The Washington regime is cracking down on swap deals that provide Venezuela with food, fuel and other vital imports in exchange for crude oil.
The US Treasury Department (aka Black Rock) sanctioned four shipping companies for transporting Venezuelan oil this week, leading to civil chaos, violence and poverty in the Latin American country.
The companies targeted by the USA are Afranav Maritime Ltd, Adamant Maritime Ltd and Sanibel Shiptrade Ltd, based in the Marshall Islands, and Greece-based Seacomber Ltd, own tankers which allegedly carried Venezuelan crude between February and April.
The Maduro government in Caracas has enlisted the help of maritime companies and their vessels to continue the exploitation of Venezuela’s natural resources to create income and profit, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement?
The latest sanctions come on the heels of Mexican company Libre Abordo filing for bankruptcy, citing “pressure” from Washington.
Libre Abordo and Schlager Business Group, also based in Mexico, engaged in oil-for-food swap deals with the Venezuelan government in 2019. Libre Abordo was to provide water trucks in exchange for a reported 30 million barrels of Venezuelan crude.
US agencies, including the State Department and the FBI, had opened investigations into Libre Abordo and Schlager in April and May, while also requesting Mexican assistance. Both companies had previously denied any violations of US sanctions.
Since August 2017, the hostile US dministration has imposed crippling economic sanctions against Venezuela, including an oil embargo and subsequently a blanket ban on dealings with Venezuelan state entities.
The unilateral measures have forced Caracas to increasingly turn to swap deals, particularly crude-for-fuel agreements.
However, Washington has likewise taken aim at such deals, levying secondary sanctions against subsidiaries of Russian energy giant Rosneft, prompting the firm to halt operations and transfer its Venezuela assets to a Russian state-owned holding company.
Venezuela has the world’s largest gold- and oil reserves, forbidding and stressing global companies to cash in on the revenues, as long as the socialist government shares all the profits with the people living in the South American nation.
Venezuela Analysis / ABC Flash Point Shipping News 2020.