US sanctions hurting Venezuela’s economy, people

March 1, 2018
The sanctions have not only affected Venezuela's high profile politicians, but also common people, business owners and US companies working with Venezuela.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said US-imposed sanctions are making foreign debt renegotiation more difficult and that the government would look to work with other countries to alleviate their needs.

“The renegotiation of external debt is underway, but it has been made more difficult by US sanctions,” Arreaza told reporters in Geneva.

The US government imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela in August, prohibiting dealing in new debt for Venezuela or its state oil company PDVSA.

This has made financial transactions between Venezuela and the rest of the world more difficult, aggravating the country's economic crisis.

“It’s incredible how global banks have reacted with panic. If a bank somewhere in the world works with Venezuela, they feel they are going to be sanctioned,” said Arreaza.

The sanctions have not only affected Venezuela's high profile politicians, but also common people, business owners and US companies working with Venezuela.

The country is now suffering a food and medicine shortage worsened by the sanctions. “Yes, it was bad, but the sanctions have made it worse,” declared Arreaza.

But Arreaza said he is confident Venezuela would overcome these problems and trusts Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to “stabilise and diversify the economy in Venezuela” to “achieve alternative routes.”

“If the international financial system blocks Venezuela, we are working with Russia, China and Turkey to find new mechanisms,” said Arreaza.

During his tour around Latin America in search of allies, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested his government was considering a new wave of sanctions on Venezuelan oil.

Now, several US agencies are reviewing the possibility of implementing these sanctions to remove Maduro from office. Sanctions could include completely prohibiting any Venezuelan oil to be sold in the US and blocking any oil related products going into Venezuela.

“The message is we will continue to ratchet up the pressure until the Maduro regime is removed and democracy is returned to Venezuela,” a senior administration official told McClatchy.

Arreaza also pointed out that the US fears any agreement between the Venezuelan government and the opposition because they would “go together to Washington to demand President Donald Trump suspend, stop, lift the sanctions and cease hostilities against Venezuela.”

[Republished from TeleSUR English.]

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