The United States has just imposed a series of sanctions on the PDVSA, the state company tasked with exploiting and selling the hydrocarbons belonging to Venezuela. According to the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, “the Maduro Regime” was making use of the PDVSA to “control, manipulate and rob the people of Venezuela”.
When the US Treasury Secretary talks about “manipulating the people” he is referring to the fact that the Bolivarian Republic was redistributing the profits of PDVSA among the country’s poor. Under the new US sanctions, from now on, US companies will no longer be able to pay the constitutional authorities of the Bolivarian Republic for Venezuelan oil. Instead, payment must be made to the self-declared “Acting President” Juan Guaidó.
A collateral effect of this measure is that CITGO, the US subsidiary of PDVSA, will not be able to pay off the loans that the Russian giant Rosneft had granted it. Due to this, Rosneft could seize the three refineries that CITGO operates in the United States as well as its oil pipelines in this country. But the Pentagon will surely be opposed for “reasons of national security”.
Since PDVSA was established in 1976, the personnel of this company have lived detached from the rest of the Venezuelan people, with their eyes firmly fixed on Washington. They are completely against the Bolivarian Movement.
During the Presidency of Hugo Chávez, PDVSA slowed down its production but its profits increased. Although the Venezuelan state wanted to provide refineries with facilities to treat the shale oil that had just been discovered, it restrained its zeal in pursuing this activity: President Chavez feared that such initiative might provoke a US invasion.
Under the Presidency of Nicolas Maduro, a series of scandals followed, crippling the PDVSA: the managing team siphoned off millions and transferred them to Andorra before the State managed to discover the financial manipulation and prosecute the criminals. Most of the PDVSA’s employees support the coup of Juan Guaidó and sabotage the work of PDVSA by not turning up at work. This has triggered a fall in production which was reduced to a fifth of its capacities.