Venezuela's Maduro accuses US of trying to steal Citgo Petroleum

Orient Net 2019-01-29 07:23:00

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in a live national broadcast on Monday (January 28), accused the United States of trying to steal US refining arm Citgo Petroleum, the OPEC member's most important foreign asset, which also manages a chain of US gas stations. He said Venezuela would take legal actions in response.

The Trump administration on Monday (January 28) imposed sweeping sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, aimed at severely curbing the OPEC member's crude exports to the United States and at pressuring socialist President Nicolas Maduro to step down.

Minutes before the announcement, Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who proclaimed himself interim president last week with US backing, said congress would name new boards of directors to the company and its US subsidiary, Citgo.

Guaido, supported by the United States and most countries in the Western Hemisphere, says Maduro stole his re-election and must resign to allow new, fair polls.

The Trump administration sanctions stopped short of banning US companies from buying Venezuelan oil, but because the proceeds of such sales will be put in a "blocked account," PDVSA is likely to quickly stop shipping much crude to the United States, its top client.

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