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U.S. Warns The World Against Buying Venezuelan Oil

Venezuela demonstrations

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned countries and companies against buying crude oil from Venezuela, after the Latin American country’s Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said during a surprise visit to India that Venezuela wants to sell more oil to the fast-growing Indian market.

In a tweet with a Bloomberg article on Venezuelan-Indian oil relations attached, Bolton wrote: “Nations and firms that support Maduro’s theft of Venezuelan resources will not be forgotten. The United States will continue to use all of its powers to preserve the Venezuelan people’s azsets and we encourage all nations to work together to do the same.”

“We have a good relationship with India and we want to continue this relationship. The relationships with India will continue, the trade will continue and we will simply expand all the trade and relationship,” Indian outlet Business Today quoted the Venezuelan minister as saying on the sidelines of the Petrotech conference in India this week.

At the start of the Venezuelan political crisis last month, Indian media reported that the Asian country continues to be one of the main buyers of Venezuelan crude oil. Indian refiners keep buying more than 400,000 bpd of oil from the troubled Latin American country, which is sitting on the world’s largest crude oil resources.

In separate Venezuela-and-sanctions-related news, Bulgarian security officials said on Wednesday that they had blocked several bank accounts in a local bank that have received millions of euros from Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA, on which the U.S. slapped sweeping sanctions at the end of January.

Bulgaria’s security services and prosecutor’s office were tipped off by the U.S. about those money transfers and have blocked transfers out of the bank accounts.

“We have established that there were money transfers from Venezuela, namely from the state oil company of Venezuela to these accounts,” Reuters quoted Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov as telling reporters.

The security officials will be looking into those accounts before deciding whether to press charges on money laundering, the prosecutor noted.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • analee Potrament on February 14 2019 said:
    India recently has been striving to become a world leader by building their new capital in Amaravati. They are destroying the environment and lives of the poor for they wealth of DEVELOPERS in the name of moving to the future. Oil is the only way these countries can succeed. No country with OIL alone will be sucessful without GREED.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 13 2019 said:
    India which has defied US sanctions on Iran and continued to buy Iranian crude in increasing volumes will again defy US sanctions on Venezuela and continue to buy Venezuelan crude. India will neither kowtow to anybody nor will it recognize national sanctions, only UN Sanctions.

    The US sanctions on Venezuela and the threats by John Bolton, the current National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump against countries buying Venezuelan crude oil are starting to look like a US-supported coup aiming at regime change with designs on the world’s largest proven oil reserves estimated at 303 billion barrels and growing.

    The late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was once quoted saying about the United States that “living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt”. For Venezuela, sitting on the world’s largest proven oil reserves next to the world’s largest consumer of oil must be a cause of worry. No matter how Venezuela’s neighbour is good and neighbourly, it must still cast some envious eyes on such unbelievably huge oil wealth.

    Since the discovery of oil in great quantities in the Arab Gulf region, the United States has been ogling Middle East oil. The United States has even based its Central Command in Qatar to ensure that it controls global oil supplies on the premise that whoever controls these supplies and oil’s shipping lanes and chokepoints controls the global economy. I have argued in my book (Over a Barrel, 2004, p.191) that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was undoubtedly about oil. Even the veteran ex-chairman of the US Federal Bank Alan Greenspan has admitted in his memoirs (The Age of Turbulence, 2007, page 463) that the Iraq war was largely about oil. And who was the most fanatical architect of the invasion of Iraq and the fiercest advocator of regime change other than John Bolton.

    Is it, therefore, surprising that he is now the real force behind the attempted illegal grab of power in Venezuela. John Bolton openly said on national TV that “the sanctions will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It would be good for the people of Venezuela. It would be good for the people of the United States. We both have a lot at stake here making this come out the right way. A decimated oil industry in the nation with the largest proven oil reserves in the world would appear to serve some alternative interests beyond democracy and human rights.” There you have it.

    The United States didn’t even bother to camouflage its involvement in this coup. In a tweet, John Bolton urged Venezuelan military officers to back interim President Juan Guaidó or suffer the consequences. He even offered relief from punishing sanctions to Venezuelan military officers who betray Nicolás Maduro.

    There are two conflicting views about the current crisis in Venezuela. One is of an authoritarian regime led by Nicolas Maduro clinging to power against the wishes of popular forces arrayed around the new self-declared interim President Guaidó. The other is of Venezuela facing a coup aiming at regime change backed by the US.

    As with most complex situations, neither of these views fully explain what is going on in the country. Indeed, for the majority of Venezuelans – thousands of whom have again taken to the streets across the country in peaceful demonstrations – ideology and politics pale in comparison to the misery and the economic impact they are experiencing in their daily lives. Many face hunger, seeing family members flee the country (upwards of 3 million have left the country) and rampant hyperinflation.

    And despite the much publicised US sanctions, the economic crisis in Venezuela is home grown. While extremely critical of the corruption and bureaucracy that pervade the government, people still express the willingness to rise up against the perceived threat of “Yankee imperialism”.

    Domestically, for the moment, the Venezuelan military appears to be standing behind Maduro. But the geopolitical fault lines are also significant.

    US sanctions don’t harm Venezuela’s leaders, they only deepen the misery and the humanitarian crisis facing the people of Venezuela. New free elections where the voice of the Venezuelan people is heard loud and clear without US interference is the way forward for Venezuela.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Nafiu Sulyman on February 13 2019 said:
    I find it kind of strange the way the US meddles with other country's internal politics. Let's hope this Venezuelean Political rollercoaster comes to an end as soon as possible for the sake of everyone.

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