Venezuela has criticised Washington’s decision to reimpose oil and gas sanctions and warned it could halt deportation flights for Venezuelan migrants who are in the United States without documents.
“All of Venezuela rejects the rude and improper blackmail and ultimatum expressed by the US government,” Vice President Delcy Rodriguez wrote on X.
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“If they take the wrong step of intensifying the economic aggression against Venezuela … as of February 13 repatriation flights for Venezuelan migrants would be immediately cancelled.”
The US began repatriating Venezuelan migrants on chartered flights in October, after a deal was struck between Nicolas Maduro and President Joe Biden for the “orderly, safe and legal repatriation” of undocumented Venezuelan migrants.
Rodriguez said that all other areas of cooperation would be reviewed as a countermeasure to the “deliberate attempt to strike a blow to the Venezuelan oil and gas industry”.
Venezuela toda rechaza el grosero e indebido chantaje y ultimátum manifestado por el gobierno de EEUU. Si dan el paso en falso de intensificar la agresión económica contra Venezuela, a pedido de los extremistas lacayos en el país, a partir del 13 de febrero quedarían revocados de… https://t.co/cLo5Di2Dck
— Delcy Rodríguez (@delcyrodriguezv) January 30, 2024
The rejection comes in response to the United States’s reimposition of sanctions on Caracas this week. Washington took action after Venezuela’s top court upheld a ban blocking the candidacy of the leading opposition hopeful in a presidential election later this year.
The US Department of the Treasury on Monday gave US entities until February 13 to wind down transactions with Venezuelan state-owned miner Minerven.
The US Department of State said on Tuesday that Washington does not plan to renew a licence that has allowed Venezuela’s oil to freely flow to its chosen destinations.
“Actions by Nicolas Maduro and his representatives in Venezuela, including the arrest of members of the democratic opposition and the barring of candidates from competing in this year’s presidential election, are inconsistent with the agreements signed in Barbados,” the State Department said in a statement.
“Absent progress between Maduro and his representatives and the opposition Unitary Platform … the United States will not renew the license when it expires on April 18,” the State Department said, referring to General License 44, which provides relief to Venezuela’s oil and gas sector.
The US, which first imposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in 2019, had granted sanctions relief for the OPEC member country in October in recognition of a deal signed in Barbados with President Nicolas Maduro’s administration that included releasing political prisoners, allowing international observers and setting conditions for a fair presidential election.
Venezuela is prepared for any scenario including the reimposition of US sanctions on its crude and gas exports, Oil Minister Pedro Tellechea said.
The US would also feel the effect of any reimposed energy sanctions on Venezuela, Tellechea told reporters, adding that the country would not “kneel down” just because someone tried to dictate the countries with which it can do business.