Unelected U.S.-backed coup leader Juan Guaidó immediately moved to try to restructure Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and seek financing from the neoliberal IMF, reports Ben Norton of The Gray Zone.
US Annoited ‘President’ Moves to
Seize National Petroleum Company
By Ben Norton
The Gray Zone
The right-wing opposition leader that the United States is trying to undemocratically install as Venezuela’s president immediately set his sights on the country’s state-owned oil company, which he is hoping to restructure and move toward privatization. He is also seeking money from the notorious International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fund his unelected government.
On January 23, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the little-known, U.S.-educated opposition politician Juan Guaidó as the supposed “interim president” of Venezuela. Within 48 hours, Guaidó quickly tried to seize control of Venezuela’s major US-based oil refiner and use its revenue to help bankroll his US-backed coup regime.
Guaidó is attempting to fire the directors of Citgo Petroleum, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, and seeks to appoint his own new board.
Citgo is the largest purchaser of Venezuelan oil, although crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have prevented the company from sending revenue to Venezuela, starving the government of funding.
Citing US officials, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration’s strategy “is to use the newly declared interim government as a tool to deny Maduro the oil revenue from the United States that provides Venezuela virtually all of its incoming cash.”
Move Toward Privatizing Venezuela’s Oil
Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. But leftist presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro have over the past two decades resisted attempts by US oil companies to exploit the South American nation’s plentiful natural resources.