Venezuela said that US-led sanctions had halted foreign debt refinancing and blocked vital imports of food and medicine, costing billions of dollars in the form of oil losses, Reuters has reported, Friday July 5th.
And Venezuela’s Deputy Secretary of State, William Castillo, rejected criticism by Michele Bachelet, the United Nations commissioner for human rights, and denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis in the OPEC member, which is experiencing economic collapse.
"Today the United States has confiscated some $30 billion in (state oil company) PDVSA assets while 40 banks are holding onto some $5.4 billion, preventing Venezuela from purchasing food and medication," Castillo told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"Venezuela can't refinance its debt and oil tankers and businesses are being punished," he added, saying oil export income had plummeted from $40 billion per year to $5 billion.
Venezuela owes about $200 billion to a variety of bondholders, commercial suppliers and companies whose assets have been confiscated.
With increasing defaults, creditors are reluctant to negotiate debt restructuring due to US sanctions.
The crisis in Venezuela has seen a wave of deadly protests, and four million Venezuelans are thought to have fled their homeland, since the end of 2015, according to UN aid agencies.
Venezuela is caught in an economic crisis, and a political standoff between President Nicholas Maduro’s government and National Assembly leader, Juan Guaido.