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Maduro to Transfer Control of Oil Resources to Venezuela Military

By on February 17, 2016

SAN JUAN – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro signed this week an official decree creating the Military Corporation for Mining, Oil and Gas (Camimpeg by its Spanish acronym), a megacorporation under the Ministry of Defense that will be in charge of oil and mineral exploitation for the next 50 years.

The decree delegates to the military the exploitation and administration of all the raw materials and mineral deposits of the Venezuelan subsoil “without any limitations.” The decree makes no mention of Petróleos de Venezuela SA (Pedevesa), the state-owned corporation in charge of oil exploitation to date, or of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.

The document states that a military group will be in control of the administration of oil wells and drilling operations, and “everything related to the exploitation and mineral services in general,” including the import and export of materials, the national and international transport of these, and the construction of civilian projects related to these activities. The corporation’s board will be composed of five members, three of which will appointed by the minister of Defense. The corporation will be in charge of all mining activities in Venezuela for a period of 50 years, that could be renewed.

The tremendous discretion given to the military group that will now be in charge of the country’s main resources was characterized as “a silent ‘coup d’état’” by pro-government news website Aporrea.

The signing of the decree coincides not only with one of the worst economic situations in the country’s history, but also with Maduro’s lowest acceptance ratings.

One of the possible reasons for Maduro’s decision is an alleged plan to transfer Pedevesa’s assets to Camimpeg to declare the state-owned company bankrupt in order to effect payment of its debt. Also, the broadening of the power of the country’s armed forces in an effort to reinforce its support for Maduro is also believed to be at play.

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