Thursday 17 June 2021

Lobbying the Enemy

TODAY VENEZUELA (Caracas Chronicles) It sounds bizarre: a self-declared “anti-imperialist” government trying to cozy up with its alleged nemesis. But there are more and more signs that that’s what Nicolás Maduro wants to do with Donald Trump. Seeking influence in Washington D.C., Venezuela has just used its main asset in the States, CITGO, to hire Avenue Strategies, the lobbyist firm of Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

According to this report by Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel, Citgo has agreed to pay $25,000 a month to Avenue Strategies for its services, to “…help provide access to the Trump administration amid calls for the U.S. to seize the company’s assets as a way to expand the impact of sanctions against Venezuela.”

Barry Bennett, Co-Founder of Avenue Strategies told Politico that the deal with CITGO is more of a sub-contract work by another political-affairs firm called VantageKnight. He also said this:

“I don’t work for Venezuela. I work for a Houston-based company that has three plants in America and produces 19 percent of America’s gasoline. It’s an American company, Americans work there.”

- Advertisement -

But hours after the story came out, news broke that Lewandowski will resign his post because of Avenue Strategies’ recent involvements with foreign clients (including CITGO.)

And that’s not the only problem the CITGO contract has caused: C.J. Gimenez, an attorney who joined the firm last month (and son of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez), quit in protest for the CITGO deal. “I will personally never represent the interests of the Maduro regime, which reflects the worst there is of all humanity”, he wrote to the Miami Herald.

Why is CITGO hiring lobbyists at this time? Seems like they’re prepping for a battle in the Capitol. This week, a group of U.S. Senators led by Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Ben Cardin presented the “Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act of 2017“, which include proposals of new actions by the State, Justice and Treasury Departments.

If PDVSA defaults, the Russian government (owner of Rosneft) would control CITGO and, ergo, part of critical energy infrastructure in the United States.

- Advertisement -

The bill also addresses CITGO, given that 49.9% of its shares are used as collateral in the 1.5 billion dollar loan deal made by its parent company PDVSA and Russian oil giant Rosneft late last year. If PDVSA defaults, the Russian government (owner of Rosneft) would control CITGO and, ergo, part of critical energy infrastructure in the United States.

Members of both houses of Congress are alarmed: A group of U.S. Senators wrote a letter last month to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin, which has not received any response. A couple of U.S. Representatives, Republican Jeff Duncan and Democrat Albio Sires wrote their own letter to Mnunchin as well, asking him to review the deal through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), over possible national security concerns.

In the event that the Venezuelan government defaults on its debt obligation to Rosneft, the Russian government could easily become the second-largest foreign owner of US domestic refinery capacity… Such a development would give the Russians more control over oil and gas prices worldwide, inhibit US energy security and undermine broader US geopolitical efforts.

CITGO has spent lots of money on Washington lobbyists during the Maduro years, which would explain why the company has abandoned other PR-related programs like “Joe-4-Oil”.

Back in 2014, CITGO (along with law firm Squire Patton Boggs) achieved a partial victory when then Senator for Louisiana Mary Landrieu blocked a bill about human rights in Venezuela, using as an excuse keeping the jobs on CITGO-owned refinery in Lake Charles. But it was short-lived: Landrieu lost her seat months later and the bill was finally passed at the same time.

I will personally never represent the interests of the Maduro regime, which reflects the worst there is of all humanity.

- Advertisement -

For the record, Squire Patton Boggs is still helping out Maduro’s closest from time to time.

It’s important to remember that all the money spent by the Venezuelan government on lobbyists, lawyers or buying full-page ads in the New York Times is money that could go instead to get the food, medicines and other supplies that our people so desperately need. Opportunity cost, economists call it. But it seems like buying influence to stay in power is the top priority for them.

And tear gas. Lots of tear gas.

The post Lobbying the Enemy appeared first on Caracas Chronicles.

Article originally appeared on Today Venezuela and is republished here with permission.

- Advertisement -

FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Informants assisted OIJ in corruption investigations, says the minister

QCOSTARICA - The investigation into alleged bribery of public officials in...

MOST READ

13 Powerful Home Remedies for Acne

Acne is considered to be one of the most common skin ailments on the planet, with a record 60 million people being afflicted by...

Nicaragua government assures that detainees violated one of the Ten Commandments

TODAY NICARAGUA – The vice president of Nicaragua and First Lady, Rosario Murillo, assured that those who feel persecuted are for the crimes they...

Plate rupture has potential for stronger quakes

QCOSTARICA - The 5.7-magnitude tremor, felt at 5:27 pmon Thursday, occurred in a maritime zone with the potential for stronger earthquakes, explained Ivonne Arroyo,...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 14: 1 & 2 CANNOT circulate

Today, Monday, June 14, vehicles with plates ending 1 & 2 CANNOT circulate The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm,...

Cynthia Ann Telles named new U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica

QCOSTARICA - Today, U.S. President Joe Biden announced his nomination of Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles as United States ambassador to Costa Rica. According to the...

Heavy downpours generated the first phreatic eruption of this year at the Turrialba volcano

QCOSTARICA - Several residents of La Pastora, La Central and Monte Calas, in the vicinity of the Turrialba volcano, heard a loud rumbling early...

Construction companies that paid alleged bribes would be disqualified for ten years

QCOSTARICA - If it is proven in a final judgment that they did pay bribes to Conavi officials, several companies could be disqualified from...

Lack of space on Racsa’s hard drive paralyzed immigration consultation at the airport this Monday

RICO's DIGEST - We've all had this happen, your computer's hard drive is full and your computer crashes. But we are not the Radiográfica...

College of Physicians negotiates donation of a million and a half vaccines against covid-19

QCOSTARICA - This week there could be very good news for the country in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic if the College of...

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST!

Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Article originally appeared on Today Venezuela and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.