23 Jul Ambassador Vecchio: Maduro sent $348 million of our best oil to Cuba while 9.3 million Venezuelans face severe and moderate food insecurity
(Washington, 07.23.2020).- The Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, stated that during the first six months of 2020, the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro sent about 348 million dollars worth of the best Venezuelan oil, Merey, to his peer, the Cuban regime. This while the Venezuelan people are suffering from an unprecedented complex humanitarian emergency, in which 7 million Venezuelans face food insecurity and another 2.3 million are severely food insecure.
In a detailed presentation, Vecchio showed that during the first half of 2020 Maduro sent 33 tankers to Cuba loaded with 13,147,000 barrels of oil, equivalent to an estimated $347,814,995.33.
«That money does not go to the Venezuelan people; it is received only by the Cuban regime and Diaz Canel, Nicolas Maduro and front men like Alex Saab. There is nothing that the Cuban dictatorship can give us that compensates for the amount of oil and products that we send them. In return, Cuba has only given support to the Maduro regime in the form of intelligence and repression of millions of Venezuelans, intended for the execution of torture and human rights violations to both civilians and military, as confirmed by the most recent Bachelet report.”
Vecchio stressed that despite the global pandemic, the looting of Venezuelan oil by the Maduro-Diaz Canel alliance did not stop. He explained that in May and June 2020 the delivery increased dramatically.
«The average delivery during the year has been 12.21% of Venezuela’s crude oil exports, but we are talking about Cuba being sent the best Venezuelan light crude, Merey. In May, exports to Cuba rose to 27.2%, $50,296,550.00; and in June, Maduro sent to Cuba more than 43% of our exports, equivalent to $95,665,533.33. These are precisely the months in which the Venezuelan people, both those inside the country and the migrants, have been most affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.”
The Venezuelan ambassador explained that «those $348 million sent to Cuba are 74% more than the $200 million that the UN has managed to raise so far to address the Venezuelan crisis, and in turn represent 44% of the $800 million that the UN has estimated necessary to provide humanitarian assistance to the 7 million Venezuelans declared to be food insecure.”
Vecchio added that «with the resources given to Cuba in the first half of 2020, 2.3 million Venezuelans could have been assisted, who unfortunately are still severely food insecure under the Maduro dictatorship.”
The Maduro dictatorship generates pain and suffering as a strategy of oppression
The diplomat of the Interim Government of President Juan Guaidó in the United States affirmed without hesitation that Nicolás Maduro is promoting, together with Cuba, a political strategy to generate pain and suffering for all Venezuelans.
«It is clear that Maduro is not interested in solving the crisis. He has never been interested. On the contrary, his only objective is to profit from the pain, suffering, and oppression of the Venezuelan people. A responsible government would have stopped giving away oil to Cuba and would have placed the emphasis and priority on serving Venezuelans, as President Guaidó and the National Assembly did. But Maduro’s only obsession is to continue stealing Venezuela’s resources, and that is why our allies in the United States and Europe have acted with mechanisms that seek to stop that plundering.”
Vecchio recalled that Maduro’s front man, Alex Saab, arrested in Cape Verde, is one of the people responsible for and directly involved in this theft from the nation. «With the excuse of oil for food, Alex Saab became the main operator of the murky international business. The Venezuelan people were brought overpriced, rotten, expired, or bad quality food, while internationally they shipped the oil. The proceeds of these operations are shared between Cuba and Maduro, through the network of front men.”
Venezuelans as a Priority
Ambassador Vecchio urged Maduro’s regime, instead of asking for the lifting of sanctions to deepen the plundering of the Venezuelan people, to immediately put an end to this situation, putting the interests of the Venezuelan people first. «Instead of continuing to give away our oil to Cuba, those resources should be handed over to international aid organizations such as the UN, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Red Cross.”
For the ambassador, resources such as those given to Cuba can and should be invested in social programs through a National Emergency Government, such as the one proposed by Interim President Juan Guaidó, with the support of the US Framework for Venezuela, and the international community.
Among the programs, the following stand out: delivering a direct benefit of $100 per month to more than 1 million health professionals, through the Heroes of Health program during one quarter; delivering a direct benefit of $100 per month to more than 3 million Venezuelans, equivalent to more than the entire population declared by the UN to be facing extreme food insecurity; paying $100 per month to all teachers in Venezuela for 6 months or $50 per year. Currently, one teacher earns $4 per month.
He also pointed out that the $348 million investment was for key investments in maintenance and infrastructure, such as investing $1000 per month in basic services (water, electricity, internet, etc.) for all 23,000 public schools in Venezuela for one year; making the necessary investments in the electricity sector to standardize electricity service and put an end to the tragedy in the state of Zulia; reactivating gasoline production in Venezuela through key investments in the sector, not in Cuba; or importing 15 ships with gasoline as those «bought» from Iran.
In Vecchio’s opinion, «all of this shows that the sanctions are not the ones that prevent Maduro from attending to the crisis; it is a political decision and strategy of the dictatorship to generate pain and suffering for the Venezuelan people. On the contrary, the sanctions have helped to undermine the perverse mechanism of exchanging oil for repression and oppression of the Venezuelan people. He concluded, «only with the end of the dictatorship will the looting of Venezuela’s resources end and well-being and progress be restored.”