US imposed sanctions on Venezuela to seize oil for free: Venezuelan VP
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez says sanctions have become a weapon of economic war.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez indicated on Tuesday that the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela with the aim of seizing its oil.
"The illegal blockade and sanctions against our country were imposed for the purpose of seizing our oil for free," Rodriguez said during a meeting with Venezuelan diplomats.
She pointed out that the statements of former US President Donald Trump were tantamount to acknowledging this, adding that sanctions have become a weapon of economic war and are imposed on countries that oppose the hegemony of the United States and its allies.
Rodriguez recalled that Venezuela was cut off from the SWIFT system for bank transfers in order to isolate it from the global financial system.
The Venezuelan VP highlighted in April that Venezuela has lost $232 billion since 2015 when the United States under then-President Barak Obama imposed sanctions against the South American nation, underlining that the US has imposed over 20,000 sanctions against 35 countries and has been "waging economic or military warfare against the entire world."
She also indicated that after Washington declared Venezuela a "threat to its national security" in 2015, the West introduced 929 unilateral sanctions against the Latin American country, with US measures accounting for 60% of all Western sanctions.
Since the leadership period of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the United States imposed harsh sanctions against the oil-rich Latin American country, affecting the Venezuelan people, senior officials, and government institutions, especially the state oil company PDVSA.
Venezuela's losses as a result of the sanctions amounted to more than $232 billion, including $30 billion of Venezuelan assets frozen in Western banks.
In early May, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused US President Joe Biden's administration of theft over the proposed sale of oil refiner Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and Venezuela's most important overseas asset.
Maduro had repeatedly called for a complete lifting of US sanctions imposed on Venezuela's oil sector after a slight easing of the US embargo.
Caracas accuses US sanctions, the first of which dates back to 2014, to which Trump added new sanctions in 2017, of being responsible for the decline in oil production in the country.
In 2015, the Obama administration declared Venezuela a "threat to the US national security" and ordered the US Treasury Department to freeze the foreign property and assets of several Venezuelan officials.
In 2019, Washington imposed comprehensive sanctions on Caracas, especially targeting the country's oil and financial industries as well as freezing its reserves amid the political crisis in the country, as Washington recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim President instead of democratically re-elected Maduro.
The United States, which was the most prominent customer of Venezuelan crude oil, targets the Venezuelan oil sector in particular and prevents it from importing spare parts for its facilities.