Venezuela's vice president says the US is imposing a new type of “state terrorism” on millions of people around the world.
Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez denounced the recognition of opposition figure Juan Guaido by Washington and its allies as the “worst mistake in the diplomatic history of these countries.”
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Rodriguez condemned Washington for punishing millions of people across the world by imposing sanctions on them.
“The [US] Treasury Department, the economic Pentagon, is militarizing international relations and punishing millions of people,” she said.
Rodriguez explained that sanctions “focused on strangling the Venezuelan economy” had cost the oil-rich country $130 billion between 2015 and 2018.
She told the assembly that she came on “behalf of the only Venezuela,” referring to a delegation sent by Guaido to the annual gathering of world leaders.
Rodriguez called Guaido an “artifice” of the United States.
The United States has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Venezuela in order to oust President Nicolas Maduro and have him replaced with Guaido, who declared himself “interim president” earlier this year.
It also confiscated all Venezuelan state property in America, and has hinted at the use of force to install Guaido.
The country has been struggling under severe economic contraction, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items as a result of the economic sanctions.
The US administration of President Donald Trump, who was very quick to recognize Guaido as “Interim President” in January, also provided him with $52 million in funding.
The US also barred more Venezuelan officials from entry to the United States.
On Friday, the European Union also imposed sanctions on seven security and intelligence officers.
The EU, which has been under growing pressure from Washington to take action against Maduro’s government, also threatened the country with more measures if the Maduro government did not move toward a timetable for presidential elections.
In the meantime, Guaido’s chief diplomat Julio Borges criticized the EU for not taking more measures against the Maduro government.
“More is needed,” Borges said. “We need to increase pressure on people in the military and political hierarchies, and Maduro’s inner circle, so that they know they will not go unpunished.”
According to United Nations figures, a quarter of Venezuela’s 30-million-strong population is in need of humanitarian aid.
At least 4 million people have fled the country since the end of 2015, the figures show.