World

Venezuela’s opposition said it would use a U.S.-based fund

Caracas. Venezuela’s opposition on Wednesday said it would use a U.S.-based fund to receive some of the country’s oil income in a key step to bankroll its efforts to dislodge President Nicolas Maduro.

The fund would receive income accrued by state-run oil firm PDVSA’s U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum Corp [PDVSAC.UL] since last month, when U.S. President Donald Trump recognised Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, opposition legislator Carlos Paparoni told Reuters.

Guadio, head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, last month declared himself to be the South American country’s interim ruler.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the United States would consider lifting sanctions on senior Venezuelan military officers if they recognise Guaido as interim leader. “If not, the international financial circle will be closed off completely,” Bolton wrote on Twitter.

Aside from one senior general, who recognised Guaido in a video and urged others in the military to do the same, most of Venezuela’s top military officers have not defected from Maduro.

Citgo, the eighth-largest U.S. refiner and Venezuela’s top foreign asset, is in the middle of a tug of war as the United States has made aggressive moves to remove it from Maduro’s control and imposed sanctions on OPEC-member Venezuela’s oil industry.

“This is already quite advanced, I hope that next week it can be announced by our representative in the United States,” Paparoni said, though he did not give details about the nature of the U.S.-based fund or the financial institution involved.

Pressure is building on Maduro, a socialist, to resign amid an economic crisis marked by widespread shortages and hyperinflation. Maduro was re-elected last year in a vote critics have called a sham.

Yon Goicoechea, a member of Guaido’s policy team, told Reuters that Guaido was in contact with PDVSA’s international partners and they were willing to keep operating in Venezuela. He did not identify the partners.

Guaido’s team is planning for a post-Maduro government with an emergency arrangement to supply fuel domestically, given widespread shortages across Venezuela, Goicoechea said.

Most Latin American and European countries also recognise Guaido, although Italy so far has not. Guaido has reached out to Italy’s ruling coalition seeking its support.

Maduro, who retains control over the state, denounces Guaido as a U.S. puppet who is seeking to foment a coup against him. He is supported by China and Russia, while Slovakia on Wednesday joined Italy in defying the coordinated action of European Union nations and the United States.

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