Expert: Venezuelan Regime Sends Seven Oil Tankers to Cuba Despite Domestic Shortages

An oil tanker remains at the Maracaibo Lake in Maracaibo, Venezuela on March 15, 2019. - Production cutbacks by OPEC nations are building a supply cushion that could be called upon to mitigate a possible supply shock from an abrupt drop in crisis-hit Venezuela's output, the International Energy Agency (IEA) …
JUAN BARRETO/AFP via Getty Images

Venezuela’s socialist regime reportedly sent seven oil tankers to its Cuban communist allies over the course of September, despite widespread domestic shortages that have brought parts of the country close to a standstill.

La Patilla cites Armand Delon, an oil expert at the Central University of Venezuela, who posted satellite images on Twitter of seven trips made by oil tankers to the Cuban ports of Alicia, Peteon, Sandino, Terepaima, and Temeo throughout the month of September.

Delon found evidence that the Maduro regime has also increased the dispatch of crude oil, finding that 25 tankers appear to have left the country over the course of the past month.

An analysis by the economist and director of the NGO Petroleum for Venezuela Francisco Rodriguez in August estimated that Cuba owes Venezuela around $11 billion in oil payments. He explained that the two countries attempt to hide these debts by Venezuela paying unrealistically high prices for Cuban services. The most common service is access to Havana’s slave doctor program in which the Maduro regime is believed to pay an average of $200,000 a year for each doctor, well above what many physicians earn in the United States.

Venezuela’s willingness to hand out effectively free oil to Cuba is a result of the extremely close relations between the Castro and Maduro regimes, first cultivated between Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro following the former’s rise to power in 1998. Last year, the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba published a report detailing how the Castro regime had effectively colonized Venezuela, installing tens of thousands of secret agents to help increase drug trafficking, alliances with terrorist groups, and theft of natural resources.

The evidence that Maduro appears to be sending oil to Cuba, prioritizing the island over parts of his country, may prove especially outrageous given nationwide gasoline shortages in Venezuela. Despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, the regime has been forced to import oil from its allies such as China and Iran to keep up with domestic demand.

Gasoline shortages are now so serious that some parts of the country have stopped selling it entirely, while the regime has been forced to impose strict quotas on the generous gasoline subsidies that allowed people to fill up their vehicles effectively for free.

Last month, National Assembly member Piero Maroun posted images on social media of people riding donkeys through the street as an alternative form of transport.

“Venezuelans are now centuries behind, riding donkeys, burning firewood, and sleeping in the dark,” he noted. “The setback is so great that in the days of slavery, slaves earned what they needed to eat every day, and here a day’s salary doesn’t even buy breakfast.”

Energy shortages have also had an impact on the country’s electrical grid. A study carried out last December found that the national grid collapsed 80,700 times in the year 2019, often plunging the entire country into complete darkness. These blackouts effectively lead to the complete breakdown of society, with everything from public transport to hospitals becoming inoperable.

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