One America News is reporting today that two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops. This is reported by a local journalist.
The article reports:
Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.
An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.
The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.
It sounds as if the Russians are attempting to duplicate what they did in Cuba many years ago, support an unpopular dictator who will be a thorn in the side of America. The Russians have another reason to want to keep Venezuela indirectly under their control.
On March 22nd The Miami Herald reported:
Cuba would have to spend nearly $2 billion a year to meet its domestic oil needs if Venezuela’s National Assembly and interim president Juan Guaidó manage to stop deliveries to the Caribbean island.
“Cuba’s demand for oil is about 130,000 barrels per day, and Cuba produces about 50,000 barrels per day, which means a deficit of about 80,000 barrels per day,” said Jorge Piñón, director of the Latin American Energy Program at the University of Texas at Austin.
Piñón estimates that Cuba has fuel reserves for about 45 days. But the end of deliveries by Venezuela’s PDVSA oil company would force the government to spend nearly $5.2 million per day at the market price of $65 per barrel for the 80,000 barrels per day it would need to import to meet demand.
By the end of one year, that would add up to nearly $2 billion for an economy that economists agree has not reached 2 percent annual growth in recent years and has probably experienced a recession.
The National Assembly, controlled by the opposition, recently ordered a suspension of crude shipments to Cuba, which started under an agreement to exchange oil for medical services negotiated by the late Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.
PDVSA now ships an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day to Cuba, not quite half of what the oil company sent before it spiraled into an unprecedented crisis under the Nicolás Maduro regime.
There is also another aspect of Venezuela’s oil shipments.
In November 2013, I reported:
On Friday the Associated Press reported that PDVSA, the government-owned oil producer in Venezuela, seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.
Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.
Like it or not, free enterprise generates more wealth for more people than socialism.
It is a safe bet that oil production is only a fraction of what it was before Maduro took over the oil industry. That adds to the financial woes of Venezuela and will also have an impact of Cuba.