¿No dijiste que no hay plata?

One of my girlfriends asked: My husband is working at the refinery, but by Jan 30th, everybody has to leave. Now, can they get away without paying the employees??? With kind regards, K.

That’s stressful.

Basically, Venezuela’s opposition is now in charge of Citgo, the US refining company that was part of the Maduro regime-held PDV.

So the recognized-by-the-Dutch, Interim-Venezuelan-President Juan Guaido is really in administrative control of our rust bucket, but according to my friends who understand this crazy situation he has enough challenges on his hands without Aruba. He’d rather not deal with us.

According to Patricia Garip, in Argusmedia.com article from Jan 13th: Citgo Aruba Holding (CAH) the parent company of Citgo Aruba refining (CAR) has missed lease payments on the refinery and associated oil terminal since March 2019, taxes have not been paid since 2017, refinery maintenance has been neglected, and now the company is shirking its labor obligations.

Honesty, this is as much GOA/RdA’s fault as Citgo…Why wasn’t compliance enforced??

In a letter received in Aruba on December 27th, Citgo Aruba Holding cried crocodile tears about US imposed sanctions that impacted the refurbishment/upgrader project in SN, resulting in severe financial hardship, and in view of no hay plata, the company can no longer continue to support day-to-day operations, closing its doors on January 30th.

About 70 workers are involved, they are organized in two labor unions and none of them signed the proposed package offered, they want more money and the FTA is trying to negotiate with Guaido’s representative Luis Palacios, but no hay plata. The other union plans to go to court, but we don’t know if RdA would have resources to execute a verdict, remember, even if you win in court, the company must be solvent. A sure course of action is to go to Svb for Cessantia, but that is a drop in the bucket.

These 70 men are caught in a power play between Maduro and the Opposition, as a result of the false promises and blatant lies told to us by the previous administration.

Sure, the union supports its workers, and they must have evaluated the pros and cons of every move, but remember there are slim execution possibilities of an eventual verdict.

It’s a mess.

These 70 workers who signed up at the CITGO desk have some responsibility for the predicament they are in. We told them, RDA is a dead-horse, only they opted to believe the propaganda, and willingly walked into the trap, carefully laid for them by the former Minister of Energy and the former MinPres.

Since last year, GOA has tried to take the refinery and terminal over by declaring the suspension of the agreement between RDA and CAR, but a solution wasn’t reached, now GOA is left with only one option, demanding that CAR satisfies its labor obligations. But but no hay plata.

Most importantly: We should now worry about the terminal, and jet fuel, and fuel for our cars. In the Argusmedia article, writer Garip calls Citgo Aruba Refinery’s local imports MINISCUEL, but it is gigantic for us, we’re dependent on energy for our survival. So what’s gonna happen here if the company is allowed to leave Aruba at the end of this month?? GOA will operate the terminal? Goa will look for a buyer/operator? Our gas stations under the Citgo brand, will be rebranded? Who will supply the airport with jet fuel? Who will supply WEB? Can GOA handle the responsibilities? We must find out before January 30th, 2020. 

Moreover, what is GOA doing to collect the outstanding amounts and what are they doing to get us another lease?? Perhaps the KLESCH group is interested in an upgrader in Aruba?

One of my friends in the know says: The people of Aruba should demand the institution of a Freedom of Information Act whereby this type of situations is more transparent and accessible in public records.


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January 15, 2020
Rona Coster