Venezuela’s opposition will use oil export proceeds collected in a U.S.-based fund to finance its attempts to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reports, citing Carlos Paparoni, a Venezuelan MP from the opposition.
The fund, about which Paparoni gave no details, was set up after last month Washington imposed a new set of sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, which included cutting off its access to sales proceeds for the crude it sells to U.S. refiners.
U.S. government officials have said there is a way for PDVSA to avoid penalties, and this way is to recognize Juan Guaido, the leader of the opposition and president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, as the legitimate head of state in Venezuela. Guaido declared himself interim president last month and called for new elections.
Many consider the military the key to a change in government in the crisis-stricken South American country that’s home to the world’s largest oil reserves, but for now the army is loyal to Maduro, it seems. Only one general, according to Reuters, officially declared his support for Juan Guaido to media and urged others to do the same.
Washington has also called on Venezuela’s senior command to switch allegiance from Maduro to Guaido, with national security advisor John Bolton saying on Twitter that those who did that would be excluded from sanctions that the United States had earlier imposed on the Venezuelan army.
“If not, the international financial circle will be closed off completely,” Bolton said in the tweet.
Guaido has the support of many South American governments, most of the European Union, and Canada, besides the United States. Maduro, on the other hand, can still count on support from China and Russia, although there are rumors that the Kremlin is becoming warier of the quickly deteriorating situation in Venezuela and the declining public support for Maduro.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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