Miami Herald: Trump team waiting for Russia to save Venezuela from crushing debt

Russia has helped Venezuela three times in the last 24 months to make billions in debt payments — in February 2016, October-November of 2016 and then again April-May of 2017, according to Russ Dallen, a managing partner at the investment bank Caracas Capital Markets, that tracks Venezuelan oil shipments and has advised U.S. officials on Venezuelan matters.

“Russia keeps saving Venezuela’s ‘culo,’” said Dallen, using the Spanish word for “ass.”

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But another reason, according to Dallen and Trump administration insiders, is that Russia has been redirecting hundreds of thousands of barrels a day to India, where Russian-owned oil company Rosneft just purchased an oil refinery.

In August, Venezuela shipped an average of 172,000 barrels per day to the Essar Oil Vadinar refinery in India, which was nearly triple the amount delivered in July.

At that rate, Venezuela would be on track to pay Rosneft up to $250 million per month, allowing Venezuela to pay off another $5 billion in oil debt — and regain Russia’s confidence about continued assistance, Dallen said.