US Contact With Venezuelan Army to Change Its Stance Unacceptable - Moscow

Blanche Robertson
February 11, 2019

The U.S. sanctions block all payments to PDVSA accounts, and buyers of Venezuelan crude are directed to deposit payments in a separate account, to which PDVSA doesn't have access.

Nicolas Maduro has asked OPEC to support one of its founding members-Venezuela-against the USA sanctions on the Latin American country's oil industry and denounce the "shameless dispossession" of Venezuelan assets, but Maduro's plea has fallen on deaf ears, Reuters reported on Monday. Quevedo said he wants to double sales to India, which a year ago bought more than 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Venezuela.

Maduro denies that any "humanitarian crisis" exists in his country, attributing severe lack of basic food and products to USA sanctions. However, the official confirmed that Russian Federation was in constant contact with the Venezuelan authorities. The joint ventures foreign partners include Norway's Equinor ASA, U.S. -based Chevron Corp and France's Total SA. But India previous year remained Venezuela's second largest destination for oil exports.

The minister said Venezuela's oil output was now 1.57 million bpd, about half its level at the start of the century.

Quevedo, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said it was important to listen to oil-consuming nations as OPEC and other producers sought to balance supply and demand in the market.

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Even after a first round of financial sanctions in 2017, PDVSA's joint ventures managed to maintain bank accounts in the United States and Europe to receive proceeds from oil sales. The U.S. wants to get Maduro to cede power to an interim government led by Juan Guaido - a lawmaker who claims he's the country's rightful leader.

In response, PDVSA is taking steps to remove at least two American executives from Citgo's board of directors, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The U.S. sanctions have sliced its oil exports to a 10-month low.

Maduro appeared on state television Sunday, showing off anti-aircraft systems and other weapons he says will make Venezuelan cities "impregnable".

"We are going to call truly free elections in Venezuela once the usurpation ceases, and we can build the mechanisms to have a truly free election", Guaido has repeatedly vowed, stating that he believes Maduro has no real choice but to eventually surrender.

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