PDVSA Reactivation of normality "withing one month"
O U R A M E R I C A
Havana. December 31, 2002
Government confident PDVSA can be reactivated in one month
CARACAS.— The Venezuelan government has expressed its confidence in
reactivating within a month its vital oil industry, brought to a halt by an
indefinite strike called by individuals involved in the April coup, which
enters its fifth week today.
Meanwhile, the opposition has maintained its mobilizations and asked its
followers not to pay their taxes in an act of civil disobedience, according
Rafael Ramírez, minister of energy, informed the foreign press today that the
government "could reestablish normality" in all operations of the state
Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) "within one month."
Ramírez emphasized that oil production is quickly recovering, having fallen
to an all-time low in the last two weeks after the coup faction forced the
closing of refineries and blocked fuel loading.
Currently, the production of crude stands at "600,000 to 700,000 barrels per
day," and it is calculated to rise to "1.2 million barrels next week," the
In normal conditions, Venezuela — the fifth world exporter of oil — produces
some 2.7 million barrels per day.
Ramírez admitted that the situation remains critical in the refining sector;
however, he affirmed that with the reactivation of El Palito refinery with a
capacity of 130,000 barrels per day, scheduled for 10 days time, the domestic
fuel demand could be met.
Last weekend 520,000 barrels of oil arrived from Brazil and a further 400,000
barrels from Trinidad are expected in the next few days.
Referring to the battle being waged by the government to recommence
operations in PDVSA, Ramírez concluded: "I have no doubt that we are winning
To date the strike has provoked company losses of close to two billion USD,
estimated the minister, adding that the oil stoppage is also affecting the
world energy market through rising prices.
While the government pursues its "retaking" of PDVSA 29 days after the
beginning of the strike, the opposition is going ahead with street
mobilizations pressing for Chávez’ resignation.
Carlos Ortega, one of the coup leaders, affirmed in a press conference: "We
Venezuelans are refusing to pay taxes and will be active in all areas that
allow us to continue exerting pressure," AFP cables.
Venezuelan law imposes sanctions on persons evading tax payments or promoting
such action, ANSA recalls.
INCIDENTS OUTSIDE DISIP HEADQUARTERS
Some incidents were recorded on Monday outside the headquarters of the
Venezuelan Security and Prevention Department (DISIP) involving opposition
demonstrators and people from nearby popular barrios, Prensa Latina reports.
Opposition forces were violently protesting at the arrest of Carlos Alfonso
Martínez, divisional general of the National Guard, linked to the coup d’état
last April, subject to investigation and currently detained on civil