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19 May, 2019 23:20

US ‘siege’ of Venezuela disturbs global crude supply – oil minister

US ‘siege’ of Venezuela disturbs global crude supply – oil minister

Washington’s war on Venezuela’s economy undermines stability in the global market, the country’s oil minister, Manuel Quevedo, told OPEC just days after the US placed him on a sanctions list alongside other Caracas officials.

American sanctions generate “disturbances in the flow of oil supply to the world market as well as serious economic damage and suffering to the Venezuelan people,” Quevedo said on Sunday in Saudi Arabia, ahead of a ministerial panel meeting of top OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers.

The Venezuelan economy has been under extreme pressure as the White House continues efforts to place opposition leader Juan Guaido in power instead of democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro. Keeping “all options” open to instigate regime change, the US has been systematically choking the country’s economy by targeting the banking and other strategic industry sectors, concentrating their efforts on cutting oil revenues, which account for about 98 percent of the Bolivarian Republic’s exports.

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Quevedo, the head of state-owned oil giant PDVSA, was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department last week along with four other officials for their ties to President Maduro. “We are intent on going after those facilitating Maduro’s corruption and predation, including by sanctioning the President of PDVSA and others diverting assets that rightfully belong to the people of Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

Amid ongoing social, economic, and political instability, Caracas continues to diversify its customer base, turning in particular to India, as well as other nations that recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of the country. In a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, on Sunday, Quevedo also stressed the “importance of maintaining a respectful relationship with the Russian Federation... to maintain the stability of the oil market.”

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