Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime in Venezuela is continuing to sell around 100,000 barrels of oil a day to communist Cuba but at far smaller quantities than in the past, a senior union official told El Nacional this weekend.
Iván Freites, general secretary of the Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers of Venezuela, told Venezuelan media that around “100,000 barrels per day are smuggled to Cuba in the form of contraband,” despite the country’s oil industry being on the brink of almost total collapse and in violation of U.S. economic sanctions against state-run oil company Petroleum of Venezuela (PDSVA) and other state-run industries.
As noted by the independent Cuban news outlet Cubanet, the exports are considerably less than 20 years ago, when the late socialist dictator Hugo Chávez began exporting 800,000 barrels of refined products every day. Yet as a result of the industry’s ongoing collapse, Cuba is now a net exporter to Venezuela, a fact that underlines the seriousness of the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis.
“In 1998, PDSVA had 4.4 million of refining capacity, currently PDVSA barely manages to process 700,000 barrels per day,” he explained. “We lost more than 2 million barrels per day of installed capacity internationally.”
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Freites went on to argue that the “state oil company has gone back 85 years in relation to the labor rights and protections that the workers achieved.”
“At present, there is no drinking water, tools or spare parts in the national oil facilities. In addition to this, insurance policies has not been delivered for three years,” he explained. “The workers are on salaries of 20,000 biweekly bolivars. That is not enough at all, which has led to a huge exodus of workers. In Venezuela, the salary was lost, health was lost, education was lost, the housing plan and the retirement plan was lost.”
In April, the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba published a report detailing how Cuba’s communist regime had effectively invaded and conquered Venezuela by installing tens of thousands of secret agents to help the Castro regime profit from drug trafficking, alliances with terrorist groups, and theft of natural resources.
Under the pressure of increased international isolation and economic sanctions, Venezuela’s relations with regional allies including Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are proving all the more important to the regime’s survival, as well as the support of China, Russia, Iran, Syria, and other nefarious regimes further amid.