Waving signs that declared, “We are oil workers” and “We are socialists,” employees of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA, held protests in Caracas and the central city of Guayana to speak out against the U.S. government’s spying on their employer, as revealed last week in an exclusive report published by teleSUR.
“We will not permit capitalism to continue taking steps in its fight for the destabilization of Venezuela,” said Jesus Sanchez, manager of the Paraguana Refining Center, according to an account published by Ciudad CCS, a state newspaper.
IN DEPTH: US Spying on Venezuela
According to a March 2011 document released by whistleblower Edward Snowden and provided to teleSUR and The Intercept, the U.S. National Security Agency—with the help of a team of intelligence agents working from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas—infiltrated the communications of PDVSA, acquiring information on thousands of its employees, including the company’s former president, Rafael Ramirez.
Elsa Orta, a member of the Socialist Front of Petroleum Workers, told Ciudad CCS that, “The workers in the petroleum industry are in support of the government of President Nicolas Maduro before the North American meddling and its spying on PDVSA.”
“Petroleum workers reject U.S. spying on PDVSA.”
PDVSA was clearly supportive of the rallies, which took place outside its offices in Caracas and Guayana. In a press release, the company noted that, “With songs, banners, slogans and speeches,” its workers had “forcefully repudiated Yankee interference.”
“Today we are here in defense of our oil and to denounce … the government of the United States, which seeks to control our resources,” said Vladimir Hernandez, a PDVSA employee quoted in the company’s press release.
Over the weekend, PDVSA President Eulogio del Pino said he plans to “seek redress for damage” from the U.S. government.
President Nicolas Maduro’s government is also demanding that the U.S. release the identities of the intelligence agents who posed as diplomats inside its embassy in Caracas.