FUEL SHORTAGES: Venezuela experiences one of the worst fuel shortages in its history
The first of the five oil tankers sent by Iran to Venezuela to supply fuels entered the waters of this country on Saturday, escorted by military ships of Venezuelan forces, announced the Minister of Petroleum Tareck El Aissami.
The tanker from “our sister the Islamic Republic of Iran” is “in our exclusive economic zone,” the minister said on Twitter. At around 9 p.m., the Iranian oil tanker Fortune was near the coast of Sucre State, in northern Venezuela, according to the Marine Traffic website, which tracks the movements of ships around the world.
1.5 million barrels en route
According to Venezuelan state television, the tanker is expected in Puerto Cabello, in the state of Carabobo, where there is a refinery. The arrival of the other four ships, the Forest, the Petunia, the Faxon and the Clavel, is expected in the coming days, the same source said. The fleet carries around 1.5 million barrels of fuel, according to press reports.
Tehran has warned in recent days of “consequences” if the United States prevents the delivery of Iranian petroleum products to Venezuela, where fuel shortages have worsened with the coronavirus pandemic.
Reserves but production at half mast
Washington, which calls Socialist President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” and wants it to go down, has imposed sanctions on crude oil exports from Venezuela and Iran, as well as many government and military officials from both countries.
Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world but its production is in free fall. Caracas believes that American sanctions are responsible for this collapse. Experts attribute it to wrong political choices, lack of investment and corruption.
Iran has repeatedly expressed support for Nicolas Maduro, who is also supported by Russia, China, Turkey and Cuba. The close relations between Caracas and Tehran date from the time of President Hugo Chavez (1999-2013), mentor and predecessor of Nicolas Maduro.