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  India   All India  05 May 2017  Venezuela oil flow to India may be hit

Venezuela oil flow to India may be hit

THE ASIAN AGE. | SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI
Published : May 5, 2017, 12:38 am IST
Updated : May 5, 2017, 4:23 am IST

US efforts to topple President might affect fuel supply, warns ambassador.

Augusto Montiel
 Augusto Montiel

New Delhi: The Venezuela-United States war of words has now reached Indian shores in the wake of alarming indications that the conflict-ridden South American country may be heading for civil war.

Lashing out at the United States, Venezuelan ambassador to India Augusto Montiel on Thursday accused it of trying to destabilise his country on the lines of what it did in Iraq. He also hinted that if President Nicolas Maduro was toppled, Western multinational companies would see to it that petroleum from the oil-rich country would stop flowing to India. Currently, he said, Venezuela is the fourth-largest supplier of oil to India.

The ambassador conceded his country was facing tremendous economic problems on account of the low global prices of oil. In a show of solidarity, top diplomats of Cuba, Equador, Bolivia and El Salvador in New Delhi backed Venezuela.

Refering to the large flow of oil from Venezuela to India, the ambassador said President Maduro was totally supportive of it, with oil reserves being under government control. But he cautioned that if the President was toppled, the oil reserves could come under the control of powerful foreign companies who may cut the oil supply to India. He said Venezuela earlier never used to supply oil to India but now it was the fourth largest supplier due to the efforts and support of the Venezuelan President.

After the United States reportedly accused President Maduro of manipulation, the Venezuelan envoy rubbished what he said was biased Western news reports on the situation in his country, blaming segments of the Opposition for acting on the instructions of outside powers. International news agency reports have mentioned daily protests by Opposition sympathisers on the streets, with pressure increasing by the day for the embattled President to step down.

The envoy pointed out that his President was in favour of a National Constituent Assembly to end the political crisis. He said the US had imposed an economic blockade on his country.

The Venezuelan envoy also lambasted a section of the Opposition for carrying out violent protests, attacking and torturing policemen, burning supermarkets, torching vehicles and employing illegal violent tactics to topple President Maduro’s government. He said that despite this, the Venezuelan government had acted as per the Constitution.  

The envoy said his country was “not a failed state” and that UN reports had shown that Venezuela had one of the highest social indicators, especially in the spheres of education and health. “They (the US) had claimed there were weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. They destroyed the country,” Mr Montiel said, adding that the invasion was actually to gain control of Iraq’s huge oil reserves. He said the US was similarly eyeing Venezuela’s gigantic oil reserves and wanted to gain control over it.

Mr Montiel also said Venezuela had large reserves of Coltan, a mineral used in electronic circuits, and, therefore, even in missiles, adding that foreign powers were coveting that as well.

Tags: nicolas maduro, civil war, augusto montiel