Venezuela’s government issued a statement Tuesday condemning a new move by the Donald Trump administration to enforce a full economic blockade on the country. The new measures represent an escalation of earlier sanctions and formalize the seizing of Venezuelan assets in the U.S., and new attempts to stop other nations from cooperating with the elected government led by President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelan VP Rejects US Blockade, Calls for Unity
The country’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza posted his government’s response on Twitter, and said; “Venezuela denounces, before the international community, a new Executive Order by the United States that intends to formalize the criminal economic, financial and commercial blockade against Venezuelans, and whose objective is to force an unconstitutional change of government in the country.”
“The ruling elite in the United States intends to give legal form to the blockade of all the assets and properties of the Venezuelan State, thus constituting the most grotesque and brazen looting in the contemporary history of international relations,” the statement said.
Venezuela also suggests that this intensification of U.S. sanctions is aimed at destabilizing the process of dialogue between the government and the opposition, convened by the Norwegian government.
“It is clear that the United States government and its allies are committed to the failure of political dialogue in Venezuela. They fear the results and benefits. In this sense, the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela will not allow this escalation of aggression to affect the processes of political dialogue in the country, and confirms we are unwavering in our willingness to reach national agreements,” the statement warned.
Though the United States had already cut ties with the Venezuela government and seized CITGO, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela’s PDVSA state oil company, this executive order formalizes that process. Furthermore, it seeks to ward off Venezuela’s allies, such as Russia and China who have provided the country with aid and stepped up bilateral cooperation since the attempted coup by self-proclaimed lawmaker Juan Guaido.
The government's statement concluded by saying, “In the face of imperialist attack, President Nicolas Maduro ratifies his call to the unity of all Venezuelans to beat economic and political terrorism in this new phase.”
The effects of the U.S. economic blockade have had devastating consequences on the Venezuelan population. A recent study by two U.S. economists says that over 40,000 Venezuelan’s have died directly as a result of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States.