Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has lashed out at the United States over new unilateral sanctions imposed on the Latin American country’s oil sector, vowing to take legal action in response to the move.
The administration of US President Donald Trump announced a new round of sanctions against oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), in order to funnel income from the country’s main oil exporter into the hands of opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Guaido, who declared himself “interim president” last week, was immediately recognized as Venezuela’s rightful leader by Washington and its allies.
In a live national broadcast on Monday, Maduro said Washington “intend[s] to steal the company Citgo from all Venezuelans,” referring to the PDVSA’s US subsidiary, which Guaido also has an eye on.
“(Be on) alert Venezuela, the United States today has decided to go down the path of stealing the company Citgo from Venezuela and it’s an illegal path,” he said.
Maduro also described the sanctions as “illegal, unilateral, immoral, (and) criminal.”
Caracas to take legal action
He said that the firm is “already studying [legal counter-]actions and we from PDVSA will take all the legal, political, operative, technical, and commercial measures to defend the interests of Venezuela in the United States.”
The Venezuelan president also vowed to “give the necessary, symmetrical and forceful response to defend the interests of Venezuela, at the right time.”
Citgo Petroleum operates three refineries in the US.