U.S. investigating possible PDVSA sales: El Nacional

Caracas newspaper El Nacional says the U.S. State Department is investigating possible oil sales by Venezuela’s state energy company to Iran. The sales, if confirmed, would be a trigger for U.S. sanctions against PDVSA, as the company is known, which currently sells as much as a million barrels a day of oil and refined products to the U.S.

From El Nacional (my translation):

The U.S. is investigating the government of Venezuela and PDVSA for allegedly violating the Integrated Sanctions, Responsibility and Disinvestment Act against Iran, which increased restrictions on commerce with the Islamic Republic and includes measures designed to affect foreign companies doing business with the Asian country.

Notification was received in early February by the charge d’affaires of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, Angelo Rivero, and bureaucrats of the national oil company, when they met with Robert Cekuta, assistant undersecretary of the State Departament for Energy, Sanctions and Basic Products.

“They asked them questions about various activities considered suspicious and that apparently violated the law,” said sources in Washington.

Ah “sources” again — I love the idea of a direct quote from multiple people. Were they reading a script or something? Whatever, the story is credible regardless. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

7 thoughts on “U.S. investigating possible PDVSA sales: El Nacional

  1. Kepler

    Sources?
    I was reading something Robert Fisk wrote about the use of “sources from Washington” on the Washington Post and New York Times back in 2003. It was not about Venezuela, but it was also about those anonymouse sources…

  2. westslope

    Perhaps like many others who gravitate to this blog, I view economic sanctions and quasi-permanent diplomatic isolation as often ineffective at best and harmful at worst. See the 1/2 century isolation of Cuba which must have cost the US economy trillions in foregone economic activity and continues to penalize American entrepreneurs in Latin America. Given that we are sitting around having cafecitos and, if I may go out on a limb, I would argue that Canadian oil companies are kicking butt in Colombia in part because Canada has maintained investment and trade and tourism with Cuba over the years.

    While civil war continues in Libya, I sincerely hope the USA has the good sense to drop the campaign of harassment against Iran. Obama has done well so far by allowing non-aligned movement countries to take the lead. I sincerely hope the USA does not flub this one. In the best case scenario, Ghaddafi’s soldiers and thugs will defect to the other side. In the worst case, non-US external forces will intervene backed up with widespread international support. Intelligence, subtle logistical support and humanitarian support are welcome as always.

    1. chiguire

      Are you kidding me? This post sucks…talk about a moving target! Economic sanctions/isolation by USA don’t work? Can you say USSR, China, Iron Curtain (look it up since you haven’t noticed). Isolation of Cuba costing American entrepreneurs…have you been to Cuba…have you been listening to the Castro Bros? They and their revolution are broke, and please give us the data for your assertion that the blockade has cost the US economy trillions (and please don’t even bother to quote Mark Wiesbrot, Chavez’ Lone Ranger). Penalize US investors in LA? Clearly you are not an investor who understands risk/reward analysis. The penalized have been the LA economies which have been starved of foreign investment. And you invest in Canadian oil ventures??? Who are you?

      1. Kepler

        Chiguire, with all respect, I think you are the one who sucks big time.

        It was precisely the absence of that isolationism that worked to an extent in Eastern Europe. Other than that, the causes were quite different:
        dependence on oil and heavy industry and the collapse of oil prices in the eighties, intrinsic problems with central planning for ever more complex processes and the flow of information and goods other than war material that was actually deeply promoted by the West (completely the contrary to what you are saying).

        I suppose you don’t find about that by reading US media and monolingual English speaking “experts” on Russian/Eastern Europe affairs. Perhaps you heard some comment by Condoleeza Rice?
        Perhaps some from some always embittered Polish guy who migrated in the fifties to the US? It is quite a different perspective if you have good friends in Eastern Europe and read their press and saw behind the scenes there and have at least a little bit of background information about their economics, their history.

        As for China: what the hell are you saying? What embargo? They took their own way a long time ago. Has that benefitted the US really? For all that counts, they are the ones who own the USA now. They have a quite capitalist society but with the communist party still in control (won’t last forever, but they will be there for some time still).
        Was there an embargo against China, apart from stuff on weapons? Can you tell me what has happened to the China relationships? The US has been importing from China for decades now and exporting to it as well, even if not as succesful.

        Cuba is a completely different case and it is still in place because of the embitterness of the Cuban reactionaries in Florida.
        The only embargo that sort of worked was the one against South Africa…it would have worked sooner had the US and Israel been more cooperative…but then they preferred to categorized Mandela et alia as terrorists.

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