Venezuela lost $38 billion over 3 years because of US sanctions — vice president

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© EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

CARACAS, February 18. /TASS/. Venezuela’s direct losses sustained as a result of US sanctions over the last three years stand at around $38 billion, Venezuela’s Vice President for Planning Ricardo Menendez told Agencia Venezolana de Noticias on Monday.

Menendez said that $23 billion refer to the country’s GDP losses, while another $15 billion in losses are linked to the activities of Citgo Petroleum — the US-based oil company which is majority-owned by PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.). “If we add another $20 billion lost in the sabotage of the oil industry we will get $58 billion in losses. That is almost $60 billion that the country lost,” he said.

He noted that the initiative to provide foreign humanitarian aid to Venezuela against the backdrop of introducing new economic sanctions against Caracas is “cynical.” “We want attacks on our economy and military crimes to stop, so that we can launch the process of economic restoration,” the vice president stressed.

On January 23 Venezuelan National Assembly Speaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself as the country’s acting president. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described it as a coup attempt and announced severing diplomatic relations with the United States. On January 28 the US imposed sancitons on Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA oil company.

Guaido was recognized as interim president by the Lima Group countries (except for Mexico), as well as by Albania, Georgia, the United States, and the Organization of American States. Several EU countries came forward with support for the Venezuelan parliament and expressed hope for new elections to resolve the crisis. Maduro was supported by Russia, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey. Belarus and China called for resolving all issues by peaceful means and spoke against any interference from the outside. The UN secretary general called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.

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