14ymedio, Havana, 23 July 2020 — This Thursday, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, denounced Nicolás Maduro’s regime for sending oil to Cuba with a value of approximately 348 million US dollars at a time when 9.3 million Venezuelans are estimated to be suffering from either moderate or severe food insecurity.
The diplomat from the Guaidó administration, recognised by Washington as the sole legitimate representative of Venezuela, alleges that the resources “looted by Maduro and Cuba” could be used to provide “immediate solutions” to the devastating crisis faced by Venezuela.
The present regimes of Cuba and Venezuela have maintained close ties ever since Hugo Chávez, the now deceased head of state, first came to power in 1999. The United States accuses La Habana of propping up Maduro’s regime by providing intelligence and military personnel in exchange for oil. Both countries have repeatedly denied these accusations.
In his report, Vecchio alleges that the Maduro regime sent 33 oil tankers to Cuba in the first half of 2020. The tankers were estimated to contain over 13 million barrels of oil with an approximate market value of 348 million US dollars, based on current prices.
“Venezuelans do not see any of this money, it goes directly to the Cuban regime and Díaz-Canel, Nicolás Maduro and front men like Alex Saab. There is nothing that the Cuban regime could possibly give us that would compensate for the sheer quantity of petrol and other products that we send to them”, the ambassador insisted.
“In exchange, Cuba has offered nothing more than support for the madurista regime via the provision of intelligence and the repression of millions of Venezuelans. This has manifested itself in the torture and violation of human rights of both civilians and military personnel, all of which is confirmed by the most recent report by Michelle Bachelet”, he added.
According to data provided by the ambassador, the shipments to Cuba represent over 12% of Venezuelan crude oil exports. These exports have fallen drastically in recent years as a result of the disastrous effects wrought upon the national economy by chavismo.
The diplomat has stressed that Maduro is sending to Cuba “the highest quality light crude oil; the Merey blend”. He added that shipments to the island increased dramatically between May and June of this year. This period coincides with the deepening of the internal crisis within the Cuban economy, which has been left exposed by mismanagement at the state level in conjunction with US sanctions.
Vecchio continued, “In May, exports to Cuba rose to 27.2%, while in June, Maduro sent more than 43% of our total exports to Cuba. This is the exact period when the Venezuelan people, both those resident in the country as well as migrants, have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The ambassador highlighted that “the resources delivered to Cuba in the first semester of 2020 could have been directed towards helping the 2.3 million Venezuelans who are shamefully kept in a situation of severe food insecurity by the Maduro regime”.
“It is clear that Maduro is not interested in solving this crisis, he has never been interested; on the contrary, his only objective is to profit from the pain, suffering and oppression of the Venezuelans”, condemned Vecchio.
Translated by: Andy Barton
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