U.S. war embezzles Venezuela's assets
The cessation of punitive measures, including the return of assets seized abroad, is the most important point for Caracas in negotiations with the opposition.
If the skein of sanctions issued by the U.S. is not untied soon, Caracas will be left with nothing: new denunciations on the way in which the "intermediate" usurpers mismanage Venezuelan companies abroad add urgency to the authorities' demand for their return.
The revelations illustrate the heist and reinforce the legitimacy of the Bolivarian Government in demanding access to assets seized by the United States and the European Union as a dirty form of political pressure. This is just an edge of an undeclared war that is now called "fourth generation", because it is more sophisticated.
The Guaidocist right wing, appointed by Washington as "administrator" of the assets abroad since 2019 by virtue of its false interim government, has squandered those funds and manages them as it pleases. That is why the Venezuelan State's claim is not only fair, but has acquired an urgent nature.
In May of this year, for example, a false budget prepared by Juan Guaidó's clan was circulated, supposedly justifying "the expenses" of the non-existent parallel executive. It was about 53 million dollars to be taken from the frozen money. The most embarrassing thing is that they were to be authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department.
But the shady dealings have now endangered the survival of Citgo, the powerful subsidiary of PDVSA established since 1991 in the United States with one hundred percent Venezuelan capital, in order to avoid the tribulations caused by the interference and illegal dealings of the right-wing imposter administrators.
Although the leadership close to Guaidó has denied it, it was reported that his "administration" would have reached payment agreements with alleged creditors of Venezuela, such as the U.S. ConocoPhillips, and Crystallex, from Canada. For this purpose, Citgo's funds would be used, according to the ruling of a Delaware judge who would have authorized the settlement, in this way, of claims in dispute with the Venezuelan State since the end of the 1990s.
A recently disclosed document alleged that the clique around the cheat committed to pay more than 1,278 million dollars allegedly owed to ConocoPhillips.
According to the website Mision Verdad, ConocoPhillips has even proposed a process to declare Citgo's bankruptcy in order to proceed with its liquidation... and take over its assets.
The fate of Manómeros, a petrochemical plant subsidiary of the Venezuelan Pequiven, based in Colombia, is going through similar paths, although the paths taken by this other company in the hands of the Guaidocistas have been more uneven.
At the time, it was denounced that its usurper management signed a contract -later rescinded- with the Panamanian firm identified as
LionStreet Corp S.A., to which 60 percent of Monómeros' profits would have been assigned, as revealed by the alternative publication Efecto Cocuyo, quoting a former opposition deputy, who spoke of "a corruption scheme".
More recently it is alleged that, in addition, management has failed to comply with some of its obligations under anti-money laundering and business ethics laws, and that cash flow is projected to be negative.
As a result, Monómeros has been declared bankrupt under Colombian law because it lacks the liquidity to meet its obligations, and could be intervened. The Government of Iván Duque would be left with it if the "accelerated rescue plan" led by the Superintendence of Companies of Colombia goes forward, since the plant produces more than 40 percent of the fertilizers used in the fields of that nation.
Experts have described what is happening as "modern piracy". On Thursday, Venezuela's Vice-President for Economy, Tareck Al Aissami, spoke about such interventions, propitiated by the US punitive measures, during a speech in which he ratified the commitment of the Bolivarian State with the rescue of Citgo and Monomeros.
"They devastated the funds of our powerful Citgo. We denounce before the public opinion this illegitimate operation, contrary to International Law, contrary to any kind of domestic legal order," he stated.
The high-ranking official pointed out Juan Guaidó as the main responsible, in complicity with Washington, and added that both they and the appointed administrators of the company destroyed and diverted funds without the knowledge of the Venezuelan State.
So far, there are "assurances" about Citgo given by the real swindler: the United States, which does not bode well.
A ruling by its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), under the Treasury Department, extended the "protection" of the PDVSA subsidiary until January 2022, which has disqualified the courts from dismembering it as a form of payment to plaintiff firms such as Crystallex and ConocoPhillips... for the time being.
But what will happen next?
The point of the negotiation
The seizure of assets abroad, including the gold reserve deposited in the Bank of London, has frozen billions of dollars and is part of the economic and financial sanctions that weaken the Venezuelan Government's maneuvering possibilities, raise the value of the dollar against the bolivar, empty the shelves and hit the pockets of the common citizen.
It is clear that this is the first front for a Government which, thanks to the popular resistance and the loyalty of the armed forces, has come out of other openly interventionist and even military aggressions, including mercenary penetrations through the border, assassination attempts and promotion of internal subversion through the encouragement of violence, in all of which the U.S. has been involved, with the approval of that right-wing opposition which, only now, is coming to the open dialogue in Mexico and is almost totally ready -I am talking about the different parties that make it up- to participate in the November elections.
Being the most unfair flank and the most damaging to the economy and, therefore, to the health of the Venezuelan State, it is understandable that the issue constitutes the hard core at the negotiating table, at least for the Government, because those on the other side have their sights set on the political aspects and what they call "free and verifiable" elections, in the desire to achieve at the ballot box the victory that these have not given them.
This is an aspiration that leaves out the violent scenarios, and therefore, it draws a happy horizon for negotiations, provided that the U.S. finally twists the course of its policy and undoes the economic and financial sanctions.
A good step would be, at least, a pronouncement in that sense on the part of that hard opposition that now, finally, is talking.
This was not achieved in the most recent round of dialogue and negotiations. Let's wait for the next one. There is hope as long as the table is set.