The White House has temporarily shielded Venezuela’s opposition coalition led by Juan Guaidó from losing the country’s valuable U.S.-based Citgo refineries.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday issued an order giving Guaidó’s team three months to negotiate a debt settlement. A likely failure to make $913 million debt payment due Monday could have triggered foreclosure.
Citgo is Venezuela’s most valuable foreign asset and provides a significant amount of gasoline to U.S. drivers.
U.S. courts granted an opposition-appointed board control of Citgo after the White House recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president in a challenge to socialist leader Nicolás Maduro.
Maduro put Citgo up as collateral in a 2016 debt swap disputed by his political rivals.
Having to surrender Citgo would be a political blow to Guaidó’s challenge to Maduro.