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Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed “serious concern” at the continued detention of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and 69 other political prisoners, and called on the Venezuelan government to release Lopez immediately.

In a press release, Al Hussein said:

The prolonged and arbitrary detention of political opponents and protestors in Venezuela is causing more and more concern internationally… It is only exacerbating the tensions in the country.

The release also cites the detention of over 3,300 people during the protests that shook the country early this year, including 150 cases of “ill-treatment” and torture. Al Hussein concluded:

I call on the Venezuelan authorities to act on the opinions of the Working Group and immediately release Mr López and Mr Ceballos, as well as all those detained for exercising their legitimate right to express themselves and protest peacefully.

New Survey Finds Continued Lack of Confidence

A new survey released by Datanalisis found a continued lack of confidence in the situation the country currently finds itself in. Among the findings:

  • 81.6% view the country’s current situation negatively.
  • 67.5% have a negative opinion of the Maduro administration; only 30.2% approve of the job Maduro is doing as president.
  • 80% have a negative opinion of the country’s economic model.

One of the question of the economic model specifically, 60% believe the country should change economic models; only 11.7% have a positive opinion of the price controls that affect Venezuelans goods, and 66.5% disagree with the planned implementation of the fingerprint scanning system as a way to ration goods.

PDVSA Admits to Importing Oil

An article on Reuters published yesterday alleged that PDVSA – the state-run oil company – was importing Russian light crude oil, with a tanker delivery expected in early November. According to Reuters, light crude is used to dilute extra heavy oil, which is the primary type of oil extracted in the Orinoco river belt in Venezuela. Due to declining production, PDVSA was forced to look outside of the country to import the resource, Reuters claims. The article also claimed that PDVSA has a supply agreement with Sonatrach, the Algerian state-run oil company, for a similar oil product.

That delivery, scheduled to arrive in Venezuela on October 26, will mark the first time in its history that Venezuela has imported crude oil. This fact may be due to a 26% reduction in light crude oil production in Venezuela since 2006, which resulted the government’s expropriation of private companies which operated in the country producing the product.

Today, PDVSA confirmed and tried to downplay the information in the Reuters article with a scathing statement, saying:

In light of biased information against the [Venezuelan] oil industry by so-called oil experts who manipulate information, PDVSA informs the country that the prompt acquisition of foreign light crude [oil] complies with the necessity of having to use it as a diluent.
(…)
This type of operation is common practice in other countries that produce extra heavy oil (…) without their country’s media sources generating the kind of biased information as has procured in our homeland.

Contrary to the Reuters report, PDVSA also said that it has imported light crude oil “numerous” times in the past.

One thought on “October 20: Importing Oil

  1. Pingback: October 23: The Ration List | In Venezuela

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