SEE UPDATE BELOW - 29/01/2022, 15:45 GMT - Continuing with the series of young turks that have become PDVSA's new trading arm (for all practical purposes), there's always an international component that criollos could fill, but is often done by very sophisticated players. The sort that can move money, cargoes and ships almost undetected to avoid U.S. Treasury sanctions entirely. Sources relayed to this site that one Ivan Zudenkov, former Rosneft's man in Caracas, is conducting phenomenal business with PDVSA. Cargoes are bought in cash at heavily discounted prices ($30-$40). Crude allocations reach between 8-10 million barrels per month. Zudenkov's LinkedIn profile shows that after almost four years at Rosneft, he went to work for Cetracore Energy, between Jul 2018 - Sep 2020. No further work references are shown after that.
Sources report that Zudenkov's power is such that he can move crude lifting windows at will, just with a phone call to PDVSA's top management. Quite impressive, considering that he only graduated in 2009 and is no longer in Cetracore's employment. Who then is the muscle behind?
It is very clear by now that the sanctions regime has been a spectacular failure in dislodging Nicolas Maduro. The Joe Biden administration has proven to be more of the same, and its continuation with Trump's Venezuela policies shows the most absolute lack of imagination and willingness to actually help the situation. Errors are compounded by State Dept. extending recognition to Juan Guaido, a puppet figure whose only contribution has been to cement Maduro's position. As long as there are Zudencovs around, and there will never be a shortage of those, chavismo can outlive current and next U.S. administrations easily.
UPDATE 29/01/2022, 15:45 GMT:
This article has been amended to make it clear that Ivan Zudenkov no longer works at Cetracore and this company and its owners have no connection to him or his alleged business activities.