Full Report: Venezuela
- Arrival of Iranian oil tankers will temporarily reduce petrol shortages, but fuel problems and economic deterioration will continue
- Government will present tanker arrival as victory over US but it will continue to struggle to restore its own refining capacity, meaning that fuel problems will persist
- Venezuela’s foreign allies will offer only limited financial support, meaning that economic and political crisis will continue
The first of five Iranian oil tankers carrying an estimated 1.5 million barrels of petrol and other fuels between them, docked at the Puerto Cabello oil terminal on 24 May after being escorted on its final approach by the Venezuelan air force and navy. The flotilla’s progress was monitored by the US, which enforces economic sanctions against both countries. In April the US sent more warships to the Caribbean, in what it said was an operation against “cartels, criminals, terrorists and other malign actors”. However, these US forces took no action against the tanker convoy. Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned the US not to intervene saying that if it created “problems” for Iranian ships, Iran would cause reciprocal “problems” for US ships. Venezuelan media covered the arrivals as a triumph, with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza hailing cooperation with Iran for the “benefit of our peoples”.
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