CARACAS, Feb 3 - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has lashed out at the U.S. for granting licenses, barring companies doing business with Venezuelan state firms from paying cash to the Venezuelan government.
Washington last year authorized U.S. and European firms to resume taking Venezuelan crude oil on the condition no funds be paid to Venezuela. Last week, the United States authorized Trinidad & Tobago to import gas from a Venezuelan offshore field and barred cash from changing hands.
The permits were part of U.S. President Joe Biden's move to encourage political talks between Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition with the main goal of securing a fair presidential election.
"They tell a country it has permission to negotiate with Venezuela, but it cannot pay in dollars or any form of cash. It must pay with food or products," Maduro said in a broadcast. "That is colonialism."
Maduro criticized the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the licenses, and said it tries to dictate how to do business with Venezuela to state and private companies.
"It is a joke to sovereign countries. I call sovereign countries and governments in America and the Caribbean to denounce this colonial model. We do not accept it, we will go on our way," he said.
In the meantime, Following the license to Trinidad last week, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Friday said Trinidad and Tobago has to date received no communication from Venezuela. It's been more than a week since the United States decision to grant licenses to countries and companies to resume taking crude oil from Caracas on the condition no funds be paid to Venezuela.
Rowley told Parliament that apart from the statements he had made on January 24, when the United States Treasury Department agreed to grant a license to Port of Spain to develop a major gas field located in Venezuelan territorial waters, there was not much more to be said.
“Persons familiar with the oil industry, the gas industry, the energy business in Trinidad and Tobago will know that when I said we have to wait for the developments of the operator, in that case, Shell, to give us these details now that we are able to proceed in some way…I did indicate that there are some significant negotiations to take place.
“I am afraid Madam Speaker I have no new information to add other than what I gave on the day when I made that statement.”
Asked by opposition member, David Lee to indicate whether Venezuela has agreed to the terms and conditions outlined by Washington for granting the license, Prime Minister Rowley told legislators “this matter is one that requires state to state communication, the first hurdle has been crossed, the government of Venezuela has made no public statement with specific to Trinidad and Tobago’s use of the OFAC licence.
“Trinidad and Tobago is in touch with Venezuela, we have meetings scheduled and negotiations ahead of us and therefore I can say nothing further at this time,” Rowley said
President Nicolas Maduro in a broadcast on Thursday remained critical of Washington’s decision to allow companies doing business with sanctioned Venezuelan state firms from paying cash to his administration.
“They tell a country it has permission to negotiate with Venezuela, but it cannot pay in dollars or any form of cash. It must pay with food or products,” Maduro said, adding “that is colonialism”.
On January 24, the Trinidad and Tobago government welcomed the decision by the United States Treasury Department to grant a license to Port of Spain to develop a major gas field located in Venezuelan territorial waters.