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21 May, 2019 11:54

Years of US sanctions have cost Venezuelan economy $130 billion – official

Years of US sanctions have cost Venezuelan economy $130 billion – official

Over the last few years Venezuela has suffered enormous losses due to the economic blockade introduced by Washington, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia Carlos Rafael Faria Tortosa says.

“As a result of the economic embargo imposed by the US from 2015 through the last year, financial damages to Venezuelan economy totaled $130 billion,” the top diplomat said during the news briefing in Moscow.

The ambassador stressed that the amount would be enough to bolster the economy of the Bolivarian republic for nine years.

“The government headed by President Nicolas Maduro is on the path of a very unequal conflict with the most forceful economic and military power in the world,” Tortosa stressed.

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Diplomatic relations between Washington and Caracas have been highly complicated since the late Hugo Chavez became president in 1999. The latest aggravation of the troubled relationship was sparked earlier this year, after Washington officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president.

Over the past two decades, the White House has accused the Venezuelan government of human rights violations and political corruption. Starting in 2014, the Obama administration imposed visa restrictions on Venezuelan officials, blocked assets and introduced travel bans on the alleged human right abusers.

The pressure on the Latin American nation has intensified since Donald Trump became president. Since then, Washington has taken several drastic steps to wreck Venezuela’s economy, including imposing a strict ban that targets Venezuela’s key source of income – oil exports.

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The Trump administration urged foreign companies and banks to avoid dealing with the Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA under the threat of secondary sanctions that might be applied to them. Moreover, the US reportedly froze $7 billion in assets belonging to PDVSA and its US subsidiary Citgo.

The US penalties have forced Caracas to seek alternative ways to keep selling crude. Last October, the country ditched the US dollar for transactions with its international partners in favor of other currencies.

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