Venezuela's Opposition Leader To Appoint Parallel PDVSA, Citgo Boards

Jeannie Matthews
January 30, 2019

The United States should bear responsibility for the consequences of its sanctions on Venezuela, China said on Tuesday, after Washington imposed sweeping restrictions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA. "Be on alert, Venezuela!"

On January 23, 696 people were detained across the country, the highest daily number of detentions in Venezuela in 20 years.

Russian Deputy Finance Minister said on Tuesday said he expects Venezuela will have problems servicing its $3.15 billion in sovereign debt to Moscow.

The Kremlin has now warned these sanctions on amounted to illegal and open interference in the Latin American country's domestic affairs.

Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil producer, operates in Venezuela and has issued loans to PDVSA, backed by oil supplies.

Vice President Mike Pence also will meet Tuesday with a new Venezuelan envoy appointed by Guaido, Carlos Alfredo Vecchio, a White House official said.

Even though the Venezuelan military has shown no sign of abandoning Maduro, Bolton said: "Our assessment based on numerous contacts on the ground is that the rank and file of the Venezuelan military is acutely aware of the desperate economic conditions in the country and we think they look for ways to support the National Assembly government".

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"We are sure we can achieve a peaceful transition - a transition and eventually free elections", he said in the Spanish-language interview, which was translated into English.

Meantime, the USA sanctions make a default on PDVSA's 2020 notes, the one bond Venezuela has continued to service while skipping more than $9 billion in payments, all but guaranteed, according to Francisco Rodriguez, the chief economist at Torino Capital in NY. On the same day, the United States recognized Guaido as the interim leader of Venezuela.

Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela last week as protests against Nicolas Maduro intensified. "It is hard, impossible to give a different assessment".

Citgo "will be able to continue to operate provided that any funds that would otherwise go to the oil company instead will go into a blocked account in the United States".

Britain is yet to formally recognise Mr Guaido, but last week Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, said Mr Guaido was "the right person to take Venezuela forward". "They should bear responsibility for the serious consequences from this", he said.

He also moved to set up new boards of directors for Citgo and PDVSA, which could allow his parallel government to collect money held in escrow accounts in the United States.

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