TEHRAN (defapress)- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the government of his US counterpart Donald Trump of stealing $5 billion from the South American country, saying the funds were allotted for the manufacture of medicines.
News ID: 76324
Publish Date: 22March 2019 - 01:02
"The government of US president Donald Trump stole from us $5 billion allocated for medicines and the purchase of the main substances for the production of medicines in Venezuela and their deliveries to hospital networks, pharmacies,and ambulance network", Maduro said during an event devoted to the relaunch of a Venezuelan national programme to develop the pharmaceutical industry, World News reported.
Maduro stated that Trump was responsible for "the most criminal measure" against the Venezuelan people in order to subsequently say that the US authorities were ready to provide humanitarian assistance to the South American country.
On January 23, Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president. Maduro, who was sworn in to his second presidential term on January 10 after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, called Guaido's move an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.
The United States immediately recognized Guaido, after which some 50 other countries followed suit. Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other states have, in the meantime, voiced their support for the legitimate government of constitutionally elected Maduro. Mexico and Uruguay have refused to recognize Guaido, declaring themselves neutral and promoting crisis settlement via dialogue.
The US has been tightening and increasing sanctions on Caracas in recent months in an effort to squeeze Maduro’s government out of power, while Washington has called for regime change in favor of Guaido.
Also, the Trump administration has reaffirmed that it is considering “all options” for Venezuela. Trump has stressed multiple times in recent months that he is not prepared to rule out US military action in the country.
On Tuesday, the US imposed new sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run mining company Minerven and Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata, who heads the company, according to a statement posted by the US Treasury Department.
The sanctions are part of Washington's ongoing efforts to squeeze the government of Maduro, who the White House has claimed is an "illegitimate" leader.
In a statement, the Treasury Department announced that it was targeting "the illicit gold operations that have continued to prop up the illegitimate regime" of "former" president Maduro.
In late January, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that Washington has imposed sanctions against the Venezuelan state oil and gas company PDVSA, seizing $7 billion in assets.
Mnuchin said that the move is to “to help prevent the further diversion” of assets by “former president Maduro”.
Sanctions will be lifted upon the “expeditious transfer of control to the interim president, or the subsequently democratically elected interim government”, he added.