Arreaza Slams US for ‘Criminal’ Blockade

(TELESUR) – The United States Treasury sanctioned Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza Friday, who condemned the move and denounced what he described as “criminal” acts by the U.S. against the oil-rich Latin American country.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control, a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of Treasury Department, designated Jorge Arreaza and Judge Carol Bealexis Padilla de Arretureta as targets of fresh sanctions April 26.

“There are reactions that confirm that we are on the right path and give us more STRENGTH to fight. Yesterday at the UN, we irrefutably denounced the US criminal blockade against Venezuela. Today the Trump administration responds with despairation against us. The TRUTH hurts!” Arreaza tweeted Friday just after the U.S. treasury made the announcement.

At a United Nations meeting Thursday, Arreaza said that the unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States are not against officials, but against the general population.

The same day, a study co-authored by world-renowned economics professor at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Mark Weisbrot, was released and found that U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela have led to the unnecessary medical deaths of over 40,000 Venezuelans since August 2017.

“The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food and other essential imports,” write Weisbrot and Sachs. “This is illegal under international laws and treaties that the U.S. has signed. Congress should move to stop it,” insist the experts.

Arreaza reported that in the coming days President Nicolas Maduro will announce the creation of a registry to “keep track of the effects our people are suffering as a result of the blockade” imposed by the U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

The report also indicates that the Venezuelan government is unable to access over US$20 billion of its own funds and gold because of the U.S. sanctions.