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  • Novo Banco branch in downtown Lisbon, Portugal April 10, 2018.

    Novo Banco branch in downtown Lisbon, Portugal April 10, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 May 2019

President Maduro holds that the U.S. government blockade is an arbitrary action which has allowed bankers to grab more than US$30 billion from the Venezuelan people so far.

President Nicolas Maduro has denounced the fact that several foreign countries are blocking funds from being transferred to Venezuelan government bank accounts. One of them is Portugal whose Novo Banco has blocked US$1.726 billion from making its way to Venezuela where the Maduro administration intended to use the funds to purchase basic goods for the Venezuelan people.

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"I ask the Portuguese government to issue a statement. The Novo Banco kidnapped US$1,726 million which were meant to purchase medicines, food and supplies," said Maduro during a press conference Thursday.

"I will not tire of denouncing the U.S. government of stealing more than US$30 billion from Venezuela,” tweeted the Bolivarian president, who added that his country will increase its defense against United States  President Donald Trump's imperialist blockade that is an "inhuman sabotage against all our imports."

Venezuela is currently conducting a global campaign to denounce the U.S. financial blockade and economic sanctions that for nearly two years have prevented the purchase of medicines and food and impede the development of the South American nation.

Since January 2019 alone, the Trump administration has slapped sanctions on the state-run Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), its Central Bank and individuals working in the South American country's gold industry. These decrees have made it impossible for the Venezuelan government to transfer funds or pay its debts, driving down the economy.  

"Trump's appropriation of Venezuelan financial resources: Bank of England US$1,359 million, Citibank US$220 million, Bank of Glemstrem US$509 million, North Capita US$267 million, Novo Bank US$1,726 million, Sumitomo US$467 million. Trump Unblock Venezuela."

In April, the U.S.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) released an study demonstrating that Trump’s sanctions against the Latin American country are responsible for the death of more than 40,000 people due to the lack of timely health care.

Venezuelans on Thursday demonstrated outside the Portuguese embassy in Caracas to demand the inmediate release of their financial resources.

Most of the protesters were senior citizens who carried banners that read: "Release our medicine, Portugal"; "We need health supplies"; "Say No to the U.S. blockade" and "Respect Venezuela."

According to an investigation by the Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (Celag), the financial blockade against Venezuela prompted a decrease in the Venezuelan gross domestic product equivalent to US$350 billion between 2013 and 2017.

It was reported back in January that Novo Banco had blocked the transfer of at least US$1.2 billion to Venezuela from the financial entity that is 75 percent-owned by U.S. private equity firm Lone Star Funds.

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