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U.S. ‘Underestimated’ the Importance of Russia and Cuba to Maduro

  • Russian firms now handle much of Venezuela’s oil, Abrams says
  • Pence calls opposition leader Guaido to affirm U.S. support
President Nicolas Maduro

President Nicolas Maduro

Photographer: Carolina Cabral Fernandez/Bloomberg

The U.S. has underestimated Russia and Cuba’s ability to prop up the Venezuelan regime, envoy Elliott Abrams told reporters, acknowledging frustration that President Nicolas Maduro has clung to power despite a pressure campaign to oust him.

Russian companies now handle more than 70% of Venezuela’s oil, including in ship-to-ship transfers, and the beleaguered nation’s economy has become more dependent on Moscow generally, Abrams said at a briefing on Monday.