sanctions still allow the company to operate; however, all earnings must be deposited into a frozen account that only Guaidó’s representatives have access to.

On Thursday, President Trump confirmed that he is considering a quarantine or blockade of Venezuela to pressure the Maduro regime and instigate a transition to democracy. The move would represent the most serious action by Washington to remove Maduro from power, crushing the regime’s ability to bring in vital oil revenue. Trump has long maintained that ending the crisis in Venezuela represents a personal priority for which “all options [remain] on the table,” including the use of military force.

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