When you visit your local CITGO to fill-up with gas, grab a snack, a hot cup of coffee, some groceries, and your breakfast, lunch or dinner, you're walking into a locally owned and operated business.
Recent false accusations made by representatives of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro regime against the Simón Bolívar Foundation, the private non-profit foundation of CITGO Petroleum Corporation (CITGO), demand a clear response. The Foundation categorically rejects these allegations regarding the Foundation's charitable activities and its President, Ms. Mariela Poleo; they are completely false and unfounded.
The Simón Bolívar Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization registered with United States Internal Revenue Service. Consistent with U.S. law, the Foundation’s activities are highly regulated. The Simón Bolívar Foundation is explicitly and strictly prohibited from financing political parties and any political activity in the United States and in any other country. 501(c)(3) foundations can only conduct charitable activities that are permitted in accordance with the U.S. tax regulations and other laws.
Since the new Board of Directors assumed control of CITGO in 2019, they have worked tirelessly to adopt the best standards of corporate governance, internal controls and transparency. The Board also redefined the mission of the Simón Bolívar Foundation, focusing it on building a future where access to basic health care is a fundamental human right that reaches all vulnerable Venezuelans and others in need inside and outside of Venezuela. These efforts have been transparently provided in each of the Foundation’s performance reports to CITGO, the Internal Revenue Service in the U.S. and in Foundation press releases.
All 501(c)(3) organizations and other organizations that are qualified to receive a charitable grant from the Simón Bolívar Foundation are rigorously vetted through a legal and compliance review and follow high standards of transparency and corporate governance. The Foundation has not only trained its entire team in charitable best practices, but has also offered training to the charitable organizations it funds to improve standards of excellence for all.
All grant agreements signed with the Simón Bolívar Foundation require that the grantee organizations comply with all applicable laws, including anti-corruption, anti-bribery, conflict of interest and charitable requirements. Grants to organizations with personnel who have family connections with persons in any government or any political organization are prohibited.
The mission of the Simón Bolívar Foundation is and always will be to improve the health of vulnerable populations, with special attention to mothers and children of Venezuelans inside and outside Venezuela. The complex humanitarian crisis that the country is experiencing – further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic – demands immediate attention. The Simón Bolívar Foundation categorically rejects any attempt to use false, unfounded accusations to interfere with our important, life-saving mission.