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US Sanctions Rosneft For Doing Business With Venezuela

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US Sanctions Rosneft For Doing Business With Venezuela

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On February 18th, the US sanctioned Russian oil company Rosneft for doing business with Venezuela’s government under President Nicholas Maduro.

A senior administration official said that the designation of Rosneft Trading S.A., a subsidiary of the Russia’s Rosneft Oil Company, was “another major step forward toward achieving maximum pressure.”

The sanctions also target Rosneft’s chairman and president, Didier Casimiro, whom an official described as “the main European intermediary to help [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro skirt sanctions.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, “As the primary broker of global deals for the sale and transport of Venezuela’s crude oil, Rosneft Trading has propped up the dictatorial Maduro, enabling his repression of the Venezuelan people.”

According to unnamed US administration officials, the financial support from Rosneft “is what the Maduro regime has been using to sustain its military forces, its oppressive forces to oppress the people of Venezuela” and sanctions should “have a significant impact on the Maduro regime.”

State Department special representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said on February 18th that he “would not say that any individual step can be calculated to bring an end to the crisis.”

“But I think this is a very significant step and I think you will see companies all over the world in the oil sector now move away from dealing with Rosneft Trading,” he said during a briefing at the State Department.

He further said that the sanctions would hurt Maduro’s finances.

Earlier, on February 7th, the US Treasury sanctioned Venezuela’s state-owned airline Conviasa, in further attempts to renew pressure.

All of these are a result of a renewed push by the Trump administration to consolidate power under US-Proclaimed Interim President Juan Guaido, as he returned in Venezuela.

“We’re in Caracas now. I bring back with me the commitment of the free world, ready to help us regain democracy and freedom,” Guaido wrote on Twitter, before tweeting a picture of himself at passport control that was captioned “HOME.”

Shortly after returning, Guaido was met with Venezuela’s biggest corruption case of all time.

On February 15th, Venezuela’s Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez presented new evidence on a series of corruption acts in which the U.S.-backed opposition lawmaker Juan Gaido is the main protagonist.

Rodriguez unveiled a corruption case linking Guaido with Alejandro Betancourt-Lopez, who faces trials for laundering US$1.2 billion in the United States and US$4 billion in Europe.

Minister Rodriguez recalled that some details of this information had been previously published by Reuters and CNN​​​​​​, although the press would appear not to show that plot of personal connections.

Nevertheless, “we will insist on the denunciation of the greatest plot of corruption that Venezuela’s history has known,” he said and highlighted that mainstream private media hide “Guaido’s brutal robbery. They still have a hard time holding back the stench of so much rot.”

According to Rodriguez, Alejandro Betancourt-Lopez, who is the cousin of the opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez, would have financed “Popular Will”, the right-wing party from which Guaido separated on January 5th, once his dealings became internationally known.

Guaido, however, was ousted out of the opposition party, after they, too, realized he was heavily corrupted.

“Guaido, videos of your dad talking to you, videos of Betancourt-Lopez talking to you, and videos of you speaking wonders of Betancourt Lopez, are going to be leaked,” Rodriguez said.

The Minister also indicated that his country has sued the U.S. government for “the theft of our foreign assets and bank deposits… The looting equals up to US$116 billion.”​​​​​​​

Guaido has very apparently lost all steam, and even meeting with US President Donald Trump in the US, touring around and going back to Venezuela, it appears that very little has changed.

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, on his part, accused Trump of of plotting to invade Venezuela with the support of regional allies.

“We don’t want war; we don’t want violence; we don’t want terrorism, but we are not afraid of military combat and we are going to guarantee peace,” said Maduro in a televised speech, surrounded by the armed forces high command.

“Donald Trump was convinced that it is easy to get into Venezuela,” said the socialist leader, accusing the US of having assembled a “mercenary force” to invade.

Trump vowed to “smash” Maduro’s rule in his annual State of the Union address to Congress, which was also attended by Guaido, earlier this month.

Trump branded Maduro as a “tyrant” during his speech and called Guaido the “legitimate president of Venezuela.”

Having returned from his 3-week international tour, Guaido claims that a change of government in Venezuela was “inevitable.”

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  • AM Hants

    The US sanctions are not even legal. Why does the WTO and UN stay mute?

    • Black Waters

      Hasbara troll aka *Jake321* (from Hasbara HQ, with his oily fingers) already disliked your comment, it seems that you have touched deeper inside him with such a precise comment.

      • AM Hants

        Haha, and only asked a question. ‘precious’, so comes to mind.

        • FlorianGeyer

          Questions, Questions, AM.

          When is a question acceptable to the Common Purpose crowd ?

          Only when the answer is pre-agreed :)

          • Jake321

            You have a problem with someone answering a question? Now that is weird. If answering a question is not expected or wanted, why ask it?

          • Ross

            Look, you are perfectly entitled to ask any question you like as long as it is not transphobic, homophobic, racist, sexist, ageist, abilityist, heightest, anti-semitic, anti-climate change, anti-immigration or pro-white privilege, because if you do ask any of the above you are a FASCIST!

          • FlorianGeyer

            Ah, I understand now. :)

      • Jake321

        Nahhhhhhhh…I’m in California. Oh, yes that comment was precise as well as wrong and ignorant.

    • Jake321

      Maybe their actual attorneys disagree with someone practicing law without a license like you? But also, maybe it’s because the WTO is dominated by the US and the US is by far the biggest contributor to the UN budget.

      • Ilya

        Yes yes, might makes right, money is power, and nations of people, not laws, are the norm.

        To embrace that though..

        • Jake321

          If you missed it, I gave two explanations. One based on law and one based on power and money. In the international sphere that tends to be how things work. Just telling it like it is and why AM’s comment is not only wrong but ignorant.

          • Ilya

            Under international law, akhem, sanctions unsanctioned by the Security Council are illegal. That the US ignores the law, meaning it believes might makes right. That it destroys the UN framework through the watering down of the Security Council with its OPCW play, shows the same disregard.

            Money and not agreements are what works in the international sphere exactly because that is how the US plays the field – corrupting the system through coin. Personally I wish Russia and China stood up, quit the UN, started a neo-UN with almost the same charter the same day, but made it democratic and not top down like the Security council is now – one permanent seat and one veto at the Security Council, for the General Assembly of nations.

          • Jake321

            Nothing is illegal under the law till it is found so in a court of jurisdiction. When did the UNSC find any of these US sanctions illegal? Oh, Soviet Russia and Mao’s China tried to make it without having to play in the US’s global economic sandbox. And how did that turn out?

  • Dick Von Dast’Ard

    I’d send Dmitriy Donskoi (TK-208) on a diplomacy mission to Puerto Caballo.

    Making sure the crew get plenty of cultural exchange and fresh air.

  • Samuel Vanguard

    us is sanction mad

  • St. Augustine

    I hate to go down the personal road, but isn’t Abrams one of the most devilish weirdos you’ve ever seen? Yeesh.

  • You can call me Al

    Well done Rosneft.