Venezuela's opposition gets reprieve in battle for Citgo

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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.

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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.