Inicio NOTICIAS Traders say Venezuela shipping fuel to war-torn Syria

Traders say Venezuela shipping fuel to war-torn Syria

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The government of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is emerging as a rare supplier of diesel to Syria, potentially undermining Western sanctions and helping the Syrian government fuel its military in the middle of a bloody crackdown on civilian protests.
A cargo of diesel, which can be used to fuel army tanks or as heating fuel, was expected to arrive at Syria’s Mediterranean port of Banias this week, according to two traders and shipping data. The cargo could be worth up to $50 million.
Chavez is a vociferous advocate of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who face pressure from Western sanctions. Few leaders on the world stage have polarized opinion as sharply as the Venezuelan president.
Chavez, who still defends the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has repeatedly backed Arab leaders who have faced a year-long wave of popular protests, which have already toppled four governments.
Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA shipped the cargo aboard the Negra Hipolita vessel, according to AIS tracking data on the Reuters Freight Fundamentals Database and to trade sources. The same tanker carried the first such shipment in November, the sources said.
PDVSA could not immediately be reached for comment.
"The aggressions against Syria are continuing," Chavez said in an address last month. "It’s the same formula they (the West) used against Libya – inject violence, inject terrorism from abroad and later invoke the United Nations to intervene."
The South American OPEC member nation has also tried to aid Iran with fuel supplies amid sanctions over its nuclear program.
Rights groups say close to 6,000 people have been killed in attacks by Syrian security forces against civilian demonstrators and an increasingly powerful rebel insurgency.
The United States and Europe are pressuring Assad to leave power. Russia and China this month vetoed a United Nations resolution calling on Assad to step aside.
The Venezuelan tanker was last seen off the coast of Cyprus with a destination of Banias and the estimated arrival date of Wednesday, AIS ship tracking on Reuters showed. The satellite tracking has been switched off since Wednesday.

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