Published On: Tue, May 15th, 2018

As Venezuelans suffer, Maduro buys foreign oil to subsidize Cuba

Maduro12HOUSTON - Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA has bought nearly $440 million worth of foreign crude and shipped it directly to Cuba on friendly credit terms - and often at a loss, according to the news agency Reuters.

The shipments are the first documented instances of the OPEC nation buying crude to supply regional allies instead of selling them oil from its own vast reserves.

Venezuela made the discounted deliveries, which have not been previously reported, despite its dire need for foreign currency to bolster its collapsing economy and to import food and medicine amid widespread shortages.

The open-market oil purchases to subsidize one of Venezuela’s few remaining allies underscores its increasing global isolation and the disintegration of its energy sector under socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The purchases came as Venezuela’s crude production hit a 33-year low in the first quarter - down 28 percent in 12 months. Its refineries are operating at a third of capacity, and its workers are resigning by the thousands.

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