Check this out: after picking Juan Guaido, the Trump administration placed a bunch of sanctions on Venezuela / PDVSA. Said sanctions regime put the fear of god on a number of international energy players that ended up leaving the scene. The objective was to remove Nicolas Maduro, but the riskier it got for established companies to engage in business with Venezuela / PDVSA, the faster the void was filled by nimble shells run by thugs eager to cash in. Case in point: Libre Abordo, a two bit Mexican joint without a track record to speak of, supplanting Rosneft as PDVSA's largest trading partner, in under 6 months! Let me illustrate: from zero barrels of crude to over 26 million lifted. Three days ago, Schlager Business Group (Libre Abordo's subsidiary) was slated to lift 1.9MB. Today, another million. Last week? Another 1.9MB, and the week before last? 1.9MB... How might Libre Abordo have pulled that you ask? Here's where Juan Guaido slots in.
We have Alex Saab, well known by this site's readers as Fondo Global de Construcción main man. One of the side deals of Saab is oil. He's part of a humanitarian oil-for-food program set up between Libre Abordo and CORPOVEX. Libre Abordo brings in corn and water trucks. That's the "humanitarian" part of the deal, or Libre Abordo's part. The other part is payment, of course, PDVSA's crude as payment collected by Schlager. What's Saab to do with that crude? Sell it in the market. Who helps him do that? Alessandro Bazzoni. Who is this Bazzoni character? The puff version would have you believe he's into polo and plays nice with Prince William in some of England's best clubs (Bazzoni, standing third from right). This site's version would point at his track record with PDVSA (Petrodelta, trading, etc.), whether on a personal capacity or through shells, since "former associate" Francisco D'Agostino made intros once upon a time. Who is D'Agostino? Henry Ramos Allup's brother in law. Who is Ramos Allup? Next to Leopoldo Lopez, the opposition leader with more leverage over Guaido.
We have Alejandro Betancourt, well known by this site's readers as Derwick Associates main man. One of the side deals of Betancourt is oil. He's part of a JV with PDVSA (Petrozamora) that produces some 66,000 barrels / day. Sweden's Nynas used to buy all of it. No more, again due to sanctions. What's Betancourt to do? Flog the thing in the market. Who helps Betancourt do that? Alessandro Bazzoni. But what else does Betancourt do? He orders Guaido's brother and father to get over to his castle, when discussing oil and bonds deals in the presence of Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas. He is also friends with Leopoldo Lopez's family and closest confidants.
In short, Guaido, Lopez and Ramos Allup's family and network ARE the people directly involved in helping Maduro circumvent sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. Guaido was once Chair of Venezuela's Congress Audit Commission, and exonerated Mauro Libi, a thug close to the Maduro regime. A Congressman close to Guaido, involved in theft of humanitarian aid, even exonerated Alex Saab and was still part of Guaido's entourage in his last U.S. visit!
It needs repeating, Guaido and his people ARE oxygenating Maduro, Guaido and his people ARE facilitating Maduro's survival, providing critical services at a time when nearly the whole world has stopped dealing with chavismo. There's a saying for this in Spanish "esto se cuenta y no se cree": Trump's chosen man is actively helping chavismo stay in power.
What consequences are there for those propping Maduro up? Let's see: Saab has already been indicted and is a wanted fugitive, but that hasn't stopped him setting up Mexican shells and getting nods of approval by Treasury. Betancourt has not been indicted yet, he lives in the lap of luxury between Madrid and London without any trouble. Bazzoni is a regular at polo matches with England's royal family. Spends considerable amount of time in London. Neither Betancourt nor Bazzoni have been targeted by Unexplained Wealth Order investigations in the UK, despite the fact that every last Sterling they've got has an origin in deals with chavismo in Venezuela. D'Agostino actually lives in the U.S.
What about Guaido? What consequences have there been for his failures? The U.S. threw a considerable amount of political capital to his platform, and he came up with "coups" cooked up with Raul Gorrin, Maikel Moreno and Vladimir Padrino, and with Cliver Alcala and Jordan Goudreau?
We have said, and will reiterate, that Trump ought to either condition further support along certain policy lines, or drop Guaido for good.
Before going, Guaido should help the cause of freedom in Venezuela by briefing federal agencies on activities described above involving his own family and network of collaborators. Ditto Henry effing Ramos Allup and Leopoldo Lopez. Those propping Maduro should be made accountable. Immediately. It is unconscionable that aiding and abetting chavista criminals seems to have no consequence whatsoever, not even in the jurisdiction whose government portends major punishment to those so engaged.
If sanctions are the chosen way, it should be sanctions for all, whoever they are, wherever they may be, regardless of jurisdiction. If Treasury was bold enough to sanction Rosneft and Gazprom, they must do the same with their subsidiaries, with Repsol, ENI, and Reliance, with Mexican shells, with secondary sanctions, or with polo playing "businessmen". Treasury should be updating its SDN list with every PDVSA's crude lifting schedule, which this site is happy to provide. Treasury should add, immediately, all those mentioned above, plus shipping agents, ship owners, insurance companies, traders, banks and every company and individual that deals in Venezuela's misery.
And then add some more: GPB Energy Services and Boris Ivanov & co, Maroil Trading, Euro Shipping and Wilmer Ruperti and Guerric Canonica, Richeart International, D&N Boat Services, JHCP International, Paramount Glory Shipping and Fuel, Blackwell International Services, Asia Charm Ltd FZE, Grupo Jomadi, Proton Sociedad Limitada, Armando Capriles, Axel Capriles, and Oswaldo Cisneros.
The Trump administration must target any and all that do business with chavismo, for all business with chavismo under current circumstances is fundamentally corrupt.