The US Treasury Department has sanctioned the state-owned company Cubametales for its relationship with the Venezuelan regime. In addition, it withdrew sanctions against other companies that have decided to suspend their involvement with the Nicolás Maduro regime.
The Office of Control of Foreign Assets (OFAC) took measures against the Cuban state company responsible for the import and export of oil, due to its continued transportation of crude oil to the island from Venezuela.
“Maduro is clinging to Cuba to stay in power, buying military and intelligence support, in exchange for oil,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in announcing the new sanctions.
According to the United States, the sanctions are intended to interrupt Maduro’s attempts to use oil as a bargaining tool.
Cuban state-owned Cubametales is responsible for guaranteeing 100% of imports and exports of fuels and imports of additives and base oils for lubricants to and from Cuba.
The statement explains that as a result of these sanctions, all assets and interests of Cubametales in the United States will be blocked and must be reported to the OFAC.
Also, the US agency removed the penalties imposed on the Italian maritime cargo firm PB Tankers S.p.A, due to the fact that the company refused to maintain commercial relations with the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
“The Treasury’s decision to remove restrictions on PB tankers and unblock previously sanctioned vessels is a reminder that positive changes in behavior can result in the lifting of sanctions,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. .
The Treasury Department also explained that PB Tankers rescinded its charter agreement with Cubametales to transport oil between Venezuela and Cuba. Likewise, it took additional measures to increase the control of its commercial operations and thus avoid future punishable activities.
Thanks to the efforts to disengage from Venezuela, the assets and interests of the Italian company were unblocked; and all transactions involving US individuals are no longer prohibited with the company.
Cuba depends on Maduro, and Maduro depends on Castro
Cuba is one of the main allies of Venezuela; additionally, it receives about 100,000 barrels of oil every day at preferential prices thanks to several cooperation agreements.
The island pays for oil with sports and cultural consultancies, and with a contingent of doctors that provides primary care known as Barrio Adentro. But what matters most to Maduro is the army of Cuban military and intelligence that surrounds the regime today, protecting it with G2 activities.
Despite US sanctions against the regimes of Cuba and Venezuela, the socialist allies are doing everything possible to evade them and continue with their power.
Last March it was learned that the island continues to send Cuban soldiers to support Maduro. “They are recruiting young people, they are making them commit themselves, to sign up, to go to Venezuela when necessary,” says a Cuban in a video published by journalist Yusnaby Pérez on March 6.
With Venezuela, the Castro regime managed to maintain the financial support that allows it to continue to oppress the Cuban people. The permanence of Chavismo in power is essential for the subsistence of the Castro regime.
Military-oil tankers to evade sanctions
Recently, it was learned that Maduro decided to convert oil tankers into warships after guarding them with active personnel of the Venezuelan Armed Forces (FANB). This, given the possibility that the United States will try to block the shipment of crude oil to Cuba.
The Maduro regime’s decision is a response to the oil embargo imposed by the United States on all shipping lines and vessels that decide to send Venezuelan crude to other countries, especially Cuba.
The decision to militarize the oil tankers was taken after an incident which could be described as a hijacking, in which the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin) on May 1 took by force the Venezuelan oil tanker Manuela Sáenz, forcing it to transport gasoline and diesel to Cuba, contravening international sanctions and the orders of the interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó.