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Venezuela: Asset freeze by US equals economic terrorism

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro greets people during a rally in support of the government in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 20, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Venezuela says the United States is practicing “economic terrorism” against the Venezuelan people by ordering a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in America.

In a statement on Tuesday, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry strongly censured the US move as “another serious aggression by the [US President Donald] Trump administration through arbitrary economic terrorism against the Venezuelan people.”

Trump issued an executive order on Monday blocking “all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States.”

The measure, the first of its kind against a government in the Western Hemisphere in over 30 years, also banned transactions with the Venezuelan government.

Venezuelans are suffering from a lack of basic necessities under US sanctions. According to United Nations statistics, a quarter of Venezuela’s 30-million-strong population is in need of humanitarian aid.

In its statement, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry further said that the move was an attempt by Washington to derail political crisis resolution talks between the Caracas government and the opposition.

The measure, it said, showed that Washington and its allies are “committed to the failure of the political dialog” because “they fear the results and benefits.”

However, it said, the Venezuelan government “won’t allow this biased escalation of aggressions” to affect the talks.

Since May, the government of President Nicolas Maduro has engaged in negotiations with the opposition in a bid to resolve sharp political differences.

Maduro said earlier last month that he was certain a peace agreement would be reached until the end of the year.

Russia says sanctions on Venezuela are ‘economic terror’

Also on Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that the latest move by Washington to freeze all Venezuelan government assets in the US was illegal and amounted to “economic terror.”

The Monday order came a few days after Trump threatened to impose a blockade on Venezuela as rounds of US sanctions failed to turn the Venezuelan military against President Maduro.

Maduro lashed out at his American counterpart, Trump, for making that threat.

Washington has imposed several rounds of sanctions against the oil-rich country to oust Maduro and replace him with opposition figure Juan Guaido, who declared himself “interim president” earlier this year.

The Trump administration also earlier confiscated Venezuela’s state oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.

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