Venezuela’s Guaido announces new board for US-based oil subsidiary

Venezuelan opposition leader and self declared acting president Juan Guaido speaks to supporters during a rally to press the military to let in US humanitarian aid, in eastern Caracas on February 12, 2019. – The tug of war between the government and opposition is centred on whether humanitarian aid will be allowed into the economically crippled country, which suffers shortages of food, medicine and other basics. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido on Wednesday announced that the National Assembly legislature is appointing a new board of directors for Citgo, the US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

“The new board of directors will be made up of qualified Venezuelans, who are free of corruption and without any partisan affiliation,” the opposition leader, who has been recognized as interim president by more than 50 countries, said on Twitter.

Guaido, who is also head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, named the six men tapped to take the helm at Citgo, without elaborating on what would happen to the current board members.

“With this decision, we are not only protecting our assets, we are avoiding the ongoing destruction and loss of the business,” said Guaido, who declared himself interim president last month after far-left incumbent Nicolas Maduro announced victory in elections that the opposition said were rigged.

Venezuela got 96 percent of its hard currency revenues from oil exports, and the US was the biggest cash customer, buying half a million barrels per day.

Last month, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Citgo can continue to operate — but its earnings must be deposited into a blocked account in the United States.

In response, Maduro told PDVSA to take action in US and international courts to defend Citgo, his last big overseas asset, which allowed the country to sell its heavy crude into the US market.

© Agence France-Presse