CARACAS, February 5. /TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has urged Western states to remove sanctions on the South American country instead of sending humanitarian aid there if they want to help Venezuelans.
"At first they [Western states] block our billions of dollars and then they say that they want to send humanitarian assistance. If you want to help Venezuela, then stop the blockade and lift the sanctions," Maduro said, according to the Foreign Ministry’s Twitter.
The Venezuelan leader said his country "is not going to beg anyone for peace." "Venezuela will cope with this itself," he emphasized.
On January 29, Washington slapped sanctions on the Venezuelan oil producer PDVSA and later transferred control of some of Venezuela’s assets in US banks to Guaido. The US Treasury Department also announced that Citgo Petroleum, a US subsidiary owned by the company, would continue operations provided that its revenues remain on US accounts.
Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23.
Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president. Subsequently, Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.
Defying European pressure, Maduro shrugged off an ultimatum by EU states demanding early elections. France, Spain, Sweden and the UK announced Monday that they were recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president after an eight-day deadline for Maduro to call elections had not been met. Furthermore, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that Guaido had the ability and the legitimacy to organize new presidential elections.
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
On February 2, Guaido announced opening three points for receiving foreign humanitarian assistance for Venezuela. The opposition leader claimed that up to 300,000 Venezuelans could die of hunger and lack of medicine and the humanitarian assistance would be sent primarily to them.