Maduro accuses US of "biggest theft in history" over Citgo sale
The Venezuelan President highlights that opposition leader Juan Guaido was responsible for backing such a decision.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused on Thursday US President Joe Biden's administration of theft over the proposed sale of oil refiner Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and Venezuela's most important overseas asset.
This comes after a court in the American state of Delaware ruled that shares of Citgo can be sold to creditors to pay off Venezuela's debt with the endorsement of the US Treasury of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
This implies that US authorities will seek to lift immunizing measures on Citgo from seizure to force through the sale of the refiner.
"What Joe Biden's government is doing is one of the thefts, one of the biggest lootings that has ever taken place against any nation in the world and we reject it," Maduro said.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez likewise pointed out on Wednesday that the US court ruling is "absolutely null and void," and that the "judicial auction of Citgo" enables "fraud and authorizes the self-proclaimed 'National Assembly of 2015' to initiate negotiation processes with the PDVSA's creditors."
"We will not recognize any type of payment agreement to any creditor that has not been led by the Venezuelan State," Rodriguez stressed.
Rechazamos y repudiamos enérgicamente el robo de CITGO, por parte del gobierno de los EE. UU. y la Plataforma Unitaria. ¡Es un robo descarado al pueblo de Venezuela! Una empresa que desde hace cuatro años fue secuestrada. pic.twitter.com/uh2sGoVDlF— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) May 2, 2023
The Venezuelan President further highlighted the fact that opposition leader Juan Guaido was responsible for backing such a decision.
After the 2018 presidential election that regenerated Nicolas Maduro as President, Guaido declared himself Venezuela’s alleged "interim president" in 2019. However, US-backed opposition lawmakers voted in January to strip him of that role and instead appoint a committee to run what they call their "interim government".
In late April 2023, Colombia hosted a summit in Bogota in which delegations from 20 different countries - including the US - took part in to debate easing sanctions on Venezuela if guarantees for the opposition were granted in the upcoming 2024 elections.
Maduro stressed that the decision on Citgo is aimed at undermining such efforts and that the theft was already schemed between Guaido and the US before the Bogota conference kicked off last month.
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