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Venezuelan Lawmaker Refutes Claims Alleging Opposition Plans to Privatise PDVSA

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Elias Matta, a member of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, has dismissed claims suggesting that the opposition, which has presented an economic development programme for the country, is planning to privatise the state-owned oil company PDVSA amid an escalating political crisis in the country.

"The claims by those who will soon leave the Miraflores [Venezuelan presidential residence] about our desire to privatise PDVSA and give it to imperialists are absolutely false. PDVSA belongs to the state and all Venezuelans. This is what we would like to state", Matta told the broadcaster TV Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president, has reportedly claimed that the country has invested nearly $300 billion in the oil industry, which is slightly lower than such major oil producers as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States.

The opposition leader also reportedly claimed that Venezuela’s oil output was only at around 1 million barrels per day.

READ MORE: S&P Downgrades Rating of Venezuela’s State Oil Company PDVSA

Another aspect of the opposition's economic programme includes steps on how to counter hyperinflation in the country, according to Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra.

"If we do not stop the hyperinflation, there will be no wages, no savings, no pensions […] In order to stop hyperinflation, we should first cut the budget deficit, while the Central Bank should stop printing fiat money. It is necessary to stop this printing machine", the lawmaker pointed out.

Guerra added that the opposition forces were studying the experience of Germany, who rebuilt its economy after World War II.

READ MORE: Venezuelan PDVSA Says Has Enough Fuel for Filling Stations in Crisis-Hit Country

According to media reports, Venezuela exports some 500,000 barrels of oil to the United States, mostly to Citgo and refineries owned by Valero Energy Corp and Chevron Corp; Citgo imported the most Venezuelan crude oil in the first 10 months of 2018, followed by Texas-based Valero, and California-based Chevron.

Demonstrators clash with security forces while participating in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Tachira, Venezuela - Sputnik International
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On Monday, Washington froze the assets of Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA in US banks worth $7 billion as part of its push to force a regime change in the country.

The Venezuelan economy has been struggling since the crude oil market crashed in 2014, with the country’s annual inflation rate reaching nearly 1.7 million percent in 2018.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday slammed such moves as a manifestation of unfair competition and interference in Venezuela's internal affairs, adding that Moscow was assessing the risks to Russia over the US sanctions against Venezuela's PDVSA.

READ MORE: Protected by Armor: US Sanctions Pose no Risk for Russia-Venezuela Ties — Maduro

Russian oil giant Rosneft is involved in several oil extraction projects in Venezuala as part of such joint ventures as PetroVictoria, Petromiranda, Petromonagas, Boqueron, and Petroperija. In addition, Russia's Gazprombank has a joint venture called Petrozamora with Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA.

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On 23 January, Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president and was supported by the United States and a number of other countries, while Maduro himself has dubbed Guaido a "US puppet", accusing Washington of organising a coup in the country.

Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, Turkey, El Salvador, to name a few, have reaffirmed their full suport for Maduro as the legitimate head of Venezuela. 

READ MORE: Venezuela to Give Russia's Rosneft Gas Field Rights

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