OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro condemned the dispatch of ships from Iran that are about to arrive in Venezuela, since he considered the maneuver to be an "attack on peace" in Latin America.
The diplomatic leader stressed that the maneuver of the Persian regime occurs "in support of an illegitimate government," referring to the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro, whose new term in the Miraflores Palace is not recognized by the agency.
As noted, the shipment of the ships "is an attack on regional peace and stability and an unacceptable act of provocation." In addition, he called Iran's military and intelligence presence in the Western Hemisphere “reprehensible”.
The five ships are scheduled to arrive at Venezuelan ports in the next few hours, although the journey to unload all the fuel will last four days in total.
The Fortune ship, the closest to the Venezuelan coast, plans to sail to the El Palito refinery in Puerto Cabello (Carabobo state, north), according to state television. As announced on Thursday by Defense Minister General Vladimir Padrino López, the boat is escorted by ships of the Armed Forces. The rest of the Iranian ships expected by Venezuela, named Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel, will arrive in the coming days, Venezuelan state television reported.
Gasoline has been scarce for weeks in Venezuela and to be able to buy it it is necessary to wait for hours, sometimes days, without the guarantee of being able to fill the tank of the vehicles. This opened a black market that multiplies several times its original price, the cheapest in the world.
Hours before the announcement, Tareck El Aissami, Maduro's vice president, had already welcomed these ships, clarifying that they were "close to arriving" at Caribbean ports, noting that this energy cooperation "aims at the integral development" of both countries . The “energy cooperation between Iran and Venezuela is based on the scientific exchange and the productive development of the hydrocarbon industry, in addition to the experience that unites us as OPEC countries. Thank you, brothers ”, he added.
Iran has repeatedly expressed its support for Maduro, while Juan Guaidó considers that the strengthened rapprochement between Tehran and Caracas is a "cause for alarm" for Latin America. In a statement, Guaidó (recognized as the president in charge of Venezuela for fifty countries, led by the United States) considered on Thursday that the ships "will only serve to enrich the dictatorial mafia," referring to a black market that flourishes with scarcity. of gasoline, and "supply for a few weeks" to the population.
Iranian ships seek to give “air” to the Chavista regime, but will have “no real impact on current gasoline shortages,” he told the AFP the oil specialist Luis Oliveros.
Venezuela's oil production, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world, is in free fall due to a collapse of the industry that experts attribute to wrong policies, lack of investment and corruption. The activity of its refineries has collapsed at the same time, so it imports gasoline in recent years to cover domestic consumption, despite which it maintains derisory rates.
State oil company PDVSA produced just over 600,000 barrels a day last month, according to OPEC, a fifth of what it placed a decade ago.
(With information from AFP and EFE)
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