Venezuela’s CITGO to Donate 50,000 Barrels of Oil to Hurricane-Hit Puerto Rico

“CITGO hopes this donation will help alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable while electrical power is restored to the island,” the company said in a statement. 


Damage from Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico
Damage from Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico. (Reuters)
By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas
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Bogota, October 5 2017 ( - The US-based CITGO Petroleum Corporation — a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA — has announced that it will donate 50,000 barrels of oil to Puerto Rico to help in rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The powerful hurricane hit Puerto Rico on September 20 causing catastrophic damage and killing at least 34 people. The storm took out the island’s national electricity grid and left the population without power and drinkable water. 

CITGO’s donation will be used to power diesel generators in public hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and other organisations, a statement from the company said.

“CITGO hopes this donation will help alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable while electrical power is restored to the island,” it continued. 

The company said that the donation was aligned with its “long-standing tradition” of “supporting disaster relief programs as part of social responsibility efforts” in the communities where it operates.

The subsidiary likewise collaborated in recovery efforts in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Hurricane Harvey which hit Texas earlier in September.

Following news of the donation, San Juan Mayor Carmel Yulin Cruz took to Twitter to thank CITGO for its “generosity and sense of social responsibility”.

Thanks to @CITGO for its generosity and its sense of social responsibility.

— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 5, 2017

The Venezuelan government previously sent an oil shipment to the island at the end of September after the US Department of Homeland Security finally waived the Jones Act on September 28 following public criticism. The waiver means that shipping restrictions on Puerto Rico’s ports will be temporarily lifted for a period of ten days. 

At the time, Cruz said that she would accept the shipment in spite of potential pressure from the US government, which approved economic sanctions against Venezuela in August. 

“I just received a call from Venezuela, which, making use of the elimination of the Jones Act for the next ten days, is going to send gasoline to San Juan, and we will share it with all of Puerto Rico,” said the mayor on September 30.

“And for those who want to talk, the company CITGO is a Venezuelan company which … sells petrol in the US. So don’t tell me that I can’t get gas from Venezuela, but the US can sell CITGO in the United States of America,” she continued. 

The Trump administration has been severely criticized for what opponents say has been a slow and inadequate response to Puerto Rico’s current crisis.