Nicolás Maduro has ordered the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, to move its offices from Portugal to Russia. In the middle of the power dispute that Venezuela is going through, it’s convenient for Maduro to move his biggest source of income to a country that does not recognize the constitutional president Juan Guaidó.
Since the United States gave the order to freeze the assets of the members of the illegitimate government’s cabinet, then the businessmen who feed him, Maduro is seeing the prospects for his oil market limited.
“Europe does not give guarantees of respect for our assets,” Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodríguez said during a joint press conference with Russian Vice President Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
Based on this fundamental concern, the dictatorship decided today, March 1, 2019, that the offices of PDVSA would be moved from Lisbon to Moscow.
Portugal recognizes Guaidó as president, Russia does not
Portugal has already announced that Guaidó is the legitimate president of Venezuela. This decision implies a financial risk for the dictatorship of Maduro and its allies, since they could lose the ability to sell state resources critical to the survival of the Chavista regime.
Russia does not recognize Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela. Therefore, Maduro and his cabinet are still recognized as those who manage state resources, so they can continue trading on Russian soil.
Meanwhile, most countries in Europe and America have already recognized Guaidó as president, according to the Venezuelan Constitution, so they dismiss Maduro as illegitimate, blocking their bank funds, and limiting their financial transactions.
“Armed robbery” is how Delcy Rodríguez refers to the freeze on Venezuela’s assets in Western banks. These are the same countries that she denounces as “capitalist,” but apparently she has no problem with depositing her government’s assets in capitalist banks.
The Bank of England was the first to deny Maduro the right to withdraw USD $1.2 billion in solid gold, equivalent to 1/6 of the Central Bank’s reserves.
The next day the United States announced that only Juan Guaidó has the authority to manage state funds.
The purpose of the economic sanctions is to reduce the funds directed to the Armed Forces that not only repress the population that is rising up against an illegitimate government, like the one of Maduro, but actively collaborating with the current regime to maintain their stranglehold on power.
Washington is not limited to merely breaking bilateral relations, but warns that there will be sanctions for those who trade with Maduro.
A Russian aircraft previously spirited 20 tons of gold from Venezuela
Russia rejects the sanctions against Maduro, and cooperated with Maduro on a transfer to Moscow of 20 tons of gold on a plane from the Russian airliner Norwind.
The transfer was carried out on the same day that the regime was accused of kidnapping children in order to serve in the ranks of Chavista militias, or “colectivos,” faithful to Maduro.
And Citgo, the subsidiary of PDVSA that sells gasoline in the United States, announced days ago that it would break relations with Venezuela in view of the sanctions imposed by the government.
Since February 13, Juan Guaidó is in charge of this entity, one of the largest refineries in the world, and has appointed a new Citgo board of directors. After this appointment, the company cut off all ties with PDVSA and the dictatorship, which also affects Maduro economically and strengthens President Guaidó.
The circumstances indicate that the transfer of PDVSA from Portugual to Russia would be a preventive strategy on the part of Maduro and his allies, in order to not lose in Europe the funds they have already lost in North America, following the recognition of Juan Guaidó as interim president.