The ambassador to the United States from the Venezuela interim government, Carlos Vecchio, assured this Thursday, July 23, that during the first semester of 2020, the government of Nicolas Maduro sent to Cuba about 348 million dollars of the highest-grade Venezuelan oil, Merey, despite the humanitarian crisis in the country.
Not only is Maduro sending his best oil to Cuba, but he is also sending almost half (43%-plus) of production in June 2020, Vecchio said.
Maduro has sent more in oil to Cuba than the $200 million the UN has granted Venezuela to deal with the Coronavirus-compounded humanitarian crisis declared in 2019, Vecchio noted.
Most Venezuelan crude is heavy or extra heavy, which means it sells at a discount against benchmark crudes such as West Texas Intermediate. Merey, however, is easy to refine and very desirable.
Vecchio explained that during the first half of 2020, Maduro sent to Cuba, 33 tankers loaded with 13,147,000 barrels of oil, equivalent to almost $347,814,995.33. Meanwhile, Venezuela is under a grave gasoline shortage.
“That money (from oil sales) does not go to Venezuelans; it is received only by the Cuban regime and Diaz Canel, Nicolás Maduro, and frontmen like Alex Saab. There is nothing that the Cuban dictatorship can give us that compensates for the amount of oil and products that we send them. Cuba has only given support to the Maduro regime in intelligence and repression, for the oppression of millions of Venezuelans and human rights violations to both civilians and military, as confirmed the most recent Bachelet report,” he said.
Vecchio noted that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Venezuela oil exports to Cuba not only continued but increased dramatically.
“The average delivery during the year has been 12.21 % of Venezuela crude oil exports, but we are talking about the best Venezuelan light crude oil sent to Cuba. In May, exports to Cuba rose to 27.2%; and in June, Maduro sent Cuba more than 43% of our exports, equivalent to 95,665,533.33 dollars. These are, precisely, the months when Venezuelan people inside the country and the migrants, have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Vecchio added that “with the resources delivered to Cuba in the first half of 2020, 2.3 million Venezuelans could receive assisted, who unfortunately are still severely food insecure under the Maduro dictatorship”.
Venezuela’s interim president, Juan Guaidó, was quick to respond to the press release from the Venezuelan Embassy in the US through a tweet addressing the Maduro government officials as hypocrites.
He criticized that there were no resources to strengthen hospital care, but there was oil for the Cuban regime. “The dictatorship prefers to privilege its accomplices,” he said.