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29 Jan, 2019 19:51

‘Oil’ the ‘sole and real’ purpose behind US ‘coup’ attempt, says Venezuela’s foreign minister

‘Oil’ the ‘sole and real’ purpose behind US ‘coup’ attempt, says Venezuela’s foreign minister

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza has said the real reason behind the United States’ “coup” attempt was to get its hands on the country’s vast oil reserves.

The US imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil firm PDVSA on Monday, prompting a tweet from Arreaza, who said the move was “more proof” that Washington was going after Venezuela’s oil. The sanctions provide “concrete and irrefutable evidence of the sole and real purpose of this coup attempt in Venezuela: oil,” Arreaza wrote.

Introducing the sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they would be lifted only if current President Nicolas Maduro handed control of the country over to Juan Guaido, an opposition politician who declared himself interim president last week in a move which was supported by Washington but which many experts have described as unconstitutional.

Also on rt.com ‘Good for business’: Trump adviser Bolton admits US interest in Venezuela’s ‘oil capabilities’

The sanctions will affect $7 billion worth of PDVSA assets in the US and $11 billion worth of exports for the coming year, national security advisor John Bolton said. Bolton had previously admitted during appearances on Fox Business last week that the US was interested in Venezuelan oil, saying that if US companies could invest more in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela, it would "make a big difference to the United States economically.”

A number of the US’s allies around the world have joined Trump in pushing for Maduro's ouster, including the UK which has refused to release $1.2 billion worth of Venezuelan gold to Caracas, an act which some analysts have described as simple “theft” of assets.

The US has steadily increased sanctions on Venezuela in recent years in an effort to weaken the government and prime the country for regime change, which could pave the way for the installation of a government friendlier to Washington.

Alfred de Zayas, a United Nations rapporteur to Venezuela and an expert on international law told RT that the US is waging “economic war” against Venezuela and that Trump has “no right” whatsoever to declare Guaido president, according to international law.

De Zayas, a former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council, said in a 2017 report on Venezuela that modern-day sanctions were “comparable with medieval sieges of towns” and their aim was to bring sovereign nations "to their knees.”

Venezuela’s allies in Latin America, along with Russia, China and Turkey have opposed the US’s attempts to overthrow the Maduro government.

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