Bloomberg published an article yesterday evening in which it revealed that Venezuelan oil production for 2018 hit the lowest level in 28, producing an average of 1.3 million barrels per day. By contrast, oil production hit a record high of 3.3. million barrels per day in 2001.

Citing a compilation of sources–including the state-owned PDVSA oil firm and OPEC secondary sources–the article points out that the fall in production is accompanied by a fall in exports. According to the article:

Falling exports compound the pain, as oil is the country’s main source of revenue and bankrolls the regime of president Nicolas Maduro. The OPEC member’s crude production fell by more than half in the past five years to a daily average of 1.346 million barrels this year, according to OPEC secondary source data.

Venezuela’s oil sector, once a leader in the world, suffered a deathblow in 2002-2003 when Hugo Chavez fired approximately 40% of the company–some 18,000 people–for allegedly participating in a general strike against his presidency. Since then, Chavez prioritized loyalty over expertise in appointments and hiring at PDVSA, a process that reflects itself most recently in the fact that the current chief of the oil firm is Major General Manuel Quevedo.

When he was appointed to the position in 2017, Quevedo had zero experience with the energy sector.

While the Maduro regime blames a vast international conspiracy for its oil troubles, the fact is that PDVSA was brought to its current state due to decades of mismanagement and corruption. Rafael Ramirez–who ran PDVSA from 2004 to 2014–is accused of having helped embezzle $11 billion dollars from the company during his tenure.

Maduro Shares Video of Dominoes Game with Cilia Flores, Delcy Rodriguez

Last night, Maduro shared a video on his personal Twitter account of a relaxing night in playing dominoes with his wife, Cilia Flores, vice president Delcy Rodriguez, and a man. In the video, Maduro greeted Venezuelans and “the peoples of the world”, and wished everyone a happy 2019.

Below, the video along with my translation:

Maduro: 2019 has started! I want to say hello to everyone in Venezuela. Happy Christmas, happy start to the new year. We’re starting well. 2019. Year of opportunities, challenges. Year in which Venezuela has to grow, rise up and grow. I wish the people of Venezuela happiness in the start of 2019, and greetings to all of the peoples of the world. I’m here with the team, with the team, wishing the best for Venezuela. The greatest of happiness.

The year has started! And we’re going to win. We’re going to win well. Greetings to all of Venezuela. Thank you.

The black-and-white floor pattern suggests that the video was taken in La Casona, the official presidential residence, located in the Santa Celicia neighbourhood of Caracas.

Questions/Comments/ E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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