CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said the right-wing opposition, in complicity with the US government, is trying to dismount the country’s wealth by appropriating the oil company Citgo.
“They are stealing from Citgo and breaking it apart, on the one hand issuing debts of $400 million … they want to come to Venezuela because of their wealth and are trying to break up the wealth we have abroad in complicity with a criminal government like the US,” he said.
Maduro also stated that this is done “in a vile, illegal, criminal, mobster manner and [they] are acting like mafias from abroad” and called for national opinion “to repudiate this looting and theft of the Citgo company.”
On July 29, a US appeals court ruled that Canadian mining company Crystallex could take over the shares of Citgo, a US refinery company owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, to collect a debt of $1.4 million that the Venezuelan government had incurred in nationalizing gold deposits.
A possible blockade of the decision by Donald Trump’s administration would undermine Venezuela’s ability to refine oil and obtain proceeds from the sale of the resulting fuels.
In addition to blaming the opponent Juan Guaidó for these facts, the country attributed to the political party of Guaidó a plan to dispossess PDVSA of all its assets.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan prosecutor has launched a criminal investigation against Jose Ignacio Hernández, appointed by Guaidó as a special defense attorney, for his participation in a US trial to embark the oil company Citgo.
On the other hand, Maduro reiterated that in Venezuela there is no dictatorship.
“It is ridiculous to say that in Venezuela there is a dictatorship, it is stupid, stupid and ridiculous those who say in Venezuela there is a dictatorship,” he said.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan officials plan to address the United Nations after the US violates the country’s airspace, according to Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.
“As we have stated, [US President Donald] Trump’s administration admits that it is violating Venezuela-controlled airspace,” the minister said.
“There is no doubt about your bad intentions. Let’s go to the UN,” he emphasized.
On Saturday, the Venezuelan Armed Forces Strategic Operations Command said US aircraft had entered Venezuela’s airspace.
This was not the first time that Venezuelan airspace had been violated by US aircraft. Because of this, last week the country’s defense ministry said the incidents could be considered a serious threat.
Venezuela has been in a serious political crisis since January, when US-backed Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself interim president in an attempt to lift President Nicolás Maduro from power after reelection.
The US and its allies, including several EU countries, acknowledged Guaido’s self-proclamation, while Russia and China, as well as other countries, expressed their support for Maduro as the country’s legitimate president.