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Caracas hopes to skirt US sanctions via financial cooperation with Russia & China

Caracas hopes to skirt US sanctions via financial cooperation with Russia & China
Venezuela is seeking closer cooperation with Moscow and Beijing with a view to creating a new system of banking transactions to dodge US financial sanctions, according to the country’s foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza.

“We are looking for alternative ways of cooperating with Russia, China and other friendly nations in order to evade the American blockade,” Arreaza said during a press conference at the Venezuelan Embassy in Moscow.

The minister stressed that the Bolivarian Republic hopes to create new alternative routes for changing monetary assets to replace those under the control of Washington. He admitted that such methods of cooperation would not materialize overnight.

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Earlier this year, the White House introduced economic and financial restrictions against Venezuela. The penalties, which included cutting the country’s access to US dollars, target the its mining sector and sales of crude, which are crucial for the struggling Venezuelan economy. Oil revenues account for about 98 percent of its export earnings.

According to the top official, more than $5 billion has been frozen in Venezuelan foreign accounts after US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president of the country in late January. In March, Venezuelan Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said that over $30 billion had been illegally diverted from Venezuela during two months at the request of US President Donald Trump.

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Arreaza expressed hopes that Russia would boost oil imports from Venezuela and raise investments into the country’s oil sector.

“Not only do we hope that Russia will import more oil, but we also expect to see Russia producing more oil jointly with Venezuela in the Orinoco oil belt,” the foreign minister said following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

“We expect Russia to increase investment in oil production and are waiting for new joint ventures. We will provide Russia with all the necessary conditions for investing in Venezuela.”

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