US sanctions cost Venezuela US$38 billion

Venezuelan Vice President of Planning, Ricardo Menendez said on February 18 that direct losses to the nation's economy from US financial sanctions are estimated to be US$38 billion.

The figure corresponds only to the effects on the production of goods and services, as well as on the oil trade, he said in an interview with the Venezuelan News Agency.

Of this total, $23 billion corresponds to the impact on GDP. $15 billion is related to the siege against Citgo, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company, in the US, which was seized at the end of January.

The greatest amount of production losses coincided with the actions of street political violence, known as guarimbas, in 2017, which affected the main trade routes.

“If we add to this the $20 billion that were taken during the oil sabotage of 2002, we are talking about $58 billion in losses that have affected the nation,” Menendez said.

In this regard, Menendez stressed that it is “cynical” for sectors of the opposition, protected by foreign governments, to promote the entry of supposed humanitarian aid “when what they have done is to attack a sovereign country.

“The right aims to suffocate the national economy, affecting input routes in parallel with the advance of its humanitarian aid discourse.

“This financial maneuver seeks to annihilate the economy as a pretext for invasion”, Menéndez said, adding that they intend to “affect the social bases” of the nation.

The executive's challenge is, precisely, to optimise the mechanisms to protect the people's income with a real exchange value that evades inflation.

According to Menendez, the objective is to build a new economic apparatus and price structure, with other distribution schemes that will prevent the oligarchy from stealing the people's money.

[Reprinted from Telesur English.]