The Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, said that during the first half of 2020 Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship sent to his peer, the Cuban regime, about $348 million of the best Venezuelan oil, Merey, while the Venezuelan people are suffering from an unprecedented complex humanitarian emergency, in which 7 million Venezuelans suffer food insecurity and another 2.3 million severe food insecurity.
In a detailed presentation, Vecchio showed that during the first half of 2020 Maduro sent 33 tankers to Cuba loaded with 13,147,000 barrels of oil, equivalent to an estimated US$ 347,814,995.33.
“That money does not benefit Venezuelans, it only benefits the Cuban regime and Diaz Canel, Nicolas Maduro and front men 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 in return support to Maduro’s regime in intelligence and repression for the oppression of millions of Venezuelans, to torture and execute human rights violations of both civilians and military, as confirmed by the most recent Bachelet report”.
Vecchio stressed that despite the global pandemic, the looting of Venezuelan oil by the Maduro-Diaz Canel alliance did not stop. He explained that in May and June 2020 the delivery increased dramatically.
“The average delivery during the year has been 12.21% of Venezuela’s crude oil exports, but we are talking about Cuba being sent the best Venezuelan light crude, Merey. In May, exports to Cuba rose to 27.2%, $50,296,550.00; and in June Maduro sent to Cuba more than 43% of our exports, equivalent to $95,665,533.33. These are precisely the months in which the Venezuelan people, both those inside the country and the migrants, have been most affected by the COVID 19 pandemic”.
As a revealing fact, the Venezuelan ambassador explained that “those $348 million sent to Cuba are 74% more than the $200 million that the UN has managed to raise so far to address the Venezuelan crisis, and in turn represent 44% of the $800 million that the same UN has estimated necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to the 7 million Venezuelans declared to be food insecure.”
Vecchio added that “with the resources given to Cuba in the first half of 2020, 2.3 million Venezuelans could have been assisted, who unfortunately are still severely food insecure under Maduro’s dictatorship.”
Maduro’s dictatorship generates pain and suffering as a strategy of oppression
The diplomat of the Interim Government of President Juan Guaidó in the United States affirmed without no restraint that Nicolás Maduro is promoting, together with Cuba, a political strategy to generate pain and make all Venezuelans suffer.
“It is clear that Maduro is not interested in solving the crisis, he has never been interested, on the contrary, his only objective is to profit from the pain, suffering and oppression of Venezuelans. A responsible government would have stopped giving away oil to Cuba and would have placed the emphasis and priority on serving Venezuelans, as President Guaidó and the National Assembly did. But Maduro’s only obsession is to continue stealing Venezuela’s resources, and that is why our allies in the United States and Europe have acted through mechanisms that seek to stop that plundering.”
Vecchio recalled that the front man Alex Saab, arrested in Cape Verde, is one of the people responsible for and directly involved in this theft from the nation. “With the excuse of oil for food, Alex Saab became the main operator of a murky international business. The Venezuelan people were brought rotten, expired or bad quality food, which was also overpriced, while internationally the oil was transshipped and the product of these operations was distributed between Cuba and Maduro, through the network of front men”.
Venezuelans as a Priority
Ambassador Vecchio urged Maduro’s regime, instead of asking for the lifting of sanctions as to be able to deepen the plundering of the Venezuelan people, to immediately cease this actions, putting the interests of the Venezuelan people first. “Instead of continuing to give away our oil to Cuba, those resources should be handed over to international humanitarian assistance agencies such as the UN, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Red Cross.”
For the Venezuelan ambassador, resources such as those given to Cuba can and should be invested in social programs through a National Emergency Government, such as the one proposed by Interim President Juan Guaidó, with the support of the US Framework for Venezuela, and the international community.
Among the programs, the following stand out: delivering a direct benefit of $100 per month to more than 1 million health professionals, through the Heroes of Health program during 1 quarter; delivering a direct benefit of $100 per month to more than 3 million Venezuelans, equivalent to more than the entire population declared by the UN to be in extreme food insecurity; paying $100 per month to all teachers in the Venezuelan State for 6 months or $50 per year (Currently a teacher earns $4 per month).
He also specified that $348 million was available for key investments in maintenance and infrastructure, such as investing $1000 per month in basic services (water, electricity, internet, etc.) for each and all 23,000 public schools in Venezuela for 1 year; making the necessary investments in the electricity sector to regularize electricity service and end the drama in the State of Zulia; reactivating gasoline production in Venezuela through key investments in the sector, not in Cuba nor importing 15 ships with gasoline as “bought” from Iran.
In Vecchio’s opinion, “all of this shows that the sanctions are not the ones that prevent Maduro from attending to the crisis. It is a political decision and a strategy of the dictatorship to make the Venezuelans suffer and generate pain. Rather, the sanctions have helped to undermine this perverse mechanism of exchanging oil for repression and oppression of the Venezuelan people.”
He concluded, “only with the exit of the dictatorship will the theft of Venezuela’s resources end and well-being and progress be reactivated.”