Published: Wed, January 30, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Russian Federation slams 'illegal' U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil

Russian Federation slams 'illegal' U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan oil

The company would not allow the opposition to take control of its US refinery unit Citgo, Venezuela's key foreign asset, he said.

Juan Guaido, the Venezuelan opposition leader who proclaimed himself interim president last week with United States backing, and who is supported by most Western countries, says Maduro stole his re-election and must resign to allow new, fair polls.

The sweeping US sanctions on oil firm PDVSA, announced on Monday, means the state-run company may not be able to fulfill contracts with North American buyers, the government of President Nicolas Maduro said.

"So when there is a recognition that the company is the property of, the rightful rulers, the rightful leaders, then indeed that money will be available to Guaido". The country sends 41 percent of its oil exports to the U.S. Critically, U.S. refiners are among the few customers that pay cash to Venezuela for its oil.

The National Assembly is led by Guaido and is the only branch of Venezuela's government recognized by the USA and several other nations.

Guaido said on Monday that the USA maneuver would stop Maduro from emptying the "coffers" if he is removed from office.

Guaido is the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly and proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president before thousands of supporters last week.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks with senior military officials during a military exercise in Valencia, Jan. 27, 2019.

Freeland also said that Canada - along with Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru - referred the ongoing human rights abuses and squashing of dissent in Venezuela to the International Criminal Court prosecutor's office for investigation in September.

At the briefing, Bolton reiterated, "The president has made it clear that all options are on the table", in regard to Venezuela.

Maduro has backed down on his order to shut down the USA embassy in Caracas and the expulsion of all US diplomats.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the new sanctions "violate all possible worldwide norms" and show a course toward regime change in embattled Venezuela.

He did not outline any specific steps in support of Maduro's government.

China believes that Venezuela's affairs must and can only be decided by the its own people, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.

Tuesday's new appointees to countries like the United States and to the regional Lima Group bloc include longtime opposition leaders like Julio Borges, at least some of whom had already left the country to avoid possible arrest.

NGO Foro Penal said 850 people, among them 77 minors, were arrested in the last week.

"[The White House is attempting to oust President Maduro for] the same reason there were some intents on ousting president Chavez in 2002 or Maduro in 2014", Peter Dobson, a Venezuelan political analyst, told Al Jazeera.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin shares the view of the Venezuelan government that the sanctions are "illegal" and sees them as a tool of unfair competition on part of the United States.

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