Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido addresses supporters in Caracas on March 10, 2020.

FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images

Iran’s fuel shipment to gasoline-starved Venezuela ought to “alarm” Latin America, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Wednesday, as five Iranian fuel tankers head toward the South American country.

Both OPEC members are U.S. adversaries whose oil industries are under U.S. sanctions. Trump administration officials say Washington is considering a response to the shipment.

“We are very concerned for the safety of Venezuelans, and of Latin America as well, due to this attempted Iranian presence on Venezuelan soil,” said Mr. Guaido, who leads the opposition-held National Assembly and is recognized as the rightful president by dozens of countries, including the United States.

Story continues below advertisement

The tankers – Fortune, Forest, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel – are carrying around 1.5 million barrels of fuel, and passed the Suez Canal in the first two weeks of May, Refinitiv Eikon data show. They are expected to arrive in Venezuela between late May and early June.

Mr. Guaido said the fact President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government is importing fuel shows its mismanagement of the country’s oil industry. Venezuela’s refining network has 1.3 million barrels a day of capacity, but has collapsed after years of underinvestment.

Mr. Maduro calls Mr. Guaido a U.S. puppet seeking to oust him in a coup, and blames U.S. sanctions for Venezuela’s economic woes. Neither Venezuela’s Oil Ministry nor its Information Ministry, which responds to media requests on the government’s behalf, immediately responded to requests for comment.

Mr. Guaido said his team believed Venezuelan officials were paying Iran for the shipment with gold from informal mines in the country’s southern jungles, which have been criticized by environmental activists and rights groups for contaminating watersheds and fuelling massacres as gangs battle for territory.

“They’re paying for that gasoline with blood gold,” Mr. Guaido said in an online panel discussion played host to by the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies