Corruption and sabotage in Venezuela’s oil industry: substantive issues (special analysis)


December 5, 2017 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos – translated from Mision Verdad.

CARACAS, Venezuela – The arrests of Eulogio Del Pino and Nelson Martínez, the last leaders in the presidency of the state oil company and in the Ministry of Petroleum, follow solid findings that involve them in a web of corruption and intervention aimed at paralyzing the processes operatives of PDVSA. This has resulted in the placement of the main national industry in a framework of extreme vulnerability.

Below are 15 clues that show the transversal nature of the research being carried out, its political objectives and medium and long-term projections:

1. The simultaneous arrest of two ex-ministers of the same entity had not been known in the history of Venezuela. Never the Venezuelan oil industry had known (after decades of corruption) arrests at the highest level, nor ever any president of the state had had to deal with the Venezuelan justice. The arrests of Del Pino and Martínez occur within a framework of apprehensions of 16 senior managers and executives, including front-line managers. Nothing similar had happened in 100 years of national oil industry.

2. Chavismo assumes the political responsibility of reversing the framework of relations that were consolidated through acts of corruption and sabotage in PDVSA. The core purpose is to protect the assets of the nation, plunged into a context of serious vulnerability by two fundamental factors. On the one hand, the fall in oil prices coupled with a pattern of sanctions and financial asphyxia (external variant). On the other hand, the induced drop in production and slowdown in the industry’s operating processes (internal variant).

3. The corrupt plot went far beyond being a for-profit compromise. This affected the core processes of PDVSA, to the point of compromising the stability of national assets and with clear signs of having been designed to make PDVSA and the country fall, just in peak economic times.

4. PDVSA has three fundamental activities divided into departments: Exploration and production of crude oil, Refining and, finally, Trade and Supply. This set of activities, articulated for the internal and external spheres, was severely affected by decision and action (almost with surgical precision) of actors within the state, co-opted by active factors in a political conspiracy with the aim of dismembering and dismantling PDVSA from inside.

5. The practice of accelerated destruction of state oil industries is not new to subject them to a situation of operational and financial vulnerability, by means of orders directed from the factors of international power and power. The purpose is to subject the companies and resources of the countries to new designs. In Latin America there are two cases that have taken place in the last three years. Petrobras, which has lost 85% of its value from 2008 to the present through operations of internal corruption and planned and massive capital flight that have placed this company on the verge of privatization. On the other hand, Pemex, dismembered in its operational processes and has implemented reforms to deliver its operations and deposits to transnational companies, specifying an enormous loss of sovereignty for Mexico.

6. They are similar plots to those that PDVSA lived during the “oil opening” undertaken since 1993, when in favor of the privatization of the company deliberately managerial factors dramatically increased the operating costs of the industry to devalue, privatized and transnationalized key operations and mounted massive corruption operations to declare the alleged invasion of the state management of oil activity.

- Advertisement -

7. Venezuela anticipates the judicialization of the Venezuelan conflict, through the action of the United States on Venezuelan assets and that it would be foreseen in the short term, endangering national assets in that country, such as the state subsidiary Citgo. The arrest of Nelson Martinez and the staff of that company occurs for putting at risk national assets against vulture funds and other actors interested in confiscating this conglomerate, articulated with the US policy of overpowering resources and divesting countries of their assets. The fight against corruption led by President Nicolás Maduro and executed by the Attorney General of the Republic Tarek William Saab dismantles a section of a serious threat.

8. The case of Petrozamora and others that could take place on the “Petro” conglomerate of PDVSA is extremely important. Eulogio Del Pino has been arrested in this case. The “Petro” companies are mixed companies, with a majority shareholding in PDVSA but with foreign participation. In these subsidiaries, the financial and operational readiness of key partners such as Russia and China converge. The denunciations point out that through the actions of corruption and sabotage, Petrozamora’s operations were affected, to the point of compromising the interests of partners that interact with Venezuela in the political and financial sphere vis-à-vis the world-system, in this case, the Federation Russian.

It is the expression of a high level of affectation to relations that represent the Venezuelan geopolitical arc, which is projected towards an alliance with the factors of the emerging world: pivots of the support of Venezuela against the US siege. So we are in front of great signals. They are not acts of corruption: they are acts of affectation of the national interests to the point of inferring a deterioration of the geopolitical readiness of Venezuela.

9. The accusations against the detainees, from Orlando Chacín of PDVSA CVP (Corporación Venezolana de Petróleo); Gustavo Malavé, director of Exploration and Production Occidente; and Pedro León, former director of the Orinoco Oil Belt Hugo Chávez, point to the falsification of production figures. Acts to produce the fall of production, to dismantle the investment processes in the industry and to decant the financial capacity of PDVSA. They are extremely serious cases. They are present in judicially different plots, but connected by the same transversal axes: the accelerated destruction of PDVSA. There are no coincidences.

10. The case of Citgo has double relevance: not only was it attempted to place the subsidiary in the hands of vulture capitals. Those responsible for selling key information to the US are reportedly prompted an assault on Venezuelan assets. They were “Trojan horses”. And apparently this is just beginning.

11. In this way, and within the framework of the most important anti-corruption purge and fight known in Venezuela, the pulseo by the Venezuelan assets is fought simultaneously from the internal and external fronts. It is an unprecedented surgical action to protect the heart of the Venezuelan economy, the most sensitive core point, which is now attacked inside and outside the country through actions of internal sabotage and financial and legal siege from abroad. But we must not lose sight of context. These are battles in the fight to stop the effect of the actions of rapine against the Venezuelan resources.

12. Why talk about the US and its role in these events? The denunciation of President Maduro of the communications and links between the detained elements and the US Embassy in Venezuela is not a minor fact. Is this statement amazing? Not in the framework of a state-owned foreign policy led by Rex Tillerson, head of the State Department, former CEO of ExxonMobil and open adversary of Chavismo since the legitimate nationalizations of that company’s assets in the Orinoco Oil Belt in 2007. Tillerson also It is a business factor that already has a record in the capture of Venezuelan resources, just now, when ExxonMobil performs in a spurious manner (and acting as sponsor of the current government of Guyana), a set of exploration and testing of light crude oil extraction in the Zone in Reclamation of Venezuela, through offshore operations.

The Trump government is clearly composed of the influence of the oil industry lobby. In fact, it is a network of actors openly enemies of Chavezism in all US politics, sponsored by the transnational oil plot, as is the case of Congressmen Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros and Bob Menendez, openly modulating agents of interference and intervention against Venezuela.

13. The events that point to an operational readjustment of PDVSA come from several directions. So the dismantling of the plot of sabotage and corruption is only a stage of a medium and long-term process.

14. The foreign participation through the financial and technical alliances that PDVSA maintains with key partners, the internal removals of high and intermediate positions and the political commitments assumed by the working class, will be key in the integral rescue of the state’s operations, heart of the Venezuelan economy. A process that will only generate results in the medium term, fighting against a negative and heavy inertia. The aspiration is great, but not impossible. It also has the antecedent of the employer’s strike and oil sabotage of 2002-2003, which PDVSA managed to overcome.

15. The political leadership of PDVSA in these instances will be absolutely key. Maduro’s determination looks spotless.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.