U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips began seizing PDVSA assets in the Caribbean region today, following an arbitration decision regarding the nationalization of ConocoPhillips assets in Venezuela ten years ago. Following the takeover of its assets, ConocoPhillips took the case to the World Bank, and eventually won $2 billion worth in reparations.
According to Reuters, the Houston-based company has “targeted” PDVSA assets on the islands of Bonaire and St. Eustatius. The targeted assets “play critical roles in PDVSA’s oil exports”, Reuters claim.s.
In a statement to Reuters, a ConocoPhillips representative said:
We will work with the community and local authorities to address issues that may arise as a result of enforcement actions
Venezuelans Top U.S. Asylum Claimant List
El Nuevo Herald reported today that Venezuelans have taken the #1 spot in the United States’ asylum claimant list, and that 7,610 claims were made in the first half of 2018 alone.
According to the article, 3,278 Venezuelans claimed asylum in the U.S. alone, making up 27% of all asylum claims in the country for that month.
Patricia Andrade, the president of the Venezuela Awareness Foundation (VAF) told El Nuevo Herald:
Venezuelans continue to leave the country in desperation. For them, it’s a matter of life or death. The testimonies of those who arrive in the United States repeat themselves: the political crisis, the lack of hope for change in the short term, political persecution and the grave humanitarian crisis.
The article includes the testimony of a woman who recently claimed asylum with her husband in the United States. According to the woman, one of the reasons for leaving was the fact that her husband was threatened repeatedly by pro-regime armed groups known in the country as colectivos armados to vote for regime candidates in election. The woman said that the colectivos would threaten her husband as his work. She said:
They almost went as far as putting a gun on his table. Specially when elections drew near, the pressure was really strong. My husband would get anonymous calls threatening to kill him [if he didn’t vote], and it was from them [the colectivos].
PSUV Officials: Venezuelans Want Gov’t That Will “Protect Them”
Miranda state governor Hector Rodriguez appeared on a television program on the Televen network to speak about the upcoming May 20 presidential election, and chimed in on what he believes that Venezuelan people want out of their president.
When the show’s host suggested that the Venezuelan people wanted access to U.S. dollars, Rodriguez interjected by saying:
No. The majority of the Venezuelan people want economic stability, and that’s what we have to work towards. The majority of Venezuelan people want sovereignty, dignity; they don’t want to depend on neoliberal policies. They want to work; they want someone to protect them, to take care of them.
Rodriguez said that he believes that Maduro still enjoys a considerable level of support from Venezuelans because “he has been sincere” since becoming president in 2013, as well as “loyal”. He continued:
He has been firm as far as his policies of the social protection of the people go, and in facing difficulties. I think that the people value him a lot. I predict a great victory for President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro has precised over the most dramatic social, economic and political collapse in Venezuelan history since the civil war of 1859-1863. As a result, he has consistently polled as a deeply unpopular figure in Venezuelan politics for several years.
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