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Top diplomat blasts sanctions as part of US scheme to take over Venezuela’s oil resources

On January 28, the United States imposed sanctions on the Petroleos de Venezuela oil company
PdVSA headquarters in Caracas AP Photo/Fernando Llano
PdVSA headquarters in Caracas
© AP Photo/Fernando Llano

CARACAS, January 29. /TASS/. The United States seeks to take control of Venezuela’s oil resources by using sanctions, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

"Washington’s representatives made it blatantly clear to the world that oil is the only reason behind the state coup attempt in Venezuela," the tweet reads.

On Monday, the United States imposed sanctions on the Petroleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) oil company, one of the few sources of income for President Nicolas Maduro’s government. At the same time, according to the US Department of the Treasury US companies are allowed to continue performing transactions with the PDVSA as long as funds go to special accounts to which the current government in Caracas has no access. Washington does not hide the fact that such steps are aimed at exerting pressure on Maduro to make him call an early presidential election.

Political upheaval rocks Venezuela

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. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.

Meanwhile, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said that they would recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president unless Maduro called elections by February 3.

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.