Venezuela says it will retaliate with its own measures if the United States imposes sanctions on the South American country over the outcome of the presidential election.
"If the United States takes recourse to economic sanctions, or sanctions of any other kind, we will take measures of a commercial, energy, economic and political order that we consider necessary," AFP quoted Foreign Minister Elias Jaua as saying on Monday.The United States imports some 900,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela. Socialist Nicolas Maduro was declared the winner of Venezuela’s presidential election on April 14. He won 50.8 percent of the vote against 49.0 percent for the opposition leader Henrique Capriles. Capriles said he did not recognize the official results, claiming that there were more than 300,000 incidents from the poll that would need to be examined. He demanded a vote-by-vote recount, but the country’s Supreme Court said that there was no legal basis for it. On April 18, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Washington was not yet ready to validate the results of the poll. "We think there ought to be a recount. ... Obviously if there are huge irregularities we're going to have serious questions about the viability of that government," Kerry said. Maduro responded by accusing Washington of interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs. "We don't care about your recognition,” he said, noting "We have chosen to be free, and we are going to be free with or without you." Since Maduro’s victory, the opposition has staged several violent protests, which has left at least seven people dead and over 60 others injured. Maduro has said o that the US Embassy in Caracas was responsible for all the violence that happened in the wake of the election. MN/AS