Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has warned the White House against imposing a ban on oil imports from the Latin American country. Oil exports to the US are crucial for Venezuela’s depleted budget.
“The oil embargo would be one of the biggest mistakes in international politics that Donald Trump would commit,” Maduro posted on Twitter.
Venezuelan oil production has been falling in the recent years, but was still around 1.7 million barrels per day in December. The country sells about a third of its oil to the United States, but its sales to America are at the lowest level since 1991. Oil exports account for 95 percent of the country's exports.
Washington warned it may impose an embargo on imports from Venezuela to add more pressure on Maduro before the presidential elections in the country in April. Maduro said if the ban happens, the country will go to other markets to sell crude. "If the United States puts an oil embargo on us, we will take our boat and go somewhere else," Maduro told a press conference on Thursday.
"If they take measures against Venezuelan oil like those demanded by (opposition leader) Julio Borges, we will take the appropriate measures." According to the Venezuelan president, imposing such an embargo is illegal under international law.
Trump has already introduced financial and individual sanctions on Venezuela and dozens of its leaders. The US has also threatened to block Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency petro, as Washington considers it a way of bypassing sanctions.
Critics have said a US oil embargo will not help Washington to oust Maduro, but will create more hardship for the Venezuelan people, who are suffering from food and medical shortages.
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