Mexico ready to sell gasoline to Venezuela for ‘humanitarian’ reasons

Mexico City (AFP) – Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday his government was ready to help ease Venezuela’s gasoline shortage for humanitarian reasons despite pressure from the United States.

The leftist president said crisis-worn Caracas had not requested Mexican help but “in the event that it made the request to us and it was a humanitarian need, we would.”

Despite its huge oil reserves, Venezuela’s production has collapsed and its citizens face dire shortages, exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro has put a limit on state subsidies that for years had allowed Venezuelans to top-up with virtually free fuel.

Iran has recently sent five tankers of gasoline to Venezuela to help ease shortages.

Lopez Obrador brushed aside the possible risk of US sanctions in the event of selling fuel to Venezuela.

“We do not meddle with the policies of other countries,” he said, adding that people had a right to “self-determination.”

“No one has the right to oppress others, no hegemony can crush any country,” he said, without referring directly to the United States.

Lopez Obrador was speaking to reporters during a visit to the city of Xalapa, the capital of the eastern Veracruz state.

US sanctions have targeted Venezuelan oil exports, starving Caracas of vital income.

Maduro’s government blames the loss in production on US sanctions, including against the state oil company PDVSA, but many analysts say the regime has failed to invest in or maintain infrastructure.