The efforts of the interim government of President Juan Guaidó for the preservation of CITGO continue and in this sense, the Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, informed that the US Department of Justice introduced – before the Delaware Court – a proceeding in which it respectfully asks the judge handling the case of Crystallex against the Republic and Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A (PDVSA), where it respectfully reiterates that CITGO, being an autonomous oil company with Venezuelan capital, does not have to assume the consequences of the irresponsible management of the regimes of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro and consequently, asks the court to dismiss the Canadian mining company’s proposal to move forward with a possible sale.
In the formal position presented by the US Department of Justice on August 28th of this year, the US government reiterates that: 1. the Interim Government of Juan Guaidó has no influence on the administrative decisions of CITGO, thus ratifying its autonomy and therefore the oil company does not have to assume the consequences of the irresponsible management of Chávez and Maduro; 2. It is neither convenient nor desirable that CITGO’s shares be put up for sale since it is a fundamental asset for the rescue of Venezuela; 3. Crystallex has decided to ignore the very serious effect that the sale of CITGO’s shares may have on US foreign policy and on Venezuela and; 4. The US Government respectfully requests the Court not to proceed with the trial in the terms proposed by Crystallex.
Ambassador Vecchio reiterates that this important action by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office ratifies the positions already expressed before the Delaware Court by the State Department, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department, which have clearly stated that the preservation of CITGO is a “national security issue” for the United States, while the safeguarding of the entire CITGO “is key to the upcoming reconstruction of Venezuela.”
The diplomat explains “to defend CITGO, the Legitimate Government, through the Special Attorney of the Republic and with the support of our Embassy in the United States, has developed a decisive legal defense in the courts where this vital asset for Venezuelans has been challenged. Likewise, it has taken the necessary political steps that have translated into a clear position by President Donald Trump’s administration about the trial, as well as an executive license from the United States Government to protect the company from any type of action contrary to the national interest of our country”.
Despite the timely and surgical actions of the Interim Government of Guaidó, which have managed to overcome years of defenselessness of CITGO and other assets, Vecchio makes it very clear that “the risk and threats to the oil subsidiary are very present and are a direct consequence of the irresponsible policy of expropriation and indebtedness of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.”
Furthermore, Ambassador Vecchio points out that a new hearing in this case is expected in mid-September that could be decisive. “The Interim Government faces enormous obstacles to preserve an asset as important as CITGO but must be no doubt that we have exhausted all possible instances and actions for its defense,” said Vecchio.
He adds “this is not the only threat we face. Also in September we have a hearing on the PDVSA 2020 bond case, where Nicolas Maduro compromised 50.1% of the shares of CITGO Holding, Inc. – parent subsidiary of CITGO Petroleum Corporation – as a guarantee of said bond issue, an act by Maduro declared unconstitutional by the National Assembly in 2016. In addition, we took legal action in the United States to reverse this situation.”
Unlike Maduro’s criminal regime, the Legitimate Government of Juan Guaidó has maintained permanent transparency regarding actions for the recovery, protection and preservation of CITGO.
“Since we assumed the legitimate and constitutional representation of the Republic of Venezuela, the rescue and control of the Nation’s assets – in this case CITGO – has been a huge victory of the Venezuelan democratic struggle. Since then, and after the appointment of its new Board of Directors by PDVSA’s ad hoc Administrative Board, the company has been managed by a team of the highest professional quality and experience that has made it possible for it to overcome critical times such as those now experienced by the entire world in an efficient and satisfactory manner. As always, we must speak the truth to Venezuelans. Today we must ratify that CITGO has been recovered and is protected by an OFAC license that prevents creditors from acting on it. However, it is at risk of being lost because of the irresponsible actions of Hugo Chávez’ and Nicolás Maduro’s regimes. It is at risk of being lost because both they and their accomplices preferred to compromise the assets of the Nation regardless of the future of Venezuelans. In the face of this risk we have done everything for its definitive preservation and we hope that, as a consequence, the judge of the case will decide favorably,” concluded Vecchio.