Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the United States has been “stealing” billions of dollars from the Latin American country through sanctions and offering “crumbs” in return as humanitarian aid.
Maduro made the remarks on Friday as Caracas continued to block the entry of tons of Washington-supplied humanitarian aid at the border with Colombia following the US administration’s move to freeze billions of dollars in the nation’s oil revenue and overseas assets.
“It’s a booby trap, they’re putting on a show with rotten and contaminated food,” said Maduro, speaking at an event in the southeastern city of Ciudad Bolivar.
“They’ve stolen $30 billion and are offering four crumbs of rotten food,” the president added, referring to the United States.
The US administration’s sanctions has so far targeted individuals and state oil company PDVSA, the Venezuelan government’s main source of income, but the US Treasury announced Friday that it was imposing sanctions on five intelligence and security officials close to Maduro.
Maduro also accused Colombia and the US of hatching “war plans” against his country and called on the military to prepare a “special plan” for countering such threats by reinforcing Venezuela’s borders.
Venezuela has been in political turmoil over the past weeks, with the opposition blaming Maduro for an ailing economy, hyperinflation, power cuts, and shortages of basic items, and urging him to resign.