US President Donald Trump has ordered sweeping new sanctions on Venezuela.
The sanctions bar US banks for making new deals with the Venezuelan government or the country’s state run oil company.
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, defended the move: “It’s a strong message for the people of Venezuela, and it’s a strong message to Maduro. We are not going to tolerate the dictatorship he’s trying to create, and we’re not going to respect the sham assembly.”
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, however, described the sanctions as threats, and called on the UN to denounce them.
“The imposition of sanctions or the attempt to impose sanctions, just like the military threats, correspond to uncivilized politics,” Arreaza said. “We are in the house of law, of international law, of the elemental principles of the United Nations charter, of respect to the sovereignty of peoples, of non-interference, and the United Nations cannot— as we told the Secretary General— stand by with their arms crossed and not condemn these actions.”
Trump had previously threatened military action against Venezuela, comments that feed Maduro’s claim that the US could be behind an invasion of the oil-rich country. Maduro has rallied military forces and civilians to protect the country. The military was conducting drills on Friday ahead of weekend training.
Venezuela has been embroiled in a political and economic crisis for months that has left over 100 people dead and triggered political changes that critics call anti-democratic power-grabs by President Maduro.