Lunch Break: Rosneft Pays the Price for Helping Maduro Out

Juan Guaidó celebrated the American sanctions to Rosneft and presented a draft law in the National Assembly which would allow to transparently manage the funds recovered thanks to the measure.

Photo: RT, retrieved.
  • On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Rosneft Trading S.A.—a company that sells foreign hydrocarbons based in Switzerland—and its president, Didier Casimiro, for his ties to Nicolás Maduro’s regime in the oil business. Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Treasury, said that Rosneft and its president have sold and transported Venezuelan oil, violating the sanctions imposed by the U.S. in January 2019. OFAC revealed that in January 2020, Rosneft Trading S. A., acting on behalf of Pdvsa, sent 2 million barrels of Merey-16 oil from Venezuela to Western Africa. Aligned with the measure by OFAC, “all assets and interests property of Rosneft Trading S. A. and Didier Casimiro in the U.S.” must be reported and will remain blocked.
  • Caretaker President Juan Guaidó celebrated sanctions against Rosneft S.A. and said that helping Maduro’s regime will have consequences, because it’s a criminal act, supporting the death of Venezuelan children, the fact that there are 5 million refugees and many more have been pushed to hunger and misery. The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the sanctions and said that these measures won’t affect Russian relations with Venezuela, Syria and Iran. Jorge Arreaza, Nicolás’s Foreign minister, said on Twitter that these new sanctions “violate the rights to free commerce and free enterprise” (!) and mentioned that he will add it to the accusation he made before the ICC.
  • Juan Guaidó presented a draft of the Special Law for Funds for Liberating Venezuela and Seeing to Cases of Health at Risk in the National Assembly. He said that this law is a tool to face those who have ruthlessly governed the country without being held accountable for years. The law regulates the resources recovered by the U.S. sanctions on the regime. “We have requested the OFAC, releasing these funds, and also the OAS for comptrollership.” The amount, according to his statement, is 40 to 80 million dollars. Alfonso Marquina, president of the AN’s Finance Commission, asked for the management of these resources with austerity and considering the emergency. The programs that will receive funds are: defense and strengthening of the AN, implementing foreign services, backing social sectors, severe cases of health, security and defense, and communications. 
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: “Today, we sanctioned Russian oil company  Rosneft Trading S. A. and we cut Maduro’s main line to evade our sanctions against the Venezuelan oil sector. Those who help the corrupt regime and allow repression of Venezuelan people will face their responsibility.” President Donald Trump reiterated that he’s closely following the Venezuelan situation and said the measure against Rosneft S.A. was a strong sanction. Elliott Abrams, special representative for Venezuela, warned other companies about helping the regime, if they continue to do so, they’ll face similar sanctions. “Everyone who participates in transactions with Rosneft could be sanctioned” and added that there’s an easy and quick solution to this: “Allow a democratic transition and you’ll have a free reign, so everyone can do business in normal commerce terms.” Vice-President Mike Pence said “the U.S. will keep supporting Venezuelans until they have their freedom back.”
  • The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence condemned that at least 5,076 children, teens and young adults died in Venezuela in 2019 (14 deaths a day, on average and 6 deaths because of acts by police officers). 
  • The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict registered 618 protests in the country in January. 64% of those were demanding economic, social and environmental rights and are tied to better working conditions, quality of public services, education, health and food. 
  • Fedeagro president Aquiles Hopkins said that Pequiven won’t produce or import fertilizers this year, and explained that this will have a significant impact on Venezuelan producers, who can’t get credits in the country because banks don’t have the resources and can’t get credits abroad because of the state’s debts with foreign suppliers. “Producing here has never been a priority,” said Hopkins. 
  • According to a copy of a contract with Goznak obtained by Bloomberg, Nicolás would have negotiated with a state-owned cash printing company in Russia, buying 300 million banknotes in bolivars, from 10,000 to 50,000 bolivars (0,14 to 0,68 dollars). The cash would be worth 143 million dollars, meaning a fifth of the money circulating in Venezuela.
  • The judge that received Partido Popular’s accusation about Delcy Rodríguez and José Luis Ábalos’s meeting, ordered to safeguard the footage captured by AENA on January 20th. Not complying with his ruling will be considered a crime of disobedience. The judicial mandate counts with the Prosecutor’s Office support. Minister Ábalos said he’d rather the footage were released because it’d clarify a lot, but that can’t happen because of the Law of Data Protection. He highlighted, several times, that he’s “very calm” about what he did and how this has been unfolding. Vozpópuli, the outlet that published the news about 40 suitcases being unloaded from Delcy Rodríguez’s plane, said that the security officer from the company Ilunion, who witnessed the meeting between Ábalos and Delcy Rodríguez was removed from his post. 
  • The French Foreign Minister rejected Maduro’s accusations about France meddling in Venezuelan internal affairs. 
  • Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa rejected TAP Portugal’s activities being suspended for 90 days and called the action “unacceptable, incomprehensible and inadmissible.” 
  • Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said that he’s using diplomatic channels to try to re-establish TAP’s flights as soon as possible. 
  • OAS secretary general Luis Almagro called for humanitarian aid for “seven million people who are at risk of hunger” in Venezuela, in the conference about democracy he held in Panama. 
  • The Foreign Ministry issued a statement ratifying the Geneva Agreement of 1966, the legal framework that allows Venezuela’s claim over the Esequibo.

Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.