"On behalf of all the people of Venezuela, we reject and repudiate with indignation the robbery of the Citgo company."
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro rejected on Monday the decision of the U.S. government to transfer the Citgo oil company (a subsidiary of the state-owned oil company PDVSA) to a sector of the so-called Unitary Platform of the opposition.
"This decision by the U.S. government is a mockery and a slap in the face of the international conference convened in Bogotá and the almost unanimous request to lift sanctions against Venezuela," Maduro said at a public event in Caracas for International Workers' Day.
"On behalf of all the people of Venezuela, we reject and repudiate with indignation the robbery of the Citgo company." The President referred to the decision of the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department to authorize the 2015 National Assembly to negotiate "settlement agreements" or any debt of Petróleos de Venezuela.
Thus, it will not take action against "any person or entity for participating, facilitating or complying with the preliminary steps" established by a Delaware, U.S., Court for the sale of the shares or for participating in the transactions necessary for such purpose, the Treasury said in a statement.
Felicito a la Clase Obrera Venezolana por la multitudinaria marcha que se desplegó por las calles de Caracas y del país, en el marco del Día Internacional de las Trabajadoras y Trabajadores. Juntos levantamos en alto las banderas de la dignidad, la igualdad y la justicia social. pic.twitter.com/IUkcCI3KDv— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) May 1, 2023
I congratulate the Venezuelan Working Class for the massive march through the streets of Caracas and the country, in the framework of the International Workers' Day. Together we raised high the banners of dignity, equality and social justice.
In October 2022, Delaware (eastern U.S.) District Judge Leonard Stark approved a schedule for the auction of shares of Citgo Petroleum's parent company.
The order sets out the bidding and sale procedures, the engagement of investment bank Evercore Group and the necessary consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department for any decision on the change of ownership of the assets.
"A blatant theft from a company estimated at more than $8 billion, with more than 10,000 gasoline pumps in the United States, a blatant theft from a company that annually gives more than $1 billion, the U.S. Government makes this condemnable decision against the people of Venezuela and the sovereignty of Venezuela, and we must all reject it," Maduro said.
U.S. sanctions against Venezuela have increased since 2019. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government has repeatedly encouraged different attempts at dialogue.