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Cuban oil firm Cubametales has found itself on the receiving end of further US sanctions as the United States attempts to more completely restrict Venezuela oil exports in an effort to overthrow Maduro from the crisis-stricken country, according to a press release from the US Department of Treasury.
The sanctions cover all property and interests in property of Cubametales.
“The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Cubametales, the Cuban state-run oil import and export company, for its continued importation of oil from Venezuela,” the statement from the OFAC read, adding that Cuba took oil and in exchange offered to Venezuela support, “including defense, intelligence, and security assistance” to Maduro’s regime, which it referred to as the “illegitimate regime of former President Nicolas Maduro.”
This barter agreement between Venezuela and Cuba is a long-standing one dating back to 2000.
Cubametales is responsible for 100 percent of oil imports and exports to and from Cuba.
Today’s OFAC action also includes some delisting action of Italian Owned PB Tankers, who had been hit with an earlier round of sanctions for transporting oil from Venezuela in violation of the executive order signed by President Donald Trump. One of its tankers reportedly had delivered oil from Venezuela to Cuba in March. In response to those sanctions, PB Tankers ended its business with Cubametales. The steps it has taken caused the United States to unblock all its previously blocked assets and property.
The press release stressed the point that its sanctions need not be permanent.
Communist Party leader Raul Castro said in April that Cuba would never abandon its Venezuelan ally, no matter what sanctions are levied upon it.
Venezuela managed to increase its oil exports for June by 26 percent despite the sanctions, mostly to China, India, and Singapore.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.