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New US sanctions to worsen situation in Venezuela, says former ambassador to Russia

Carlos Mendoza Potella said that the consequences of sanctions have not become clear yet because too little time has passed

CARACAS, February 18. /TASS/. Washington’s new sanctions against Caracas will worsen the situation in Venezuela, which is already very difficult, former Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia Carlos Mendoza Potella said in an interview with TASS.

"The country’s economic situation, particularly in the oil sector, is indeed very difficult and it can deteriorate further. As for politics, the crisis has exceeded the national level as confrontation on the international stage has begun," he pointed out.

According to the former ambassador, the consequences of sanctions have not become clear yet because too little time has passed. "Venezuela has been going through a crisis for the past two to three years," he said, adding that "the economy is already feverish and now the temperature will rise even higher."

Crisis in Venezuela

On January 23, 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.

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.

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria 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 4, most of the European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

Meanwhile, 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 makes no secret of the fact that such steps are aimed at exerting pressure on Maduro to make him call an early presidential election.