14ymedio, Havana, July 6, 2020 — For the second time in the last six weeks, the vessel Sandino was loading fuel this Sunday in the El Palito refinery, in the state of Carabobo, west of Caracas, according to information published by the local press.
With a source on the maritime tracking site marinetraffic.com, El Carabobeño says that the fuel is being shipped under the Cuban flag, and before it used the flag of Panamá, a strategy known as reflagging, which the Governments of Cuba and Venezuela use to evade U.S. sanctions.
The ship was constructed in 2009 and has already made one previous trip to the Island, on May 27, from Puerto La Cruz in Anzoátegui, said the same newspaper. In addition, three other ships from Venezuela—the Terepaima, the Petion and the Teseo—are in Cuba.
The Venezuelan newspaper notes that the El Palito refinery is at less than 50% of operability and can no longer cover the demand of the Venezuelan market. “It’s evident by the long lines of vehicles that start to appear again on the outskirts of the service stations with subsidized fuel en Carabobo and other regions of the country,” it explains.
The Petion and Sandino already have had sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department, but they have continued transporting crude between Venezuela and Cuba.
The Petion belongs to Trocana World and is operated by Caroil Transport Marine, a company registered in Cyprus. Both businesses are under the control of the brother of Brigade General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Callejas, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and the head of Department V of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. In addition, he is the ex-son-in-law of Raúl Castro and the Director of GAESA, the business consortium of the military on the Island.
This past March, Venezuelan opponents complained that Caracas was continuing to supply crude to the Island. Julio Borges contended that the “gifts” from Venezuela to Cuba rose to more than 40 trillion dollars in oil in the last 20 years. This is in addition to the humanitarian aid sent and the electrical plants financed.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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