By Irina Slav
Mexico is ready to sell crude oil to Venezuela should it need it, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, as quoted by Latin American media during his regular Monday press conference.
“If they requested it and it was a humanitarian necessity, we would do it (…) No one has the right to oppress others,” Lopez Obrador said, adding that “Mexico is an independent, sovereign country, we make our own decisions and we do not interfere with the other countries’ policies. It is people’s self-determination,”
Argus Media noted that Lope Obrador had made clear Venezuela had not extended such a request at this time. However, the media reported, a Caracas official had said the request would be made soon.
As sovereign as it is, Mexican companies could still face U.S. sanction action if they try to trade with Venezuela. Washington has bee tightening the sanction noose around Caracas lately, especially after the first of five Iranian tankers carrying fuel for Venezuela arrived at the country.
What’s more, as Argus Media points out, Mexico itself imports most of the gasoline it consumes, which suggests the consequences of any help for Venezuela—with U.S. gasoline, no less—could aggravate relations with Mexico’s northern neighbor.
Venezuela is in the grips of a major gasoline shortage as refineries are unable to operate at run rates higher than 10 percent because of a shortage of diluents necessary for the production of fuels as well as an urgent need for repairs.
Soon after the start of tanker arrivals, Washington announced plans to blacklist tanker owners and users of vessels that had travelled to Venezuela over the past 12 months. Already, media reported, some tankers sailing for Venezuela had turned around.
According to a ship brokerage there were as many as 77 tankers that have called at Venezuelan ports over the past 12 months, which puts them at risk of being blacklisted.