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Cash-Strapped Venezuela Offers $5 Million To Harvey Victims

Venezuela is offering five million dollars’ worth of Hurricane Harvey relief to the United States just days after the White House approved a new round of sanctions against Caracas, according to emerging reports.

Citgo, the PDVSA-owned company barred from repatriating any profits back to Venezuela, will be providing the relief funds, according to an article by the Houston Chronicle. The company owns the 157,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Corpus Christi and promises to use revenues from the facility to aid victims of the hurricane, which ravaged western Texas.

“We express our solidarity with the Americans affected by the hurricane,” Venezuela Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said. “When an American fills his tank at a Citgo gas station, he’ll be contributing to the rebuilding of the affected communities.”

Deceased Former President Hugo Chavez also founded a new program to help low income families heat their homes in 2005, but after the collapse of oil prices in 2014, the plan had to be phased out due to lack of funding.

Citgo’s website claims its social welfare program has touched the lives of over 1.8 million Americans through the year 2014.

Trump’s White House will block attempts by the Kremlin to acquire large portions of Venezuela’s Citgo. Prior to this announcement, Rosneft had agreed to acquire half of Citgo’s shares in exchange for a $1.5 billion loan in 2016. Cash-hungry PDVSA approved the deal, leaving American lawmakers concerned that a Russian firm would control roughly five percent of U.S. refining capacity via the buyouts.

The White House approved new sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro’s regime last week, making it harder for Venezuela’s embattled government to secure funds as Caracas spirals towards a default. U.S. President Donald Trump signed the executive order, which prevents American financial institutions from offering new funds to Venezuela or to its state oil company, PDVSA. Citgo will also be barred from repatriating profits – further isolating Caracas from international financial markets.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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