“The assets now given away belonged to companies confiscated in the name of national sovereignty and are now being privatized to the Chinese,” Newmann said. “It’s a big act of hypocrisy from the ideological standpoint and grand theft from the perspective of international law.”
It is also an operation that could convey great risks for the country. The established price for the 10 percent share means that the U.S. companies would have a base on which to claim the confiscated assets at international courts, she said.
But it’s also a proof of the great need the Chávez administration has of obtaining Chinese funds.
“It shows the urgency with which Chávez is needing that money. A sign that he is extremely desperate, because they are going against the ideological base he professes, turning the argument of independence and national sovereignty he branded to reach power in an act of hypocrisy,” he said.
The documents obtained reflect the official preoccupation about the risk that international courts evaluating the claims filed by international companies may have adverse results.
In one of the documents, the Venezuelan ambassador to China, Rocío Maneíro, informs Chávez of the issue discussed in negotiations with representatives of CITIC, as part of a new loan.
“The fundamental objective of this negotiation is to agree on a mechanism to protect, against any unilateral action or measure by foreign powers, funds resulting from loans executed by CITIC Construction for PDVSA. The issue of handling these funds through trust accounts, opened at CITIC Trust” was highlighted in the document.
Fear was also present in the conversations to transfer to CITIC the Petropiar shares, said Juan Fernández, former executive director of planning at PDVSA, who analyzed one of the documents at the request of El Nuevo Herald.
Among the various assets confiscated by Chávez’s government from ConocoPhillips is the company’s 40 percent share it had in Petropiar. That is one of the claims the company is making against Venezuela in court.
“This is why CITIC people ask this question [in the negotiations], if the ConocoPhillips’s demand could have an impact on the project,” Fernández said.