The Superintendency of Companies, a body linked to the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, allegedly took possession of Monómeros Colombo Venezuelanos SA, a company owned by the Venezuelan state, headquartered in Barranquilla, Colombia. In a statement, the government of Nicolás Maduro denounced the operation as a “blatant theft” of Venezuelan public property. Since 2019, the company has been under the management of employees appointed by Juan Guaidó, self-proclaimed president and recognized by the Colombian government as a legitimate authority.
The Monomeros company is the Colombian subsidiary of the Venezuelan petrochemical Pequiven, inaugurated 54 years ago and, since 2006, a 100% Venezuelan property.
#RELEASE The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces that the Superintendence of Societies of Colombia has flagrantly assaulted an asset of the State
Venezuelan, as in the case of the company Monomers.
Read Here ⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/pyLBgXz82z
— Alfred Nazareth (@luchaalmada) September 7, 2021
The justification of the Superintendency of Companies, the supervisory body for private companies in Colombia, is that they would have to “remedy the critical legal, accounting, economic and administrative situation.” The Colombian public agency claims to use as its basis the Inspection, Surveillance and Control Act 222 to intervene in Venezuela’s public petrochemicals. Within Colombian territory, Monómeros has the legal status of a private company.
The decision was announced shortly after the first round of negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the opposition in Mexico, which ended with the signing of two partial agreements. One of them is related to the social protection of Venezuelans and the search for the release of liquid assets abroad.
President Nicolás Maduro denounced in a television broadcast that there are “conspiracies against dialogue”.
“We have evidence, I know what I’m saying, I just make the alert and in the next few hours we will show evidence of how Colombia’s drug-trafficking oligarchy, with Iván Duque at its head, intends to sabotage Mexico’s dialogues,” declared the head of state, on national television, last Tuesday night (7).
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The Venezuelan economist and specialist in energy public policies David Paravisini also highlights the irregularity of the action.
“In the memorandum of understanding signed in Mexico, the opposition itself recognizes itself as an opposition and not as a government. However, the United States, Colombia and England [insistem] in these actions. Interests are political. They are appropriating through a theft of a public asset in Venezuela,” he explains.
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According to the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Barranquilla, Monómeros represents 88% of the fertilizer sector in the department of Atlântico, supplies 50% of the Colombian national market, employs 1,400 people and generates over 900 indirect jobs. The petrochemical industry produces about 70% of the materials needed to grow coffee, potatoes and palm trees.
In 2020, the company had a profit of US$ 32 billion (approximately R$ 170 billion), an amount 224% higher than in 2019, and was considered the 8th largest company in the Colombian Caribbean region.
“Monómeros is a guarantee of food safety in Colombia. The important thing is that neither the company nor the workers are at risk. We will have to wait for the outcome of the negotiations, but Monómeros will be in Colombia regardless of any circumstance, solution or conclusion,” he declared. in an interview with local media, the company’s former legal vice president and Colombian congressman César Augusto Lorduy.
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Similarities with Citgo case
Monomeros is the second largest Venezuelan company abroad, only behind Citgo Petroleum, a subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela SA (Pdvsa), in the United States.
In the US, the administration of former President Donald Trump also gave Guaidó power over Citgo by failing to recognize Maduro as a legitimate Venezuelan authority. In early 2021, the US court intervened in the company, trying to authorize its illegal sale to allegedly pay off a debt with the Canadian mining company Crystallex.
The action was seized by the White House, which feared losing control of the company responsible for refining 4% of the fuel consumed in the United States.
David Paravisini says he hopes that with the success of the Dialogue Table, the Venezuelan state can regain control of Citgo and Monomeros in the US and Colombian courts.
“The opposition itself is interested in trying these opposition leaders who have disposed of Venezuelan public goods, as is the case with Carlos Vecchio [embaixador de Guaidó em Washington]. In a short time, the courts of these countries will have to respond, because there is no legal support to say that these people represented Venezuela,” he says.
Edition: Thales Schmidt