Venezuela’s Maduro Offers Trump a Bonanza for US Oil Companies If He Lifts Sanctions
If Saudi headchoppers can buy him, why not progressive Venezuelans?
The Washington Post spoke for more than an hour with Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro on Friday at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. In the first interview with a major US media outlet since last February, Maduro made an appeal to the US ruling elite to agree to a rapprochement.
The newspaper states that Maduro “suggested that a bonanza could be waiting for U.S. oil companies in this OPEC-member state should President Trump lift sanctions and press the reset button on U.S.-Venezuelan relations.”
According to Maduro, previous approaches to Donald Trump, including a call in 2018 with Republican politician Peter Sessions, in which Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani listened in, were limited. Both, Trump and Maduro confirmed last August that their top officials were holding talks, while US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams offered amnesty to Maduro if he left power.
“If there’s respect between governments, no matter how big the United States is, and if there’s a dialogue, an exchange of truthful information, then be sure we can create a new type of relationship,” Maduro told the Post. He framed the talks as an opportunity for a “win-win situation,” considering “relations in 5, 10 years and the rest of the 21st century.”
This marks the most direct appeal made by Maduro to the White House and American corporate interests since his 2018 re-election was not recognized by Washington, which soon after launched a regime change operation led by legislator Juan Guaidó.
Maduro’s appeals demonstrate the bourgeois character of his government, which defends the property and interests of Venezuelan capitalists, whose businesses ultimately depend on access to US and European markets and credit.
In a lame attempt to proclaim his independence, Maduro then played down the importance of the sanctions and told the Post, “Do you want me to tell you the truth? I don’t care even a little about what Europe does, or about what the U.S. does.” However, this didn’t prevent him from protesting that “Trump has had terrible advisers on Venezuela.”
Building on August 2017 sanctions on trading Venezuelan bonds affecting the oil industry, the US imposed draconian sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA in January 2019 and a virtual economic embargo on any deals with the Venezuelan government in August. The Center for Economic and Policy Research attributed tens of thousands of deaths to the sanctions. The UN reports also show an accelerated pace of migration during this period, with over 4.8 million Venezuelans leaving the country since 2015.
At one point in the interview, Maduro referred to 15 foreign partners in oil production and transportation that have saved the economy from total collapse. Not only is one of these partners the US-based Chevron, which has received sanctions waivers to continue its partnership with PDVSA, but the US Treasury has avoided sanctioning the Russian firm Rosneft, the Chinese state-owned CNPC and several Indian firms, inasmuch as proceeds are used to repay debts.
As a result, the six-year free fall of the Venezuelan economy has begun to slow. Oil exports jumped in November-December 2019 to levels not seen since last February.
On the other hand, hyperinflation has also begun to slow down, largely due to an informal dollarization of the economy openly promoted by Maduro, who called it an “escape valve.” According to the firm Ecoanalítica, 53 percent of transactions at the end of 2019 occurred in US dollars.
Source: World Socialist Website