Venezuela donates $500,000 to 'Comrade Trump'
By Caribbean News Now contributor
CARACAS, Venezuela — One month after Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro referred to his US counterpart as “Comrade Trump” and told his people to expect “surprises” in the relationship between the two countries, on Tuesday, the Federal Electoral Commission reported that Citgo Petroleum, the only remaining US subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), donated $500,000 for Trump’s inauguration.
The PDVSA subsidiary’s contribution surpassed donations by other large companies like Google that contributed US$285,000, Ford Motor Company with US$250,000 and Pepsi also with US$ 250,000 as well as at least another 12 companies.
Citgo is currently mortgaged as collateral for a loan from Russia – a close ally of Maduro – and Trump’s alleged ties to Russia have led some to speculate they may influence his approach to Venezuela.
It is not known if the donation to Trump was approved by Russia.
Tensions between the US and Venezuela have been on the rise for years, but Maduro has notably softened his tone since Trump took office.
Last month Maduro also hinted a deal is in the works to provide his hunger-stricken country with food imported from the US “at a good price”.
“We are bringing products imported by the revolutionary government from several sister nations: Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua … and even the United States. Comrade Trump is offering me [basic food products] at a good price,” Maduro said.
“There are going to be surprises,” he added.
“If you ask me, I would say I do not want a fight with Mr Trump. No. I say it [on behalf of] Venezuela, I want a relationship of respect, of dialogue, but it seems that they are pushing him and they are going to fall into the same hole the Bush clan and the Obama-Clinton clan fell into,” he said.
However, Trump shows no signs of cozying up to Maduro. He and Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently welcomed Lilian Tintori, wife of political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez, to the White House, and he has taken a hard stance against the South American regime.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s dire economic situation continues to get worse: millions are starving; there’s hardly any food, no gas, and little medicine; toilet paper has been scarce for so long that Caracas’ airport restrooms don’t even pretend they have any.
The situation has resulted in massive protests against the Maduro regime, including Wednesday’s “Mother of All Protests,” which brought out hundreds of thousands and left at least three dead.