CARACAS, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s alliance with Russia is “perfect,” the president of state oil company PDVSA said on Friday, blasting what he said was a U.S.-led attempt to sully the growing ties between the two nations.
Reuters last week published a Special Report revealing that Venezuela’s unraveling socialist government is increasingly turning to Russia for the cash and credit it needs to survive and offering prized state-owned oil assets in return, sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
Venezuela’s opposition lawmakers say Russia is behaving more like a predator than an ally, scooping up assets on the cheap and gaining control of much of the OPEC nation’s crude for trading at a time when President Nicolas Maduro is desperate for financing.
PDVSA President Eulogio Del Pino said the United States and its allies were trying to hurt Caracas’ relationship with Moscow because they feared losing Latin America to Russia’s sphere of influence.
“That’s why they’re attacking you Russians,” said Del Pino in a televised broadcast from the Petrozamora joint venture with Russia’s Gazprombank.
“That’s why the North American empire goes against our nation, why they threaten us so blatantly. Because they see a threat to what for over 80 years they considered their backyard.”
Without directly mentioning Reuters, Del Pino also criticized that “every piece of news that these nation-hating people generate goes against the oil industry” as part of a broader attempt to destabilize leftist-run Venezuela.
In what he said was proof of strength in Venezuela’s oil industry, Del Pino said joint ventures with Russian companies in Venezuela were producing some 250,000 barrels per day.
“We’re working in perfect alliance,” Del Pino said as red-shirted oil workers clapped.
Additional reporting by Andreina Aponte and Corina Pons; Editing by Marguerita Choy