Venezuela's opposition leader urges Jamaica to refrain from selling PDVSA shares in Petrojam

Sunday, June 16, 2019

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CARACAS, Venezuela (CMC) — The Andrew Holness-led administration has been asked to refrain from selling the island's shares in Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA.

The ad-hoc board of the oil company, appointed in part to defend PDVSA's interests abroad, sent the request to the Jamaican government on Saturday.

The board said that “it cannot maintain any arrangements” with the government of President Nicolas Maduro, a Chavez protege whose legitimacy as Venezuela's leader is disputed.

“We formally request the suspension of this expropriation process,” the board said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the Senate in Jamaica passed legislation clearing the way for the government to acquire the 49 per cent stake in Petrojam – the government of Jamaica's oil refinery --that PDVSA acquired in 2006 as part of the late President Hugo Chavez's energy diplomacy efforts in the Caribbean.

According to a Reuter's report, neither Holness' office nor Jamaica's foreign ministry immediately responded to requests for comment.

Juan Guaido, the leader of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly, in January invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro's 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognised as rightful leader by dozens of countries, including Jamaica and the United States.

His representatives abroad have fought efforts by creditors of Venezuela's highly-indebted government to seize foreign assets belonging to PDVSA.

But Maduro retains control of the military and most state functions, including PDVSA's day-to-day operations within Venezuela.

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