A new trip by the vice president of the Venezuelan regime, Delcy Rodríguez, again causes an international scandal. The Chavista official, under sanctions from the United States, flew to Trinidad and Tobago on April 27 to hold a meeting with the island's prime minister, Keith Rowley.
In the midst of the controversy and controversy that arose in recent weeks over that meeting, In the last hours, Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Public Services, Robert Le Hunte, resigned.
Julio Borges, Chancellor of the interim government of Juan Guaidó, said this Thursday that the Trinidadian official, amid the strong tensions in the cabinet, He refused "to be part of a scheme of corruption and robbery of the Venezuelan people that Delcy Rodríguez is promoting in that country." "The dictatorship only brings destabilization and crime to the countries, it is a threat to the region," said the diplomat, who is in exile in Colombia.
Last Tuesday, the United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Joseph N. Mondello, issued a brief statement in which he gave details of the private conversation he had with the Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, after Delcy Rodríguez's visit to Port of Spain. The North American official maintained that the island did not fulfill the obligations of the Rio Treaty (TIAR).
“Article 20 of the Rio Treaty makes it unequivocally clear that all the measures imposed by the consultative body, such as travel restrictions on Mr. Rodríguez, are binding on all parties to the Treaty, whether or not they voted in favor of such measures ”, Mondello pointed out.
Borges indicated that the plane in which Maduro's vice president and his delegation traveled also "is sanctioned". "Asdrúbal Chávez and other PDVSA officials accompanied her, seeking to sign oil and gas agreements with their backs to the country."
On the same April 27 that the trip was carried out, Chávez was appointed as president in charge of the state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), in a restructuring of his cabinet that Maduro carried out days after being accused of drug terrorism by the Justice Department. North American.
In February this year, the Trinidad and Tobago government, a major exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), canceled a gas development agreement with PDVSA due to US sanctions on the Venezuelan state-owned company. According to Reuters, the agreement involved the joint development of a natural gas field on the Venezuelan sea coast.
The local newspaper Daily news reported that, one day after the visit by Chavista officials, on March 28, The country's state oil company, Paria Fuel Trading Company, received an order for 150,000 barrels of gasoline from an unusual buyer: ES Euro Shipping SA. That company, registered in Switzerland, is owned by José Guillermo Ruperti, son of the controversial Venezuelan magnate Wilmer Ruperti. The final destination of the shipment would be the island of Saint Eustace, in the Lesser Antilles. However, the problems appeared when Euro Shipping asked Paria for authorization for the Venezuelan company IC Global to participate in the operation. The management of the state-owned trinitaria contacted José Guillermo Ruperti directly to warn him that, according to the clauses of the contract, the fuel could not end in Venezuela due to the sanctions. On April 21, a day after the Liberian-flagged ship Aldan left, the businessman then requested a change of destination for the shipment: he wanted the cargo to arrive in Aruba.
Finally, on April 26, a shipment of 150,000 barrels arrived at the Venezuelan refinery Amuay. The ship was Aldan; the seller: Maroil Trading, a company registered in Panama owned by Wilmer Ruperti and where his son, José Guillermo, officiates as secretary.
This scandal occurs at a time when the Maduro regime is in the sights of the community after Iran sent five oil tankers, despite tensions and sanctions by the United States. Iranian ships are heading to the country with gasoline and oil products, in the midst of a fuel shortage in Venezuela. Although the Chavista defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, confirmed that ships, ships and planes of the Armed Forces will escort the Iranian oil tankers, There are also speculations that the cargo could reach another island, and from there be transported to Venezuela.
Trinidadian government rejects accusations
Prime Minister Rowley merely denied that Delcy Rodríguez's visit was related to the United States' accusation of the Venezuelan drug trafficking regime.
The Minister of National Security, Stuart youngHe did clarify through a statement the reason for the visit of the vice president of the Venezuelan dictatorship and said that the meeting had as its axis the spread of COVID-19 throughout the region and the situation of Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago.
However, the Executive's explanation did not conform to the press and the country's opposition. It is that in those days the borders were closed and air traffic suspended by the pandemic. The fact that many high-ranking world leaders have suspended personal meetings for days and replaced them with videoconferences raised questions among the local press about the urgency of the meeting.
The leader of the opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, questioned the lack of transparency about Rodríguez's visit to the island and the fact that the borders had to be opened to allow him to enter. Meanwhile, he lashed out that while Rowley opened the borders to meet with the Chavista leader, he had refused to mobilize the national airline to pick up compatriots stranded abroad by the coronavirus.
Delcy Rodríguez's new international scandal
In 2018 the Venezuelan vice president, after being accused of “Violations of human rights and of undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela”, was included in a list of 11 Chavista officials sanctioned by the European Union (EU), so since then it had been prohibited from entering the block's member countries and its financial assets were frozen.
Despite those sanctions, Rodríguez met last January, in private, with the Spanish Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos, at the Madrid international airport, which sparked strong international controversy. Rodríguez's stopover - who then continued on his way to Turkey - occurred during the trip through Europe of the president in charge Juan Guaidó, who met with different heads of state of the continent, but not with the Spanish. In his place he was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya. Guaidó also met with authorities from the opposition parties.
The fact generated controversy both between the different ideological factions of the Spanish Parliament and within the ruling coalition, made up of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and United We Can. The opposition, made up of the PP, Ciudadanos and VOX, called Ábalos to Parliament to question him for his actions. And the PP introduced a motion to dismiss him from office. He also requested access - through a legislative process - to the recordings of Terminal 4 of the airport to observe the movements of both. But his attempt was unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, two figures with weight in the party, such as former presidents Felipe González and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, have criticized and applauded (respectively) the performance of Pedro Sánchez. Zapatero, close to the Chavista regime, traveled to Venezuela on February 7 to meet with Maduro.
The incident was transferred to supranational bodies: the European Parliament debated on February 11 whether the meeting violated EU sanctions. But the speakers were exclusively Spanish, who heatedly discussed in the venue.
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